2022 LGBTQ+ Leadership Conference Theme and Purpose
Centering Queer Voices
The Kansas State University LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Division of Intercultural Learning and Academic Success in Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs are proud to host the Kansas LGBTQ+ Conference on Friday, April 22, 2022. This conference will focus on the lived experiences and goals of members of the LGBTQ+ community, including students, staff, and faculty from K-12 classrooms and institutions of higher education; local activists and community members; and allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with other leaders in the community and cultivate networks of support and activism. Together, we can create radical change in our community, our country, and our world!
When addressing LGBTQ+ issues, it is essential to uplift and center LGBTQ+ voices. This conference strives to move beyond the LGBTQ+ identities and experiences that unite us toward a truly inclusive, or intersectional, model of scholarship. Coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the term intersectionality refers to a framework for analyzing social issues that focuses on how social and political identities combine, affecting the discrimination and privileges afforded to various groups. Because a person’s race, disability, and class (among other identities) profoundly affect their experiences as an LGBTQ+ person, it is integral for leaders in the LGBTQ+ community to center these differences. The LGBTQ+ community is not immune to larger systemic problems such as racism and ableism. An intersectional perspective allows us to acknowledge these problems as we seek to dismantle the structures and biases that perpetuate them.
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. Systemic inequities found in our larger society are pervasive in Queer and Trans communities.
We seek to educate and create the social connections that will empower you to act. Many times, we are told that our gender and sexual identities and desires aren’t real. The intent of this conference is to affirm who you are right now. How you embody and express your LGBTQ+ self is valid, revolutionary, and honored.
Through workshops, presentations, art, and coming together as community, we seek 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.