"In the Midwest, we had this kind of queer desert, with an absence of activities, an absence of events or positive images or performers. Let's bring it to us."
-- Justin Connor, MBLGCC 1994 planner
Often referred to as “fly over states,” the Midwest is forgotten and underfunded. The crucial work of the region is often left out of national rhetoric and communities within the region are subjected to stretching limited resources. Queer and trans youth in the Midwest are more likely to experience “biased language, victimization, and anti-LGBTQ discriminatory school policies and practices” than in the Northeast or West (Kosciw et al, 2018).
The Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity envisions a liberated future where generations of queer and trans people live in abundance and their joy, knowledge, and experience guide our shared existence. We build community among queer and trans youth (and those who support them), expand knowledge of sexuality and gender, and create lasting change across the Midwest through advocacy and expansive programming.
Our life-saving work is made possible through the generous financial support of grassroots donors. We invite you to join us with a monthly or one-time gift. Your donation will support our efforts to build community and build strong movements.
We understand the importance of building connection and community among queer and trans youth across the Midwest. The community care facilitated through our programs “plays a crucial role in LGBT youth loneliness, hopelessness, and mental health outcomes over and above experiences of victimization”(McConnell et al, 2015).
Importantly, building community among queer and trans youth improves health and academic outcomes. A sense of belonging leads to “higher levels of queer-spectrum student academic success” (Garvey et al, 2018). The social relationships and support built at the conference plays an important protective role in reducing hopelessness and anxiety; “as hopelessness is important in predicting suicidal behavior, peer and significant-other social support may be targets for intervention to decrease LGBT suicidality” (McConnell et al, 2015).
Our movement building work focuses on empowering the next generation of movement leaders. We are engaged in social change work, not social services. “Social change work challenges the root causes of [institutional] exploitation and violence” (Kivel, 2007).
Leftist and liberal movement building is significantly under-resourced. Conservative foundations have invested far more in think tanks and idea generation, while liberal foundations have focused almost exclusively on direct service work. “Although large liberal foundations have far more assets than conservative foundations, the latter have been so successful because they have been strategic. [...] Their ideological platform now shapes public policy and debate today.” (Ahn, 2007).
By becoming a monthly donor, you join the OPE (Our Partners in Equity) Giving Program and can receive exclusive benefits:
With a monthly gift of $10 or more, you’ll receive a donor-exclusive quarterly newsletter with updates and behind-the-scenes information about Institute programs.
With a monthly gift of $50 or more, you’ll receive an exclusive invitation to an annual virtual event.
Every. Single. Gift. Counts. Make yours today.
If you prefer to donate by mail, please make your check payable to "Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity" and mail it to:
P.O. Box 1053
East Lansing, MI 48826-1053
Please contact us with questions or to discuss a unique sponsorship opportunity. Thank you for your support and ongoing partnership.
Ahn, C. E. (2017). Democratizing American philanthropy. In Incite! (Ed.), The revolution will not be funded (pp. 63-76). Duke University Press.
Garvey, J. C., Squire, D. D., Stachler, B., & Rankin, S. (2018). The impact of campus climate on queer-spectrum student academic success. Journal of LGBT Youth, 15(2), 89–105. https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2018.1429978
Kivel, P. (2017). Social service or social change?. In Incite! (Ed.), The revolution will not be funded (pp. 129-149). Duke University Press.
Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Zongrone, A. D., Clark, C. M., & Truong, N. L. (2018). The 2017 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
McConnell, E. A., Birkett, M. A., & Mustanksi, B. (2015). Typologies of social support and associations with mental health outcomes among LGBT youth. LGBT Health, 2(1), 55-61. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0051
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