HRC Foundation’s Groundbreaking Conference Supporting LGBTQ Youth to be Held in Dallas

by Ianthe Metzger

Third annual Time To THRIVE conference is expected to attract 800-plus participants from around the nation for sessions on helping LGBTQ youth thrive in the classroom and beyond

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA), is proud to announce that it will be holding its nationally-acclaimed Time to THRIVE conference for educators and youth-serving professionals at the Marriott Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center outside Dallas from February 12 - 14, 2016.

In its third year, this premier event of the HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, will address safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBT and questioning youth, and bring together a wide range of youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, healthcare settings, and beyond.

“We are thrilled to host Time To THRIVE in Dallas, where we have a strong base of LGBTQ supporters and advocates ready to help us bring our message to new audiences of teachers, counselors and others working with youth in Texas and beyond,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As we continue to make great strides toward full equality across the country, we remain dedicated to ensuring LGBTQ youth everywhere have the opportunity to live proudly - and safely - in school and at home without fear of marginalization or discrimination.”

The conference in previous years has featured actress Ellen Page’s deeply inspirational coming out speech that quickly went viral; special guests including Chelsea Clinton, Lance Bass, Dolores Huerta, and Betty DeGeneres; and, in 2015, Time To THRIVE award-winners Michael Sam, the first openly-gay NFL football player, and actor and LGBTQ activist George Takei. Highlights from the most recent conference can be found here.

“We are honored to bring the third annual Time to THRIVE conference to North Texas, a central location for youth-serving professionals across the nation who wish to attend,” said Dr. Vincent Pompei, Conference Chair and Director of HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project. “North Texas is home to more than 15,000 LGBTQ youth, and we know from experience that Dallas has great wisdom to share about improving the lives of these young people.”

“We have seen heartening progress in the Dallas area, including the adoption of comprehensive anti-bullying policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity in its two largest school districts,” Pompei said. “This was accomplished with strong support from the Dallas-based Resource Center, an LGBTQ community center that is providing exemplary services to LGBTQ youth to strengthen their family and peer relationships, and address their overall well-being.”

According to Growing Up LGBT In America, HRC Foundation’s 2012 survey of more than 10,000 LGBTQ young people, LGBTQ youth in the United States still face unique challenges. Only half of LGBTQ youth surveyed say that they “fit in” in their community; LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to be verbally harassed at school; and 63 percent of LGBTQ youth say they will need to move to another part of the country to feel accepted.

Held over Presidents’ Day Weekend, the conference will take place at the Marriott Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center outside Dallas. Marriott has earned a  perfect score in HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates American workplaces based on their commitment to LGBT equality. Dallas has also earned a score of 91 out of 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index, a nationwide evaluation of LGBTQ inclusivity in municipal law.

During the three-day 2015 conference, attendees from 43 states and four countries chose from more than 60 workshops presented by 40-plus organizations. Workshop topics ranged from creating safe and inclusive schools, to working with LGBTQ youth of color and immigrants, preventing homelessness, raising awareness of HIV and youth, and protecting young people from dangerous “conversion therapy.” The conference also drew experts on federal policy from the U.S. departments of education and justice.

Workshop proposals for the 2016 conference are being accepted through Sept. 10 and can be submitted here. A detailed list of Time to THRIVE workshops offered in 2015 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 12-14, 2016. 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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