About the Conference

LGBTQ rights have witnessed unprecedented legal and political successes in a relatively short period of time across much of the world. Protective legislation and equal rights have saturated much of the developed world while breakthroughs have been recorded in several key countries within the global South. However, much of this progress is now under considerable stress, as both domestic and international equality efforts face an uncertain future. Democratic elections in Europe and the U.S.A have resulted in a radical and rapid shift in leadership towards conservative values and right wing politics, accompanied by increased vitriol against gender, racial, sexual, religious and other minorities.

The effects of this change will have a significant impact on our lives and communities, as we have lost crucial allies in senior government positions and potentially face the suspension or reversal of decades of progress. Increasing numbers of homophobic and transphobic attacks are being reported, specifically targeting queer immigrants and queer people of color. In addition, LGBT activists abroad also face the potential diminishment of political and financial support for their projects and organizations, made all the more severe with the increase in conflict and state repression as well as the impact of mass migrations. There is great uncertainty regarding the policies and politics of the next few years, especially how they will translate on the ground and to the extent to which our communities will be targeted.

This conference comes at a crucial juncture in which LGBTQ activists are compelled to mobilize once more to act and insure that their lives, livelihoods, families, and communities are safeguarded and protected. It builds on the explorations of intersectionality made in the previous conference but concentrates on how this should and is being reflected on the ground. It heralds a return to grassroots advocacy and community mobilization and engagement en masse to analyze, anticipate, and act for ensuring the progress we have made with regards to equality, dignity, and justice is protected and unabated. The coming period also offers unprecedented opportunity to build alliances of resistance with other communities facing similar challenges in our collective fight for civil rights.


Friday February 24, 2017

04:00 pm –
06:00 pm

Harvard Kennedy School LGBT Quorum Call (Happy Hour)

Harvard Kennedy School Forum, 79 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge

07:00 pm –
10:00 pm

Opening Reception

Harvard Law School Pub, Wasserstein Hall
1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Women, Trans*, and Non-binary Happy Hour
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Open Reception

Saturday February 25, 2017

09:00 am –
10:00 am


Austin Hall, 1515 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

10:00 am –
10:15 am

Welcome Remarks

Ames Courtroom

10:15 am –
11:15 am

Keynote Address

Ames Courtroom

The Honorable Mark Takano, U.S. Representative for the 41st District of California

11:30 am –
12:45 pm

Keynote Panel: The Future of Global LGBTQ Rights

Ames Hall

Moderator: Michael Bronski, Professor of Practice in Media and activism, Harvard University

J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director, Astraea Foundation
Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, Human Rights Campaign
Clifton Cortez, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Global Advisor, The World Bank Group
David Razú Aznar, Ford Foundation Mason Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

12:45 pm –
02:00 pm


02:00 pm –
03:00 pm

Keynote Address

Ames Courtroom

Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality

03:00 pm –
03:15 pm


03:15 pm –
04:30 pm

Organizing for Black Lives: A Queer Perspective

Austin West

Moderator: Treva Lindsey, Associate Professor, Ohio State University; Women and Girls of Color Fellow at Harvard University

Khari Charles, Executive Director, Queri
Nakisha Lewis, Director of Programs and Institutional Development, National Black Justice Coalition
Fresco Steez, Digital Strategist, BYP100

Bridging Differences: Engaging Faith Communities

Austin North

Moderator: Charles Griggs, Harvard Divinity School

Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Executive Director, MECCA Institute
Mordechai Levovitz, Executive Director, JQYouth
Todd Richardson, Board Member, Affirmation
Rev. Irene Monroe, Ordained Minister and Motivational Speaker

Workshop: Nonviolent Direct Action and Tactics

Austin East

Facilitators: Kip Williams, Co-Director of 2009 National Equality March on Washington
Eb. Brown, Director, C.A.R.E. Strategies and Trans*Visible
Adrian Acencion Martinez, Leadership Development Trainer and Coordinator, Greenpeace USA

04:30 pm –
04:45 pm


04:45 pm –
06:00 pm

Community Leaders for Trans* Liberation

Austin West

Moderator: Sasha Costanza Chock, Associate Professor for Civic Media, M.I.T

Eb. Brown, Director, C.A.R.E. Strategies and Trans*Visible
Mason Dunn, Executive Director, Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition
Adrian Acencion Martinez, Leadership Development Trainer and Coordinator, Greenpeace USA

Grassroots Organizing in the American South

Austin East

Moderator: Drew Heckman, Harvard Kennedy School

Crystal Richardson, Legal Director, Rapid Response Initiative, Campaign for Southern Equality
Ben Needham, Director of Project One America, Human Rights Campaign

Queer Immigrants, Refugees, and Criminalization

Austin North

Moderator: Hiram Rios Hernandez, Harvard Kennedy School

Ruth Marimo, Author/Entrepreneur, New Leaders Council Omaha
Julián Cancino, Manager of Community Engagement, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Journalist, AJ+

06:00 pm –
08:00 pm

Closing Reception

Austin Hall




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A special thanks to our generous sponsors!

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