CREATING CHANGE 2021: SPECIAL GUESTS AND AWARDEES
We're lucky enough to be joined at Creating Change this year by some incredible guests, including speakers, performers, and movement activists who are receiving awards for their impact on the LGBTQ community. If you'd like to join us from January 28 to 31, 2021, register here!
Sandra Valls is a comic, actor, singer, writer, and badass. She is a funny, high energy, smart, outspoken Latina, best known for her powerful, electric, stand up comedy performances in Showtime’s THE LATIN DIVAS OF COMEDY and PRIDE: LGBT COMEDY SLAM!
Known as the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia is a New Orleans-based rapper and ambassador of Bounce music. A vibrant twist on hip-hop, Bounce music is characterized by call-and-response lyrics over rapid-fire beats and booty-shaking. After running the New Orleans club scene for over two decades, Big Freedia is now bringing the Bounce movement to a world-wide stage with her hit reality show, Big Freedia Bounces Back on Fuse. The weekly docu-series, now in its sixth season, follows the life of a gay choirboy turned Bounce rapper and remains the highest rated original series on the network.
Opening Keynote Speaker
Natalie Diaz is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem, was published by Graywolf Press in March 2020. She is a MacArthur Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow, a United States Artists Ford Fellow, and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz is Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
An actress/activist/advocate/model/author, the multi-talented Dominique Jackson is a Tobagonian-American actress, author, model, and reality television personality. As an actress, she is most known for her leading role of Elektra Abundance on the FX television series Pose but has a long history in the ball scene.
adrienne maree brown
Closing Keynote Speaker
adrienne maree brown is an American author, doula, women’s rights activist and black feminist based in Detroit, Michigan. From 2006 to 2010, she was the executive director of the Ruckus Society. Much of her work as a writer is based around the writings of Octavia E. Butler. Her second book, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, was published in 2019 and demonstrates how activists can tap into emotional and erotic desires to organize against oppression.
SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues
Gloria Allen, known as “Mama Gloria”, is the 74 year old transgender advocate, activist, and community leader who will be awarded the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues. Having grown up in Chicago, immersed in the drag ball scene of the city’s South Side, Allen went on to found and run a charm school for homeless transgender youth at Chicago’s Center on Halsted. Her work and life at the charm school has been adapted in the play “Charm”, which first premiered at the Steppenwolf Garage Theater before making runs in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York. Now retired from a career as a licensed practical nurse, Allen continues to speak to youth and others about the transgender community. She is the subject of the recently released award-winning film "Mama Gloria".
Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera
Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement
Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, grassroots organizer and self-described Puerto Rican butch dyke will be awarded The Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, MAL, is a 30+ year veteran of the LGBTQ and labor movements. Lisbeth has extensive experience organizing and training at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and culture related explicitly to communities of color in the United States.
Haas, Jr. Fund Award for Outstanding LGBT Leadership on behalf of Immigrant Rights
Javier Hernandez, an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire is to be awarded The Haas, Jr. Fund Award for Outstanding LGBT Leadership on behalf of Immigrant Rights. Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4U), a coalition of over 40 organizations, unions, legal service providers, and congregations that advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire.
Leather Leadership Award
Anthropologist, theorist, and writer Gayle Rubin will be honored with The Leather Leadership Award for her work and studies within the leather community.