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"High Five" Effort Looks to Connect NFL Players and LGBT Youth

If you know a gay person, you’re more likely to support LGBT rights. Such is the correlation driving the You Can Play Project’s new “High Five” initiative, which aims to bring NFL players together on a one-on-one basis with LGBT youth across the country.

The You Can Play group was co-founded by Patrick Burke, an NHL executive whose father is a major figure in the hockey world and whose brother Brendan died in 2010 shortly after coming out. Its goal: inclusion of out LGBT individuals in sports culture. YCP executive director Wade Davis (who played in training camp with several NFL teams and came out after retiring) and former NFL players and NFL player-engagement execs Troy Vincent and Dwight Hollier kicked off the initiative Tuesday with a visit to the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) in Manhattan, which cares for and educates LGBT youth, many of whom are homeless.

Vincent and Hollier were taken on a brief tour of the HMI campus and then met with a room of about 20 students to discuss the parallels between their lives. Vincent’s testimony about the difficulty of realizing you’re no longer a star performer found unexpected resonance with Tamara Williams. What followed was probably the first-ever comparison between professional football and club dancing. “The kiki scene is a lot like football,” the 24-year-old Williams told Vincent. “It’s all about you and your performance and who’s the best. And when you’re the best, that’s how people look at you.”

You Can Play hopes to expand the initiative to LGBT youth groups in other cities and enlist other NFL players and professional athletes into the effort.

 

NFL execs connect with LGBTQ youth

 By Kate Fagan | Dec 5, 2013
espnW.com

 

  Longtime NFL cornerback Troy Vincent met with teens as part of the You Can Play project, intended to connect LGBTQ youth with leaders from the pro sports community.

 NEW YORK -- Troy Vincent is being asked to share his name, his favorite childhood toy and his PGP -- preferred gender pronoun.

 The introductions are an icebreaker. More than a dozen people are gathered in a conference room at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which works to empower, educate and advocate for LGBTQ youth. A teenage girl speaks first. She says her name, that she prefers "she" and "her" as pronouns, then mentions an obscure toy.

 Vincent goes third.

The meeting took place at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which works to empower, educate and advocate for LGBTQ youth, and included HMI chief executive Thomas Krever.

 "My name is Troy Vincent," he says, quickly becoming animated as he thinks about his favorite toy. "When I was a kid, I loved the Big Wheel." He smiles and mimics turning the imaginary handles of the plastic tricycle.

 Then he leans back and nods once. He is done speaking.

 But his turn isn't over yet. There is a long pause before someone from across the room asks, "And your PGP, Troy?"

 Vincent played 15 seasons in the NFL. He is now 43 years old and works as the league's senior vice president for player engagement. In his prime, which wasn't all that long ago, he was fast and strong, one of the best cornerbacks in a league known for its physicality and tough-guy culture. So it's not surprising that Vincent has assumed everyone else in the room would figure his PGP is "he" -- all masculine pronouns, please.

 Then again, the whole point of this meeting is to quit making assumptions -- about LGBTQ people, yes, but also about football players. Vincent has already explained that he believes a false narrative exists in which football locker rooms are often perceived as barbaric, homophobic places, especially after the recent scandal involving suspended Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito.

 Vincent wants to reframe the thinking, to reshape the dialogue. It's part of the reason he and Dwight Hollier, a former NFL linebacker, are representing the league at this event Tuesday afternoon, the soft launch of the "High Five" initiative created by You Can Play and intended to connect LGBTQ youth with leaders from the pro sports community.

 "Male," Vincent says. And now the introductions continue. The next teen in the room identifies his PGP as "he, she, they, Z -- anything, as long as it's respectful."

 Hollier, who works as the NFL's director of transition and clinical services, is sitting a few seats down from Vincent. "Hi, my name is Dwight," he says. "All male pronouns. And my favorite toys as a kid were Hot Wheels, the race cars."

 At first glance, it would seem that Vincent and Hollier have little in common with the teens in this room. But finding the similarities is actually quite easy. "This is exactly what we do at the NFL rookie symposium," Vincent says soon after people have finished introducing themselves. "We break down into groups, then go around and do an icebreaker, so that you get to know something personal about everyone."

 One of the teens mentions the work they all do trying to educate their peers, a challenging process because so many of the youths in the program have built walls around themselves. They've been abandoned by their families or by society, and opening up to other people -- even those trying to help -- can feel overwhelming.

 Football is a mask. It allows us to hide, to not have to discuss certain parts of our lives. For a football player, his play is how he communicates, how he is celebrated. We're trying to break that down and have conversations around family, relationships, sexual orientation, mental health.

 

Troy Vincent

 "We also have a peer-to-peer model at the NFL," Vincent says. "Football is a mask. It allows us to hide, to not have to discuss certain parts of our lives. For a football player, his play is how he communicates, how he is celebrated. We're trying to break that down and have conversations around family, relationships, sexual orientation, mental health."

 Each time a teen speaks, Vincent and Hollier nod slightly, making connections between their jobs and the services Hetrick-Martin provides. "I actually feel like we're doing similar work," Vincent says. "The subjects are the same; the setting is just different."

 Vincent is full of questions during his visit to Hetrick-Martin. At one point, HMI chief executive Thomas Krever mentions how important it is to serve the youth who identify as "Q" -- questioning. Vincent leans forward. "Wait a second," he says. "You just said that 'Q' stands for 'questioning'? But I've always been taught that the Q stood for 'queer.'"

 He is still talking about this revelation a few minutes later, as he tours a lower floor at HMI, which also houses the Harvey Milk High School (named for the murdered activist and politician). "That was a great piece of knowledge I just received," Vincent says. "Dwight and I are here to learn and go back to educate the players, who also want to learn."

 Vincent believes that NFL locker rooms are ready for an openly gay player. "As far as we're concerned, it's 'Come on out!'" he says, waving his arms as if beckoning someone into a room. He adds that he had gay teammates when he played. "We aren't worried about the locker room. We're worried about how to keep a guy safe when he leaves the locker room."

 As the tour continues, an HMI staffer stops and points out the hallway that leads to the counseling services unit, behind a thick white door that requires an electronic badge for entry. Vincent and Hollier note that, in their playing careers, the majority of personal resources available to players -- counseling, career development -- were often located on a separate floor from the team locker room or down a hallway where players had no other reason to venture. "So if you got off at that floor, or were seen walking to that hallway, everyone on the team was like, 'What's up with Troy?'" Vincent says. "There was an intense stigma attached to getting help -- any kind of help."

 "It was almost like you were colluding," Hollier adds.

Vincent says most teams got smart and moved their counseling offices next to the locker rooms. But he wants to know whether that same stigma exists at Harvey Milk, when someone is seen walking through that door. "Does everyone else turn their head and say, 'Hmm, I wonder what's going on with so-and-so?'" he asks. The staffer assures Vincent that this isn't the case because the offices in question hold other services beyond counseling.

 After nearly two hours on site, Vincent and Hollier thank the teens for allowing them behind the scenes. "These are your safe spaces, and we feel privileged that you allowed us into them," Vincent says. "As football players, we know a lot about protecting our safe spaces. That's exactly how we feel about the locker room."

 As Vincent and Hollier walk out of the building, they continue to discuss the parallels between the two spaces, and what kind of message they'll bring back to NFL players.

 "People always ask me what's keeping the first NFL player from coming out," Vincent says. "And they seem to think that there is something the league is doing wrong that's preventing it, or that there's something specific about the culture. I've never believed that. The same obstacles that keep people all across the world from coming out are what keep an NFL player from coming out."

 He pauses for a moment. "The locker room is ready," he says. "But days like today make us even more prepared."

 

 New Legislation Passed to Further Support LGBTQ Youth! 

California Governor Jerry Brown made history yesterday when he signed into law a bill which ensures transgender students have equal access to facilities and activities consistent with their gender identities.  This is the first law of its kind in the nation and the latest in a stream of decisions favoring the transgender community.

HMI applauds the California State Senate for passing this bill and creating safer environments for transgender youth.  For more than 30 years, our mission has been to ensure that our youth know that they too are worthy of equality.  As eloquently stated by KiAisa, one of our HMI youth members, “This gives me hope for the future so that we can be seen for whom we are on the inside -- and not who someone else tells us we are.”

While we celebrate this great legislative victory, we know that there is still much work to be done.  Today, LGBTQ youth are three times more likely to drop out of school.  These young people exhibit an enormously higher level of anxiety, depression and suicide ideation.  As a caring and committed organization, HMI will continue to fight for safety and equality—in the classroom, on the streets and within every community that impacts the lives of LGBTQ youth.

A Word from Executive Director, Thomas Krever,
on the Supreme Court's Landmark Ruling:

Today marks a historic day for the LGBTQ community in our journey towards equality.  The highest court in our nation has recognized our love, our commitment and our worth as families.  Today’s verdict will transform not only our lives, but the lives of all young people we serve. These victories will ensure that our youth know that they too are worthy of equality.  Today, they receive a powerful message that their futures will be filled with love--one that is recognized and accepted by this nation.
 
While this is truly a landmark moment for all of us, we must recognize that time is not on our side for LGBTQ youth on our streets, in our schools and in far too many communities.  LGBTQ youth are still often rejected from their families and loved ones, and constitute the single largest proportion of homeless adolescents in our country. Now that we have expanded equality for LGBTQ people, we must commit ourselves as a community to invest in our youth--our future, so that they too can someday enjoy access to these rights.  We are fighting a long fight for marriage equality, but without a strong and empowered generation of LGBTQ youth, who will savor the fruits of our struggle?
 
HMI was founded in 1979 by caring LGBTQ adults who recognized that we, as a society, were not meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth.  Many of these challenges still exist today; as caring adults we must step up and be the village these youth need for their healthy transition into adulthood.  As we celebrate, let us recommit ourselves to continuing the fight for equality--in the classroom, on the streets and within every community that impacts the lives of LGBTQ youth.

 


Pride Issue: Life Keeps Getting Better for David Miranda

A gay man's journey from the barrio to the Ivy League--and back again

By Steve Weinstein Wednesday, Jun 19 2013

David Miranda had always suspected that he was gay. The child of immigrant parents in the South Bronx, he tried to pray away his feelings, but the confusion and anger and self-hatred kept returning. At age 11, he tried to kill himself.

When Miranda entered a room full of other gay working-class youth, it was, he tells the Voice, the first time he met "kids like myself." In the crowded, dingy offices of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, since 1979 an organization devoted to the needs of LGBT youth, "I found a place where I could be safe."

Now 37, Miranda looks back on that experience as "the day my life changed." After a few more bumps in the road, he finished high school. Prestigious Sarah Lawrence College offered him a scholarship. His first job was in Paris, where he guided Africans through the logistics of obtaining student visas. He helped AIDS Project Los Angeles set up a youth-empowerment program. Eventually, he returned east, to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Back in the Bronx as a public defender, Miranda has become an advocate for the poor and a role model for troubled gay youth.

By the time Miranda turned 11, he had figured out he was gay. He just couldn't figure out what to do about it. His father, who drove a cab and pumped gas before becoming an auto mechanic and opening a garage of his own, was seldom home. When he was, he yelled at David to "learn to sit right" and "walk like a real man." His stepmother once told him, "The reason you are the way you are is because your mother wanted a girl."

If "home was never a safe place," St. Raymond's, a Catholic elementary school, was hell. After enduring being called "faggot" every day, the last straw came in sixth grade. A classmate had committed suicide. Miranda was determined to follow him. He swallowed a bottle of Windex. When that didn't work, he downed a whole bottle of Tylenol. "Every time I took another pill," he recalls, "I felt glad that I was that much closer to death and that much farther from having to live a miserable life. I was hoping it was all over, and I'd never have to wake up again."

He spent a long night throwing up, after which "nothing had changed." The school guidance counselor had him admitted to a psychiatric hospital, which gave him a three-month respite from his tormentors. When he got out, he moved in with his mother. He hoped Brooklyn was far enough away from the Bronx to give him a fresh start. But the students at John J. Pershing Junior High only subjected him more bullying.

By the 1980s, inner-city schools had reached their nadir. Miranda escaped to the 42nd Street Library, where he would spend hours in the Main Reading Room, or he wandered through museums. He stayed out late most evenings, hanging out on Christopher Street or in the Part Authority Bus Terminal.

He managed to pass the entrance exam into Brooklyn Tech, one of the city's highly competitive magnet schools. But "at that point I was gone," he says. "I didn't fit in with the smart kids. I didn't fit in with the cool kids. I fit in with the hustlers at Port Authority." He continued to cut classes and experimented with drugs. He cycled in and out of the same psychiatric hospital.

Finally, he decided he had to reveal his horrible secret to someone. "I have a very big problem," he confessed to the school's guidance counselor. The one-word response stunned him: "And?"

The guidance counselor and an ad in a citywide school journal he had begun writing for led Miranda to take that fateful walk up the flight of stairs into Hetrick-Martin. "Seeing kids just acting in a good, comfortable way," he says, "that was when I learned how to be a kid. I found a space where I could be safe. It literally saved my life."

Manolo Guzman, who counseled Miranda at Hetrick-Martin and now heads Marymount Manhattan College's social sciences department, fondly recalls him as "one of those young people so incredibly smart that he was able to find his own moral compass. It's because they have the capacity for critical and independent thought that they have the pain they go through. 'Trouble' is confused with weakness. People who have no trouble in life develop very little strength."

Gay youth "need to know that they're not alone, that there are other young people like them, that they're part of a larger community," Hetrick-Martin's executive director, Thomas Krever, tells the Voice. "You can be five miles away from Christopher Street, but it might as well be 5,000 miles away. It takes a lot of strength and resiliency for a kid to walk through that door. At 14 or 15, you have to navigate one of the most challenging mass transit systems in the world. Thirty percent are not out to their families. Still they come."

At home, things didn't improve. Miranda fought so badly with his mom, she threw him out. Back at his dad's, the arguments got so intense that one night he threatened to jump out the window. In a last, desperate cry for help, he swallowed another bottle of Tylenol. When that didn't work, he came out to his parents, who worried aloud that he would die of AIDS. They were saddened that he wouldn't marry or have children.

Slowly, however, they started to come around. All parents eventually have to deal with their children forming personalities independent of parental expectations. Guzman has found that working-class parents of color, contrary to popular opinion, are no less enlightened or sympathetic than their well-off suburban counterparts. "They're more concerned about the hurt they'll face than not having a girl- or boyfriend," he says. "They're scared of what the world will do to their kids."

Miranda completed his secondary education at the Harvey Milk School, the nation's only high school catering specifically to the needs of LGBT students and anyone else severely affected by bullying. Founded by Hetrick-Martin, Milk is now run by the city; Hetrick-Martin continues its after-school and support programs. When Miranda was there, it was still a single room where one teacher dealt with students at every grade level.

Miranda loved it. "I became just a kid going to school," he recalls. "It normalized the school experience—all those things other people take for granted."

His parents' attendance at his 1993 graduation marked the turning point toward accepting their son's identity. They took pride in his scholarship to Sarah Lawrence.

At college, Miranda realized the vast gulf between his upbringing and that of many of his classmates. "When you grow up poor," Miranda said, "you don't realize you're poor. We were homeless briefly. Sometimes we had to turn the oven on because there was no heat. That's just your existence."

Guzman believes that race and class are ultimately far more significant than sexual identity for Miranda and the vast majority of Hetrick-Martin's 2,500 clients. "I saw them first and foremost as people of color from working-class backgrounds," he says. "And thenthere was the gay issue."

Miranda kept feeling the need to return the barrio. That was where he had his family, a boyfriend and, he realized, a personal history that offered him unique insights into the effects of social injustice.

After a six-year hiatus, in 2004 Miranda matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. "In came this tough guy," recalls Dean of Students Gary Clinton. "The first words out of his mouth were, 'Are there any gay people here?'" Clinton assured him that, yes, there were several, all very active in the LGBT student organization—including himself.

According to Clinton, it would be a mistake to assume that even though Penn Law is in the Ivy League, a highly selective school in the uppermost tier, all of the students are alike. "This is not an enclave of privilege," he says. "There's a wide variety of life experiences." Up to 40 percent of the entering class is people of color. The first major law school to require all students to do pro bono work, Penn also has generous loan-repayment program that encourages students to go into public service.

Miranda briefly tried the corporate route, but after the economic meltdown joined the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit that provides counsel to defendants unable to afford a private attorney. In retrospect, he's glad he gave up the lucrative but ultimately unsatisfying work of a private law firm. Every day, he is one of many defense lawyers attempting to navigate the Bronx Courthouse's dilapidated corridors, "a place where dysfunction is expected," according to a searing New York Times series on the worst justice system in the city. The Bronx accounts for more people in jail awaiting trial than the other four boroughs combined and over half of all cases extending two years or more.

Miranda acknowledges that he has to work within a broken system, but he now understands that this is the best use for his education at such a prestigious law school and where he can do the most good for those who most need it. "The difference between a 12-year-old trying to commit suicide and an adult is that, as a 12-year-old, your circumstances are set," he says. "An adult can do what he needs to do to move the world, to change it. I came from this community. I have a cousin who spent most of his life in prison because of a drug crime. Each of our clients is entitled to respect and the best advocacy they can get."

His parents have become his biggest supporters. His dad brags about his son the lawyer. His mother gives him advice about his romantic life. Sitting in the living room of his Washington Heights apartment, his dog at his feet, Miranda projects an aura of confidence and, yes, contentment. "I'm doing what I like," he says. "I wanted to do this work. I'm happy."

 

 

Alcoa Foundation Renews Job Readiness Grant for Hetrick-Martin Institute’s At-Risk and Homeless LGBTQ Youth

New York, NY – Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) today announced that Alcoa Foundation, one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., has pledged to renew their grant supporting the Job Readiness program for at-risk and homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

HMI’s Job Readiness program is designed to arm young people ages 12 to 24 with the basic skill sets needed to seek and obtain employment, by teaching young adults about interview skills, resume building, and job skills development. Over the next year HMI will serve 350 young people through workshops, conferences, panels, and other learning experiences.

“Alcoa’s deep commitment to empowering and preparing at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth for employment is inspirational,” said Thomas Krever, the Executive Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute. “This grant will provide young people with an opportunity of a lifetime through exposure to the world of work. It’s also worth noting that Alcoa’s support for LGBTQ youth comes at the height of Pride Month and HMI’s June Match Campaign, where every dollar donated is doubled by generous matching funds from The Roddick Foundation and HMI’s own Board of Directors.”

“Preparing the next generation for entry into the workforce is a top priority for Alcoa and building on the successful outcomes that were achieved through our partnership with HMI last year, Alcoa is proud to continue our support,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation.

HMI has successfully prepared students to find and keep permanent employment. Last year, HMI helped place youth in positions with the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center.

# # #

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$446 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$550 million since 1952. In 2011, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2011, a record 56 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,200 events across 24 countries, reaching 81,000 children, serving 9,000 meals, planting 34,000 trees and supporting 1,800 nonprofit organizations. More information can be found at www.alcoafoundation.com.

October 7, 2011

Ending Bullying: A Community Obligation

By Thomas Krever, MPA
Executive Director of The Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI)

On Sunday, Sept. 18, a 14-year-old boy named Jamey Rodemeyer, in a final act of desperation, fled this world and its seemingly insurmountable obstacles by taking his own life.  Jamey was a victim of bullying and harassment so caustic and vile that he saw no viable solution other than suicide. In an interview after his death, Jamey's family described a young man who had the "biggest heart" and was well-loved by his family, friends and teachers. I have watched Jamey's YouTube video in which, for over two minutes, Jamey urges others to keep the faith that things "will get better." For Jamey, and potentially many more young people in a similar situation, being told and believing that "it gets better" is not enough. For Jamey and these other youth, the situation must be made better -- now.

I learned of Jamey's tragic death during the same week I celebrated my own 25th annual high school reunion. On the surface, it appears that Jamey's and my adolescent experiences could not be any further apart. But delving deeper, I can see how similar our experiences were, and how with only one change, Jamey's life and mine might have been the same, even including sharing a similar fate. What was the difference in our lives that resulted in such different ends? I grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a community where a very high value was placed on one's well-being. I understood that my reality was a reflection of my beliefs, and that adults were there to provide the needed clarity when I couldn't see things clearly -- a situation teenagers find themselves in on a regular basis. To be indifferent to the pain of others was simply unacceptable in the world I grew up in. We were held accountable for our actions, and in return we were granted permission to hold others accountable. As a result, we all held high expectations of ourselves and of those around us. Everyone mattered because everyone was a potential part of any solution to whatever daily challenge or problem presented itself to us.

I was fortunate to grow up in the world that I did. We can prevent more tragedies like Jamey's from occurring if we take concrete steps to build a community of caring where we deem bullying and harassment as unacceptable in the 21st century. First and foremost, it is crucial to realize that we are not powerless to make the necessary changes. The despair that Jamey felt was not merely an aspect of "teenage angst" that he needed to deal with, nor is bullying an unalterable part of adolescent development, as normal as breathing. As caring individuals, we must never believe that bullying is an acceptable, innate behavior (for example, "boys will be boys") engaged in by all human beings. Bullying is a learned behavior where unfair or unequal power is exerted by one person (or more) over another. To allow this behavior to occur flies in the face of the basic American values of equality and liberty.

Second, bullying and bullies thrive on anonymity. Being silent in the presence of bullying must end. To say nothing while another person is bullied is the moral equivalent of being a bully yourself. Even if in the moment, saying or doing something is not possible, keeping silent about what you witnessed only serves to increase the acceptance of bullying. Telling someone in authority what has occurred is crucial: parents, teachers, and principals must be made aware, and then supported in their anti-bullying efforts. Once reported, we have a right to hold those people in a position of authority accountable, and to demand that they take concrete steps to rectify the problem.

Third, we must not ignore the needs and, yes, the troubles of the bullies themselves. Bullying is a cry for attention, an expression of a need that is, for whatever reason, not being met. It is both too easy and unhelpful to fall into the "blame game" and declare the bully's parents as the chief culprits. While home life is certainly a contributing factor, it is not the only one, or even the dominant one. We as a society have an obligation to ensure that positive behaviors are modeled outside the home -- at schools, in community centers and in other venues where young people interact with adults. When a youth has engaged in bullying, it is most important to understand the roots of the problem and to address them with needed interventions such as anger management classes and therapy, and recreational options that redirect their focus and energy. By providing these activities along with positive role models, we can redirect a bully's energies so that he or she can move from being part of the problem to being part of a community-wide solution.

Finally, we must always remember that we are dealing with teenagers who live in the "here and now." Assuring a young person that things get better must be augmented by efforts to eradicate the negative behaviors they are experiencing now. Young people are not programmed to think about the next week or month. The frontal lobe of their brains -- the part where critical thinking occurs and where consequences are weighed and future plans made -- is not fully developed until well into their early 20s. Consequently, our heartfelt message that "it gets better" might have a positive impact for a little while, but it will quickly get lost in the overstimulated life of a teen. We must act to make sure that our young people are safe today and hold all members of the community responsible for maintaining and enforcing their safety.

There is no quick, off-the-shelf panacea for confronting bullying in America or around the world. The effort to safeguard our children is a continuous process to which all people must contribute. We must be vigilant for acts of bullying and vocal when they occur. We as a society have assured the Jameys of the world that it gets better. The only way for us to keep our promise of a happier tomorrow is to take action today.

Originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com

Winter 2010/11

HMI To Go - Newark, NJ

Newark is serious about protecting its gay youth. Recently, the City of Newark held meetings with representatives of the Newark Pride Alliance and, as a result, Hetrick-Martin will soon start an after school program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens.   Thanks to a Mayor with both the vision and courage to tackle this challenge, programming for these young people looks to become a welcome reality in the months ahead! 
 
The program will be based on the services for gay youth operated for over 30 years by The Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, offering counseling  and crisis management, health and wellness programming, academic enrichment, job readiness and arts and cultural programming.  Hetrick-Martin will be pioneering Newark’s first LGBTQ after-school program.
 
While Hetrick-Martin continues to address physical, mental and emotional needs of LGBTQ youth here in NYC, the need for programming specifically to address the higher drop out rates, heightened suicide rates, and disproportionate victimization such as bullying, is no more glaringly apparent than in the City of Newark where  there are currently no comprehensive LGBTQ youth programs.
 
"We had to get people absolutely committed to this work," said Thomas Krever, Executive Director of Hetrick-Martin. "Start out small, go step by step, and obtain support from professionals, business people, and the community.   We will be working with the incredible residents of Newark, recognizing that this city's greatest resources remain its incredibly committed and competent citizens. By partnering with the Newark Pride Alliance, in the near future, thousands of young people struggling for acceptance and searching for their voice will finally be heard."
 
LGBTQ youth across New Jersey can finally celebrate as Newark launches HMI To Go.  For more information please contact Kara Olidge.

November, 16 2010

Passing of the First Harvey Milk School Teacher, Mr. Fred Goldhaber

Today, The Hetrick-Martin Institute family mourns the passing of the first teacher at Harvey Milk School, Mr. Fred Goldhaber or as the students affectionately called him, “Mr. G.” Mr. G served as the first and only teacher for the Harvey Milk School when it was established in 1985 out of an apparent need of educational support for LGBTQ youth in New York City. He was a pioneer in educational instruction for LGBTQ youth and his legacy will live on through the continued growth of the Harvey Milk High School.

Mr. G witnessed the many challenges that the students he worked with experienced every day and was able to take those experiences and make them into growth opportunities facilitating the successful transition through high school for many students. He skillfully taught students every subject focusing on growing their potential for achievement. A beacon of light for many young people when the entire world was dark, his ability to be the strength they needed to get through the day will live in their hearts forever. Mr. G was known to teach students through song, laughter, and a rare and beautiful caring nature. He was a gentle soul that made students fall in love with learning. He always provided a warm and caring environment for all his students that needed a safe place to learn; for his students who, above all, needed a place of open acceptance.

He continued a strong relationship with The Hetrick-Martin Institute as well as the greater community; a clear testimonial to his dedication to assisting the healthy development of LGBTQ youth. In 1999 he was awarded the “Emery Award,” Hetrick-Martin’s highest honor, given to individuals and groups for their dedication to and advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth.

Because of Mr. G’s pioneering efforts, generations of youth will continue to benefit from his work and vision for a safer world. He touched countless lives with his dedication and commitment to LGBTQ youth. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends during this painful time. Our community has suffered a great loss.

As of June 22, 2010

All Our Children: Strategies to Prevent Homelessness, Strengthen Services, and Build Support for LGBTQ Youth

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg received the final report of recommendations from the City’s Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Runaway and Homeless Youth.  The Commission began its work in October 2009 and was charged with developing strategies to address the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.  Thomas Krever, Executive Director of The Hetrick-Martin Institute served on the committee.  Many of the strategies outlined in the report can be undertaken immediately, and the Mayor has directed the City’s Department of Youth and Community Development to raise the age limit from 21 to 24 in its drop-in centers. The Mayor also directed the agency to reach out to New York State regarding regulatory changes that would require other runaway and homeless youth residential programs to serve the expanded age range.  Click here to read the full report.

August 6, 2010

Cool to Be Gay

Not so long ago being openly gay at school was not really an option for students.  60 Minutes' Charlotte Purdy meets some extraordinary young people who are proud to be out at school and are forging the way for other gay students to be open about their sexuality.  Click here to see the video.

June 21, 2010

Maison 24 Opens Seasonal Fire Island Store to Tap Well-Heeled Vacation Home Owners

Maison 24, which opened its Bridgehampton, N.Y., store in 2008 selling a mix of traditional and trend-setting home décor and accessories, is testing out a seasonal store in the summer vacation destination of Fire Island Pines.

The 660-square-foot store opened May 14 and will stay open through the summer. The idea is to cater to the affluent customers with vacation homes in the area.

The store also has a social mission aspect: Visitors to both of Maison 24's locations can purchase "I Kiss Boys" and "I Kiss Girls" tote bags designed by the youth members of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School.  The tote bags were a creation of the youth members’ invovlement with Polo Fashion School – a collaboration between the Institute and Polo Ralph Lauren.  The sale of these tote bags will support the mission of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which is the nation's oldest and largest social services organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning teenagers.

May 20, 2010

Legislation to Protect LGBT Students from Bullying at School

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Senator Al Franken and 21 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect students who are (or are perceived to be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender  (LGBT) from harassment, bullying, and violence at school.

“All children should always feel safe and secure in our schools,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “While at school to learn, some students are forced to endure harassment, violence, bullying, and intimidation because of their sexual orientation. This is completely unacceptable. Our laws ensure that all students have access to public education in a safe environment free from discrimination, and these laws must  guarantee  these same protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. This is the only way to ensure that every student has the opportunity to achieve his or her God given potential.”

“Kids need to feel safe in their schools in order to learn,” said Sen. Franken. “Our nation’s civil rights laws protect our children from bullying due to race, sex, religion, disability, and national origin. My proposal corrects a glaring injustice and extends these protections to our gay and lesbian students who need them just as badly. No student should have to dread going to school because they fear being bullied.”
 
“We have a responsibility to provide every student with a safe and inclusive learning environment,” said New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “For the past two years, we’ve been working with advocates and community members to expand our Respect for All program in New York City. However, this is an issue of national scope and I thank Senator Gillibrand for recognizing this. Because of her work on the Student Non-Discrimination Act students across the nation will be provided create safe, supportive learning environments, and I commend her for this act of leadership.”

"The Hetrick-Martin Institute, our nation's oldest and largest LGBTQ youth service provider commends Senator Gillibrand and those vanguards of human rights who recognize that education - free of discrimination, bullying, victimization and abuse - is not a privilege, but a right,” says Hetrick-Martin Institute Executive Director Thomas Krever.  “We applaud this act of legislation that sends a profound message to our nation's most vulnerable population; its youth, and to those that care for them, adults, that equality for all and the dignity that accompanies it, will now be fully realized and that all young people - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity truly do matter and actions contrary to this will no longer be tolerated."
 
Surveys indicate that nearly nine in 10 LGBT students have been bullied, and a recent study conducted by doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that LGBT youth are bullied two to three times more often than their heterosexual peers.

The harassment LGBT youth experience in school deprives them of equal educational opportunities by increasing their likelihood of skipping school, underperforming academically, and eventually dropping out.  It can also have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health.  Left unchecked, this harassment can lead to life-threatening violence and suicide.
 
The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  It would forbid schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior.
 
SNDA would also provide meaningful and effective remedies (loss of federal funding and a legal cause of action for victims) for discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, modeled after Title IX.

SNDA is co-sponsored by Senators. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Robert Menedez (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).

May 20, 2010

Building a Network of Gay Entrepreneurs

from the New York Times

There are some 1.2 million gay-owned businesses in the United States and about 29,000 of them belong to local gay chambers of commerce. StartOut is a new nonprofit networking group for gay entrepreneurs. This month, StartOut volunteers plan to teach teenagers about entrepreneurship at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York City nonprofit organization that serves gay youths. Mr. Spedale and a few colleagues will play the part of investors, critiquing the teenagers as they come up with and present business ideas, discussing how to get clients, sell products and complete other entrepreneurial tasks. Read the entire article here.

Hetrick-Martin Reaches Thousands Through Social Networking Grant

Funded through the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services, The Hetrick-Martin Institute now partners with Columbia University’s Project STAY to embark on an incredible expansion of our HIV Prevention Services and our testing efforts. Hetrick-Martin will disseminate HIV education information, testing reminders, and general safe sex tips via a to-be-installed SMS texting system. Youth will be able to sign up to our personal texting list and receive automated reminders, with messaging crafted through our CHAT Youth Internship.  Hetrick-Martin will increase our community presence as an HIV education leader by training groups of 18-24 year old individuals as HIV Prevention Peer Educators. These Peer Educators will deliver workshops, performances, and educational seminars to youth audiences at other local community-based organizations, detailing the dangers of HIV, the benefits of regular testing and knowing one’s status, open avenues to access HIV care, and the benefits of safe sex and positive communication. To book a visit click here.  Peer Educators will utilize new media formats (Twitter, Facebook, and Hetrick-Martin’s own website) to craft animated vignettes, flash videos, and splash pages that will engage visitors and participants in expanding their HIV prevention knowledge and receive regular testing. It is our goal to reach several thousand youth via text and web messaging over the course of this grant.

Hetrick-Martin featured on "Life in the Fab Lane"

On Sunday, April 25, The Hetrick-Martin Institute was featured on the reality television show "Life in the Fab Lane" featuring Kimora Lee Simmons, board member and volunteer at the Institute.  This exclusive episode featured scenes of Kimora's recent visit to the after-school programs at Hetrick-Martin and a spotlight on the 2009 Emery Awards where Kimora served as mistress of ceremonies.  Keep an eye on your local listings for re-runs of this episode on the Style Network.  Visit the show's site and see a clip of the episode by clicking here.

 

Pride Goes East

Pride Goes East is a celebration of Pride on the East Side that will benefit The Hetrick-Martin Institute.  Kicking off on May 20th and lasting the entire month of June, PGE will play host to a bevy of cultural events including Performance Space 122 and Dixon Place, as well as amazing shopping and dining, various boutiques and eateries, such as By Robert James and Lucky Jack's, throughout the East Village and Lower East Side. 

Click here to learn more.

All performances and events listed below offer discounts or special deals for Pride Goes East.


Vaginal Davis Is Speaking From the Diaphragm
May 15-27, Wed-Sat 8PM, Sun 6PM
Performance Space 122, 150 1st Ave at E. 9th St.
www.ps122.org
Taking the format of legendary talk shows like Dinah!, Ms Davis isn't interested in assimilating into the mainstream entertainment complex, but instead wishes to dissect a TV staple by presenting guests from the worlds of literature, dance, theatre, film and art she has intersected in her career as an artist.

Red Mother
May 27-June 6, Thurs-Sat 8PM, Sun 2:30PM
La MaMa First Floor Theatre, 74A East 4th Street
www.lamama.org
Muriel Miguel, the acclaimed Native American performer and co-founder of the Obie-award-winning collective Spiderwoman Theater, has cast herself as a Mother Courage character in her newest play, "Red Mother." Murielle Borst, Artistic Director of The Silvercloud Singers and Dancers, and Miguel’s daughter, is director and choreographer.

LAVA: Loving & Daring

June 3-20, Wed-Sun 7:30PM June 12, 13, 19 & 20 3PM
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St
www.dixonplace.org
Loving & Daring celebrates Lava’s 10 year retrospective as New York’s OBIE and Bessie Award winning all-female integrated dance, theater, and acrobatic troupe. The signature LAVA works combine athletic physicality, intellectual rigor, social commentary, and multi-media theatricality. Loving & Daring bursts with highlights from a decade of explosive choreography, which integrates daring irreverence, color, and surprising audience participation.

Bull Dyke Chronicles
June 5 & 12, 9:30PM
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St.
www.dixonplace.org
Shelly Mars & Kirby (DP's mascot) offer a night of bull-dyke bullshit, artistry and edgy performance. Shake your tails off.

The Final Episode of Room for Cream
June 5, 5PM & 6:30PM
La MaMa E.T.C., 74A  East 4th Street
www.lamama.org
Lacey Chambers and Portia Morrison continued to get hot and heavy in the most inappropriate places, therapist Wendy struggled with her desire for younger patient Francesca Beam, Julie pursued a dangerous love connection with mysterious newcomer Bella, and Dire Owens grappled with the possibility that Cream might close its doors for good.

To Believe
June 6-27, Thurs-Sun 1-6PM
La MaMa La Galleria, 6 E. 1st St.
www.lamama.org
When faced with impossible questions, mortality or dire situations, people turn to unconventional means or practices for answers. The artists in To Believe are a mixture of skeptics and believers, participants and observers. Through their work they consider the actions taken to achieve self-fulfillment and enlightenment through the otherworldly.

Black Girl Ugly

June 10-26, All performances 8PM except June 26 7:30PM
WOW Café Theatre, 59-61 E. 4th St.
www.wowcafe.org
It ain't easy comin' up Black, not to mention female. Ever considered how difficult it is to cultivate a healthy self-image surrounded by white media? Courtney Dowe, Li’l T. and Chiquita Brooks take you into the collective subconscious of Black Girls trying to hold fast to their love of self.

The Coffeehouse Chronicles
June 19, 3PM
La MaMa E.T.C. The Club, 74A East 4th Street
www.lamama.org
Deals with the gay history of Off-Off Broadway, with guests Robert Heide, Robert Dahdah and others, and will include a DVD appearance by revered gay playwright Robert Patrick.

Too Much PRIDE Makes the Baby Go Gay: 30 Gay Plays in 60 Straight Minutes
June 25 & 26, 10:30PM
The Kraine Theater, 85 E. 4th Street
www.nyneofuturists.org
30 plays reveal the struggle, the joy, the power of being out and proud in NYS in support of acceptance and freedom for all the world's citizens. The award-winning New York Neo-Futurists will be raising money to benefit LGBT advocacy in Uganda through the Fund for Global Human Rights, in an effort to combat proposed legislation that could make it a criminal offense to be gay, with punishment by imprisonment and even execution.  

The Gay Divorce Show
June 26th, 10:00pm WOW Cafe Theater, 59-61 E. 4th St. www.hypergender.com In this salute to Queer Pride, HyperGender Burlesque will bring you some beloved burlesqueers who will excite, shock and make you feel at home among the strange, bizarre and campy.  What better way to warm up for the all night debauchery but with the help of sexy, naked queers?

Special Events
All events listed below are hosted fully or in part by Pride Goes East for more information visit www.pridegoeseast.com


East Side Scavenger Hunt
June 19, 1PM-5PM
Via Twitter all over the East Side!
https://twitter.com/PrideGoesEast
Interested in the secrets of NYC’s hottest neighborhoods?  Looking for an afternoon of friendly competition and FAME?  Then join our scavenger hunt on Saturday, June 26th from 1PM-5PM, where you will compete to uncover the secrets of the Lower East Side & East Village, clue by clue.  The winner will receive prizes and be crowned King or Queen of the Lower East Side 2010 at the end of the day. Sign-up to get the rules via our website or by direct messaging us on Twitter.

Ladies’ Brunch
June 20, 1PM-4PM
www.pridegoeseast.com
Get your brunch one "bite" at a time when you join Pride Goes East for an afternoon of shopping and delectable brunch sampling provided by Spitzer's Corner on Sunday, June 20th from 1pm-3pm. LES clothing and accessories boutiques, including gourmet food and natural cosmetics purveyor, MastihaShop; eco-friendly boutique, Kaight; and adult toy and discovery shop, Babeland, will each be offering a different brunch "bite" to satisfy your cravings, so make sure you hit all stops! Make a purchase at participating retailers of $50 or more and you’ll be rewarded with prizes! For anyone who considers themselves a lady.

Gentlemen’s Night Out
June 24, 6PM-9PM
www.pridegoeseast.com
On Thursday, June 24th, Pride Goes East will sponsor a Gentlemen's Night Out shopping crawl at several on the Lower East Side men's clothing and accessories stores from 6pm-9pm, including well-tailored separates designer By Robert James; rare and UK-specific menswear source Any Old Iron; and punk rock denim, leather and t-shirt designer, The Cast. Enjoy a unique and complimentary beverage in each shop. Retailers will also reward shoppers who spend over $50 with prizes, so be sure to check out all participating stores!

BTGay Band
June 24, 9PM-11PM
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie
www.pridegoeseast.com
A special presentation of BTK Band, NYC's hardest-drinking improvised storytelling rock band, in their Pride celebration performance, BTGay Band! Raconteurs regale the audience with true stories from their lives while music and lyrics are improvised to turn their stories into songs.

Downtown Double Feature
June 26, 1PM-5PM
Millennium Film Workshop, 66-68 East 4th Street, Lower Level
www.pridegoeseast.com
Come catch two films that started as plays down on East 4th Street, RENT and Torch Song Trilogy at Millennium Film Workshop. RENT, the smash hit musical that started at New York Theatre Workshop, dramatizes the lives of artists in Alphabet City in the late 80’s via rock-ballads. Torch Song Trilogy, the movie version of three plays by Harvey Fierstein that originally appeared at La MaMa E.T.C., focuses on Arnold Beckoff, a torch song-singing Jewish drag queen living in New York City in the late 1970 and 1980s. A teen friendly event with FREE cupcakes provided by the Lower East Side Girls’ Club.

Shop-a-thon
June 19th-26th
At any sponsoring business
Show your Pride by shopping on the East side at sponsoring business from June 19th to June 26th and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk School. All week long, shoppers mentioning Pride Goes East at check-outs will be rewarded with free FAB Passes, which offer year round discounts to theaters through-out the East Village and Lower East Side.

MARCH 23, 2010

The Marble Faun speaks out ...

Jerry Torre, the young man who appeared in the original Grey Gardens documentary speaks out about The Hetrick-Martin Institute. 

Reaching out for help was futile at the time of my having runaway from home.  My first priority was to find housing, food and then finish High School.  My early years were a mix of abandonment and abuse, both physical and emotional.  There was no support from within my family, to reach out to my father would only result in beatings.  Choices were few, yet the ones I had to make needed to be based on preserving my being for hopefully better days in my future.  My future has been evolving since I had run away from home and continues to the present day.  Read more here ... 

Hetrick-Martin is hosting its annual School's Out cocktail party at Grey Gardens on June 12th.  Details and tickets are found here.

FEBRUARY 24, 2010

HMI on CNN Headline News

Breaking News! Thomas Krever, HMI's Executive Director, appeared on CNN Headline News on Friday, February 12 at 7 pm EST (channel 58 in Manhattan).  Click here to watch the clip on "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell."  Krever discusses bullying in schools and Hetrick-Martin's mission in serving LGBTQ youth.


FEBRUARY 8, 2010

Thomas Krever Featured on AsIAmFM

As part of the recent American Psychoanalytic Association's National Meeting held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, Thomas Krever, Executive Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, participated on a panel to discuss the psychodynamic impact of being bullied. In particular, Krever addressed the experience of homosexual or transgender children who are bullied.

Click here to hear the discussion with Krever about this important issue and the role that the Hetrick-Martin Institute serves in providing a safe environment in which teens may continue their education.

December 29, 2009

Helping Youths Who Struggle With Identity

by Jennifer S. Lee, New York Times

Vidari DeGuzman was a New York City teenager searching for acceptance when he first came to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a service organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths. Now 24 and with reassignment surgery behind him, he is a youth worker at the institute, located in the East Village.

Making the connection: The Hetrick-Martin Institute really changed my life, honestly. As a youth, I went there when I had nowhere else to go to. It was a place where they accepted me for who I was, and I always thought that if I had a chance to go back and help create a safe space for someone else, I would do so. When I was a youth there, the staff were like our mothers, our fathers. As a staff member now, I find that I take these kids home with me. I look at the young people as the reason I get up every morning.

Click here to read more.