Queer students launch Love To All, clothing brand and publication to support LGBTQ+ youth; philanthropy and education
By: Audrey Cole/TRT Reporter—
EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE—Love to All Project (LTA), a queer-student-run charitable organization, does more than express support of LGBTQ+ youth—they live it by providing thousands of dollars to LGBTQ+ charitable organizations and educating queer youth along the way.
“Love to All Project, Inc. is a charitable clothing brand and publication, noted Justin Li, Founder and Executive Director of LTA. “We donate all profits to charities and organizations like shelters for homeless youth.”
Homeless LGBTQ+ youth are still reportedly affected at highly disproportionate rates when compared to counterparts, according to a report published by The Rainbow Times in 2017, making the mission of LTA all the more critical. As of September 2019, the organization has provided approximately $10,000 to LGBTQ+ organizations and has donated more than 300 shirts to homeless queer youth.
“We donate both funds and clothing to organizations; we are planning to connect with a homeless youth shelter in Massachusetts to personally deliver over 300 shirts,” said Morgan Lee, Director of Outreach and Managing Editor of The Love Club, LTA’s online publication.
Serving LGBTQ+ youth organizations across the country, the LTA’s founder noted that Massachusetts is on their radar.
“For our first collection, we donated all of our profits to The Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth,” Li said. “Profits from our second collection will be going towards Waltham House, an LGBTQ+ homeless youth shelter in Massachusetts.”
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are at the core of LTA’s vision, providing a seat at the table for much more than the status quo as love transcend all—all races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, socioeconomic status, sexual orientations, and gender identity, amongst others. LTA was originally founded at New Hampshire’s Phillips Exeter Academy and has expanded ever since.
“Love To All is an incredibly diverse organization run by members from a variety of states, not just one particular region,” said Jeffery Jin, LTA’s Social Media Manager. “Although the organization started at Exeter [Phillips Exeter Academy], members can be found in Vancouver, Maryland, New York, Texas—the list goes on! The organization is also run online, which comes especially handy for non-Exeter students that have a passion to carry out Love To All’s purpose.”
Jin’s experience in getting involved with LTA is a testament to the efficacy of the organization, which to no surprise was discovered on social media.
“As a student from Texas who discovered Love To All via social media and quickly developed an interest, it can be challenging to be part of a team in which members are dispersed and connected only through the Internet,” Jin said. “However, despite our physical distance, Love To All continues to feel like one huge, inclusive family.”
In the grassroots spirit of organizations like ACT UP, a 1980’s HIV/AIDS activist group committed to ending the AIDS crisis, LTA has zoned in on disparities among LGBTQ+ youth.
“After reading about LGBTQ+ activist groups such as ACT UP, I was inspired to make a change,” said Li. “I’ve always been very interested in fashion and art, and wanted combine these passions with queer activism. I discussed the idea with a couple of friends, and we decided that we could support the queer youth community by raising money from selling clothing.”
The Love Club
Recognizing the need for education to empower LGBTQ+ youth to succeed, LTA launched its online publication, The Love Club.
“The Love Club is our online publication which features interviews with prominent members of the queer community,” said Lee. “We hope to create visibility, and give LGBTQ+ youth a view into the possibilities of what they are capable of achieving.”
The words published online and in the description of the LTA are intended to empower and affirm individual and collective identity.
“Although the term ‘queer’ is historically pejorative, it has been powerfully reclaimed in the last century and redefined as an umbrella word for any member of the community,” explained Lee. “When we use the word, we mean to embrace that there is no need to label your gender or sexual orientation to a specificity beyond what you are comfortable with.”
Product expansion and grants
Although presently products are exclusively sold online, retail stores are within reach.
“Currently, we only sell our clothing on our website, but we’re working on having our products sold at stockists [retailers] like Urban Outfitters so that we can reach more people,” said Helena Chen, Director of Digital Affairs for LTA.
According to Li, the organization does not have a formal application process for grants but he encourages others to take advantage of the services they offer.
“Currently, we do not have an application process for our grants,” he said. “We are happy to support charities of all sizes and encourage them to reach out to us for future collaborations.”
Show the love
Inspired by “boldness, power, and bravery of queer youth,” according to its website, Lee notes that work they do on behalf of others, not only empowers queer youth, but also the organization itself.
“Through Love To All project, we have created a space of visibility and celebration for queer youth and allies across America and around the world,” she said. “Whether through our interviews, the sales of clothing featuring LGBTQ+ artists, and the donations of those profits, we work constantly to give back to the community, which has empowered us to speak in the first place.”
To learn more about Love To All, check them out at www.lovetoallproject.com.