Our own Jamie Jones represented GALA Youth February 12th – 14th in Dallas at the 3rd annual HRC Time to THRIVE Conference. Jamie
attendedback-to-back conference sessions Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that were most relevant to the young people GALA Youth serves. She collected
information to share with the group as well as with the adults who work with our GALA Youth program. One of the classes Jamie attended was Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower: How to Support LGBTQ Youth,
presented by the TREVOR Project. One point of emphasis during this presentation was that the importance of support for the LGBTQ youth cannot be overemphasized.
Youths who have support are at a far lower risk of considering suicide. The TREVOR Project provided the following statistics regarding suicide among
41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming youths attempt suicide.
Youths who are LGB are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGB peers.
Youths are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide if their family is not accepting.
Youths who have 1 person in their lives who is supportive are 30 percent less likely to attempt suicide.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people 10-35 years of age.
On the Personal Side
A Highpoint: One highpoint of Jamie’s conference experience was meeting and enjoying lunch with a 13-year-old who chose to attend the
conference to learn, and to make connections in the LGBTQIA community. As of right now, 13 is still too young to become involved in most LGBTQIA Youth
groups in the area. However, what was touching and encouraging was that this particular youth is looking forward to when they are old enough to join
such groups, and in the meantime is lucky enough to have a very supportive parent and supportive family. GALA Youth focuses on middle and high school
age youth but accepts all who need us on a case by case basis.
A Poignant Experience: One of the most difficult sessions Jamie attended was a presentation by the Clementi Foundation, listening to Jane
Clementi recount the details of her son's suicide and the events surrounding it. Although Jamie had heard her speak once before, Jamie found it to
be an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching experience.
In Her Own Words
Jamie left the conference with optimism and hope for a better future for our LGBTQ youth. She felt that, all-in-all, the experience was positive and hopeful.
In her own words:
I've attended other events and conferences geared towards educators, but the attendance at those events was not nearly as good. There were so many sessions
[at this one] to choose from that it was impossible to see and hear everything. I also learned that there were sessions for youths that were held on
Sunday after the closing plenary for conference attendees. Such sessions might be of great interest to our youth should Time to THRIVE ever be held
in Texas, or nearby, in the future.
Check these out:
TrevorSpace.org: an international networking site that allows youths to make connections.
Quist: an app that teaches LGBTQ history. Find more information or download the app here: http://www.quistapp.com/
If you would like to join us, or find out more about GALA Youth visit us on Facebook, or contact us at https://sites.google.com/a/galanorthtexas.org/gala-youth/
GALA of North Texas
If you would like to join us, or find out more about GALA of North Texas visit us on Facebook, or contact us at http://www.galanorthtexas.org/contact.htm