|I’m From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible, much appreciated and help us continue to collect and share lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all over the world.
A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER NATHAN MANSKE
After watching the Gus Van Sant-directed, Sean Penn-starring, Dustin Lance Black-written Milk, would you believe I was inspired? But funny enough, what inspired me was Milk more so than Milk. An image I recalled wasn’t even in the film. It was a photo of Supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., riding on the hood of a car in a San Francisco Gay Pride march, holding a sign that reads, “I’m From Woodmere, N.Y.” The sign was intended to show how far people came to attend the San Francisco rally, but it meant something more to me. It meant that there are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in every small town and every big city across America and the world. I was thinking about that photo in between assaults on the snooze button and I responded to Harvey’s sign: I’m from Driftwood.
There are LGBTQ stories from every corner of the Earth and the importance of each story is as unique as the stories themselves.
To the LGBTQ teens struggling to come out and come to terms with their sexuality, who to this day still attempt suicide 4 times more than straight kids, it says “you are not alone.” Other people have dealt with similar situations, families, communities and churches, and have overcome and are now living happy lives. It can happen for you, too.
To the straight community, these stories provide an open, honest and welcoming look inside the true lives of LGBTQ people. Once you get to know more about your neighbor, I think you’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll get to know about yourself.
Nathan Manske is the founder and Executive Director of I’m From Driftwood, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which collects and shares lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all walks of life to help deepen our understanding of each other. In 2011, Manske and the IFD team completed a 4-month, 50-state story collection tour, as well as accompanied and collected stories from the riders of AIDS/LifeCycle, the largest fundraiser in the world for HIV/AIDS prevention. Manske is a guest-blogger on the gay news blog Towleroad, and IFD Video Stories are now being featured on The Huffington Post’s Gay Voices vertical. In 2010, Manske was one of The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40” for the work he’s accomplished for the LGBTQ community. I’m From Driftwood stories have been adapted for the stage, in a self-published book and have been seen and heard in podcasts and live reading events around the country.
Produced under his newly founded company, Crush Deviant Media, Marquise Lee serves as director and editor of the I’m From Driftwood original Video Stories. Raised in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Marquise currently resides in Philadelphia where he works as a Video Operations Consultant. A video artist/filmmaker for over 10 years, Marquise has screened many of his works on broadcast television, in academic settings and at film festivals across the nation.
Rafi Mittlefehldt maintains the tech side of I’m From Driftwood. He’s from Clear Lake, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Despite growing up in a conservative community, he ended up having it pretty easy compared to many of his gay friends, and came out at 18 to full support. He spent seven years in Austin, two of which he worked as a reporter for a small paper, before moving to Brooklyn in 2007. Now he manages data and operations for Scholastic. In his free time he edits his first novel, which he’s currently shopping around. Rafi received Journalism and Computer Science degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. His family, his friends, and his dog Sky don’t care about his sexual orientation, but his boyfriend Damien does.
Santiago works as an editor for I’m From Driftwood. He was born and raised in Tepoztlan, Mexico, and recently completed a degree in Film and Television from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He enjoys anything related to filmmaking, illustration, storytelling, and helping the IFD team get all those LGBTQ stories in front of as many people as possible.