Marc Navarro's blog

Expression Not Suppression 2016 Lives Up to Its Name

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Last Saturday, GSA Network youth leaders in the Central Valley came together for the Expression Not Suppression (ENS) conference in Fresno. This annual conference has become a part of LGBTQ youth life in the central valley, with many participants coming multiple years and some of them even volunteering to help run the event. 

This year, ENS featured workshops on topics like how to improve your GSAs, fighting the gender binary, health and sex education access for queer and trans youth, how funding happens in schools, and why students should be involved. The day concluded with a youth dance and drag performance where ENS lived up to its name; one youth in particular who participated in the drag show blew everyone away, flying through the air and showering themselves with bottled water on the dance floor. We were all suprised to learn it was their first performance ever.

Leading With Our Heart

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The first time I got a sense of what a youth-led social justice movement looked like, I felt an instant connection to it. At the time, I was a youth trainer and active in my school’s GSA club. Making a difference in my school and in my hometown of Fresno had become part of my everyday life, but I didn’t really know what it felt like to be part of a movement. I definitely didn’t see myself as a ‘leader’.

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