SQUINCH for Families Project:
Helping Family Members Become Better Advocates for their LGBTQ+ Kids

SQUINCH stands for “Sharing Queer Understanding, Inclusion, Nonviolent Communication, and Health”

Previously, Health Equity Alliance for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans (HEAL Plus NM) collaborated with the NM Genders and Sexuality Alliance (NMGSA) Network and youth volunteers to create a digital curriculum for GSA clubs to develop healthy relationship skills and understanding about queer and trans identities. The curriculum includes videos, activities, games, and discussion prompts for student leaders to use to facilitate learning and connection in their groups.
SQUINCH for Families is the next iteration of this work. This multimedia, arts-centered, community engagement project culminates in a new open source curriculum for parents and families. The overall objective is for parents, family members, and caregivers to learn and practice how to better listen, understand, support, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ youth they love.
At the heart of the SQUINCH for Families Project is the real life stories of LGBTQ+ youth themselves. HEAL Plus NM is partnering with High Desert Playback, a queer-centered, multi-racial company of artists that makes theater for social change. High Desert Playback will collect real life stories of LGBTQ+ youth through individual interviews and story circle workshops and then turn them into a live, theatrical production to be performed throughout the state in October 2024. Local filmmaker, Michael Lopez, will capture the piece on video to be used as the basis of the digital curriculum, expected to launch on the HEAL+NM website early 2025.

Get involved


Are you between the ages of 16 and 24, live in New Mexico, and identify as part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual, nonbinary, two-spirit (LGBTQIA+) community? Do you believe that others can learn from your story?

High Desert Playback seeks to interview 15-20 LGBTQ+ youth for the SQUINCH for Families Project. Your story will form the foundation of our original play that lifts up the experiences of queer and trans youth.  

Each interview will last 30-45 minutes and take place virtually via Zoom throughout the months of February and March 2024.


Come together with other LGBTQ+ young people ages 16-24 in your community by attending an SQUINCH Story Circle. This experience is a 3-hour, in-person, interactive event focused on sharing stories of queer and trans identity in a sanctuary-like atmosphere. Here you will play a little, laugh a lot, and make meaningful connections with your peers. Plus, you will experience the improvisational art form of playback theatre—where you tell real stories from your life and High Desert Playback performers play them back, on the spot!

SQUINCH Story Circles will happen on weekends in the month of April 2024 in Albuquerque, Farmington, Silver City, and Las Cruces. 

There will be a meal and you will receive a gift for your participation.


Do you know/work with queer and trans young people, ages 16-24, who you think may want to participate in this project? Want to help us spread the word?


Would you like to be some of the first people to try out our curriculum with your family members?


The SQUINCH for Families Project is made possible by the generosity of New Mexico Community Foundation. But we still have a little ways to go to reach our financial goals for this project. Make your tax deductible donation so that we can get this work to as many queer youth and families as possible. We are currently fundraising to bring this play to audiences in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Farmington, and Silver City.

High Desert Playback
SQUINCH4Families Interview Flyer