Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper co-chaired a statewide convention concerning lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) youth.
The event, directed toward a high school-aged audience, took place Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the UMC. It featured a panel of CU students identifying as LGBT, sessions of health and wellness, bullying intervention strategies and a keynote speech from Dr. Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
Above, CU GLBTQ buttons. At the UMC on Friday and Saturday there was a statewide convention concerning LGBT youth. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)
Daniel Ramos, the Colorado Gay-Straight Alliance network program manager, a CU alumni and coordinator of the event, said the goal of the event was to help students by providing the right tools to their educators.
“We are putting on this conference to help support the youth,” Ramos said. “And, if we can, to better educate teachers so that they are equipped with better tools, so that they can perform their jobs better.”
Last year, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill to stop bullying in schools across Colorado. The bill’s primary focus was on underrepresented groups regarding race, religion and sexual orientation.
Ramos said that advances can continue to be made based on the responses the unofficially-named Anti-Bullying Law receives.
“It has given us a framework to discuss how we need to [approach] bullying with teachers so we can be more effective,” Ramos said.
Ramos said that several strategies would be presented to students at the conference to help them to further combat bullying in schools.
“A couple of things that we’re doing are teaching the participants what bullying looks like, showing them intervention strategies for when they do encounter bullying, and helping them identify both the victims of bullying and the offenders,” Ramos said.
Within the next year, Ramos said that he would like to see more schools adopting policies that are inclusive to the LGBT community.
“We would like to see more trained educators in schools.” Ramos said. “We would like to see schools adopt policies that are inclusive to LGBT students. It’s not just making sure that they adopt the policies, it’s making sure that they update them. I would also like to see more youth and hear what they have to say so we know how to combat bullying.”
The conference was aimed to impact the lives of LGBT students by providing them a safe and supportive environment.
“The presence of supportive adults makes the students feel safer,” Ramos said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Bethany Morris at Bethany.email@example.com.
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