Youth-Led LGBTQ+ Youth Liberation Since 2006
Members of iNSIDEoUT’s first Board – Siobhan Burke-Siegemund (Homeschooled), Brandon Byers (NC School of Science and Math), Lena Eckert-Erdheim (Durham School of the Arts), and Ashleigh Pippin (Sanderson High School) – began working together in the Spring of 2005. In October 2005, with the support of their undergraduate advisor, Robert Wells (UNC-Chapel Hill), and their adult allies, Amy Glaser and Dale Wolf, they organized a statewide rally and march to advocate for the passage of the School Violence Prevention Act. In March, 2006, on the lawn at Weaver Street Market, they chose the name iNSIDEoUT, envisioning something even bigger, something they knew had only just begun. In May of that year, iNSIDEoUT gathered their peers from 19 high schools in the Triangle for the First Annual iNSIDEoUT Banquet and Gaiety, elected a new board for the coming year, and together formulated a mission and vision. In 2009, iNSIDEoUT created Outside In, an adult-run 501(c)3, to provide legal backing and increase capacity. In 2011, they started UPSIDEDOWN, a group for those under 13 years old.
ABOUT iNSIDEoUT 180
iNSIDEoUT is a youth-led network of safer spaces, resources, and opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to unite and organize. We elevate and celebrate the voices and knowledge of LGBTQ+ youth from all backgrounds as forces for justice, liberation, and the eradication of all systems of oppression!
We seek to create a safer space for all LGBTQ+ youth, both near and far. We work to connect Gay-/Queer-Straight Alliances with one another to strengthen our community. Throughout the year we host multiple events to help people feel accepted and supported for who they are.
A grassroots, youth-run structure is essential for harnessing the exponential power of youth organizing.
Youth are clearer in their vision of liberation
Youth have an easier time than adults breaking through norms for gender and sexuality that are harmful and repressive. Youth have more vivid imaginations, less cynicism, and more hope and resilience. These skills are essential for fighting the good fight, and making the most of these skills requires that youth have meaningful control within the organization.
Youth know better than anyone else what youth need and want.
As a youth-serving organization, iNSIDEoUT believes we are stronger when youth take the reins. The organization is most effective when young people’s valuable insights and experiences are centered, not just included as an afterthought or in an advisory role. This is the best way, we think, to meet young people’s needs, not just the needs of our youth leaders, but of all the youth they serve.
Youth have underutilized potential as agents of social change.
In our culture, youth are taught to be passive and to do whatever adults tell them to. But youth have also been at the forefront of every social justice movement, and they have played a profound role in fighting for LGBTQ liberation in their schools. We want to maximize young people’s potential and help them realize the power that they have to create change.
Schools are a powerful asset for organizing.
Most young people go to school, which means that schools include one of the broadest, most diverse segments of our population. By being rooted in schools, GSAs and QSAs have access to space, adult support, and other resources that have allowed the movement to grow at an impressive rate. Since most youth go to school, they have access (including material resources such as transportation) to these clubs that may not be possible elsewhere. This allows youth who are traditionally under resourced to get the life saving support and help that they need.
Youth leadership is good for youth leaders.
Youth are told in a thousand different ways that they have to wait until they are older to have a meaningful say in their lives and communities. In iNSIDEoUT, the work youth do is important when they do it. Youth are not just practicing skills for later, their hands-on projects and undertakings are important and have real consequences now. The skills they develop by leading the organization will be helpful to them throughout their entire lives, as many of our alumni are already aware. Within iNSIDEoUT, youth have learned how to plan events large and small, how to organize campaigns, how to make intentional space for healing and peer support, how to create, publish and distribute a magazine, and so much more.
MEET OUR LEADERS
iNSIDEoUT is run by a 5- or 6-person youth board, alongside a larger, ever-expanding GSA/QSA Senate. The Senate is composed of representatives from local GSA's and QSA's, offering a chance for these leaders to connect and support one another. The Board and Senate receive support from 2 or 3 adult staff and are backed legally and financially by a 501(c)3,Outside In.
The iNSIDEoUT Board is a group of members responsible for organization, planning, and ensuring the aspirations of iNSIDEoUT and it’s participants can be fulfilled! We spend time organizing events and learning from each other as we work towards justice and liberation for all. The Board is elected every year by the previous Board through an application process. Meet our 2019-2020 Board!