Ally Night

Ally Night: A Night of Celebration and Inclusion

Ally Night 2023

Ally Night Event Details: 

Who: LGBTQ+ community and allies

When: Thursday, March 28, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Where: Naples


Ally Night is an event hosted by GLSEN Collier County each Spring. It is a celebration honoring those who join in the life-saving work of supporting and affirming LGBTQ+ youth through safe spaces and inclusive education. This includes parents, students, educators, donors, and more. The festive evening provides allies from different backgrounds an opportunity to come together, network, and celebrate the important work being done by GLSEN Collier County.

Reflecting on the Year’s Achievements

Ally Night also provides GLSEN Collier with a chance to present guests with a “state of the chapter” update. This includes reflections on what was accomplished in the past year ranging from highlights of the Youth Pride Conference and Night of Noise (otherwise known as “Pride Prom'') to the training and support provided to educators and parents in the community. The work being done and the lives being impacted is at the heart of the event as is evidenced by the students who share their stories and the highlight videos centering the student experience through GLSEN Collier’s programming.

Community Collaboration and Student Advocacy

Many of GLSEN Collier’s community partners fighting for our LGBTQ+ youth attend this annual event. Time is taken to celebrate the collective successes in fighting back while also discussing the current and future challenges facing our queer, trans, and two-spirit youth. Board members each share a little bit of the work they have done and the role they plan in creating a vision, establishing the mission, and ultimately serving the LGBTQ+ youth of Collier County. Attendees also get to hear from members of the chapter’s SHINE Team, a group of local high school student leaders who share a collective passion for queer advocacy and activism. These students share their stories and the positive impact that GLSEN Collier’s programming has had on their personal lives and the lives of their peers.

Honoring Exceptional Allies

Ultimately, GLSEN Collier County recognizes the importance of allies working together for change. At the heart of Ally Night is the acknowledgment of teachers whose students have voted them as Ally of the Year at their respective schools. Additionally, GLSEN Collier honors a community member Ally of the Year given to an individual who stands out in their service to the LGBTQ+ students of Collier County and the fight for a safe, welcome, and inclusive education for each and every one. Previous recipients include:

  • Thom Croce, a pioneer as the first GSA club sponsor in CCPS;
  • Dawson Taylor, former senior minister of Naples United Church of Christ who played a huge role as the chair of this local chapter;
  • Cori Craciun, then-President of Naples Pride Organization and amazing partner in the community and the work being done to support LGBTQ+ youth;
  • Tim and Pete Massie, a local couple who have been instrumental in empowering GLSEN Collier County for the entirety of the chapter’s existence.

The Spirit of Ally Night

This work is hard and exhausting, but Ally Night is an evening filled with joy for everyone at GLSEN Collier. This work can’t be done without the collaboration, compassion and commitment of each and every individual, family, and organization in the fight for equality. Most importantly, every attendee leaves inspired and motivated to continue fighting the fight each and every day for the students at the center of this important work.

Ally Night award recipient 2023

“LGBTQ+ Youth Group hosted by GLSEN Collier was the one place I could experiment and find myself. It was there that I made friends who were like me for the first time in my life. There’s no understatement to be made that having a space and the opportunity to find myself without judgment did save my life.”

– 18-year-old student

A celebration of allies