This blog post is really delayed as I have had work and college and life has just been a crazy mess, but thankfully I have gotten around to write it.
I think that Pride holding this conference is amazing because as a young person I know that society still isn’t excepting young LGBT individuals which is so heart breaking. As young people we need acceptance to embrace ourselves and our futures and thankfully Pride Cymru gave a small group of young people to have their voices/stories heard to a lot of people, which is truly powerful.
Pride Cymru Youth conference:
On the 10th of October Pride Cymru was holding their first ever youth conference in Cardiff. I had to get there pretty early so I could help sort stuff out and ask any questions that I had. Before the event started I was hoping that Dan (the other youth champion) was going to be there as I hadn’t thought of a speech to say on stage when it was our turn, so I was honestly relying on him. But when I arrived I got the news that Dan wasn’t going to be there as he was ill, so the pressure was on for me!. Walking around as anxious as ever I was absolutely petrified as I wasn’t prepared to speak on the tiny stage in front of an audience I could see.
Below I am outlining the plan from the whole day so here it is:
- Myself and Nathan Wyburn welcomed everybody.
- The children’s commissioner for wales Sally Holland spoke.
- Myself spoke as a “key speaker” outlining what I wanted to do as a young person champion.
- Andrew Davies from Unity spoke about hate crime and his own experiences of hate crime.
- Youth Cymru’s Trans*form project did a question and answer session and showed there video.
- Then there were two workshops which people could go to, which was either sexual health or hate crime.
- We then traveled over to Cineworld to watch the Iris Prize youth short film nominations which included Closets, An Afternoon, Boy and Show boy.
- There were another 4 workshops, the first two where Substance & alcohol – switched on and being active/sports engagement. Then after those two workshops were over there where another two which was mental health – stigma sucks and confidence in campaigning.
- The conference then ended and most of us headed back up to the social and entertainment part of the day in Cineworld.
When we was first starting to “kick things off” I just had to tell everybody to sit down because we was about to start, honestly nobody listened to me so after about 5 attempts it happened (yay).
Before Nathan went up onto the stage we was talking and he was so nervous like we was both like a bag of nerves, but he did really well. I have honestly used this from Awesome Cardiff so he said “I find it a great honour to be asked to support young LGBT+ people in Wales, whilst great things are happening in achieving equality for all. Young people still need support and I feel my personal experiences enable me to empathize fully with young LGBT people. The conference is a great idea and way of ensuring that young people’s voices can be heard and organisations and agencies can get the services that young people need right now. It is essential that the health and well being of today’s young people is focused upon and they understand how to look after themselves but also where they can get support if they need it.” I know that Nathan is going to bring some amazing stuff to Pride Cymru as a young ambassador! Well done man!
Next up was Sally Holland the children’s commission for Wales, before the whole event started I met Sally and shook her hand and she was a genuinely nice lady and I believe that she can maybe help young LGBT teenagers in Wales! and she went on to say the following: “It’s a real honor to be asked to speak at Pride Cymru’s inaugural Youth Conference. The role of the commissioner is to stand up for the rights and welfare of children and young people in Wales. All young people have the right to realise their potential, however, evidence suggests that LGBT young people face barriers to accessing their rights. Whilst progress has been made in raising awareness of LGBT+ issues and improving attitudes towards differences within society, far too many young people still report experiences with homophobic bullying. We must continue to challenge these negative attitudes, hear the voices of those young people affected and act to ensure that barriers are removed and equality is achieved.” Me as a young person I know what its like to face these barriers, I know what its like to grow up and be told that I’m lying about who I am. I was failed in the education system, the mental health system and by the police. But I believe that Sally can slowly, but surly make a change and I look so forward to that!
After Sally’s talk on stage it was my go. Once again I was still scared and came up with the words as I went along but apparently it was really good. I honestly cannot remember what I said but I remembered I outlined my promises, outcomes and plans for the next 12 months with Pride Cymru.
Following my talk next up was Andrew Davies from the Unity Project in Swansea. I personally think Andrew is an amazing person, he doesn’t identify as transgender but he does some amazing things for the transgender community, as well as the LGB community. Andrew was taking about hate crime which was really powerful, as a gay man he has experienced some shockingly terrible hate but he’s trying to turn it into a positive situation by helping other individuals. He mentioned that he was a victim of hate crime when his cat got poisoned because he was gay and the taunting continued for some time. This is honestly the harsh reality of being a LGBT individual, but thankfully he has moved houses and now he’s doing incredible things for the communities he supports!
Following Andrew was Youth Cymru’s Trans*form Project where 7 young people from the group attended. Firstly they showed their video which is below:
After this video they answered a huge amount of questions regarding pronouns, what is failing for trans youth, schools, the NHS and everything and anything that could possibly be asked. It hit me hard because I could relate to almost everybody on the stage, but they all did such an amazing job! They all stood up for the transgender community and made the audience think, lets hope they can make a difference in the near future! And I totally loved the fact that nearly all of them ranted about each subject, which is what I do on a regular basis! So well done guys and good luck in the future!
After a short cigarette break we had two of the mornings workshops, which was either sexual health or hate crime. Sexual health for me is such a touchy and awkward situation for me I tried to avoid it, so I went along to the hate crime talk. Nick Lewis from Umbrella Gwent was talking at the hate crime talk and was giving general information to people about hate crime and how to report it/why should you report it, which was super informative as hate crime is a serious crime that should be reported but individuals are always to scared to do so.
After Nick’s hate crime talk we had a short break for lunch. Myself and Amy/Eve the Pride youth council members were interviewed by S4C for their new program called ‘V’ which means I in welsh! This was pretty funny and a good moment and I really look forward to seeing it as they filmed the whole event!
After our interview with S4C Myself and Amy ran (I mean ran) Over to Cineworld, ran up 4 floors worth of escalators which didn’t actually kill me which is pretty amazing!. We went into the cinema to watch the four short films for Iris Prize Youth shorts which were Closets, Boy, An afternoon and show boy. After watching the short films myself and Amy met up with Berwyn and his team to discuss our thoughts on the short films, as we was both a part of the youth jury for the Iris Prize Awards. Below I shall tell you each and every one of my thoughts on the films and why I rated them in the order I did (The top one being first and the last one being last of course):
- Closets – Closets was a short film based on two young boys, One lived in 1986 and his mother can’t accept that he likes to wear women’s clothes so he hides in his wardrobe and he ends up travelling to 2015. He meets another boy in the same position as him and by the end of the film they both tell their parents that they’re gay (when its online ill 100% link it into my blog somewhere as its so powerful and amazing). I loved this film as it shows some of the bad moments as coming out, but the good moments that they stood up for themselves. A couple of days before watching this short film I came out as gay to my close friends and I was so scared and I related to it, I was ashamed to admit it before, But I did it. The film closets should be shown in schools in Wales and the UK. Its just amazing!!
- Boy – Boy was a short film about a young transgender boy who was being forced to live as a female by his mother and she couldn’t handle the truth. here’s a link to the film:
. As a transgender male I liked this film, But I thought that the story line went along a bit too quick and I thought this short film maybe better off as a feature film as there is so much more to it. When I came out as transgender it took my mum a year to accept it, but on this film the mother slapped her son and next moment she accepted him…that’s not the reality for a transgender individual.
- Show boy – Show boy was about a young footballer who was getting to grips with being a gay man. His father was an alcoholic and he was depressed. So this young footballer in his free time went out as a drag queen, once again when the video comes out ill post it on my blog! I personally didn’t like the video as it was too violent, it had sex scenes and it wouldn’t be any good for school children. Here is the link for the film
- An afternoon – An afternoon was the only film I didn’t understand, It didn’t have a structure and it didn’t seem to draw my attention…I’m still confused now as to what the plot of the short film was.
After the short films we had 2 more workshops which was substance abuse and being active/sports engagement. I went along to the sports engagement which was really powerful. I was there whilst Richard Cann was sharing his story about being in the army, playing rugby but not opening up about his sexuality. It was a really really powerful workshop as he was totally open about his life and his story which is amazing.
The next workshops were mental health and confidence in campaigning, I went along to the confidence in campaigning talk as it was down my street and I thought it would be something Id enjoy (which I did!). Christian Webb from Stonewall Cymru did a powerpoint on how to campaign and he spoke about what he does with campaigning.
After the workshops ended that was it, Pride Cymru’s first ever youth conference was over!!! We thanked everybody for coming and we all headed to Cineworld to have a little catch up with everybody! Me and Amy and Eve had a good time and that was the youth conference!