The 6th annual Alberta Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSA) Conference was located at Central Memorial High School on Treaty 7 land in Calgary, on Saturday November 18th 2017. The conference aimed to provide support for Alberta K-12 students and teachers in the formation and maintenance of GSAs/QSAs as well as connect attendees with local organizations and supports.
The 2017 Alberta GSA Conference was the largest one yet with over 430 registrations and over 500 participants! With the successful turnout there was also positive feedback about workshops, space, organization and the overall atmosphere. Many participants commented that sharing the day with hundreds of youth from around the province of Alberta was a proud and inspiring experience for them. The Alberta GSA Conference continues to be an event for teachers and students to learn together, empower each other and feel encouraged to return home and continue to create change in their schools and communities.
Below is a bit more about who attended the conference and from where!
The planning committee for the GSA Conference included representatives from:
-Calgary Board of Education
-Mount Royal University’s Pride Centre
-Calgary Alternative High School
-Staff from the Calgary Sexual Health Centre
Amar Mangat, Keynote Speaker
Amar Mangat is a deaf, gay, and queer filmmaker, educator and teacher. He grew up in Toronto, then moved to Vancouver, BC. Aside from his community work, he is studying Film Studies and will be studying Communication Design. He is passionate about film, design, advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth, traveling, languages, photography and teaching to inspire the community. He is a former teacher of Queer ASL in Vancouver.
Amar is working with the Love Intersections for People of Colour to support community growth and make documentary films based on their experience. He is focused on literacy for English and ASL for early childhood and families. Amar’s keynote speech focused on his journey as a deaf person and member of the LGBTQ2S community.
The Resource Fair included:
- Colour Me Free, Medicine Hat
- Where the Rivers Meet, Edmonton
- Calgary Board of Education
- The Alex Youth Health Centre, Calgary
- The Distress Centre/ConnecTeen, Calgary
- Q Centre, Calgary
- Calgary Outlink
- Queers on Campus, Calgary
- AHS Sexual and Reproductive Health, Calgary
- Skipping Stone Foundation, Calgary
- Calgary Pride
- Boys and Girls Club Aura Housing, Calgary
- Calgary Public Library
- The Altview Foundation
- Alberta GSA Network
- Calgary Sexual Health Centre
“I had such an amazing time, I learned so much from the conference and getting to talk to other people. I didn’t want to leave! I really appreciate that it was free and that you could pick up pins and stickers for Pride!! Thank you for making this possible!!” – Grade 9 Student, Carstairs
“Seeing all the students come to my school for the conference made me and makes me so happy. I’m so proud of the people who attended, thank you.” – Grade 11 Student, Calgary
“I loved it so much, I made some new friends and just being surrounded by people like me and support me made me so so happy, thank you <3” – Grade 12 Student, Airdrie
Huge congrats to the Calgary GSA Coordinator, Hilary, who continues to put in wonderful energy towards serving students and school staff in Calgary and across Alberta! Thank you to everyone who was involved with the 2017 Alberta GSA Conference, we are so excited for 2018!