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EqualityMaine Announces Reaching Out - A Conference to Support LGBTQ Youth - on Friday, October 21st at SMCC

Chris O'Connor's picture
Written by Chris O'Connor
October 20, 2016 - 12:26pm

 EqualityMaine Announces  Reaching Out - A Conference to Support LGBTQ Youth - on Friday, October 21st at SMCC

SOUTH PORTLAND — Reaching Out is co-sponsored by EqualityMaine, GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders), and GLSEN Southern Maine (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education, Network). The one-day conference brings together Education professionals, parents, and students to learn more deeply how to make schools safer for LGBTQ  Youth.

The conference, hosted by Southern Maine Community College on Friday October 21st, is the fourth of its kind, with previous sites including University of Southern Maine, Colby College, and University of Maine, Orono.  There will be more than 100 people from across Maine attending 11 workshops  and presentations that address legal issues, best practices for schools, improving health outcomes, starting school clubs, interrupting oppression, and the creative arts.

In addition to the co-sponsors, the Maine Human Rights Commission, Health Equity Alliance, Out Maine, Out and Allied Youth Theater, Unwritten Roads, Portland Defending Childhood, and the University of Southern Maine will be leading workshops and providing resources in areas related to supporting LGBTQ youth.

The event will start with a welcome from Shane Long, Director of Residence Life and Student Involvement at SMCC, Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine, Susanne MacArthur, board member of GLSEN Southern Maine, and several local high school students will share their stories.

One of the students who inspired conferences like this one says, “Life as a queer kid, as a trans teen, isn’t easy. Often times, I feel alone and isolated; I feel hopeless and desperate. There are days where I just want to give up because life is difficult and unforgiving. But I’m still here. I’m still fighting. I now know that things will get better if I just give folks a chance and I know that there are people around me who will do anything they can to make sure I am safe, and supported, and loved.”

For more information, please contact EqualityMaine’s Program Director Gia Drew at 207-761-3731 ext. 14 or gdrew@equalitymaine.org.

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