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BreakOUT! Director Named One of Trans 100

on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:49

The Trans 100, released on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, pays tribute to trans people and their positive, extraordinary advocacy in an effort to "celebrate the living."  In its second year, the list is sponsored by GLAAD, Chicago House, and This is HOW, and includes BreakOUT! Director, Wes Ware among the 100 leaders in the community.  Kye Allums, athlete and founder of Project I Am Enough, delivered the keynote address this year at the announcement in Chicago, along with actress and advocate Laverne Cox, who visited our office last month and mentioned BreakOUT! in her closing remarks!

Laverne Cox Makes Special Trip to BreakOUT! *UPDATED*

on Mon, 02/17/2014 - 22:26

Actress, producer, and transgender activist Laverne Cox made a special visit to BreakOUT! this afternoon to talk and share with members.  The trip came after members launched a social media campaign asking her to make a trip to our office before she speaks at Tulane University this evening.  Members shared stories with Laverne about living in New Orleans as young, Black transgender women and their experiences with criminalization and organizing in their communities.  We also got advice on things we can do to ensure our success and the importance of affirming self-love.  Afterward, we posed for plenty of photos and even got her to write a note to one of our incarcerated members on the inside.

After the visit, Laverne sent this tweet:

Thank you for coming to visit, Laverne!

BreakOUT! To Perform "Say My Name" in New York, Philadelphia

on Sun, 02/16/2014 - 19:36

BreakOUT! will be hitting the road again in March to perform "Say My Name, Say My Name," our theater production with Ping Chong + Company, in New York and Philadelphia.  If you remember, we used this project to kick off our Healing Justice Program back in October, when we were invited by the Arcus Foundation to develop and perform the piece for the Neighborhood Funders Group Convening in Jackson, Mississippi.

The performance, written and directed by Sara Zatz and Mieke Dee, is based on interviews, writings and conversations with the cast and members of BreakOUT!   The 45 minute theatrical performance features the true stories and life experiences of five Black transgender young women who are members of BreakOUT!  It explores the dynamics of growing up transgender against the backdrop of

START YOUR ENGINES! BreakOUT! Hosts Fantasy Drag Race Fundraiser

on Sat, 02/15/2014 - 14:46
You've heard of Fantasy Football. You've (hopefully) heard of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Now get ready for BreakOUT!'s RuPaul's Fantasy Drag Race Fundraiser!
The rules are simple: Each week players will pick a team of queens and earn points based on their weekly performance. BreakOUT! will track your score and update you each week as you choose your next top queens. Either watch the show each Monday beginning on February 24th to root for your favorite queen- or just keep up with your score online as we update you on your progress each week.
The price to play is a $25 donation to BreakOUT! and at the end of the season in May, the person with the most points will win a special prize and become...
BreakOUT!'s next Fantasy Drag Superstar!
Not sure who to pick?  Meet the queens.

BreakOUT! Attends, Presents at 26th Annual Creating Change Conference in Houston, TX

on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 17:49

Above: photo by Miriam Mimi Madrid Puga (MMMP)

Reflections on Our First Creating Change Conference

By Milan and BreakOUT!
On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, four BreakOUT! staff took an amazing road trip to Houston, Texas for the 26th Annual Creating Change LGBT Conference.  Over 4,000 people attended this year.
Our road trip was rocky in the beginning- three of us were supposed to be flying out that morning but due to the cold weather, our flights were all either delayed or cancelled so we jumped in the car instead to take the road trip to Texas.  Once we got in the car though, we realized that they had declared a state of emergency and I-10 was closed down until right outside the Texas border!

BreakOUT! Responds to Gabourey Sidibe "Tranny" Comments on Arsenio Hall

on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 14:36
By Trinity and BreakOUT!
As one of the “trannies” residing in New Orleans, Louisiana I took offense with the statement made by one of the Black actresses I adore and love to watch behind the camera, Gabourey Sidibe, a.k.a. Queenie from Coven, when she recently repeatedly used the word “tranny” on Arsenio Hall.
“There’s a bar that we would frequent…and when we were leaving every single time there was always a gang of cops arresting trannies.”
She went on to say, “I don't know what goes on with trannies, but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop.”
The words she uttered over and over again were not funny and didn’t sit well with me. Although the Bible says thou shall not judge, I just couldn’t help but to call it like I see it, and take an eye for an eye.

BreakOUT! & Streetwise and Safe (SAS) Launch National LGBTQ Know Your Rights Network at Creating Change Conference

on Fri, 01/31/2014 - 01:45

Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and BreakOUT!, two organizations made up predominantly of LGBTQ youth of color with experiences of policing and the criminal legal system,are launching a national Know Your Rights Network for LGBTQ youth to know and share resources for reducing the harms of interactions with the police and other law enforcement and organizing for systemic changes in policing practices.

Born out of workshops, surveys, and conversations with LGBTQ youth organizations across the country at the Allied Media Conference and at FIERCE’s Connecting Our Roots convening, the newly launched network aims to meet a need consistently identified by LGBTQ young people for media, materials, and strategies for sharing information about their rights with the police that are tailored to their

BreakOUT! Hosts Missouri GSA for Peer Exchange on LGBTQ Youth and School-to-Prison Pipeline

on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 17:04

Thanks to the GSA Network, BreakOUT! enjoyed a peer exchange with the Missouri GSA Network in January to talk about the school-to-prison pipeline and criminalization of LGBTQ youth in our communities, especially transgender youth of color.

Over 2 days, young people gathered to learn from each other, breaking down experiences being criminalized in Missouri and New Orleans, visiting juvenile court, holding storycircles, and planning for next steps over po'boys and barbecue.  We even took some time to write to BreakOUT! members currently in the prison pipeline to show them love and solidarity!

One of the Missouri GSA youth members had this to say:












BreakOUT! looks forward to continuing to build relationships with our friends in Missouri!

Why It's F-ed Up

on Tue, 01/28/2014 - 19:30

photo credit: The Advocate

BreakOUT! Statement Following Orleans Parish Prison Sheriff's Candidate Forum

by Milan Alexander and BreakOUT!
On January 16th, 2014, the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) hosted a Sheriff Candidates Forum at St. Peter Clavier Catholic Church.
People in attendance might have been surprised to hear the F-bomb in church, as the candidates answered BreakOUT!’s question about the treatment of LGBTQ prisoners.
“That’s f-ed up!” we yelled in response to a Sheriff Candidate's proposal to subject transgender people to “full psychological evaluations” to determine their gender identity.
We meant no disrespect to St. Peter Clavier Church, OPPRC (a coalition of which we are a part), or the elders present at this important event.

Last Minute Shopping for the Holidays?

on Wed, 12/18/2013 - 13:52

Local Artist Josh Wingerter Donates Paintings to BreakOUT!

David Bowie, 11x14, $95 donation

Local New Orleans artist, Josh Wingerter, has donated several paintings to BreakOUT! to support our work to fight the criminalization of LGBTQ youth!

Good As You (3 colors available), 11x14, $95

Joan Baez (signed by Joan Baez) 20x16, $500

Michael Jackson, 11x14, $95  SOLD

Josh's work has been featured in various exhibits around New Orleans from Tresor Gallery to the Frenchmen Art Market. His work can be described best as "Graffiti On Canvas" or any objects he can paint on!  Josh wraps the canvas in newspaper, does a freehand stencil....using spray paint and acrylic to create the image, sealing it with resin to create that pop effect!  Check out his website and Facebook for more info.