1n10 and creator Michael Weekly
1n10 is a meeting group in Central Phoenix. It is an empowerment group for youth, ages 16-24. It welcomes gay, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and questioning individuals, as well as all their allies- to come to meetings, camp retreats, community building/service projects, and lectures/conversations on a plethora of topics such as sexual safety and gender identity. They believe that social change begins with youth, through youth empowerment and a sense of worth and community. Michael Weekly is the creator of the project and meeting group. Working with a tight knit group of volunteers and other LGBTQ youth leaders around Arizona he has created a network of health for gay youth. With them, he organizes walks through Mill, and events such as handing out condoms and sexual health information during 1st Fridays (downtown Phoenix). ASU Students can get involved by visiting their website and signing up for email updates from Michael. These emails contain a calendar of events, recaps of past events, and opportunities to get involved.
The Plight of Homosexual Youth
Homosexual youth empowerment in Arizona is something that direly needs help. LGBTQ students feel disconnected from the community, especially in high school. Students feel like they can’t relate to others in the community, like they are spread out too far, are too disconnected from the community and there isn’t a place where they can be around people who accept them and people who are like them. Or they might be too scared to embrace their sexuality because they feel as though there isn’t a space where they can be themselves. Because LGBTQ students need to know that we do have spaces for them, spaces where they can be themselves and grow.
1n10 believes that change starts with the youth. In a personal interview with director Michael Weekly, he explained to me “if we can bring them close, create a sense of community among them, give them a place to be happy and safe and whatever they want to be, that we can potentially help stop destructive behaviors commonly attributed to LGBTQ youth”. In the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, authors Russell et al. explains “It is during adolescence that major moral developmental changes begin; it is also a period during which many individuals first become engaged in community roles or collective struggles”(2009, pg. 892). 1n10 creates this sense of community and then directs participants in a positive direction of growth, hoping to empower them to take their positive experiences into the rest of their life. This empowerment is a form of prevention, which not only serves the Arizona youth community but the LGBTQ community as a whole. Prevention of suicide and negative behaviors. They are continuing conversations that are already being had, while are the same time – integrating new and previously undiscussed ideas and issues that need to be talked about, something that Huffington Post author Julie Gray says something that isn’t happening and thus, is promoting bullying and the dismantling of the gay community. Thought their empowerment of youth, 1n10 serves a wider community, sending people into the world as better adjusted, happier, more prepared individuals and more understanding of their own community or a community they support/advocate for. “To me it [empowerment] is…having the knowledge to help others and knowledge is empowerment because most…discrimination is based on ignorance, and so just to get that ignorance out of people who…are supportive, but are…ignorant…. [A]lso hopefully fix the school climate.” (2009, pg. 896)
It is important for ASU students to get involved so they can help create and participate in these young impressionable youth’s community, and possibly to be a part of a community that they, themselves, can relate and benefit from. And this isn’t just a benefit for members of the gay community. But everyone. This is about promoting acceptance. ““This is not about advocating a lifestyle, but making sure our children understand it and, I hope, accept it,” (NY Times 2010, pg.2)
Eckholm, Eric. "In Efforts to End Bullying, Some See Agenda." New York Times 6 Nov. 2010. Print.
Russell, Stephen T., Anna Muraco, Aarti Subramaniam, and Carolyn Laub. "Youth Empowerment and High School Gay-Straight Alliances." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 38.7 (2009): 891-903. Print.