Trans and queer young people of color have worked to build community and create spaces that affirm their identities and experiences, uplift their spirit, and promote self and community care during this tremendously trying year. GSA Network is extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in 2020.
Here are our Top 20 highlights:
- Our Gender Justice Leadership Programs (GJLP), a collaborative project with Transgender Law Center, launched in January 2020 and includes a multi-dimensional, media-based strategy to center and uplift the power, leadership, and truth of trans and nonbinary young people. GJLP builds on the work of our first trans youth-centered initiative, the TRUTH Program.
- GSA Day for Racial Justice in February honored trans youth of color who are leading in their communities despite their experiences within the school-to-prison pipeline. The campaign featured an editorial series created by young people titled #StillWeRise.
- In March, we paused our in-person youth leadership training and events to keep our community healthy and united in the face of a global pandemic. We created Virtual GSAs In Action, a digital space featuring virtual youth leadership events, resources, and curriculum to support digital organizing.
- Just two weeks after nationwide shelter-in-place orders sent students home for remote learning, we kicked off a weekly virtual training series and GSA meet-up space, providing 10 training sessions that reached nearly 300 students between April and June.
- Wellness was top of mind for many trans and queer students of color dealing with the mental and emotional toll of the pandemic and Presidential Election. In May, we introduced Wellness Wednesdays to support their wellbeing–it has now grown into a Trans and Queer Wellness Resource with an extensive suite of digital care resources.
- We created new resources and curriculum to show students and advisors How to Host a Virtual GSA Meeting as well as Pride & Protest: Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Youth who were participating in actions to protest police brutality over the summer.
- With graduation ceremonies canceled in nearly all high schools across the country, we hosted a virtual Lavender Graduation in June to celebrate trans and queer graduating seniors with an inspiring keynote speech from Trans activist and leader, Miss Major!
- Trans and queer youth need a lot of care right now. That’s why we mailed individual care packages to 100+ core youth leaders this summer to support their wellness. Care packages included masks, journals, snacks, personal care products, and gift cards.
- The National Association of GSA Networks continued strategize on how to best support trans and queer youth through their local programs during the pandemic with a strong focus on digital organizing, creating youth-led spaces online, and how to increase outreach and engagement of young people.
- Digital organizing was especially important for our partners in the Southeastern U.S. We developed a new Digital Organizing program to provide technical skills in digital media and strategy for local partners in the region as well as funding to help them kick start communications projects.
- We strengthened our commitment to the leadership of trans and queer youth of color by creating a Fellowship Program, hiring a New Media Fellow and a Trans Girl of Color Fellow who are leading two new initiatives and gaining skills to support their professional development. Both are GSA Network program alumni.
- We created a Digital Organizing Toolkit that was inspired by, and designed for, trans and queer youth activists, GSA club advisors and educators, and grassroots organizations across the country. The new toolkit was shared widely in September as students headed back to school.
- Back to school this fall was virtual for most students. We restarted our weekly training series, providing 12 sessions between September and December that reached more than 500 youth and advisors.
- To meet the needs of students who are learning in remote environments, we expanded our Community GSA model and our Youth Council model. We launched an Organizers in Training program that provides political education to young people and prepares them to take action for social change.
- Our second edition of the Advisor Handbook was released in October. Our hope is that adult allies and advisors can create youth-led GSA clubs and sustain thriving, intergenerational relationships within schools and communities.
- The voice of young people is central to our work. In October, we started a New Media Council that works to uplift trans and queer voices through leadership training, storytelling, and youth-led social media through a new Instagram channel. Follow them @gsanmediacouncil starting in January 2021!
- We’re giving trans girls of color their Roses. This fall, we started the Roses Initiative, a project of the Gender Justice Leadership Programs, and offered wellness care packages to trans girls and nonbinary femmes to support them in virtual school and self care practices. Roses will develop a trans girls of color Youth Council in 2021.
- Many queer and trans youth wanted to defend democracy and become engaged in civic work during this Presidential Election. We created a Civic Engagement Resource to inform youth on how to safely mobilize and participate in the electoral process.
- GSA Day for Gender Justice in November focused on the second point of TRUTH’s Nine Point Platform: We Call for the Abolition of the Police, ICE, Borders and the Judicial System. The National Trans Youth Council hosted a Twitter Townhall and led an in-depth discussion on abolition with core youth leaders in our programs.
- In observance of Native American Heritage Month in November, we announced our new Two Spirit Initiative, strengthening our commitment to bridge the gap between Native youth organizing and LGBTQ+ youth organizing. Starting January 2021, an Advisory Panel will convene to create culturally-relevant resources and curriculum for Two-Spirit youth.
You can make a contribution to support the leadership and power of trans and queer youth of color in 2021. Your donation will directly support the continuity of these programs and initiatives over the next year.