A church in Naples, Florida hosted an LGBTQ+ conference for children and young adults aged 12 to 18.
The event was held at the Naples United Church of Christ and was put on by the Collier County chapter of GLSEN. GLSEN is a national nonprofit organization that, according to its website, “was founded by a group of teachers in 1990” so that educators could “play key roles in creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth.”
The organization focuses on “activating supportive educators” and conducts “extensive and original research to inform our evidence-based solutions for K-12 education.” According to its website, the group will “advise on, advocate for, and research comprehensive policies designed to protect LGBTQ students as well as students of marginalized identities.”
The conference’s Eventbrite page proclaimed that the event was a “one-day conference” that “will provide students with the opportunity to engage in LGBTQ-related issues facing them today while empowering them to be confident in all their identities.”
The church’s conference held a series of seminars featuring topics like “Forbidden Queer Literature,” “Political Action & Advocacy,” and “Inclusive Sex Education.”
GLSEN also hosted a “drag show from some of our local drag queens” and a panel discussion “with former high school students talking about life in the LGBTQ community after high school.”
The Post Millennial reported that there was some local concern about the event, especially since it appeared that many children attending the conference would be bused in directly from school without their parent’s knowledge.
According to a spokesperson for the local school district, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS), the school’s facilities may not be used as “transit points for the pickup and drop-off of students for this event.”
Florida’s Voice reported that the conference’s young attendees were asked to enter their pronouns and provide other personal information prior to registering for the event.
The spokesperson said, “The District was never informed nor contacted about this event. CCPS is not a sponsor of the event, which is being held at a private facility. CCPS also neither authorized nor approved the transportation of CCPS students to and from district school sites by the event organizers. Any inference to the contrary is fully rejected by CCPS.”
The spokesperson continued, “To this end, CCPS has spoken with the event organizer and explained that the information on the registration form, and any associated flyer must be immediately corrected to reflect that CCPS is not a co-sponsor nor will it allow its school sites to be used as transit points for the pickup and drop-off of students for this event.”