In 2012, LGBTQ youth from around the country gathered in Detroit to attend Werk It!, an Allied Media Conference Network Gathering co-organized by FIERCE and BSEEDZ. At this gathering, youth shared their organizing work and experiences, as well as their ideas to make change and build youth power. In one of the gathering exercises, youth were asked to write on flip chart papers things that they wanted to see happen and things that could change the daily lives of LGBTQ youth. On one of these papers, someone wrote, “National Know Your Rights Network.” This sparked conversations between youth activists throughout the duration of the conference. Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and BreakOUT! youth were present for these conversations and took on organizing phone calls, workshops and surveys over the course of a year, asking LGBTQ youth, and organizations that work with LGBTQ youth, what they would want from a national network focused on Know Your Rights work.
With all this information, SAS and BreakOUT! set out to create, Get Yr Rights: A National LGBTQ Youth Know Your Rights Network, a network that aims to resource and build the capacity of LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth serving organizations who are doing- or want to begin doing- Know Your Rights work. We also wanted to gather together strategies LGBTQ youth and organizations working with LGBTQ youth use to change the structural conditions and legal landscape in which their encounters with law enforcement take place.
Currently, GYR has over 30 diverse network members who work with LGBTQ youth in a variety of capacities, including grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, service provision, leadership development, and more!