About the Conference

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association present Time To THRIVE, the annual national conference to promote safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ+ youth...everywhere!

We are making progress on the road to legal equality, yet LGBTQ+ young people in America still face dramatically heightened rates of rejection and discrimination in school, at home and within their community. LGBTQ+ youth who are multiply marginalized face additional barriers that make navigating their lives as LGBTQ young people even more difficult. In our fight for full equality, in order to best support and create equitable opportunities for all LGBTQ+ youth to THRIVE, we must commit to using an intersectional approach. We must center the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth carrying the heaviest burden of oppression, such as trans and non-binary youth, Black, Indigenous and other LGBTQ+ youth of color (BIPOC), and those who are multiply marginalized.

Intersectionality was originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 as a way to bring light to the multiple facets of oppression African American women face. In her seminal paper, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”, Crenshaw argues that when understanding the oppression Black women face, it cannot be solely understood from being Black or a woman. Rather, it must be understood from the relationship those two identities have, how they interact, and how they reinforce each other. An intersectional framework also considers, but is not limited to, other forms of oppression such as classism, heterosexism, patriarchy, ableism, and xenophobia. Click here to watch Kimberlé Crenshaw speak about intersectionality as it relates to working with students in K-12 education or here to watch a free HRC webinar titled “Putting Intersectionality into Practice”.

At Time to THRIVE, we aim to engage a broad audience of youth-serving professionals on building cultural humility around LGBTQ+ identities using a strong intersectional approach. Time to THRIVE offers the opportunity for youth-serving professionals to lean into conversations on the relationship of multiple aspects of identities. Workshops and panels look at the intersections of LGBTQ+ identities with other barriers, such as racism, ableism, classism, sexism, and transphobia, to understand the ways they impact LGBTQ+ youth in a wide range of settings. This serves to create spaces in which all LGBTQ+ youth are affirmed, supported, and have an equitable opportunity to THRIVE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released landmark research from their Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), a biennial survey that highlights some of the most pressing issues facing our youth today. HRC and several national partners subsequently released an executive summary of the CDC’s latest data comparing the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth with their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Below are just some of the findings:

  • + 31% of LGBTQ+ youth, 43% of transgender youth and 40% of questioning youth have been bullied at school, compared to 16% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
  • + 78% of non-LGBTQ+ youth mostly earn As and Bs in school, compared to only 65% of LGBTQ+ youth, 55% of transgender youth, 63% of LGBTQ+ youth of color and 63% of questioning youth.
  • + 16% of LGBTQ+ youth, 22% of transgender youth and 17% of LGBTQ+ youth of color are usually sleeping somewhere that is not the home of a parent or guardian, compared to 3% of non-LGBTQ+ youth.
  • + More than half of LGBTQ+ youth (54%), 61% of transgender youth and 61% of questioning youth are battling symptoms of depression, compared to 29% of non-LGBTQ+ youth.
  • + 22% of LGBTQ+ youth, 29% of transgender youth and 32% of questioning youth and 27% of LGBTQ+ youth of color have attempted suicide, compared to 5% of non-LGBTQ+ youth.

These data are a call to action for adults who strive to ensure the overall well-being of LGBTQ+ young people. Time to THRIVE provides a comprehensive opportunity for youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural humility, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. The conference is strongly committed to an intersectional approach in all conversations, workshops, and keynotes.