More than 300 attended The LGBT Network’s 21th Annual Long Island LGBT Conference on Tuesday, March 28th at the Stony Brook University Charles B. Wang Center. The annual Long Island LGBT Conference is Long Island’s only LGBT-specific conference that seeks to educate and empower students, educators, health and human service providers, and other members of the community to address the needs of LGBT people throughout the lifespan in their schools and communities. The Long Island LGBT Conference offered attendees a broad range of workshops with topics of interest to students, educators, activists, professionals, and community members.
Over 25 workshops were offered at the conference which was both interactive and innovative. Addressing bullying was a central theme and the LGBT Network’s Aaron Braun and Lyndsay Smith led interactive sessions of the “Upstander training: Don’t stand by, Stand up!” This workshop trained and empowered hundreds of youth on techniques of intervening when they witness bullying. Through role-play, participants were able to understand bystander behavior and have the opportunity to practice effective yet appropriate responses to addressing bullying. Health promotion and prevention were also big topic areas as the LGBT Network’s Stephanie Buxbaum and Christopher Polistena, led sessions for participants to “Know your (sexual) rights!” New York State laws on HIV/STD testing, age of consent, access to condoms and other issues were discussed. A Name Change Clinic was led by a transgender legal advocacy organization to assist those that wanted to change their names to correspond with their gender identity.
Since 1996, The Long Island LGBT Conference has provided an opportunity for thousands of middle, high school and college students, educators, higher education professionals, health and human service providers and community members each year to discuss the unique needs of the community, learn how to become better advocates and create positive change.