Monday, November 14, 2005

Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference Coming to Seattle

(Link) Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin will be among the speakers dishing on ways to bring human rights to the humans who need them. Another big topic: teaching closeted leaders how to step out of the closet.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From The Empty Closet

Delegates from as far away as Sri Lanka and Poland will travel to Seattle Nov. 17–20 for an unprecedented gathering of lesbian and gay elected and appointed leaders.

Attendees at the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference, presented by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute in collaboration with the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials, will hear from Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin, and other officials and political analysts.

Attendees will discuss initiatives to advance human rights worldwide for LGBT persons; debate a resolution and actions aimed at repealing sodomy laws for consensual behavior; learn from experts about the latest trends in privacy, data security and identity theft; and discuss a new program that encourages closeted leaders to be more publicly honest and open about their sexual orientation.

“This conference brings people together with different accents, languages, outlooks and experiences. Our common bond is that we are LGBT citizens of the country and the world who have decided to enter the arena of public life. By doing so there is a special obligation to bring forth resolutions for those who are silenced by inhumane laws and for those who fear voters will not accept the truths about their lives,” says Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute President and CEO Chuck Wolfe.

The Seattle meeting also marks the beginning of an historic partnership between the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute and organized labor. “SEIU is committed to working with allies and partners so that worker voices are increasingly heard not only on job sites, but also in legislative bodies at all levels across the country. The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is a tremendous partner because of its commitment to social and economic justice and its desire to ensure a diversity of voices come forward so our political process is more inclusive,” says SEIU President Andy Stern.

Delegates will learn details about a Leadership Institute “Coming Out Tool Kit” that will provide resources and support to those in the States who wish to use it. While attendees do not endorse the involuntary “outing” of closeted public officials, they believe there is a greater need for transparency. Currently, there are 12 states that do not have an openly LGBT individual serving in the state legislature and 10 states without an openly LGBT official serving in any elected or appointed office in that state.

“We have seen an incredible amount of heightened awareness about the roles that gay and lesbian officials and community leaders play in our political system and in society. Elected gay leaders from ‘red’ states such as Texas, Nebraska and North Carolina are expected to join us in Seattle to share their perspectives and discuss solutions to public problems in their respective locales,” says Long Beach, California Councilman Dan Baker, President of the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials.

The host committee co-chairs are State Rep. Ed Murray (Washington) and City Council Member Dan Baker (Long Beach, California).