One day to go till Creating Change

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The Creating Change conference opens at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel tomorrow. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force staff has been in Dallas, some since last week. Attendees began arriving last night.

Earlier today I walked into an informal planning meeting being held outside one of the conference rooms at the hotel.

Jorge Taveras does E-blasts and Web work for NGLTF. He said, “I love it here already. The food’s amazing!”

Inga Sarda-Sorensen is director of communications for the Task Force.

“Lots of hospitality — just as we expected,” she said.

Sue Hyde said registrations are running well ahead of expectations. The conference contracted for 2,300 room-nights with the hotel. More than 3,000 room-nights are reserved.

With hundreds of workshops and speakers scheduled over the next few days, I asked Hyde what some of the highlights will be.

“Everyone’s excited that Dan Choi is coming,” she said.

Choi will be speaking on Friday. He has been in the news because, after fighting in Iraq, he is being discharged from the military under don’t ask, don’t tell. His appearance is particularly timely because of the congressional hearing today on the discriminatory policy.

Hyde also mentioned a plenary session on Saturday moderated by writer Kai Wright. Cynthia Ruiz and Jesus Montelongo from Youth First Texas and Juan Gabriel Padilla from Out Youth Austin will be on the panel with four other youth from across the country.

On Thursday, an alternative prayer breakfast will be held at the same time as the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The event in D.C. is tainted, this year, by the appearance of the American “ministers” who proposed the LGBT genocide law in Uganda.

Sunday’s closing ceremony includes a performance by Dallas PUMP! Sheriff Lupe Valdez will speak and awards will be presented, including one to Dallas Voice columnist Hardy Haberman.

The day rate to attend the conference is $75 per day. Registration for the full weekend begins tonight. For those who could not afford the full registration price, 235 scholarships were awarded.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea and Dallas Voice for updates on the conference.

—  David Taffet

Volunteers ready for Creating Change

Sunday was volunteer training day for the Creating Change conference coming to Dallas this week. The conference begins Wednesday, Feb. 3, and runs through next Sunday.

Sue Hyde, executive director of Creating Change, said that more than 200 people attended training sessions on Sunday and that the conference will be well staffed.

However, additional volunteer opportunities may still exist. Anyone who would like to volunteer may still do so. Go to the registration desk on the second floor of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel during the conference and inquire about assisting there.

Registration for the conference has been running very strong and is well ahead of last year’s, but won’t break the record.

More than 2,000 people are expected at this year’s conference, but Hyde said the record stands at more than 2,700 at the 1999 conference held in the San Francisco Bay area.

Despite the Advocate leaving San Francisco out as one of the 15 gayest cities in America, you can’t beat that city in attracting the LGBT community.

—  David Taffet

Query: Creating Change

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Next week, 2,000 LGBT activists from around the country are expected in Dallas at the Creating Change conference.

This week’s Query:

What is the top attraction visitors to Dallas should see while they are in town?

Some of the answers will be used in this week’s print edition of the Dallas Voice. To be considered for publication, we need your full name along with your post.

—  David Taffet

More on the AMA

As noted earlier here on Instant Tea, the American Medical Association today approved a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces. I just received n e-mail from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force saying that the AMA has also ” officially recognized that bans on civil marriage may lead to health care disparities for same-sex couples and their families.”

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey said: “While opponents of marriage equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights try to stigmatize our relationships and limit our access to health benefits and other economic safety nets, the AMA is making it clear that these discriminatory policies pose significant, real-life threats to the health and well-being of thousands and thousands of people across the country.”

—  admin