While most of us are in the midst of taking full advantage of the lazy days of summer, 16-year-old Amelia Roskin-Frazee has been hard at work for LGBT teens. As the founder and president of the Make It Safe Project, she has managed to create an indispensable resource for gay and questioning students across the country. Citing her own school library’s total lack of resources for LGBT students, Roskin-Frazee founded the organization in November 2011 to provide schools and homeless shelters with fiction and nonfiction LGBT-themed titles.
“I read through dozens of books and selected the ones that I liked the most,” Roskin-Frazee said. “I also consulted fellow Student Ambassadors at The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to get their input.”
The result? Book packages of 10 that include popular works like Malinda Lo’s Ash, Nancy Gardener’s Annie On My Mind, and Chely Wright’s Like Me. A writer herself, the young teen regularly blogs about women’s issues–a recent piece covered the case of a 17-year-old who almost faced jail time for naming her attackers on Twitter. Did we mention that she’s also editing the manuscript of her first novel? Whew!
Visitors to the Make It Safe Project are always welcome to pen their own personal coming out and Gay-Straight Alliance experiences in the stories section.
“There are always people who don't want equality, but most feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Roskin-Frazee explained. “That said, I think my favorite message was from a 13-year-old girl in South Carolina who, before receiving my books, had no idea there were other LGBT people in the world. After reading them, she no longer felt alone. Messages like that keep this project going.”
And if you’re about to make the life-changing decision to come out, the out and proud lesbian high school student has a message for you:
“First, it's important to remember that there are people who will love you no matter what. I already do. The second thing to remember is that it might take time for people to fully accept that you're LGBT, and that's okay. I know it's hard, but try to be patient and answer questions your family members and friends have. Lastly, remember that you're not alone, even though you might feel like you are. There are thousands of people just like you all around the world. There's nothing wrong with you. You're not sick or going through a "phase." Remember, in the words of Lady Gaga, ‘I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way.’”
Images courtesy of the Make It Safe Project