I'm back home after 5 extraordinary days attending the 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Detroit. The Task Force, as they always seem to do, offered up an inspiring and energizing conference that has left me, well...inspired and energized. I hope to spend some time over the next week or so writing about my experience, but today is all about adjusting to a world that doesn't consist totally of 2000 amazingly dedicated and wickedly powerful queer activists.
And then I'll find some time to write about stuff like this:
listening to Julian Bond, chair of the NAACP, share stories of his life as trailblazer and civil rights activist, and then unequivocably and with great passion endorse complete marriage equality for LGBT people.
sitting next to Donna Rose, transgender advocate extraordinaire and former board member of HRC who resigned during the ENDA fiasco and who shared her profound letter of resignation with the world.
listening to Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality talk about her experience in DC during the ENDA fallout.
Gene Robinson speaking about his experience of wearing a bullet-proof vest on the day he became the first openly gay, noncelibate episcopal priest to be ordained bishop.
closing out the conference with an absolutely riveting performance by the mother-daughter duo of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon. Oh. My. God. they were just unbelievable.
seeing some of my wonderful friends from the Task Force, and in particular, spending time with Monique, the brilliant and fabulous woman who may very well be the reason I became a queer activist in the first place. she recruited me back in 2004 to go to my first Task Force Power Summit, and quite frankly, I thought she was damn cute and figured what the hell, let's jump off this cliff. obviously I also cared very, very deeply about LGBT equality. but the fact that i had an immediate little work crush on her did NOT hurt the cause of The Task Force, at all. i imagine if she knew this, it would make her smile and probably laugh out loud.
and finally, just the truly awe-inspiring experience of being among 2000 queer people who every day, with uncommon courage and stamina, do their parts to change this world for us. This work can be so hard. This work is not always safe. This work can feel never-ending. But what I found among all of them was sheer will and determination and a common belief that we have something worth fighting for, and for some, even worth dying for: our dignity. I think our collective experience as queer people has given us a tremendous capacity to endure...certainly our history has proven it to be true. And I felt it and saw it in three-dimensional living color for five days in Detroit.
We are the change we've been waiting for.