Live Large. THINK BIG.
That was the slogan of the 22nd Annual National Conference on LGBT Equality in Dallas, Texas. Good thing we weren’t in Rhode Island. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of LGBT organizing happening in RI.
Two thousand activists from all over the world – big shout out to forty activists from the Artistic Revolution Gang from Arkansas – attended the five-day conference, AKA “Creating Change”. The confab sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force featured practical workshops, day-long skill-building institutes, national organization convenings, award ceremonies, constant conversation, cruising and large plenaries, which I had the pleasure of emceeing.
The first plenary program featured Thomas Saenz, the president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund [MALDEF] who outlined how our communities intersect. We all are undocumented, outside the full constitutional guarantees and suffer from a courage deficit from Washington, DC. Next, NGLTF’s executive director, Rea Carey gave the annual state of the movement address: our movement is still strong and quite pissed. Saturday, the writer and editor, Kai Wright moderated a totally inspiring panel of young LGBT leaders who made me feel like I could retire. But why would I? It’s just getting really fun again. Sunday’s closing plenary brunch, traditionally devoted to LGBT arts and activism, featured the House/Ballroom sensation Vogue Evolution, who brought down what was left of the Sheraton.
Conference co-chairs, Russell Roybal and Sue Hyde, closed out the conference and invited everyone to come to Minneapolis, MN next year for the 23rd gathering of the tribe. Slogan suggestion: It’s Cold. We’re Hot.
I tell you all this because the same weekend that 2000 people attended the Creating Change Conference in Dallas to bring the country we love to a more just future, 600 people attended the Teabagger Convention in Nashville to bring the government they hate back to the racist and sexist values of 1773. They wore more drag than Creating Change. We would not do the powdered patriot wigs.
Creating Change did not get as much media coverage as the Teabaggers. I know you are shocked. For more about the conference and NGLTF see HYPERLINK “http://www.theTaskForce.org” www.theTaskForce.org.
See you next year.