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14-Year-Old Launches LGBT Book Project

14-Year-Old Launches LGBT Book Project

 

Amelia Roskin-Frazeel, a 14-year-old girl from San Francisco, California, has founded the Make It Safe Project which aims to donate books about sexual orientation and gender identity to K-12 schools, Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and LGBT-inclusive youth homeless shelters,  in the hope that such reading material can help combat bullying and aid vulnerable LGBT teens.

The Project’s aims are clarified on the Make it Safe Project website:

Many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) teens only hear the word “gay” when it is used to mean “bad,” as in the phrase, “That’s so gay.” Schools rarely have books about being LGBT and most health curricula overlook LGBT relationships, sending a message to their LGBT students that they are not worth as much as their straight peers. As a result, startling numbers of LGBT teens have been bullied to the point where they have taken their own lives.

The Make It Safe Project donates books about sexual orientation and gender expression to schools and youth homeless shelters that lack the resources to keep their teens safe.

Giving: We donate books to K-12 schools, their Gay-Straight Alliances (a group that educates the school community about equality), and LGBT-inclusive youth homeless shelters nationwide.

The project has already donated books like Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger and Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez to schools and organizations in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

The Make it Safe Project, which uses the slogan “One Book Can Save a Life”, also focuses on empowering teens to set up their own school GSAs and features a number of stories on the website’s blog from people who have done just that.

You can find out more, including how you can donate books, here.

More on the Make It Safe Project’s Founder

According to the Make It Safe Project website, Amelia is a 2011-2012 GLSEN Student Ambassador and NorCal Youth Council Member for GSA Network. She also founded and ran a GSA at a private PreK-8 school and was one of the school’s student representatives on the Diversity Committee.

Amelia’s coming out story was profiled in the New York Times. In the profile she talks about how she came to realize at age 12 that she is lesbian and how when she joined a debate about gay rights on a social networking site she quickly became frustrated by the debate:

That is when I got fed up and finally stopped arguing for “gay rights” and began arguing for “my rights.” So that is how I came out to my friends, how every adult tells you not to come out: online.

After that debate, I realized that in order to teach people about what it means to be gay, I would need to be open about my sexual orientation. That year, I founded my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, The Rainbow Connection. I interjected when I heard people use homophobic slurs. Most importantly, I was honest when people asked if I was lesbian. I became the first openly gay kid in my school, and I am proud of it.

You can read the full piece here.

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to covs97.

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40 comments

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10:11AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Great links at the site and NYTimes -thanks much for the story (and the work!)

12:18AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:59AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

This is such a great idea =]] And at such a young age, too. It's amazing!!!!!

9:57AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Good for Amelia. We need more caring people (young and old) like her. “And a little Child shall lead them.”

9:53AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

cheers

6:29AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Good for her!

4:49AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Bravo Amelia! You're an inspiration to us all. Thank you for standing up for yourself and others. You make me proud. :)

4:35PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Way to go. I doubt most people know that there are more than a few books addressed to younger LGBT people. I know I didn't. I wish there had been even one when I was that age.

4:24PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Rock on Amelia! You're an inspiration!!

2:49PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

A ray of hope here! Well done...

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