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Harvard LGBTQ Conference

February 25, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

Come together with students across all Harvard schools for a timely discussion of the state of LGBTQ rights at this Conference, “A Call to Action: Advocacy, Agency, and Alliances for a Changing Globe.” Hosted in Austin Hall, in the Ames Courtroom and first-floor classrooms, at the Law School by LGBTQ student groups and clubs across the University. Tickets are available now!

LGBTQ rights have witnessed unprecedented legal and political successes in a relatively short period of time across much of the world. Protective legislation and equal rights have saturated in much of the developed world while breakthroughs have been increasingly recorded throughout several key countries within the global South. However, much of this progress is now under considerable stress, as both domestic and international equality efforts face an uncertain future. Democratic elections in Europe and the U.S.A have resulted in a radical and rapid shift in leadership towards conservative values and right wing politics, accompanied by increased vitriol against gender, racial, sexual, religious and other minorities.

The effects of this change will have significant impact on our lives and communities, as we have lost crucial allies in senior government positions and potentially face the suspension or reversal of decades of progress. Increasing numbers of homophobic and transphobic attacks are being reported, targeting specifically queer immigrants and queer people of color. In addition, LGBT activists abroad also face the potential diminishment of political and financial support for their projects and organizations, made all that more severe with the increase in conflict and state repression as well as the impact of mass migrations. There is great uncertainty regarding the policies and politics of the next few years, especially how they will translate on the ground and to the extent our communities will be targeted.

This conference comes at a crucial juncture in which LGBTQ activists are compelled to mobilize once more to act and insure that their lives, livelihoods, families, and communities are safeguarded and protected. It builds on the explorations of intersectionality made in the previous conference but concentrates on how this should and is being reflected on the ground. It heralds a return to grassroots advocacy and community mobilization and engagement en masse to analyze, anticipate, and act for insuring the progress we have made with regards to equality, dignity, and justice is protected and unabated. The coming period also offers unprecedented opportunity to build alliances of resistance with other communities facing similar challenges in our collective fight for civil rights.


Friday, February 24, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Women, Trans, and Non-binary Reception
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Opening Reception
Saturday, February 25, 2017
8.00 AM – 9.00 AM Special Session:
Mindfulness for the Movement
Facilitator: Lama Rod Owens, Natural Dharma
9.00 AM – 10.00 AM Registration
10.00 AM – 10.15 AM Welcome Remarks
10.15 AM – 11.30 AM Keynote Address:
The Honorable Mark Takano, U.S. Representative for the
41st District of California
11.30 AM – 1.00 PM Keynote Panel:
The Future of Global LGBTQ Rights
Moderator: Timothy McCarthy, Professor, Harvard
Kennedy School
– J Bob Alotta, Executive Director, Astrea Foundation
– Jesse Bernstein, Special Advisor, U.S. Department of
– Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, Human Rights
– Clifton Cortez, Senior Advisor for SOGIE Issues, The
World Bank
1.00 PM – 2:15 PM Lunch
2:15 PM – 3:30 PM Keynote Address:
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for
Transgender Equality (to be confirmed)
3:30 PM – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 PM – 5:00 PM Simultaneous Panels I:
A- Organizing for Black Lives: A Queer Perspective
Moderator: Treva Lindsey, Assistant Professor, Ohio
State University
– Khari Charles, Black and Pink
– Nakisha Lewis, Activist, Black Lives Matter
– Samantha Master, Activist, BYP100
B- Bridging Differences: Engaging Faith Communities
Moderator: (to be confirmed)
– Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Religious Director, Muslims
for Progressive Values
– Mordechai Levovitz, Executive Director, JQYouth
– Todd Richardson, Senior Vice President, Affirmation
5:00 PM – 5:15 PM Break
5:15 PM – 6:30 PM Simultaneous Panels II:
C- Community Leaders for Trans Empowerment
Moderator: Sasha Costanza Chock, Associate Professor
for Civic Media, M.I.T
– Eb Brown, Community Consultant, Transivisble
– Mason Dunn, Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition
– Adrian Acencion Martinez, Community Organizer,
Transgender Law Center
D- Grassroots Organizing in the American South
Moderator: Drew Heckman, Harvard Kennedy School
– Crystal Richardson, Legal Counsel, Campaign for Southern
– Paulina Hernandez, Southerners on New Ground (to be
– Ben Needham, Director of Project One America, Human
Rights Campaign
8.00 PM – 10.00 PM Closing Reception


February 25, 2017
8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Student Orgs Events


Austin Hall
MA United States


Julie Thomsen