National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Weekly Update
February 14, 2008

In the News:

The best yet — 20th National Conference
      on LGBT Equality: Creating Change
Sounding the call for LGBT equality
Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action
      debuts at conference
Honoring those who create change


The best yet — 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change

More than 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates converged on Detroit, Mich., on Feb. 6–10 to plan political strategy, activate and energize on the heels of Super Tuesday. The unprecedented change in the political landscape drew activists from every corner of the country to the 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, which featured the debut of the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action and more than 100 workshops, caucuses, institutes and receptions. Watch a short video montage.

We thank the Detroit Host Committee for helping to make this such a successful conference. Special thanks to the Anita May Rosenstein Foundation, the founding sponsor of The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.

Below you’ll find just a few of the highlights from this year’s gathering, which many are calling the best conference to date. Watch the video coverage below and also check out our photo gallery. Read coverage of the conference:, Detroit Free Press, The Bilerico Project.


Sounding the call for LGBT equality

In both word and song, a powerhouse lineup of plenary speakers sent the 2,000 LGBT activists back to their hometowns and cities with ample food for thought and inspiration for action. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond (pictured) gave a riveting speech on the intersection of the struggle for racial equality and the movement to win full LGBT equality. LGBT rights, Bond said, are civil rights, not special rights and he addressed the issue of marriage equality. A text version of Bond’s speech is available here.

In his “State of the Movement” address, Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman spoke of the movement’s many successes since the last Creating Change in Kansas City, Mo., in November 2006, including the fact that the 2007 state legislative session was the most productive ever for LGBT rights. He also acknowledged the challenges that remain, while noting that our movement appears to be “at a critical movement moment.” Working with other communities, he concluded, is the key toward a more “just society” and “transformed America.” Download the text version of the speech.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who in 2003 became the first openly gay man to be elected bishop in the Anglican Communion, called for an end to patriarchy, racism and the many other “isms,” and predicted that society would eventually see the “full inclusion of all of God’s people.” Robinson attracted worldwide attention and prompted some leaders of the communion to sever relations with the Episcopal Church of the United States. He has become a symbol of the ongoing struggle to win full acceptance of LGBT people in communities of faith. Watch here. Robinson left the audience with an optimistic message.

The closing plenary featured the mother-daughter duo of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon, major cultural and musical voices for freedom and justice. Watch them here.


Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action debuts at conference

Some of the LGBT movement’s most seasoned and talented trainers led topnotch sessions as part of the new Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action. These high-level, professionalized trainings were offered for all skill levels, and included topics like strengthening organizational capacity, donor building and executive director skills. Watch executive director skills workshop presenters Mickey MacIntyre (pictured), principal of realChange Partners LLC, and Barbara Green, an organizational development consultant, speak about the role of the academy in LGBT leadership building.


Honoring those who create change

Jon Stryker, founder and president of the Arcus Foundation, received a Creating Change Award for his work to advance LGBT equality. He spoke poignantly about his own coming out and of being a child growing up during the civil rights struggles of the ’60s and ’70s. Guy Baldwin received the Leather Leadership Award for his longtime work on behalf of the leather community. He urged for a community united against the agents of intolerance. Barbara Satin, a transgender rights activist and founder of GLBT Generations, received the Allan Morrow Community Service Award for outstanding leadership and advocacy related to aging and elder concerns. In her remarks, Satin talked about the struggle over an inclusive ENDA and the subsequent “outpouring of support to the transgender community.”

Mandy Carter (pictured), a founding board member of the National Black Justice Coalition and former executive director of Southerners on New Ground, received the inaugural Susan J. Hyde Activism Award for longevity in the movement. She urged attendees to use their voices as tools for activism. Mia Mingus, a South Korean transracial adoptee, organizer and one of the co-executive directors of SPARK: Reproductive Justice Now! in Atlanta, Ga., was honored with a Creating Change Award for her work on disability, race, reproductive justice, gender, sexuality and transracial adoption issues. Watch here.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and spokesperson for a broad coalition of transgender organizations and activists, recognized the Task Force’s leadership role in the battle for a transgender-inclusive ENDA.

(Get more details about all the recipients here.) The Creating Change Awards, Allan Morrow Community Service Award, Leather Leadership Award and 2008 Susan J. Hyde Activism Award were generously funded by the Anderson Prize Foundation, administered by Allen Schuh.


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Please join us on Jan. 28–Feb. 1, 2009, for the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Denver, Colo. See you there!

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