ETHS LGBTQ+ summit provides outlet for students to explore their identities

Lia Mirza, Staff Writer

This year’s LGBTQ+ summit occurred on March 30, and was a gathering of LQBTQ+ members, allies and students who wanted to be more educated on the topic. Students had options on which activity they would like to participate in during the first half of the summit. These included, but were not limited to, crafts, acting and discussions about identity.

The day was packed with activities. Students first met in A252 to get name tags and shirts and then headed down to the auditorium to attend a speech by Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell and Assistant Superintendent and Principal Dr. Taya Kinzie. Following that, Steven W. Thrasher, a professor of journalism at Northwestern University, gave a talk about incorporating our individual identities in our lives. Students then had the option to choose which two activities they would like to participate in. After students completed their chosen sessions, they had the option to attend a dance party. Afterwards, everyone headed to lunch, where they were served pasta. Following that, students headed down to the auditorium again to receive yet another speech, this time by Psalm One, a rapper who grew up in Chicago. This talk was also about identity, particularly the difficulty of coming out. Finally, there was a drag show performance hosted by Miss Aya where students could watch her and others perform.

Charlie Kretchmer, a freshman who attended the summit, talked about his experiences as a pansexual man in Evanston.

“I feel like Evanston is very welcoming. Evanston makes everything more welcoming for me and [made me feel] accepted,” said Kretchmer. 

He mentioned that his favorite part was the drag show and his first session activity, theater. 

Another student, who would like to stay anonymous, talked about how the community in Evanston and at ETHS is generally very supportive, however there is occasionally some toxicity. They also talked about how they enjoyed the Deep Dive activity, which was a conversation among LGBTQIA+ students, because it was a great way to communicate with other students and connect with peers and teachers. 

Overall, the summit was a great experience for many students, who liked the connection, celebration and acceptance that it facilitated.