Kickstarter Projects We Can Get Behind - Queer Roller Derby, Gay Country Line Dancing and More...

With sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, now more than ever, creative types are witnessing their work come to fruition with the help of people who can put their hard-earned pennies behind the type of content they’d like to see. As a site that continually seeks to feature upcoming artists of every ilk we are ‘kickstarting’ a new series on Projects We Can Get Behind.
By: Boo Jarchow
August 16 2012 2:40 PM

With sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, now more than ever, creative types are witnessing their work come to fruition with the help of people who can put their hard-earned pennies behind the type of content they’d like to see.

As a site that continually seeks to feature upcoming artists of every ilk we are ‘kickstarting’ a new series on Projects We Can Get Behind.

Here are some terrific projects we’d like to see make it.

The Vagine Regime

Goal: $35,000

Ends at 3:00 am EDT on September 15

The Vagine Regime is a feature-length documentary about lesbian, bisexual and transgender roller derby skaters.

A message from Go-Go Gidget and Injure Rogers:

In the early 2000's the amateur revival of women's roller derby was sparked in Austin, TX. There are now hundreds of leagues spanning the globe with thousands of women working to legitimize the sport. One of the more unique aspects of modern roller derby is that the current model is designed by the skaters and for the skaters, where the women who skate also manage their league businesses, build their own brand and produce their skating events. The result of this DIY attitude and the necessity of recruitment has resulted in a very diverse and welcoming community. 

It is often thought by many outsiders that lesbians make up a large percentage of roller derby skaters. However, this is not the reality and like in so many other facets of our society, lesbians and queer individuals are left looking for their counterparts within the roller derby world. The creation of the Vagine Regime in 2005 made that search much easier. The Vagine Regime is a collective of queer roller derby players from around the world. What started out as a social media page quickly grew into a community that supports all colors of the LGBT rainbow. The girls set up and play roller derby bouts, throw parties, promote LGBT rights around the world and provide a community that supports derby girls, their sexualities and gender identities. 

With rampant homophobic practices existing in much of the athletic world, roller derby is a welcoming and supportive place for the Vagine Regime to set up a platform of promoting lesbian athleticism and queer acceptance. Lesbian skaters across the world are able to belong to a community that not only allows them to be queer but also celebrates it. The recent implementation of a liberal transgender policy has now opened that door of acceptance to trans skaters leaving roller derby as one of the most supportive and accepting organized sports with regard to the LGBT community. 

As roller derby venues continue grow upwards of 4,000 to 7,000 fans, so will the impact that roller derby has on the rest of world. As athletes, lesbians, and filmmakers we want to document this corner of the civil rights movement as it unfolds. We want to showcase the diversity that exists in all parts of society but that is celebrated by the Vagine Regime. Where openly straight, lesbian, bisexual and trans individuals are all signing autographs for fans together. 

We are embarking on a mission to raise film production costs for the 2013 season. As lesbians AND roller derby players we promise to bring you an authentic and raucous good film. Please donate what you can!

Hearts and Vaginas, 

Go-Go Gidget & Injure Rogers

Visit The Vagine Regime Kickstarter for pledge reward details and more information.

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Dance Like No One’s Watching

Goal: $6,000

Ends at 2:12 pm EDT on August 26

Dance Like No One’s Watching is a documentary that explores the world of competitive Country/Western dancing within the gay community.

A message from Jenn Garrison:

As an award-winning filmmaker (Collegiate Oscar nominated and Emmy winner) whose films have shown all over the world, I am drawn to stories about how people who don't always fit into mainstream culture are able to take elements of that culture and make it their own.

While writing a feature script set within a gay country western bar in Texas (Quick Quick Slow), I discovered “The International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs” and was amazed that something I was writing into my ‘fictional’ work actually existed!

Upon further research, I learned that IAGLCWDC (or “IGGLE WIGGLE” as they call themselves) was having their annual International Dance Competition in my hometown of Austin, Texas. Since Austin is also the setting for my narrative feature, I saw this as a sign that I needed to visit the dancers and competition organizers to learn more about their story and the true world of competitive country western dancing within the gay community.

I made the journey from Los Angeles to Austin and worked with a couple of fellow producers and dance enthusiasts (Angela Briones and Mita Hernadez) to film “research” footage for the feature. What we discovered was an active community full of passionate country western dancers - who also happen to be queer. As filming progressed, we realized this was more than just “research;” this was a story all it’s own!

When filming wrapped, I returned to LA and used this inspiration to finish writing. As I wrote, the footage we captured in Austin was always on my mind and I swore to myself that I would find the time and resources to share this beautiful story with as many viewers as I could.

Now that my screenplay is done, I finally have the time to dedicate to the post-production process of Dance Like No One’s Watching.

The main objective with this film is to showcase the talent I found and what it means to these dancers to be allowed to dance in competitions as same-sex partners. As it stands now, mainstream country western dance competitions prohibit same-sex couples from competing. The IAGLCWDC has given that opportunity to its members, locally and abroad, through their annual competitions, workshops and events but it’s not enough. These are voices aching to be heard and performers that deserve a wider audience.

Your contribution to this campaign will help with the many costs involved in the post production and distribution process including: editing, sound design, color correction, music clearances (a film about dance has to have music!) and the fees associated with the many film festivals we want to submit it to.

Even if you cannot contribute at this time, please share this project with as many of your friends and colleagues as you can. Most people don’t even know that this world exists. Wow, gay cowboys two-stepping together? Yup! 


We hope to showcase a community that finds joy, freedom, independence and a sense of belonging for those few moments when they are allowed to be who they are and simply Dance Like No One's Watching.

Visit Dance Like No One's Watching on Kickstarter for pledge reward details and more information.

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We Are the Youth

Goal: $7,000

Ends at 8:25 am EDT on September 12

A photojournalism project that shares the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States.

About the project:

We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and “as told to” interviews in the participants’ own voices, We Are the Youth captures the incredible diversity and uniqueness among the LGBT youth population. We want to make sure that when youth everywhere see these stories, they see bits of themselves and know they're not alone.

We Are the Youth was created by Brooklyn-based photographer Laurel Golio and journalist Diana Scholl. Since June 2010, We Are the Youth has profiled more than 50 young people across the United States. We Are the Youth profiles have been displayed at the Brooklyn Museum, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the Fresh Fruit Festival and the Gender Reel Festival, and have been featured in media including The British Journal of Photography, Change.org, and The Huffington Post.

The project can be viewed in its entirety here.

THE GOAL:
We Are the Youth is very much a labor of love. That means that no one gets paid and our family, friends and co-workers listen to us talk about the project over every holiday, lunch break, beach day and hang-out session. We’re not looking to make money, we’re just looking to expand the project and share as many unheard stories as possible. 
$7,000 will allow us to broaden our reach and expand the diversity of those profiled. For the next stage of the project we want to travel to the Midwest, from Nebraska to Minnesota, to photograph and interview LGBT youth in our quest to share as many diverse stories as possible. And we need your help to do that! Every dollar raised will support our endeavors, and allow the project to grow to the Midwest and beyond!
Thanks sooooo much to Curtis Stiles, cameraman, director and video editor extraordinaire!

Visit We Are the Youth on Kickstarter for pledge reward details and more information.

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Androgynous

Goal: $10,000

Ends at 1:43 am EDT on August 28

Androgynous is a clothing line that encourages you to stay true to yourself. You shouldn’t have to be anybody else to be accepted.

About the project:

1. Why does this clothing line have to exist?

Because many women who don't fit into the societal "feminine" category have never been able to find clothing made just for them. There has never been a designer or clothing line that design for androgynous women. They have had to find substitutes and be happy with the limited items found in the boys or men's department. The existence of this clothing line will also bring awareness and make people more accepting of others.

2. Why are we the team to make it happen?
Because A Lee has experienced first hand what it's like when looking for neat, clean and simple clothing that fit. We understand the frustrations from the customers’ side and the design side. We also have the capacity for hard work (thanks to our mom) and determination to make this work. We're passionate and believe in this whole-heartedly.

3. Why should it be done now?
Because people have waited long enough. We think society is ready for a change. 

4. Why is this clothing line significant? Why do people need to be a part of it?
Because it's greater than fashion or clothing. It's about challenging the gender roles societies have created and being true to yourself. It's about creating a movement that can influence people to be more open and accepting of others. It's okay to be different because that's exactly what makes you who you are.

Visit the Androgynous Fashion website.

Why we started androgynous? Instead of making compromises and trying to fit into society, we should embrace who we are and stay true to ourselves. Most people change to fit the mold the world has created because they fear rejection. But there are those brave and courageous souls that remain true to themselves. And they have been looking for a place that sells clothes that suit their personality for too long, to no avail.

As far back as I can remember, there was never a time when I was into women’s clothing. The button-down shirts just have too many “stuff” I couldn’t find purpose for. They’re tight and wraps around my body like I’m out to show my curves and to accentuate my breasts and hips…it’s like “LOOK! I HAVE BREASTS AND HIPS!”

But my biggest frustration of all – those two lines in the front of the shirt and the “cleavage” cut. And pockets that are not actual pockets.

I went on a search for men’s clothes that would fit my body. My search led me to a few websites that catered to tomboyish women. The only problem was that these sites all consisted of T-shirts, which I could find anywhere. I wanted button-down shirts, jackets and dress pants. I wanted the clothes from the men’s runway show. 

On many occasions after I’ve exhausted my efforts at the women’s department, I would “drift” into the men’s and try to make it seem like I was just passing by. If I didn’t spot anything, I would then “drift” into the boy’s department and try my best not to look weird though I was very self-conscious.

Years passed and finally one day, it just clicked. Why don’t Vee and I just start a clothing line for androgynous people? Somewhere out there in the world, there must be people like me who spend days thinking of how they can take their wardrobe and magically turn it into something like high end menswear.

Vee and I spent many months searching for inspirations. We studied men’s fashion from the last 900 years. What I discovered was that fashion, particularly style, changes VERY slowly. My guess is that people conform to society’s views of what’s “normal” without questioning.

The designs we've come up with are not formfitting, don't taper at the waist and hips, and there are no darts where the chest is. Simply elegant, classy, clean-cut menswear made to fit women.

We believe that a little weirdness, and a little “craziness” can cause big changes. And we believe that something as trivial as the clothes you choose to wear can change the way society thinks about what’s “normal”…especially what society thinks about what’s right or wrong.

Visit Androgynous on Kickstarter for pledge reward details and more information.

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