Take a look at some GLAAD Southern Stories from 2014

This October, GLAAD launched Southern Stories to elevate the experiences of LGBT people in the US South. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT individuals who are thriving in the South, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love. In the words of GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, "Nothing builds acceptance and understanding like the power of storytelling." These stories include: stories of family, stories of faith, stories of sports, and stories of patriotism. GLAAD Southern Stories will complement statewide and on-the-ground advocates' ongoing initiatives; mobilize LGBT individuals and their allies to share their stories with the media; interact with local media outlets; and amplify stories of family, faith, communities of color, sports, and military personnel.

Kristene Chapa

In 2012, Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin were brutally attacked at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas. The couple of five months was assaulted and shot in the head. Mollie died at the scene but Kristene, left for dead but found by a bird-watcher the following morning, was rushed to the hospital and ultimately recovered. Since surviving the execution-style shooting of Kristene and her girlfriend, the former has dedicated herself to healing physically and emotionally. In her own words, "God loves everybody, no matter if you're gay or straight. He left me here for a reason. I have a second chance." As the trial for her shooter approaches, GLAAD is working with Kristene and her supporters in Texas and around the country to build media attention and popular support.

Watch this moving MSNBC report on Kristene's recovery and upcoming trial for her attacker:

Daniel Pierce

Daniel Pierce is a courageous 20-year-old man who was kicked out of his home and attacked after coming out to his family. He used his horrific circumstances to fuel his drive for advocacy. He is now on the Board of Directors of Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta. Lost-n-Found Youth is a non-profit organization providing temporary housing, job search assistance, counseling, and other services to homeless LGBT youth. Pierce is the first former client of Lost-n-Found Youth to join the organization's Board of Directors. His appointment is part of a larger effort to bring broad perspectives and skills to the organization's leadership. "Lost-n-Found was there for support from the earliest moments and they stepped in before I ever got to the first critical 48 hours of homelessness," said Pierce. 

See GLAAD's interview with the Director of Lost-n-Found Youth, Rick Westbrook:

Sage Lovell

Sage Lovell, from Marietta, Georgia was the first transgender girl ever to be voted to the prom court in Georgia. Her advocacy for the transgender community inspires everyone around her, including her mother, "She's very inspiring to me. Just the bravery that she shows to really, truly be herself, which is what we've always encouraged her to be. It just, it does inspire me everyday." Sage was honored for her bravery and advocacy at the first annual GLAAD Atlanta Gala this November.

UPDATE: In February 2015, Sage changed her name to Eris. All posts after that date will refer to her as Eris. 

See the Lovell family's interview with GLAAD: All Access:

Marcel Neergaard

Marcel is 12 years old and gay. From his home in Tennessee, he’s also become something of a national celebrity for launching an online petition on left-leaning MoveOn.org that garnered more than 55,000 signatures in one week. It resulted in StudentsFirst, a national grassroots organization formed to boost education.

Since then, Marcel has told his story of coming out and being bullied to Nick News. He also appeared at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Take a look at Marcel getting nothing by love from the Media Awards crowd:

Ty Herndon

In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, country music star Ty Herndon came out as gay. The wide ranging interview encompasses Herndon's childhood, his struggle with accepting his sexual orientation, his career in the country music industry, his strong faith, and his hope for LGBT youth.

“Country music is changing its tune on equality,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By sharing his story, Ty Herndon is helping to move the needle for LGBT music artists in the country industry. It’s personal stories like his that help people understand that gay people can also be Christians, cowboys, and even country music stars.”

We Are The South/ Somos El Sur

The #WeAreTheSouth photo campaign works to explore the rich complexities and inclusive organizing of LGBT people, people of color, and immigrant communities living at the intersection of the LGBT equality movement and racial justice in the South. #WeAreTheSouth, also known as #SomosElSur, is led by the Better Together Southern Leadership and Action Cohort. The cohort is an initiative made up of eight Southern-based organizations, coming out of Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina. Together, these organizations work across varying identities and communities, operating through an intersectional lens in order to "build power, increase visibility, and secure social and economic justice for LGBTQ/people of color/and immigrant communities in the US South." People from all walks of life in the South have been participating in the #WeAreTheSouth photo campaign, holding up a pieces of paper that list their different identities. Some are deeply felt, such as "feminist," "believer," "panromantic," and "demisexual," while others are more playful, with identities such as "gamer," "snuggler," and "trailblazer." Through this project, these individuals are tasked with displaying their robust lives as individuals who live and love at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality. #WeAreTheSouth aims to highlight the nuances of identity and the uniqueness of each person. The political implications of such work are grand. If we see the way that various social movements can coexist in the inter and intra-personal happenings of one person's life, we can begin to understand how beneficial working together on a larger scale can be.