I remember when I went to my first Models of Pride event in High School. Thinking about how long ago only makes me feel older but those were fond memories. There was a group of us gay youth and a friend of ours went to a continuation school for the LGBT and he invited us.
Now, back in the day, we didn't have social networks or tweets to keep us in the loop; everything was word-of-mouth and our school didn't have a Project 10, so to find out about an event with other gay teens was an exciting thing. Other than each other, we really didn't know many gay people, so we all were looking forward to going.
It was the first time I felt free and comfortable in an openly gay environment. It was a mini gay conference. We received a folder with the different work shops and times of speakers and entertainment. I saw my first lesbian comic there, I wish I could remember her name. The night ended with a dance and I actually slow-danced with another girl for the first time.
We weren't alone. There were so many people there. It helped give me the courage to come out. Well, I didn't right away, I was 16yrs old and still very much in the closet, but it gave me a sense of hope. That following semester, I came out to my classroom during a speech on freedom of speech. A few days later I helped organize a Project 10 at my high school.
I'm over the age limit to attend as a youth but I'm honestly thinking of getting involved more in the community, whether it's volunteering for M.O.P. or something in the same field. I just want to help out. If you know any gay youth (12-24 yrs old), inform them of this yearly conference.
I really wish I could have attended this year's conference (today) because the entertainment is provided by Adam Shankman which I'm positive it's going to be awesome and I think there might even be a gleeky surprise. I work this weekend, so I'll have to hear the tweets & see the photos of the event after the fact. If you are in the Eagle Rock area, you should try and swing by Occidental College.