Our LGBTQ+ Youth Programs and Education Coordinator had the great privilege of attending the 5th Annual Alberta GSA Conference in Edmonton. She shares her experience below:

The 2016 Alberta GSA Conference took place at East Glen High School in Edmonton, on November 19, with around 500 attendees in total. Students and educators from all around Alberta attended, including individuals from schools as far north as Peace River and Grand Prairie and as far south as Lethbridge. Workshop titles included “GSA 101,” “Health and Healthcare of Trans Identities Within Alberta” and “Immigrant and Newcomer LGBTQ+ Youth.” During workshop sessions, both youth and educators shared valuable insight from their local Gender and Sexuality Alliance group and explored ways for GSAs to create safer communities within their schools. These workshops were an opportunity to share knowledge, learn and connect with other school groups with similar GSA experiences.

Dr. James Makokis, a two-spirit doctor and member of the Saddle Creek Cree Nation was the keynote at the conference, and shared an engaging and powerful talk on his story, indigenous language and what two-spirit identity meant to him.

Calgary Sexual Health Centre had a busy booth during the lunch, and staff from the agency connected with youth about the Calgary GSA Network, Camp fYrefly and other resources for LGBTQ+ youth in the Calgary-area. It was a busy but fulfilling day, with many students and teachers leaving the conference feeling connected and inspired. We can’t wait to share what we learned with our local GSA network at our next meeting on December 6th at Henry Wise Wood High School from 5pm-7:30pm.