Workshops: Session 1


They’re Here. They’re Straight. How Do We Use ‘Em?
Presenter: Betsy Johnson
Facilitator: Rachel Miller
624 S. Michigan, Room 1105
This panel discussion will explore ways to nurture and channel ally energy to build strength for the movement. Gay and straight panel members will share their unique grassroots activism experiences. Participants will be encouraged to share new insights and time-tested strategies to use as the movement expands.

Rethinking the Democrats
Presenters: Brent Holman-Gomez and Rich Wilson
Facilitator: Andy Thayer
Room: 624 S. Michigan, Room 1305
This workshop will examine whether our civil rights movement is best served by allegiance to the Democratic Party. Discussion will include the Democratic Party response to LGBTQ rights, but emphasis will be placed on direct action as opposed to an electoral approach. The elections = politics paradigm will be challenged. We will examine homophobia in the political arena. By recognizing that “the personal is political,” we will look at how confronting the homophobia we face combined with the determination to have our rights respected can energize our fight for freedom.

Fighting the Myth of Black Homophobia
Presenter: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Facilitator: Corrine Mina
624 S. Michigan, Room 1303
When Proposition 8 was passed in California, both media pundits and many progressives were quick to point out that large numbers of African Americans voted for Prop 8. Instead of linking that phenomenon to the failed campaign of outreach in Black and Latino communities, many pointed to the unsubstantiated myth that African Americans are more homophobic than other sections of American society. It is a dangerous myth for many reasons–including the risk of rendering invisible the experience of African American LGBTQ people. Come to this workshop to debunk the myths of Black conservatism and homophobia.

Trans 201: A Trans Liberationist Standpoint
Presenter: Jay W.
Facilitator: Andrea Crain
624 S. Michigan, Room 1108
This workshop is for anyone who wants to know more about the place of trans people within the LGB/T movement–where we came from, what we’ve learned, and where we are going. The focus will be on an understanding of power and oppression based on the intersectionalist model, and what this means specifically for trans people and our larger cis LGB communities. Do you want to know what’s the real story behind a truly inclusive ENDA? Why Sylvia Rivera is a hero? Or why some trans people oppose hate crimes sentencing enhancement? Check out this session. For those who can’t make it but still want the info, check out

Separation of Church and State
Presenter: Bob Mueller and Matt Lowry of Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Facilitator: Samantha Pajor
624 S. Michigan, Room 1107
The Religious Right’s mean-spirited and frequently vicious attacks on LGBTQ Americans are well known and well documented. TV preacher and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson once asserted that being gay is “a sickness, and it needs to be treated.” The Mormon and Catholic Churches have spent millions on anti-gay campaigns, often around the issue of marriage equality. Marriage equality is an issue Americans United for Separation of Church and State activists address, but there are other key church-state issues that LGBTQ Americans should be aware of, and actively opposing: Faith-based initiatives, which allow religious groups to take your tax dollars and yet retain the right to discriminate in hiring; taxpayer-funded school vouchers that are often used to send students to private religious schools that are aggressively hostile to LGBTQ rights; and church-based partisan politicking. Religious Right activists would like nothing more than to have free rein to politick in pulpits and steer resources toward far-right candidates who oppose diversity.

Youth in Movement
Presenter: Richard Aviles
Facilitator: Kevin Connaghan
624 S. Michigan, Room 1304
Youth in Movement will focus on emphasizing the role of college students and high school students in our movement. We will discuss ways in which we can tap into their passion to make not only an inclusive movement but also a movement that will continue to fight. The goal of this workshop is to find ways to listen to the voices of the youth with the hopes of intervening and preventing suicide in our LGBTQ youth community.

The Fight for LGBT Civil Rights in the Americas
Presenter: Staceyann Chin
Facilitator: Lindsey Dietzler
600 S. Michigan, Ferguson Lecture Hall, 1st Floor
Staceyann Chin delivered an impassioned speech during the National Equality March, during which she proclaimed, “I march today because I believe that change is not only possible, it is inevitable.” Born in Jamaica, Chin moved to the United States with the hope of finding more freedom in her new home. She has since become a premier activist in the fight for full federal equality in the United States and sat on the advisory board for Equality Across America as they planned the NEM. Join Staceyann Chin for a powerful discussion on LGBTQ issues.

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