High school is a minefield for anyone who deviates, as any LGBT student will tell you. A 2009 survey conducted by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network) showed that 61 percent of 7,000 self-identified gay and straight students between the ages of 13-21 felt unsafe at school because of their perceived sexuality.
Despite the surge in anti-bullying workshops, a distressingly high number of incidents target LGBT youth in school and online, with equally distressing results: drug and alcohol abuse, school drop outs and suicide.
Susan Haugh was one of a handful of early responders. In 2003, she founded Dreams of Hope, “A Creative and Performing Arts Group For Queer Youth and Allies.” Haugh’s commitment is grounded in her experience as a music and dance teacher in Pittsburgh’s public schools. Haugh has been out lesbian since her teens.
Haugh and eight members of DOH will be featured this Saturday at MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir’s spring concert, performing segments from their current production, Bully Me. They will also lead workshops with local chapters of GLSEN at UC and Miami University. Now in its eighth year, Dreams of Hope offers intensive arts experiences for GLBT youth ages 13-21 and now offers online opportunities through its Web Poets project.
Dreams of Hope performs with MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, Saturday at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Go here to read Anne Arenstein's full feature.