After snacking on pizzas and refreshments as we answered questions on our name tags, the students got to learn about Facebook’s LGBTQ+ initiatives, and their participation in Pride marches around the world. They learned about how Facebook has become a place where people are able to connect and create LGBTQ+ groups for different hobbies, sports, and support groups. They also take part in LGBTQ+ culture, as one employee created the “Coming Out marker” in Facebook’s Timeline.

Facebook’s incredible panel of six out and proud employees took the floor. Yesika, Courtney, Bart, Maria, Anthony, and Matt all shared their coming out stories, and their journeys after high-school up to joining Facebook. Their sincerity and humor resonated with the students. Yesika spoke about moving from a very conservative country and finding community via Facebook’s LGBTQ+ ERG group. Anthony spoke about coming out to his family, and how his mother needed some time to adjust and their relationship went through some hardships before becoming closer than before his coming out. Anytime LGBTQ+ adults are open and honest with our youth, they feel a sense of hope for their futures.

Following the panel, we had an amazing time learning all about Instagram’s hidden features! The panelists then went around creating their own “stories” with the students and then we displayed them on the big screen. Many students went around the room using objects and foods for props for their videos. They were quite the imaginative bunch! Facebook employees also got to learn about the student’s interests, and give them one-on-one advice on family, college, and career opportunities.

Afterwards, we asked students to answer some questions in order to give Facebook feedback on the event. This is what the students had to say:

“Maybe I’ll work for Facebook one day.”

“I always thought big companies looked really difficult but now I realize that I can at least give it a try.”

“I feel less pressure for the future”.