Thousands of LGBT rights advocates will gather to strategize and organize in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 25-29, 2012

More than 2,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from across the country will converge in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 25-29 for the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. It is the largest convening of LGBT activists and allies in the country. They will come together from every corner of the nation to strategize at the start of a critical election year and learn how to build political power back home.

Benjamin Jealous, president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, will deliver the opening plenary keynote speech on Thursday, Jan. 26. Jealous is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights.

A major conference draw is the annual “State of the Movement” address, which will be given by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey on Friday, Jan. 27. She will present a vision for the year ahead in the struggle for LGBT equality, and for social and economic justice.

The plenary event on Saturday, Jan. 28, will focus on international LGBT issues, a topic that is making national and global headlines of late following a White House memorandum from President Obama and a historic speech from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the importance of international LGBT human rights. Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, will moderate a discussion featuring LGBT organizers from around the world who will discuss current issues facing LGBT people abroad and ways that U.S.-based activists can support efforts to bring full justice and equality to LGBT people globally.
Other conference highlights

The conference kicks off with hundreds of LGBT rights supporters converging on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 26, for Creating Change’s inaugural Lobby Day. They will advocate for passage of critical legislation in the areas of employment nondiscrimination, pay equity, anti-bullying and safe schools. A coalition of LGBT groups, as well as the ACLU, SEIU and the American Association of University Women, will join to support and sponsor the Creating Change Lobby Day.

Faith leaders and lay people from numerous denominations and spiritual practices will convene for Practice Spirit, Do Justice, held in conjunction with the conference. Religious-based arguments are often used to undermine LGBT equality. Participants will strategize on how to bring more faith allies into the LGBT movement and how best to counter religious-based bigotry.

The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change also features hundreds of skills-building workshops, more than 15 additional daylong institutes, networking sessions and much more. Learn more and register at