Members of universities from across the country, myself included, drove and flew to Madison, Wisconsin on Oct. 8 to attend the 28th annual Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference.
The convention, originally called MBLGCC, started being held annually in 1993 but was originally organized back in 1991 by students who wanted to provide a guaranteed space for LGBTQ youth in the Midwest. According to the MBLGTACC website, the goal is to “create an oasis in what Justin Connor (MBLGCC ’94) says was seen as a ‘queer desert.’” This year, five members of Creighton’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance were in attendance.
Due to COVID-19, the convention was held primarily online last year through Zoom and apps such as Discord. This year, the convention was in person but provided a Zoom option for attendees who could not be physically present. For in person attendees, there were many tables to purchase merchandise as well as various crafts, games, and even a dance party. Truly, there were many opportunities to foster a strong community and alliance with the other students in attendance.
Each year, the convention hosts keynote speakers, as well as various speakers in different optional sessions throughout the day. Hannah Wymer, one of Creighton’s attendees, said the different panels helped teach “not only the basics, but also about things within the community I have never heard about.”
Various topics were covered in these sessions such as queer mutual aid, discussing lesser-known LGBTQ identities, representation of queer people in media, bridging the gaps between Christian and queer communities and learning the importance of oral history in marginalized communities. The convention also provided “Identity Forums,” where people of a certain identity such as lesbian or gender non-conforming gathered to talk about their own experiences.
Even the surrounding area was beautiful; the convention center was right next to the lake and the city was filled with many local restaurants. It was truly a fascinating and wonderful time, and I was glad to have spent my weekend there. All around, it was a great time to educate myself and meet other people in my community, and to take this information back to Creighton to share with my peers, in order to hopefully bring something new to conversations regarding LGBTQ rights and issues.