When we first started talking about whether it gets better for gay kids in high school, the focus was on helping those kids make it to the future. If we could just help kids make it out of their high schools, out of their close-minded communities, and sometimes away from their unsupportive families, then they could lead happier lives. But in the year following
the beginning of that campaign, there have been more and more people making a stand to help high school kids be safer and better off right now, especially in the schools. For instance, California’s FAIR Act will now work to provide queer teens with the opportunity to learn about their history and their role models in class, hopefully providing them with a sense of community and place in the world that will combat feelings of isolation and self-loathing.
And now there’s Amelia Roskin-Frazee, who’s only in ninth grade but is already committed to making ninth grade a better place to be. Identifying as an out lesbian at 14 is brave enough, and since coming out she’s also founded her school’s GSA and served on her school’s diversity committee, and is now a student ambassador for GLSEN. And most recently, she’s created a new book project for high school kids all over America.
The Make It Safer Project provides LGBT books about coming out and life as a queer teen to high school populations across the country, and is funded by online donations from supporters. Amelia has a list of ten books that she has shipped together as a package to high school GSA leaders directly from Amazon, who are meant to keep them on a classroom bookshelf, or donate them to the school library if “the GSA is sure that the library will keep them safe and available for all students.” The books might sound familiar — most of them are the same ones Riese and Laneia have read!
The package includes six fiction and four nonfiction books: Annie On My Mind, by Nancy Garden; Empress of the World, by Sara Ryan; Luna, by Julie Anne Peters; Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithanp; Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown; It Gets Better, ed. by Dan Savage and Terry Miller;GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens, by Kelly Huegel; Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens, by Kathy Belge; and Like Me, by Chely Wright.
The project targets schools where resources aren’t already available, and students might be looking for answers without the support of adults — places where GSAs aren’t allowed, or funds aren’t available to buy queer books. The Make It Safe Project’s website is also growing into a resource- and strategy-sharing space for students trying to start their own GSAs, as Amelia did. Oh, and also? She likes to write novels in her spare time, and makes costumes for the San Francisco Carnival. In only 14 years, Amelia Roskin-Frazee has made huge strides towards making the world better for her generation, both now and in the future — maybe she can inspire some adults to follow her example.
This is amazing. Coolest 14-year old!
I wish I was that cool when I was 14. Damn.
Hey, so nice to know someone’s reading my column! Thanks for the mention. I had a great time talking with Amelia about her project–and yes, pretty darn amazing what teens are up to these days.
aw this is the best.
I wish I was this cool now.
Wow, this is amazing. Thank you so much for your support of me and The Make It Safe Project.
YOU’RE AWESOME :)
May I please shake your hand and give you a hug? You totally deserve it, girl, you’re a rock star. My high school is awesome about the gay stuff, but I know from working with other people how important it is to make sure that high schools are safe for LGBT kids. Also, books are awesome, and a great teaching tool.
You’re awesome! I wish I or someone had done this when I was in high school :)
What an incredible contribution from a 14-year-old girl!!! Amelia Roskin-Frazeel will certainly make a difference with Make It Safe Project. I’m sure there is a high percent of schools entirely lacking resources for LGBT youth.
i love it when teens take a proactive approach instead of waiting for the adults to do it!
Wow. She’s accomplished more by age 14 than I have in my entire 30 years. Amazing!
I read this & immediately went to the website and donated. I’m livin’ the starving artist life right now, but queer books saved my life in middle school & high school and I can’t imagine a better use of my money than to support a badass 14-year-old’s amazing vision :)
BOY MEETS BOY IS MY FAVOURITE BOOK
I love and adore this and it rocks harder than anything ever.
wow…this makes me really, really happy. I didn’t even know that there WERE out 14 year olds. And as a 14 year old girl who is only out on the internets (and barely there), that makes me really excited.