Make your book a reality! Check out OUTWrite Authors!

A Conversation with Quinten Foster

We have the honor and privilege of partnering with Quinten Foster (he/him), Director of Transgender Whole Health Care, at East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) in Rhode Island for our next Pride and Joy Parent event. In our preliminary conversation with Quinten, he shares some of his insight on healthy relationships, sex ed in schools, his work in the community, as well as provides helpful resources for teens. 

Pride and Joy Foundation (P&J): What things are integral to maintaining healthy relationships (and this doesn’t have to necessarily be romantic, could be platonic, familial, professional, etc.)

Quinten: The most important one that I tend to share with teens is generally just communication. Being able to talk to somebody about these things is very important. Communicating in healthy ways, being able to set boundaries, and really understanding that boundaries are a limitation on your own behavior, rather than a demand out of somebody else. Being able to frame boundaries as rules for your own behavior, rather than setting limitations on others is important. For example "Im not going to interact with someone who consistently belittles me" rather than "you are not allowed to speak to me that way."


P&J: If you could go back in time and give your teen self advice, what would it be?

Quinten: If I could go back to my teen self and give myself advice it would probably be to listen deeper to the feelings that I was having.

As a queer trans youth, I spent a lot of time ignoring the little warning signs that I was getting in my youth. I ignored warning signs like gender dysphoria or the fact that I felt unheard by my parents. Being able to really identify that feeling and not ignore those warning signs and seek a trusted adult to help you with those feelings, is something that's really important and I wish I had access to be able to do that as a teen.  

P&J: What are some of your favorite resources for LGBTQ+ relationships?

Quinten: There are lots of professionals on YouTube, and even now on TikTok that provide inclusive, educational, and evidence-based information. And it's a lot easier to access. I– being a careful consumer of media and a person who really questions the information that they're consuming–  think it is really important when you're thinking about internet resources. But they're out there, which is a vast improvement. 

Some of my favorite resources for LGBTQ+ youth are: 


P&J: How would you suggest navigating sexual education in schools for LGBTQ+ youth who may feel excluded?

Quinten: I think one of the most important things for them is to understand that even if the information is not presented in a queer-focused or queer-inclusive way, a lot of it is still applicable. And there are other places that you can access additional information. Being able to provide them a resource, like The Three R's from Advocates for Youth and the Amaze YouTube channel that has tons of educational videos on sex ed, and it's very queer-inclusive. Making sure that they have access to the information in a different way is really helpful.  

And also suggesting to teens that they provide that feedback to the schools. A lot of times schools don't realize how many kids are being excluded in these classes. And it's really important for the students, the parents, and the staff to be able to provide that feedback to the school and to the leadership: that the curriculum just isn't enough. That type of advocacy could be helpful for youth who are feeling excluded in those classes. 


P&J: What do you love most about your role at EBCAP?

Quinten: I am absolutely in love with the impact that we have on our community. So EBCAP has a huge variety of services that we provide. While we are in the small state of Rhode Island, we do cover a large chunk of our state. We cover about half of Rhode Island, and that gives us the opportunity to provide many services to many people. 

We're also an organization that provides our services on a sliding scale fee. So things like being uninsured, being undocumented, having a low income, those things could have a really negative impact on people's care and other places, but it doesn't at EBCAP. I really love that. 

And I love in my new role as the director of trans health how much connection I've been able to make with the community. I've been doing a lot of outreach, with organizations and different events, to connect with community and different organizations that are providing similar services or providing services to the same populations. We've been able to make a really great community of care and finding those connections. I'm starting to actually be recognized when I'm out doing outreach work, people recognize, "oh, that's the trans health guy at EBCAP." And they're actually aware of the services that we're providing, aware that Rhode Island is really trying to fill some gaps in gender care, and people are feeling safer and more heard.


P&J: Do you have any final thoughts to share with us regarding the work you do or health in the LGBTQ+ community?

Quinten: I think the biggest thing is that there are enormous gaps in care for the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, we deal with a lot of stereotypes and stigma that lead to really terrible health outcomes. We're highly impacted by negative social determinants of health, by ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), all of those types of things that end up negatively impacting people's health and are common in the trans community because we deal with so much minority stress. And so things like access to gender affirming care, things like providing whatever services a provider typically does, but in a really gender inclusive manner are really important for this community. Regardless of what type of service that you're providing, you're going to be providing it to a really diverse group of people and being able to include them all, in your language, in your practice, in your policy is this. It's not only really important but it's trauma informed, and it makes sure that you are not alienating any of your patients, clients, and consumers accidentally.


We hope that you will join us on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 4pm PST / 7pm EST for our virtual Pride and Joy Parents conversation with Quinten Foster from EBCAP and Elena Joy Thurston from the Pride and Joy Foundation to discuss healthy relationship advice for parents and caretakers of LGBTQ+ youth. Save your Spot today!


About the Author

Quinten Foster, MS (he/him), is the Director of Transgender Whole Healthcare at East Bay Community Action Program in Newport, RI. Quinten is an autistic transgender man who combines his lived experience and Health Psychology training to support LGBTQIA2S+ patients live their most authentic lives, and to support and educate allies who aim to improve health and care for LGBTQIA2S+ people of all backgrounds. His professional background centers integrated mental healthcare and his special interests include coping skills and burnout, social justice advocacy, and expanding our society’s understanding of gender and sexuality. 


50% Complete


Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.