Love is Love conference comes to Oak Bay

Youth-run pride conference is in its third year, but its first at Oak Bay High

Matt Treble is organizing his third regional gay-straight alliance conference for high school students

Matt Treble is organizing his third regional gay-straight alliance conference for high school students

Growing from the seeds planted at his alma mater Lambrick Park Secondary, Matt Treble shifts his regional gay-straight alliance conference to the more central Oak Bay High this year.

“We had a lot of ties there,” the 2015 grad said. “This year we figured Lambrick’s really out of the way and we’re trying to reach all of Victoria and Oak Bay. With the gorgeous new school and a lot more centralized, we looked at moving it over there.”

Now a University of Victoria student studying psychology, Treble started the sessions two years ago and while some things in the world have changed, the same targets apply.

“I think there’s a lot of new policies being implemented especially in the school district,” Treble said.

“It’s great for people to know that the hateful stuff isn’t accepted. They don’t have to feel alone and that will always be relevant.”

The conference starts with a panel-style keynote presentation then participants can attend three workshops put on by local presenters.

The day finishes with a closing presentation with youth presenters.

“The goal is to provide a free event, for anyone who wants to come to have a safe space and know they’re accepted and be who they are. It’s a learning opportunity and also an empowering opportunity,” Treble said.

“We’re not going to turn anyone away; you can just show up.”

The Love is Love Youth Pride Conference runs April 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Oak Bay High, 2121 Cadboro Bay Road.

“I’m hoping it will happen every year,” Treble said. “(High school is) a rough time. It gives them an opportunity to see that there are so many people coming and supporting. They realize they have a safe space.”

Visit the Facebook page to register.