Creating Change 2010

Quick Tips from Wonderwillow

Last night I got plenty of sleep yet this morning I woke with my head hurting. Couldn’t figure out why. Luckily I got on the evator with a brilliant person who works in LGBT health.

The problem: dehydration

So simple! Water! So stay hydrated by stopping by the water coolers that are everywhere & carrying a water bottle.

Creating Change 2010

I'm a lifetime NAACP Member, Are You?

Last night’s biggest think piece here at Creating Change came late… I was hanging out with friends and Andres ducked out then returned with a new buddy to add to the mix. I ask the new man what he does for work, joy or fun and he says he works at NAACP. I jokingly say NAACP, who’s that? But then say I was just joshing, I actually just became a lifetime member. His ears perk up, really, when did I do that? Oh… you know, after the National Equality March last fall. You see Julian Bond was the keynote speaker and I was floored at his amazing speech. While a certain elected official had recently talked about LGBT rights at the HRC dinner the night before in carefully measured words, Dr. Bond went so far beyond that, his speech was truly historic and deeply moved me. I’ll talk more about it later, but I encourage you all to watch it on youtube here and here. So you know, I tell our new friend at the table, the guy who introduced Dr. Bond told us all to become members, so I did. The new person stops, turns to Andres next to him and say “He just disproved what I said at the racial justice workshop.” Huh? Well, the story unfolds and it turns out… the new man at the table was Maxim Thorne, Senior VP of NAACP. He introduced Dr. Bond at the March. He calling for us all to please show our support by becoming members of NAACP. But after one of the most amazing speeches of welcoming and commitment to LGBT civil rights I’ve ever heard, given by a straight man who is the head of NAACP, Director Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who has a wall of praise for his work in the civil rights movement… almost no one of the tens of thousands of LGBT and allied people who were listening followed Maxim’s urging and became a member of NAACP.

More on this later, but for now I’ll simply leave with Maxim’s thoughts on the subject… “We have a lot of work to do.”

Best,

Scout
Director, National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
 
Creating Change 2010

I'm a lifetime NAACP Member, Are You?

Last night’s biggest think piece here at Creating Change came late… I was hanging out with friends and Andres ducked out then returned with a new buddy to add to the mix. I ask the new man what he does for work, joy or fun and he says he works at NAACP. I jokingly say NAACP, who’s that? But then say I was just joshing, I actually just became a lifetime member. His ears perk up, really, when did I do that? Oh… you know, after the National Equality March last fall. You see Julian Bond was the keynote speaker and I was floored at his amazing speech. While a certain elected official had recently talked about LGBT rights at the HRC dinner the night before in carefully measured words, Dr. Bond went so far beyond that, his speech was truly historic and deeply moved me. I’ll talk more about it later, but I encourage you all to watch it on youtube here and here. So you know, I tell our new friend at the table, the guy who introduced Dr. Bond told us all to become members, so I did. The new person stops, turns to Andres next to him and say “He just disproved what I said at the racial justice workshop.” Huh? Well, the story unfolds and it turns out… the new man at the table was Maxim Thorne, Senior VP of NAACP. He introduced Dr. Bond at the March. He calling for us all to please show our support by becoming members of NAACP. But after one of the most amazing speeches of welcoming and commitment to LGBT civil rights I’ve ever heard, given by a straight man who is the head of NAACP, Director Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who has a wall of praise for his work in the civil rights movement… almost no one of the tens of thousands of LGBT and allied people who were listening followed Maxim’s urging and became a member of NAACP.

More on this later, but for now I’ll simply leave with Maxim’s thoughts on the subject… “We have a lot of work to do.”

Best,

Scout
Director, National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
 
Creating Change 2010

Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Organizing Institute

At least 65 people gathered on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 to attend the first ever bisexual/pansexual/fluid/queer sexual organizing institute at Creating Change.  We spent the first part of the day brainstorming about the things we need and want in terms of Bi/queer inclusion in the Lesbian and Gay communities.  For as often as we write “LGBTQ” there’s not a lot of inclusivity for the B or the T.

Many people expressed tremendous joy at being a room with so many other people who identified openly as bisexual, omnisexual, pansexual, queer or something else.  One woman said “I can’t believe how great it feels to be in a room with 65 bi people.”  Of course, some people identified as bi-allies but their presence validated the tremendous need for bi/pan/fluid/queer inclusivity.

Time and again people shared the pain they felt being excluded from within their own community.  People shared stories of hiding their bisexuality from friends who were  gay and straight, expressing a feeling of never fully fitting in.

The walls of the room were covered in papers from brainstorming sessions for bi/pan/fluid/queer organizing from years ago, and we spent one of the first parts of the day making new ideas of things we wanted to see from a bi movement.  We identified tons of needs and desires and after a rousing discussion we identified four main goals.

1) Education & Outreach

2) Intersectionality of Equality

3) Community  Building/ “Bi Infrastructure”

4) Mentoring New Leaders

But  let’s be serious, activism isn’t that neat and tidy.  I’ve got 3 pages of scrawling notes and I’m gonna queer it up and throw some out at ya…

We want: to erase bi stigma, we want to find out how to work with the existing national lgbt organizations for bi inclusivity and to localize resources.  We want inclusive cultural representation in art and media.  we want information and education, we want to be more proactive with the media and less reactive.  we want to increase our visibility.  we want to celebrate the bi celebrities and get away from that “oh it’s a publicity stunt” lens.  we want to work on trans inclusion and the intersection of bi/pan/queer/fluid sexual orientation with race, religion, ethnicity, ability, age, socio-economic status, etc etc. we want to grow our voices and fight against biphobia.  we want to STOP the INFIGHTING and CELEBRATE OUR MULTIPLICITY OF IDENTITIES.

“it’s not a phase, it’s my life” is the new slogan people were sporting on shirts and buttons.  we want recognition that, despite what Miranda on “Sex and The City” (btw I love that show so don’t get me wrong), bisexuality is not “just a layover on the way to gay-town.”  There were people ranging in ages of about 16-70 at least.  It was funny, that SATC episode, and I laughed, except that perpetuates exactly what we are fighting against here.

We came up with some really great ideas, but I’m going to save that for a separate post.  More on bi organizing later.

I am thrilled that the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network set me up to come to the conference and this was a great way to start off Creating Change 2010.

Creating Change 2010

Filming of "Two Spirits"

I had the opportunity to check out the screening of “Two Spirits” @ Creating Change.  For respect of the film and presentors – we have been asked to not post any blogs, comments or tweets about the film.  It is currently being filmed at Film Festivals across the country including London. 

My personal opinion was it was a great movie.  I am looking forward to sharing it with my Native GLBT community in the Phoenix area, when it becomes available.

The room was packed (over 100+) and they are doing a 2nd screening this evening.

Creating Change · Creating Change 2010

workshop #1

My first workshop was Creating Communities of resistance/change thru innovative sex organizations and businesses.

Very interesting hot presenters! mentioned smitten kitten a couple of time …very cool.  Must attend the Dark Odyssey #cc10  #qnet

Creating Change 2010

Personal Rules for the Creating Change Conference

At dinner the other night a good friend and mentor of mine said “When you come to Creating Change you can leave either so exhausted from a weekend of packing learning and networking into every minute that you go home and veg out for a month, or you can leave energized and ready to go home and get to work with all your new ideas. Which do you want?” Of course we all agreed we’d like the first option very much, thank you! Easier said than done. For my friend he needs to set a rule for himself that if he needs to take time away and either see the city he’s visiting or sleep an afternoon away in his room, that he does it. He listens to his body. He takes care of himself. This friend of mine has been coming to this conference for years. It’s sage advice. What rules are you setting for yourself so you can leave energized and take care of yourself?

Creating Change 2010

Welcome to Creating Change!

Let’s get this party started! This is my second year at Creating Change, a fantastic conference the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force organizes each year. I’m really excited to be here working with the LGBT Tobacco Network! We’re here to learn, network & build a better movment– and 2010 is going to be a fantastic year to be doing this work. I’ve only been here about 24 hours and already feel like I could fill up 12 blog posts! At conferences like this there is so much going on. So adding sharing my experiences through blogging will be a great way to both share the knowledge and also give me time to reflect while in process. I can tell already it’s going to be an amazing conference!

Creating Change 2010

after lunch plenary session

Enjoyed a great lunch with Toni (from PHX) and her colleagues.  It was interesting to sit in on their meeting as they discussed ideas and  suggestions for their blog.  I mentioned I was doing some blogging for the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network.  It was great to get some great suggestions about blogging.  As I finished my lunch, I hurried off to attend the Plenary Session, which featured the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Rea Carey.  As I entered the packed room, I noticed Kate Clinton was on stage, as the MC.  She is totally awesome.  She sure knows how to get a room going.

I finally had the opportunity to hear the Executive Director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – Rea Carey give a powerful speech.   Her speech gave an overview of some of the progress that has been taking place through out the US.  She also talked about Immigration, which includes the GLBT community members that are undocumented citizens.  She also mentioned about the five States that acknowledge marriage between same sex couples.  I have heard a lot about the events taking place in Uganda and did not really know much about it, but after hearing her speech, I have an idea of what is taking place.  One message that I got out of her speech is:  FREEDOM + JUSTICE=EQUALITY.

A transgender women, Joyce received an award for her leadership in working with LGBTQ Youth in the Boston area.  She gave an amazing speech.  She has been involved in the movement since 1970.  A very amazing lady and I hope to make her acquaintance before the end of the conference.  Her speech almost brought tears to my eyes, since she was speaking from her heart.  It is wonderful to see transgender people get recognized for their hard work.

I am currently manning the booth @ National LGBT Tobacco Control Network.  Meeting some intersting people and sharing some good info with them about smoking.  We have some great FREEBIES to give away to the conference attendees such as luggage tags, chap sticks, sharpies (black and red) and some great information.

Creating Change 2010

Another great day in cold-rainy Dallas!!!

After running to CVS in the cold rain the morning of February 3rd, I attended another day-long institute titled Health Care for All: Health as a Tool for Social & Economic Justice to network and improve on my health advocacy skills.  I was not disappointed in many respects.  One of the many activities was to learn and understand the complex health related vocabulary, which brought me to my work as a librarian.  How do we utilize information and make it into power for communities to take action?  For example, understanding basic acronyms and terms like “transition exclusion” (a clause in healthcare insurance which does not cover transgender needs of transitioning from one gender to the other) is an essential tool for individuals and communities to be a part of the healthcare debate.

Most importantly, I had the opportunity to share in a small group the realities of LGBT people of color and how I usually feel excluded from health-related debate as a Latino man.  I feel like a “cantaleta” (repeating the same thing over and over again) for the last 10 years, when asking about issues and realities among LGBT communities of color in workshops like the one I attended today.  Usually, my point is quickly dismissed, but this time, I had the opportunity to share in a small group my concerns and most importantly, listen to theirs to make it a unified voice.  We believed that inclusion and unity will make a stronger LGBT voice.  Including not only physical representation of LGBTs of color in panels and Boards but incorporating what our language, immigration, acculturation, and other environmental and social realities are in comparison to the mainstream population (aka white gay men).  The passion in my group gave me hope that we won’t have to wait another ten years to have inclusivity and understanding of the needs and realities of LGBT people of color.