2014 PIE Conference Review

In October 2013, I spoke at the fourth annual Pride In Education GSA Conference. It was a wonderful experience. Just days ago, on November 2nd, 2014, I spoke at the fifth annual conference. I was a member of the organizing committee and the media liaison for this event, and the experience this year had a profound impact on me.

This year, the youth at the conference launched the hashtag #PIEcon2014. This year, trans issues were addressed to a greater degree than ever before. This year, activities and the overall atmosphere encouraged strength in unity. This year, I felt that what I had to say sparked more conversation than it may have the last time around. What a wonderful way to come together and to come out better for it.

I can think of nothing that would make me happier than I am when afforded the opportunity to be a part of something great. The #PIEcon2014 made me realize that what I have decided to make my life’s work is truly what I am meant to do. The strength of those in attendance was inspiring, the questions weighing on people’s minds were freely expressed, and the words of those who spoke were taken to heart. Presentations were made by LGBTQ people and Allies alike. It seemed to begin and end quickly, but what we gained was greater understanding. We left understanding trans issues much better than before. We left with a deeper understanding of each other. I left having been quietly challenged on something I had said in my workshop, and I feel grateful for that humbling experience. Most importantly, we went through it together. The resounding message that didn’t even have to be spoken at #PIEcon2014 was that we are a community. We are strong. We are powerful. We are not alone.

To close on a personal note, I must share my greatest revelation that came from November 1st and 2nd, 2014. I sometimes wonder whether I am doing enough to contribute to the change I want to see. I am often doubtful that my work will have any lasting impact after I’m gone. You see, I want Outspoken Ally to become more than just an organization, I want it to become a movement for social equality. These things are not built quickly, they must take the time to grow, and it’s easy to become disheartened throughout the process. After watching the unity, co-operation, receptiveness, and togetherness of last week’s conference, my doubt is gone. This is my revelation, that the fight will continue, and those of us who contributed will have been a part of something great. I am inspired beyond words. To Pride In Education, to every Gay/Straight Alliance, to all who were at the Pride In Education 2014 GSA Conference … a job well done!

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