Creating Change: 24/7/365

By Sue Hyde, Task Force Creating Change Director

Our movement’s premier annual organizing and training confab, the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, has built the leadership and chutzpah of LGBT and allied activists and advocates for 25 years. Our Creating Change alums get results.

Today, we kvell and celebrate over never-before-seen victories on marriage equality in four states, Maine, Washington, Minnesota and Maryland, as well as the Minnesota defeat of a Voter ID law and Maryland’s passage of its DREAM Act.

Over 100 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates were elected Tuesday, bringing to our legislative bodies more authentic voices and representations of our lives and concerns than any other moment in history. Election day was a great day for our democracy, a great day for LGBT people, a great day for women, people of color, poor people, young people, old people and immigrants. Tuesday, was a great day for all of us.

NAACP President Ben Jealous delivers the opening keynote speech at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.

At Creating Change, the Task Force has been training, teaching and mobilizing our grassroots colleagues to build power and to secure lasting and durable positive change for our people…all our people.

Some connected dots:

  • In November 1990, 700 people from around the country gather at the first-ever Creating Change Conference held outside Washington DC. The conference inspired Minnesota activists to launch It’s Time Minnesota, a successful legislative campaign to pass the country’s first gender identity-inclusive non-discrimination law in 1993.
  • In November 1999, Creating Change attendees in Oakland CA witnessed police abuse of a transwoman in the street outside the conference hotel. Less than 24 hours later, 1500 strong we marched to the Oakland Police Department, asserting that trans people deserve respect. In 2000, Mayor Jerry Brown established the LGBT advisory council to the OPD and the city government. The advisory council launched LGBT and especially trans sensitivity trainings for OPD personnel.
  • In November 2004, Creating Change convenes in St. Louis, following a distressing election in which Bush defeats Kerry and 11 state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage pass. Undaunted, St. Louis activists organize to open The Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Community CENTER of Metropolitan St. Louis.
  • In January 2011, Minnesotans numbering nearly 1000 attended that year’s Creating Change Conference to learn, grow, and create change. Yesterday, our friends and family in the Land of 10,000 Lakes beat back a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. And, both chambers of the state legislature flipped into Democratic control, maximizing the chances for legislative marriage equality in Minnesota as early as 2013. Minnesotans are equally proud to have defeated a Voter ID law with immense consolidated campaigning to defeat both nasty initiatives.
  • In January 2012, Gov. Martin O’Malley addressed the 2012 Creating Change audience, pumping folks up to join the epic battle to defend and protect marriage. Yesterday, Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage and Creating Change alums were everywhere on that campaign’s trails.
  • In January 2012, NAACP leader Ben Jealous spoke movingly about LGBT issues and his support for same-sex marriage, but also about the unrequited love that immigrants have for our country. Yesterday, voters passed a statewide DREAM Act, giving immigrant students access to in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, irrespective of their immigration status. Ben also talked extensively about voter suppression, teaching us that voter suppression affects all of us and putting that issue on all our radar screens.

The 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change convenes in Atlanta Jan. 23 – 27, 2013. Join us for skills development that you can take home; learning that will charge your battery; and the biggest queer family reunion to celebrate 25 years of Creating Change, 40 years of Task Force leadership, and tons of fun.

Visit for more information and registration and hotel accommodations.

This is the first of Sue Hyde’s stream-of-conscience/consciousness musings about past and future Creating Change Conferences. Hyde has directed the Creating Change Conference since 1994.