2012 Queer Youth Advocacy Day
I was 16-years-old when I attended the first Queer Youth Advocacy Day in Sacramento. At 32, this was literally a lifetime ago. I marched up to the capitol with my purple dreadlocks and combat boots demanding safe schools and safer-sex education in California classrooms. The largest gay-youth political turnout in the state’s history at that point, it was impossible to ignore the 300+ youth that converged upon the Capitol that day. And it’s just as impossible to ignore them today.
Launched in 1996 by LIFE Lobby (which would later become Equality California), Queer Youth Advocacy Day has evolved from a single day of lobbying to an expansive youth-empowerment weekend. Staff from Equality California Institute, GSA Network, The Transgender Law Center, The Trevor Project and ACLU of California work with youth on delivering their messages at the Capitol and support youth in overcoming fears they might have in delivering those messages to their representatives.
Or, as Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl told us back in 1996: “Remember when Dorothy found out that the Wizard was really a little old man behind a curtain, pushing buttons and turning wheels? Well, this place is like that.”