Earlier this month ShoutOut were lucky enough to be able to send Managing Director, Bella FitzPatrick, to the ILGA Europe Annual Conference which took place in Warsaw. We want to express so much gratitude to ILGA Europe who sponsored Bella's trip over, making it possible for ShoutOut to be represented at this incredible event. Here's how Bella found the experience:
The theme of the event was: "Change! Communities mobilising, movements rising!", which was very fitting for me as a volunteer working to create safe schools on the Island of Ireland.
Among the incredible workshops and talks I was able to attend a meeting about youth work hosted by the amazing organisation IGLYO. IGLYO showed us how they are assessing the level of LGBTQIA+ safety and inclusion in schools across Europe.
Next I learned about research into safe schools from US org GLSEN. We can't wait to work with IGLYO and GLSEN in the future!
We heard worrying statistics from the True Colors Fund about how LGBTQIA+ youth are affected by homelessness in greater numbers then their cis-straight counterparts, and how much a stable home and welcoming schools are vital for LGBTQIA+ young people.
As well as workshops and talks on safe schools and youth issues, I was able to attend workshops on a variety of topics such as bi visibility, parent support, and intersex rights.
On the last evening we went to the Palace of Culture and Science which was aglow with rainbow colours!
This conference was truly transformative, and I'm very lucky that I was sponsored to go, and that I have such an understanding day job that always make room for my work with ShoutOut.