Introducing Team Partnerships!

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Interested? Apply here!

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Pins, pins, pins!

Remember those awesome LGBTQ+ of FIRST pins we shared at competitions last year?

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We loved handing them out and promoting our organization throughout the United States and the world. This year, we’re excited to expand our reach and introduce more FIRST-ers to our goal – but we can’t do it without your help.

Please help us by donating to the LGBTQ+ of FIRST Lapel Pin GoFundMe, created by Jon Kentfield, an avid supporter of our mission. In his own words, Jon describes why he supports our mission:

In 2016 a few of the LGBTQ+ members of our community came forward to create a blog and a safe place for people in the community to get advice, and learn about LGBTQ+ issues and how they can have an effect on FIRST teams. While having a conversation with one of these great students last year, we discussed ways that these students can both add some visibility, if they feel safe to do so, and show that they are not alone to students whom may still feel unsafe being out.”

Last year, Jon helped us raise over $1,300 to produce 1600 pins – and that was only with two months of fundraising! This year, we hope to create at least 5,000 pins in order to share the positive impact of LGBTQ+ of FIRST with even more breadth, which requires about $3,750. That cost also accounts for the deductions that GoFundMe will make.

Any additional funding will go towards more pins, pronoun ribbons, or other LGBTQ+ informational and promotional materials. The goal is to complete creation of the pins by the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff at the latest.

Thank you for helping to support LGBTQ+ of FIRST, and expanding our reach in the FIRST Community. Our mission is to increase queer visibility in FIRST and the STEM community as a whole by providing resources, both online and offline, to help and educate LGBTQ+ people and their allies. We seek to increase acceptance and tolerance of all peoples and create a community that benefits not only LGBTQ+ people, but everyone, and this is just one way that you can help us do that.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions at lgbtplusfirst@gmail.com, lgbtqoffirst.wordpress.com, or any of our other social media!

 

LGBTQ+ of FIRST Student Survey

Check out our LGBTQ+ of FIRST Student Survey!

We are looking for LGBTQ+ students participating in FIRST to fill out a quick survey to help us better understand our community. We just want to know more about your experience in STEM and in FIRST. The survey is completely anonymous and is a huge help. Please share it with any other members of the LGBTQ+ and FIRST communities!

Frank Merrick: The Times of Harvey Milk

Not so long ago, and for the first time, I watched the classic documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, about the first openly gay individual in California elected to public office.

Harvey was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on November 8, 1977.  On November 27, 1978, at San Francisco City Hall, along with George Moscone, the Mayor of San Francisco, Harvey Milk was assassinated.  The killer, Dan White, a former colleague of Harvey’s on the Board of Supervisors who had resigned his post just weeks before, was tried for capital murder.  This could have earned him the death penalty.  Instead, he was found guilty of manslaughter and served 5 years of a 7-year sentence before being paroled.  Approximately 1 year and 10 months after his parole, Dan White committed suicide.

What struck me about this film was not just the incredible story and the apparent injustice in the sentencing of Dan White, but the representation of what our culture was like at the time.  California Proposition 6, also known as ‘The Briggs Initiative’ after its sponsor, John Briggs, was on the ballot in the November 1978 election.  The language of the proposition, though convoluted, would have essentially prohibited the hiring of, and required the firing of, public school teachers for “public homosexual conduct”, a term defined so broadly that I think it would be hard for any homosexual, or even any what today might be called heterosexual ally, to not fall under the law’s purview.

Here’s the thing, for me:  this proposition, clearly discriminatory and unjust by today’s standards, nearly passed.  In September of 1978, only two months before voting, polling showed it ahead.  It was only through the extraordinary and determined efforts of Harvey Milk and a broad coalition of others opposed to the proposition, including then-Governor of California Ronald Regan, that it went down in defeat, with 58% voting against.

I’ll admit that at least until I watched this extraordinary documentary, I was nearly wholly ignorant of the history of the LGBTQ+ movement.  When I realized events such as this happened in my lifetime – I was 13 when the assassinations occurred – my eyes were opened just a bit more.

If you haven’t seen The Times of Harvey Milk, even if you already know the story, I believe it’s worth a watch, and worth sharing your thoughts over.  It’s powerful filmmaking in the service of an important part of history, history not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for all.

 

 

Remembering Pulse

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We remember, recognize and mourn the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre on June 12, 2016.  While we cannot honor the lives taken in such a tragedy with the justice they deserves, we can recognize them here.

  • Stanley Almodovar III, age 23
  • Amanda Alvear, 25
  • Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33
  • Antonio D. Brown, 30
  • Darryl R. Burt II, 29
  • Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
  • Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
  • Luis D. Conde, 39
  • Cory J. Connell, 21
  • Tevin E. Crosby, 25
  • Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
  • Deonka D. Drayton, 32
  • Mercedez M. Flores, 26
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
  • Juan R. Guerrero, 22
  • Paul T. Henry, 41
  • Frank Hernandez, 27
  • Miguel A. Honorato, 30
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
  • Jason B. Josaphat, 19
  • Eddie J. Justice, 30
  • Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
  • Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
  • Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
  • Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18
  • Kimberly Morris, 37
  • Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
  • Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
  • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
  • Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
  • Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
  • Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
  • Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35
  • Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25
  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
  • Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22
  • Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37
  • Jerald A. Wright, 31

In President Obama’s words to the families,  “Our hearts are broken, too, but we stand with you and we are here for you, and we are remembering those who you loved so deeply.”

Applications Now Open!

Hi all,

We are thrilled to be opening applications for LGBTQ+ of FIRST! After an exciting FIRST Steamworks season for everyone, we unfortunately have to say goodbye to many of our seniors and alumni as blog administrators. While we will miss them and everything they do, we are thrilled to keep them as part of our community and expand further into the FIRST community.

This year, I’m proud to announce a restructuring of the initiative LGBTQ+ of FIRST, with three tiers which people can apply for.

The application form is here!

First, we are filling a handful of Student Administrator positions.

  • Student Administrators, or Admin, are the primary decision-making body of LGBTQ+ of FIRST, with the final vote on all important topics.
  • As according to their title, Admin are expected to fulfill duties including but not limited to the scheduling and writing of blog posts; the supervision and management of the LGBTQ+ of FIRST Discord server; outreach at FIRST events.
  • Only LGBTQ+ students who are currently members of a FRC or FTC Team may hold the position of Admin.

Unfortunately, we can only have so many people on our Student Administrative Board. To expand our reach throughout FIRST and in new regions, we’re proud to introduce Student Representatives.

  • Student Representatives are the primary outreach force of LGBTQ+ of FIRST, representing the initiative throughout their region and creating web content.
  • As according to their title, Representatives are expected to fulfill duties including but not limited to the writing of approved* blog content; submission of blog ideas, design proposals and legislation to Student Admin; outreach at FIRST events; participating in their regional board.
  • Only LGBTQ+ students who are currently members of a FRC or FTC Team may hold the position of Representative.

Not a student or LGBTQ+ but you still want to be involved? We’ve got you covered with another new role: Ambassadors!

  • Ambassadors are blog spokespersons who represent the blog at competitions with approval from their Regional Board.
  • As according to their title, Ambassadors are expected to fulfill duties including representing LGBTQ+ of FIRST at competitions; communicating with their Regional Board.
  • Any member of LGBTQ+ of FIRST may hold the position of Ambassador.

For anyone not interested in a leadership position, our discord is open to everyone as a Member!

  • Members are any person involved in FIRST who support LGBTQ+ of FIRST’s initiative.
    • As according to their title, Members are expected to be supportive of LGBTQ+ of FIRST and may offer ideas for further improvement and projects within LGBTQ+ of FIRST. Members may not represent LGBTQ+ of FIRST at any FIRST events.
    • Any member of FIRST may hold the position of Member.
    • An unlimited number of people can hold the position of Member.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this initiative over the past year. We are thrilled to be growing and hope to make as much of a positive impact on our community as possible.

-Kiran (2826) and LGBTQ+ of FIRST