Out and Around Searches for Supergays
May 26, 2011 - In an effort to connect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on a global scale, Out and Around has launched a website that highlights the stories of LGBT people around the world.
Out and Around co-founders and lesbian couple Lisa Dazols and Jenni Chang of San Francisco on July 5 are set to embark on a journey for one year to 15 countries throughout Asia, Africa and South America on a mission to interview Supergays - movers and shakers in the LGBT world who are striving for equal rights and greater acceptance.
The website has already landed interviews with Supergays in San Francisco, including mayor hopeful Bevan Dufty, NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, and California marriage equality plaintiffs Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis.
Now, Out and Around is ready to take its quest abroad to mainly developing countries that vary greatly in how LGBT individuals are protected by the law in search of Supergays who are playing a key role in community organizations or using their influence in politics, health, arts, entertainment, or business to boost awareness and make progress on gay issues.
Dazols, who has worked as an HIV social worker for the last 10 years, has been in a unique position as a counselor to hear people's life stories and the challenges they face.
"Oftentimes because of societal shame or isolation due to sexual orientation and HIV status, these stories never get told," Dazols said. "I'm really excited to interview Supergays around the world to tell stories of hope within our community. This is how we move forward and inspire others who feel that they are alone."
While Dazols and Chang plan to raise a family some day in San Francisco as an open lesbian couple, they know that this is not possible in many countries they are visiting and are interested in opening the door to meaningful exchanges and education.
"Thanks to the generations before us, there are now lively debates about gay soldiers, gay marriage and gay rights, and we started this project to capture this exciting time," Dazols said. "We want to find the commonality in our global gay movement and identify the actions that are working to further defeat homophobia."
Chang sees this journey as an extraordinary opportunity to make a real difference in the LGBT community worldwide.
"By using this year to pursue meaningful exchanges with people different from us across the globe, we hope that we can help both sides gain a little more understanding about the other, and through that understanding, develop more tolerance and acceptance," she said.
Dazols and Chang are currently fundraising. They aim to raise $6000 to reach people with their message and culminate this project with an educational documentary video that they plan to present at community groups, schools and churches.
Dazols and Chang are holding a fundraising launch party on June 18th at Rebel Bar in San Francisco to kick off their year journey. Performances in folk, rock, and indie music will be live by Valerie Orth, Judea Eden Band, and Camp Out. Former San Francisco Supervisor and Mayoral Candidate Bevan Dufty will be a guest speaker.
Out and Around is a collection of our conversations with gay people around the world who are creating change for the LGBT community. By telling the stories of these Supergays, Out and Around hopes to inspire the gay community, decrease homophobia, and raise awareness on gay issues in the developing world.
For more information on Out and Around, go to www.outandaround.com. To contribute financially, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/Out-and-Around-Stories-From-a-Not-So-Straight-Journey
Fundraising event on June 18th from 4-9 pm: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=216684865025944