2021 LGBTQ+ Leadership Conference Theme
Centering Queer Voices, Working for Our IDEAL
Inclusion -- Diversity -- Empowerment -- Authenticity -- Leadership
The Kansas State University LGBT Resource Center and the Division of Intercultural Learning and Academic Success are proud to host the Kansas LGBTQ+ Conference on Friday, October 15, 2021 at the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. This day-long event will feature two keynote speakers and several concurrent breakout sessions. This conference will focus on the lived experiences and aspirations of lesbian-, gay-, bisexual-, transgender-, queer-, two spirit-, intersex-, and asexual-identified students, faculty, and staff of K-12 and Higher Education, activists and community members as well as our LGBTQ+ allies. Our goal is to activate leadership among LGBTQ+ young people and to cultivate networks of support in implementing social transformation locally and regionally, nationally, and globally.
Our theme, “Centering Queer Voices, Working for Our IDEAL,” highlights the need to center LGBTQ+ voices when addressing LGBTQ+ issues.
We pluralize “voice” to stress the importance of embracing and amplifying intersectionality, our complex and varied identities, and coalitions among LGBTQ+ peoples and communities. We as a community are not defined by our genders or sexualities, nor do gender and sexuality determine what it means to be LGBTQ+; race, Indigeneity, class, region, nation, citizenship, ability, among other identities and social forces, shape LGBTQ+ experiences. Moreover, systemic inequities found in our larger society are pervasive in queer and trans* communities.
This conference aspires to ignite conversations that validate our multi-dimensional queer and trans* selves by centering the differences that create change in our thinking and advocacy. As part of the centering of voices our conference theme presents five keywords that ground our social transformation work: Inclusion, Diversity, Empowerment, Authenticity, and Leadership. Building on the multitude of queer and trans* voices, “Inclusion” and “Diversity” are calls to recognize and affirm intersectional identities, relational histories and experiences, and sociocultural differences. “Inclusion” not only entails making room for everyone, especially those who have been historically marginalized, but also requires undoing processes that have been exclusionary in the first place. Whereas “Inclusion” might imply “Diversity,” we call out “Diversity” as an explicit keyword to emphasize the importance of embracing and engaging with sociocultural difference as queer and trans* peoples. We haven’t always imagined Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latine’, women, and/or disabled queer and trans* people as leaders of queer and trans* liberation; but history tells us otherwise.
“Empowerment” reminds us that each one of us has the power to change our realities.
The educational opportunities at this conference are not meant to tell audiences what to do; instead, it’s the ground for self-activation and -actualization. We seek to educate and create the social connections that will empower you to act. To help facilitate that, we celebrate “Authenticity.” “Authenticity” isn’t about conforming to some queer and/or trans* ideal that you have to aspire to be - you are your own ideal. Many times, we are told that our gender and sexual identities and desires aren’t real. “Authenticity” affirms who you are right now, that how you embody and express your LGBTQ+ self is perfect.
Finally, “Leadership” provokes us to imagine alternative forms of power that aren’t exploitative and oppressive. As historically excluded and erased peoples, we often don’t see ourselves as leaders, or our ways of leading may not always be valued. We hope this conference empowers you to recognize the leader in you and our collective power.