Gender expansive and LGBTQ+ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide, are at increased risk of bullying/harassment from classmates and teachers, and have a 200% higher probability of substance use than their straight peers.
Earlier this year, Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse were awarded a small grant to increase outreach and programming to LGBTQ youth. VARSA has found in working with youth-focused projects that the biggest impact comes from empowering youth to speak for themselves. So, with that in mind, the funds were used to host an OUTSpoken Training for Vashon LGBTQ youth and allies through NW Network, and then work with Teen Council and the high school Queer Spectrum Alliance to create a short film.
OutSpoken is a diverse group of LGBT and allied youth, adults, and providers dedicated to challenging bullying, oppression and anti-LGBT violence in our schools. On June 20, a panel of five students who went through the training will share their stories with the community followed by a short Q & A.
Film makers Vicki Dunakin and James Culbertson generously worked with these middle and high school students to create a short movie giving these kids an opportunity to talk about what is important to them. It will be premiered before the panel.
Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Use provided the funding for the project through a targeted Enhancement Grant from King County and DBHR.
Vashon Theater and Green Tech kindly provided the venue for free, and Vashon Teen Council, and VHS QSA sponsored the project.
Many thanks also go out to NW Network and their OUT Spoken training, as well as Vashon High School and The Vashon DOVE Project for their ongoing support.
& Lisa MacLeod
OutSpoken is a diverse group of LGBT and allied youth, adults and providers dedicated to challenging bullying, oppression and anti-LGBT violence in our schools. By training youth to be educators, the OutSpoken Speakers’ Bureau empowers youth to directly address and challenge the systems that impact their lives.
We hold regular trainings to support you in building the skills needed to be an educator in your communities. Once you’ve attended the training, we pay you to be your fabulous self and share your experience and knowledge with others.
Interested in having a panel of LGBT and allied youth at your school, organization or event? We have a wonderful pool of over 75 young people excited for opportunities to share their experience and knowledge with their communities. We have panels available on the topics of coming out, youth empowerment, anti-oppression, being a queer youth of color, experiences in foster care, alternative education, experiences in faith communities and much much more! Please contact us at 206-568-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.