Notes from the Lesbian Caucus at NGLT Creating Change 2012

UPDATE to this and this previous post.
Lesbian Caucus
24th Annual Creating Change Conference
Baltimore City, Maryland
Saturday, January 28, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Key Ballroom 10
Cathy Brennan introduced the Reverend Mother Meredith Moise, who in
turn introduced the Honorable Judge Shannon E. Avery and University of
Maryland, Baltimore County Professor Jodi Kelber-Kaye
Approximately 85 individuals participated in the Caucus.  The format
of the caucus was a moderated discussion by Judge Avery and Professor
Kelber-Kaye, giving anyone who wanted to speak the opportunity to do
The following topics were noted as important to the individuals in

■Lack of lesbian-specific content at Creating Change. Numerous
participants noted that only one workshop addressed Lesbians
specifically in addition to the caucus.
■A desire to have a discussion over sex vs. gender and how to navigate
that space in a manner respectful of all members of the GLBT
■Generational Issues: commenters wanted to have more information about
the “stages of life” in the lives of lesbians (e.g., in your 20s, you
might expect ____) to help develop a lesbian “narrative.” This should
account for medical and legal issues and also account for the
diversity of our community among racial and other lines.
■Commenters expressed a desire for more conversations relating to same-
gender loving women.
■Ageing Issues: Participants expressed a desire for concrete,
practical guidance with regard to legal, health/medical and insurance
■A need for an experiential intergenerational dialogue among lesbians
of all ages. We need to talk to each other, across age cohorts.
■Images and stories are important for combating lesbian invisibility.
■Focus on women’s issues: reproductive rights and health, wellness and
physical autonomy. We need to talk about vagina.
■Create a safe-space away from male-dominated space. Some commenters
noted that the welcome bag included a condom and lube, but nothing for
females. Also, “gender neutral bathrooms” force lesbians to relieve
themselves in space with males.
■Dismissal of lesbians everywhere but specifically within ethnic
workshops and groups at Creating Change.
■Why can’t Creating Change have a history of lesbian movements?
■Youth/professional issues for young lesbians – navigating the
■Ageism: debilitates our communities, is never mentioned and needs to
be addressed from the podium by leaders of NGLTF.
■Sexism and feminism – more discussion of these topics.
■NGLTF communications/publicity surrounding the event; need to do a
better job of identifying local leaders.
■Discussion of the tension between sexism/sex stereotyping and gender
identity theory.
■Where did all the lesbians go? Why aren’t more lesbians
participating? A commenter noted that NGLTF needs to do better to mine
the communities outside of the GLBT community where lesbians do work –
reproductive rights, domestic violence, social justice, poverty
■Women’s issues are invisible – we need to change that.
■We need to get women to graduate into leadership in our communities –
how do we support that?
■Safe-sex for lesbians and lesbian-specific giveaways.
■We need to combat the lack of empowerment of lesbians, the lack of
communication.  We need a blog and stronger networks of communication.
As a result of this discussion, which lasted about 40 minutes, we
identified the following action items for NGLTF to implement on a go-
forward basis, acknowledging that this Lesbian Caucus was just the
BEGINNING of the conversation to increase visibility of lesbian
■NGLTF should identify one person, in advance, to focus on women’s
publications and marketing to women’s/lesbian community (e.g., Lesbian
Connection, Curve).
■NGLTF needs to address oppression of women in the Movement.
■Mentoring – lesbian-specific mentoring, intergenerationally and
■Implement a communication platform for lesbians, e.g. use Tumblr,
Facebook to connect and coordinate lesbians for next year and going
■NGLTF should work to create images of women created by women,
including establishing a video/photography area at Creating Change
where lesbians can document their existences.
■Lesbians need a safe space for safe ad happy interactions, to give us
a place to overcome difficult feelings. We need a Lesbian Suite at
Creating Change.
■NGLTF should identify lesbian health resources.
■NGLTF should establish the Women’s/Lesbian/Women Same-Gender Loving
Caucus as a permanent caucus at Creating Change.
■NGLTF should identify liaisons to outreach in various regions of the
■NGLTF should respect that “Queer” does not always include women, and
should be more sensitive to use language inclusive of women.
■NGLTF should identify one staffer responsible/accountable for
ensuring that Creating Change is well-advertised in lesbian media.
■NGLTF should ensure that it affords scholarships to women living in
poverty so that can attend Creating Change, including scholarships for
travel and accommodations.
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