I don’t tend to dwell on the negative. I said once in an interview that I write toward the world I’d like to see. I have a cynical side, sure, but most often, I assume best intentions. Look for the good. Come on, it’s half full if you squint.
And Casey Parks shares some good things in this well-written multimedia article, Life as a Portland gay teen better, but not all rainbows. Identity. Community. The feeling that Portland is a good place to be queer. Mr. and Ms. Junior Gay Pride. Boys demonstrating proper snap technique. Girls giggling about how straight one of them used to be, til the night she was like hey, that girl looks good!
You take all that, and you set it next to the fact that Caitlin Bernardi, aka Rainbow, got kicked in the head for saying yes when a stranger asked if she was gay. In 2009. In Portland. Outside the all-ages gay club.
Stay with me, because this is going to feel like a big subject shift.
A friend who works for the New York Public Library sent along some videos he wanted me to share. I’d be happy to, I told him, but I held onto them for a little while, not sure exactly how I wanted to post about them. (Well, that, and the fact that I got sick and wasn’t especially coherent for a couple of days.)
Now I know. The NYPL, as my friend writes:
worked with 6 high school students, who are all aspiring fashion designers, and brought them into the library to explore some of the fashion and design related collections, and to give them different perspective on past fashion trends. They then did some sketches and brought them back to the library to show Tim Gunn, who then provided personal advice to each aspiring designer, and answered any questions they had about fashion, the industry, or the project.
The teens’ designs will be showcased at the 5th Annual Anti-Prom, which this year is themed Vam-Prom. The Anti-Prom, organized by NYPL’s Young Adult Programs, provides an alternative, safe space for all teens who may not feel welcome at official school proms or dances because of their sexual orientation, the way they dress, or any other reason.
Watch, and be inspired:
I’m not saying that the existence of events like Anti-Prom in New York, or Mr. and Ms. Junior Gay Pride here in Portland, means that violent bigots will vanish from the earth. (I do have that cynical side.) But having the events, and talking about them, and making sure everyone knows how incredibly cool they are — that’s one way to create change.