State of the LGBT move­ment in 2013: time to cel­e­brate

Re­cent vic­to­ries sig­nify progress, but still more work to be done

GA Voice - - Activism - By Dyana Bagby dbagby@the­

This year the Na­tional Gay & Les­bian Task Force cel­e­brates its 40th an­niver­sary and its Cre­at­ing Change Con­fer­ence marks its sil­ver an­niver­sary this month in At­lanta. In the 2012 elec­tion, three states passed mar­riage equal­ity laws, vot­ers de­feated an anti-gay amend­ment in an­other state and there are more openly gay mem­bers in Congress.

This is a good time to be part of the LGBT move­ment.

“We have a lot to cel­e­brate this year and that’s not al­ways been the case. Many years we’ve been lick­ing our wounds,” said Rea Carey, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Task Force.

Carey will give a “State of the Move­ment” speech on Fri­day, Jan. 25, at Cre­at­ing Change, which runs Jan. 23-27 at the Hil­ton At­lanta.

There have sev­eral piv­otal mo­ments in the LGBT move­ment, she ex­plained: Stonewall, which launched the mod­ern LGBT rights move­ment; HIV/AIDS and how peo­ple came to­gether to fight as a gen­er­a­tion of young gay men died; and to­day.

“We really are at a piv­otal moment mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in par­tic­u­lar on mar­riage, but in do­ing so there a slight peril to it. So many who are drawn to our move­ment care about our abil­ity to marry the per­son we love, but have not had the full range of ex­pe­ri­ence of our lives,” Carey said.

For Carey, the LGBT move­ment also in­cludes end­ing poverty, fight­ing for em­ploy­ment non-dis­crim­i­na­tion, trans­gen­der rights, im­mi­gra­tion re­form and fair hous­ing, to name a few.

“As we cel­e­brate we have to be cau­tious as we look for­ward that we do not leave any­one be­hind,” Carey said. “We are not only a mar­riage move­ment.”

Cre­at­ing Change moves around the coun­try each year. The last Cre­at­ing Change Con­fer­ence in At­lanta was in 2000; Coretta Scott King spoke at the open­ing ple­nary.

Re­turn­ing to the South and specif­i­cally to At­lanta is im­por­tant to en­sure South­ern states are heard when it comes to out­lin­ing pri­or­i­ties for the move­ment, Carey said.

There is much to be learned from South­ern states where LGBT dis­crim­i­na­tion is still, un­for­tu­nately, the norm. Sev­eral Cre­at­ing Change work­shops will be fa­cil­i­tated by LGBT ac­tivists from At­lanta and other Ge­or­gia cities. Some in­clude: • “How I Be­came An Icon and Saved Our Sto­ries” fa­cil­i­tated by LGBT his­to­rian Dave Hay­ward. This work­shop features At­lanta pioneer LGBT ac­tivists in­clud­ing Pat Hus­sain, Win­ston John­son, Richard Rhodes and Sar­a­lyn Ch­es­nut. • “Hal­lelu­jah Our Heroes: Tales of Ac­tivism Against AIDS” will fea­ture AIDS ac­tivist Dr. Jesse Peel, who co-founded AIDS ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions in At­lanta and Ge­or­gia. • “Art & Cul­ture: Spit That Truth: Pro­pel the Move­ment Through Per­for­mance” - Cortez Wright, Paris Hatcher, Am­ber Thomas • “Col­lege Cam­pus Is­sues and Or­ga­niz­ing for Stu­dents: Cre­at­ing a Safe Space Pro­gram for Stu­dents” — Gaius Au­gus­tus, Jil­lian Ford • “Com­mu­nity Or­ga­niz­ing The South: Sex, Pol­i­tics, & God” — Caitlin Breedlove, Paulina Helm-Her­nan­dez, Kai Bar­row, Bishop Don­a­grant McCluney • “Peo­ple of Color: Cre­at­ing Ac­cep­tance within African-Amer­i­can Faith Com­mu­ni­ties” — Rev. Gwen Thomas, Rev. Roland Stringfel­low • “Breaks in the School-to-Prison-Pipe­line: How Queer Youth Can Stop Bul­ly­ing and Win Alternative Pol­icy So­lu­tions to ‘Zero Tol­er­ance’” - Hol­i­day Sim­mons, Lambda Le­gal; Yvonna Cazares, GSA Net­work • “Deep­en­ing the Roots of Our Move­ment: Or­ga­niz­ing to Pre­vent and Re­duce Po­lice Vi­o­lence and Mis­con­duct Against LGBTQ Com­mu­ni­ties” — Hol­i­day Sim­mons and Bev­erly Tillery, Lambda Le­gal; Chai Jin­da­surat and Ejeris Dixon, NCAVP; An­drea Ritchie, Streetwise and Safe; Wes Ware, Break OUT!; Ja­son Terry, DC Trans Po­lit­i­cal Coali­tion

“We ex­pect more peo­ple from the South to be there and in­flu­ence what is talked about. There are a lot of cities and states in the South with no pro­tec­tions when it comes to eco­nomic and racial jus­tice. Those ad­vo­cates bring those per­spec­tives,” she said.

“For us as a con­fer­ence, it is not only about us putting forth com­pelling pro­gram­ming, but a chance for us to really learn and take in­for­ma­tion in to help us as an or­ga­ni­za­tion, to learn more what folks in the South care about and what our move­ment should fo­cus on,” she said.

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