From April 26 to April 28, the Bellevue College LGBTQ Resource Center participated in the Power of One Conference, an event that recognizes and brings together the LGBTQ community for a weekend of bonding, understanding and supporting each other.
For all those who participated and attended the event, the takeaway and the importance was a little different for everybody. For Sam Crenshaw, BC student and a member of the LBGTQ Resource Club, said, “I think the most important part is what you make of it. For me, I took a lot away on how to deal with my anxiety. Everyone took away something different.”
In addition to this, Crenshaw stated, “I liked that I made friends. I met new people without it causing a panic attack. They helped me through the conference and made downtime more interesting.”
The battle for support and to be seen as equal for the LGBTQ community has been an ongoing and treacherous one. In 2011, statistics and studies were shown that gay teens were five times more likely to commit suicide. Along with this, gay teens who were in an unsupportive environment were 20 percent more likely to attempt suicide. The Power of One Conference, along with many other events, is one that helps teens and young adults feel that they are accepted for who they are.
“I think it was important for everyone to see that there are others like us. It’s one thing to be told and to ‘know’ there are other queer people in the world. It’s another to be surrounded by them, talking to them, interacting with them, hearing each other’s experiences, and seeing how this all affected us,” said Crenshaw.
The conference provided the attendees an opportuinity to talk to others about their experiences, take part in workshops, and overall bond with others who could understand the hardships that are presented with being a gay or transgender individual in today’s society.
The purpose of the Power of One Conference, in Crenshaw’s opinion, is to “build a community where there isn’t one. I met people from Boise, Twin Falls, Spokane, and more. We all go to schools that aren’t all that supportive. This weekend we were able to make connections and feel closer to ourselves and each other from our respective schools and from the conference.”
The Power of One Conference is over for now, but the support that the LGBTQ Resource Center receives at BC is still present. For anybody interested in joining, contact Ali Colluci or inquire within Student Programs for more questions.