OC LGBT Youth Convening: Q&A with the Organizers

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Group Pic CO4-2

OC LGBTQ Youth Convening 2016

We spoke with Laura Kanter, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Services, LGBT Center OC, about this weekend’s upcoming event, asking her and a series of youth activists about the convening and LGBT issues.

Why is raising LGBTQ+ awareness in Orange County important to you?

Orange County has a reputation for being a conservative and often hostile environment for LGBTQ people. Historically we have had little support from our elected officials, or our Board of Supervisors. When courageous leaders do show that they support and care about LGBTQ youth, they have been attacked by opponents who throw transgender students under the school bus to win votes. We need to change that reputation and let folks know that Orange County is rich with a diverse LGBTQ community, so that more LGBTQ youth can be safe to be themselves. We want to raise awareness about LGBTQ student rights, and teach youth and adults how to get involved as advocates and agents of change.

What LGBTQ+ issues do you think should have priority in your community? Why? 

We are fighting to make sure that every school in Orange County is implementing the School Success and Opportunity Act, a law that went into effect in 2014, that ensures transgender students can fully participate in their education, graduate and thrive. Some districts and schools are avoiding this law because of bias and fears. We also want every OC School District and school to fully implement all of the laws that serve to support LGBTQ students such as Seth’s Law, which is about bullying, and The FAIR Education Act, which is about inclusive curriculum. Sadly, many administrators and faculty we speak with do not know about these laws or they do not have the tools to implement them. We want to see other districts model some of the school climate practices that are being supported in Santa Ana Unified School District, like providing direct support for LGBTQ students and for GSA’s at school sites, creating school climate committees and engaging in LGBTQ inclusive Restorative Justice practices. These programs and practices will help the most vulnerable youth be able to be safe and supported in school, instead of ending up on the streets or the school-to-prison pipeline.

What would you like to accomplish in Orange County?

A trans*queer youth revolution (so I can take a break). And for the school districts to lead change and become inclusive, safe and supportive for LGBTQ youth. And for Orange County to elect legislators and supervisors who actually care about ALL youth, and will do what is best for youth rather than what is best for their next campaign. And for all of the youth to come together and realize the amazing power they have when they do.

Other youth advocates also engaged with us about this weekend’s event.


Kristi

Why is raising LGBTQ+ awareness in Orange County important to you?

It is important to raise LGBTQ awareness in Orange County because I want others to be more educated about LGBTQ.

What LGBTQ+ issues do you think should have priority in your community? Why? 

I think an issue in the LGBTQ community that should be priority is transphobia or transgender because not a lot of people are accepting it. However right now people are more open about it yet I think we could evolved more if we force on this issue.

What would you like to accomplish in Orange County?

I would like to accomplish in Orange County is that more people are educated about LGBTQ like the binary and also the laws in LGBTQ.

Kristi Truong
Westminster High School
Junior


Why is raising LGBTQ+ awareness in Orange County important to you?

Raising awareness for the lgbtq+ is important to me because growing up, I didn’t really hear a lot about the lgbt except for the bad things people would say, so naturally as a young member of the lgbt I was very scared of what people would think and how my family would react, and that’s not right.hts, and teach youth and adults how to  get involved as advocates and agents of change.

What LGBTQ+ issues do you think should have priority in your community? Why? 

The fact that some schools do not have a gay straight alliance should take priority so that members of the lgbt have a safe zone on campus. I also think that bullying should be addressed more, because I’ve even seen teachers bully students.

What would you like to accomplish in Orange County?

Sadly, my goal isn’t very realistic, but I would like the lgbt to be able to feel safe regardless of what they identify as or how they look.

Genessa Becerra
Lorin Griset Academy
Senior


Briana Convening 2016

Why is raising LGBTQ+ awareness in Orange County important to you?

So the LGBTQ+ kids can know that they are valid and that their issues can be heard.

What LGBTQ+ issues do you think should have priority in your community? Why? 

An issue is that sex education and LGBTQ+ history aren’t really taught at school.

What would you like to accomplish in Orange County?

I would like to give LGBTQ+ kids a safe and fun space for them to interact with new people and to just be themselves.

Brianna Dinh
Westminster High School
Junior


Laura


Nathan


Briauna's Convening Picture 2016


Seren-Convening 2016


Lalo


Sandy Convening 2016


Vlad


The LGBTQ Youth Convening is a day-long conference organized by and for Orange County LGBTQIA youth and allies through The LGBT Center OC. This event is FREE for all. For questions, please contact Tony Ortuño: tony.ortuno@lgbtcenteroc.org 714-953-5428 ext. 209

Click here to view the program for the event.