by Andrew Rahme, Research Associate & QTPOC Community Builder
Creation, connection, and transformation are the words that come to mind when thinking about the Allied Media Conference (AMC). At the conference’s QTPOC (Queer, Trans People of Color) youth networking gathering, facilitated by FIERCE, Youthprise, Trans Youth Support Network, and National Youth Pride Services (NYPS), participants had a chance to come together as a community and identify current issues and plan change in our community. Through games, laughter, relationship building, and amazing food, we discovered things about ourselves and about each other that allowed us to grow in ways we didn’t expect. Too often, queer or trans people of color have to create their own solutions to live happily and successfully; we create walls, stories, identities, spaces, and sometimes realities that are different from the ones that we are used to. The QTPOC network gathering was one such space.
As a queer male of color, going to AMC – a place where media-based organizing strategies are shared in order to implement change – was a must. Part of my job is to build relationships between our Youthprise research team and QTPOC youth. Needless to say, the network gathering at AMC was definitely an eye opener, and extremely humbling to see such power within the group. Neese Parker, the Philanthropy (Re)Designer at Youthprise, and Mickyel Bee, an NYPS member, facilitated a session called Going Deeper. It was a session on how to delve into societal issues and how we as QTPOC relate to those issues as opposed to looking at it from a surface level. The main goal for NYPS is to empower black LGBTQ youth in order to better their lives. The sessions at the network gathering and the personal connections we made did exactly that.
Another focus of the network gathering at AMC was around connection – connection to each other, to the world around us, and to our personal selves. We mapped out our interests for change and brainstormed what steps we can take to implement that change. We connected in ways we didn’t expect through common interests, experiences and the sharing of our wants, needs, hopes, and realities. Many of us began combining different realities and solutions in order to produce ideas for the most effective change.
The end result was inspiring and truly transforming. We got to be first hand witnesses of the beauty that comes out of organizing with QTPOC youth. Ideas as well as lasting relationships were created and strengthened. It will be exciting to see what change these new alliances will produce.