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Constant attacks on queer and trans youth at the state, local, and school board level are not only endangering queer and trans youth, they’re also creating a sense of hopelessness as harmful policies are enacted before many people even know what’s being debated. Young people are the target of these laws, and we are energized and ready to fight back!


Act Out! With Us

We’re ready to act out for equality, act out for justice, act out for our lives and the safety of our communities and our friends.  Join our nationwide network of young people committed to taking action to stop the transphobic and homophobic laws sweeping our nation.

Advocates for Youth has been training youth activists on exactly that for decades!  Join Act Out!, and then scroll down for how-to resources focused on launching walkouts, protests, and other direct actions supporting queer and trans youth.

Act Out Training Series

Our expert organizers train on an important organizing principle, and help you apply it to your town, school, campus, or state.

In October 2023, for LGBTQ History Month, trainings included:

  • October 11th: Speak Out! A National Coming Out Day Training on Telling Your Story for LGBTQ Rights
  • October 19th: What do you want? How to Demand Change for LGBTQ Youth and Win

In June 2023, for Pride Month, trainings included:

  • June 1st: What do you want? How to Demand Change for LGBTQ Youth and Win
  • June 6th: State Policy for LGBTQ Rights
  • June 15th: Speaking Out for LGBTQ Rights: How to testify in spaces happening about us, without us
  • June 22nd: Our Safety is in Our Hands – LGBTQ Organizing Under Restrictive Policy Environments
  • June 29th: Putting It All Together: Training Review, FAQs, and Planning A Campaign for LGBTQ Rights in Your Community

Background: Understanding the Issue

In state legislative sessions in 2022 and 2023, a record number of bills targeting queer and transgender youth have been introduced - from book bans, to discriminatory bathroom laws, to bans on gender affirming care for youth and adults. As these bills become laws and go into effect, states across the country are becoming unsafe spaces for young people.

Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ+ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures (ACLU)
2023 anti-trans bills tracker
HRC Explains Gender Affirming Care

HRC breaks down what it is, what it’s not and why it’s life-saving.

Getting Started: A History of LGBTQ+ Organizing

The hatred queer and trans people are facing is nothing new - we should remain grounded in the work LBGTQ+ activists have done before us as we fight for a better future.

Billy Porter Gives A Brief History of Queer Political Action | them

LGBTQ+ History
LGBTQ+ Youth Organizing from 1965-1985
Act Up

A note on Act Up and the HIV & AIDS activists of the 80s and 90s: They are heroes and angels. Our very survival and existence is thanks to them. Our name (Act Out) is in homage to them and their incredible tenacity and success.

Choosing Activism Goals

In some cases, you may want to organize to stop a homophobic or transphobic law that is being considered in your state, city or school. At other times, you may want to organize for proactive policies that support queer and trans youth. It’s important that you come together with others in your community or activist group to decide what exactly you are fighting for or against.

How to Start a QSA (Queer-Straight Alliance)
Work to require safe-zone trainings for educators
Advocate for LGBTQ resource centers at your school
Demand that schools allow trans youth to play on sports teams
Get your city to ban conversion therapy
Get your city to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance
Organize against bathroom bans for transgender youth

Creating a Strategy

Developing a strategy is an essential part of organizing because it helps you understand how each step you take will move you closer to winning your demands. A strategy can be defined as the method of building enough power to influence a decision maker to give you what you want.

Youth Activist Toolkit
Ruckus Action Strategy Guide
Effective Activist Planning

Crafting Your Message

Media and storytelling have always been critical to LGBTQ+ organizing. Sympathetic news coverage drives public opinion; politicians are more likely to do something that the public supports, and are more likely to stop a bad policy if the public is against it.

How to Write an Op-ed
Engaging with the Media
Media-Based Organizing

Building Collective Power

People in power should do more to support LBGTQ+ youth, but too often they either actively cause harm or don’t act with courage in support of queer and trans youth. To make real change, we need to come together and demand more of institutions.

Youth Activist Toolkit

Advocates for Youth's resource for student activists building campaigns and working for change in our communities.

Urge your legislators to protect all LGBTQ+ youth
Equality Tracker

Check out Equality Federation’s Equality Tracker for updated information about LGBTQ+ laws and policies and ways to take action in your area.

Know your Rights

Learn more about your rights regarding protesting, advocacy, and taking actions from this ACLU resource

Recruit and Support New Activists

More people in the US support LGBT nondiscrimination than ever before. We can win by building up our movement and using our power.

Anger: Hope: Urgency: Action

A recruitment framework

Recruiting Activists and Volunteers
Facilitation Tools
Next Campaign

Youth Activist Collective

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