Friday, November 11, 2011

The Make It Safer Project

After Dan Savage announced the It Gets Better campaign to provide support for struggling queer youth, the media exploded with video responses. President Obama posted a video about feeling out of place growing up, Sarah Silverman provided a brief and angry clip explaining that bullying stems partly from influential injustices like anti-gay marriage laws and Don't Ask Don't Tell, and Neil Patrick Harris submitted a video encouraging kids that being an individual is way cooler than being average because it makes you unique. A mass of other celebrities, adults, and youth (both queer and not) rallied for It Gets Better. Ninth grader Amelia Roskin-Frazee has taken a slightly different approach.

Roskin-Frazee, an out and proud 14-year-old, began a series of actions in her high school to support queer teens, like founding her school's GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) and representing the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network). Her latest idea is the Make It Safer Project.

With the funding from online donations, "the Make It Safer Project provides LGBT books about coming out and life as a queer teen to high school populations across the country," said LGBT entertainment blog Autostraddle. Roskin-Frazee puts together a shipment of ten modern inspirational queer YA novels and texts, and sends the books to high school GSA groups all over the US. She has strict instructions that the texts should only be left in school libraries if the groups are "sure that the library will keep them safe and available for all students."

Books include Nancy Garden's Annie On My Mind, David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy, and Chely Wright's Like Me.

The Make It Safer website is a valuable resource for LGBT teens as well, where readers can find stories of struggling peers or submit their own story. You can also see Roskin-Frazee's incredible list of LGBT efforts, including her work with the Give A Damn Campaign, Freedom to Marry, and ThinkB4USpeak. She turns 15-years-old soon.

Roskin-Frazee has accomplished more in the fight for LGBT rights than many politicians, and Dan Savage has transformed the online efforts to support gay teens. With the dual help of It Gets Better and Make It Safer, queer youth now have an abundance of resources that weren't available even two years ago.

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