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WATCH: This summer camp allows LGBTI youth to be themselves

'It’s just so wonderful to see so many people from different walks of life just be able to come here for a week and actually be who they are'

WATCH: This summer camp allows LGBTI youth to be themselves
QORDS campers make music together

Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer, also known as QORDS, is a summer camp for LGBTI youth between the ages of 11 and 17.

Located in North Carolina, QORDS was founded in 2012 by a group of four friends. The idea for QORDS was inspired by Queer Rock Camp in Olympia, Washington.

QORDS mission statement reads:

‘By empowering Southern queer & trans youth and building community through music, QORDS is a vehicle for expressing gender and sexuality, and harbors an environment of self-discovery and social change.’

‘We are committed to promoting the creativity, confidence, leadership, and prosperity of southern youth queers,’ QORDS values statement reads. ‘We recognize that gender and sexuality are multidimensional concepts that intersect with issues including, but not limited to, institutions, race, class, and heritage. We aim to nurture intersectional spaces and claim music as a vehicle of queer empowerment.’

What the camp is like

‘I came here because it was a queer-focused camp,’ says Charlie, one of QORDS’ campers. ‘That was the biggest thing for me.’

QORDS also has a large focus on the musical arts, with campers even forming their own bands at the beginning of the session. The campers write original songs, practice with their band mates, and then perform their music to their families when the camp session comes to a close.

‘It’s just so wonderful to see so many people from different walks of life just be able to come here for a week and actually be who they are,’ says Seisha, one of QORDS’ instructors.

‘To know that this is here in a state like this, it actually does give you a glimmer of hope,’ Seisha explains, referencing the fact that southern states like North Carolina don’t tend to be LGBTI-friendly.

In addition to the musical focus, QORDS also offers social justice workshops. These workshops include topics such as consent and anti-oppression.

LGBTI youth come from all over the United States to attend QORDS.

‘Honestly, these camps are so important,’ says Cosmo, another camper. ‘Having young people, straight or gay, or trans or cis, express themselves in a way that’s healthy.’

Learn more about QORDS in the video below.

GSN has reached out to QORDS requesting an interview.


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