Unity Conejo informs audiences with Town Hall

Unity Conejo held their second town hall meeting titled “Gender 101” on Jan. 31 as a webinar on Zoom to inform the CVUSD community on gender identity.

During the town hall, Megan Goebel, the founder of Unity Conejo, and Dr. Jessica Bernacki, the founding psychologist from the UCLA Gender Health Program, covered various topics pertaining to gender education. The overall goals of this town hall meeting were to give an unbiased clinical perspective to help the community understand the concept of gender a little bit better. “There’s always the argument with children being too young to understand their gender and express themselves but that’s not the case, it’s just the vocabulary that they don’t always have,” Goebel said. 

The main discussion of the meeting revolved around the importance of kids having the choice to understand their own gender, which might not be their assigned gender, and being able to express it. The Town Hall emphasized the idea that regardless of how someone identifies, it’s vital to use their preferred pronouns and name, as well as make them feel safe and accepted. Michael Lindroth and Ava Ahlberg, juniors, are the co-leaders of the student sub-committee. They felt that the town hall was very successful. “Through town hall, we wanted to educate people with regards to the concept of gender and the importance of acceptance,” Lindroth said. 

Although Goebel and Bernacki were the only speakers at this town hall, many more people were involved in the planning process. To prepare for this meeting, Lindroth and Ahlberg, publicized the event by posting a flyer on their social media accounts and participating in prep Zoom sessions.

Unity Conejo maintains their optimistic attitude to make their mark in the community regardless of the backlash that they receive after these meetings, including hostile emails and questions from community members. “We’re going to get some more backlash but that’s what we’re really trying to change but the change is for the better,” Ahlberg said. Another goal of Unity Conejo is to grow the community to make people more open-minded, so that the LGBTQ+ community can feel welcome and listened to. “I’d love to help people try and see you know that this is so much more than an opinion, it’s actually a real thing. It’s sort of feeding into the hate, we’re trying to reverse the view of that and try to help our community see that it’s actually a really great thing,” Goebel said.