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Creating Change Announces Additional Keynotes, Speakers, Programming and Events, Including Amy Walter of Cook Report, Emcee Sandra Valls, Alok and Beverly Little Thunder

After almost two years of grappling with a global pandemic, hundreds of LGBTQ+ activists will be coming together in-person with a shared focus for safety and action. The National LGBTQ Task Force will host the 34th Creating Change Conference in New Orleans, LA, from January 12-16, and we remain committed to creating a safe conference through a wide range of COVID policies while providing the always unique and powerful experience of being in community to network, learn and plan for the coming year. 

The theme for the conference is “Reunite and Reignite”, a message which captures the energy of so many LGBTQ people looking forward to being part of a vibrant and inclusive space once again. The conference energizes members of the LGBTQ+ movement by generating coalition building, providing skills training, and inspiring collective action. 

With less than a month left before the conference begins, we recognize the importance of developing a shared responsibility with all attendees to care for one another by prioritizing public health. In that regard, the National LGBTQ Task Force will enforce the following: 

  • A mask must always be worn in ALL shared conference spaces, except when actively eating or drinking. 
  • All attendees, including media and volunteers, will provide valid proof of COVID vaccination upon arrival and check-in. 
  • All attendees must complete a screening for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival and check-in. 
  • Childcare will not be provided at the conference in New Orleans due to Creating Change’s restricted operations for public health safety. 
  • Local resources, information and testing sites will be provided to all attendees, and it is the responsibility of every attendee to follow all safety precautions onsite or offsite of the conference buildings. 
  • By registering for the conference, attendees release and hold harmless Creating Change and the National LGBTQ Task Force from all liability related to COVID and arising from participation at the 34th Creating Change Conference. 


Opening Keynote: Beverly Little Thunder 

Beverly Little Thunder is a Two Spirit, great grandmother, an activist committed to racial and social justice, and is an enrolled citizen of the Standing Rock Band of Lakota. As a medical worker, she was given the opportunity to serve on several nonprofit boards, most recently with Earth Walks. She is the founder of Kunsi Keya Tamakoce, a nonprofit that creates spaces in which ceremonial teachings and ceremony itself is provided for primarily Indigenous LGBTQIA persons who often are not able to attend their own tribes’ ceremony because of gender. 

Closing Plenary including ALOK 

This year’s closing plenary promises to be one of the best in the conference’s 34-year history. Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report will open with her take on the state of our democracy, the role of voter engagement, and what’s at play in the 2022 Midterms. We are also thrilled that ALOK will keynote, the prior press release with details can be found here

Emcee: Sandra Valls 

Sandra Valls is a comic, actor, singer, writer, and badass. She is a funny, high energy, smart, sexy, outspoken Latina, best known for her powerful, electric, stand-up comedy performances in Showtime’s, The Latin Divas of Comedy (nominated for an Alma Award) and Pride: LGBT Comedy Slam, hosted by Bruce Vilanch. Her unique mix of physical comedy and ridiculously, brilliant story telling make it easy to see why the Los Angeles Times calls Sandra “Talented and Hilarious”. Sandra hosted the virtual Creating Change conference in 2021 and we are thrilled to have her back and in person. 


Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement: Urvashi Vaid 

Urvashi Vaid is an attorney and strategist who works in social justice movements. Vaid is President of The Vaid Group LLC, a social innovation firm that works with global and domestic organizations to advance equity, justice and inclusion. Vaid is co-founder of the Donors of Color Network, the first cross-racial network connecting individuals of color to leverage their giving for racial equity; co-founder of the National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network, the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, LPAC, the Equality Federation, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, and the Creating Change Conference of the National LGBTQ Task Force, among other networks and projects. 

Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund Award for Outstanding LGBTQ Leadership for Immigration Rights: Ola Osifo Osaze 

Ola Osifo Osaze is a trans masculine queer of Edo and Yoruba descent, who was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and now resides in Houston, Texas. Ola is the National Organizer for the Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project and has been a community organizer for many years, including working with Transgender Law Center, the Audre Lorde Project, Uhuru Wazobia (one of the first LGBT groups for African immigrants in the US), Queers for Economic Justice and Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Ola is a 2015 Voices of Our Nation Arts workshop (VONA) fellow, and has writings published in Apogee, Qzine, Black Girl Dangerous, Black Looks, and the anthologies Queer African Reader and Queer Africa II. 

15th Annual Leather Leadership Award: Billy Lane 

Billy Lane identifies as a gay leatherman, sometimes adding ‘with a trans history”. Always a boyish/masculine person, he began his “formal” journey to manhood in 1992 and never looked back. While he lives what he calls a life of “low disclosure”, he honors and appreciates those who choose a different path. He continues to work within the gay leathermen’s community for inclusion of trans men in sex spaces, clubs, and events, having competed at International Mr. Leather in 1998 as the first out trans man. He is a proud past Chairman and current member of Delta International and the current President of the Board of Directors of the Leather Archives and Museum. 

SAGE Award: José Albino, M.A. 

José Albino is the Executive Director of GRIOT Circle, the only staffed non-profit organization in the country that provides social services to LGBTQ elders of color. José has been working in the aging field for over twenty years now and has been responsible for guiding a diverse number of departments within the aging field including, meals on wheels, senior centers, case management, health and wellness, supportive housing and mental health programs. José holds a bachelor’s in Psychology from the University at Albany, an MA in Education and Human Development with a concentration in Community Counseling from The George Washington University, an Advanced Certificate in Executive Leadership and Non Profit Management from NYU and received his Certification as a Professional Life Coach from The Institute from Professional Excellence in Coaching. 


At Creating Change 2022, attendees will build their own personal conference schedule and choose from a breadth of workshop and institute programming. New this year, we are proud to introduce a day-long program focused exclusively on queering climate justice, which includes topics on food justice, environmental justice, and the intersection of our community’s connection to climate change activism. 

Throughout the conference, attendees will also be able to select workshops to visit based on the topics that interest them. For example, the two workshops called “Midterms 2022: Let’s Queer the Vote” and “Federal Nondiscrimination Protections – State of the Equality Act” are essential topics that will provide in-depth background and impact to the current state of major LGBTQ+ politics heading into 2022. On the other hand, attendees can gain value through workshops with skills learning and tips on topics such as becoming a better storyteller at the “Stories not soundbites: making a difference with media” workshop. 

Learn more about what workshops will be available at the conference at


The Creating Change Conference is not only about learning, but also it is about creating spaces of joy and healing. Most notably, the Agents of Change Ball invites attendees to pay homage to Ballroom culture by participating in various competition categories and giving to benefit a local LGBTQ-serving organization. Also, the Creating Change Conference will host a Film Festival with titles including: “America You Kill Me”, “Bad Lesbian”, “El Canto de Colibri”, and “AIDS Diva: The Legend Of Connie Norman”. 


Registration for the Creating Change Conference is open to all and will be closing by 11:59 PM on January 9th, 2022. This year, there will be no onsite registration at Creating Change to further restrict operations for public health safety. 

Creating Change is committed to remaining financially accessible, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, please email us at [email protected]. Registration is comped for volunteers who work a minimum of 6 hours in check-in or room monitoring shifts. Online and in-person orientation are also required.