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BreakOUT! Joins 100 Organizations in Call for Federal Action to Prevent Police Profiling

on Fri, 08/22/2014 - 13:48

More Than 100 Organizations Call for Federal Action to Prevent Discriminatory Profiling

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061,
August 21, 2014

WASHINGTON – In the wake of ongoing tragedies in Ferguson, Missouri, The Leadership Conference and Civil and Human Rights and a coalition of more than 100 organizations have released the statement below calling for updated federal guidance and legislation to stop discriminatory law enforcement profiling that persists across the country:

“Last week’s shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the military-style response by the local police to demonstrators, and allegations of racially biased law enforcement are the result of longstanding and corrosive limitations on our nation’s law

BreakOUT! and National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs to Host "Ending Violence, Ending Criminalization," August 9th [UPDATED]

on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 02:07


The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs is holding their annual Regional Training Academy in New Orleans this year!  Co-sponsors and local hosts of the event are BreakOUT!, along with support from Women with a Vision, Inc. and the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans.

Join us for an all-day mini conference on talking through strategies to end violence in our communities in New Orleans, the South, and beyond! Topics covered will be policing, immigration reform, interpersonal and domestic violence, HIV criminalization, violence against sex workers, violence against trans women of color, and more!

YOUTH! Come learn about YR RIGHTS! Also presenting will be the Get Yr Rights: A National Know Your Rights Network for LGBTQ Youth on staying safe with the police! 

Other presenters

City Councilmember Questions NOPD on BreakOUT! Testimony, Human Rights Watch Report

on Fri, 06/27/2014 - 04:00


"My concern was with regards to a young transgender college student who was harassed at night going to and from a class- not in any way involved in prostitution- but being profiled because of being transgender."  Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams

On June 25th, Chief Serpas and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) presented budget information in front of the City Council Criminal Justice Committee and answered questions regarding NOPD spending as well as progress of policing reforms.

Recently elected Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams, questioned Chief Serpas regarding our recent presentation in front of the City Council Community Development Committee just a few days prior:

"We very recently here at City Hall had several members of the LGBTQ community who believe that they

BreakOUT! Presents in City Council on Continued Police Harassment of Transgender Women

on Sat, 06/14/2014 - 14:49

A Member Blog by Co'Bella Monroe


On June 11, 2014, I attended the City Council meeting at City Hall with BreakOUT! to address the many problems that affect LGBTQ citizens in the criminal (in)justice system in New Orleans.  We were invited to attend by Human Rights Watch Megan McClemore, who was presenting on findings and recommendations from the report, In Harm’s Way: State Response to Sex Workers, Drug Users, and HIV in New Orleans.  Also presenting was Women With a Vision.  The Committee, the Community Development Committee, was chaired by Councilmember Cantrell and was particularly interested in the health impacts of over-policing, the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, the criminalization of transgender women, and disproportionate rates of HIV among the Black LGBTQ

Federal Policy Recommendations Released for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living With HIV

on Thu, 05/15/2014 - 04:00
BreakOUT! was proud to participate in a convening last year that resulted in the publishing of a report by the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School and co-authored by the Center for American Progress, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, and Streetwise & Safe, A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV.
The authors gathered input from more than 50 legal, advocacy and grassroots organizations working on LGBT and criminal justice policy and "provides an extensive outline of policy measures that federal agencies can adopt to address discriminatory and abusive policing practices, improve conditions for LGBT prisoners and immigrants in detention, decriminalize HIV, and prevent LGBT

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!