What is CPAC and why should you care?

Starting today and through the weekend, thousands from across the country will descend on Washington, D.C. for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference – better known as CPAC.

CPAC is a weekend in which some of the most outlandish policy positions from the anti-LGBTQ activism movement take root. CPAC attendees, led by anti-LGBTQ activists and politicians, will use terms like “religious freedom” to legitimize their belief to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and others. CPAC is also where political stars are born. Just ask Donald Trump, first invited back in 2011, who is now President of the United States.

And this is why LGBTQ people should be paying attention to what happens at CPAC this year. From start to finish, this year’s conference will feature keynote speakers who are either a part of the Trump Administration – the most anti-LGBTQ government in recent memory – as well as prominent activists who have made a career out of attacking LGBTQ equality.

Using GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, here is what you need to know about the top headliners at this year’s CPAC festival.

  • To kick things off on Thursday, featured speakers include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – who just this week agreed to rescinding critical guidance for public schools which guaranteed equal treatment for transgender students under Title IX.
  • Then there is Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist for President Trump. Bannon is responsible for the rise of Breitbart News, bragged about how Breitbart became the ‘platform of the alt-right’ movement, and has a vicious anti-transgender activism record.
  • Plus there is Kellyanne Conway, who was carrying water for the anti-LGBTQ right for decades before she rose to her current prominence within the Trump administration.
  • And to round off CPAC’s first day, perhaps the most anti-LGBTQ politician in the Administration – Vice President Mike Pence – is expected to address the convention. Pence is not only responsible for Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), but he also supports “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ people.

Then there is Friday, the main event of sorts, when President Trump himself is going to take the stage to address the CPAC conference. In just his first month in office, Trump is responsible for drafting a “religious freedom” executive order, rescinding guidance for transgender equality in schools, and signing an executive order which banned refugees, including LGBTQ refugees, from entering the nation.

Other speakers include David Clarke, who believes transgender people have mental disorders, to U.S. Rep Jody Hice and his belief that the “homosexual movement is destroying America” and to even anti-LGBTQ U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

The 2017 CPAC represents why it is important, now more than ever, to continue our fight for full acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ community. We must remain vigilant and keep up the pressure for the media to accurate cover this anti-LGBTQ administration.