Editors Note: This is part of a series of op-ed pieces submitted by youth involved with LGBT Center OC. Voice of OC worked with LGBT Center OC to offer young activists a platform to voice their concerns about LGBTQ+ issues in Orange County. Student activists from several area schools are holding a day-long convening at Spurgeon Intermediate School in Santa Ana on Saturday.

Raising LGBTQ+ awareness is important to me because not only do I have a personal connection to the cause, I am also someone who is passionate about equality and inclusivity. Personally, my younger sister is transgender and I have seen the bullying and numerous other adversities that she has had to go through just to express herself.

Awareness and education stems acceptance and open-mindedness. By educating the youth about gender and sexuality, we can help to prevent the bullying that takes place in schools. This bullying ultimately comes from places of confusion and an uneducated mindset and can easily be improved upon if we start spreading awareness.

I have seen what my sister has gone through regarding her gender identity and I want to help others to feel comfortable and be safe in their gender expression. This can only happen if we are proactive about educating the youth and preventative of the bullying that is occurring in schools.

The LGBTQ+ issues that should have priority are the issues of isolation. Everyone should feel as if they belong somewhere and it can be dangerous when someone feels isolated or alone. Things like the Youth Convening are incredibly important because these events provide marginalized individuals with a feeling of community. They can connect people to one another and stem feelings of inclusivity. In order to be a happy, functioning member of society, one needs to feel as if they belong.

I would like to create a more accepting environment in all schools throughout the county. We can accomplish this through education and the implementation of inclusive policies. A comfortable and accepting environment not only provides safety, but can also boost the confidence and overall happiness of LGBTQ+ students. A safe and comfortable learning environment creates success in our schools.

Holly Nance
Mater Dei High School

OC LGBTQ Youth Convening 2016

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.

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