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Join The WNET Group, the public media company for the New York City area, as we bring together students, educators, journalists, and experts to discuss pressing mental health issues for LGBTQ+ youth. This event will focus on how to create and maintain safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, allyship for all ages, and resources for how to support LGBTQ+ youth mental health. Featuring a special welcome from Billy Porter, an exclusive performance from the cast of Trevor: A New Musical, student journalism, and panelists from leading LGBTQ+ organizations including The Trevor Project and the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
About the Host
Jenna Flanagan (she/her), Correspondent/Anchor, MetroFocus/WLIW
Jenna’s career in journalism spans over 20 years. She started at 1010WINS, then moved on-air at WGBO Newark Public Radio, and later reported and produced All Things Considered for WNYC New York Public Radio. In 2012 she left her full-time radio production job for a chance to produce and report on camera for WMHT Educational Telecommunications, the PBS member station in Albany. It was not long before The WNET Group took note of Jenna’s work. In 2015 she was brought on as a correspondent for their newsmagazine show, MetroFocus. In 2016 Jenna joined the show as a journalist and host. In addition to MetroFocus, Jenna has hosted numerous events for the WNET Group and co-hosts the pledge drive with station CEO Neal Shapiro.
About the Panelists
Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training, The Trevor Project
Chris is the Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. Each year they travel the country providing life-saving and life-affirming training for youth serving professionals. They have over 7 years of experience in LGBTQ and Crisis Intervention education and training. In addition, Chris educates corporations, municipalities, and organizations on LGBTQ competent suicide prevention, active allyship, and creating inclusive, intersectional environments supportive of LGBTQ people.
Dustin Liu (he/his), Founder, gatherED studio
Dustin is a son, brother, partner, first-generation Taiwanese-American and proud New Yorker currently living in Boston, MA. Dustin most recently served as the 9th US Youth Observer to the United Nations, a role where he fostered dialogue on a wide range of issues including the importance of LGBTQ+ affirming policies and LGBTQ+ activism. At Cornell University where he holds a B.S., he served as the LGBTQ+ Representative on the Student Assembly and the Student Trustee on Cornell’s Board of Trustees. He currently serves as a Trustee of Cornell Pride, Cornell’s LGBTQ+ Alumni Association. Dustin received his Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he is currently a Teaching Fellow supporting courses related to student identity development and student success.
Lizzie McAdam (she/her/hers), Director of Counseling and Case Management, Hetrick-Martin Institute
Lizzie is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and is currently the Director of Counseling and Case Management at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, the nation’s largest LGBTQIA+ youth services agency. She is also an adjunct faculty member at New York University and is a board member of the Drama Therapy Review. Lizzie’s work focuses on using creativity and trauma-informed practices to support LGBTQIA+ young adults in exploring who they are, who they want to become, and how they can find or create community along the way. Her interests include LGBTQIA+ young adult identity development, accountability spaces for white practitioners like herself, trauma-informed care and participatory action research where client and therapist collaborate in the research process.
Eric Vaughan (he/him/his), Former Associate Director of LGBTQ Programs and Policy, NYC Department of Education
Eric is a native New Yorker from Harlem who is passionate about social justice and creating dialogue around the intersections of our identities. Currently, Eric serves as the Program Director of CTB, an organization devoted to eradicating racism through cross-cultural interactions. Eric also teaches community journalism and food writing courses at the University of South Florida -St. Petersburg. Recently, Eric worked as the Director of LGBTQ Programs and Policies for the New York City Department of Education ensuring students across NYC were affirmed and safe in schools. He has a passion for working with youth and has worked as a high school teacher as well as within several nonprofits dedicated to the empowerment of youth voice and advocacy.
About the Performance:
Trevor: A New Musical
It’s 1981 in America, and Trevor Nelson is busy navigating adolescence in suburbia while dreaming of a life in show business. When an embarrassing incident at school suddenly puts him in the wrong spotlight, Trevor must summon the courage to forge his own path. A deeply moving and funny story of self-discovery and the power of acceptance, Trevor the Musical is about living your best life with a ton of passion… and a touch of pizzazz.
About the Special Guest:
Billy Porter, Actor & Singer
Billy Porter is an award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright. He won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor for his appearance in FX’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated drama “Pose”, and most recently received his third Emmy nomination for this role. An upcoming Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, Porter has numerous theatre credits, including the role of Lola in the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” which he originated in 2013 and for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards, as well as the Grammy for best musical-theatre album. Porter can currently be seen in the Amazon feature “Cinderella” re-make. He is set to make his directorial debut with the high school coming-of-age film What If?, written by Alvaro García Lecuona slated to be released in 2022.