57% of stories from LGBTQ teens and top Real Talk search terms

Hello Real Talk community,

Happy summer! Liz and Cristina went out to San Francisco at the end of May to celebrate the end of our 18-month development grant from Power to Decide’s Innovation Next accelerator and to interview for the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Social Innovation Award (formerly the Teach For America Social Innovation Award). While they were in the Bay Area, Liz and Cristina were able to connect with mentors from Power to Decide and Fast Forward (shout out to Christina and Nicole!), our developers, and other Real Talk champions (pictured below).

  Top picture -- Michael (Nitid), Liz, Laura (Power to Decide), Cristina, and Jeremy  (Nitid Bit) gathered at Nitid’s co-working space at WeWork Golden Gate for lunch and brainstorming. Bottom picture(s) -- Naya Bloom, Liz, Vinit (Learn Capital) reunited (Naya and Vinit supported Liz and Vichi when they were finalists for TFA’s Social Innovation Award back in 2014) and Cristina, Dan (MyHealthEd board member, Clever), Kurt (Department of Health Behavior, UNC), and Liz networked at the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Social Innovation Award dinner.

Top picture -- Michael (Nitid), Liz, Laura (Power to Decide), Cristina, and Jeremy  (Nitid Bit) gathered at Nitid’s co-working space at WeWork Golden Gate for lunch and brainstorming. Bottom picture(s) -- Naya Bloom, Liz, Vinit (Learn Capital) reunited (Naya and Vinit supported Liz and Vichi when they were finalists for TFA’s Social Innovation Award back in 2014) and Cristina, Dan (MyHealthEd board member, Clever), Kurt (Department of Health Behavior, UNC), and Liz networked at the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Social Innovation Award dinner.

We’ve started running targeted social media ads to teens in the 10 states with the highest rates of teen pregnancy and will share updates next month about how that’s going. We will also release the next version of Real Talk with a revamped story submission experience later this summer; we’ve learned a lot from our users! We’ve also combed through the search terms teens have submitted so that we can continue to collect stories on these relevant topics. Since launch, here are the top 10 search terms in our Real Talk app in order of popularity:

  1. Sex

  2. Gay

  3. Acne

  4. Puberty

  5. Relationships

  6. Boner

  7. Depression

  8. Period

  9. Bisexual

  10. Lesbian

In May, more than half (57%) of the stories submitted to our Real Talk app were written by teens who self-identified as LGBTQ. This is incredible. We continue to be in awe of all the teens who are willing to share their personal stories about puberty, relationships, and bullying so that other teens can learn from them and feel less alone. Here’s is a recent story that was submitted to us by a student who identified as LGBTQ+:

I have been questioning my sexuality since fifth grade, for two years. At my last school, there were lots of boys and I had a crush on a lot of them, but I started to get a crush on my best friend. I kept telling myself that I was straight and just wanted to be bisexual or gay, but I now realize that I do like girls. The problem is, my new school is mostly girls, so I know for sure that I like girls. But there are barely any guys at my school to know if I like boys at all, and it confuses me. I don’t know what my sexual orientation is, and questioning sounds good but it confuses me making it sound like I for sure like guys and/or girls. I’m just very confused all together, and I feel pressured to just be gay. I don’t know what i am, and I feel like I can only be out to people if I have a label. I want to have a girlfriend or let people know that I’m LGBTQ+, but I feel like I need a label. It’s very stressful.  -- Female, 13

In other news, Liz has been named one of 60 North Carolina Influencers for a new project with The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer, and the Durham Herald Sun to spark discussion about topics readers care about. Read what she had to say about education in this week’s article.

Moving forward, we are seeking expertise on marketing, specifically individuals in your network who are familiar with Google AdWords. If you have any leads, please email Liz at liz@myhealthed.org.

All the best,

Liz, Vichi, and Cristina

Liz Chen