Your Name: Genevieve Weber, PhD., LMHC
MyRye.com: Why are you a pRYEde founder?
Weber: pRYEde is a necessary support in our community for LGBTQ+ people to increase belonging and safety. Through my twenty years of work as a professor of counseling and mental health counselor, I have witnessed the unfair treatment of LGBTQ+ people based on their sexual identity and gender identity, and understand and value the importance of protection to reduce the negative health outcomes of an unwelcoming culture. I have been a resident of Rye for 14 years and always wanted to bring my national research and activist work to my backyard – but it was the response to the canceled DQSH (Drag Queen Story Hour) at the Rye Free Reading Room that pushed the gas pedal.
What is pRYEde-how should residents see pRYEde and its mission?
Weber: pRYEde is a social justice driven resource comprised of experts in mental health, literacy, and education that provides innovative and inclusive programming to Rye and its surrounding communities. Recent data from the Trevor Project (2021) confirms the benefits of safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and the positive influence of visible and verbal symbols of support. Did you know pride flags, efforts to use personal pronouns to acknowledge identities outside the gender binary of woman and man, all-gender bathrooms, and affirming teachers and counselors reduce anxiety, depression, and suicidality among LGBTQ+ youth? Simple actions can change lives. It is pRYEde’s purpose and mission to bring this information to our community.
What is your role within pRYEde?
Weber: I am a co-founder of pRYEde and expert in mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment. I lead community dialogues/presentations anchored in professional research to help disseminate information to parents, health professionals, teachers, and more in our community so they are better prepared to engage our forward thinking children in dialogue.
What does it mean that the City of Rye now raises a Pride flag each June?
Weber: It’s beyond important – with new data from Trevor Project, we know this visible support reduces negative health outcomes of anti-LGBTQ bias and discrimination that are pervasive in our society. Plus, rainbows are beautiful and make people happy.
What should the community expect to see from pRYEde in the next 12-24 months?
Weber: pRYEde will finalize its 501 C 3 non-profit status and continue with our educational and inclusive programming in Rye. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with additional Rye resources including RyeACT, Rye Youth Council, Rye Free Reading Room, Rye Y, and our religious community.
Tell Us About You:
What do you do professionally?
Weber: I am Director and Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Hofstra University and a licensed mental health counselor in New York State. I have worked in the field of mental health as a clinician and researcher for over twenty years.
Where do you live in Rye?
Weber: Midland Avenue.
How long have you lived in Rye and where did you move from?
Weber: 14 years, moved from NYC and various other locations during my 6 years of graduate school.
I moved to Rye with my sister Lynn after her cancer treatment 14 years ago. Rye was a place of healing for us. We both knew Rye was where we wanted to live with our husbands and children. Rye did, in fact, serve us as a place of healing especially after the death of our brother Todd in 2017. Rye holds a special place in our hearts.
Other than the June Pride flag raising, what are some of the other annual Rye events and traditions you enjoy?
- Bike riding – the Gilmores often cruise around town and to dinner on bikes!
- We have a boat and love fishing in the sound and tubing with friends.
- Playland — love love the family feel and fun at the park
- Walks around town to see all the lovely flowers and uniqueness of homes