Supporting LGBTQ+

Emma Walz, Managing editor

The link between white privilege and racial activism. The experiences of those with marginalized sexualities. Vulnerability and emotions in the face of oppression.
Students discussed these topics and more at Disrupt, a youth summit hosted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) at Towson University Nov. 19.
“I thought that it challenged the thinking of the people that were there, and that’s always valuable,” science teacher and Spectrum sponsor Laura Braly said.
Braly led a workshop on Allyship, which addressed how to be an ally to people who are LGBTQ+, African American or an ethnic minority.
“The goal was to help students realize their own privilege,” Braly said. “I think very often we are not aware of our own privilege.”
The event was aimed at high school-aged LGBTQ+ youth and allies. Around 70 to 80 students from schools all over Maryland attended this event to learn how to improve their own GSA, be more inclusive and make friends in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I really thought about how we can make sure young people can disrupt systems, where they can be advocates for themselves and where their voices are heard,” director of the Baltimore GLSEN chapter Jabari Lyles said.
Students then had the opportunity to attend workshops and discuss issues in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
“It’s about listening, not about speaking,” Braly said.
Braly has wanted to participate in this event for a number of years, and was very pleased to be involved this year.
“When I retire, that’s where my future is, working with LGBTQ youth,” Braly said. “You guys are my future. The best part of my week is Thursday afternoons.”