Category Archives: Resources

The Make it Better Project

Make it Better Project

http://www.makeitbetterproject.org/

About

Make It Better Project

What is the Make It Better Project?

GSA Network launched the Make It Better Project on October 1st, 2010 to give youth and adults the concrete tools they need to make schools safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students right now.

Through our YouTube channel, social media, and the campaigns, initiatives, and resources available on this website, the Make It Better Project aims to educate, motivate, and unite students and adults to effectively take action to stop bullying and harassment in schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Our goal is to create safe, welcoming school environments that actively support LGBT youth and prevent suicide.

GSA NetworkContact Us

The Make It Better Project is sponsored by Gay-Straight Alliance NetworkGSA Network empowers youth to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training youth activists and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in California and throughout the country.

How does the Make It Better Project differ from the It Gets Better Project?

Columnist Dan Savage started the “It Gets Better” video campaign to send a message of hope to LGBT youth who are experiencing bullying and contemplating suicide.  His project, along with a swell in media coverage of youth deaths by suicide in the fall of 2010, ignited dialogue across the country about the epidemic of bullying in our schools. But it left an important question unaddressed: what can we do to make it better?

GSA Network launched the Make It Better Project to let students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and adult allies know that there are concrete actions they can take right now to make schools safer for all students.

Is bullying is a widespread problem?

Yes. The federal government estimates that 2 out of 10 high school students experience bullying each year, and the problem is typically worse for middle school students.  For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, this rate is 9 out of 10.   Bullying, particularly bullying based on bias or discrimination, is an epidemic in our country.

“The Make It Better Project is a chance to do something about injustices in our schools. It’s an opportunity to have a voice, to be known, to be understood, and to be accepted. It will NOT get better until we MAKE IT BETTER!  I participated because I know what it’s like to be discriminated against, not only because of my gender identity, but by my skin color as well. It hurts to know that someone will not be accepted and it is devastating to feel so unwanted and hated that you get pushed to the brink of self-harm. I’ve participated in Make It Better because it gives me a chance to help the ones I wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.” - Buddie Sims, student, Pomona, California

WGYB Is Now on Tumblr!

The We Got Your Back Project is now on Tumblr!

Follow us at: http://wgybproject.tumblr.com

Content will be mirrored here & on Tumblr!

Thank you!

News: Opportunity For Young Writers

Definitely wanted to boost the signal about the following: _____________________

We were alerted to this great project, and we wanted to make sure y’all knew about it!

From the press release:

“Award-winning author Lyndsey D’Arcangelo announced a national story call-out for her new groundbreaking anthology series, My Story Is Out: High School Years.

My Story Is Out: High School Years (MSIO) is intended to be a collection of personal real-life stories about surviving high school as an LGBT teen and coming out on the other side. “In working with LGBT youth through numerous writing workshops, I’ve discovered that they enjoy sharing their personal stories with each other,” said D’Arcangelo. “What better place to do that than an exciting new anthology series?”

The national story call-out for the anthology is open to straight, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgendered individuals 25 years old and younger. “We are looking for humorous, heart-warming, wistful and inspiring stories,” D’Arcangelo explained. “If you have a story to tell about your personal experience that is sure to touch the hearts, lives and souls of LGBT teens all over the world, then we would love to read it and consider it for publication.”

The MSIO anthology is being publishing by Publishing Syndicate and is slated for nationwide release in fall 2012. Those contributors whose stories make final publication will receive compensation. Story submission guidelines can be found at www.MyStoryIsOut.com.”

Gay YA

GayYA.org is a forum, blog, and fansite dedicated to everything gay in YA! They also provide a space for queer fans and promote LGBTQ characters in YA lit.

I’ve been following them for awhile now and they have some excellent recs and discussions going on. I highly recommend you check them out.

This post has been one of my favorites.

And I’m a bit partial to this post as well.  ;-)

 

Milestones In May

As queer people I know finding media that includes us (and actually respects us) can be challenging to say the least. Which is why I wanted to boost the signal for the following for those of you who may be interested; particularly my fellow comic book geeks.

For the month of May, Prism Comics has done a spotlight on Milestone Comics, which was founded by the late Dwayne McDuffie. Not only did McDuffie fight for better representation of blacks, but other POCs as well as women and LGBTQs.

What’s more is that the founder of Milestone Comics was doing this during the early 90s and was decades ahead of many comic book publishers. Donner and Blitzen, a lesbian couple and prominent members of the superhero team the Shadow Cabinet.

There’s an excellent review on the gritty critically acclaimed miniseries Deathwish: one of the first comics to feature a trans person as the main character. I highly recommend you give it a read.

Today my analysis on the impact of Gear, Static Shock’s best friend and crime fighting partner, is up as well. Check it out.

Also check out the other excellent articles on the site. There might be some titles that interest you.

Reteaching Gender and Sexuality – Put This On The Map

Our current project, Reteaching Gender & Sexuality, is a message about queer youth action and resilience. The video was generated to contribute additional queer/trans youth voices to the national conversations about queer/trans youth lives. Reteaching Gender & Sexuality intends to steer the conversation beyond the symptom of bullying, to consider systemic issues and deeper beliefs about gender and sexuality that impact queer youth. We invite you to share the video with your friends, family and networks; we invite you to share with us what THIS issue means to you!

PUT THIS ON THE {MAP} is reteaching gender and sexuality to professionals, such as school administrators, social workers, health care providers and juvenile probation staff. With youth voices at the forefront, our team of educators use dynamic, relevant and informative professional development trainings and workshops to shift the conversation about gender and sexuality in our communities. Find out more on this site about our award-winning pilot documentary, our upcoming tour, and our professional development work.



Our 2011 Spring Tour is officially over! From North Bay to Nashville, Buffalo to Big Rapids – we met amazing people and heard about projects happening all over the U.S. and Canada.

We’re now planning a Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 Tour. Contact us if you are interesting in planning a stop on your campus or in your community! We can screen our first pilot documentary PUT THIS ON THE {MAP},  lead workshops and panel discussions, and capture your stories.  On campuses, we’ve worked with departments, student clubs, research institutes, clinics, and centers. We also offer professional development training for practitioners and students working in human services or education.

If you are interested in learning more about bringing Reteaching Gender and Sexuality to your town, contact: info@putthisonthemap.org

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Camp Ten Trees Information

Camp Ten Trees is a Seattle resource for LGBT youth and their families shared with us via Bridget Adams.Here’s her post from 11 March about them. Please visit their site and if you are in Seattle, please consider helping out.

Remember a few months ago, everyone was concerned about LGBTQ youth? We all wore purple, changed our Facebook statuses and patted ourselves on the back…and then went back to our lives with the next news cycle. Except, guess what Poppets? LGBTQ youth are still out there. They are still trying to figure it all out and it’s not necessarily any easier now than it was six months ago.
Luckily, not everyone moved on with the next news cycle. Enter Camp Ten Trees, headquartered out of our very own Seattle. And let me tell you – this is one freaking cool camp. What drew me to their website was an event they are having next month and I promise I will tell you about it (because trust me, you really want to hear about it) but first I have to say that every tab I clicked, every link I followed, took my breath away. For eleven years now, they have been committed to LGBTQ youth and are still the only residential camp in the Pacific Northwest serving the community. Not only do they have a week-long camp for LGBTQ teens, but they also offer another week for youth, ages 8-17, of any orientation, from LGBT and/or nontraditional families.
They offer traditional outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and sports. They also offer performance opportunities and community projects. However, underneath the fun surface, the camp’s values of inclusivity, safety and acceptance permeate all the adventures. These values are so important to Camp Ten Trees that, while the rates for camp are reasonable to begin with, they also have a sliding scale and camperships for families that need some assistance footing the bill.
All of which is wonderful and exciting, assuming you are, or have, a child or teenager. But what about the rest of us, who are – be honest – a little past our 18th birthdays? There’s fun for us, too. Next month, on April 23rd, at Herban Feast, 3200 1st Avenue S., Ste. 100, in Seattle, at 6:00 PM, the camp is holding its annual dinner and auction. For $55.00, you get an amazing dinner and access to the silent auction. Add another $20.00 and you get the open bar, instead of having to pay cash. If you really feel like splurging on a great night out for an even better cause, $125.00 will get you a VIP ticket: pre-event reception, open bar all evening, first crack at the silent auction items, goodie bag, raffle ticket, and dinner.
Don’t worry if you’re busy on the 23rd, though. You can still help. Not only are they still accepting donations for the auction, but they accept donations, both financial and in-kind, for the camp year-round. The neatest part of the website, for me anyway, is the page where they tell you exactly what your money pays for. This is where you learn how much it costs to send a camper to Ten Trees for a week or run background checks on staff. Monetary donations can be made online. Auction donations can be arranged through the website. Contact Camp Ten Trees for information regarding in-kind donations, as their needs change so often. And if you happen to speak with Airen, tell him Bridget says hi.
Poppets, being a teenager wasn’t easy when we were kids. It’s certainly no easier now. Videos and purple shirts and Facebook statuses are fine. They make us feel good. But these folks at Camp Ten Trees…they are making a real difference, every day. Seems to me, the least we can do is enjoy a night out to help them. For more information, go to http://www.camptentrees.org/ or call 206-288-9568. It’s easier than finding a purple shirt and has a longer lasting impact.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.
c. Bridget Adams, 2011