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Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies February 2nd, 2013
Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies

Next week is a conference that if you're within driving distance of Michigan, you're going to want to attend.  It is MBLGTACC, or the Midwest Bi Lesbian Gay Trans Ally College Conference.  It's the 21st annual meeting, and it is hosted at a different midwestern college or university every year. There are going to be about 1,700 college kids there and over 90 sessions you can participate in.  According to the event website, "workshop topics are about the intersections of LGBTA identities and race; religion; gender; sex; disability; history; education and schools; health; politics; allyship; homelessness; professionalism; leadership; HIV/AIDS; and more."  This year's event theme is "Mosaic: Putting the Pieces Together." You don't have to be from the midwest to attend (although it is easier, since Michigan at this time of year is covered with snow.)  Next year's conference is in Missouri - definitely plan ahead so you can be there.  Often, the college groups that organize the event also help people find a place to crash while in town, so don't let cost be an object. Why attend MBLGTACC?  "Many people in the LGBTA community do not have families that are similarly-identified, so we learn about ourselves primarily from our peers and the ...

Gay and into sports? February 2nd, 2013
Gay and into sports?

We wanted to post something today for all the gay, bi, and questioning sports-minded guys that read BornLikeThis.  There's so many guys that don't live a stereotypic gay life, but because our schools, sports organizations, and communities aren't always gay-friendly, it's hard for athletes to buck the norm and be fully, openly who they are.  Part of the work ahead is to change how sports, fraternities, and schools see and value gay-identifying people.  Part of the work is building ourselves up so that we can be up to the challenge of coming out, whenever we choose to do it.  To reach that second goal, here are some resources for inspiration or to find support.  You will feel a lot less alone after spending some time with these websites. OutSports: OutSports is an online magazine and community site about gay athletes and athletics.  They cover national sports, Olympic sports (you must check out diver Matt Mitcham!), hot straight athletes, opinion pieces, and personal stories from GLBT athletes on their struggles with coming out and coming into their own.  There are blogs, podcasts, photo galleries, member profiles, and forums to take in. GLSEN: This organization works hard at bringing progress to schools, advocating for ...

Ryan James Yezak – the man behind Second Class Citizens February 10th, 2012
Ryan James Yezak – the man behind Second Class Citizens A second class citizen is defined as: a person whose rights and opportunities are treated as less important than those of other people in the same society. It’s also the name of Ryan James Yezak’s upcoming documentary that, according to the Kickstarter page, will explore “the many areas in which gays, lesbians & bisexuals” are discriminated against within the United States. What should we expect? At this point, I’d be shocked if you hadn’t seen the viral video (above) that was released on Martin Luther King Day. This beautifully assembled video gained one million views within the first 24 hours and the campaign, which originally had a goal of collecting $50,000, has raised three-fold that - $153,500 at the posting of this article. To say that this campaign was a success may be the biggest understatement of the century. But fame and notoriety inevitably brings its fair share of criticisms. Within hours of the viral video’s release, activists were already calling into question if Second Class Citizens would be representative of the entire movement, due the video’s lack of queer women, people of color and trans folk. It was not Yezak’s intent to exclude queer women or people of color from the video. “I ...

Born Like This & Creating Change 2012 #CC12 January 24th, 2012
Born Like This & Creating Change 2012 #CC12

Hello Born Like This readers! The 24th annual Creating Change is happening this week and Born Like This will be there keeping you updated on all of the amazingness! "What's Creating Change? Only the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies. The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts more than 2,500 people from all over the country every year. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations. Our five-day program features over 250 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and tons of networking opportunities." --Creating Change Website Born Like This will be delivering you nightly recaps as well as live tweets throughout the day! If you are on twitter be sure to chat with us @BornLikeThisOrg. Keep up on the trending topics with #CC12 and #LGBT. And if you aren't following us on Twitter, what in the world are you waiting for? And remember "Power is Sexy"

CT youth launches LGBTQ-inclusive greeting card company October 5th, 2011
CT youth launches LGBTQ-inclusive greeting card company

“My parents have always been D-I-Y kinds of people,” said Ryan LeMere over a cup of coffee, “They taught me never to pay for something you can do yourself.” It’s exactly this philosophy that’s encouraged this School of Visual Arts senior to put his illustration background to good use and bring his idea for a more inclusive greeting card from pen to paper to printer. And so, Out Loud Greetings was born – a predominately online company launched in August 2011 that seeks to serve an otherwise neglected market. While you can read the story about Out Loud Greetings’ inspiration on their website, the idea for the LGBTQ-inclusive greeting card company first came to LeMere last summer as he worked as a waiter in the East Village while his boyfriend was abroad. LeMere missed him terribly and found himself doodling on receipt paper and napkins the sorts of images anyone in love would. From that humble beginning, the company grew and LeMere developed cards for everything from weddings to baby showers to coming out. The cards themselves are roughly 4.25”x5.75” and are printed on 100 percent recycled paper. All of LeMere’s cards speak to a quiet sophistication. Their designs are simple, but never ...

I’m No One Special October 2nd, 2011
I’m No One Special

Today, I’d like you to meet someone. His name is Cyrus Sinai. He’s a freshman at UCLA studying anthropology. He’s interested in international development and says that one day he’d like to work for National Geographic. He’s only eighteen years old, and yet he has already lived an extraordinary and inspiring life. The son of Iranian immigrants, Cyrus started actively attending the Mormon Church in fourth grade with his mother after a road trip to Salt Lake City. “I was very spiritual . . . I was active as I could be,” he said. He still has his copy of The Book of Mormon; it’s riddled with notes, highlights, and page markers. Yet, throughout his preteen years, Cyrus noticed that his thoughts and feelings didn’t always match what he read. He was conflicted, though as a young kid, he wasn’t sure why. One day, in sixth grade, Cyrus came across a book entitled In Quiet Desperation. It told the story of a mother struggling to reconcile her Mormon faith with her son’s homosexuality. “The moment I saw that it’s like it all clicked.” Cyrus was gay. “It was a very scary moment.” For months, Cyrus was depressed and suicidal. Constant prayer, he ...

Caleb Laieski: Join The Movement September 14th, 2011
Caleb Laieski: Join The Movement

Meet Caleb Laieski! He is an Arizona teen that represents many victims, near and far, that experience(d) the emotional and physical damage that accompanies bullying. Forced to leave his high school after continual bullying and even death threats, he sought for the help that his teachers, administrators, and district denied him. Feeling the pain of neglect, Laieski went seeking the change his school needed. Notifications were disbursed immediately to Dysart Unified School District regarding pending legal action if the discrimination policies were not updated to include language prohibiting bullying of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender students. In the following month of March, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona offered to represent him against Dysart Unified School District. It was only in a matter of time that the message was taken seriously, and the inclusive policies were implemented. With this victory, 5000 emailed letters have since been sent to administrators, city council members, and state lawmakers. Today, Caleb has received his GED, and is working fervently to change the safety of our schools. A recent press release from Caleb depicts his journey through adversity and what exists beyond it: “Instead of accepting bullying as a rite of passage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, ...

‘MHealth’ – How Cell Phones are Changing Healthcare Around the Globe September 6th, 2011
‘MHealth’ – How Cell Phones are Changing Healthcare Around the Globe

Your best friend; your number-one companion; the one that is always by your side, and there to get you out of a bind; there to connect you with your loved ones, family and friends. Of course, I am speaking of none other than your mobile phone. Cell phone usage has drastically evolved over the past decades. Whether we are whipping it out to read emails, check our Twitter updates, or snap a photo, it seems that lately we use our phones in more ways than previously thought possible—now, using them as a regular calling device seems rather antiquated. Social networks accessible through mobile devices have allowed for the rapid travel of information and communication, giving users the latest facts and news at their fingertips. Not only can you ‘follow’ the happenings of your favorite celebrities and pop stars on platforms like Twitter, but you can also get updates on the World Health Organization’s annual report, or learn what types of health interventions the United Nations Development Programme currently has in progress throughout the globe. In fact, mobile devices are being used all over the world, in developed and developing countries alike, in order to raise awareness on health issues, and as primary tools in ...

Sen. McCain Does Not Speak For Me July 26th, 2011
Sen. McCain Does Not Speak For Me

As a resident of the "Grand Canyon State" for 11 years, and a gay male, I found it to be my civic duty to email my senators about my passion towards eradicating the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Below, is the response that I received from Senator John McCain (AZ), and honestly, it is quite disheartening. As a constituent of his state, I felt that my citizenship was silenced by his traditional and narrow-minded values. Dear Mr. Webb: Thank you for contacting me to express your views on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I appreciate hearing from you. Recently, I was saddened to learn that the Obama administration instructed the Department of Justice not to defend any legal challenges to DOMA. I believe, like most Americans, that the institution of marriage should be protected and defined as a union between a man and a woman. It is this definition and only this definition that acknowledges and supports the vital and unique roles played by mothers and fathers in the important job of raising children. For this reason, I do not support the dismantling of an institution that is the very foundation of our society, and replacing it with newer and more flexible understandings ...

Researcher Daniel Townsend Gives a Global Perspective on HIV/AIDS July 22nd, 2011
Researcher Daniel Townsend Gives a Global Perspective on HIV/AIDS

As it was often reiterated by my college anthropology professor, “Humans, at their very core, are storytellers.” Language, gesture, cultural practices and all other forms of human interaction are designed in an attempt to communicate or share our experience of the world with one another. Perhaps, herein lies the key to understanding the potent effects that personal narrative has the potential to create. Stories shared by individuals have the power to move and shake us; to restore our spirits; to motivate us into action; to change our view of the world. Daniel Townsend, HIV/AIDS Researcher and Consultant, not only maintains complete faith in the ability of personal narratives to change the world, but he also views them as an absolute necessity to the progress of global development. Daniel Townsend - Personal Narrative by a_jajja In fact, Townsend would endure such an experience during his final year at the University of the West Indies, Kingston Jamaica, after hearing the struggles of a close friend who had recently tested positive for HIV, and was having a difficult time coping in an environment with an exceptionally aggressive stigmatization towards both the disease and the gay community. Although Townsend was already in pursuit of a career in global ...

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