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Working with Gay Youth

Oak's picture

What is the gay rights movement doing that isn't working (especially as it relates to teens) and what can we do to fix it?

For this I will work with these sources:
Kate Bornstein's Hello, Cruel World

The Battle Over Gay Teens

Coming Out, Coming In by Linda Goldman

The Gay Liberation Movement in New York by Stephan L. Cohan

Queer Youth Cultures edited by Susan Driver

Cultural Studies: From Theory to Action edited by Pepi Leistyna

The New Gay Teenager by Ritch C. Savin-Williams

Philadelphia Gay Youth Guide

Also, I may or may not use some of my own memories and experiences as I did in my last paper.

So. There seem to be some issues still with gay teens. I'm sure we all are aware of this on some level. There are still suicides, murders, beatings, and bullying. So, my idea for this project is to put forth ideas about programs that could be done for schools on various levels.

Different ideas (roughly in order of least to most difficult):

1. Partner with a school that already has a GSA.

This would involve getting queer/ally college students or adults (you know what I mean) together with high school students via an already existing GSA at that school. The older folks might join the GSA for discussions, go on day trips with them, or (depending on the number of people involved) do a Big-Brother-Big-Sister type program.

2. Give performances/presentations at a school that doesn't have a GSA.

This would be for schools that don't have a GSA, but are generally open to the idea of queer-friendly education. This plan would involve a script for a performance to be given to students educating them about bullying issues in general and queer issues in particular.

3. Partner with a school that doesn't have a GSA.

This would be tricky. It's the same basic idea as 1, but instead of finding students who are probably already out (at least as an ally) in their GSA, we would have to work through the school's administration or some sort of survey to find the students who need or want the help.

4. Educate the Educators

There are already programs that do this, so I'm not as sure about this. If I were to write it, it would involve looking at current programs and critiking them.

5. The Sneak Attack

This idea isn't fully formed because it's a tad crazy. The basic concept would be to go into a school that is anti-gay from top to bottom and somehow showing LGTBQA etc students that they are supported.

6. Provide outside support services for an area.

Again, there are already places that do this (I think? More research!) but it would be number three, but involving students from several schools, foster homes, and other places.


My project would then be to take one or more of these ideas and write a detailed plan for how to carry it out, possibly with the idea that Rainbow Alliance could then pursue it. Each plan would involve emphasis on queer-friendly, anti-bully, sex-positive, gender-outlaw education. For each plan I would study theory, find resources, and write detailed instructions, ideas, and contingency plans.


justouttheasylum's picture

Your activism has me inspired

Your activism has me inspired Oak. It seems like you have quite a few ideas that you're ready to get started on. The sneak attack doesn't seem crazy at all. In an anti-gay setting, it would be extremely difficult for students to feel as though they could come out of the closet, or even turn the knob without the fear of rejection, abuse and quite possibly, administrative consequences. I've been pondering (for a few min.) a way to allow students to anonymously reach out for help. Perhaps you could create a group that would meet a reasonable distance from the school and put the number for the group on the back door of a bathroom stall. That way, LGTBQA students would be able to find some support and no one else would know they were seeking it. This could then lead to the creation of a school specific LGTBQA chat room. (I think this would do much better than a flyer posted on the bulletin board with the website attached).

Really looking forward to reading your plans. Maybe you can truly implement them with the help of the GSA alliance at the college.

-Asia Gobourne