Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Awardee
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)-Watsonville
First Christian Church, through the leadership of the Board, is led and attended by people committed to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals, including youth. The church brought on Reverend Florentino Cordova, their first openly gay Pastor, several years ago as the first step in a long-term plan to become a center of support for queer youth and other marginalized groups. They host and support a weekly LGBTQ+ Youth Group, which is a safe space where queer youth of any or no faith can meet to discuss queer issues and the local
LGBTQ+ movement. FCC is a proud member of Out In Our Faith, and has provided refuge, advice and support for many queer youths in the area. The board and congregation of FCC is committed to welcoming and caring for queer youth.
Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Nominees
The 2016 Jon E. Nadherny/Calciano Memorial Youth Symposium
Calciano Symposium is an organization whose goal it is to bring health care providers, educators, and others who work with young people from across the county together to learn about a new topic each year. This year, the topic was “Clinical Essentials for Increased Understanding of the Diverse Transgender Community,” and it was a roaring success. Usually when a trans child goes to a new care provider, that care provider is navigating trans issues for the rst time, often at the expense of the child or their care. According to the mother who nominated the organization, “this symposium touched the hearts of hundreds of families with trans children by putting trans issues on the radar of so many local providers.” This symposium moved Santa Cruz years forward in its ability to care for its trans community.
Delta High School at Cabrillo College
Delta Charter High School is known for being something of a safe haven for LGBTQ+ youth. This school goes above and beyond the average high school to make queer youth feel safe and included. Delta requires sensitivity trainings for teachers around LGBTQ+ issues, provides a queer-inclusive curriculum in all classes, including health and sex-ed, and is working on a safety plan to support queer students speci cally. They also now have gender neutral bathrooms, thanks to the student leaders and staff members who worked with the administration. Delta’s QSA boasts 30% of the student body and is very active, attending or sponsoring at least one event every month. Delta teachers, staff, and students all work hard to support and honor their queer students and peers.
Mount Madonna School
Mount Madonna strives to educate students in a supportive environment that honors each individual. This has become evident in the last two years, as Mount Madonna has taken huge steps in moving toward being a more safe and friendly environment for their LGBTQ students. Mount Madonna administrators recently stepped up to institute several important changes to their school. They educated all Mount Madonna staff, including bus drivers, about ways to support queer youth and the unique issues they face. They provided a gender-neutral restroom for students, and they established the school’s rst QSA. These additions go a long way to show queer youth at Mount Madonna that they are respected and create a more friendly environment for queer and trans youth at the school.
San Lorenzo Valley High School Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA)
San Lorenzo Valley High School is proud to be the home of such a stellachrr Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA). The students of this vibrant GSA worked incredibly hard to host the QYLA in the Spring of 2015. More recently, the student group created and facilitated an educational presentation for school staff about the importance of respecting pronouns and chosen names, how to be a good ally, and other ways of supporting their queer and trans students. The GSA also planned and carried out Rainbow Week 2016, a weeklong event with a different theme for each day to raise awareness and start conversations about queer issues among their peers. The students of the SLVHS GSA have worked hard to make make their school a better place for LGBTQ+ students.
Santa Cruz High School
Santa Cruz High School has been a leader in supporting its queer students for decades, boasting the oldest GSA in the county. The leadership staff, teachers and GSA advisors at SCHS are following in the tradition of support and advocacy for their queer and allied students. SCHS sponsored a dance for queer youth and allies on the Day of Breaking the Silence, and this year SCHS staff supported student GSA members in educating all of the 9th grade health classes about gender and gender nonconformity. Already with a single stall gender-neutral restroom, SCHS will be one of the rst high schools in the county to fully comply with California law AB 1266 by establishing a gender neutral multi-stall bathroom. SCHS as an institution supports and honors queer youth.
Subjects to Change Youth Empowerment Program at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH)
The Subjects to Change (S2C) program based at the MAH is a place where queer youth and allies can challenge old ideas and foster new ones. This program provides queer youth with a safe space to educate each other and the Santa Cruz community, and connects teens with resources and encouragement to become leaders in the Santa Cruz community. S2C meets weekly, lead art activities at outreach events across the county and host their own events at the MAH that are queer friendly They consider themselves “artivists” and believe in bridging the queer community with creative experiences. They cultivate a space where where trans youth can be comfortably “out,” where people introduce themselves with their pronouns, and make a strong effort to co-create a supportive climate.