St. Louis, Missouri--Ohioans were a strong presence at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force�s 17th annual Creating Change Conference, held in St. Louis November 10 to 14.
The annual convention of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists is held each year just after the November elections. According to the Task Force, 2,500 delegates attended this year�s event at the Millennium Hotel.
Ted Jackson, field organizer for Citizens to Restore Fairness, told attendees how the support of religious leaders and organizations aided the group in its effort to repeal Article 12, the Cincinnati charter amendment barring the city from granting any protections to gays and lesbians.
The victory of Issue 3, the ballot measure to the article, was one of the few bright spots in the election for LGBT people.
State constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage passed in 11 states. In eight of those states, the measures also affect civil unions, domestic partnerships and other similar arrangements.
A contingent from the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center included interim executive director Kathy Harvey, new executive director Sue Doerfer and communications director Tim Marshall. They held a caucus of people from organizations in states with constitutional amendments, which now total 17.
�I think some great forces were marshaled at Creating Change,� Marshall said.
�It was really great to see queer organizers from all over the country, especially the other states with marriage amendments,� he continued. �It wasn�t a pity party. Everybody was energized and ready to fight.�
He noted that in previous conferences after elections, people�s spirits were low. That was not the case this time.
It was the fourth time at Creating Change for Brett Beemyn, director of GLBT Student Services at Ohio State University.
�I thought it was the best I had been to,� Beemyn said. �It was exhilarating to be there with other LGBT activists, talking about what is effective, where we go from here and creating change.�
OSU also sent nine students to the conference, and they were not the only representatives from Columbus. Gloria McCauley and Chris Cozad of the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Coalition joined them. Terry Payne of Stonewall Cincinnati was also present.
Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin of San Francisco were honored with the Creating Change award. The pair founded the Daughters of Bilitis lesbian organization in 1955, and were the first couple married earlier this year when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom began holding same-sex ceremonies at city hall.
�You spoke the unspeakable, you wrote the unthinkable,� was inscribed on the award. �You lived openly and proudly as a loving couple long before a movement would stand with you.�
The location of next year�s Creating Change has not yet been set, but will likely be in a western state. In the past, he event has rotated from the midwest to the west coast, then to the east and back to the midwest. Last year�s conference was in Miami.
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