ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Students gathered at Ansonia High School for the first Valley Pride Conference to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

The event was funded through a $10,000 grant from the It Gets Better Project. Ansonia High School received the grant for winning an award given to one school in each state. Students came up with an idea and filmed a video to explain how they would carry out the idea. They created a conference to bring students together in a safe space.

“I personally identify as non-binary and pansexual, so growing up, I didn’t see as much representation in my school or even in my valley. So seeing a bunch of kids who are just like me really warms my heart and makes me feel like part of a group,” Maquila Mosley-Williams, a junior at Ansonia High School, said.

The event featured workshops, guest speakers, and an opportunity to connect with other students.

“It was a lot of planning, but I can see now it will definitely be worth it because this is incredible,” Aaron Garcia, a junior at Ansonia High School, said.

“This is good for the community, and it’s creating a safe space,” Ariana Parks, another junior at the school, said.

Conversations surrounding gender and sexuality in schools are heavily debated in parts of the country. One guest speaker said he’s thankful that the state of Connecticut is a safe place.

“Connecticut is a safe harbor for gender-affirming care. It is so welcoming to me and other families to come here. A lot of families are moving to Connecticut so they can take care of their children,” Tony Ferraiolo of Healthcare Advocates International said.

Every student also took home a gift bag as a reminder of the event.