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Gutless & Grateful for LGBT Students


Gutless & Grateful for LGBT Students is an extension of the College Program for the entire student body.

“Students who identify as lesbian (L), gay (G), bisexual (B), questioning (Q), or elsewhere on the sexual orientation spectrum often struggle with discrimination and marginalization, which can negatively impact mental health and sense of belonging.” – Active Minds on LGBQ College Student Mental Health

LGBTQ students who are supported by a compassionate community have:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • A more positive group identity
  • More positive mental health (

Amy is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, award-winning founder of the Fearless Ostomates, actress, and playwright.  (See full bio.) As a survivor of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, coma, organ failure, six years unable to eat or drink, Amy has experienced firsthand the stigma that comes with abuse and other challenges.

Gutless & Grateful strives to shift an entire college ethos in the direction of inclusion – partly to give courage and a sense of belonging to people of any identity, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place.

Participants will

  • Learn how to create a healthy environment
  • Create peer-driven networks of support and advocacy
  • Build confidence and leadership skills
  • cultivate self-love and a powerful sense of identity
  • learn about available resources and trauma-informed support on campus
  • Introduce resources into the community
  • Create a safe, compassionate community
  • Feel comfortable talking openly
  • Celebrate student diversity
  • Build trust within the community
  • Meet faculty from the campus “safe zone”
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions anonymously which are answered live for the student body

Sharing Stories, Creating Compassion (1)
As a result, both LGBTQ individuals and their allies will be able to:

  • Use inclusive keywords with carefully analyzed terminology.
  • Create an informed surrounding community
  • Examine assumptions in the community
  • Build trusting relationships with staff, faculty and between students
  • Identify “safe spaces” on campus

According to GLSEN, in 2013, 74.1% of LGBT students were verbally harassed and 36.2% were physically harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation.  On top of that, 56.7% of LGBT students who were harassed or assaulted in school did not report the incident to school staff, because they were afraid of potential stigma or repercussions.

Gutless & Grateful is a program  that combines Broadway theatre and social awareness, in order to reduce stigma, increase awareness, and create a more compassionate, open community, providing hope, help and saving lives.  

What can your campus do?

Every student can help reduce homophobia, stigma, and discrimination on campus and decrease the negative health effects.

  • Encourage respect for all students
  • Develop healthy coping skills
  • Encourage student-led organizations and support groups
  •  Ensure that there are educational materials on campus

Based in part on Amy’s personal experience surviving ten years of medical interventions, sexual abuse and PTSD, Gutless & Grateful is a 60-90 minute program combining storytelling, music, and a keynote speech. You can explore these key themes (through essays for Huffington Post, Washington Post and other publications) in more detail here.  Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical (70 min), talk about the healing process of telling her story, and provide hope, help, and resources and insights.  

Students will learn how to alleviate the effects of homophobia, stigma, and discrimination and protect their physical and mental health. 

Learn more about 10 Physical and Emotional Health Concerns of College Students.

This is an easy program to put on—a 90-minute, 3-component keynote/program:

Part 1) A 70-minute one-woman autobiographical musical – Gutless & Grateful – a comedic yet poignant story on surviving 27 stomach surgeries, organ failure and sexual abuse. Through interwoven song and dialogue, Amy shares a primal piece of live-storytelling – a powerful message that it’s possible for students to gain confidence in who they are, and be empowered by their own story.

Part 2) An educational session/speech focused on an empowered approach to mental health, how to develop a resiliency toolbox, how to cultivate hope, and how to thrive in college, confident in one’s own identity and comfortable reaching out to a support system. Amy educates and enlightens audience members on LGBT issues, motivating individuals to take the next step in coming forward as visible allies and leaders for all students.

Part 3) A Q&A session to introduce students to a panel of counselors/faculty and LGBT wellness resources on campus, opening the channel of communication between the student body and staff.  Various “safe spaces” will be introduced on campus such as counselors’ offices, designated classrooms, or student organizations, where LGBT  youth can get support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.

The program can also be followed by smaller breakout sessions among students to continue building confidence and compassion through creative expression.

Book Gutless & Grateful Today!


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Amy giving a mental health talkback with the Wellness Coordinator at Hampshire College

Back to Gutless & Grateful Main Page with all general information

View Gutless and Grateful Facilitator Guide.

Book Gutless & Grateful Today!

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