Penny Lane Centers proudly presents EDGY (Embracing the Diversity of GLBTQ Youth and families), a one day conference to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices as well as gather resources from leading experts and organizations to create a more supportive environment for LGBTQ+ youth and families.
Oftentimes when working with LGBTQ+ individuals the focus is on their sexuality and/or gender identity. However, many of the issues and challenges for LGBTQ+ persons are common to many other youth and young persons. This year we want to look at the whole person and how we can support them to overcome challenges that – although not specific to the LGBTQ+ community – are prevalent within their lives. This would include issues like eating disorders, self-cutting/self-harm and even bullying. It is also more common in politics and the media today to hear negative things specifically targeting LGBTQ+ individuals forcing many to feel even more insecure and apprehensive about their future. How do we help our young people cope and thrive? The focus of EDGY this year will be working together to help nurture confidence in who they are – which is so much more than who they choose to love or what their gender identity may be.
There are many topics that we hope to have presented that would allow attendees to be more effective in their work with LGBTQ+ individuals. We are inundated today with negative messages such as politicians working to overturn gay marriage as well as tragic examples of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, overwhelmingly targeting Trans women of color. How does a young person absorb this kind of information and yet continue to improve themselves and their lives, so they have happy and healthy futures. “Don’t say GAY” laws and prominent leaders railing against “Drag Queen Story Hour” give young LGBTQ+ the message they are hated. The reality of the situation is that “Drag Queen Story Hour” sets out to show positive role models to young people regardless of sexuality or gender. Books and films are often the first place that young people see positive role models or how LGBTQ+ individuals integrate to society. How do we use art, storytelling, and other tools to show compassion and support to LGBTQ+ youth? LGBTQ+ hard earned rights are under attack so not only must we advocate for change and progress but create forums for young people to feel secure enough to do the same. This conference will be a call to action for us all to not only do more to help our youth but to empower them within their communities and groups.
We want you to be part of this change as Penny Lane presents EDGY 2023 to over 400+ attendees eager to learn more and do more. EDGY prides itself on providing “take aways,” resources and tools for us all to use to help LGBTQ+ youth. These are our kids. EDGY looks to extend the community and support we all need to transform these lives..