Words Matter

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"If I Knew Then.." Project

One of the things I'm constantly finding myself reflect on following a meeting with my high school Gay Straight Alliance students is remembering that intensity of emotions, be it enthusiasm, anxiety, anger, curiosity, etc. but not knowing what to do with those emotions so just being stuck in this perpetual state of feeling lost.  The "If I knew then..." Project is the opportunity to build intergenerational bridges of the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) adults and LGBTQ youth.  To combine the experiential knowledge and strength build over time of LGBTQ elders and the fresh new perspective of the next generation could truly strengthen and empower the LGBTQ community as a whole. 

How it works: LGBTQ elders write letters to their teenage selves that describe their journey and reflect on things they've learned over the years using the theme and statement of "If I knew then..."  The LGBTQ  youth read these letters and recognize themes through others experiences that they identify with in their own.

The outcomes so far have been two fold: Through written words, Youth are provided with some key tools that can help them find their own power and look beyond the circumstances that they are going through to give them a stronger sense of self through constructive advice and encouragement.  By having the opportunity to write out their reflection of their journey, LGBTQ adults are able to recognize how far they've come and take pride in the life of learning that they've developed, while also giving them the chance to publicly "pass the torch" to the future of LGBTQ community.

My goal is to bridge the gaps that prevent our community from being able to recognize our selves as a collective whole.  By being authentic with ourselves and one another, we can connect the dots to recognize that we have the capacity to be the change we wish to see.