Regional free youth Love is Love conference returns to Oak Bay High

LGBTQ youth focus of free annual event, adults welcome

Love is Love is back in Oak Bay for 2018.

The fourth annual free regional conference is geared for youth but welcomes adults learning about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The sessions continue to draw young people from around the region, says organizer Matt Treble, who started the conference while still a student at Lambrick Park Secondary.

“It’s developed to include people in later middle school and young university students,” Treble said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing how many people come. No matter what I do as an organizer, it means nothing if nobody comes. I view the conference as a vessel. I view the youth coming as the ones being the activists for themselves.”

Growing from the seeds planted at his alma mater, Treble shifted his regional gay-straight alliance conference to the more central Oak Bay High last year. It opens again with a panel-style keynote speaker session.

“We’re hoping to use that to have some Indigenous youth share their perspective,” he says of the first session.

Participants then head for two one-hour sessions.

The broad range of topics include an engagement session with school district and staff about what needs aren’t being met for LGTBQ youth, harm reduction and naloxone training and mental and sexual health and well-being.

Ambit Gender Diversity Consulting, which provides gender inclusive training for organizations, offers one adult exclusive session in the morning.

“It’s a cool opportunity for adults to participate as well, while still respecting it’s a youth space,” Treble said.

The free pizza lunch, for adult and youth alike, includes information as well.

“There’s going to be some tables from local community organizations who work in the community. It’s a chance for people to have some food and socialize, but also see what’s going on in the community,” Treble said, adding feedback was good last year, and organizations sought him out this year. “It’s cool from my perspective as an organizer seeing how into it the community is.”

A final workshop in the afternoon leads to the grand finale, a drag variety show.

Love is Love runs Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oak Bay High, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd.

The free conference organized by youth, for youth, starts with registration 8:30 a.m. Registration is available in a variety of ways, including Facebook page facebook.com/LoveisLoveYPC/ and the event page facebook.com/events/1890911714554090/ and an Eventbrite page. Or just show up, Treble says.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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