LAMBDA Volume 27: Issue 1
Return of the NC Unity
Organizers hope to draw a diverse, statewide crowd for progressive
discussion on the intersections of sexuality and gender with religion,
class, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, and health
by Jermaine Caldwell
From the looks of it, the second
annual N.C. Unity Conference is far from falling prey to the sophomore jinx.
The conference brings together for a weekend sexual and gender minorities
and their straight allies from across the Southeast to a have a meeting
minds -- minds that will be focused on coming face to face with faith this
year as the theme of the conference is "Living Below the Bible Belt: The
Experiences of LGBTIQ Southerners."
Junior and Unity Conference Director Trevor Hoppe said parts of the
event are focused on sparking a dialogue surrounding "how people
reconcile being spiritual" and a sexual or gender minority as well as
how some "have demonstrated there is no need to reconcile."
Scheduled to appear this weekend are Mab Segrest, author and activist;
Skott Freedman, a bisexual activist who promises to educate
conference-goers on biphobia; singer-songwriter Erik Himan, who will
perform music with a R&B-folk fusion flare; and Nomy Lamm, who is
described as a "badass fatass jew dyke amputee, performance artist,
writer and activist."
Not only is the Unity Conference bringing in national names,
organizers also solicited people from around the Southeast to present
a mix of workshops. From professors to grassroots activists, ageism to
sexist language, sessions will no doubt fulfill the conference's
mission to "discuss the intersections of gender and sexuality with
ability, age, class, faith, health, and race/ethnicity; strategies for
effective grassroots organizing; and ... work that other LGBTQ
activists are doing in the Southeast."
The conference begins Friday with registration at 6:30 p.m., a plenary
session at 8 p.m. and Himan at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday will feature four sessions. Within each session, those
attending can pick which workshop they would like to attend from three
choices. That night will feature more entertainment and Segrest, who
is this year's keynote speaker. One of Segrest's more recent works is
Born to Belonging: Writing on Spirit and Justice.
More sessions are planed for Sunday, as well as a morning gathering
and a closing lunch. Organizers hope draw 150 to 200 participants with
their receptive and open approach.
"Anyone who has any interest
in the experience of LGBTIQ people should attend," Hoppe said. "We're
interested in creating a dialogue about how identities intersect with
one another because LGBTIQ identities are always negotiated by race,
class gender, faith and more."