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What does/did it feel like to be young, queer and YOU?
In honor of Queer Youth Empowerment Month October 2011, Coalition for Queer Youth launched TESTIMONY, an exhibition that tells the story of what it's like to be young and LGBTQ all around the world.
Queer-identified youth AND adults are invited to submit creative projects (photography, writing, poetry, song, etc.) that represent what it's like to be young and queer from your unique perspective. It is a space to tell our stories in our own voices, to connect with others, to document our history, to spark dialogue and create change. Be a part of it!
This exhibition is:
An opportunity to be Heard
a chance to create
a documentation of past and present
a place to connect
a vehicle for healing
a platform for education
a love letter to those we've lost
a way to build support
An act of Unity
*For more information, questions, interest in collaboration or offerings of support email us at email@example.com ☺
Coalition for Queer Youth is a partnership between young people, service providers, activists and allies dedicated to using creative forms of education, advocacy and empowerment to increase community support for LGBTQ youth.
TESTIMONY: A Living Exhibition of Queer Youth was presented at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in NYC during July 2012 and won the All Out Arts award for Outstanding Event of the Year!
Curated by CQY founder, Alexis Heller
You know who you are.
Your parents may be immigrants. You yourself may...
'Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth' WON the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art Group Exhibition of the Year award!
Curated by Coalition for Queer Youth founder, Alexis Heller
CONGRATULATIONS to contributing artists Samantha Box, Gerard H. Gaskin, Sean Coleman, Michael Roberson, Robert Sember,Richard Renaldi, Andy Warhol, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Carol Polcovar, Rich Wandel, Leonard Fink, Diana Davies, Vanguard Revisited Project, The Hear Me ROAR! Project and Whose Streets, Our Streets! It was your great work that helped make these legacies visible.
THANK YOU Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson!
THANK YOU Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the Fresh Fruit Festival!
THANK YOU to everyone who voted!
And to the past, present and future queer young people on the street, WE SEE YOU, WE HEAR YOU, YOU MATTER!
Testimony by outLOUD Radio
We hear a lot about homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals. But what if you don’t really feel sexual at all? outLoud pulls back the veil on asexuality - with some deep thoughts along the way about Benedict Cumberbatch and chocolate.
Produced by Sally Chen and Sam Siu at outLoud Radio.
Music: Kind Katie by Monk Turner
Follow outloudradio for more queer/trans podcasts created by queer/trans youth!
Posted on Thursday, October 31st 2013
Two years ago, in honor of Queer Youth Empowerment Month, Coalition for Queer Youth launched TESTIMONY, an online space for LGBTQ folks all over the world to share our stories, connect and see ourselves and our community reflected.
Today, on National Coming Out Day, we are thinking about ERRIN, who after viewing the July 2010 TESTIMONY exhibit at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, added her photo to the visitor wall with a label that read ‘This is my coming out.’
We hope that all who choose to come out today, experience the same sense of safety and understanding that you are part of an incredible, diverse, STRONG community of people and you are LOVED!
♥ ♥ ♥
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD as part of TESTIMONY too!
Testimony by CHRISTOPHER STREET YOUTH, New York
Years ago, before the pilings had gone rotten and jagged like a row of rotten teeth, the piers were still lined with abandoned houseboats. At a time when gay sex was illegal, this was a busy pick-up spot. The empty homes gave cover from the elements and a semblance of privacy. Sometimes a boat’s floor gave way, and its occupants would drown in the Hudson River. Still, for gay men and trans teens, the block at the end of the West Village was a refuge from a hostile culture.
The piers have undergone an almost unrecognizable transformation from just 10 years ago, when the city began renovating the stretch of waterfront that runs parallel to the historic West Village, let alone 50 years ago, when the bodies of young gay and transgender men would be fished out of the river.Today, luxury condominiums line the highway, and the crumbling waterfront has been transformed into a park frequented by tourists and locals.
“Kids are arriving every day,” said Kate Barnhart, executive director of New Alternatives, an organization that helps homeless LGBTQ teens and young adults. “They’re coming from places that are not trans-safe, like the south and the midwest, and they know that New York is a cool place to be gay. They’re constantly arriving.”
Continue reading HERE
Published by Youth Today, 10/8/13
Testimony by ZANDILE, Johannesburg, South Africa
I’m on the edge of the bed, I realise I haven’t uttered a word to you, I haven’t said goodnight, nor gave you a kiss. It’s been a long day for me, for you.
I begin to unfold the events of the day, the good ones and the bad ones.
I missed you, I longed for you, and I felt sadness shatter my collar bone, what could be wrong.
You see life is strange, with its fair share of confusion and misunderstandings; you try to see right from wrong, left and right, up and down, which way is good for me, which way is safe for me, for everyone.
I begin to think about what lies ahead, all that awaits me, all that is destined for me, could this really be the path I was born to follow, could this be the key to the happiness?
I wonder if I prepared for this journey, I wonder if its all worth it, but with life you never know. I see you resting so peacefully, your head is carefully placed on the pillow, how ironic, you’re not fond of pillows, but your exhaustion is beyond minding a pillow.
These are the moments when I truly see your beauty, the hidden smiles emerging from your sleep, I smile as well, the realisation, that you’re the only one who understands my true nature, beyond anyone could ever imagine, the only one who understands my rage.
I turn to place to a blanket on you, it hits me, its not about our sexuality anymore, not about our cultures, our values, morals and ethics, family and friends, it is what is was meant to be; love, that’s all it ever was, love, and that is all it will ever be.
Hello, my name is Zandile, and I am in love with a woman.
Zandile is an Accounting student at University of Johanneburg.
She is an avid writer and a lover.
Published by Inkanyiso, 2/14/13
Testimony by VANITY McQUEEN, BRIELLE BALENCIAGA, DARIUS GARCON, ANIYAH LACROIX, BOOTZ GIVENCHY, KOURTNEY LANVIN, ALEX MUGLER and NASH VERSACE, New York
Titled: 'Ballroom Battle' by CLARA CULLEN
Make it to the third and final round to crown your champion. Taking cues from ball culture and the hyperreal aggression of Japanese video games, today’s dance-off sees eight new-wave ballers walking it out to be named overall winner by the viewer. “The scene is so alive and the culture is amazing, with all the different houses dancing off,” says Buenos Aires-born filmmaker Clara Cullen, recalling her first experience of attending a vogue ball in New York three years ago. “It started at 3am and didn’t end until nine in the morning.” With dancers including Aniyah Lacroix, Bootz Givenchy and Cullen’s close Ballroom Battle collaborator Alex Mugler, this film takes the underground dance-offs that started amongst America’s black and Latino gay communities out of the clubs and into an online sphere, with help from the transatlantic digital studio, Convoy. With Philadelphia’s Kevin JZ Prodigy providing the beat-laden soundtrack and live commentary, every dancer belongs to a “house”—their moniker is adopted from a leading fashion label and they are clad in their namesake’s clothes: Alex, of course, dances for the House of Mugler. “When I was a kid I used to play the video game Street Fighter,” adds Cullen, whose filmmaking education included stints with Spike Lee in New York and Werner Herzog in Los Angeles. “I wanted to take each dancer and make them into a very defined character, so people could choose their favorite and stick with them.”
Judge the ballroom battles here
Testimony by AMIRA (www.queerumich.com)
being femme, expressing my fat/queer/femme-ness, is when i feel most magnificent and in control of my entire body. but it is also grounds for an internal struggle against a lifetime of having my body be compared to whiteness, to white women’s bodies, to colonization, to what was once numbed and dumbed down. and when i feel magnificently in control of my body, i feel like i’m winning that internal struggle.
i would think, my femme is not for you, it is for me. i am building myself for my own sole enjoyment. the clothes and jewelry that adorn my pin@y body are solely for my pleasure. the colors, feel, and message of my clothes soothes me and makes me happy and content under my skin.
i sometimes get slack for wearing insensible clothing+shoes, and that’s ok. i feel fucking amazing in them.
Published by QueerUMich, 9/5/13
Testimony by SCARLETEEN (www.scarleteen.com)
Most of us who work or volunteer here at Scarleteen are bookworms, and are also really interested in following popular culture to see what’s happening, especially in terms of frank conversations about sex, sexuality, desire and fantasies. When a lot of people started talking about 50 Shades of Grey, we started paying attention. And when a bunch of media outlets started falling over each other to either hail the book for making BDSM mainstream and celebrating female sexuality or condemn it for those same reasons, we got curious.
As a woman who often enjoys being sexually submissive and as someone who has moved in kink circles, I set out many times to start reading the book, but shied away from it again and again. BDSM, in all its variations and manifestations, has a pretty bad rep: a lot of the time when we meet characters in books or on TV who engage in BDSM, they are either leather-clad outsiders (who are also often involved in sex work - think Lady Heather from CSI Las Vegas), or deeply damaged individuals purportedly acting out a bad childhood.
It is rare to see people who practice BDSM depicted for who they most commonly are: completely regular folks like you and me.
Aside from being annoying and frustrating for those of us who identify as kinky, these flawed and often downright false representations can also be dangerous: for someone who is only vaguely familiar with distorted media-images of what kink looks like, it could be easy to wind up in relationships that are ostensibly kinky, but are actually abusive.
Click to continue.
SCARLETEEN offers inclusive, comprehensive and smart sexuality information and help for folks in their teens and 20’s.
Testimony by LAVERNE COX
"When I started transition, almost 14 years ago, I imagined, I had this fantasy, that I would start taking hormones and in a few years, I was gonna blend in and no one would ever know that I was trans. I could just live my life undetected. And I knew a lot of trans folks like that, it was presented as the goal of transitioning.
When I realized that I wasn’t blending in effortlessly, I had to sort of to reevaluate things for myself. I had to begin to think about and I’ve begin to own this transgender thing. It became something that I had to say, "Well, this is who I am."
Testimony by ELY KIM, Brooklyn (www.welikehim.com)
Titled: 'How to Lead a Phenomenal Life!'
This video is amazing and hilarious and creative and inspirational. Watch it! You will smile.
Ely Kim! We Like Him!
Submitted by SEYI ADEBANJO, New York
Because the personal is political.
Because the brutal and increasing attacks on Trans Womyn of Color are outrageous their victimization causes outrage.
Because healing and action tighten our fists and boom our voices.
Islan’s murder was a hate crime, she was beaten to death in front of an
NYPD precinct in Harlem. Islan was taken off life support on Thursday
August 22, dying of her injuries. She was only 21.
I covered her August 27th, 2013 Vigil at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem steps away from where she was murdered.
This project covers the love and support community brought to support each other and her family; along with the continued oppression that occurs in the Queer community noting the increasingly particular targets of transgender and gender non conforming people.
Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles
Testimony by ROB VASSILARAKIS, Bronx, NY
Video titled: ‘Simply Rob-Short Film’
Simply Rob (2011) is a portrait of Bronx based Poet and Activist Rob Vassilarakis. Estranged from his family when he was just a teenager because of his sexuality, Rob fell into a world of self hatred and drug abuse. In 1993 he was diagnosed with HIV, he was 22 years old. After years of rehabilitation Rob now uses his eloquence and honesty to inspire and educate others. Told through his poetry the film weaves lyrical imagery with Rob’s resonating words to tell a personal journey of a man coming to terms with his sexuality and living with HIV.