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“Creating Change” Announces Program Line Up, Award Recipients for First Ever Virtual Conference

Creating Change Conference - The Power of You, Jan. 28-31, 2021. Streaming online.


(WASHINGTON, DC, December 9, 2020)

Community leaders Gloria Allen, Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, Javier Hernandez, and Gayle Rubin will all be honored at the 33rd annual Creating Change Conference. Held virtually from January 28 through January 31, 2021, the conference will include four plenary sessions, 16 day long institutes, and 48 workshop and caucus sessions. 

The four day long event, run by the National LGBTQ Task Force, is a space for learning, connecting, and growing as LGBTQ activists, leaders, allies, and changemakers from across the nation join together. For the first time in its 33 year history, The Creating Change Conference will hold all day long institutes, workshops, keynotes, and caucus sessions online.

Each year, several coveted awards are presented to a diverse group of individuals making a difference for the LGBTQ+ community. This year is no exception.

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 Melendez 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. 

Javier Hernandez, an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rigths 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. 

Anthropologist, theorist, and writer Gayle Rubin will be honored with The Leather Leadership Award for her work and studies within the leather community. 

For the full program schedule, including all day long institutes, workshops, and caucus sessions go to

Here is a working summary of institutes and workshops. More will be announced closer to the conference! 

Day long Institutes on Thursday January 28 include: Indigineous Fortitude and Brilliance, Queer and Trans API Institute, The Black Institute: the State of the Black LGBTQ Movement, Unión=Fuerza Latinx Institute and White People’s Institute for Ending Racism: What Kind of Ancestors Shall We Be?

General schedule (as of Dec. 8, 2020):

January 28, 2021

Noon to 1:00 pm ET / 9:00 to 10:00 am PT: Opening Plenary
1:15 to 6:15 pm ET / 10:15 am to 3:15 pm PT: Day Long Institutes, Part 1
Evening events include the Opening Cruise and other activities.

January 29, 2021

Noon to 5:00 pm ET / 9:00 am to 2:00 pm PT: Day Long Institutes, Part 2
5:15 to 7:00 pm ET / 2:15 to 4:00 pm PT: Keynote Plenary with Dominique Jackson and performances by Big Freedia
Evening events include the Agents Of Change Ball and other activities.

January 30, 2021

Noon to 1:00 pm ET / 9:00 to 10:00 am PT: Workshop Sessions, Block 1
1:15 to 2:15 pm ET / 10:15 to 11:15 am PT: Workshop Sessions, Block 2
2:30 to 3:45 pm ET / 11:30 am to 12:45 pm PT: State of the Movement Plenary with Rea Carey and Kierra Johnson
4:15 to 5:30 pm ET / 1:15 to 2:30 pm PT: Caucus Sessions, Round 1
Evening events may include an open mic night, game night and other activities.

January 31, 2021

Noon to 1:00 pm ET / 9:00 to 10:00 am PT: Workshop Sessions, Block 3
1:15 to 2:15 pm ET / 10:15 to 11:15 am PT: Workshop Sessions, Block 4
2:30 to 4:00 pm ET / 11:30 am to 1:00 pm PT: Caucus Sessions, Round 2
4:15 to 5:45 pm ET / 1:15 to 2:45 pm PT: Closing Plenary with adrienne marie brown and performances by Big Freedia


The Creating Change Conference is committed to radical accessibility. Everyone benefits when everyone participates fully and equitably in every aspect of the conference. ASL and Spanish interpretation of individual workshop and caucus sessions will be provided if requested in advance. Further, no one will be turned away for financial reasons. Anyone may contact [email protected] for additional information. 


Press are invited to the conference, to request credentials please email Cathy Renna ([email protected]). Confirmation of credentials will be considered as they are received. 

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to


Cathy Renna, Interim Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
[email protected], 917-757-6123