Making Allies at Creating Change 2016

"We cannot have any movement without love. Love is a radical act. -Cece Mcdonald...#cc16"* 

Thousands of LGBTIQ activists convened in Chicago last week for the annual Creating Change conference with aims to make allies, strengthen bonds, and grow the collective movement for LGBTIQ rights. OutRight joined organizations and individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, approaches, and generations in the work to support each other and move forward together. “Revolution is about love and forgiveness,” said Katherine Acey in her award acceptance speech. Amid dynamic intersections at the conference, many community voices corroborated Ace’s sentiment on social media with messages that were equally inspired and dedicated to the heart and challenges of collaboration.

Growth is in unity. We need to set aside our differences. 'If you can't understand it, how can you support it?' #cc16 #lgbtq"*

OutRight held a workshop at the conference on Saturday to “help attendees understand how to work internationally through alliances with entities that in many cases have not been supportive of LGBTIQ rights globally.” The workshop, From Foes to Friends: Global Views on Former Adversaries Becoming Friends, brought together LGBTIQ activists from all around the world to discuss experiences from their local rights work and share methods for making allies across ideological divides. Panelists includedUrooj Arshad from the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Advocates for Youth (USA); Stephen Chukwumah from Improved Youth Health Initiative (Nigeria); Áine Duggan from ReGender (USA); Natasha Jimenez from MULABI (Costa Rica); and Kenita Placide from Eastern Caribbean Alliance (St. Lucia).

The movements that coalesced at this year’s Creating Change are centered on responding to current states of LGBTIQ disparity and discrimination, nationally and globally. The many areas in need of progress were addressed together by attendees, presenters, and the voices of those who could not be there. Urgent issues that brought the LGBTIQ community together and that necessitate ongoing cooperation in coalition include, but are not limited to: violence, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, economic justice, access to and safety within education, access to and safety within health care, reproductive rights, disability inclusiveness and awareness, addiction, homelessness, how to support, empower, and collaborate with LGBTIQ youth, and how to support, empower, and collaborate with aging LGBTIQ people and elders. Growing movements for trans*, gender-nonconforming and intersex rights to self-determination continued to expand upon histories, present priorities, and future needs. 

'"There's this long long history of gender that cannot be fully included in this 'trans' word.' -Alok @DarkMatterPoetry #cc16"*
In addition to highlighting intersections between and connecting movements, workshops focused on the practicalities of activism. Tried methods, innovative ideas, tools, and technologies were presented for use by activists to share resources and engage with communities as well as each other across roles and sectors. Among them were resources for education, organizing, self and communal care, communications, and media representation. 
 

Next year's Creating Change 2017 conference will be held in Philadelphia. Until then, how will we turn the challenges addressed at CC 2016 into progress? How can we continue to make allies and strengthen the collective movement for LGBTIQ rights? What issues, ideas, and questions can we bring to expand inclusions in the conversation and our work?

 

*Activist tweets from Creating Change 2016

 

Social Media:

OutRight's Storify features highlights and community posts from the conference.

Twitter: Search / follow #cc16 and #cc2016 to view many more posts from before, during, and after Creating Change 2016.

Video:

The Conference plenary sessions from Thursday, Friday, and Sunday can be viewed here and give overviews of the conference’s central, intersectional themes.

Conference Program:

Here is the program book from Creating Change 2016: Program Book for Creating Change 2016