SCOTTS VALLEY >> Saturday’s Queer & Ally Student Summit focused on ensuring healthy relationships across the gender and sexuality spectrums.
Kevin Johnson SC Sentinel
learn about local resources and build community.
The summit is a space where students can meet other people who are interested in these topics and issues. They have an opportunity to share stories and support.
“I’m here to learn a lot of stuff that I can bring back to school and share with other students and teachers,” said Beck Williams, a 15-year-old at Aptos High School who’s involved with the campus’s Queer Straight Alliance.
The workshops were hosted by both high school students and community allies. They spoke about how to identify unhealthy relationships and to encourage healthy relationships, how to deal with homophobic microaggressions and misgendering in the classroom and how to help parents become better allies.
“I’ve had some not-so-great relationships within my family,” said Adrian Viloria, a 16-year-old junior at Delta High School. “That’s why I feel like it’s important to learn what a healthy relationship is and isn’t, especially for queer youth.”
At the summit’s resource fair, a number of organizations tabled to connect with students, such as the Diversity Center Youth Program and PFLAG Santa Cruz County, which is a group for parents, families and friends of LGBTQ people.
Among them was the Trans Family Support Group of Santa Cruz County, a community of parents and families with transgender children.
“The single most important determiner of mental health is family support,” said Michelle Brandt of the group. “I’m here to let the kids know that we’re a place where them and their parents can get information and support.”
The Queer Youth Task Force and the Safe Schools Project of Santa Cruz County put on the Queer & Ally Student Summit about three times a year. To learn more, visit www.qytf.org.