Oakland Hosts BUTCH Voices and Femmes of Color Symposium National Gatherings This Weekend

This weekend, two national conferences for LGBT people, BUTCH Voices and Femmes of Color Symposium will take place in Oakland, Calif. Both are led by LGBT people of color and are primarily or exclusively focused on programming for LGBT people of color communities. BUTCH Voices, a grassroots organization dedicated to “all self-­identified Masculine of Center people and allies,” according to its website, is hosting their second national conference from August 18th-21 in Oakland, Calif. Entitled “Sustaining our Movement: Building for the Future,” the conference will be held  at Oakland City Center Marriott and features a performance night, film night, and poolside dance party in addition to topical breakout sessions.  Keynote speakers include Sharon Bridgforth, playwright and Lambda Literary Award­‐winning author, and Alice Y. Hom, Director of the Queer Justice Fund at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

BUTCH Voices 2011 Conference Flyer

Workshops titles include: “Homophobia: Bullying and Suicide Prevention,” “Two Spirits: Bridging Gender and Generations,” “The Health-Wise Butch, Taking Care of Ourselves,” and “Butch and Pregnant: What do I Wear and What Should You Call Me?” In anticipation of the conference, Hom stated she was “looking forward to [engaging] with butches of all stripes and people of various gender identifications.  I want to have conversations, learn from others, struggle with ourselves and each other, and experience the thrill of seeing all of us basking  in the beauty of love and community with all of our differences and contradictions.” The conference has been organized by a steering committee co-chaired by Krys Freeman and Joe LeBlanc. Interested attendees can register at www.butchvoices.com.  Updates from the conference will be posted on Twitter (@BUTCHVoices) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/BUTCHVoices).

FOCS 2011 Symposium Flyer

According to its website, the Femmes of Color Symposium (FOCS) is "for all self-identified femmes of color who are lesbian, bisexual, gay and queer women to explore who [they] are and how [they] are in the world."  The conference, entitled "FOCS 2011: Gateway to Action," will take place from August 19th-21, also at the Oakland City Center Marriott.  The gathering features a welcome dinner, film festival, performances, parties, and a workshop series. Keynote speakers include Mia Mingus, a self-identified "queer physically disabled woman of color, Korean transracial and transnational adoptee, writer and organizer" who advocates for disability justice, reproductive justice, LGBT liberation, and transformative justice, and Jessica Holter, a poet, mother, performer and entrepreneur who writes and performs under the name "Ghetto Girl Blue." Workshop titles include: "Sex and the New Millennium Woman: What Every Woman Needs to Know about HIV/AIDS," "How to Give Good Face: Skincare and Cosmetic Workshop," and "May I Kiss You?" (a workshop on consent). The conference has been organized by a committee co-chaired by Kenya Daugherty and Christine De La Rosa.  Interested attendees can register at: http://www.femmesofcolor.com.