Ally to Queer Youth Award – Awardees:
Parent Coordinator, Pájaro Valley High School
Guillermina Carillo is a role model with a generous heart who stands up for queer students at Pájaro Valley High School. She has a big heart full of love that she eagerly shares with everyone, and encourages students to be true to themselves and work toward their dreams. She plays a huge part of the QSA at PVHS, and has made a positive impact on many individuals’ lives in the two years she has spent leading meetings and chaperoning eld trips. Last year she was nominated for being a parental role model many queer kids wish they had, and it still holds true. Guillermina is like an older sister that is always there for students in need of support.
Dr. Shane Hill
Clinical Psychologist and Gender Specialist
Trans* youth everywhere deserve an ally like Shane Hill in their lives. Shane dedicates his time and energy to improving the lives and family relationships of trans* youth, and has literally saved lives. Shane started and participates in the Gender Specialists Clinical Team of the Central Coast, started the Trans- family Group of Santa Cruz and the annual Queer Camp, and focuses his clinical psychology practice on helping dozens of individual trans* children and their families through the process of coming out and transitioning. When he’s not busy with his practice or volunteering for an organization he helped start, Shane focuses on educating other local professionals, schools, and or- ganizations to be better equipped to serve LGB and particularly trans* youth. Santa Cruz county is a better, safer place for queer and trans* youth because of Shane.
Student, Student, Pájaro Valley High School and OASIS Independent Study
Unfortunately, being queer and trans isn’t all rainbows and parades. Queer and trans youth can be the subjects of hatred and violence, and the ignorance of others can make being a trans girl dangerous. Queer youth need allies who don’t just want to wear the ag and go to pride, but who will defend and protect them against hate and violence. Cassandra Montes is that ally. She saw a hate crime occur and stepped in when nobody else did. Bystander in- tervention is a learned skill; people are better able to intervene after seeing it modeled once. Hopefully someone learned from Cassandra, because If more people acted like her when they hear and see hatred for trans girls and other LGBTQ+ youth, the world would be a better, safer place for queer kids.
Co-founder & Facilitator, Diversity Center Trans Girl Youth Group
Darby Collins Begeman is a student-teacher at Watsonville High School and a erce advocate for the trans community. During her time as Youth Program Coordinator at the Diversity Center, she co-founded a meetup for trans girls. The group meets everySaturday at the Diversity Center, and is a safe space for young trans women to talk, network, and build the type of community they often lack at school. She is a proud supporter of WHS’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club. As Darby pursues her teaching credential at the University of California Santa Cruz, she continues to speak up at school and in the commu- nity around issues facing queer and trans youth. While Darby is committed to supporting all youth, she is destined to have an immense impact on LGBTQIA youth
Volunteer, Triangle Speakers & Rainbow Speakers and Friends
Edie Frederick is a committed activist and educator on behalf of LGBTQ communities and youth. Edie is a member of the Triangle Speakers group run by the Diversity Center in Santa Cruz. She takes public transportation from Salinas to Santa Cruz to volunteer on panels for Triangle Speakers, sharing her story of acceptance with schools, hospitals, and other organizations. Edie is not just committed to educating organizations and supporting queer youth through her volunteer work; she went the extra mile and sponsored a trans youth of color to attend this year’s Creating Change Conference in Chicago. She “self- lessly stepped back and provided an opportunity for a young person active in the queer community to attend,” instead of attending herself. Edie is also an active volunteer for the queer community in Monterey County.
Sexual Health Educator and Youth Advocate
Jamie Joy is a colorful whirlwind of ideas and radiant optimism. Jamie is a pas- sionate advocate for queer communities and a dedicated activist and educator. They are involved with various organizations in Santa Cruz County with a fo- cus on visibility, justice, and sexual health education. They volunteer as a Tri- angle Speaker, work on the Safe Schools Project, and intern with the Diversity Center’s Youth Program. Jamie is graduating with a Community Studies and Feminist Studies degree from UC Santa Cruz and they are currently working on launching a queer youth mentorship program with college students. They also work to support projects such as the Breaking the Silence rally, Queer Camp, and the implementation of LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health curricula at local schools. Jamie is dedicated to sharing smiles and knowledge.
Student, Delta High School at Cabrillo College
Jennifer Breton is a tenacious activist who has worked hard on the behalf of trans students at Delta High. Jennifer is a senior at Delta Charter High School and a member of the QSA since attending the Queer Youth Leadership Awards last year. She is being nominated for her tireless work toward the addition of gender-neutral restrooms on Delta’s Campus. Jennifer researched transgender issues and laws that support trans youth, created a schoolwide petition to change the bathrooms, met with trans students to draft a mission statement and objectives, and solicited feedback on her goals from the Santa Cruz community. She consistently centered the voices and ideas of her trans peers, many of whom could not safely advocate for these bathrooms themselves because they are not out to their families.
Co-creator, Co-host & Producer, Out in Santa Cruz
Steph Taylor is a local activist turned nationally-known radio host who uses her ampli ed voice to advocate for queer issues in Santa Cruz County and beyond. Steph co-created and co-hosts the Out In Santa Cruz Radio Show, which frequently highlights local queer organizations and issues important to the community, and includes highlighting queer youth in the media. Out In Santa Cruz digs deep into all queer issues, and focuses on teen speci c topics in particular. Steph has dedicated her career to speaking out against homophobia and transphobia and confronting it on a station that has a diverse group of listeners. In addition to focusing on youth, she is dedicated to reaching out to parents, families, teachers and school board members on the show. Steph’s work is crucial to the education of many.
Co-Advisor, Cypress Charter High School Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA)
Valerie Neer is a respected advocate for queer youth and their families in Santa Cruz County and beyond. Valerie is a teacher at Cypress High School and advisor to the Cypress High School QSA. She helped the QSA coordinate Coming Out Day again this year, and will be assisting with the organization of the CHS contingent of the Pride Parade in Santa Cruz. With her help, the club has established a powerful alliance among all students at Cypress High School. She works to connect LGBTQ students, families, and colleagues with community collaborators and resources, and is an advocate for queer students at CHS. She always makes herself available for families and students to provide counsel, and personally demonstrates advocacy and positive thinking to others.