ASTORIA, Queens (PIX11) – A unique field trip brought together more than 350 students from across New York City to discuss LGBTQ rights. 

Middle and high school students on Tuesday learned about advocating for their rights and how to use their voice to be an ally to others.

“I want to be included and when they exclude you with their nasty opinions, it hurts,” said 10th-grader Aly Marquez.

The summit, held in Astoria, Queens by the LGBT Network, was meant to educate, advocate and organize to make a difference for every kid who feels marginalized and excluded. 

“Just this year, there are over 450 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed or passed in state houses. They are draconian, inhumane and mean, and they are trying to take away our community’s visibility and existence. That doesn’t go unnoticed by our kids in New York City,” LGBT Network President David Kilmnick said.

Middle school teacher Garrett Soloman brought his eighth-graders to show his support. 

“It makes them feel seen. It makes them feel like their voices can be heard. And it gives them a space to commune together with people that identify the same way as them. And for the adults here it makes us feel like we can advocate for the future they want, and they believe in,” he said.

For those students, the future means inclusion, equality and empathy.