Finding Unity in our Diversity: The Second Annual LGBTQ Conference at Harvard

Over the weekend of Saturday, February 7th through Sunday, February 8th, 2015, the LGBT Student Association co-hosted the Second Annual LGBTQ Conference at Harvard with over 350 LGBT_Conferencestudents and professionals in attendance from 20+ schools. To continue the momentum from our inaugural conference, the theme was both an aspiration and a call to action: Unified by our Diversity: Solidarity Within and Beyond the LGBTQ Community.

This year’s conference was a unique opportunity to bring together students, scholars, alumni and special guests from around the country to learn, share, and ideate around critical issues facing the LGBTQ community moving forward.  As an interdisciplinary conference, topics of discussion ranged from inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ patients, the role of religion and faith in the LGBTQ community, as well as the relevance of LGBTQ inclusion in developing economies.

Special guest Paula Boggs, former Starbucks General Counsel and Obama Administration appointee, presented the afternoon keynote on Saturday, February 7th, chronicling her journey navigating the corporate world at the executive level as a lesbian. She asked the audience some challenging questions to consider when it comes to our diversity – namely, “How hard have I tried in life not to be seen? And at what cost?”

Jonathan Capehart, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Washington Post and MSNBC, spoke about the conference theme as a challenge to the LGBTQ community and movement. Specifically, his talk focused on three challenges: “Will professed LGBTQ allies be there once full marriage equality is achieved? Will we – as a nation and a community – finally talk about the T in LGBTQ? Will the community vocally and proactively make common cause with others seeking equality and freedom from discrimination?” Read the full article by Jonathan Capehart.

The weekend was an exciting opportunity to not only learn from and collaborate with leaders from across the LGBTQ community, but also forge relationships and come together as a community. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference!

For more information on the conference, check out:

www.lgbtqconferenceatharvard.org

Facebook: LGBTQ Conference at Harvard

Hashtags: #HarvardLGBTQ #ConnectAndCatalyze

Photo Credits: Naomi Iram of Red Robin Events

-Emily Miller, MBA 2015, HBS LGBT Student Association

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