The experiences, strengths, and identities of transgender youth are not well understood, even by the LGBTQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning) community and allies in the broader community. Many transgender youth are forced out of their homes and into “the system” or onto the street. To address the understated issue, TransYouth Speak connects transgender youth with allies to create social change through social media.
The project serves dual purposes:
- Providing direct support and mentorship to transgender youth.
Supporting youth and allies in creating media and disseminating messages that challenge negative stereotypes of the transgender community, inform others on the challenges they face, and propose positive avenues for action and advocacy.
As more people are exposed to the stories of transgender people, they move closer to gaining equality and receiving broad social support.
Project staff have also provided ongoing mentorship and technical support to youth staff of Children's Hospital Los Angeles’ Center for Transyouth Health and Development and the Los Angeles Transgender Service Provider Network, indirectly impacting hundreds of young trans individuals.
Connect with TransYouth Speak Through Social Media
DISCOUNT TICKETING CLOSED
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Monday (3/31) @ 5pm is the DEADLINE to purchase the discounted tickets.
Regularly priced tickets will be available for purchase at bit.ly/krulla2014 until Tuesday (4/1). Sales close @ 6PM.
Please bring proper identification to pick your tickets up at Will-Call.
*Tickets sell fast and are limited. We abide by the first-come, first-serve policy. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we will notify you of other seating options and associated costs.*
Daniel Choi donated 2014-03-30 22:37:00 -0700
TransYouth Speak Today and Tomorrow
TransYouth Speak AKA "TYS" is an innovative social support project that helps transgender and gender-queer youth build media and advocacy skills to better connect with allies and inspire social change. Through art and activism, the members of TransYouth Speak inform the public about the challenges they face and propose positive avenues for action and advocacy. Youth participants are supported in developing personally and professionally through involvement at all levels of the program.
TYS' Peer Support Group meets weekly. Members work on various kinds of projects that bring visibility to gender-identity issues and show trans and gender-queer youth in a positive light. The group has created videos, publishes a 'zine, provides trainings to professionals, and gives workshops at youth conferences.
Background: History and Our Accomplishments
TYS was Survivors' Truths' first LA-based project and has developed organically since 2010. TransYouth Speak continues its evolution through the strengthening of existing partnerships and its growing outreach to other organizations and allies.
In 2010, Survivors' Truths partnered with Children's Hospital Los Angeles' (CHLA) Division of Adolescent Medicine's Risk Reduction Program to explore how our work could expand the engagement and activism of the youth they were serving. We also began contributing to the Transgender Service Provider Network as an ally member.
By early 2011, Survivors' Truths was working with CHLA's drop-in support group. Our work focused on developing youth staff facilitation, organizing group members' skills, and holding monthly media workshops.
In 2012, Survivors' Truths launched TransYouth Speak's Youth Leadership Development Group.
Survivors' Truths is proud of how much TransYouth Speak has accomplished and the forward-moving engagement and empowerment of our youth group. One example is the video Being Trans* Makes Me Awesome which was conceived, developed, shot, and edited by youth members of the group, sharing their own experiences in a very positive way.
In developing a vision for the future, the TYS Youth Leadership Group designed the TransYouth Speak logo and defined the project's mission. Since then, they have established an independent social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr.
TransYouth Speak has also participated in a large variety of outreach and engagement activities:
- November 2012 - CHLA's youth staff supported in presenting on using media to work with youth at Transgender Law Center's Transgender Leadership Summit.
- January 2013 - The TYS Youth Leadership Group facilitated a workshop and produced a short video at GLSEN Los Angeles’ youth conference.
- June 2013 - The TYS Youth Leadership Group tabled and networked at Dyke Day LA.
- June 2013 - The TYS Youth Leadership Group joined the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council's Transgender Task Group to support planned advocacy with local schools and ensure youth representation in the community action and policy recommendations of that group.
- June 2013 - Members of the TYS Youth Leadership Group attended The Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' panel on "Media Coverage of the Transgender Community", where they networked and strategized for the inclusion of youth in transgender community activism.
- 2014 - Began holding meetings at LifeWorks, the youth services section of the LA LGBT Center, fostering increased trust in the Center within the trans-youth community, and making the many services offered by the Center more accessible to the young people we have worked with.
- June 2014 - TYS hosted the first ever "TransStation" at West Hollywood Pride.
- October 2014 - TYS group members presented on using Social Media for Activism at Models of Pride.
- February 2015 - Members of the TYS Youth Leadership Group attended and presented at Creating Change 2015 - the largest LGBT Conference in the US.
- October 2015 - TYS group members presented at Models of Pride.
- April 2016 - TYS group members presented a panel discussion to therapists at the Los Angeles PoMo Conversation.
Survivors’ Truths' overall vision is to connect with and bring visibility to great social justice work. Coming up, TransYouth Speak is planning to launch a social advocacy campaign and we are working to raise funds to allow us to hire youth who have completed an internship to staff positions within our organization. We are also planning to increase and enhance our web presence so that TransYouth Speak can function as a decentralized hub for affirmative media by, about, and for transgender youth everywhere.
Background: History and Our Original Project
In 2003, a peace agreement ended fourteen years of internal conflict in Liberia. By then, the country’s infrastructure was decimated and hostilities between various communities were widespread. The fourteen years of civil conflict were characterized by violence, affecting the entire country.
Ten years later, Liberians are rebuilding their country and its systems while recognizing the need to build “peace from within”. They are working to find ways to carry the memories of the past without being held back by them.
In 2007, Survivors’ Truths' founder Dove Pressnall had been working for two years in Liberia, training trauma counselors and supporting transitional justice processes. She was moved to document some of the stories of how people survived more than fourteen years of intense conflict (more background on the situation in Liberia) and interviewed Liberians about their wartime experiences — focusing on stories of survival. Interviews focused on the knowledge, capacity, courage, and connections that allowed Liberians to survive in an unbelievably hostile environment, while Chris Herwig captured portraits of incredible beauty. Dove believed that these resources, which were sustaining in the face of unbelievable hardship, could be a foundation for rebuilding lives and community cohesiveness. These original interviews and photos weave together as a tapestry of hope and survival. The initial project exhibit has reached thousands of people, including Liberian diaspora, and was taken back to Liberia in 2010.
Survivors' Truths Liberia Today and Tomorrow
Today, the Liberia project is using the model of strength-oriented storytelling as a foundation for rebuilding lives and building sustainable ‘peace from within.’ In 2013, local staff registered Survivors’ Truths Liberia formally with the Liberian government as a peace-building organization and have been collaborating with the National Peace Building Office and other leaders to develop innovative approaches to supporting grassroots trauma healing and reconciliation.
- PalaverNet - a self-supporting multi-media platform to connect Liberians around the world - from remote villages to large European cities - through locally accessible communications technology, helping to bring their stories together.
- Peace-learning Conference - to bring together people from around the country who have been working at the grassroots level to rebuild and restore their communities.
- Memorialization as Peace-building - developing materials and exhibits that highlight the strength, courage, and ingenuity of Liberians in the face of war.
The United States has the largest documented prison population in the world, followed by Russia and Rwanda. In 2012, the United States comprised 5% of the global population, but 25% of the world’s prison population. 1 in every 31 adults in the U.S. is under some form of correctional control.
Mass incarceration costs taxpayers over $70 billion each year. Federal expenditure on criminal correction is growing at a faster pace than budgets for other public assistance areas. For example, California alone spent $9.6 billion on prisons in 2011, in contrast to the $5.7 billion dollars it spent on education. But the system isn’t working. The lack of effective support mechanisms for released convicts and punitive post-incarceration sanctions (limited employment opportunities, denied access to federal aid and food stamps, disenfranchisement, and the continued infringement of civic rights) contributes to a recidivism rate of over 67%, which in turn has led to an astronomical incarceration population.
America’s high incarceration rate and its costs to taxpayers are only part of the story. Families and communities across the nation suffer tremendous economic burdens and structural instability when a parent is imprisoned or unable to enter gainful employment upon release. America’s “tough on crime” policy is tearing apart the fabric of our society. Rather than strengthen family and community connections that can and do yield positive benefits for society, the system continues to punish the poor and thwart any hope of breaking free from the cycle of poverty, unemployment, and crime.
Survivors’ Truths and Incarceration
Through the Inside/Out Project, Survivors’ Truths reaches out to those directly affected by our criminal justice system. We aim to help those affected express, in their own words, the struggles they face and to reflect on ways to help strengthen families and local communities.
More than 1.5 million Americans experience homelessness over the course of a year. The homeless population is mostly comprised of veterans, persons with disabilities, women and often children who are fleeing domestic violence. Various factors, including the ones listed below, place individuals and families into a state of temporary or chronic homelessness:
Lack of affordable housing
Income has grown at a much slower pace than the cost of housing over the last three decades
16% of the homeless population suffers from a mental illness
35% of sheltered adults have chronic substance abuse problems
Roughly 50% of homeless women and children left their previous residences to flee domestic violence
Over 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse
While helpful to many, government programs, such as Section 8 and public housing assistance, are often congested and require a lengthy application process, leaving individuals and families to turn to shelters or other centers in the interim.
However, shelters also face a similar problem: the demand for space at shelters greatly exceeds the supply. Services are limited or are completely absent, leaving individuals with mental illness, substance abuse or trauma to fend for themselves without the means to exit the cycle of homelessness.
Without sufficient support from their neighbors, homeless persons are unable to maximize their contributions to communities. Talents and skills are present in all segments of our population, including the homeless. When all our neighbors are able to fully use and share their gifts, communities prosper.
Survivors’ Truths and Homelessness
The Our Neighbors project partners with frontline service providers, such as the Corporation for Supportive Housing, who are already strengthening our communities by serving the homeless population. The project helps individuals mold their experiences into thought-provoking stories and shares them through social media and other channels. Participants’ insightful stories act as a beacon of hope for themselves and for others experiencing homelessness.
Our Neighbors is currently partnered with the CSH Community Advocates Project. The project integrates video and social media to share strength-oriented stories that challenge expectations and stereotypes about homelessness. Our Neighbors helps staff and partner agencies build their capacities to integrate these strategies in other parts of their work.
Our Neighbors is looking to partner with other organizations interested in using a similar strategy to end homelessness.