NHLN Opinion+: Hershey Hirschkop

Hugo Balta


Welcome to this week’s episode of NHLN Opinion+, a monthly program that is dedicated to discussing the concerns and opinions of New Hampshire’s Hispanic-Latino community.

Executive Director Hershey Hirschkop of Seacoast Outright returned to the program this week to share the work the organization has done in the past year in providing LGBTQ youth a safe space to explore gender and sexuality in a welcoming and understanding environment.

As a heterosexual man, and parent of a bisexual teenager, I discussed with Hirschkop resources Seacoast Outright also affords familial networks in supporting LGBTQ youth. “Helping parents get through this is important to kids feeling supported,” said Hirschkop. “We see parents, like you, trying to figure out, “How do I best support, my kid.”


Isabella Balta poses on the day of her Quinceañera, March of 2018

We also spoke about conscious consumerism beyond rainbow-washing. One Finance, a financial institution with banking services in Illinois has an initiative that displays someone’s chosen name on their bank card, in their account, and during all communication. The bank does not require legal documentation of a name change, does not ask customers for their gender, and only uses gender-neutral language both internally and externally.

“Naming, and how you identify and the pronouns you want to use are very personal,” she said in response to how important it is to help ease the burden on trans and nonbinary people from their dead name to their affirmed name. “When you erase that you erase the very being of who a person is.”

And for the benefit of members of our audience who are not familiar with the term dead name…dead name means the birth name of a transgender person who has changed their name as part of their gender transition.

Within a matter of months, One FInance was able to make it easy for customers to change their first name, no doctor’s forms, no driver’s license change required, just the opportunity to change their first name through a simple three-question form.

Seacoast Outright was founded in 1993 as an outcome of the “Respect for all Youth” conference spearheaded by PFLAG—watch our interview with PFLAG-NH Executive Director here. Hirschkop said the volunteer-based organization has stayed true to its mission of serving, advocating for, and supporting LGBTQ youth within the Seacoast area and across New Hampshire since then. She explained that the nonprofit offers direct services to local youths but also heavily focuses on outreach and education within the greater community. Although the organization focuses on serving younger residents, it also offers groups and resources for parents, families, and older residents in general. Within the past year, the organization moved its support groups and events online to continue serving the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Check out all the different support groups the organization currently offers here:

Access available resources through the link below. This list is continuously updated. 

Learn how you can support Seacoast Outright at:  

Read their BLM statement: