Congressman Jared Polis and national LGBT activist Matt Foreman will be keynote speakers at the first biennial statewide conference of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus on Feb. 28 and March 1 in Austin.
Polis, D-Colo., who was elected to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November, is the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a freshman. Foreman is the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The TSDC is the officially recognized LGBT caucus of the Texas Democratic Party and is an affiliate organization of National Stonewall Democrats.
The TSDC is made up of 10 local Stonewall Democrats chapters from Austin, Collin County, Dallas, Denton County, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Tarrant County and Williamson County.
This will be first statewide conference of the TSDC in its 10-year history.
According to TSDC President Daniel Graney, LGBT Democrats come together at the Texas Democratic Convention in even-numbered years, but there is no time at those gatherings for training and networking opportunities because delegates are busy with convention business.
"The TSDC Executive Board decided that we need a conference in odd-numbered years so that LGBT Democrats and their allies can focus on their issues by listening to motivational speakers and attending workshop training sessions and other networking opportunities," Graney said.
Other speakers at the conference will include Houston City Controller and mayoral candidate Annise Parker, Austin City Councilwoman Randi Shade, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, Equality Texas Executive Director Paul Scott, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie and National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley.
The conference will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Austin, 1617 N. Interstate 35. For conference information and to register online, visit www.texasstonewalldemocrats.org.
TSDC is encouraging its conference attendees to stay over after the conference for Lobby Day, which will be held at the Capitol on March 2. For more info on Lobby Day or to register, go to www.equalitytexas.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 13, 2009.