Aloha, friends … as we enter the busy, crazy holiday season, I hope that you have family and friends to celebrate and commune with. There are many in our communities that may be feeling lonely and isolated because they are not accepted, loved or understood for being LGBTQ. Many of you are in positions where you are reaching out your hand to help and welcome those who don’t have a place or people to belong with but, I don’t want us to only dwell on the heartbreak, I hope that we will also celebrate the hope and positive strides that are happening in the journey for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights worldwide.
photo courtesy of TED.com
Today I’m sharing a TED Talk, given by Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazlos in May 2015, which takes us on a quick global journey to peek into the lives and movements of LGBTQ individuals and communities in countries from around the world.
Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazlos’ talk: This is what LGBT life is like around the world.
You can read more about their adventures and access additional resources at their website: Out and Around
May your Thanksgiving be filled with laughter and gratitude, my friends. I am so grateful for each and every one of you – the work that you do and the heart that you do it with. Aloha!
Never let it be said that our youth are not innovative or wise. Two young ladies, New York high school students who participated in the Girls Who Code program, created a role-playing game (RPG) that challenges sexist, racist and anti-lgbtq stereotypes that are still so prevalent in media and pockets of society. The appropriately named it, Bias Breaker.
PC BuzzFeed News – Photo Courtesy of Game Creators
These students, Shazim and Jaymi, are using their RPG platform to literally blast away commonly-held stereotypes such as, “all Asians are good at math” or “bisexuals are confused.” Players can choose their character and shoot the bad guys, represented as green blobs labeled with stereotypes. According to BuzzFeed News, Shazim said, “We thought it would be funny if we took ‘breaking stereotypes’ in a literal sense.”
Kudos, ladies! Keep breaking those stereotypes and showing this world that we are so much more than the boxes and labels that others wish to place on us.
This story was brought to our attention via BuzzFeed News. You can find the original story here.
“Who is responsible for equality?” (iO Tillett Wright)
iO Tillet Wright’s TED Talk: Fifty Shades of Gay
iO Tillett Wright (photo acquired via Google)
One of the most fundamental elements of our human condition is our deep-rooted desire and hope for connection. We also possess a natural inclination to classify and label aspects of our humanism – our personal characteristics – so that we can find others that we understand and, hopefully, understand us. We connect with the familiar. We find common ground with those with whom we identify.
The TED talk given by iO Tillett Wright is an eloquent discourse about the experience of living in the grey areas of gender and sexual orientation identities – those spaces where we are not quite male or female, not all gay or all straight. Wright was raised by parents and in a place that who she is was matter-of-fact; there was no need for her to claim her difference or employ labels to identify herself – she was who she was. Wright shares with her audience qualitative evidence that demonstrates a large number of people in communities do not identify as 100% gay or 100% straight. There is a long-standing concept of a sexuality continuum and there is greater evidence that gives credence to the fluidity of sexual orientation identity.
Wright poses a provocative question – if so many people identify as not 100% gay or straight, when discrimination is codified, accepted and active, where do you draw the line as to what is acceptable parameters for discrimination? This TED talk is emotional, provocative and sincere. Give yourself 18 minutes to sit down, set aside any of your preconceptions about sexual orientation and differences and listen. Wright’s words and the stories and pictures that she shares just may give you something new to think about.
You can find more on iO Tillet Wright at:
project: Self Evident Truths
Aloha, and welcome! If you attended today’s conference, Building Competency in Serving LGBT Youth, at Ko’olau Ballroom, we appreciate your participation and support. We are pleased to introduce this website as an additional resource to support and encourage you as you continue your valuable and challenging work in serving our LGBTQ youth within our Hawaii communities.
Please take your time in navigating through these pages. You will find resource lists on the pageslisted on the navigation bar at the top of the page. We have divided the resources by category and they include links (when available) to the resource websites. If you are looking for something or a topic in particular, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to guide you to an appropriate resource.
The focus of today’s conference was on building competency in serving LGBTQ youth, a highly at-risk youth population in our schools, health and social services, and our juvenile justice system. We hope that the information provided and introduced to you today will allow you to increase your understanding of who our LGBTQ youth are, the risks they face in our society, their needs, ways to improve services to these youth and resources and tools to assist you in making these services inclusive, safe, respectful, supportive and appropriate to address their needs.
For many programs and professionals, this training conference is a beginning step in the journey of understanding and competency in how to engage, support and nurture our LGBTQ youth and the greater community.
If you are interested in continuing to learn and do more, we will continue to inform and work with you to develop local resources, networks and best practices that address the needs of our Hawaii LGBTQ youth. Thank you for you aloha and kokua.