When I last caught up with the fine folks at I’m From Driftwood (IFD), they had recently won praise from GLAAD for their Black Community Spotlight. When I received an invitation to their upcoming Spring fundraiser, I figured that they must have new and exciting projects in the pipeline. Indeed, I talked with IFD founder & executive director Nathan Manske and he informed me that the next two Community Spotlight series will focus on elders and homeless youth, respectively.
Noting the particular struggles faced by LGBT elders, Manske stated, “So many elder LGBTers are now getting to the age where they need care at home, or are placed in nursing homes. Many of them end up going back into the closet, which is a terrible way to spend the end of your life. We hope that by bringing their stories into the spotlight, that people will want to take a more active role in caring for LGBT Elders. We’re partnering with Renewal Care Partners, which is a nonprofit that specializes in LGBT Elder care.”
Having officially incorporated as a non-profit less than a year ago, IFD is still funded almost exclusively by individual donors who are dedicated to furthering their mission of helping LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors, and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing. Those in the New York City area should consider attending their fundraiser this Thursday, March 29th. IFD supporters can also donate online if they are unable to attend the fundraiser.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to watch one of IFD’s latest videos about high schooler Lauren who came out to her entire school at once during an assembly on diversity — and received a standing ovation from the student body for her bravery! It is unbelievably heartening to see how much positive change has happened for LGBT youth in the ten years since I graduated from high school. While LGBT bullying, suicide, and homelessness all require our attention, positive changes are being seen all over our country.
J. Rudy Flesher, a Philadelphia based actor and author, holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, and is an award-winning feminist scholar. Ze blogs here and at The Pistol in Bed Thirteen, works with PhinLi Bookings to connect LGBTQ and sex positive talent with audiences, and is currently writing hir first book, an essay collection on the daily experiences of a genderqueer life. Ze will also be published in the forthcoming anthology “Beyond Masculinity.”
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