MODELS OF PRiDE

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(From left to right) NATALIA LOYA, ALEX NEWELL, MICHAEL WILLETT

Alex Newell (“Glee”), Michael Willett (MTV’s “Faking It,”) and Natalia Loya (Telemundo’s “La Voz Kids”) scheduled to perform at LGBTQ youth conference at USC.

BY ORLY LYONNE

More than 1,200 LGBTQ youth from 100 Southern California cities and more than 75 schools are expected to attend the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 22nd annual Models of Pride conference at the University of Southern California (USC) campus on Saturday, October 11.

As the nation’s largest free conference of its kind, Models of Pride offers a full day of life-enriching programming designed to help young people build confidence and self-esteem and develop valuable life skills. Hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s LifeWorks youth development and mentoring program, Models of Pride includes workshops/presentations, lunch/dinner, live entertainment and a dance for all youth up to the age of 24.

With “What’s Next?” as this year’s theme, participants will discuss what the next crucial issues are to be addressed within the LGBT community and among themselves.

MAJOR VICTORIES

“From the passage of marriage equality laws to the creation of LGBT characters in media, this generation of youth has witnessed major victories for the LGBT community,” says Michael Ferrera, LifeWorks’ Director. “To continue this momentum, we must support these youth to feel empowered to decide what’s next in the fight for inclusivity and diversity. They are the next generation of LGBT leaders.”

Alex Newell (who portrays transgender student, Unique, in the FOX show Glee) Natalia Loya (a finalist on Telemundo’s hit music competition reality show, La Voz Kids) and Michael Willett (star of MTV’s Faking It) are also scheduled to perform at the conference.

PARENTS WORKSHOP

In addition to the youth portion of the conference, more than 200 parents, educators, social service providers and other youth-serving professionals will attend workshops tailored to their concerns and interests. Known as the Parents and Professionals Institute, this full-day program for adults is free.

For the first time in Models of Pride’s history, the conference will be streamed live online at http://modelsofpride.org/worldwide for the benefit of youth and adult allies who physically cannot attend the event.

Models of Pride takes place on Saturday, October 11, 7:30am – 8:30pm, at the University of Southern California, Exposition Boulevard & S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. For more information and to register for Models of Pride, visit modelsofpride.org.