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Madison to host 29th annual Midwest conference for queer & trans students this weekend


The 29th Annual Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC) will be taking place this weekend in Madison, from October 8th-10th. The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College are hosting the conference this year at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. There will also be virtual sessions available, streamed live. 

“This year, we are expecting fewer people,” organizer Steven Wang said in an interview with Madison365. “Because of the pandemic, a lot of schools are not sending their usual number of delegated students to the conference. The main point for the conference is it’s really a conference organized by students, for students. It’s by queer and trans students, for queer and trans students.”

MBLGTACC is the largest regional conference for queer and trans+ college students and educators. The conference is also in partnership with the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. The theme for this year’s conference is “From Protest and Beyond Pride,” which reflects the rich tradition of queer advocacy in Madison.

“I’m a graduate student, so I’m much older than a lot of other students involved in this process,” Wang said. “So what I’m feeling from this kind of younger student organizer is that they’re really invested in creating this intersectional correlation of queer advocacy. So that’s where we come from and that’s where the theme is about. From protest and beyond pride. We don’t want to say, ‘we no longer have any problems.’ We don’t want to see it as just a celebration. Yes, it is a celebration of queer identity, of queer survival and of queer healing. But we also want to recognize the root of queer movement and queer culture in civil resistance.”

Wang said the conference will include a health clinic with free HIV and STI testing. Friday’s sessions include speeches from guests including Mia Mingus and M. Adams. There will be queer skill-share presentations on Saturday including sessions from Trans Law Help, Yante Turner, Saint Saunter (aka Sarah Akawa), giige arts collective, and Broderick Pearson & Angel Vega. 

“I think the thing I look forward most to, personally, is really the queer skill share sessions I mentioned to you,” said Wang. “I attended the conference in 2019. And I think the part that impressed me most is really this. It is very rare that people share these different sorts of identities. In a lot of workshops, we’ll talk about racial issues in relation based on our sexuality issues. We also talk about accessibility and disability, all sorts of different issues. And it’s not like a diversity forum where you just have folks talking about that, you really meet these people as peers who are experiencing and articulating all those identities. It’s sort of like this kind of knowledge sharing, this experience sharing. That’s the part where I’m looking forward to the most.”

The MBLGTACC 2021 and the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity are thankful for the conference’s sponsors including Cuna Mutual Group, American Family Insurance, UW-Health, WIPFLI, TASC, Diverse & Resilient, and New Harvest Foundation, Inc. The in-person tickets for MBLGATCC are no longer available for purchase online, but tickets for the virtual sessions range from $25-$60 per person. Tickets to attend the conference in person can be purchased on-site during the conference for $100 per person. 

To register for the conference, visit: https://mblgtacc.org/general-info/how-to-register. For more information about the conference and this weekend’s sessions, visit: https://mblgtacc.org/. The conference posters were created by Ck Ledesma: https://www.ckledesma.com/