48018_10101856572650329_899021203_nA groundbreaking study published in 2010 found that gay and transgender youth are up to 3 times more likely to experience harsh disciplinary treatment by school administrators- including suspension, expulsion, and school arrest.  For many transgender youth of color, this school-to-prison pipeline quickly leads them toward time behind bars.

Since our founding in 2011, BreakOUT! has worked in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED program, New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth (NOPLAY) to provide training, technical assistance, and co-sponsored events as part of YEP’s ongoing work to be LGBTQ-affirming and welcoming of all students.
It’s also been a key strategy to stopping the rail to jail for many LGBTQ youth of color in our city.
Through additional support from the Tides Out-of-Home Youth Fund, NOPLAY’s Village Program has developed into the most LGBTQ-affirming GED provider in New Orleans, with an expansive LGBTQ young adult library, “out” LGBTQ teachers, a celebrated LGBTQ history week, and an LGBTQ Youth Film Festival. Their staff even represented Louisiana recently at the national Gay-Straight Alliance Network Gathering in Denver, CO.

Despite all this, BreakOUT!’s mostly transgender membership continued to push for a BreakOUT! GED Class. Now, NOPLAY and BreakOUT! are answering the call and taking one more step together to increase opportunities for transgender youth in New Orleans.

On October 28th, NOPLAY will begin providing ABE and GED classes just for BreakOUT! members at NOPLAY’s satellite site in Central City located at YEP’s Youth Center, 1529 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The classes will be held on Monday – Thursday from 12-2pm. Group instruction and one-on-one tutoring will be offered in an intimate setting. Members will be able to study at the BreakOUT! space throughout the week and receive additional support from staff and fellow members, with the possibility of receiving additional tutoring from BreakOUT! volunteers as needed. BreakOUT!‘s first round of classes will consist of at least 5 youth, all BreakOUT! members, ready to start learning.

For more information on our partnership with NOPLAY or to get registered for classes, contact Anthoni.