Ose te démarquer conférence (OTD) and the Dare to Stand Out: Youth Leadership conference (DTSO: Youth) were both huge successes! We had 10 francophone students and 32 anglophone students attend, which were representatives from a dozen schools.
Both conferences began with a tranquil smudge ceremony and acknowledgement that the event was taking place on unceeded Algonquin/Anishinaabe territory, both done by our Metis presenter from the Wabano Centre.
The OTD intimate and interactive event had 2 keynote speakers. Dany Morin, an openly gay politician and associate LGBTQ critic of the NDP Party, representing the district of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, discussed his anti-bullying bill and growing up gay and francophone. Sylvain Briand explained coming out in the workplace and his struggles and triumphs. We had a workshop from the Wabano Centre on the intersections of sexual health, LGBTQ populations, and aboriginal youth. Our last workshop presented by University of Ottawa’s Pride Centre gave an introduction to the LGBTQ community. The event ended with Acadian and francophone poetic performances, followed by a tour of SAW Gallery’s latest installation that was curated by a queer artist and included queer artists.
DTSO: Youth had keynote speakers from YSB and YouthNet, Peter Gindl and Torin Sollows. They spoke about the obstacles and succsesses organizing their own youth-focused events. Jer’s Vision’s FC Estrella facilitated a workshop on trans inclusivity, followed by Zac Johnstone (from Colonel By Secondary School’s GSA) and Cameron Aitken (a Jer’s Vision educator) giving a workshop on how to maintain your school’s GSA with or without teacher support. The event ended with poetry and song from an open mic!
Here are some comments from the students:
“I learned a lot and am more determined to start a club in my school.”
“J’ai aimé tout. Absolument tout.”
“It’s given me ideas to take to the GSA in my school, and how to better treat transgender/transsexual people.”
“J’ai aimé des presentations et les discutions.”
“Everyone was really nice and it was great meeting and talking to new people. The workshops had amazing, informative speakers. I also liked that the students were very involved and had very good questions.”
“Bravo et merci!”