US: International LGBTQ Leaders Conference a rousing success

Over 500 people from around the nation and around the world attended the three day 2017 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Washington DC. There was a much different vibe at this meeting than in 2016 which was held less than a month after Donald Trump was elected President. Victory Institute who sponsors the conference works to increase the number of LGBTQ people in public office and to provide programming, service and other support to help ensure their success.

According to their website “Victory Institute was launched as Victory Foundation in 1993 to begin training current and future LGBTQ candidates and campaign workers to ensure a successful career in public service. The Victory Institute expanded its programming to include the Presidential Appointments Initiative – which works to place openly LGBTQ appointees in pro-equality presidential administrations – and the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference, an annual conference that attracts hundreds of openly LGBTQ elected and appointed officials.” Unfortunately when Trump was elected the Presidential Appointments Initiative could basically close up shop but there is always 2020 to look forward too.

This year there were a slew of recent victories to celebrate. Transgender persons had recently been elected to office across the nation with one of the highlights of election night being the victory of Danica Roem in Virginia’s 13th state legislative district who handily defeated Bob Marshall; he being called the ‘poster boy’ for sexism and homophobia in Virginia.

During the Friday morning plenary Roddy Flynn, Executive Director of the Equality PAC , very ably moderated a panel of four impressive members of the LGBTQ community running for Congress. They included Angie Craig who is running in MN 2nd district, Gina Ortiz Jones running in San Antonio, Pat Davis running in New Mexico and David Richardson running in Florida’s 27th district. These four spoke eloquently about what it means for an LGBTQ person to run and talked about how they are running. Each of them said they are running on the issues of their community and on their broad wealth of experience. 

When questioned about how being LGBTQ impacts their races Gina put it succinctly when she says her answer to a potential constituent who asks her about being ‘out’ and why she would even talk about it is “If I can’t stand up for myself how can I stand up for you?”.Read more via Huffington Post