HRC Conference for Educators to Highlight Well-Being of LGBT Youth

by HRC Staff

Event in February Features Sessions on Bullying, Conversion Therapy Dangers, Homelessness, and Helping LGBTQ Youth Thrive in the Classroom and Beyond


Washington ⇁The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association, will host its second annual Time to THRIVE conference next month.

The event, scheduled for February 13-15 in Portland, OR, will feature more than 60 workshops that address urgent challenges LGBT and questioning youth face, both in and out of the classroom, and provide educators, counselors, coaches, and other youth-serving professionals the tools they need to help all of our young people thrive.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, and actor and LGBT activist George Takei, best known for his television and movie role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, will be among those honored during Time to THRIVE. The conference also features prominent officials from the U.S. departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services.

"We know teachers are hearing anti-LGBT slurs in the hallways, and seeing their transgender students shunned. And even if they want to respond or help, they've had no training on how to do that,” said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference chair. “That's what HRC Foundation'sTime to THRIVE conference is here for. It's a place to start."

Workshops and training sessions topics include: how teachers can bring LGBTQ concerns and stories to life in the classrooms; how to recognize and respond to youth at risk for suicide; working with students vulnerable to contracting HIV; challenges faced by rural LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth of color; and steps to take to insure that schools are safe for all young people.

One of the event’s premier panels will provide guidance on federal protections for educators working with and advocating for LGBTQ youth. It will feature Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education; Jocelyn Samuels, director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights; and Pam Karlan, deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Emerging national conversations about discredited and dangerous “conversion therapy,” LGBTQ youth homelessness, supporting transgender students, and laws requiring safe and affirming learning environments will also be explored during the conference.

"Counselors, teachers, social workers⇁any professional working with LGBTQ youth⇁will be able to learn from and connect with some of the best experts in the field," Pompei said. “These are people who can make an enormous difference in the lives LGBTQ youth, many of whom don’t have support at home, and whose personal safety is a constant concern.”

Special conference guests include: Betty DeGeneres, LGBT activist and mother of Ellen Degeneres; Debi Jackson, who, as mother of a transgender child, has emerged as a national LGBT rights activist: Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard and co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation; and Dolores Huerta, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

A detailed list of Time to THRIVE workshops can be found here. More information for members of the media is available here.


Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.  Time to THRIVE will take place over Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 13-15, 2015, with AT&T as the presenting sponsor. To register, visit  

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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