Category Archives: Do Something!

Queer Rock Camp!

Sick of hearing homophobic lyrics on the radio?  Are you already in a band or starting to learn?  Or, maybe you just want to be a rock star…

The terrific blog, OutImpact, has highlighted a great new summer camp:  Queer Rock Camp.  For LGBTQIA youth ages 12 – 21, this tuition-free camp aims to empower youth by ” building confidence, fostering and strengthening peer alliances and dismantling gender binaries.”

From queer youth film programs to queer youth dance programs, the arts have long been a way to help LGBTQIA youth express who they are, meet supportive peers and adults, and gain access to a creative voice that helps fight the impact of homophobia and bullying.  Following in this tradition, the Queer Rock Camp will allow students to learn and hone musical skills and add something new and fresh to the rock genre.

Right now, the Queer Rock Camp is accessible to all youth by being tuition-free.  Thus, it is in need of donations — both monetary and equipment.  Monetary donations can be made online at StonewallYouth.org, by specifying “Queer Rock Camp” in the designation section.  They can provide their EIN number for tax deduction upon request.  Equipment donations can be made by contacting Molly at queerrockcamp@gmail.com.

Read more at OutImpact.com: http://www.outimpact.com/entertainment/music-entertainment/queer-rock-camp-stonewall-youth-empowering-youth-music/#ixzz1H6axFDNC

 

They’re coming out younger and younger

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Keith Haring's "National Coming Out Day"

Keith Haring's "National Coming Out Day"

Today is the day that the LGBTQ community has designated as a day to be sure to tell someone else that you are not heterosexual.  Why?  Because research shows that people who know an LGBTQ person are much less likely to be homophobic and are much more likely to become open-minded about LGBTQ issues such as gay marriage, hate crime law and protection of LGBTQ youth in schools.

This is also a day, I’ve noticed that straight allies come out as allies.  As LGBTQ youth come out younger and younger, it is all the more important that there are strong allies to youth available to advocate for them, accept them and just plain understand them.  It matters not if the ally is straight or not.  It simply matters that there are many out there who are open about their willingness to stand up — sometimes at their own personal risk — for a young person.

I can attest that some of the strongest allies to the LGBTQ community that I know of are friends and family of LGBTQ people:  The mom of a young gay man who started a PFLAG chapter, the daughter of an out gay man, a sister who puts on programming for PFLAG, a niece of a transgender man who goes out of her way to speak up for transpeople, and a mom and dad who are now regulars at the Dignity USA conferences.  These people carry their ally-ship beyond their families.  These people are teachers, therapists, writers, doctors and retirees who come to the side of LGBTQ people on important issues in large and small ways.  From posting on Facebook to writing a column in a newspaper to changing an intake form to incorporate non-straight identities, these are strong people who have done their own work to not only “accept” that there loved one is LGBTQ but have gone out of their way to make the world safer for everyone.

So, to everyone who comes out today, to everyone who has been come out to, to allies who have helped make it possible, thank you.  It is through being  proudly non-heterosexual that we show the world that there is truly nothing to fear.

Some wonderful articles on coming out have run recently on coming out including the New York Times Magazine piece on coming out in middle school. The article is as much about the adults around them — parents, school counselors, teachers and LGBTQ youth advocates as it is about the students themselves.  Many of these allies were not prepared for youth to be coming out as early as 11.  Many struggled to overcome their own biases or still are.  The piece highlights the power of adults in the world of these youth.  The strict, anti-gay father or the principal who has failed to crack down on anti-gay bullying can cause significant hardship for these youth and their families.  Advocates in any relationship to young people — parents, a school nurse, a para at school or an aunt can be a life preserver for these youth.  Those who have someone to advocate for them are stronger, healthier, and more resilient.

You never know what 10 or 11-year-old is out there looking for someone who might “get it.”  Maybe you won’t even speak with them but just the sight of your rainbow sticker, HRC button, your PFLAG Mom hat, “Safe Space” Sign, or even you holding hand with a partner might alleviate a young person’s loneliness and depression. So, come out as LGBTQ or an ally.  Without realizing, your making the world that much safer.

–Jayme

https://queeryouthmentalhealth.wordpress.com

For more information, see HRC’s tools for “Conversations from the Heart” — how to start a conversation on National Coming Out Day for LGBTQ people and supporters.

Or, watch their video “Conversations from the Heart”

Need Some Inspiration?

NYAC, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition awarded three young people with the Youth Courage Award.  They have overcome situations of oppression, harassment and family rejection to not only courageously live into their identities, but then reached out to help other LGBTQ youth.  With amazing achievements such as starting a non-profit for trans youth, becoming the youngest certified HIV Counselor and Tester in LA county, and becoming a peer educator and leader in reducing HIV amongst LGBTQ youth of color, these three remind us all that there is a lot to be done and that there are amazing young people out there willing to do it.

Frank Armenta

Frank Armenta

Lance Hicks

Lance Hicks

Terra Tempest Moore

Terra Tempest Moore

Read the full story and their incredible bios at NYAC

See the past honorees here http://www.colinhiggins.org/courageawards/profiles.cfm#2009

Protest Radio Show Hosts Encouraging Violence Against Trans Youth

It is striking that in our culture, it seems ok to some to advocate violence towards other human beings that wouldn’t even be acceptable toward a stray animal.  What is the terror that would drive two radio hosts to say hateful, cruel and violent things about a young person because they don’t wish to present the gender that our culture wants them to?  This is what happened on May 28th on a morning radio show in Sacramento, Calif. and Reno, Nev.

From the terrific blog Queers United:

“In a lengthy May 28 tirade on the Rob, Arnie & Dawn in the Morning radio show heard in Sacramento, California on KRXQ 98.5 FM and Reno, Nevada on KDOT 104.5 FM, hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States verbally attacked transgender children. While discussing a recent story about a transgender child in Omaha, Nebraska and her parents’ decision to support her transition, the two hosts spent more than 30 minutes explicitly promoting child abuse of and making cruel, dehumanizing and defamatory comments toward transgender children….

TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please contact KRXQ management in Sacramento, California, where the show is produced and demand that radio show hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States publicly apologize. Call on KRXQ to hold Williams and States accountable for their remarks and establish clear standards to ensure their media platform will not be used to condone or promote violence against any parts of the communities they serve.

John Geary
Vice President & General Manager
KRXQ-FM
(916) 339-4209
jgeary@entercom.com

Arnie States
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM
(916) 334-7777
rad@robarnieanddawn.com

Rob Williams
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM
(916) 334-7777
rwilliams@entercom.com”

To read some of what they actually said and see the original post: http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2009/06/demand-apology-from-station-encouraging.html

Safety For Homeless Queer Youth

Time to do something!

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has decided to slash funding for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) runaway and homeless youth shelters in a move that spells disaster for already struggling community-based shelters. Urgent attention to this situation is needed locally, nationally and internationally. We call on the DYCD and the City Council to reverse their recent decisions, and offer adequate funding to these shelters as a human rights and youth welfare priority.

A surprisingly large percent (The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that at least 20% of homeless youth are LGBTQ)  homeless youth are sexual minorities.  They are kicked out of their homes for their sexual orientation and, as I posted previously often have trouble finding friendly foster homes.  By and large, LGBTQ youth do not have safe experiences in regular shelters.  LGBTQ youth shelters are essential to the health of those youth who would otherwise live on the streets.  Sign the petition here.

If you’d like some first hand accounts of what it is like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and be homeless, or living in a group home, read the stories of four queer Connecticut youth and their experiences living in group homes or shelters at The Fairfield Weekly.

Jill Hardman and Chloe Michelle Noble are embarking next month on what sounds like an amazing 6000 mile journey to raise awareness about homeless youth. They’ll be homeless the entire time to connect with homeless youth.  Read their incredibly moving posts about their preparations and thoughts on the journey and virtually “walk” with them through Twitter, Googlemaps. I’m sure they’ll very much appreciate any supportive words you have!