Bay Area Youth Summit (BAYS) seeks to foster a safe social forum for LGBTQ* identified youth and their allies in order to promote constructive conversations which serve to generate greater awareness and social activism among youth. As the world’s first completely youth-led LGBTQ* organization, BAYS seeks to motivate LGBTQ* and allied youth to come together and make a positive impact in all of their communities.
Who We Are
BAYS was founded in December of 2010 and was initially a conference for LGBT and allied youth to come together to learn about how to fight bullying in schools. It originated from a coalition of the Aragon High School Gay Straight Alliance, the Burlingame High School Gay Straight Alliance, the PLUR Alliance, the Peninsula Metropolitan Community Church, and individual activists from the LGBT community. The first conference was held on April 23, 2011 at Aragon High School in San Mateo. The 200 attendees heard a number of incredible speakers including Cleve Jones, San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and Bevan Dufty, and Ellen guest Graeme Taylor.
BAYS was founded under the premise that the organization be managed and run entirely by youth. Our Board of Directors consist of LGBTQ* and allied youth leaders who currently live in the Bay Area.
As a completely youth-led Board, we act upon the belief that youth should be involved in activism because we represent the next generation of LGBTQ* activists. Without youth activists, there is no hope to continue the progress the LGBTQ* community has already made. The growth of the community therefore rests on the shoulders of future generations.
All members on the BAYS Board of Directors believe that every young person has the power and capacity to create safe and open environments for LGBTQ* youth. BAYS believes that in order to establish these safe spaces, LGBTQ* and allied youth need to collaborate. We stand in solidarity with those subjugated demographics that do not receive the appropriate recognition and respect afforded to other demographics within the larger LGBTQ* community. With the help of the greater community, BAYS endeavors to blur the lines that seem to divide the LGBTQ* community.
What We Believe In
We believe that every young LGBTQ* person has the power and capacity to make the difference by creating safe environments for LGBTQ* people. LGBTQ* youth are some of the most dedicated and energetic activists whose voices deserve to be heard, as they are voices that dictate the future.
We believe that school safety ought to be a pressing legislative issue. While schools are much safer than they were four years ago or even two years ago, bullying still occurs, and so, too, occur the appalling suicides. Furthermore, while gay, bisexual and lesbian cisgender students feel safer, many transgender or genderqueer students still do not, so we must continue work to protect all students.
We believe that a successful movement depends on cooperation and coalition. The LGBTQ* community should work together, bridging the demographics that seek to divide us. That is why BAYS hosts a trans* inclusive, people of color inclusive, disabled inclusive Summit. We stand in solidarity with the many marginalized communities which make up our identities, and recognize that it is society’s job to prevent oppression in all of its ugly manifestations.
* What’s with the star? We here at BAYS recognize that sexuality and gender are both related, but independent spectrums. As such, many people fall outside of the traditional Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans*/Queer acronym, and even that acronym has a star inside it! We include a star at the end of LGBTQ* to symbolically include all of the identities that would be too cumbersome to list in acronym form.