February 13-15, I will attending the 19th Annual Western Regional LGBTQIA College Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The mission of the 2009 Western Regional LGBTQIA College Conference is to educate and empower queer youth, students, families, professionals, community members, and allies by providing an all inclusive space to dialogue about critical issues, to network with other leaders, and to mobilize our community from the ground up---all in line with their theme for this year: "Cultivating Our Queer Community."
At the conference I will be facilitating a workshop on the ex-gay movement and the ex-gay survivor movement. I will discuss the various reasons why some us chose ex-gay programs, potential harms, and what the LGBTQ community can do in response to reparative therapies and how to reach out to survivors and those considering going through reparative therapy. I will draw on my own experiences and the stories of other ex-gay survivors. I also plan to share a couple scenes from "Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House" by Peterson Toscano.
It is going to be a fantastic weekend of fellowship with other LGBTQ advocates and our allies. I am really excited about having the opportunity to continue sharing my story with others (especially young people). It's exhausting at times though (emotionally and physically) when we recount these events and experiences in our past, but it is also rewarding. I encourage people to begin to share their life stories through any means of communication, whether it be through writing, video, poetry, art, etc. You will find that these outlets are a great catharsis.
This year we should commit ourselves to sharing our stories! At least through one way, even if that means sharing your story with a friend over coffee. Get out there and share your story!
UPDATE: I will also be co-facilitating an open caucus for Queer People of Color and First Generation college students.