Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Mourning the Death of Leelah Alcorn
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:58

We mourn the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who took her own life this week. Leelah left a note in which she described the difficulties she faced growing up trans. She described the relief she felt when she learned about transgender people and could put a name to how she felt about her own gender, and she described the harmful and misguided attempts to “correct” her gender expression which she experienced from many adults in her life.

According to some studies, over half of transgender teens will attempt to take their lives before they are twenty. Too often, they live in hostile environments and face unwelcoming, even dangerous, schools and communities. Like Leelah, many are forced to undergo psychiatric counseling which attempts to change who they are. This kind of “therapy” is unethical, and is a violation of young people’s rights and a danger to their health.

Transgender young people should be accepted and celebrated for who they are. We need to ensure their dignity and create opportunities for happiness and fulfillment. Leelah hoped her death would not be in vain and that people would learn from it and offer support and love to trans teens. We honor her legacy and will continue to work to realize her vision.

Tickets Selling Fast - Get Yours Now!
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 10:17

The groundbreaking theatrical production Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign premieres in Washington, D.C. on January 20.  

The 1 in 3 Campaign, a project of Advocates for Youth, welcomes playwrights, feminists, youth activists, theater enthusiasts and abortion care supporters to delve into this insightful production at the historic Studio Theatre. Composed of 13 scenes from 10 different female playwrights with one sole mission: to create a new conversation about abortion and move beyond the political rhetoric and divisive debate to a more personal understanding of the role abortion plays in women’s lives.

Purchase your tickets today!

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 10:13

It's been an exciting and challenging year at Advocates!  From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Check out what we got up to in FY2014 here.

Here's to a great 2015!

Rolling Stone, Campus Sexual Assault, and Know Your IX
Monday, 08 December 2014 12:58

A recent controversy about Rolling Stone's article about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, and the magazine's subsequent retraction of that article, has sparked lots of conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.  Rolling Stone's handling of the situation was regrettable.  But in the maelstrom of criticism, it's important to remember that the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses is real.  At least 85 colleges or universities are under investigation due to concerns about how they handled allegations of sexual assault.  Too few campuses are doing the work of not only overhauling policies, but changing a culture on campus that normalizes sexual assault and blames survivors rather than perpetrators.

Our friends at Know Your IX, a national student campaign against gender-based violence, wrote this piece for MSNBC:

"Here’s the thing: Campus violence is very real. The national effort to address these harms has been heavily reported, but the rape, harassment, abuse, and assault started long before journalists turned their attention to our lives. They occur now whether or not you believe Jackie or any other student. But I hope you do.

If we spent all the energy we expend questioning survivors instead preventing violence, just imagine the impact we could have."

Read the full article


Out of Silence Print
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:21
Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign (1 in 3 play)

Press Release: Advocates for Youth’s 1 in 3 Campaign Announces Production of Groundbreaking Play

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2014
Rachel Cooke, Advocates for Youth

202.419.3420 x45 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

1 in 3 Campaign reveals plans for the Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, a series of vignettes inspired by women’s real life experiences with abortion, coming to a theater January 2015 Washington D.C., – Today, the 1 in 3 Campaign is proud to announce a transformative theatrical piece that will deepen and expand our understanding of women’s experiences with abortion—Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, but for too long the culture of shame and stigma have pushed these stories to the fringes, or worse, into silence. The play will feature a series of vignettes written by a diverse set of multi-generational, female playwrights based on the over 400 stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. The play will be co-produced by Jacqueline E. Lawton and directed by Marie Byrd Sproul. In the same vein as The Vagina Monologues, Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will explore a wide range of situations and experiences. The play will continue the 1 in 3 Campaign’s mission to start a new conversation about abortion and move beyond the political rhetoric and divisive debate and will instead highlight the importance of abortion plays in the lives of women. “Plays have a long history of introducing new perspectives and shifting public discourse, while providing audience with a safe space to grapple with important social issues” says Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We have been honored to receive these stories from women across the country. Each story is unique and brings a fresh perspective to the issue, but what is most remarkable are the commonalities that bind us. It is our hope that after seeing these plays performed, the audience will understand that women who seek abortion are our sisters, daughters, mothers, and best friends. Our voices need to be heard and we are thrilled to bring that to stage for wider audiences.” In keeping with the 1 in 3 Campaign’s dedication to highlighting and furthering the activism of Millennials on abortion access, the play will be made available, for free, for youth activists to stage on their college campuses and their communities. The script for Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will be available on the 1 in 3 Campaign website. The play is comprised of a series of short scenes, monologues and point-of-views all inspired from the stories of the 1 in 3 Campaign. The first private read-through for youth activists took place early September 2014. Creative team included co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton, director Marie Byrd Sproul, dramaturgs Hannah Hessel Ratner and Laura Esti Miller, playwrights Allison Currin, DW Gregory, Caleen Jennings, Nicole Jost, Kristen LePine, Soo-Jin Lee, Danielle Mohlman, Mary Resing, Noelle Viñas, and Anu Yadav and actors Lolita-Marie, Patricia Dugueye, Amal Saade and Jennifer Speerstra.. A fully produced play will be performed for the public in a professional theater in January 2015 around the anniversary of Roe v Wade. “It’s been an honor working on this project,” says co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton. “I was deeply touched after reading the stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, and I feel that Out of Silence creates room for better understanding of the complexities of people’s lives and the need to protect women’s rights.” “Bringing this production to the stage has been an insightful experience both personally and professionally,” says director Marie Byrd Sproul. “These stories need to be heard, they need to be brought out for all of us to listen to and respect.”


The 1 in 3 Campaign, a project of Advocates for Youth, is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion that uses storytelling to end the stigma around abortion care in America and to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal, and affordable.

Co-Producer biography:

Jacqueline E. Lawton was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. Lawton has worked as a dramaturg and research consultant at Active Cultures, Actors Theatre of Louisville - Humana Festival of New American Plays, African Continuum Theater Company, the Arden Theater, Arena Stage, Discovery Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford's Theatre, Horizons Theater, Howard University, the Hub Theatre, Interact Theatre, Kennedy Center VSA Program, Morgan State University, Redshift Productions, Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre, Theater Alliance, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J, Tribute Productions, University of Maryland, Virginia Stage Company, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She serves on the Advisory Board of African Continuum Theatre Company and as the Diversity and Inclusion Online Conference Curator for TCG. She is a proud member of Arena Stage's Playwright's Arena and the Dramatist Guild of America.

Director biography:

Marie Byrd Sproul is a freelance director. DC area credits include: Director, One-Minute Play Festival (Round House Theatre); Assistant Director to Jeremy Skidmore on The Beauty Queen of Leenane and to KJ Sanchez on ReEntry (Round House Theatre); Assistant Director to Aaron Posner on The Conference of the Birds (Folger Theatre) and The Last Five Years (Signature Theatre); Director, Stage Door (American Century Theatre). Other Regional theatre credits include: Assistant Director to Gavin Witt on Twelfth Night, to Jeremy Cohen on Let There Be Love and to KJ Sanchez on ReEntry (Centerstage); Co-Director of The Decade Plays (Centerstage); Assistant Director to Aaron Posner on The Game's Afoot (The Cleveland Playhouse); Director, The Wrestling Season, The Why, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (ShenanArts).
Ensuring Young People’s Access to Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 08:33

Check out this important new publication!

Young people need access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care services. By requiring most health plans to cover preventive services without cost sharing, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) holds the potential to make many critical healthcare services more accessible to young people, including screenings for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, contraceptive care, pregnancy-related care, and HPV immunizations, among other services. Additionally, the ACA has made it possible for many young people to stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, and those with income under 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for Medicaid coverage.Since young people ages 15 to 24 are more likely to experience unintended pregnancy and STIs than most other age groups,increased access to these services has the potential to make a real difference in many young people’s lives. In fact, it already has: since the implementation of the ACA, young people are significantly more likely to receive a routine examination including preventive care services.

But at the policy level, a number of challenges exist to successful implementation of the preventive services provisions of the ACA, especially those pertaining to reproductive and sexual health. 

Read more

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 08:20


November 25 is the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and the first day of 2014’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, that runs through December 10 (International Human Rights Day)During the 16 Days of Action, Advocates for Youth and our allies highlight violence against women as a human rights issue and call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. This year, the theme of the 16 Days of Activism is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!” In observance of the 16 Days, advocates from around the world are using blog posts, radio, and other media, and hosting events to lift up the stories of women and girls, emphasize the intersectional nature of gender-based violence and push for an end to violence against women.

All Young People Have the Right to Lead Safe and Healthy Lives
Monday, 24 November 2014 21:22

The death of Michael Brown represents only one small piece of the systemic injustice and violence that all too frequently cause young people, particularly young men of color, irreparable harm in our communities. No young person's life should end under such tragic circumstances -- circumstances that are far too common. Too many of our young people in the United States and around the world grow up in fear and at risk of violence and harm from a society that does not give them the rights and respect they deserve. At the very least, young people should not fear violence or danger from those whose duty it is to protect and serve. We all need to keep working for a culture and for policies that value young people, create opportunities for them, and make them part of the solution.. All young people deserve, and have the right to lead, safe and healthy lives.

Young people in communities around the nation have stood up against the continued injustices and called for real solutions to the systemic injustice. We stand in solidarity with those exercising their right to nonviolent protest and making efforts to find lasting change.

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