Stephen Russell (University of Texas at Austin) closed the workshop by asking planning committee members to reflect on what they heard over the 3 days of the workshop. He began with his observation that there are significant gaps between the existing scientific evidence and what we know to be true in communities. He noted both “how far we have come and how far we have to go.” Because today’s young people are one of the first generations of SGM youth to “express themselves in the full richness of themselves,” Russell said, we are still building the societal, institutional, policy, and cultural systems and spaces for LGBTQ young people to thrive. Jessica Fish reflected that LGBTQ young people are “truly inspiring” in terms of their resilience and advocacy. Errol Fields agreed that the advocacy of LGBTQ young people is impressive and emphasized the importance of supporting and partnering with LGBTQ youth in efforts to achieve equity. He also highlighted that adults are responsible for driving the systemic changes required to achieve equity. Fields said that we “shouldn’t be relying on youths to fix the problems that were here before they got here.” Nat Duran emphasized the need to identify and leverage “pressure points” that can shift resources toward community-based organizations that are already making change happen.
Jama Shelton said that, as a person who grew up in rural Mississippi and didn’t “know another gay person until I was 19,” this workshop was impactful. “I am [hearing] the ancestors who have fought for a day like this,” added Amorie Robinson. She said that the workshop was a historic opportunity to share ideas, learn about the work being done, connect, and inspire. In closing, Robinson called for systemic change,
more partnerships between research, practice, and community, and an earnest focus on LGBTQ youth of color, nonbinary youth, and gender-nonconforming youth.