Conference helps professionals working with gay, lesbian teens


CORVALLIS - A conference for professionals who work with lesbian, gay and bisexual youth will be held at Oregon State University on Feb. 27.

Opening Doors II is for teachers, counselors, professors, social service workers, police and others who work with non-heterosexual youth. The workshop is intended to provide participants with action-oriented approaches to develop supportive environments for these teens and to cope with false assumptions that often arise, organizers say.

Warren J. Blumenfeld, co-producer of the film "Pink Triangles," is a guest speaker for the conference. Blumenfeld, an experienced workshop facilitator, has written or co-written a number of publications, including "Making Colleges and Universities Safe for Gay and Lesbian Students," "Gay-Straight Alliances: A Student Guide," "Homophobia: How We all Pay the Price."

The seven-hour workshop will provide participants with resources, and include content sessions, panels and other information.

Conference organizers point out that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth regularly experience harassment and violence, but are hesitant to report it. Non-heterosexual youth are at increased risk for homelessness, substance abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, isolation, and academic failure.

The day-long conference will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center. Registration is $65; $15 for full-time students. Continuing Education credits are available to counselors and social workers. For more information, contact Jennie Miller, at 541-737-5969; miljenni@ucs.orst.edu; or 308 Ed Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

The conference is sponsored by OSU's Counselor Education program and two community groups, After 8 and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).