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Personal Stories

A Day of Chaotic Joy at OK2BME’s Annual GSA Conference, by OK2BME

“Everyone is welcome” is drastically different from “we built this with you in mind.” 

That framing is what makes the GSA Conference for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth across Waterloo Region such a unique and magical space. We filled Bingemans Conference Centre with over 300 students from over 45 schools, packed the day full of 27 workshops, one amazing musical guest and tried to cram as much joy and celebration into 6 hours as possible. 

It is an absolute honour and privilege to create this container to connect youth to each other, to community partners and agencies and incredible queer and trans community members who are doing such important work – and an opportunity to connect with themselves.

A big thank you to the staff, volunteers, supporters and sponsors who make the day possible. This year’s sponsors include our Legacy Sponsor, RBC, as well as Risolv, GHD, Gowling, Maplesoft, Ian Cook Homes, GDI, Shari Foster – IG Wealth Management, and YNCU.

The experience of being at the GSA Conference is a challenging thing to put into words. One of the things that is heard over and over from many of the queer adults who attend is “I wish I had something like this when I was younger” or “This is what I needed to hear when I was growing up”, and underlying that longing is the joy of knowing that these youth are getting that experience.

Magic. Joy. These words are the ones we keep coming back to in an attempt to sum up the GSA Conference. The smiles, tears of joy and the connection of “me too!”, and the sheer energy of the day are beyond anything words can describe.