After perusing some digital storytelling sites, I came across Stories for Change. I found a moving and interesting area that focused on the struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth. This project is through National Center for Lesbian Rights. They conducted a four-day workshop organized by the Y.O.U.T.H Training Project of San Francisco State’s Bay Area Academy and the Center for Digital Storytelling. In the workshop ten former foster youth shared their stories and learned to edit them into personal videos.
In these three minute videos each addressed the following:
- What it was like for them to come out in the system
- How important it was for them to find supportive allies
- How they have come to understand their multiple identities
- The effects of rejection by family and foster parents
- The challenges of transitioning gender while in state custody
- What providers need to know about LGBTQ youth
- Why they are activists working for social change
There are ten videos chronicling the lives of these young men and women and are each compelling. These stories cover the 7 elements of digital storytelling (Point of View, A Dramatic Question, Emotional Content, Gift of Your Voice, Power of the Soundtrack, Economy, and Pacing from the Digital Storytelling site of the University of Houston (source: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/7elements.html).
I watched all of the videos and they are especially heartfelt and use their personal story to provide a compelling story that highlights the difficulties of coming out. One example that I found to be interesting and well designed was “Nicky’s Story”. It details the difficulty the daughter of a wealthy Asian businessman has to reach her parents academic expectations and the shame she is made to feel after coming out. Nicky has been able to use her difficult experience as a means to help others through her activism and advocacy. She did well to incorporate images of her life. Her unique cultural background is represented through the use of Asian phrases (translated on the screen) and a video of her (we presume) writing characters in her language (perhaps kanji- but it is never made clear). This is an interesting narrative choice. It shows how important her culture and family is to her, even through the rejection of her sexuality.
This type of digital storytelling can be a useful and powerful tool in helping LGBTQ teens who are dealing with the difficulties of coming out to their families.