South Kern Sol, Community Voices, Chyna Patz
On Nov. 17-19, I attended the 3rd Annual Queer and Trans Youth Leadership Summit with three other LGBTQ youth from the Dolores Huerta Foundation youth group: Teens 4 Equality. At the summit, I led and attended workshops and met other LGBTQ+ youth who wanted to learn how to create better communities in California.
I’ve been involved in this activist and leadership development group since spring 2016. In this group we try to change our community for the better, as well as to spread awareness about the positive aspects and challenges that come with being in the LGBTQ+ community.
The trip’s agenda was to bring queer and trans youth and mentors together. We share a common goal of bettering communities, spreading acceptance, educating each other about issues in our community, as well as creating steps to accomplish goals for our community.
This event gave me the opportunity to grow intellectually and socially. It gave me time to relax from close-minded folks in my area and showed me that even our small group can have a big impact in society.
During the event, hosted at the Wonder Valley Resort in Sanger, Calif., I was taught about the broad history of civil rights that LGBTQ+, people of color, and working class people led. I learned about poet-activist Audre Lorde. She showed the world that we’re not bad because of who we like or love, and that we’re not bad because of the color of our skin. We should try to love each other as individuals, rather than let stereotypes about our communities divide us. Learning about her helped show me how my day-to-day life can be improved on, even fixed!
I got the chance to lead a workshop about how to be a trans ally. In this workshop, Teens 4 Equality presented how to refer to a transgender person and talked about the different parts of our identities. We also touched on the importance of pronouns, and how you can support a friend if they are trans. Our goal for this workshop was to teach people correct terms for the various types of people in our community and how to help others feel accepted.
The summit included free time, meals with youth from different communities, workshops, and time to relax and meet with other people. At the art expression workshop I painted about how issues in my community, like homelessness, made me feel. At meals times, talking with youth from other communities allowed me to make connections and make new friends. I even grew my relationships with the my fellow travelers from Teens 4 Equality. I encourage others to attend future summits because it helped me feel like I’m not alone in my hometown and that I can help change the negativity that might harm others around me. It helped me see that the world has so many possibilities, that we shouldn’t waste time on trivial matters when we can be improving our quality of life through community building.
The Queer Trans Youth Summit offered me the chance to talk to those I would have been too shy to meet. I really hope I can go again next year, so the relationships I made can keep growing. After all, connections make the world go round.
Chyna Patz is a 16 year old LGBTQ youth activist with the Dolores Huerta Foundation.