Volunteers still needed throughout the weekend; vols can earn entry to conference workshops
Each year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stages the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in a different city. The event, last held in Dallas in 1994, returns to Big D, Feb. 3-7. Conference director Sue Hyde said organizers are "excited and thrilled to be back in Dallas."
She said, "The schedules are set; the plenary speakers are prepped, and the exhibitors will be in the exhibit hall. And we hope to see all of our friends, colleagues and family members at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel."
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the conference.
The conference kicks off Wednesday, with a daylong institute on racial justice, beginning five days of activist training and organizing.
Full-day sessions on Thursday include topics such as aging, transgender rights, bisexual and youth issues, and moving marriage forward. Another track for community center staff, board members and volunteers focuses on growing during challenging economic times.
Others deal with empowering people of faith, and professional development and skills building for those who have a role in LGBT campus issues.
Workshops, plenary sessions, caucuses and networking sessions take place on Friday and Saturday.
Kate Clinton is the mistress of ceremonies for the plenaries. Keynote speakers for the conference include Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Rea Carey, executive director of NGLTF. New York writer Kai Wright will lead a panel discussion of young leaders and dance crew Vogue Evolution will rock the house for the closing plenary on Sunday.
Local presenters include Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Erin Moore and LULAC Rainbow Chapter founder Jesse Garcia. Dallas groups such as Youth First Texas will participate in youth issue workshops and host a hospitality suite, and Congregation Beth El Binah will conduct Friday night Shabbat services.Turtle Creek Chorale artistic director Jonathan Palant said that the Chorale and Dallas PUMP! will participate in a workshop on Friday afternoon and Dallas PUMP! will perform as part of the Sunday closing plenary.
The youth hospitality committee will present Mas-Queer-Ade Ball, an alcohol-free event for all ages, on Saturday night.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 29, 2010.