Metro Wellness, GLSEN hosts annual LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership and Empowerment Summit

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa | Metro Wellness and Community Centers is partnering with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Tampa Bay to hold its annual LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership and Empowerment Summit on Feb. 17.

“It is 2018, and our local and national leaders are looking to youth to rise up and create positive change!” Metro’s press release on the event reads. “The objective of the LGBTQ+ Youth Summit is to provide information on health, education and empowerment so that every attendee walks away knowing that they belong and have an important voice in the community.”

“The summit is geared toward youth [ages] 13-22,” Metro’s program manager and volunteer coordinator Christopher Shay tells Watermark, “but open to all, including educators and other professionals that work with and support the LGBTQ+ youth community.”

Scheduled workshops include topics such as LGBTQ+ history and self-care, communicating with family members and parents about your LGBTQ+ identity, “adulting 101,” and becoming a civically-engaged member of the community.

Former Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor, who was recently named as a grand marshal for the upcoming fourth annual Tampa Pride, will feature as a keynote speaker. Castor was the first woman to lead the Tampa Police Department.

Joining Castor for her own keynote speech will be community advocate and poet Samira Obeid. “I’m a queer activist,” Obeid’s professional biography reads. “It’s who I am and what I do.”

“LGBTQ+ Youth are some of the world’s most creative, dynamic and forward thinking people. The annual LGBTQ+ Youth Summit is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ Youth to show up in a space where they are free to be exactly who they are,” Metro’s Youth and Transgender Program Coordinator Cole Foust says.

“In this space, they can learn, connect and grow. We aim to help youth remember their importance by empowering them to use their voices, love themselves and be active members of their communities,” he continues. “We’re excited to partner with GLSEN Tampa Bay and local LGBTQ+ leaders to create this experience and look forward to continuing to support LGBTQ+ youth in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.”

The LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership and Empowerment Summit will be held from 1-6 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Tampa Community Center, located at 1315 E. 7th Avenue in Tampa. Attendees are also invited to a dinner and dance sponsored by GLSEN following the workshops. Dinner will be held at 6 p.m., with a DJ leading the dance from 7-10 p.m. For more information, visit

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