Ten members of UCSB’s AS Queer Commission depart for Denver, CO today to partake in a three-day national conference on contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues.
The 21st annual conference — dubbed the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change — serves as a leadership and skill-building conference for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer social justice movement.
UCSB’s delegation will join more than 2,000 other LGBTQ advocates to promote social and political change on the local and national level. The conference is part of a broader movement led by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which trains activists and organizes campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda.
Edgar Vargas, the AS Queer Commission Co-Chair and second-year psychology major, said he is eager to acquire new knowledge about less prominent queer groups.
“I am hoping to take students because they might not be as aware of different variants of gay and lesbian,” Vargas said. “It’s [important to be] exposed to all of them.”
The conference is slated to address a wide variety of issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community, such as the anti-gay industry, bisexuality, faith, parenting, marriage and partner recognition, hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, among others. Special attention will also be paid to the recent political blows to the LGBTQ agenda, specifically the passage of Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in California.
Hazel Putney, a second-year sociology and feminist studies double major, said she hopes the various workshops provide her with the skills necessary to advocate for the civil liberties of the LGBTQ.
“I plan to learn about economic justice from community organizers nationwide and to bring back how to connect with the community outside college,” Putney said.
Bryan Nguyen, a fourth-year English major, said the conference will be helpful in educating students and community members about equality on both campus and in Isla Vista.
“Campus is a lot more inclusive than I.V.,” Nguyen said. “We can affect change.”