Queer joy for your day… we love to see it.

Last year, we awarded $500,000 in grants to schools across the U.S. for student-led projects that support LGBTQ+ youth. Just over a year later, it’s time to see how their projects turned out!

Meet some of our 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices. grantees โ€” from Pride Week events to video series educating teachers and parents on the importance of respecting pronouns, we are so honored for you to learn a little bit more about these incredible teachers, students and schools. You can learn more about all of the grant recipients here.

Tennessee – This school in Nashville, TN used their grant funds to put on a series of Pride Week events at their school! We asked their teacher how it went:

In general, the reaction to our project has been positive. However, some parents and students were not pleased. When Pride Week was announced, we had angry parents coming into our school office or calling angrily. Student reactions were more ignorant, attempting to push boundaries as we laid out what it meant to be respectful.

By the end of Pride Week though, some of the same students who voiced hate, participated wholeheartedly, asked good questions, and showed immense growth.

This progress in our students shows me that the programming was worthwhile, even for those who pushed back against it.๐Ÿ’œ

Maine – This school in Maine used their grant funds to create a super-profesh video about pronouns and pronoun usage for their teachers and students – they’re premiering it at school this fall.

We asked student Saga how it went:

Students feel more recognized by previously confused staff and peers who didn’t understand or make an effort to use the correct pronouns.

I was surprised by how intelligent and fantastic our GSA group is. Everyone had insight and knowledge to share, it was really a group effort.

Some have been concerned, but overall the project has had very positive feedback. Staff and students have been open to watching to learn about the subject, and the community is very excited about it. ๐Ÿ’œ

Connecticut – This school in Connecticut used their grant funds to host Valley Pride Conference, with a day full of workshops about gender and sexuality, activism, safety, dating, and so much more! We asked student Aaron how it went:

With this Grant project we hoped to bring together a community of students who needed to find a space that was not just safe, but a space where they could be free to speak with one another and learn what it feels like to be in an environment where there was no hate mixed in with the respect that they were given.

It was just Respect. I believe that we did exactly what we had planned. We brought these students together and through our different workshops, these students were able to learn according to their own personal interest and they were able to meet and talk to people who may have similar experiences to them.” ๐Ÿ’œ

Indiana – These students in Indiana used their grant funds to host the city’s official Pride festival, @carmelpride, with concerts, food trucks, vendors, and more to bring the local community together!

We asked student Marielle what was most surprising about creating the event: “How many adults were willing to step up and help us. During the beginning of our planning, we asked if there were any adults able to assist us with finances and logistics.

Over 20 adults showed up to support us and offer their help and advice. We didnโ€™t expect much support from adults and itโ€™s very heartwarming to know how many supportive adults are out there.” ๐Ÿ’œ

Alabama – This school in Alabama used their grant funds to have an entire Pride-themed mural painted on their school’s campus for everyone to see, as a daily reminder that they’re supported.

We asked teacher Payne how it went and what advice they’d give to other LGBTQ+ students: “It was exciting getting to work with the students to cultivate this project from the very beginning to completion. From brainstorming about what we wanted our mural to depict to painting with the kids to seeing the finalized mural, it was a thrilling process.

You are seen and loved. Even if your immediate situation doesn’t reflect that, there are people in this world who are so excited and happy for you to be exactly who you are and want to know and love you. Don’t give up!” ๐Ÿ’œ