Our great friend Jonny 5 from the Flobots has generously offered to help us out with a perk for our Warped Campaign! The next 5 folks to donate $100 and claim the perk will get their own personalized rhyme, performed by him, recorded, and sent to you!
Claim your perk and help us get on the road at:
If you’re wondering what we do on Warped, I’ll give you a quick run-down. We head out like the rest of the non-profits on tour, set up our tent, and reach out to educate. We talk to anyone and everyone that’s got a free second, telling them how important acceptance and change is. We strive to make the music scene we’re involved in a safe place. We want to see a place where no matter who you are, how you identify, or who you love- you wont be discriminated against. Do you dig it? Give us a hand. Each donation helps, and we’re running out of time!
After attending Warped Tour in 2008 and not finding any gender or sexual minority representation in their non-profit area, I saw not only a gap, but an opportunity to bring about a massive change in the music community. I founded Equalize, an organization dedicated to educating music fans about issues that affect the sexual and gender minority communities and giving folks (both LGBTQ and straight allies!) the tools to create positive changes in the world.
I’ve always felt that I’ve had to keep my sexuality and gender identity, my passion for social justice, and my music separate from each other, but through Equalize, I’ve discovered that there are so many people like me in the world that want to mix the three together. We want to create a safe space not only in places like the Warped Tour, but the world as a whole, where people can be themselves, no matter who they are or whom they love.
Last year, thanks to you all, we successfully funded and completed a week of Warped Tour out on the east coast. We met over 1500 new Equalizers (that’s nearly one per minute!) in Boston, New York, DC, Hartford, and Virginia Beach. We also were able to reach out to many supportive musicians, such as Taking Back Sunday, who were happy to spread the good word about Equalize.
This year, we’ve got our sights set on total coastal domination! We need your help to get us not only back out to the east coast, but also to travel with the tour to Seattle, Portland, and California, as well as parts of the Midwest. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, here we come!
All of the Equalizers going on Mission: Equalize Warped Tour have been on the road before. We know how to cut costs while still ensuring a safe and healthy tour. Our budget of $3500 includes transportation to a gateway city for each leg of the tour (Portland and Boston), a rental car to get us from city to city, gas, tolls, food, admission, supplies, literature, and merchandise.
We learned a lot last year about life on the road with Warped Tour. It’s a little different than your average, run-of-the-mill tour, and we have created a budget this year that will better reflect our needs based on last years costs. Here is a breakdown:
$800 Rental car
$500 Supplies and other miscellaneous costs
We will be taking the Equalizer Pledge campaign with us again this year. This is our most successful campaign, and our most effective. It allows us to educate music fans about how they can speak up when faced with homophobia or transphobia in a way that is positive and respectful, instead of negative or shaming. When we ask someone to sign the Pledge and become and official Equalizer, we ask them not to use homophobic or transphobic language, as well as to interrupt any homophobic or transphobic language or actions that they safely can.
Equalizing is all about inspiring people to start conversations with people who will inspire others to start conversations with people and those people will start more conversations and…you get the idea. We know that every person makes a difference, because we have witnessed it so much in our own lives. Every conversation about homophobia and transphobia plants a seed, and every conversation following it waters that seed.
Being an Equalizer brings positive changes to the world in a way that anyone can do!
In Portland, we have started thousands of conversations already. From conferences to concerts, panels to parties, Equalize has reached out to more than we can count. Our NO HOMO(PHOBIA) shirts and stickers alone spark meaningful interactions on a daily basis!
Beyond just getting people talking, we also offer leadership opportunities for youth and young adults. We have started a street team program where young music fans across the nation can learn how to be leaders in their own communities and organize events, actions, and workshops. Many of the Equalizers we meet at shows travel hours from small towns and rural areas where there aren’t many opportunities to safely discuss sexuality or gender identity; starting a street team gives them a way to do this. In larger cities, even ones known for being gay-friendly, street teams will give people a chance to find each other and work together in new ways to uplift their communities.
Whether or not you contribute to our campaign, please share the message through the Indiegogo share tools, and the old fashioned way. Every conversation started is a win, every person we connect to a victory.
Also, please be sure to “like” our Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/equalizeit - and share it with your friends.
Thank you so much for your time, and for any and all contributions. See you in the pit!!
Bring Equalize to Your Scene!
We have a few questions for you:
1. Do you love equality?
2. Do you wish that more people loved equality as much as you do?
3. Do you love music?
4. Do you want to step it up in your city/town/neighborhood/school/church/anyplace you go and bring Equalize to your area?
5. Are you awesome? (Like we even need to ask…)
If you answered yes to all 5 of these questions, you are a great fit to be an Equalize Street Team Leader!
What does that mean?
That means you get to gather up all the cool folks you know, have regular meetings, and spread equality through your own scene! Some things that are involved can include:
Those are just some of the possibilities. Basically, whether it’s just you and your bestie in your basement or you get your whole school involved, it doesn’t matter…you’re still a superstar and are helping spread love and equality across the nation! <3
If you want to accept the challenge and start your own street team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know why you think you would make a great leader.
Here is one way you can get Equalizing right now:
Facebook: Go to our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/equalize - and LIKE us. We update that daily so you can get all the latest news and goings-on at EQHQ.
See you in the pit!
After three years without a non-working vacation, I finally decided I needed to have some fun in my life. The destination decision was simple: what’s better than the happiest place on earth, Disneyland? Even better - I could time the trip over my birthday so that I could celebrate with Mr. Mouse! The idea was so perfect that I actually became quite paranoid before my trip, afraid that the universe would decide that I wasn’t allowed to have a good birthday (I don’t have the best track record for successful birthday parties), but the powers that be pulled through, and I had the best birthday ever! It was perfect; I could not have asked for better company, better weather, or a better time.
So why I am bragging about my awesome trip to you all? I have a point, I promise.
You see, for as far back as I can remember, I always wanted a tutu. However, I wasn’t a little ballerina growing up, and once I was old enough to purchase my own, I could never justify the expense. Then, I came out as transgender (female-to-male) and, well, everyone knows that guys don’t wear tutus, so that dream was shattered, until…
I learned how to make my own, and wore it to Disneyland!
Yes, I planned out a special birthday Disney trip outfit consisting of a tutu, sparkly tights, pink platform sneakers, a neon yellow t-shirt, mouse ears that say, “It’s my birthday” on them, and an assortment of mostly homemade jewelry featuring ice cream sundaes, cakes, and colorful rabbits. I also happened to be sporting bright pink hair and a decently burly beard. Putting it on that first day, I was a little nervous as to what people’s reactions would be, especially considering how many years I’d spent in my life trying to “pass” as a “man.” Once it was on, however, I felt FREAKING FABULOUS!! I have never felt more “me” in my life!
The first day (yes, I recycled my outfit for both Disney days), I definitely got my fair share of negative reactions. I had a lot of glares, sneers, and looks of disgust from parents, as well as some loud, uncouth comments from kids of all ages. Going into a restroom was, naturally, the most nerve-wracking part of the day. My first bathroom trip found me the object of ridicule by two 10-11 year-old boys screaming, “THAT’S A GUY! THAT’S A GUY!” and laughing. I smiled and walked by like I didn’t hear a thing, although inside, I definitely felt like throwing up.
However, I also had people smiling at me and a few compliments, which made me gain some faith in humanity after the bathroom incident. The highlight of that day was most definitely getting my picture taken with my fellow fairy-folk in Pixie Hollow. It was slightly spoiled by a pre-teen-aged girl telling me she loved my outfit on the way out, then bursting out into laughter when she realized I was a man by my deep-voiced reply.
The second day was amazing and completely made up for anything bad that happened during the first day. I had tons of smiles and positive comments (and happy birthdays!) throughout the day, but there were four separate incidents that really made the day special:
1. As my cousin and I were waiting in line for the Monsters, Inc. ride, a kid that was probably around eight or nine growled at me, snapped his teeth, then grinned one of those awesome giant little kid grins. I smiled back, not quite sure what the growling was about. His mom said, “Do you want to eat his necklace? It’s not for eating.” (referring to my sundae necklace)
The kid nodded, then started talking to me and telling me all kinds of adorable little kid things. His mom just smiled at us, chiming in every now and then. We ended up next to them at another ride later in the day, and he shouted out to me and waved at me before disappearing into the crowded line.
2. While I was in a shop looking at pretty princess gear, a pre-teen-aged girl approached me. “I really like your outfit,” she said, which made me apprehensive after the similar conversation I’d had the night before with a girl near her age. Despite my fear, I smiled and thanked her. “My dad wants to take your picture,” she replied.
I followed her outside the store to meet her dad, wondering if this was some kind of joke. He was a burly man in his late 30s, clad in a Metal Mulisha t-shirt and camo shorts. “Dude,” he started, and I readied myself to run if necessary, and prayed to the powers that be that I could think of a timely graceful comeback if he said something rude. “You are the most Disney person here!”
He broke out into a huge smile and I followed suit. I posed with his daughter, son, and wife for a couple of photos, then shook his hand, feeling like a million bucks and thanking them all for the birthday wishes.
3. My cousin and I stopped for a coffee break in a little cafe during the afternoon. I heard someone call out my name, and turned around to see if they were shouting at me or another Alex. Naturally, I had my name embroidered on the back of my ears hat, so I wasn’t too weirded out when it turned out the guy was calling for me. He waved me over to his table, and told me that he thought I looked fabulous and he wanted to thank me for going the extra mile to have an amazing time at Disney. We commiserated for a few moments about how people in general need to pull the collective sticks out of their butts and relax, but that especially at the happiest place on earth, more people should dress up, get sparkly, and have a blast!
4. The best moment of the day happened in the gift shop of the Tower of Terror. I was still reeling a little from the ride (never doing that again…), and had just spotted the perfect souvenir to commemorate the most terrifying three minutes of my life: a Tower of Terror smashed penny for my penny collection. There was a boy, about eight or so, standing next to the penny machine. As I approached it, he asked me, “Are you a boy?” I nodded and said, “Yep!” with a smile. He pondered that for a moment, then informed that I was dressed weird. I shrugged and replied, “Well I don’t think it’s weird to dress up like a fairy sometimes. It’s fun! Look at my shiny skirt!”
I did a little twirl for him, then told him that I didn’t feel like any less of a boy in this outfit over any other. He looked me up and down again and shrugged, then asked me if I would buy him a penny souvenir. I said he’d have to ask his parents about that, but let him help me push the button for mine and we had a little moment. I left the shop beaming, running over to my cousin to tell him what had just happened.
Disneyland was my practice ground for dressing the way I’ve always wanted to dress, and it’s given me the courage to be a little more outlandish and Alex-ish in my day-to-day wear. I feel good wearing my homemade creations and confident even when folks give me strange looks or say rude things to me. I know I look good, and if someone is so bothered by the way a stranger looks that they feel the need to waste time and energy being a jerk to them, the best thing I can do is smile and hope something really great happens to them so that they don’t feel like they have to lash out at strangers anymore.
Be yourself, Equalizers. There’s really nothing better for you to be <3
How to be an Equalizer - pass it on! ;)
For some reason, this video won’t show up on our homepage as a video post :( Here is our exclusive Warped Tour interview with Sick of Sarah!