Giving a voice to the LGBTQ+ community in SWFL

Author: Haley Zarcone Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Teens who feel their voice is routinely drowned out are now being heard.

Teens who are part of the LGBTQ+ community got to control the conversation about what being part of their community is like here in Florida.

These Collier County students shared a piece of their lives with the crowd on Thursday night at the Naples United Church of Christ.

“Unfortunately, you see all these things on the internet. You hear all these things in person telling you you’re not important, you don’t matter, you’re not normal, especially being a trans kid myself,” said Kayak Sanchez, a Collier County student.

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, a group that provides safe places for queer youth, and the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida partnered to put on Thursday’s event.

The students discussed their struggles to express their identity, gain support and fight for their rights.

“As I have planned, going into the effects of my mental health, the effects on my family, seeing me deteriorate and be torn apart by all the things I hear and see. You know, I’ve been assaulted, I’ve been hurt for people not being able to tell my gender,” Sanchez said.

The students who spoke at Thursday’s event are a part of GLSEN’s Shine group, where they advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Collier County.

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