Post by Matt Hard, Class of 2017
Hosting over 4,000 guests and activists, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force held its 26th Creating Change Conference in Houston, Texas this year. The conference featured over 350 sessions and training workshops that varied in everything LGBTQ. Some of the more prevalent topics were issues around Trans* people, college students, HIV/AIDS, workplace justice, and general equality for all. The keynote speaker was the one and only Laverne Cox, who most of you may know best from her inspirational role as Sophia Burset on the hit series Orange Is the New Black. Being a huge Trans advocate, she spoke about the struggles Trans people face, and inspired the crowd to help the Trans community fight for equality and justice while acknowledging the strength every Trans person has. While the 5 day long event was filled to the brim with successful leaders, advocates, and strong members of the LGBTQ community, everyone still managed to network and have a good time.
Thankfully, Babson College’s LGBTQ Action Group was able to send two members of the community to participate in this years Creating Change. Luckily, I was one of those two people selected to represent Babson College. As a member of the Action Group, I can say that the things I learned and discovered during the conference will bring about a positive and influential change to Babson’s campus. Not only did I connect with some amazing people, but I was also able to engage in discussion with many of them, and take away so much. While most of my interactions were with students and the occasional college administrator, I got the opportunity to sit in sessions hosted by highly regarded community leaders. Some of the events I attended were:
-Campus Pride Institute: Transform Your Campus
-Queer and Ally Action Research
-Creating Change Through Art
-Queer Art and Activism
-Queers go to College
At the sessions I was able to find other students who I related very closely to, and made some pretty awesome friends. For me, this was the first time I have ever been surrounded by so many other LGBTQ community members, and it was amazing. Growing up in Ohio, I never got the chance to see LGBTQ leaders or movements of any kind. Day in and day out, we as a nation now have active members of every community fighting for equality and the chance for every LGBTQ person to feel safe and comfortable being who they are. Times are changing and people are becoming more accepting of our community, something I am truly grateful for. I know that we are in the midst of a great culture shift, and I am proud to be apart of the movement.
If you would have any questions or are looking for resources about the LGBTQ+Ally community at Babson, I strongly recommend that you visit www.babson.edu/lgbtq
For those of you who love social media, Wendy and I made sure to tweet periodically throughout the conference, and you can find them at: www.twitter.com/babsonlgbtq
I would be happy to talk more about my experience, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org