News - September 1996

Gay youth to march on Washington in October

On October 12, 1996 an estimated 500 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young adults are expected to arrive at the Nation's Capitol for the first-ever gay youth March on Washington. As part of the festivities planned for the 2nd Annual IYG National Youth festival, the 350 Festival participants will be joined by an estimated 150 more local youth. Together they will march the streets of Washington D.C. to demonstrate that one, these youth exist, two, these youth have voices, and three, their voices count.

This Festival is an invaluable opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people 24 and under, from all across the nation to enjoy the peer support often found by heterosexual adolescents in every day activities. Mainstream activities such as school, sporting events, clubs, and youth camps often do not provide a safe environment for gays and lesbians to be themselves. Youth will be provided a safe place to identify with peers who have similar experiences and to have fun without fear. the weekend Festival is a direct result of the efforts of youth planners from St. Louis, Missouri, and Indianapolis, IN.

The youth Festival is running concurrently with the National P-FLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) conference, and the full display of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt. The 2nd Annual IYG National Youth Festival runs from October 11-13, 1996 and will be held at the Ramada Inn just outside of Washington D.C.

Through a combined effort, IYG and the national P-FLAG office will join together for a special event on Saturday, October 12, 1996. The goal is to create a supportive context for the youth to share their stories and experiences, while gaining strength, hope and support from their non-gay friends, relatives, and allies.

Youth participants attending the Festival can expect to find an action-packed weekend full of educational workshops, live entertainment, free-time to socialize with peers, and a whole-lot of fun. Costs vary according to hotel accommodations chosen on the registration form. Opportunities are also available for adult supporters to Sponsor a Youth who is otherwise unable to afford this Festival. All contributions to IYG are tax-deductible.

IYG is a non-profit agency which supports youth in gender and sexual self-discovery. In 1987 IYG was founded by Christopher Gonzalez. Nine years later, IYG is considered one of the largest gay youth-serving organizations in the country. Over the last several years IYG has expanded throughout Indiana with the development of 10 satellite support Chapters, including: Anderson, Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Merrillville, Muncie, South Bend, and Richmond, and expansion continues as IYG makes a name for itself nationally. On the national front, IYG is home to the first National peer-run toll-free support hotline for gay and lesbian young adults.

For information about how to register, how to "sponsor a youth" through financial contributions, or for more information about the Festival, contact Michele O'Mara at IYG@Indy.net.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.