The Louisiana Queer Conference is an annual gathering hosted at LSU that serves as a both a melting pot of ideas and a launch pad for advocacy and activism within the LGBTQ community of Louisiana. This year’s conference, scheduled for April 9 and 10 at the LSU Business Education Complex, is hosted by a number of organizations. Two of the main groups working to put the event on are QROMA and Spectrum, students groups at LSU that work to help the LGBTQ community in our area. The theme of this year’s conference is Crossroads of Experience, which focuses on intersectionality and racial justice.
Intersectionality, a term first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor at both UCLA and Columbia Law Schools, is the study of how seemingly different social identities overlap and relate to each other, and the how systems of oppression and discrimination affect individuals and communities within those identities. An example of intersectionality would be how a gay black man deals with higher levels of oppression than a straight black man or a trans woman.
Tierra Moultrie, one of the co-coordinators for this year’s Queer Conference, describes the conference as “a safe space were queer identifying individuals and their allies can congregate to network, discuss and educate each other on the experiences of our lives.”
She said, “It provides the opportunity to teach others, both within and outside of the community, about their identities, their views, and their needs.”
Karie Holton is the LGBTQ Project and Safe Space Coordinator for the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, and she believes that the conference is a vital part of the university experience.
“The Louisiana Queer Conference is important because it’s an opportunity for LGBTQ people from around the state to come together in a safe space for a day and talk about issues that affect the community. The conference has sparked organizations like Equality Louisiana,” she said.
As Holton mentioned, previous conferences have led to the creation of groups like Equality Louisiana and Louisiana Trans Advocates. EQLA is a non-profit that does statewide advocacy on LGBTQ issues. LTA is a social support organization for transgender Louisianans and they are currently the largest statewide group of the sort in the country according to the organization.
Moultrie said organizers have been planning this conference for 10 months and that they hope this will get more students involved.
“I think that’s important because the conference shouldn’t be representative of only two or three organizers—it should be accurate to what the public actually wants,” Moultrie said.
Holton said the conference typically attracts two to three hundred attendees and that expectations are high for this year.
Once there, the attendees have a number of options of what they can do throughout the day. The event has workshop sessions, and attendees can choose their own path for what they would like to discuss and learn.
There is also the keynote speaker, which this year is actually three speakers: YouTubers Ambers Closet, F0XYHOTMESS and Hartbeat will address the full conference and discuss current issues facing the community, their lives and more.
Other events for the conference include a Queer Prom and a second day, which will include a documentary screening and discussion.
“I love coming to the LAQC to meet new people and see all the cool projects people are working on to make our state a better place to live,” Matthew Patterson, managing director of EQLA, said. “It’s such a great opportunity to expand your networks and see what there is to get involved in.”
Moultrie discussed how the university has helped the event be successful each year and also said “I think there’s always room for more support. I think for many students, the issue is that they aren’t sure where to go when they need help.”