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APA Gives Back to the Ali Forney Center

  • May 04, 2024

NEW YORK – Every year for the past 15 years, the APA Gives Back program offers the American Psychiatric Association (APA), its members, and Annual Meeting attendees the chance to support a community organization committed to improving the mental health of people in the city where the meeting is held. Today, the APA is proud to present a donation of $26,388 to the Ali Forney Center (AFC).

The AFC is the nation’s largest, longest running, and most comprehensive organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youth from homelessness and empowering them with the tools for self-determination. Each year, AFC assists over 2,000 young adults, 95% of whom are people of color, primarily Black and Latino individuals. The Center’s 24-Hour Drop-In programs are designed to help young people overcome the traumas of family rejection and homelessness through wrap-around services, including on-site medical and mental health services, job readiness training, and educational programming.

“The work of this organization is very dear to my heart as a gay man and a New Yorker,” said APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A. “The Ali Forney Center’s work is crucial as a gender-affirming and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ+ and unhoused brothers and sisters who are more susceptible to mental illness due to systemic barriers and discrimination. The APA is honored to support the Center in serving some of our most vulnerable populations, uplifting all of society as we do.”

In 2002, Carl Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center in memory of Ali Forney, who was a homeless gender-nonconforming youth forced to live on the streets at the age of 13. Ali resorted to street work and drug use to survive while educating anyone they encountered about HIV prevention and safe sex. In December of 1977, when Ali was 22, they were murdered on the streets. Their tragic death called attention to the inhumane conditions for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in New York. Ali’s spirit lives on in the lives of the many young people served by the Center.

“Homophobia, transphobia, and family rejection are all traumatic events for people, especially for youth, this support and recognition is monumental for us. Our work is rooted in helping young people who have been rejected by their families with clinical and social services support to overcome the trauma of family rejection and homelessness,” said Alexander Roque, president and executive director of the Ali Forney Center. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of APA's Give Back Program. Furthermore, the opportunity to be recognized by the APA beyond the financial support is also vital in helping to engage the greater clinical care community on this very important issue.”

Contributions may be made during the registration process through APA’s Annual Meeting registration portal. If you have already registered and would like to donate, you can do so by logging into the Registration Resource Center and selecting “Upgrade.” APA is pleased to match member/attendee donations dollar for dollar.

About Ali Forney Center

Since AFC’s launch with just six beds in a church basement, the organization has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ+ homeless youth in the country. The mission of the Ali Forney Center is to protect homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to be independent.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

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