By Jessica Fisher and Kalli E.
The Queer Youth Leading The South (QYLTS) Camp convened on Wednesday, July 16th on a cool, bright day in Georgia. The welcome mat rolled out for young people from seven southern states going from Florida to Mississippi, with even a couple guests from California.
The camp was held on the beautiful campus of Agnes Scott College, a private liberal arts women’s college in Decatur, Georgia.
The sense of community was felt almost instantly, as youth were showed to their dorms and settled into the space for the next three days.
The first evening included discussions on conflict management and a Trans Justice Workshop.
It was powerful to have the Trans Justice Workshop the first night, as language around gender identity is often the most necessary tool used by people to address their gender confusion. We were able to see that on the first night of QYLTS camp, as two youths, one from California and one from here in Georgia, expressed an interest to go by different pronouns and/or names, in an effort to explore their gender identity and to address their gender confusion. For some it was their first time in a safe space where they could explore their gender identity without fear or backlash.
And, as one Georgian trans youth put it, it was nice to not be the only trans person in the room.
The end of the first evening came way too quickly. Lots of us youth were tired and ready to sleep, but wanted to stay up and socialize, to meet the new people from across the country. Four days was too short a time to spend in such great company.