Shout OUT: Anna Weingart
These are the people in our gayborhood: A net cast far and wide
By Blake McCoy,
11:00AM, Wed. Jan. 21, 2015
Name: Anna Weingart
Status: Austin, TX homegrown
Queerly Quotable: “We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re changing the circumstances.”
What better way to celebrate Gay Place’s newest addition to the blogosphere than to give a shout out to Austin’s Anna Weingart, founder of the recently launched SanghaLink, a social network for LGBTQIA high school students. After running a successful pilot last spring at Pflugerville and Westwood High Schools, Weingart anticipates that SanghaLink will go nationwide in the 2015-16 school year.
Recalling her own experience of being rejected in high school, and how community (or a lack thereof) drove her to make an attempt at her own life at the age of 14, Weingart says, “I want to provide a way for teens to find real community. I took a hard look at the resources that existed, and I found the missing link; I realized community was the answer.”
In the wake of the recent death of transgender student Leelah Alcorn, Weingart reflects, “When I read part of her suicide note, I could feel her pain because I have experienced it. It made me realize that SanghaLink needs to happen now because this is one resource that could have potentially prevented that tragedy.”
SanghaLink integrates local gay/straight alliances to help students make meaningful relationships with other nearby LGBQIA students, without the pressures of coming out. In the future, SanghaLink also plans to network with already existing groups like OutYouth for deeper reach.
Inside Scoop: Weingart is a psychology student at UT in her second year and enjoys outings with her puppy, Maria. Supposing that her life were turned into a movie, she says, “I would want an unknown actress to play me. I would also want Ellen DeGeneres to be in the film… because she’s Ellen DeGeneres.”
Watch out for more Shout OUTs coming to a Gay Place near you!