lgbtq youth

This anti-LGBT billboard is standing tall in Elk River, Minnesota. It reads, “Do gay feelings mean you’re ‘born gay’? People around the world say no! Real therapy…really works.” Under a huge magnifying glass are the words “Focused therapy…REPARATIVE THERAPY…real transformation.” Not surprisingly, it was put up by anti-LGBT groups like Minnesota’s Pro Family Forum.  

But the billboard is not staying up without a fight. A small group of high school students protested on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol this weekend, demanding it be taken down. They weren’t able to speak with anyone, but they’re hoping to try again. Always fight the normalization of homophobia and abuse masquerading as “love.” Always. (via KARE 11)

Rainbow Bear is Ready for Tour… With YOU!

That’s right, Rainbow Bear has been busy packing for tour! He’s got everything he needs, except someone to go and see his favourite band with. Could that someone be you?

It could be, if you participate in our charity auction to win Rainbow Bear himself! Beginning on May 7th, our online auction will last 10 days, ending on IDAHOT (the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia). On this day, one very lucky bidder will become the proud custodian of Rainbow Bear, seen here deciding which Rainbow Direction t-shirt to bring on tour:

If you can, please help us achieve our goal of $1,705.15 by 17/05/2015 by taking part in our charity auction to win Rainbow Bear. As well as this, you can get involved by Donating to our Charity Drive or visiting our shop: UK - USA.

All donations for the drive go to benefit the Rainbow Solidarity Fund which works on issues that affect LGBTQ+ youth in Africa. 

Learn more about Rainbow Direction charity drive.

Thank you for all of your support!

Department of Labor Gives NY State $1 Million Grant To Help Homeless LGBTQ Youth

A $1 million government grant will help homeless gay youths in New York state who’ve had run-ins with the law get their lives on track.

The money from the state Department of Labor will fund job training and education.

Carl Siciliano leads the Ali Forney Center in Harlem that takes in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people who end up on the street. Siciliano says many of them are kicked out of their homes by families who don’t accept them.

And some end up in trouble, trying to survive through drugs and prostitution.

The money will pay for them to instead finish school and learn job skills.

The $1 million grant is shared by three organizations: Ali Forney, the Hetrick-Martin Institute and the NYC LGBT Center.

The grant comes as Michael Bloomberg, the delusional multi-billionaire Mayor of NYC who claims “Nobody’s sleeping on the streets. and banned food donations to the homeless, plans to cut $7.2 million (60%) from of the city’s budget for Runaway and Homeless Youth Services. The cuts will force shelters for homeless youth to “eliminate 160 youth shelter beds.

There are currently less than 300 beds for about 4,000 homeless youth (who aren’t living in shelters) in NYC, 40% of which identify as LGBTQ.

You can help by donating to the Ali Forney Center, creating your own campaign or purchasing an item on their Amazon wishlist.

Today 5/5, give a fiver to our Charity Drive!

Send us 5 dollars, pounds, euros, dinars, yens, carrots, apples, smiles, toys… (Vegetables, fruits, objects and any non-financial donations are lovely but not so easily transferred to our chosen beneficiary, so money is a better option).

All donations for the drive go to benefit the Rainbow Solidarity Fund  which works on remedying issues that affect LGBTQ+ youth in Africa.

Want a personalized item? Visit our shops: UK - USA. Today is the last day to use the code FREE2LOVE for free standard shipping for two or more items (cannot be combined with other discounts or coupon code).

A new photo book is aiming to bring visibility to a camp that provides a safe space for young children – of all gender identities and expressions. Called “You Are You,” the book focuses on a unique weekend summer camp for gender non-conforming children and their families. This camp provides an opportunity for these children to express themselves creatively and safely without judgement or expectation.

The project comes from photographer Lindsay Morris who has spent the past six years documenting this incredible camp. Morris is now engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to turn her work into a fully realized photography book in hopes of humanizing the experiences of these LGBT children. The Huffington Post chatted with Morris this week in order to better understand the experiences of the children who attend this camp, as well as her own.

Click the header link to read the interview.

Many young LGBT people of color face racial and gender discrimination, gang violence, bullying and conflicts with family members, according to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA last week, and schools are not properly equipped to help them. 

The survey examined the challenges often faced by queer youth of color and found limited resources in schools, health organizations and social services to help them. To fight this problem, the Williams Institute suggests stronger educational and mentoring programs that specifically address this demographic’s needs.

The Williams Institute, for example, found that teachers who want to increase visibility of queer of youth of color often lack support from other school staff, parents, and students.

Additionally, even though some individuals in health and social service agencies are equipped to support queer youth of color, the organizations themselves “lacked institutional policies, practices or training opportunities to better serve this population.”

Researchers also found that “LGBT-oriented services often lacked clear policies and training to help staff serve the needs of the diverse LGBT community,” and that such services in Los Angeles County are “concentrated in West Hollywood, making it difficult for [queer youth of color] who live outside of that neighborhood to access specialized services.”

The Williams Institute revealed that “economic disadvantage and geography stood out as obstacles [for queer youth of color] to obtaining services.”

Thoughts?

FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City. We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. FIERCE is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice movement leaders who are dedicated to ending all forms of oppression.

Donate if you can’t join in (giving you have the resources, of course.)

[photo description: a group of multi-gendered, multi-racial and multi-aged youth gather around a banner that reads, “stop criminalizing LGBTQ youth and youth of color” there is a multi-colored hand in the middle above an organizational name, “NC HEAT.”]

DREAM DEFENDER SOLIDARITY CARAVAN FROM NORTH CAROLINA 

From North Carolina to Tallahassee youth of color are being criminalized, pushed out of school, and having basic services cut out beneath them. It was with this sentiment that the Dream Defenders in Tallahassee Florida began an occupation of the State Capital building. With Day 25 of occupation the Dream Defenders continue to carry the spirit of resistance. The same spirit that has driven the Youth Organizing Institute’s work to empower young people and give them the tools to organize in their communities. The same spirit that molded our history 148 years ago, 45 years ago, and the same spirit that will birth a generation of dreamers. 

It is only with solidarity that we can build a united movement to confront the crisis youth are facing. It is with great enthusiasm that YOI/NC HEAT Youth and members of The North Carolina Student Power Union plan a trip to Tallahassee, Florida to join the occupation of the Florida Capitol building! Our multi-racial, mulit-lingual, multi-gendered cohort of youth and student organizers ages 10-22 will stand in solidarity with Dream Defenders and come together to learn.

Here are just some of the reasons we need your support to go:

Q Wideman, 17 years old High school senior–As a member of NC HEAT, I’m committed to building power with other youth and students in my area to combat the racist policies and practices that deny us the opportunity to live out our dreams. The death of Trayvon Martin and the unjust acquittal of his murderer affected me on a deeply personal and emotional level, and the power and work of the Dream Defenders both in getting Zimmerman arrested and in the persistence and resilience they have demonstrated in bringing members of both the local and the national community to join their occupation of the Florida capitol to demand specific and necessary policy changes has inspired me on an even deeper level. I believe that the possibility of bringing NC HEAT together with the Dream Defenders has the potential to connect and empower a cohesive movement of youth of color solidarity that could change the national landscape forever.

Alejandro Matehuala, 10 years old: 
“I want to go to Florida because I want to see how people make history.”

Sanyu Gichie, UNC Chapel Hill Student, NC Student Power Union– “I think it’s important to go to Florida to be in solidarity with the Dream Defenders because racial profiling effects folks from coast to coast. As a black American I believe it’s my duty to stand up against racial injustice and all forms of oppression. Stand your ground laws are an example of institutionalized racism and to dismantle it we must ALL fight together.”

SHARE AND DONATE!

BECOMING MORE VISIBLE, A GROUNDBREAKING FILM Trans teen homelessness - A burgeoning crisis. Who is responsible? The kids, or society?

Help documentary filmmaker bring the story, faces and voices of transgender teens, homeless on the streets of New York City, to the public. Learn more about the documentary here. Consider assisting Pamela’s kickstart campaign, over halfway to her goal and only 10 days left. 

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Please help us make our film A Place Called Home a reality by donating to and sharing our crowdfunding campaign!

Set in present day NYC, A Place Called Home is a deeply moving coming-of-age drama about Ally and the collateral damage she endures as she explores and struggles to accept her sexuality. Ally’s story is inspired by the over 600,000 currently homeless LGBT teens and millions of former homeless teens who are now part of the over 9 million LGBT adults in America alone.

Our film is historic for two reasons:

1) We are shining a very big spotlight on homeless LGBT youth by realistically showing what their lives are like - no holds barred;

2) A recent study shows that LGBT “characters are lacking” in Hollywood films. We aim to help change that by creating a film that is unique in its storytelling - brutal in its honesty, yet told with compassion.

With your help, we will be able to remain independent and tell our story without compromising production quality in any way. Every penny that we raise will aid in the production of our movie - casting, crew, equipment, wardrobe, production design, etc.

Please donate to our Sponsume campaign here. And even if you can’t, please give this post a reblog for us and share our campaign with your friends.

Not only will we make a great film together, we’ll be helping to shed light on homeless LGBT kids everywhere. Thank you so very much for your generosity - we are humbled and deeply appreciative.

The MC Productions Team

BIG DEAL!!!! Obama: Let transgender people adopt

“Earlier this year, President Obama became the first president to acknowledge transgender people in a State of the Union address. Now he appears to be the first president to explicitly say gender identity shouldn’t prevent anyone from adopting or becoming a foster parent.

The historic show of support was part of a proclamation issued by the White House Thursday—about two weeks after elected officials in Florida debated whether some agencies in the state could ban LGBT couples from becoming foster care parents.

“With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure all qualified caregivers have the opportunity to serve as foster or adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” President Obama wrote.

In a 2009 proclamation Obama said his administration supported “adoption rights” for LGBT Americans. His latest comments, however, explicitly mention gender identity.

A number of states including Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Nebraska do not allow LGBT people to adopt or become a “second parent” to a child of a sex-partner with a child, according to an analysis by theHuman Rights Campaign.

In his latest proclamation Obama also noted LGBT youth should be protected.

“All young people, regardless of what they look like, which religion they follow, who they love, or the gender they identify with, deserve the chance to dream and grow in a loving, permanent home,” he wrote.

The vast majority of transgender parents report that their relationships with their children are good or positive, including after “coming out” as transgender or transitioning, according to a 2014 analysis by UCLA’s Williams Institute, a think tank that studies the intersection of sexual orientation, gender identity and public policy.”

Read the full piece here

The Prez does it again!!! Already the most feminist and pro-LGBTQIA+ president in U.S. history, he just keeps going!!

Think I’m exaggerating? “THIS PRESIDENT HAS BEEN THE BEST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY ON TRANS ISSUES AND NOBODY IS IN SECOND PLACE” 

Related news: Obama moves past the legislation phase directly into spreading LGBTQIA+ rights via RAINBOW BEAM!!!

Top photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The headline, “Boy Scouts Move to Allow Gay Members,” read with such promise. Including gays in the Boy Scouts has been a goal of our community for decades, most notably since James Dale challenged the Scouts’ discriminatory policies in the 1990s. A sharply divided Supreme Court rejected Mr. Dale’s challenge, but more recently, an avalanche of factors – demographic shifts;concerted activism from Boy Scouts themselves and their families; rapid change in the acceptance of gays and marriage equality; and, strong pro-equality support from President Obama, his Democratic allies, and even some Republicans, to name just a few – has forced the Boy Scouts to reconsider its exclusionary policies. Last week, the Scouts did change its policy… for the worse.

“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” say the Scouts. This change comes after reminding us that “youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life.” The youth proviso means that gay kids are ok, but gay men cannot serve in any leadership positions. So, if you stick around the Scouts for long enough and refuse to “understand [your] duty to God to live a moral life,” i.e., stop being gay, you’re out of the Scouts. 

Allowing gay scouts seems like a step forward. But the exclusive focus on gay youth proves that this “step forward” is anything but a good thing. In fact, it’s the worst possible result and shows the Scouts’ true anti-gay colors. Gay kids are being let into the Boy Scouts not because the Scouts recognize the inherent equality of all American youth, but rather to more directly implement the organization’s anti-gay dogma. This begs the question: Is the new Boy Scout policy both unjust and unconstitutional? The Scouts’ policy was always unconstitutional, despite what the Supreme Court has said. Let’s discuss why….

Click the header link to read the full article.