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Students and faculty attend GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit

2017 Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit by Georgia Safe Schools Coalition

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2017 Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit by Georgia Safe Schools Coalition

Mattie Rosen, Web Editor

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On February 18th, Safe Schools Coalition held the Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit for local LGBTQ+ students at Agnes Scott College. This annual event provides a safe, open space for anyone; there is no cost to attend, and lunch is even covered by the Coalition. Adults and faculty members outside of the queer community are also welcomed – the program emphasizes the importance of allies to speak up in non-queer groups in order to spread awareness.

I have attended both the 2016 and 2017 Summit, and both experiences have been uniquely impactful. When I went to the 2016 Summit, I had recently come out as non-binary (a gender outside the “binary” of male and female), and I was just beginning to explore what that meant for my identity. At the time, I was struggling with acceptance from my peers, so when I was welcomed with open arms by the other attending teens and adults, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. The 2016 Summit gave me the confidence I needed to further explore my identity as a member of the transgender community.

When I walked into the Summit on February 18th, I realized how much progress I have made in just one year. I wrote down my pronouns on my name-tag with more comfort and ease than I had the previous year. I was more willing to share my experiences with parents and teens, and I noticed myself talking more and more – the confidence and affirmation I received at the 2016 Summit instilled a sense of power in me, and the way I was able to communicate so openly and consistently with unfamiliar peers exemplified this newfound strength.

There are many different seminars for LGBTQ+ youth to attend, ranging from “A Queer Presence in Video Games” to “Starting a GSA”. Additionally, there are multiple seminars for parents and faculty members to ask their questions to counselors in a safe, neutral space. These seminars are led by professionals in their respective fields, which provides a unique space for answering questions and discussing relevant topics.

Aside from the engaging seminars, many LGBTQ+ businesses set up booths to issue out informational brochures on topics such as mental health hotlines, gender-confirming surgeries and surgeons, and local psychology offices that specialize in helping LGBTQ+ youth. Other booths promote LGBTQ+ media – Charis Books is one of the oldest feminist bookstores with media focusing on queer-based literature, and they had a booth where attendees could purchase books from an array of genres within the LGBTQ+ realm.

Overall, the Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit is a great resource for all people to learn about different identities, means of acceptance and affirmation, and network with others.

The Summit is usually held in the early spring each year. For more information about the 2018 Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit, visit http://www.georgiasafeschoolscoalition.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/TheGeorgiaSafeSchoolsCoalition/

To get involved in our local LGBTQ+ community, be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming meetings for Weber’s GSDA! The GSDA can provide a safe space for any students within the LGBTQ+ community to talk with other students about experiences, resources, and so much more.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Students and faculty attend GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit”

  1. Mike Bennett on March 7th, 2017 12:40 pm

    A great write-up of this meaningful event!

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