Insideout/Upsidedown February Update

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-Our weekend-long winter retreat, Fab-u-fest, went outstanding! We had a diverse crowd of about 30 youth including several middle school GSA leaders. Workshop topics included intersectionality, anti-racism, sexual health, self care and inter-generational organizing. Students walked away with a resource packet to help them better reach out to students with the most needs in their schools.

-The youth board has been running a workshop series during our weekend hangout hours on Saturdays. If you know youth who want to be kept abreast of our weekly events, please direct them to our youth mailing list on our website: http://insideout180.org/get-involved/

-The second annual Queernival will be happening at Calvary United Methodist Church in Durham on March 28, noon-5. Queernival is a Southern celebration of youth liberation where local GSAs/QSAs and youth nonprofits will host a day of fun games, food and performances to educate the community about issues that impact minority youth. All ages are welcome, and there will be a bouncy house!

-We now have our own office space! Calvary United Methodist Church in Durham has graciously donated a room in their building for our youth and staff to work and play. Right now the room is empty besides a few chairs and an awesome mural of a pony under a rainbow, so we have created a wishlist for donations. If you have any of the following items that you want to part with, please email insideoutamy@gmail.com

Insideout Office Wishlist:

Couches
Shelves
Bing Bags
Storage Containers: plastic bins
Art Supplies
Desktop Computer
Projector
TV
Nonperishable Snacks
Coupons for groceries
Camera

Upcoming Event and Projects for Adult Allies:

Adult Ally Bar Night
March 7th 9pm-until
The Bar
711 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701
$5 cover goes directly to iNSIDEoUT programming! Come support queer youth by making friends and dancing! 18+ to get in, 21+ to to drink.

Adult Volunteering General Interest Meeting

We will be having a general interest meeting to discuss specific opportunities available before our Adult Ally Bar Night on 3/7. Snacks will be provided. Here are the details:

The Bar in Durham
711 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701
Saturday, March 7, 2015
6-8pm Volunteer Meeting
Followed by set up for our fundraiser 8-9pm, then the event runs 9-until

Here are specific upcoming projects we will need help with in the next few months:

-Running an information table at the March 7th event
-Helping develop a business outreach plan
-Running an info table at the Durham Farmer’s Market and other promotional events
-Carpooling youth to events (which are usually on Saturday afternoons)
-Stuffing envelopes for our mailing to school counselors
-Stuffing invitations for our spring banquet
-Host Committee and Planning for Spring Award Banquet
-Professional graphic design for a new logo
-Hosting parties to raise funds for IO
-Referrals to healthcare professionals
-Cooking meals for youth events
-Legal advice

Insideout/Upsidedown January Updates:

-Our Winter Retreat, Fab-u-fest, is only a few weeks away and our youth board has prepared a weekend full of leadership skill building workshops and social activities. This year’s theme is “Intersectionality,” and workshops will focus on how LGBTQ+ activism overlaps with other fields of advocacy. See our webpage for more details.

-Our December call-a-thon was our most successful yet, raising around $3,000, which covers the full cost of Fab-u-Fest! Thank you to everyone who donated! Thank you cards from our youth will be in the mail shortly!

-Thanks to your efforts, we have hired a new adult staff member. Congratulations to Dolores Chandler on becoming our new Diversity and School Outreach Coordinator! Delores will be partnering with other youth organizations and local school counselors to better support LGBTQ+ youth in marginalized communities.

-Upsidedown, our group for younger youth, is expanding with the creation of Team Awesome! Team Awesome is a group for 11-13 year-olds who want to plan and organize events for Upsidedown. Email Insideoutamy@gmail.com for more information about Team Awesome.

Upcoming Events and Project for Adult Allies:

Adult Ally Bar Night
March 7th 8pm-until
The Bar
711 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701
$5 cover goes directly to iNSIDEoUT programming! Come support queer youth by making friends and dancing! 18+ to get in, 21+ to to drink.

Insideout’s Inter-generational Decade Book

In celebration of Insideout’s coming ten year anniversary in 2016, we are launching an “LGBTQ+ Activism Across the Decades” book project. Our goal is to showcase the hard work that brave young queer activists have done in NC over the past decade and honor the people who have enabled them to continue the tradition of progressive organizing in NC. We are seeking adult volunteers to collect as much content related to LGBTQ+ activism in NC as we can possibly find. Content will be divided into sections and will include profiles of every Gay-Straight Alliance in North Carolina, adult activist biographies and interviews, organizational and non-profit profiles, youth activist profiles (including Insideout alumni), Insideout archival material, and news articles and feature stories about amazing youth activism in NC. If you are interested in helping with research or have materials to donate, please email rewells318@gmail.com

Ongoing Volunteering Opportunities

If you would like to volunteer for Insideout, we have many only projects with plenty of opportunities from data entry to publicity design to fundraising assistance. Please email rewells318@gmail.com with a short description of how you would like to contribute.

What a great community!

Our Community Forum on Middle School G/QSAs was very fun and informational! We shared experiences across ages, and heard from the ACLU, mental health experts, and middle school student trailblazers. Scroll down for the details!

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Here are the notes from the Community Forum on Middle School G/QSAs:

UpsideDown hosted this awesome GSA/QSA community forum!
Nov 10, Monday, 5-7pm
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough
55 participants, including Cedar Ridge GSA, Stanback Middle School GSA, Carolina Friends School, Smith Middle, Centennial Campus Middle, Chapel Hill High QSA, and more!

Check out more Q & A here.

Chris Brook-
From the American Civil Liberties Union, works to support GSAs
ACLU tells school systems what legal obligations they have
Orange county is one of the most supportive counties
Equal Access Act- provides equal opportunity to all extracurricular clubs ( its funny because Rick santorum supported it for christian clubs)
All court attention to gsas has led to the conclusion that GSAs don’t interfere with the school ( one exception of the equal access act, the club can’t interfere with the school)
places tried to ban “sex” clubs saying GSAs were sex based (which is silly obviously) and these places were unsuccessful
It is important to talk about our needs and the rights we have!

Molly Parks-
gender and LGBTQ mental health specialist
need for GSAs from a mental health perspective
time of figuring out your identity is in middle school
middle school is kinda rough, and people are already comparing themselves to others, which is unfavorable if you don’t fit the mainstream
9/10 LGBTQ middle school students report verbal harassment. 6 of 10 report physical harassment, 5/10 missed school in past month due to harassment, according to GLSEN
if there isn’t a safe space like a GSA, there isn’t a safe space to develop your identity
there are more bullying issues in middle school- so why aren’t there more gsas?
important to have a space to connect with people, which really helps with issues of depression and anxiety
safe space for trans/queer kids leads to much progress in therapy!

Dolores Chandler
Intersectionality- Layers of oppression intersect
there is high importance in making a safe space available to everyone, not just white students, because typically not much participation is seen by students of color in GSAs
the most marginalized people should be included, if not at the center of each group
teachers can be afraid to come out too, and if the staff feels unsafe than how can there be a positive environment for LGBTQ students?

Jasper Cobb-
GSA leader at Smith Middle School
It was scary at the beginning even though they had enthusiastic support from the principal
max amount of club members per meeting 8 people (most girls), wanted to increase male participation
wanted to find a better meeting time (not afterschool because of transportation/sports issues)

QUESTIONS

What middle schools in our area have GSAs?
5 we know of: Smith, Carolina Friends, Stanback, Phillips and Centennial

What is the format of a typical GSA meeting?
it varies greatly from club to club but:
Smith- introductions with pronouns, and activity or game, possibly discussion of events
Cedar Ridge High- celebrated LGBTQ history month with trivia, tries to build a community and promote positive awareness

How can a middle school teacher be more supportive if not approached by students?
say something to administration
bring it up to discuss in classroom setting
show your acceptance with safe zone stickers
be open to students teaching you more about LGBTQ stuff
stand up and defend against slurs and bullying
use inclusive language (saying “all genders” not “both genders”, saying partner instead of girl/boy friend, use pronouns requested by students)

What do we think about a the name “tolerance club” instead of GSA?
its vague and confusing
tolerance is a bad word choice, no one should just be tolerated, they should be accepted
it might be good because joining some GSAs could be like outing
everything should be included in the club even if they don’t state it because we need to fight all forms of oppression to solve them (intersectionality) so everything is connected even if its not in the name
a “tolerance club” and a GSA have different goals, its misleading and not goal specific
by using other names you are trying to hide it
making it ok for allies to be in the group makes it ok for people to slowly come out without fear of being outed

Holy Wow Pride was Awesome!

Check out this video of us marching in Pride. What a glorious day we had with hundreds of people marching with iNSIDEoUT! Homophobia and Transphobia have got to GO! And they’re gonna go. We will keep pushing!