Press

Thousands of LGBT rights advocates will convene to strategize and organize in critical election year

Date: 
January 04, 2012

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Nation's largest annual gathering of LGBT rights activists and allies will take place in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 25-29

Highlights include 'State of the Movement' speech, keynote address by NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, faith convening and a Capitol Hill Lobby Day

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 — More than 2,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from across the country will converge in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 25-29 for the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. It is the largest convening of LGBT activists and allies in the country. They will come together from every corner of the nation to strategize at the start of a critical election year and learn how to build political power back home.

Benjamin Jealous, president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, will deliver the opening plenary keynote speech on Thursday, Jan. 26. Jealous is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights.

A major conference draw is the annual "State of the Movement" address, which will be given by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey on Friday, Jan. 27. She will present a vision for the year ahead in the struggle for LGBT equality, and for social and economic justice.

The plenary event on Saturday, Jan. 28, will focus on international LGBT issues, a topic that is making national and global headlines of late following a White House memorandum from President Obama and a historic speech from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the importance of international LGBT human rights. Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, will moderate a discussion featuring LGBT organizers from around the world who will discuss current issues facing LGBT people abroad and ways that U.S.-based activists can support efforts to bring full justice and equality to LGBT people globally.

Other conference highlights

The conference kicks off with hundreds of LGBT rights supporters converging on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 26, for Creating Change's inaugural Lobby Day. They will advocate for passage of critical legislation in the areas of employment nondiscrimination, pay equity, anti-bullying and safe schools. A coalition of LGBT groups, as well as the ACLU, SEIU and the American Association of University Women, will join to support and sponsor the Creating Change Lobby Day.

Faith leaders and lay people from numerous denominations and spiritual practices will convene for Practice Spirit, Do Justice, held in conjunction with the conference. Religious-based arguments are often used to undermine LGBT equality. Participants will strategize on how to bring more faith allies into the LGBT movement and how best to counter religious-based bigotry.

Actor and singer Wilson Cruz will close out the conference on Sunday, Jan. 29, with Love, Child…, a musical performance. Cruz has earned both critical acclaim and a loyal fan base throughout his career in television, film and stage productions. He won the hearts of audiences with his portrayal of Rickie Vasquez, the first openly gay teen on primetime television, in the ABC series My So-Called Life. Onstage, he took over the role of “Angel” both on Broadway and in the West Coast premiere of Rent.

The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change also features hundreds of skills-building workshops, more than 15 additional daylong institutes, networking sessions and much more. Learn more at www.creatingchange.org .

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. © 2012, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.