Youth, the Arts, and Activism – True Colors: OUT Youth Theater is Paving the Way
If you don’t know them, the True Colors mission is to train and activate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied youth leaders ages 14-29 through a proven community-based theater approach.
After growing up in your basic conservative home town from the movies, moving to the city for college was quite a shock. At 18, I quickly started to realize that growing up feeling different from the people I was surrounded by, was not all that uncommon. I learned that queer isn’t a curse word! And finally started expressing myself according to my true identity; an artist, a transgender man, a poet.
Sometimes I imagine getting those 18 years back. Sometimes I wonder what a grade school experience is like living as one’s whole and authentic self, and to have had the vocabulary to describe my experience. I’ve since had the opportunity to witness just that happening all around me, and specifically in the work of the True Colors: OUT Youth Theater.
[Y]outh involved at True Colors are not only encouraged to express themselves through an active art form – but also are encouraged to organize, teach, and advocate for their communities.
If you don’t know them, the True Colors mission is to train and activate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied youth leaders ages 14-29 through a proven community-based theater approach. They have a wide range of youth programming including the True Colors Troupe (performance), True Colors Studio (workshops from performance to writing to activism), Creative Action Crew (advanced youth leaders who bring workshops to community events), and the Leadership and Inclusion Council (guides for youth program development). Here is some of the Troupe performing during an FY14 showcase, from the True Colors gallery on their website:
The youth involved at True Colors are not only encouraged to express themselves through an active art form – but also are encouraged to organize, teach, and advocate for their communities.
GLAD has often joined up with True Colors to work on youth-based projects. One such project, the Gay-Straight Alliance/Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Campaign is aimed at making it possible for every young person to be able to have a GSA in their school, including public middle schools. Our partners for this project include The Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY, Inc.), Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, GLSEN Massachusetts, Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC), Greater Boston PFLAG, and True Colors: OUT Youth Theater – of course! True Colors was involved in a main part of getting this project off the ground, and provided the voiceover for the GSA video here:
True Colors is also currently having screenings for a brand new documentary. “The Year We Thought About Love’ is a 68 minute documentary film which celebrates the powerful work of a Boston LGBTQ troupe, True Colors: OUT Youth Theater, as they write a play about love.” An official selection of both the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2015, this film follows as “a diverse troupe of LGBTQ youth transforms their personal struggles into theater for social change”.
The next screening of The Year We Thought About Love takes place March 15, 2015 at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, MA. (Online tickets for this screening have sold out; a limited number will be available at the door). Check out more upcoming screening dates!
View full trailer here:
This group of inspiring young people is truly the example: when youth are invited to participate, they will take action for equal treatment, equal expression, and they have the ability to inspire us all to move forward and love deeply.
If you or someone you know is having trouble forming a GSA in their school, contact GLAD Answers (800-455-GLAD) and let us help you get the treatment you deserve in school.