The Creating Change Conference is taking place this weekend in Denver starting today through February 1. While it's one of my favorite GLBT conferences, I attended my first one in 1999 when it was held in Oakland and I met some wonderful people at it, the one thing I don't like is the recent change to conduct it in the winter.
Last year they held it in Detroit, and now Denver. I understand and like the idea of moving it around so that it gets held in different regions of the country, but if you're going to hold it in January-February, can we put it in a warm weather city?
But the change to winter dates is the only complaint I have about Creating Change. It's a must attend event if you even want to think about activism in the GLBT community. It's not only a diverse event, the seminars are plentiful, informative cover a wide range of topics and are top notch.
The best part about Creating Change is that you have the opportunity to meet a cross section of national GLBT activists and leaders from the vets to emerging voices. I love the fact that it's affordable and accessible enough for college students to attend.
During the 1999 one I not only got to renew acquaintances with then Task Force leader Kerry Lobel, but met now California state senator Mark Leno, author and transkids activist Just Evelyn, Jane Fee, Stephan Thorne and the late Alexander John Goodrum. I also got to spend that conference rooming at a San Francisco hotel with Dawn as we checked out the various sights, sounds and tastes of the city when we weren't bouncing back and forth across the Bay on BART.
I'm still mildly ticked that I missed the protest that happened at the 1999 Creating Change that was triggered by an African-American transwoman being disrespected by an Oakland Po-Po.
She reported an assault to the officer that happened to her near the convention center where the conference was being held. When she reported the crime, the officer told her, "I am tired of having to do all this paperwork. You guys have been told not to be on the corner of 14th and Broadway. I am tired of your shit..."
The next day 1500 people were marching on the Oakland Police Department headquarters while I was on an airplane headed back to Houston.
Note to GLBT haters-if you're going to mess with or disrespect us, don't do it when a GLBT conference is in town. There will be swift, sure and immediate reaction to it.
The sponsor of this event, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has been the antithesis of HRC for over a decade. They are enthusiastic allies of transgender people and not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. Unlike HRC, whose leaders have never shown up at an IFGE conference, Kerry Lobel, the then head of the Task Force graced us with a keynote speech in 2000 and was at the 1997 ICTLEP Conference in Houston. The Task Force is part of the United ENDA coalition that seeks to pass a transgender inclusive ENDA, and they have unflinchingly tackled race, class and social issues within the GLBT community.
As much as I love Denver and would love to be there for this event to see some of my old and the new friends I met at the Transcending Gender Conference, complications won't permit me to go this time.
I'm mildly upset I'm missing it because Bishop Yvette Flunder is going to be there for this one. I've wanted to meet her ever since Louis Mitchell raved about her at the 2005 TSTB.
Will be thinking about all you peeps who are at Creating Change this weekend while I'm shoveling snow.