LGBTQ+ Youth Group
Monthly LGBTQ+ Youth Group
Who: Queer students and their allies in grades 9-12
When: Second Saturday of each month from 11 am to 1:30 pm.
LGBTQ+ Youth Group is a free monthly event hosted by GLSEN Collier County at the Naples Pride Center the second Saturday of each month from 11 am to 1:30 pm. This is a safe space for queer students and their allies in grades 6-12 to connect with peers and be their authentic selves. Students are able to talk openly about their gender and sexuality while hearing one another’s stories and experiences. For most youth in attendance, it is the only day each month in which they feel liberated and free to express and explore who they are.
This is a high-interest, low-stress opportunity to connect with LGBTQ+ peers and allies from Collier County and Lee County. Snacks, pizza and frequent karaoke are provided. While students are encouraged to attend the full-time, they are welcome to arrive whenever they can and leave whenever needed. There are often games and crafts for students to engage in while swapping stories with their peers.
Some months are centered around a holiday (such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day) or theme with a special craft or art project (such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day). Others include a guest speaker from a local organization such as the Women & Children’s Shelter or presenters on topics like social-emotional learning or healthy boundaries in relationships. The next month may be a group discussion on a specific topic led by a facilitator or a history lesson in queer arts. Student input and feedback often drive what meetings look like, so this monthly event is exactly what the students in attendance want it to be.
Many students have described this youth group as life-saving for them. It is structured and led in such a way that students feel safe enough to share their own stories with one another. It is a space of openness and true authenticity in a world where many of these queer, trans, and two-spirit teens have nowhere to express themselves. Any student in grades six through twelve who believes in the values and mission of GLSEN Collier County and is interested in meeting like-minded peers is encouraged to attend. All volunteers have been background checked and approved.
“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.”