Call to action on HIV/AIDS at the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, Jan. 28–Feb. 1

January 14, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 — On the heels of the presidential inauguration, leaders in the HIV/AIDS arena will address the burgeoning AIDS crisis at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force-convened National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Denver, Colo., Jan. 28–Feb. 1. The conference, the nation’s largest convening of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates, will serve as a platform to call on the new administration to develop and implement a National AIDS Strategy that coordinates across agencies and social sectors, and demands accountability for improved outcomes in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A special plenary session will focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS in communities of color. Marjorie Hill, chief executive officer of Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City, will moderate the discussion on Saturday, Jan. 31, that will include David Ernesto Munar, vice president of the Chicago AIDS Foundation; Kenyon Farrow, a Policy Institute fellow at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, and executive director of the Ark of Refuge, Inc., a nonprofit agency providing services to people affected by HIV/AIDS.

Conference attendees will also learn skills to effect broad-based social change, including at all levels of government, with significant programming about the HIV/AIDS crisis. Workshops will focus on the worsening of the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the LGBT community and responses to it; how to protect funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and care in the face of decreasing funding and challenging economic times; and how to influence the development of a national AIDS strategic plan.

Other sessions include a workshop on how to mobilize a national response to HIV specifically among black gay men. Another will explore the social, political and cultural dynamics of particular labels within the context of LGBT and HIV/AIDS advocacy. There will also be a screening of The Young and Evil, a short film about a day in the life of a young black gay man pushing the limits of sexuality, marginalization, spirituality, disease and desire. It will be followed by a discussion on black gay sexuality and the need for innovation in a community facing one of the highest rates of HIV infection.

Session presenters include experts from Gay Men’s Health Crisis, New York City AIDS Housing Network, the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, among others.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.