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#GetYrRights Twitter Rally!

on Sat, 10/11/2014 - 02:36

As many of you already know, October 11, THIS SATURDAY, is NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY, a day that – while well intentioned – doesn't always address the lived realities of LGBTQ youth of color who are criminalized and policed. For many of us, especially transgender and gender non-conforming youth, being “in the closet” was never an option. And for others, simply being visible – without structural changes to state-based violence – still isn’t safe.

Let’s flip the script on National Coming Out Day, #NCOD! Let's use #NCOD to talk about Coming Out in the face of policing and criminalization. Let's talk about issues that matter to LGBTQ youth of color. Let's talk about strategies for staying safe with the police and on the streets.

And let’s share our #GetYrRights strategies with youth all

#WeAreTheSouth / #SomosElSur

on Mon, 09/22/2014 - 03:34

BreakOUT! Program Director, Shaena Johnson

As we begin LGBT History Month in October, The Better Together Southern Leadership and Action Cohort (Better Together Cohort) is proud to debut an exciting new photo campaign, #WeAreTheSouth / #SomosElSur, to magnify the robust lives, cross cultural organizing, and dynamic leadership of LGBTQ, People of Color, and Immigrant Communities working to advance Racial Justice and LGBTQ Liberation in the US South.

What is Better Together?

The Better Together Cohort began in 2012 as an initiative of The Center for Racial Justice Innovation (Race Forward) in partnership with Southerners on New Ground (SONG) to “connect and support a diverse set of Southern leaders working at the intersection of racial and LGBT justice in their communities.” Now in our

BreakOUT! Launches the Building Our Power Institute

on Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:45

BreakOUT! is celebrating the launch of the Building Our Power Institute, a 15-week long leadership development and organizing training for BreakOUT! members.  The Institute will run two cohorts a year, one in Spring and one in the Fall, and incorporate political education, youth organizing and movement building, healing and wellness, Know Your Rights trainings, individual goal-setting, and more.  The BOP Institute was designed through a partnership between our youth leaders and Organizers “to build upon the awesomeness generated by BreakOUT! Members, and to foster their development into fiercer community leaders.”

The Institute will also build BreakOUT!'s capacity by providing a clear leadership pipeline for youth, additional ways for youth to move up and through the organization,

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!