We Got Your Back Project

A Place for Everyone's Voice

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Congratulations to the Arkh Project for the Kotaku article!

The Arkh Project, a budding game company that is focusing on creating a game with POC & Queer characters as the protagonists has been getting a lot of press lately.

Kotaku article is linked here, and the full text is below the cut for those that are link phobic or would like to read the article sans commentary on the Kotakus site. A note about the “Update” mentioned in the article. This was added after the fact and I do hope that the Arkh Project gives them a rebuttal on that “update”.

Good luck on this project! I’m looking forward to the finished game

Read more …

Filed under the arkh project poc queer gaming my story

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Who I am and why I’m doing this…

From the Who We Are page; my bio (cypheroftyr)

Hi, I’m Tanya D and I’m a lifelong Chicagoan, Sox fan, southsider at heart and a northsider by day. I’m a comics fan, gamer, reader and writer. I joined this project because I’m tired of seeing yet another young face on the news because they took their lives because of bullying. Bullying because they dared to be themselves in a world that punished them for what they cannot help and for daring to express themselves in grade school, high school or college. I do this because I see myself in these young people gone too soon, and I know I could have easily taken that path when I was in high school. I was bullied for being different from my peers, for any number of reasons but the most grievous to me was because of my sexual orientation. I’m an out and proud bisexual black woman, who knows too well the stinging taunts of classmates who decided I was easy prey for being who I was.

I was the awkward geeky kid in high school, the one that never really fit in with a crowd, or with any of the usual social groups in high school. Despite being on the track team, I was no jock; despite being a an A/B student, I didn’t fit in with smart and cool kids that were smart, but not so smart they were considered nerdy. I was a nerd, but even nerds have sharp tongues for someone they don’t think fits into the group dynamic. In short, high school sucked, even more so because I could not be out to my mother (and I never will be for that matter), but I couldn’t come home and get any support there. Between the taunts, the picking on me and a few altercations here and there, I often thought of suicide as an option. I can’t honestly tell you what stayed my had, probably my own cowardice and fear of death, but I’m still here. I hope that what we’re doing will reach others who are dealing with bullies while in school, while they come to terms with who they are and they get a chance to finish finding their way in the world and aren’t pushed to the point of feeling like death is the only option for peace and an end to the harassment they endure for being themselves.

If anyone you know of is being bullied, tormented or harassed, step up and help them out. Make sure they know that someone is listening and that someone cares. You never know whose life you may save.

Filed under who were are tanya d my story cypheroftyr

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Hello all!

Hi!

Thank you all so much for the follows, the reblogs and signal boosting of the We Got Your Back Project!

So, now that we’re on Tumblr, you may be wondering what you can do to let others know you have their back?

Well… you can submit your story to us. It can be done anonymously, via wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com -or- via the submit link to the right.

You can submit a video, a text post, a song you’ve written… it is your story, be it of coming out and surviving, dealing with bullying, letting others know that it does end up alright eventually or just giving a kind word to someone that may need to hear it.

Posts submitted to Tumblr will be mirrored on the blog; WGBYProject on Wordpress.

Submission guidelines are as follows: 

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project!  We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back.  Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved.  To submit, send an email to wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com  We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 5,000 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

Filed under hello! welcome wgybproject

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A few points need to be made -A Letter to the at-risk LGBTQ Teens out there, from Neo Prodigy

My friend blogger Neo Prodigy wrote the following letter to LGBTQ Youth, with some very good tips, advice and resources.I’m going to sticky it as a page, but this needs to be out there, reposted and co-signed unto infinity.

Link to the original post is here

With that being said, the following is advice I would give to at risk LGBTQ teens out there. It’s also a letter I would’ve written to myself as a teen. Much of what I say may shock you, much of what I say may disturb you. But this is the real talk that manifested from my experience and the experience of countless others. So I make no apologies. For those of you reading this. Your mileage may vary. Take what you can utilize and disregard the rest.

1. Stay In The Closet.

If you think for one second that your family is going to flip their shit, if you think for one second that your life is about to be made a living hell, then don’t tell anyone. This isn’t about pride. This is about survival. You know who you are and you have nothing to prove. You are not under any obligation to disclose who you are. No, you are not lying or being deceitful. It’s not lying if people only force you to see their truths.You do what you have to do to stay alive. Bide your time until you can be out and open and free to be you.

But what if I’m out? Or people think I’m out? I’ll get to that.

2. There Is Nothing Wrong With You

You’re not a deviant, a pervert, a sinner, a child molester, or die of AIDS, or whatever the hell else you’ve been told. You’re as who God intended you to be. You’re not the one that needs to be fixed. It’s those who are uncomfortable and psychotic about the fact that your orientation doesn’t fall within their purview who needs to be corrected. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

3. Talk To Someone

It’s okay to ask for help. There are hotline numbers and I know firsthand that it’s often easier to open up to a stranger than it is someone you know.

4. Resources Are Available

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
http://www.matthewshepard.org/
http://cypheroftyr.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/868/

Media You Should Also Check Out:

Bang Bang You’re Dead
Save Me
The Sensei
Hero

5. You Are Not Weak

You live in a world that hates your very existence. Surviving each day is an accomplishment in itself. Don’t ever think that you’re less than anyone else for having to endure homophobia or because it wears on you. You keep your head up and no you’re stronger than you think.

6. Learn To Protect Yourself

Real talk. The laws aren’t going to protect you. Neither are the police. You have the God-given right to protect yourself. Hit the gym, take boxing lessons, self-defense courses or martial arts. Doesn’t matter what shape you’re in or how small you are. That’s the beauty of martial arts, people of all ages, sizes are proficient in it. You learn how to take on multiple opponents, and fuck up opponents twice your size. LGBTQs get preyed on because they think we’re a bunch of weak sissies who can’t fight back. Be ready to debunk that shit. Are you gonna become a one person Jet Li/Michelle Yeoh after one session? No. But a few fundamentals might make the difference between life and death. If you get lucky and fuck up one of those attackers, they might think twice before fucking with you again.

7. Arm Yourself

If you are an LGBTQ, I would strongly urge you to arm yourself: taser, stun gun, mace, pepper spray, knife. If you are of age, I would urge you to consider getting a gun, provided you know you won’t use it on yourself or anyone who doesn’t deserve to get shot.

8. Don’t Turn It Inward

The anger, the rage, the hurt, don’t turn it inward. This is not your fault, and you’ve done nothing wrong. Easier said than done, I know, speaking from personal experience but try your damndest to love yourself no matter what. You’re not the problem and this is not your fault.

9. Religion and Orientation ARE NOT Mutually Exclusive

For those of us who are spiritual and have religious backgrounds, we’re often told that we have to either choose between our God and a critical aspect of who we are. Fuck what ya heard! You can be queer and Christian. Many of us are. We’re out there doing God’s work and being a witness for others.

10. It’s No Better In The LGBTQ Community

It pains me to say this but unfortunately the LGBTQ “community” is just as predatory and malicious as homophobes, particularly if you aren’t cis and white. That isn’t to say there aren’t good souls in the LGBTQ community (because there are) and there aren’t good groups/organizations out there but tread cautiously because unfortunately the community who should be accepting you and protecting you are the ones who will sell you out for 20 pieces of silver. The point is tread cautiously. There are good people in the community but you should be wise filtering through.

11. Have A Gameplan

If you’re stuck in a dead-end town with a homophobic family, devise a plan to get out. Save up money if possible. Try to get that scholarship to go to college. Join the military. The latter might not be the most ideal but use its resources to get you in a position where you can relocate. Whatever you decide, start forming a strategy. If you don’t have kids or dependents, keep it that way until you’re in a better position. If you do have dependents, there might be resouces out there for you.

12. Don’t Start A Family Hoping To Cure Yourself
Being queer will not go away once you meet the right girl or the right boy or once you have kids. Too many people fall into this trap and this leads to affairs, more self-loathing and well…we’ve seen what’s happened with a number ofRepublican politicians. And by then other people get hurt in the process. Decide who you are and make peace with that before starting a family.

13. You Are Not Going To Change
Mainstream and even gay media would have you believe that by becoming gay you are therefore obligated to become the one-dimensional limp-wristed caricature whose life revolves around Broadway, hair and make-up and being fabulous. And for many of us, we’d rather kill ourselves than to be something we’re not.

When I realized I was gay, the entire content of my character didn’t suddenly shift. Being gay didn’t affect my personality, my interests, my hobbies, etc. I’m still a writer and an artist, I’m a voracious comic book junkie, I’m still an obsessive compulsive overachieving perfectionist. I’m still a quirky geek. I’m those things because that’s who I am, not because my sexuality dictates it.

Being an LGBTQ is only part of who we are. We come in all ages, genders, races, socio-economic classes, etc. Some of us are effeminite, some of us are masculine, just like cis-gendered heterosexuals. We’re found in all professions, we’re doing our thing. The point is, our sexual orientation is not our end-all be-all defining characteristic. The amazing soul you were before you discovered you were an LGBTQ, is the same amazing soul you’re going to be afterwards. In fact you’re going to be even more awesome because you’ve made peace with who you are and you’re accomplish some extraordinary feats.

14. It’s Not A Wonderful World Nor Is It A Wonderful Life

I’m not going to sit here and insult your intelligence by telling you that life is beautiful and the world is a wonderful place, because if someone had done that with me, I would’ve punched them in the throat. Life is hell. This world is cruel, sadistic and depraved. And when you stop and think about what the world could be, what we could be, there’s nothing more heartbreaking.

So why should you keep going?

Because I don’t think you’d be oppressed at the level you’re at if there wasn’t something special about you. Something worth fighting for. People don’t hate you because you’re queer. People hate you because they fear you. They fear that you’re going to be something greater than they’ll ever be. Your existence forces them to think, to reevaluate the world. If you were as inferior as they claim then why do they expend so much energy trying to convince you?

I don’t know you. But I know this world and this life and the truth is, we need more good souls in this world to be the change we so desperately need.

15. More Of The Same

To my LGBTQs of color. Yeah, it’s more of the same. But the same skills you learned to survive as a POC will help you as an LGBTQ. Hang in there. It does get easier. Just keep your head up.

16. Being Gay Is Actually Kinda Awesome

For me, I’m not bound by heterosexist conformities. Being gay, I don’t have to worry about having a spouse and kids if I don’t want to. By not having a spouse and a family, I have more disposable income and more time to myself. I can travel abroad at the drop of a mood swing, I can go back to school, I can buy the latest tech. I can have as much indiscriminate sex as I like and I’ll never have to worry about unwanted pregnancies. For those who wish to start a family, they can do so. We tend to excel in our careers and stay physically attractive.

While most of those reasons are probably superficial, at least for me it gives me a sense of pride. We come from all walks of life and have myriad of experiences and perspectives. We are more than our demographics. On top of that we have rich culture and history stemming back to Greek/Roman times and eras before that.

But the most important thing. You get to decide how to live your life. Do you, and be the best you that you can possibly be. And if someone has a problem with that, then that’s their problem. Because it sure as hell isn’t yours.

So hang in there. I hear you. I’m praying for each and every one of you. Stay strong and keep flying.

Filed under advice bullying coming out surviving youth message to youth contributor-neo prodigy queer questioning bisexual lesbian gay

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Reflections of A Black Queer Suicide Survivor: Part 2

Don’t miss the second part of Darnell Moore’s power reflection on being a black queer suicide survivor.

I wanted to be free from the painful situations that eroded the peace in my life. I was born into a world that was not ready for the arrival of a black, male/female loving, gender-maneuvering, book/dance/music-adoring, economically challenged, urban boy. Indeed, the world is not and has not ever been ready for me and other brown/black/queer men…

…We have what is needed within us individually and among us communally to push through such desires in the same way we lived (and are living) in spite of the auction block, chains, whips, nooses, firing squads, laws, prisons, street corners, public health office examination rooms, strangers’ fists, lovers’ arms, and our own hands. It is easy to live when we can put to death others’ thoughts of us. So live, brothers.

Read the rest and share it with your friends!

Filed under LBTQIA POC Suicide Suicide Survival

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Darnell Moore: Reflections of a Black Queer Suicide Survior

They wanted to destroy me because I was, to them, a living sign of difference, subversive rebelliousness, an affront on black masculinity and the sanctity of their presumed heterosexuality (even though a few of the “hard” neighborhood boys tried to cross the boundaries of their heterosexuality with me). In many ways, it was this same force of ideas (i.e. What it means to be a boy/man in the hood? A black boy/man? A black queer boy/man? etc.) that had its hand on my back, pushing me, a few years before as I readied myself to leap from my window.

Darrel Moore has written a powerful post about his experiences as a suicide survivor.  Check it out and pass it around.  Let’s get this story to the people who need to read it the most.

Filed under LGBTQIA POC Bullying Suicide Suicide Survival

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One Town’s War on Gay Teens

This article… this hate is why we started this project.

One Town’s War on Gay Teens - Rolling Stone Magazine (online)

One Town’s War on Gay Teens

In Michele Bachmann’s home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back.

BY: SABRINA RUBIN ERDELY

A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying.
A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying.
© Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMApress.com

Every morning, Brittany Geldert stepped off the bus and bolted through the double doors of Fred Moore Middle School, her nerves already on high alert, bracing for the inevitable.

"Dyke."

Pretending not to hear, Brittany would walk briskly to her locker, past the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who loitered in menacing packs.

"Whore."

Full text after the cut.

Read more …

Filed under lgtbqia teen bullying teen suicide bisexual lesbian gay transgender questioning queer hate