The 12th Annual
Mid-Atlantic LGBTQA Conference
Living Proud: Your Presence Matters
November 1-3, 2019



The 12th Annual Mid-Atlantic LGBTQA Conference Committee cordially invites undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, civic activists, and independent scholars to attend our upcoming conference, Living Proud: Your Presence Matters.

Students enter college today with a growing comfort to live proud—to not hide who they are or who they want to be. Yet, while popular slogans such as “Born this Way” reflect the increasing normalization of queerness, LGBTQA representation often remains uneven, not just within mainstream American culture, but within the queer community itself. Fifty years after the Stonewall riots, we remember the battles fought and won by our queer ancestors, and remember that we are only as strong as we are inclusive. We must identify and equip ourselves for the struggles yet to come as a community. We must be proud and live proud for all LGBTQA people, and, if necessary, help each other find our authentic queer selves.

While certain forms of queerness have become more accepted, hostility and threats remain, especially to some of our community’s most vulnerable members. In July 2017, the current administration moved to ban transgender individuals from military service, a ban in part upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2019. Annually, the majority of LGBTQA homicide victims continue to be queer and trans* people of color. If we are to confront and overcome these attacks, we must continue to do so together. Moreover, we must remember that everyone’s presence matters within our community. As Alice Walker so eloquently said, “Please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.”

At this year’s conference, we invite thoughtful consideration of these questions, as well as any other queer topics:

  • What groups remain at the fringes of our community and need greater representation as well as protection?
  • What tools can foster more inclusive internal community discourse ultimately to aid each other in living our best lives?
  • How do we encourage students not only to be proud of who they are, but to find the courage to stand up for others who may struggle to find that pride?
  • What research can guide us to identify and support members who might feel so alone and excluded that they consider self-harm?
  • How do we redirect broader social movements to include more LGBTQA voices and experiences?
  • How do we equip ourselves to serve as role models to LGBTQA students, when at times we may still worry about “outing” ourselves during everyday interactions?
  • How do we prepare for and engage in hard conversations at holidays and other family events that may challenge our pride in ourselves?

In the 12th year of the conference, we gather to remind all LGBTQA people that your presence matters. We invite you to be a part of this conversation as we build action plans for the future. We hope that previous participants will build upon the ideas from past years’ conferences.


Registration is now open!

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Keynote Address

Hanne Blank - What I Mean When I Say Rights and Liberation: Some Thoughts on My First 50 Queer Years

When writer and historian Hanne Blank turned 50 in February 2019, she started to reflect on how being queer and being a queer activist had changed over the course of the first half-century of her life. Born the same year as the Stonewall Uprising, Blank's queer life has run a wild and wooly gamut from the Lesbian Sex Wars to the resurgence of Butch/Femme culture, from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ACT UP! to the national legalization of same-sex marriage and the existence of an openly gay presidential candidate. What can we take away from the ups, downs, sweeping changes, and retrenchments of LGBTQIA+ activism and queer existence in the U.S. over the last 50 years? What should we be thinking about as we strategize for an epically amazing queer future?

Hanne Blank, author and activist, writes books about the nexus of bodies, self, and culture. Joyfully spanning the town/gown divide as well as the mind/body split, her books include the histories Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality and Virgin: The Untouched History, the cult classic sex and body-acceptance book Big Big Love: A Sourcebook on Sex for People of Size and Those Who Love Them, The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts, and numerous others.

She is an engaging lecturer about body image and body respect, as well as about the history and politics of mainstream sexuality. Her work has been featured in periodicals ranging from Penthouse to Bitch. Hanne is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Denison University and has taught in various capacities on campuses including Brandeis and Tufts. She lives with her partner of 15 years in a 175-year-old mill cottage on a dirt road in the middle of Baltimore.

She has spoken in venues ranging from the inaugural Femme Conference in San Francisco to Harvard University. Hanne’s list of talks includes: “Virgins and Other Indefinite Articles: Thinking Historically about Sexuality, Definition, and Experience,” “‘Mommy, Where Do Heterosexuals Come From?’ A Brief History of Sexual Orientation,” and “Learning from Big Big Love: What A Decade of Talking to People about Weight and Sex Has To Tell Us About Size and Sexuality.”

You can contact Hanne on Twitter @hanneblank.

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Important Dates

  • Regular Registration, $35 per person - Sunday, September 15 through Sunday, October 20, 2019
  • Late Registration, $45 per person - Monday, October 21, 2019 through Saturday, November 2, 2019