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Stories Project: Catholic School Experiences

We're making a film about being LGBTQ in Catholic schools. Here's how you can help.

At GLSEN Greater Cincinnati, we're producing a feature-length documentary on Catholic school experiences of lesbian, gay, bi, trans* and ally individuals, as well as the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's new contract for educators.

We're asking for your help. So far we have filmed interviews with over 25 current and former students, teachers and administrators in Catholic schools, plus experts on inclusion in education. The interviews are incredible. Here is a preview:

 

Now we need your help.

Making movies is expensive! To complete the editing process, we need to raise about $10,000

We believe the film will make a positive impact toward inclusive Catholic education. It opens a conversation that has been tightly closed.

Thanks to director e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (2014 Stonewall Book Award winner for Fat Angie and 2014 Lambda Literary Prize finalist) and director of photography/editor/sound designer James Bailey, we are assured of a high-quality product that will be valuable for years to come.

Check out a previous Stories Project installment here: Stories Project: NOW. It was featured by The Huffington Post/HuffPost Gay Voices when it debuted in 2012.

Progress

Since launching last December we have raised over $5,000.

The campaign will continue until the film's premiere in 2016. If you prefer to mail a check: GLSEN Greater Cincinnati, PO Box 19856, Cincinnati OH 45219.

Giving online

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Optional: You can make your donation in honor of or in memory of an educator, friend, family member, etc.

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Questions and Answers

Why are you doing this? Three reasons:

  • Cincinnati has a huge population of Catholic school students. In 2012, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was ranked by the National Catholic Educational Association as the sixth largest network of Catholic schools in the United States in terms of total student enrollment. The Diocese of Covington has the highest ratio in the country of Catholic school students to overall Catholic population. We cannot address their needs without making respectful inroads with Catholic schools
  • Second, we believe no one has used film to illustrate experiences of LGBTQ students and educators in Catholic schools.
  • Third, we believe the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's new contract for educators is dangerous for students, and we wanted to ask students and educators their thoughts.

Who is making this? GLSEN Greater Cincinnati is a chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the nation's leading nonprofit working for safe schools for all students. We were a founding chapter of the network in 1995. This piece is a continuation of our Stories Project (see Stories Project: NOW). It is produced by our chapter co-chair Josh Wagoner and directed by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo.

When will the film be out? We are working toward a spring 2016 release.

How will it be released? First with a local public premiere in Cincinnati. Then in addition to using the film for trainings and community conversations, we hope to deploy it to film festivals.

Tell me more about the giving levels. Happy to!

  • $1,000 or more: You will be listed as a Producer in the film credits. You will receive two (2) comp tickets to the GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Prom. Also, you will receive an invitation for four (4) to the Cincinnati premiere of the film. Your name or logo will appear on film poster and website.
  • $500+: You will be listed as a Producer in the film credits, receive an invitation for four (4) to the Cincinnati premiere of the film, and your name or logo will appear on film poster and website.
  • $250+: Your name will appear in the film credits as a "Special Thanks", and you will receive an invitation for four (4) to the Cincinnati premiere.
  • $100+: You will receive an invitation for four (4) to the Cincinnati premiere.
  • $50+: You will receive an invitation for two (2) to the Cincinnati premiere.
  • $25+: Acknowledgement of your donation on the film website.

          Notes: 1) For donation acknowledgements, we screen logos/names for appropriateness; 2) We have not finalized general admission ticket price/policy for the Cincinnati film premiere.

How much money do you need to raise? While the goal is $10,000, the truth is we hope to raise more. The total cost of the film will be over $20,000. We use limited funds to run several programs:

+ GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Youth Group, which meets weekly for middle and high school age LGBTQ and Ally youth
+ trainings for educators to be identifiable resources and create inclusive classrooms, including Safe Space Kit for high schools and Ready, Set, Respect! for elementary schools
+ support of Gay-Straight Alliances and Gay Straight Trans* Alliances
+ GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Youth Summit, our annual day of workshops and networking sessions for LGBTQ/Ally youth and adults who work with youth
+ and our big party every year, the GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Prom, which brings 250+ youth and 250+ adults to two events under one roof each Spring.

Who's in the film? We interviewed Cincinnati-area students and educators from Catholic schools, as well as experts on inclusion in education. Here are a few:

  • Richard Hague, who taught at Purcell Marian high school from 1969 until 2014. When the contract was announced, he resigned, although he had planned to teach five more years (for a total of fifty years as a Catholic school educator!). He spoke to Frank Bruni of The New York Times in May 2014.
  • Molly Shumate, whose 15-year career as a Catholic school elementary teacher ended abruptly when the contract was announced. "I immediately felt that it wasn't something I wanted to take part in, as my son is gay." Molly and family spoke to CNN in spring 2014.
  • Mike Moroski, a vice principal in a Catholic high school who was fired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after stating on his personal blog that he supported marriage equality.
  • Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati City Council member, who founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance in a Jesuit institution while a student at Xavier University. In 2013, President Obama presented Chris with a White House Harvey Milk Champions of Change Award. GLSEN Greater Cincinnati nominated him for the award in recognition of his effort to rally support for GLSEN Greater Cincinnati after we were excluded from the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
  • David Weaver, an expert on inclusion in education. He is CEO of the consulting firm ISEECONNECTIONS. After founding Public Allies Cincinnati, David spent several years at Public Allies nationally and currently advises Teach for America.
  • Shawn Jeffers is GLSEN Greater Cincinnati's lead trainer, having developed our Safe Space training and helped to launch the GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Youth Group. He is site director at Public Allies Cincinnati and previously worked as Director of Education at the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.