18 October 2010

Lifting Up the Voices of LGBTQ Youth

The Ms. Foundation has been deeply troubled by the deaths of nine LGBTQ youths in the span of five short weeks. It is clear to us that our culture's unyielding adherence to a system of "gender norms," which sets strict rules for what makes a "man" or a "woman" this society, played a major role in encouraging these deaths, and the violent bullying that in many cases preceded them.

As we mourn the loss of so much human potential, we find that there is also real reason to believe that other LGBTQ youth will be able to find more hope for what the future holds than those who have passed found possible. Ms. Foundation Atlanta-based grantee SPARK is one organization working to give LGBTQ youth a platform to build their own power and speak out on the issues that matter to them.

Their FYRE (Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering) Media Camp is a "4 day/3 night gathering of LGBTQ youth of color reproductive justice activists thinking critically, re-imagining and creating media for our resilience, our lives, and our communities." It is open to Georgia residents 18 -24 years old; participants will engage in interactive skill shares about reproductive justice and media justice, and learn essential media skills like how to shoot, edit, and broadcast short films.

Applications [pdf] are due by November 10th; encourage someone you know to apply -- or apply yourself!

And in a similar vein, today is your last opportunity to nominate a young person to be a chosen as a Fierce Queer by the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. To help celebrate the 2nd Annual LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week -- which kicks off on October 25th -- NYAC is accepting nominations for their "Fierce Queer" honors:

A Fierce Queer is a young lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, gender variant, AG, asexual, and/or two-spirit person who is or has been working to make their own lives and those around them better. We are looking for stories of inspiration, real stories of young people who were able to move mountains to have their rights, their stories, or their bodies recognized in their communities. A Fierce Queer could be an activist, an artist, a musician, a community builder, a volunteer, an advocate, a survivor, a lover, a fighter - the possibilities are endless!
If you know someone who qualifies as a Fierce Queer in your eyes, and is 24 years old or younger, nominate them TODAY! (The nomination process ends tonight.)

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