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2021 LGBT+ College Conference Schedule

Conference Theme – All Identities–Reclaiming Our Roots

The conference is free to attend for everyone. Please register to help in planning.

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All times are Central Daylight Saving Time.
 

Thursday, April 1 - Research and Examination

9:15am – 9:35am Welcoming Remarks

Thursday April 1 Click here to launch Zoom

Presented by LaToya Eaves (she/her/hers)

LaToya EavesLaToya Eaves is an Assistant Professor of Geography. Eaves’ research and teaching interests are at the intersections of race, gender, diaspora, critical geography and sexuality studies, and she has published on the emancipatory geographic practices of Black women in the U.S. South.  In her research, she explores the geographic imaginaries of Blackness, gender, and queerness by bringing critical approaches to the social transformation of places, the nuances of region, and lived experiences under rights-based progress narratives. This line of inquiry builds on her doctoral work, in which she examined the socio-spatial and political factors shaping social progress and attachments to place for Black queer women in the American South. Among current active projects, Eaves was recently awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation to analyze the role of race, place, heritage, memory, tourism, and community and civic engagement through African American History Museums (AAHMs) across the United States. Eaves is also founder and served as inaugural chair of the Black Geographies Specialty Group for the American Association of Geographers. Eaves was named the recipient of the 2019 Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors through the American Association of Geographers, which is among the highest recognition a person can receive in American geography.

Sponsored by: Dell


9:45am – 10:45am Middle Tennessee State University Gore Center Archive Spotlight

Thursday April 1 Click here to launch Zoom

Preserving Our Stories

The tale of people engaged in a movement exists, in part, in the ephemera produced by people living in the moment. The photographs, flyers, newspapers and magazines, pamphlets, planning documents, and bits of history tell the story of the struggles and the achievements of a community. The Gore Center at Middle Tennessee State University holds the archive from Nashville's OutCentral that documents the LGBT+ movement in Nashville from the 1980s to the present, focusing on efforts to organize and build a space for people to gather. This presentation will describe these holdings along with MTSU’s LGBT+ history dating back to the 1960s, and share some key pieces that tell the story of these important communities.

Presented by Sarah Calise (she/her/hers); Introduction by Ray White (he/him/his)

Sarah CaliseSarah Calise is a Southern queer disabled archivist working at the Albert Gore Research Center at MTSU. She earned her bachelor’s in history from the University of Florida in 2013 and her master’s in public history from Middle Tennessee State in 2016. She is actively involved in archival leadership, including President of the Society of Tennessee Archivists from 2019-2020. Her archival scholarship focuses on liberatory memory work and ethical documentation of social movements, particularly student activism. Since 2015, she and her colleague Donna Baker have been transforming the Gore Center into an inclusive space for telling diverse stories from across Middle Tennessee.

Ray WhiteRay A. White, Ed.S. is licensed by the State of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor with both Mental Health Service Provider, and Approved Supervisor, status. Along with serving as a full time clinical counselor with Walters State Community College, he teaches undergraduate courses in Psychology at Tusculum University, and graduate courses in Counseling at East Tennessee State University. Additionally, he maintains a professional private practice as Whitewood Counseling & Consultation.

Sponsored by: Connect


11:00am – 12:00pm Tennovation Keynote

Thursday, April 1 Click here to launch Zoom

Killer Hidden in Plain Sight: The Leading Cause of Death and Disease among LGBTQ Tennesseans

Despite fifty years of research and millions of dollars spent on treatment, over 1,000 people in Tennessee’s LGBTQ community continue to die from tobacco use every year. In this talk, Jacob Black will present the latest data on tobacco use disparities among the LGBTQ population in Tennessee and discuss key factors driving the community’s higher tobacco use. The presentation will also highlight resources available in Tennessee to help tobacco users quit and for friends and family to support their quit attempts. At the end of the talk, attendees will be invited to discuss the ways in which they can engage community members, organizations, and leaders to change social norms and subsequently close the gap in tobacco use among the LGBTQ community in Tennessee.

Presented by Jacob Black (he/him/his); Introduction by Ray White (he/him/his)

JJacob Blackacob Black is an Epidemiologist at the Tennessee Department of Health where he is responsible for programmatic evaluation and epidemiologic support for the Tobacco Control Program. In this role, Jacob has assisted in transitioning the Tobacco Control Program to become truly data-driven with a strategic focus toward policy, systems, and environmental change interventions. His professional interests include tobacco-related health disparities, policy effects on tobacco use, and spatial analysis of health behaviors. Jacob Black earned a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is an avid woodworker, hiker, cat-dad, and is recently engaged to his fiancée, Liz.

Ray WhiteRay A. White, Ed.S. is licensed by the State of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor with both Mental Health Service Provider, and Approved Supervisor, status. Along with serving as a full time clinical counselor with Walters State Community College, he teaches undergraduate courses in Psychology at Tusculum University, and graduate courses in Counseling at East Tennessee State University. Additionally, he maintains a professional private practice as Whitewood Counseling & Consultation.

Sponsored by: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. and Middle Tennessee State University College of Behavioral and Health Sciences


12:00pm - 12:30pm Lunch Break

Thursday, April 1


12:30pm - 1:30pm Tennovation Research Symposium Poster Presentations

Thursday, April 1

The Tennovation initiative is designed to bring together people investigating issues that overlap with conference goals and programming. The Tennovation research symposium will feature poster presentations submitted through the conference portal.

Each poster below has a preview and a meeting link. To navigate the poster session, choose a poster, look at the preview, and then visit the meeting room for that poster. After viewing each poster, leave the room and return here to make a new selection. The host has a room open during the session if you have questions or need assistance. Enjoy!

Tennovation Research Symposium Abstracts Book

Ray White (he/him/his; host) Join Host Zoom

Ray WhiteRay A. White, Ed.S. is licensed by the State of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor with both Mental Health Service Provider, and Approved Supervisor, status. Along with serving as a full time clinical counselor with Walters State Community College, he teaches undergraduate courses in Psychology at Tusculum University, and graduate courses in Counseling at East Tennessee State University. Additionally, he maintains a professional private practice as Whitewood Counseling & Consultation.

The link for the host actually connects to his poster, number 1002, but you can ask your event related questions there.

Posters

1001 The Role of Family Relationships in the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young Adults. Kate Worley (she/her/hers), Trevecca Nazarene University.

The sexual minority population is at a higher risk for mental health problems than the general population and often face victimization due to their sexual orientation. Though sexual minority persons are at a greater risk for mental health issues, social support often lead to better outcomes for this population.

Email: keworley@trevecca.edu

Poster 1001 (Worley) meeting link

1002 The Inkblot Project. Ray A. White, Ed.S., LPC/MHSP/AS (he/him/his), Whitewood Counseling & Consultation.

The Inkblot Project is a work in progress involving the collection of stories and tattoo images from individuals who identify as having been a victim of bullying and/or personal trauma, and who subsequently acquired a tattoo that speaks to that experience. It is ultimately about stories written in flesh resulting in empowerment.

Email: whitewoodcounseling@gmail.com

Poster 1002 (White) video link

Poster 1002 (White) meeting link

1003 Social Inequity in Memories of Shakespeare: The Fetishizing Power of the Globe Theatre. Reagan Yessler (they/them/their), University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

William Shakespeare’s works are widely regarded as the pillar of English literature in Western society. An understanding of Shakespearean literature is a form of symbolic or cultural capital, and a lack thereof signals that a person is uncultured, uneducated. However, in his own time, Shakespeare was not so highly regarded. To fully understand the evolution that Shakespeare and his works have undergone, one must consider the modern memory politics that reify the contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare in the Western world at liex de memoire (places of memory), which are shaped by the tumultuous sequence of historical movements that formed Shakespeare’s image. The Globe Theatre is a powerful place where the writer’s memory is actively curated to cement his legacy into a cohesive narrative. This narrative is selective by nature, unable to include all aspects of Shakespeare’s history. To fetishize means that a person, idea, or narrative, is first objectified, then given power as a fixed object of fascination. This fetishization also solidifies its reputational politics. As a fetishized object, any nuance is stripped away, and we are discouraged from understanding the inner workings of how it is reified and normalized. Because of this fetishization, a simple, unproblematic narrative is created. My main research question concerns the fetishization of Shakespeare, and the role that the Globe Theater plays in retelling, performing, and normalizing this fetish. What aspects of the Globe allow this fetishization to take place? How and to what extent does The Globe fetishize Shakespeare to create one narrative? To what degree is the modern Western gender and sexuality binary– the strict division of male versus female based on genitalia, and the attraction to the ‘opposite’ gender– upheld or critiqued? How is race and class portrayed at The Globe? I address these questions in a discourse analysis that explores how the Globe’s Research Bulletins, Such Stuff podcast, YouTube channel, and social media work to create and spread this fetish, as well as how this fetish both critiques and upholds ideas of gender identity, sexuality, class stereotypes, and racial biases. I conclude this thesis with suggestions on how the Globe might move forward to incorporate more diverse views to leverage this fetish as a means of social progression rather than repression.

Email: ryessler@vols.utk.edu

Poster 1003 (Yessler) video link

The password for this meeting is 2021 Poster 1003 (Yessler) meeting link

1004 Racial Justice Interview Project. Roberta Chevrette (she/her/hers), Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Roberta Chevrette, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and WGST faculty at MTSU, and the students in her UH 3500 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar “Rhetoric and the Racialized Other” are conducting a study about the wave of recent protests in the United States and globally that has drawn attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, the systemic racism Black people continue to face, and issues of racial justice and police reform. As rhetoric, race, and social justice researchers, we are interviewing persons who participated in the protests, and we are very interested in hearing about what motivated you to participate, what the experience was like for you, and how/if the protests have impacted your attitudes about race, racism, and/or racial justice. Stop by during the poster presentation session if you’d like to learn more about the study and how to participate! (IRB Protocol ID: 21-2118 7v)

Email: roberta.chevrette@mtsu.edu

Poster 1004 (Chevrette) meeting link

1005 It Might Get Better: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Students in the Classroom and Beyond. Dr. Shane A. McCoy (they/them/their), Middle Tennessee State University.

Traditionally, educational environments have been framed within a heteronormative paradigm; in other words, “…curriculum, campus activities, and individual interactions taking place…assumes all individuals on campus are heterosexual” (Preston and Hoffman 2015, p. 67). Such heteronormative assumptions allow university culture, especially programs and policies targeting student-success and retention, to remain unchallenged (Preston and Hoffman 2015, p. 66). Although MTSU has created several sources for supporting LGBTQIA+ students on campus (e.g., SafeZone Training and various organizations), only a handful of academic courses explicitly focus on LGBTQIA+ experiences and perspectives. How might university campuses such as MTSU’s cultivate LGBTQIA+ students’ sense of belonging and well-being? What unique challenges do LGBTQIA+ students encounter and how might these challenges be navigated by faculty? (Martin et al. 2018) Finally, what role might faculty play in facilitating LGBTQIA+ students’ sense of well-being? (Linley et al. 2016) This presentation addresses these central questions and provides practical tools for participants to help support LGBTQIA+ students in the classroom and beyond it.

Email: shane.mccoy@mtsu.edu

Poster 1005 (McCoy) meeting link

1006 Inhibition of Lesbian and Gay Stereotypes for Story Characters. Amber Williams (she/her/hers) & David Copeland (he/him/his), University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

People tend to remember stereotypical information about others better than non-stereotypical information (Fyock & Stangor, 1994), but limited research has examined this effect with information about LGBT characters in narratives (Bellezza & Bower, 1981; Clark & Woll, 1981; McGann & Goodwin, 2007; Snyder & Uranowitz, 1978). This research suggests that, instead of genuinely remembering stereotypical information better, participants tended to guess stereotypical answers. We conducted an experiment where participants read a short story about a gay or heterosexual couple and answered both recall and recognition questions about the character’s traits. In contrast to previous studies, our experiment suggests that heterosexual young adults tend to engage in stereotype inhibition, avoiding the use of gay and lesbian stereotypes. This information can be used for understanding how stereotyping occurs and developing interventions to reduce stereotype use.

Email: willia50@unlv.nevada.edu

Poster 1006 (Williams & Copeland) video link

Poster 1006 (Williams & Copeland) meeting link

Sponsored by: Focus


Friday, April 2 - Intersections of Identity with the Broader Community

9:00am – 9:20am Conference Opening Address

Friday, April 2 Click here to launch Zoom

Presented by Beverly Watts (she/her/hers), Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission

Beverly WattsNashville native Beverly L. Watts was appointed the Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission in July 2007. Prior to her current appointment she served as Special Advisor to the Chair at the U S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission responsible for state and local relations. She has more than 30 years of experience in civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sector. From October 2004 to October 2006 she served as the first Executive Director of the National Fair Housing Training Academy.

Beverly served for more than 12 years as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and served in numerous other leadership positions in Illinois, and Kentucky. She was one of the first Title IX Coordinators in the US at the Office for Civil Rights and has served as adjunct faculty in Sociology at Spalding University. She was Senior Consultant for Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA) in Chicago assisting clients in developing strategic initiatives in operations, diversity and supplier diversity programs She has presented to numerous organizations on leadership, civil rights, diversity, and motivation at the local, national and international level.

Beverly Watts is a past President of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA) where she currently serves as the 1st Vice President.  She currently serves on the Equal Educational Opportunities Group (EEOG) and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) Boards.  She is a member of the TN Access to Justice Commission. She is a past Chair of Women Executives in State Government, has served on the CABLE Nashville and the YWCA of Middle Tennessee boards.

Beverly is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2019 CABLE Power of Inclusion Champion Award, the 2018 CABLE Spirit of Leadership Award, 2018 YWCA Academy of Women, 2016 YWCA Nashville Athena Nominee, the ECHO 2014 Dreamers Award, the 2014 Frances Dancy Hooks Award, the YWCA 2014 Carrie Hull Award, the City of Louisville Martin Luther King award and the 2005 induction into the KY Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

She is a graduate of Tennessee State University, Southern Illinois University.  She has completed the Duke University Leadership Program for State Executives and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Leadership Program.

Sponsored by: Tennessee Human Rights Commission


9:30am – 10:45am Opening Plenary Discussion - Striking Out: Anti-Transgender Sports Public Policy in Tennessee

Friday, April 2 Click here to launch Zoom

Panelists will discuss the issue of transgender youth in sports and recent bills in the Tennessee state legislature related to the issue.

Panel

Shane McCoy (they/them/their; moderator)Shane McCoy

Shane McCoy is a Lecturer in the department of English at Middle Tennessee State University and an affiliate faculty member in the Women's and Gender Studies Program. They teach courses that focus on first-year composition, queer literature and theory, contemporary transnational literature, and women of color and black feminisms. Their research focuses on feminist affect studies, Africana women’s literature, critical and feminist pedagogies, social justice, and pedagogies of empowerment.

Chris Sanders (he/him/his; panelist)Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is executive director of Tennessee Equality Project, a statewide LGBTQ rights and public policy organization. He holds the M.Div. from Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville.

Brendon Holloway (he/him/his; panelistBrendon Holloway)

Brendon T. Holloway, MSW is a researcher, activist, and doctoral student at the University of Denver. As a white, queer, nonbinary first-generation college student, Brendon’s research focuses on the experiences of transgender and nonbinary (TNB) individuals who live in rural areas across the United States. As an activist, he has testified in front of state lawmakers and written op-eds combating anti-trans legislation. Brendon is currently on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Equality Project where he co-founded Boro Pride and the TEP Rutherford County Committee. Additionally, Brendon is a graduate of MTSU where he obtained his Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2015.

Katie BarnesKatie Barnes (they/them/their; panelist)

Katie Barnes is a feature writer, covering culture, LGBTQ issues, women’s basketball, collegiate softball, and women’s combat sports. Since joining ESPN in August 2015, Katie has written on myriad topics, such as transgender athletes, racial justice, and Hollywood stunt doubles. Their ongoing coverage of transgender athletes in high school has earned them two GLAAD award nominations, and they are hard at work on a book. They were also a producer on the 30 for 30 short Mack Wrestles. Katie holds a B.A. in History, Russian Studies, and American Studies from St. Olaf College, and a M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University (OH). They were the 2017 NLGJA Journalist of the year.

Sponsored by: Middle Tennessee State University Vice President's Office for Student Affairs


11:00am – 1:00pm Documentary Keynote Presentation and Discussion

Friday, April 2 Click here to launch Zoom

A Secret Only God Knows

"Starting in 2009, multiple interviews have been conducted chronicling the lives of gay, transgender and bisexual residents, reflecting on life in Middle Tennessee before 1970, and how homosexuality was viewed in the larger community as part of The Brooks Fund History Project. These oral histories are archived in Nashville Public Library’s Special Collections Division: Oral History Collections. They were made into the documentary film, A Secret Only God Knows, directed by Deidre Duker, that premiered on Nashville Public Television in 2015."

http://scouting.thewomensfund.com/community-leadership/community-initiative/the-brooks-fund/the-documentary/

Panel

Allie Sultan (she/her/hers; moderator)Allie Sultan

Allie Sultan is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work spans narrative, documentary and experimental modes. A graduate of the MFA-Cinema program at San Francisco State University, she has worked as a picture and sound editor with some of the San Francisco Bay area’s finest film companies and organizations – including American Zoetrope, ZAP Zoetrope-Aubry Productions, Berkeley Sound Artists, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and Tippett Studio. Allie is an Associate Professor of Video and Film Production at Middle Tennessee State University, where she teaches film/video editing, celluloid filmmaking and web series production to the next generation of independent filmmakers. She is currently in post-production on a feature documentary about LGBTQ Christians.

Deidre DukerDeidre Duker (she/her/hers; panelist)

Deidre Duker is a producer of ideas and connector of people. She has produced television and documentaries ranging from stories in country music to LGBT+ life. A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BA in European Studies, she spends her days with her family in Nashville and travels the world whenever she can.

Michael MaupinsMichael Maupins (he/him/his; panelist)

Michael Maupins is an alumnus of MTSU and a former professional ballet dancer. He has been active in the LGBTQIA+ community for many years. Michael has been out and proud since he was 13 years old. He also has been HIV positive undetectable for 9.5 years. Maupins is currently on the executive board for TruYou Tennessee which is Tennessee’s first ever foster home for LGBTQIA+ teens, the BOROpride entertainment committee, and on MTSU’s Lambda board. Maupins is looking forward to helping create change and educating today’s youth and young adults on what life can be like living with being gay and HIV positive undetectable in today’s world.

Lynn CothrenLynn Cothren (he/him/his; panelist)

Lynn Cothren is Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, working in partnership with the ED on all the facets of the agency, including agency operations, the Board of Commissioners, our stakeholders, and the public.  Lynn assists with day to day logistics, education and outreach and general administration. Lynn works as an integral member of the executive staff team. Previously, as Director of Administration at Girl Scouts of the USA, Lynn’s leadership role included developing and implementing organizational strategies and policies that enabled girls to build courage, confidence, and character, and make the world a better place. Previously, Mr. Cothren served for 23-years as Special Assistant to the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King, founder of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. 

Margo Hall (she/her/hers; panelist)Margo Hall

I am a gay trans-woman, and an MTSU alumna. I majored in International Relations, with a double minor in Entrepreneurship and Russian Studies. I also served as an officer and member in MT Lambda during my time at the university. I graduated in 2019.

Sis St. ClairSis St. Clair (she/her/hers; panelist)

Born in late 1949, Sis was raised in the Greater Kansas City, Missouri area. Conflicts began when she was a toddler and self-identified as female. Her family would have none of it. As a young child, Sis immersed herself in music, learning to play several instruments as a way to escape a tormented life. At age 16, she went to work, while still in high school, collecting weekly receipts from bordellos around town. In early 1967, at age 17, she began her career as a female impersonator on weekends at a mafia owned gay club. One day after graduating high school in 1968, she moved to Tennessee taking a job as a touring musician. Sis was drafted into the US Army and resumed her showgirl career upon discharge in 1971. Sis became active and vocal for equal rights for LGBT+ persons and women. In her early 30’s, she was authenticated as an intersex woman when she finally went through puberty and her menstrual cycle began. She later discovered that she had been surgically mutilated as a newborn infant. In 1995, Sis graduated from MTSU and began a new career track the following year. In 2009, Sis’s book, “Caution: Woman Inside” was published. She retired in 2012 and since has spoken to interested groups and college students about her experiences from the pre-Stonewall days to the present for LGBT+ people and her life as an intersex woman as her health has allowed. She is a three-time cancer survivor.

Phil Michal ThomasPhil Michal Thomas (he/him/his; panelist)

Phil Michal Thomas was the first person of color on the Tennessee Gay and Lesbian Alliance. This group opened up “The Center” located in Berry Hill for the GBLT community. This was the beginning of “One In Teen” support for GBLT teens., and the creation of the Community Switchboard specifically for GBLT. Thomas is a current board member of PFLAG Nashville. Under the leadership of Janet Pierce, Thomas represented Nashville Cares on the Teddy Bart Nashville program. Thomas also facilitated the first men of color support group at Nashville Cares. Thomas served on prior Nashville Pride boards including the year it was titled OPEN—the year 2000 when there almost wasn't a pride. Thomas also served on a panel for Leadership Nashville with Abby Rubenfeld, Penny Campbell, and others where they represented the GBLT community. Thomas would go last in this panel and would start by saying he actually didn't exist because everyone knows that there are no openly gay people in the Black community and expound that we do exist. Thomas has a history of service to the GBLT community including serving on the board “From All Walks” with Matt Nelson that would later become “AIDSWALK,” the Nashville Black Pride board, as a board member of Brothers United Nashville, as an ACT-UP New York member, as a GBLT Liaison with the Tennessean, as a BWMT Atlanta member, as a grant writer with AID Atlanta for Johnson & Johnson, and as a board president of NAMI Davidson. Thomas has sponsored fundraisers such as “Christmas in July” for gifts for clients of Nashville Cares at bars such as The Cabaret on Hayes. Thomas is also the author of “PANELS.” You can learn more at www.philmichalthomas.com.

Sponsored by: Nissan


1:15pm – 2:45pm The "Plus" in LGBT+ Keynote

Friday, April 2 Click here to launch Zoom

More than Alphabet Soup: Identity Language Meaning in the LGBT+ Community

Recently, language has been shifting at an ever-increasing pace, particularly within the LGBT+ community. There is much discussion about what this language means and whether or not it is useful to the community. In this talk, Bek Dawson will present research on the role of language in the LGBT+ community, which focuses specifically on the experiences of transgender and gender-nonconforming people who use or have used nontraditional language to describe their gender or sexuality. The lecture will explore the social impact of diverse identity language and how it shapes identity development. The talk will conclude with an invitation for the audience to join a conversation on individual terms, meanings, and how to apply this knowledge. 

Presented by Bek Dawson (they/them/their); Introduction by Shane McCoy (they/them/their)

Bek DawsonBek Dawson is a scholar and activist working towards bringing voices from the LGBT+ community into academic spaces so that their experiences and issues can be understood comprehensively. Bek received a BA in English and MA in sociology from MTSU. Their thesis research focused on the experiences of transgender and nonbinary people, specifically looking at the role of language socially and developmentally. While in school, they were an officer as well as the head of the education committee for MT Lambda, MTSU’s LGBT+ organization. While in MT Lambda, Bek helped organize events such as MTSU’s first Transgender Day of Remembrance, and create informational resources, such as the Identities Pamphlets series. They are a former organizer for Seeds of Acceptance Rutherford, an LGBT+ support group in Murfreesboro, TN. Bek currently teaches Women’s and Gender Studies at MTSU.

Shane McCoyShane McCoy is a Lecturer in the department of English at Middle Tennessee State University and an affiliate faculty member in the Women's and Gender Studies Program. They teach courses that focus on first-year composition, queer literature and theory, contemporary transnational literature, and women of color and black feminisms. Their research focuses on feminist affect studies, Africana women’s literature, critical and feminist pedagogies, social justice, and pedagogies of empowerment.

Sponsored by: Deloitte


Saturday, April 3 - Working and Learning Sessions

9:00am – 9:20am Welcoming Address

Saturday, April 3 Click here to launch Zoom

Presented by Marisa Richmond (she/her/hers)

Marisa RichmondDr. Marisa Richmond teaches history and women’s and gender studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the current Chair of the Metro (Nashville) Human Relations Commission, one of only two openly transgender members of the Democratic National Committee, and a Member of the Board of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.

She just finished serving as a member of the ad hoc Nashville Mayor’s Council on the Status of Women and the Davidson County General Sessions Court Judicial Equity Collective.  Previously, she served many years as the President and Lobbyist for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. 

She is a prolific author and speaker on transgender rights, and has served on many boards at the Local, State, and National levels. She has been recognized for her work with many awards. 

She has three degrees, all in U.S. History. Her A.B. is from Harvard University, her M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from George Washington University.

Sponsored by; Waller


9:30am – 10:30am Plenary Discussion - Personal Reflections on Reclaiming Our Roots

Saturday, April 3 Click here to launch Zoom

Panelists (selected from conference participants) will discuss a person whose accomplishments they would like to amplify as part of reclaiming our roots.

William Langston (he/him/his; host)

William LangstonDr. William Langston is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston is the faculty advisor for MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization). Dr. Langston also serves on the MTSU President’s Social Justice Advisory Board. Dr. Langston organizes the LGBT+ College Conference and is a founding board member of Murfreesboro’s Boro Pride celebration. Dr. Langston was recently selected as one of Focus Middle Tennessee’s 40 Over 40 in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Langston received his BA in psychology from the University of Houston in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dr. Langston has been a professor at MTSU since 1997 and specializes in teaching research methodology and cognition. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the country. In his spare time, Dr. Langston enjoys stand-up comedy and can routinely be seen bombing at local open mics.

Sponsored by: Middle Tennessee State University Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

10:45am – 12:15pm Strategy Session - Perspectives on Activism

Saturday, April 3 Click here to launch Zoom

Conference attendees will learn about getting started in activism from various perspectives.

Training Team

William Langston (he/him/his; moderator)William Langston

Dr. William Langston is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston is the faculty advisor for MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization). Dr. Langston also serves on the MTSU President’s Social Justice Advisory Board. Dr. Langston organizes the LGBT+ College Conference and is a founding board member of Murfreesboro’s Boro Pride celebration. Dr. Langston was recently selected as one of Focus Middle Tennessee’s 40 Over 40 in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Langston received his BA in psychology from the University of Houston in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dr. Langston has been a professor at MTSU since 1997 and specializes in teaching research methodology and cognition. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the country. In his spare time, Dr. Langston enjoys stand-up comedy and can routinely be seen bombing at local open mics.

Kayla GoreKayla Gore (she/her/hers; panelist)

Kayla Rena Gore works to help to coordinate homeless services, conduct direct outreach and advocate for the rights of TLGBQ people, especially transgender women.  She studied Sociology at Southwest. She also provides trainings for CBO’s, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations around trans inclusivity. Her organizing work has included fighting for housing equity for all people who are chronically homeless and advocating for the just treatment of transgender people by law enforcement.

Angela HendersonAngela Henderson (she/her/hers; panelist)

Angela Henderson is the Tennessee Statewide Organizer for Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a membership-based organization of LGBTQ folks across the South fighting for Liberation in our Lifetimes. Angela is an abolitionist-minded, saxophone-playing socialist, and lifelong student of Black radical history hoping to live the life she plays about. In the spring of 2018, SONG welcomed her into a new political home, where she has worked as a member, Lorde’s Werq participant, and Base-Building Fellow for the Nashville chapter.

Alex BartramAlex Bartram (they/them/their; panelist)

Alex Bartram is an officer for the MTSU chapter of the Youth Democratic Socialists of America. They are dedicated to increasing awareness of LGBT issues, especially in Tennessee, and want to learn all they can to bring about change. 

Sponsored by: Middle Tennessee State University College of Education


12:30pm – 1:30pm Networking / Community and Religious Organizations Fair

Saturday, April 3

Attendees will network and interact with groups participating in the community and religious organizations fair. Each organization below has a description and a meeting link. To navigate the organization fair, choose an organization, look at the preview, and then visit the meeting room. After visiting with the team from the organization, leave the room and return here to make a new selection. The host has a room open during the session if you have questions or need assistance. Enjoy!

Note: If you spot a broken link, refresh your browser and check again, it might be updated. If not, please report it to the host immediately.

William Langston (he/him/his; host) Join Host Zoom

William LangstonDr. William Langston is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston is the faculty advisor for MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization). Dr. Langston also serves on the MTSU President’s Social Justice Advisory Board. Dr. Langston organizes the LGBT+ College Conference and is a founding board member of Murfreesboro’s Boro Pride celebration. Dr. Langston was recently selected as one of Focus Middle Tennessee’s 40 Over 40 in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Langston received his BA in psychology from the University of Houston in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dr. Langston has been a professor at MTSU since 1997 and specializes in teaching research methodology and cognition. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the country. In his spare time, Dr. Langston enjoys stand-up comedy and can routinely be seen bombing at local open mics.

The link for the host actually connects to the BoroPride group below, but you can ask your event related questions there.

Exhibitors

Open Table Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Open Table Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) seeks to be a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children. We affirm the faith, baptism, and spiritual gifts of all who follow God, and we are glad to welcome into fellowship and service all people – no matter what race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, economic status, political stance, or theological perspective. We celebrate that ALL are part of God’s good creation. (www.opentablechristianchurch.org)

Open Table meeting Link

Nashville Black Pride: Annual Celebration of Black & Brown LGBTQ Life & Culture

The mission statement of Nashville Black Pride (NBP) is to bring together African American and other Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer+ (LGBTQ+)/Same Gender Loving (SGL) People of Color in a social, non-threatening empowering setting to uplift, educate and present positive images that help to maintain a healthy, productive and visionary community. The annual celebration that takes place in October is open to all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. NBPs main outreach effort is focused on reaching the underserved SGL/LGBT Communities of Color in the Middle Tennessee area and welcoming to All.

Nashville Black Pride meeting link

Amazon

At Amazon, we're working to be the most customer-centric company on earth. To get there, we need exceptionally talented, bright, and driven people. If you'd like to help us build the place to find and buy anything online, this is your chance to make history. Text BNANOW5 to 77088 to find out more!

Amazon meeting Link

The Table

The Table’s Mission Statement:

  • The Table promotes spiritual well-being for LGBTQIA+ and minority people groups in the exploration of self, faith, community and the deeper issues of being and belonging.

The Table’s Vision Statement:

  • The Table centers the voices of LGBTQIA+ people and vulnerable identities as we form intentional faith communities and opportunities for engagement that are inclusive of all and alienating of none.

The Table meeting Link

Whitewood Counseling & Consultation Presents "The Inkblot Project"

The Inkblot Project is a work in progress involving the collection of stories and tattoo images from individuals who identify as having been a victim of bullying and/or personal trauma, and who subsequently acquired a tattoo that speaks to that experience. We invite others to share their stories that have been written in flesh, and shared to empower others.

Inkblot Project meeting Link

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the separation of religion and government as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to believe or not believe, for all.

We use high-impact litigation, powerful lobbying and grassroots advocacy to ensure that:

  • Religion does not dictate public policy.
  • The government does not tell Americans what to believe or how to practice their faith.
  • Discrimination is not justified under the guise of religion.

Religious Freedom is a shield, not a sword. Even with the tremendous progress made toward equality for LGBTQ+ Americans in recent years, there are still many who try to use religion to justify discrimination.

The Nashville Chapter (http://www.nashville-au.org) is active in following legislation and advocating to end discriminatory bills.

We also campaign for public education: Public Funds for Public Education. In many states, including Tennessee, public funds are taken away from public schools and used to support private and charter schools, many of which are religious and discriminate against children, parents, and teachers based on religion; intellectual and physical disability; and sexual orientation.

Americans United meeting link

Connect Media Group: Inspire. Empower. Change.

Connect is 100% community driven. We listen and deliver. We bring you inspirational stories from people in your community. We bring you experts from various fields so that you can make educated and empowering decisions. We bring opportunity for change by connecting you to the information and resources you need to live robust, healthy and meaningful lives. We are an LGBTQ+, women, and locally owned company. Visit weconnect.lgbt or follow us @weconnect.lgbt.

Connect meeting link

Advent Lutheran Church ELCA

Vision Statement

God’s purpose for Advent Lutheran Church is to develop our faith through a closer walk with God, discover the path God has chosen for each of us, and welcome and accept all people.

Download the Advent Lutheran Statement of Welcome (https://theadventchurch.org/)

Advent Lutheran meeting link

True You TN

True You TN is a new nonprofit dedicated to creating a safe environment for LGBTQ+ youth to live authentically. It will be the first and only group foster home specifically for LGBTQ+ youth in the southeast. In the short term, we are fundraising to purchase or build a home in Murfreesboro TN, and to provide outreach for those youths that can’t or won’t come into the system. Currently, in TN we are short roughly 4,000 beds in the foster system and up to 78% of LGBTQ+ youth in foster care report being further abused while in the system. Long term, we also plan to include transitional housing for those youths aging out of the foster system and will have a gathering space so that all youth we have served will have a place to come back home to, for celebrations, holidays, or just when they need a little extra love. Yearly, about 23,000 youths age out of foster care, and about 20% of them will become instantly homeless.

We want the youth we serve to know that they are part of a family, a community that they can always lean on.

Our mission: To provide outreach to homeless LGBTQ+ youth throughout Tennessee through resource connection, care packages, and creation of a home environment that is safe, accepting, nurturing, and supportive where youth can heal themselves while being themselves.

True You TN meeting link

BoroPride

Boro Pride is gearing up for Middle Tennessee's Summer of Pride! The event will be August 21, 2021, starting at 3:00 pm at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro. Check the Facebook event page and make your plans now!

BoroPride Facebook page link

BoroPride meeting link

My House / Nashville CARES: Health & Wellness Center and Clinic

My House Vision: To bring love, compassion, support and focus to the Same Gender Loving (SGL) male community to become self-sufficient by prioritizing health, wellness and a sense of individual value, as well as provide the LGBTQ+ community with an inclusive, and welcoming atmosphere in our My House Clinic.

My House meeting link

PFLAG Nashville

PFLAG Nashville provides free support for parents, family, and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We are here to listen, encourage, guide, and assist you as you work to understand what it means to be LGBT.

PFLAG Nashville meeting link

PFLAG Murfreesboro

PFLAG Murfreesboro promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families, and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Passcode: MTSULGBT+ PFLAG Murfreesboro meeting link

Sponsored by: Fifth Third Bank


1:45pm – 2:00pm Conference Closing and Action Plan Review

Saturday, April 3 Click here to launch Zoom

Participants will "report out" key lessons from the conference, complete conference evaluations, and make recommendations for next year's agenda.

Sponsored by: Middle Tennessee State University Department of Psychology


Affiliated Conference Events–Creative Justice Conference - Southern Word

Saturday, April 3

Note: This event is for teens only, but if you are a teen, you can join! The conference description is below:

We invite middle Tennessee LGBT+ teens to join us for our first conference exploring art and activism, “Creative Justice,” scheduled for Saturday, April 3, 2021, from 10am-5:30pm on zoom. This conference will feature workshops on poetry, zine-writing, and activism, along with a keynote address by Brittany Paschall and musical performances by Katie Pruitt and Gifted Queen. This event is FREE and includes free lunch via DoorDash for the first 40 registrants. Register today to save your spot!

You can register and view full conference details here: https://southernword.org/event/creative-justice-conference/


Conference Contacts

Program Presentation and Participation
Professor William Langston (William.Langston@mtsu.edu)
 
Sponsorships and Support
Development Director Paul Wydra (Paul.Wydra@mtsu.edu)
 
Corporate and Community Engagement

Advisory Board Chair Lynn Cothren (Lynn.Cothren@tn.gov)


Presenting Sponsor
 
Nissan
 

2021 LGBT+ College Conference Sponsors


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Lambda hosts weekly meetings and membership is open to all currently enrolled MTSU students who act in good faith of Lambda's Constitution and Community Standards. Membership dues are announced at the beginning of each academic year and can be paid at any time.