The program I direct seeks to use the research we conduct to improve the lives of people in the LGBT community. Our research has shown that sometimes youth feel pressure to get into a relationship or stay with a partner. Sometimes people of all ages feel like they need to do things to make their partner stay with them, even if those things are unhealthy. For example, you may want to use condoms but your partner doesn't. So you might compromise your health by giving in and have unprotected sex that could lead to HIV or another sexually transmitted infection. At the same time we want to acknolwedge that being in a healthy and happy relationship can be wonderful and fullfilling-- the important thing is for it to be healthy and happy.
We wanted to share stories from young people talking about the benefits of being "single" to help counteract the idea you should do whatever it takes to stay in a relationship, even if it is unhealthy. When we started to search the Internet to find videos that tell positive stories about being "single" we found there were not very many of them (although I have to admit I do love this beautiful video about spending time alone), so we took it upon ourselves to help tell these stories. We set up a video camera at the Chicago Pride Festival and asked people what they like about being single. We partnered with BeyondMedia Education, an award winning video production non-profit, to edit the videos.