Author Archives: amy

Be on the Insideout Board for 2016-2017

The world is a mess! Help make it better! Apply to be on the iNSIDEoUT Board 2016-2017. Work all year to fight back against bigotry and plan radically queer, awesome stuff with other teens. Application due August 20. Use this form to apply:

Upcoming Events

Join us!

Saturday, Nov 7,
Fire pit building at the LGBTQ Center of Durham
114 Hunt St, Durham, NC 27701

Friday – Saturday, December 4-5
Overnight Leaders Retreat for leaders of iNSIDEoUT and GSAs/QSAs
Email us for more info:

Dear Adult Allies,

As part of our ten-year anniversary, iNSIDEoUT is hosting its Second Annual Adult Ally Appreciation Brunch on October 10 from 12-3pm at the Pinhook in Durham (117 W. Main St.). We’ll serve homemade brunch and celebrate with local music, including performances by the Ukelele Orchestra and more. Brunch is free and all are welcome to attend! We are trying to raise $5,000 in honor of this momentous occasion! We hope you will join us.

I helped co-found Insideout in 2005 as a first-year college student because I wanted LGBTQ high school students to have the resources and support networks that I did not have growing up in Tarboro, NC. It was unfathomable to me at the time that our program would expand to include a permanent space, adult staff, and a group for middle school aged youth, and that we would be here 10 years later having networked and impacted thousands of young people in dozens of high schools and middle schools. I am very proud to see youth at younger and younger ages standing up to bullying and transforming their schools and their communities. Youth are their own best advocates, and for a decade the unique guiding philosophy of Insideout has been to provide youth with the tools and connections to set and pursue their own agenda. Youth are in charge of programming while adults provide resources and support to make it happen.

Queer adults and allies tend to agree that youth programming and support is the most important cause within the LGBTQ community. I am writing to invite you to support that cause in the most profound and effective way you can, by becoming an iNSIDEoUT sustainer at any level. You can become a sustainer by setting up a donation online at the paypal link below, and checking the box to make it a recurring donation. After serving as a mentor to the Insideout youth board for years, I have taken my commitment a step further and become a sustainer myself by setting up an automatic deduction of $10 from my bank account to go to Insideout once a month. $10 dollars per month is about the cost of a movie or a meal; by giving it to iNSIDEoUT, I am doing so much more than that. I know we have saved people’s lives. We have also made school more tolerable for hundreds of incredible teenagers. Insideout is 100 percent donor funded, and the best way to support Insideout and queer youth in North Carolina long-term is by becoming a sustainer. Please consider making any contribution; any amount will go a long way and assist us in reaching our $5000 goal, but sustainers help us better project our budgets and give our youth security knowing that their programming has a solid foundation. Our goal is to get 100 sustainers by the end of the 2016 school year. Will you be one of the top 100 supporters of LGBTQ youth in the Triangle for the coming school year?

While the public celebrates the legalization of same-sex marriage and Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out, queer and trans youth still struggle against increased rates of homelessness, domestic violence, suicide, depression, drug abuse, and sexual assault. According to the School Climate Survey from GLSEN, 85 percent of LGBT students report being harassed by peers and even adults at school. Thanks to youth-run programs like Insideout, there are now Gay-Straight/Queer-Straight Alliances (G/QSAs) in hundreds of high schools in North Carolina and beyond, and hundreds of young LGBTQ people have found friendship and sometimes life-saving support within our community. G/QSAs are vital to changing hearts and minds on the local level, which is why the Insideout board spent much of last year working with schools like Stanback Middle in Hillsborough to get their club up and running in the face of opposition from administrators. Insideout also continued its ten-year tradition of hosting annual activist and social events like Queernival and Queer Prom, which bring together hundreds of youth from all over the Triangle. They couldn’t have done it without the help of us, their adult allies.

Please consider pledging your support to help us reach our $5000 goal, and let others know about our organization and what we do.

Thank you for your continued support, and here’s to another ten years.

Robert Wells

To donate, please click this link

Or mail a check made out to “Insideout” to
1303 Clarendon St. B
Durham, NC 27705

10th Anniversary Adult Ally Brunch

ioWhen: Sat, October 10, 12pm – 3pm
Where: The Pinhook, 117 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701

We are saying thanks to all of our adult allies! Insideout enthusiastically invites you to our 10th Anniversary Adult Ally Brunch! Join us for homemade brunch and live, local music as we celebrate our amazing 10-year journey of queer youth activism, organizing, liberating, and merrymaking. Brunch is free and all are welcome to attend!

Help us build the foundation for the next ten years! We are raising $5000 to continue to provide space and resources for badass young LGBTQ people in NC to be themselves and come together to articulate and follow their dreams for a better world.

You must be 21+ to drink alcohol.

Suggested Donation:
$25-$100 for adults
$3 for youth


io will gather the morning of Pride 9/26 from 10am-12pm on East Campus across from Mad Hatter’s, march in the parade at noon and then have a flash mob! Come out and have a good time as well as interact with other members. Everyone is welcome to march with us! All schools, people, dogs, QSAs/GSAs, etc.

Call if you get lost or need help finding us: 919-923-7884

September 12 during hangout hours 4-6pm, we’re going to have a group lesson on the choreography for the flash mob. Join our email list or Facebook page for location details!
The flash mob will be happening on Saturday September 19th at 11am at the Durham Farmers market, and Saturday September 26th at Durham Pride Parade, and is part of out fundraising campaign for iNSIDEoUT’s 10 year anniversary. Our goal is to raise $5,000!

You can come to any or all of the above! Just learn the dance and jump in! If you’re not into dancing, we could still use your help. On the 12th we will also be making signs and flyers advertising our fundraising goal and we need people to make and distribute them!
The video with the choreography is linked below and I encourage you to check it out. See you Saturday!

Learn the flash mob routine:


Dates to Remember:

Saturday Sept 12: Hangout Hours to prepare for flashmob
Saturday Sept 19: First flash mob at the Durham Farmers Market 11am
Saturday Sept 26: Second flash mob at Pride!

And again, we need you even if you don’t feel like dancing!

Thank you for an amazing 2014-2015!

Alas, we are off for the summer, but we look forward to re-emerging at full-speed in the fall. In the meantime, please check out this amazing video from Queernival 2015. Thank you Tito for creating it! And please contact us with questions or if you’d like learn how to get more involved. insideoutamy[@] or 919-923-7884. Have a great summer!

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!


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)


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