Over 800 people attended the 20th annual Western Regional Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex & Allies College Conference at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this weekend.
The conference included three days of workshops, networking and discussions about what it means to be a queer student in California. This was the first time that a CSU campus has hosted this event.
The UCSB Associated Students Queer Commission sponsored a delegation of 100 students.
The Conference Committee chair for the event, Cal Poly SLO student Daniel Pfau, said the school wanted to create an environment that many students were unaccustomed to.
“We wanted to provide a safe space for college students in the western region, as well as create a ‘homonormative’ space that queer people and their allies can benefit from,” Pfau said.
Workshops included topics such as racism and stereotypes of groups within the gay community. Among the most popular workshops was “BDSM 101,” a demonstration of a variety of activities and techniques dealing with bondage, disciple and sadomasochism.
“The demonstration of the equipment and the techniques were interesting, though I wanted to know what specifically made it pleasurable to people,” Nam Nguyen, a first-year biology major from UCSB said.
The conference ended with a closing ceremony in the university’s auditorium and a hearing from some stars in LGBTQ activism. Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the grassroots organization known as the Courage Campaign, gave a speech informing the audience of the current federal court trial against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
First-year philosophy major Danielle Stevens said attending the conference was one step in expanding the rights of the LGTBQ community.
“We need to tell our stories, make our voices heard, because our rights are not just going to be given to us,” Stevens said.
Next year’s Western Regional conference will be held at UC Berkeley.