Ten LGBTQ+ teens spending four days in Los Angeles, celebrating queer joy and surrounded by their peers? It doesn’t get much better than that.

This November 9-12, 2022, the It Gets Better Project hosted its first inaugural Youth Summit, a groundbreaking event hosted at the Los Angeles LGBT Center that brought our current cohort of Youth Voices together in person for the first time. Youth Voices is a group of 10 exceptional young LGBTQ+ people ages 13-18 β€” they are students, artists, and activists who are working to change their communities for the better and who have a passion for empowering their community of LGBTQ+ peers with their insights and observations. Each year, we work with the Youth Voices, offering training and support on how to effectively share their unique stories and words of advice with other LGBTQ+ youth.

For many of our Youth Voices, the Youth Summit is the first time they’ve traveled to Los Angeles β€” and the first time they’ve been surrounded by other LGBTQ+ teens. Over the course of two days of workshop programming and a celebratory “Queer Teen Day” event, the Youth Voices had the opportunity to: 

  • πŸŽ“Learn how to become effective spokespeople for the It Gets Better Project and its mission, as well as talented advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and their peers, in a variety of settings – online, at public events, through video and written word, and so much more.
  • πŸ“· Participate in video & photo content creation that would allow them to showcase their voices and stories across our social platforms throughout the year.
  • πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Develop a working knowledge of the modern LGBTQ+ movement, its diversity and potential, and the role nonprofits like the It Gets Better Project play in paving that movement’s way forward.
  • πŸ’ͺ🏿 Build stronger personal and professional relationships with each other that can aid them in taking their at-home work and activism to new heights.

More than 100 individuals participated in the Youth Summit. In addition to our Youth Voices and staff, youth and adult representatives from local organizations including the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Queer Field Day, Rainbow Labs, Wisdomania Foundation attended.

Queer Teen Day celebration, co-hosted by Rainbow Labs, held at the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) Arts & Recreation Center on Sat., Nov. 12. Photo By: MaryJane Joya / Las Fotos Project

Attendees at our Youth Summit traveled from a diverse range of communities across the United States β€” ensuring each of them left the summit feeling inspired and connected was the It Gets Better Project’s top priority.

Read what some of the attendees had to say about their participation in this exciting, youth-centered experience:

Photo By: MaryJane Joya / Las Fotos Project

β€œThe Youth Summit was a really incredible experience that honestly felt unreal. I loved meeting the other Youth Voices and IGBP staff who I’d previously only ever connected with digitally. […] It was really heartwarming and reassuring to see so many happy and thriving queer and trans teens and adults.”

Elliot S.
Youth Voices – Class of 2023
It Gets Better Project

β€œThe entire summit was a wonderful experience, but my favorite moment was doing the interview with Aidan (another Youth Voice). I personally like talking with people that I’m comfortable with, so talking with someone else about our experiences was very enjoyable for me.” 

Dion H.
Youth Voices – Class of 2023
It Gets Better Project

β€œThe Youth Summit was great to be honest. It was nice to see LA with people I’ve been conversing with online for at least a couple of months to a year.” 

Chloe L.
Youth Voices – Class of 2023
It Gets Better Project 

β€œWe often imagine a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ youth. The Youth Summit was a glimpse into that day.” 

Staff Member
It Gets Better Project

As hosts of this Youth Summit, we were honored to provide our guests with thought-provoking discussions, presentations, workshops, opportunities to socialize, and more. This program would not have been possible without our amazing partners. Their support allowed us to make this event an unforgettable experience.