The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is promoting a chatroom on its LGBT Youth Resources page that discusses a variety of sex-related topics, including sex change operations and hormone replacement therapy.
The Q Chat Space is an online discussion platform for “LGBTQ+ and questioning teens” between the ages of 13 and 19, according to the website. It hosts conversations on sexual topics including drag culture, multiple genders, queer youth activism, hormone replacement therapy, and gender affirmation surgeries.
The chat space also directs kids to resources related to gender transitioning.
Sexual content in Q Chat is interspersed with content from pop culture such as Star Wars and Pokémon. When applying to join Q Chat, children are asked to reveal what their sexual or romantic orientation is, how they feel about their gender identity, and how often they feel depressed, among other questions.
Q Chat Space is a collaboration between Planned Parenthood and LGBT organizations. Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the country, has published a guide for parents insisting that children in elementary school and even preschool are capable of determining whether they are gender-nonconforming or transgender.
Conversations at Q Chat are facilitated by staff members who work at LGBT centers across the nation, but none of the facilitators are mental health professionals, the Q Chat website states.
Facilitators identify themselves through various identities such as genderqueer, xe/xem, neurodivergent, and drag artist. In May, the Arizona Office of Education promoted Q Chat, advertising the chatroom on its website.
Hiding From Parents
Q Chat also seems to be designed to be easily concealed from parents. The website has a button at the bottom that users can click to instantly load the Google home page, allowing children to hide the website and avoid detection from parents.
“The platform’s chat-based nature likely helps youth avoid concerns about family members accidentally overhearing their conversations in the same way they might if they were talking to friends,” states an academic article published on the National Library of Medicine website. A “special chat” hosted at Q Chat also discussed a topic titled “Finding Chosen Family.”