LGBTQ+

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Gender Justice, LGBTQ+

Freedom Education Project Puget Sound

FEPPS (@FreedomEdProj) / Twitter
http://fepps.org/

Making a Difference for Women and Trans People in Prison

This non-profit organization provides college classes to women and trans people who are in prison so that they can get either their associates degree or a bachelor of arts degree. This is important because it helps prevent these people from getting sent to prison again after they get out of prison and helps them get jobs once they are released.

A History and A Purpose

This organization was started in 2011 when a group at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) called the Women’s Village started inviting professors to the prison to teach college classes to the women.

Serving Women and Trans Inmates

This organization serves Women and Trans inmates in prisons around the Puget Sound area. They offer associate and bachelor degree programs to help inmates prepare for their future once they get out of the prison. So far they only work with Washington’s Corrections Center for Women and have not yet branched out to helping other groups of people in prisons with other genders or juvenile detention facilities.

Ways to Improve

This organization has a great website with a lot of information on it. They could go into more detail about their history or provide a list of specific prisons that they work in but other than that I found everything very easily.

Information Accessibility

The information on the website was very accessible with a clear board of directors and staff as well as information about how they use donations. It was also up to date with current Covid guidelines and a warning about a scam that has been using their name.

Similar Organizations

A similar organization is the Women’s Village. Women’s Village is an organization in WCCW, which I mentioned in the history section of my post.

Another similar organization is the Prison Education Foundation which provides higher education to men and women in prison. https://www.prisonedu.org/

LGBTQ+

PFLAG Seattle

Image from PFLAG

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the first and largest family and ally support group for LGBTQ+ individuals, and it is important because it provides aid for LGBTQ+ students and their friends and family.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

This organization was founded in 1973 inspired by a small action of a mother publicly supporting her gay son. PFLAG serves the purpose of creating an inclusive community where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected and valued no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. In their early years after the establishment, they were even asked to chaperone the first-ever Lesbian/Gay prom at the University of Washington. PFLAG Seattle remains to be one of the most active chapters and they continue to strive for their mission by providing resources such as newsletters, their blog, and booklets to help inform their members regarding this topic.

Whom do they serve?

Their main focus is to hold online and in-person monthly support meetings for parents, allies, and LGBTQ+ youths, and they are since the organization serves the members to give them opportunities to share their experiences of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community or knowing someone who is LGBTQ+.

Programs offered?

As it is their mission is to bring unity to LGBTQ+ individuals and their loved ones, the PFLAG Seattle chapter has made a significant impact in the LGBTQ+ community in the greater Seattle area by giving motivational speeches to many high school students and university LGBTQ+ student groups and offering them various resources to make the members reach an understanding.

What could they do better?

I believe that PFLAG Seattle is doing outstanding work of inspiring LGBTQ+ youths by giving them the space to connect with their families, friends, and allies. I really hope they continue to work with their members to help the LGBTQ+ youths feel safe and become confident in themselves.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

As far as I know, I could not find any red flags as it is a national organization and it has local chapters all over the country, and I found the information on the website to be easily accessible because I was able to find the purpose of this organization and what they do without any difficulties.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

I found a couple of organizations that do similar work as PFLAG, and they are Campus Pride and GLSEN. Campus Pride is a national nonprofit organization to create a safer campus environment for LGBTQ+ students and they work to bring LGBTQ+ students and ally students together. Next, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is an educational organization that works against harassment, discrimination, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in K-12 schools. I feel relieved knowing that there are many organizations for LGBTQ+ students to make them feel safe and give inspiration to them and I hope these organizations keep working to aspire LGBTQ+ students and help them achieve their dreams.

Works Cited:

Campus Pride. (2022, January 28). Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.campuspride.org/ 

GLSEN. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.glsen.org/ 

PFLAG Seattle. (1970, February 14). Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.pflagseattle.org/ 

LGBTQ+

GLSEN Washington

https://www.glsenwashington.org/solidarity-week

Importance

GLSEN Washington is an organization working to foster equity and inclusion for LGBTQIA+ students. People of differing sexual orientations or gender identities face discrimination and harassment at increased rates. GLSEN combats this by providing not only educators, but students and community members with the training and resources required to make schools safer and more inclusive for all those who attend. The organization also seeks to create a learning environment where everyone is treated respectfully, no matter their orientations, identities, or expressions.

https://www.glsenwashington.org/

Brief History

Founded by a group of teachers in 1990, GLSEN has sought to make schools throughout the country more inclusive and accepting for LGBTQIA+ youth. There are 43 chapters across 30 states, all of which bring student voices to the forefront of confronting and fighting against discrimination. With over 1.5 million members, GLSEN advocates for ensuring that LGBTQIA+ students are able to learn and feel safe in a school environment void of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Service and Programs

GLSEN provides services to students and educators from K-12. GSA or Gay Straight Alliance is a club that GLSEN actively provides resources to that serves as a way to promote inclusivity in schools. Trained volunteers from GLSEN Washington also offer a sex education program called IN-clued Sexual Health, a subject that is often avoided or ignored in most sex education programs. GLSEN strongly encourages student leadership of clubs, events, and activities, and asks that parents and educators get involved in anyways they can as well. SHINE is a student council group headed by student leaders who work to make schools safer for LGBTQIA+ students. The idea is that students know what challenges they face better than anyone, making them the best candidates to know how to push back against these challenges.

https://www.glsenwashington.org/copy-of-contact-us

Ways to Improve

The GLSEN Washington website is separate from GLSEN’s national website. This makes for finding specific information about the non-profit slightly more difficult, as navigating between multiple sites can become a hassle. If there was a way to go directly from GLSEN Washington’s site to the GLSEN’s national site it would help to resolve this issue. Otherwise, this organization is incredibly well put together and professional. It is clear that they want only the best for LGBTQIA+ students.

Accessibility of Information

Aside from the history of the organization, all the information that anyone would need to know is incredibly easy to find with just a few clicks. Every program has a “learn more” section and even separate sections for those who may be exploring the site; educators, students, and community members. The donate buttons are pronounced and the suggested donation amounts seem modest for the service they provide. There were no issues in regards to red flags and the GLSEN seems to be a stand up organization for all those involved and for every community.

Similar Organizations

An organization similar to GLSEN on the national level would be The Trevor Project, who help LGBTQIA+ youth with mental health and self discovery.

More locally, Gay City is a Seattle based organization dedicated to LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking resources, wellness, and community.

Latino Students, LGBTQ+

Somos Seattle – Pride In Both Latinx and Queer Identities

The Importance of Visibly Queer Latinx

A banner depicting the logo of Somos Seattle
Source: Somos Seattle

Why is visibility of queer Latinx important? Not only do they have to face discrimination and harassment for their ethnicity, they also do for their sexuality or gender– even within their own homes. Latinx families are predominantly Catholic, a religion that strictly views being queer as a sin. On top of that, Latinx communities struggle with heavy gender roles and sexism, so to “break out” of the mold as a queer person is even more of a danger. Groups like Somos Seattle that celebrate being a queer Latinx can change and even save lives. This intersectionality of identities brings a complex struggle on multiple fronts, and these groups bring celebration of these identities, but also support and discussion on their struggles they face still in society today.

In a report by the UCLA Williams Institute, an estimated 1.4 million (4.3%) of U.S. Hispanic adults consider themselves part of the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, most queer Latinx live in an area with a high concentration of other Latinx, rather than a high concentration of other LGBTQ+. Queer Latinx adults also have higher rates of unemployment than non-queer Latinx adults.

Somos Seattle – Their History and Who They Serve

Founded in 2017, Somos Seattle was created with the purpose to support and celebrate queer Latinx across the Puget Sound area. Their mission statement is thus; “Our goal is to build an active community, share resources and foster spaces for learning & growth” (somosseattle.org). UW Bothell graduate Ray Corona founded this group a few years after his graduation, and Somos Seattle has been involved in our local community ever since. Since their founding, they have created the annual Latinx Pride Festival, provided scholarships to graduating seniors of the Mukilteo School District, hosted events, celebrated stories, and the founder, Ray Corona, has received the Seattle Mayor’s Emerging Leader Award in June of 2019.

An image depicting queer Latinx of Somos Seattle dancing and celebrating in Colombia tower, wearing traditional garb with rainbow colors
Source: Somos Seattle

Programs Offered and What They Could Do Better

The biggest of their programs is their Latinx Pride Festival held annually. Celebrating their intersectionality and identities, the Festival is free to the public, and backed and sponsored by many organizations within the area, including the Ingersoll Gender Center, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Gay City (Seattle’s local LGBTQ+ center). In terms of other programs, they offer social events, art exhibitions of local queer Latinx, discussions regarding current issues, and promotion of political activism. While still a rather new organization, having more involvement specifically in education and youth programs should be considered. Otherwise, Somos Seattle has an easy to navigate site and is heavily involved in helping the community, both in person and online. As they continue to grow and create more outreach, they will be able to help more people.

As for transparency, despite being a non-profit organization, there is little on their site showing where their funds go to. While they show their full board, it is difficult to find more information on the legal side of things. Adding these to their site also could help generate more trust with organizations and allies who may be interested in donating.

An image of a person in a dress and headpiece at Latinx Pride Festival
Source: Seattle Latinx Pride

Similar Organizations

A similar organization focused on queer Latinx is Entre Hermanos, also featured in our site. Founded in 1993, the non-profit organization helps with providing social, educational, and health support services.

In terms of other LGBTQ+ organizations in the Seattle area, Gay City is a center for queer youths, founded in 1995. They also have strong social, educational, and health support services, including STI and HIV testing.

Sources

Somos Seattle. Somos Seattle: About Us. https://www.somosseattle.org/#overview

UCLA Williams Institute. (2013, October). LGBT Latino/a Individuals and Latino/a Same-Sex Couples. UCLA Williams Institute.

[Photograph of Somos Seattle logo]. (2017). https://www.facebook.com/somosSeattle/photos/735520966614440

[Photograph of people dancing in traditional garb with rainbow colors]. (2019). https://www.facebook.com/somosSeattle/photos/1295833930583138

[Photograph of a person in traditional garb at Seattle Latinx Pride]. (2019). https://seattlelatinxpride.com/gallery

Latino Students, LGBTQ+

Entre Hermanos – Seattle’s Latino LGBT Organization

The Importance of LGBTQ+ Latino Students

LGBTQ+ Latino Students are an important group because they don’t only face racism and discrimination because of their ethnicity and race, they also face discrimination and harrasment at schools because of their LGBTQ+ identities. Most LGBTQ+ Latino students struggle with being accepted by their own Latino community too. Because most Latinos are Catholic and in this religion being lesbian or gay (part of the LGBTQ+ community) is considered to be sinful, LGBTQ+ Latinos either decide to stay closeted or are rejected by their own Latino people. So, LGBTQ+ Latinos don’t only have to face discrimination becuase of their ethnicity or harrasment at school for their LGBTQ+ identities, they also have a high chance of also facing the same from family and friends.

Entre Hermanos – Their Mission & Who They Serve

Entre Hermanos is an organization who serves LGBT Latinos. Their mission is to promote the health and well-being of LGBT Latinos and Latino questioning community in a culturally appropriate environment. This includes: disease prevention, education, support services, advocay, and community buillding (entrehermanos.org).

Brief History of Entre Hermanos

Entre Hermanos is an organization in Seattle, WA that came to be by a group of LGBT Latinos/as in the spring of 1991. By December 1992, this group organized and carried out activities in cooperation with the Washington Latino AIDS Coalition. In April 1993, the group functioned independently and that same year Entre Hermanos affiliated itself with People of Color against AIDS (POCAAN). Then, towards the end of 2001, Entre Hermanos received a charter by the State of Washington to operate as a nonprofit organization. Ever since then, Entre Hermanos has continued to grow and is going into it’s 27th year of service to the Latino LGBTQ community (entrehermanos.org).

Programs Offered by Entre Hermanos & What They Could Do Better

Entre Hermanos offers programs involving: HIV prevention, living with HIV, advocacy and civic engagement, and immigration. But I think that the organization could include programs involving LGBTQ+ Latino students and offering them help to further their education. Other than that, Entre Hermanos has an easy to navagate website and seems to do a great job at uplifting it’s LGBT Latino community.

Similar Organizations

A similar organization to Entre Hermanos here in the Puget Sound area is Somos Seattle.

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