The Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Ally College Conference ( MBLGTACC ) will take place Feb. 17-19 at Chicago's Navy Pier, and will kick off with #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
Cullors, an openly queer performance artist from Los Angeles, started the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter ( with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi ) in response to George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
In addition, it's been announced that Peter Staley, who has dedicated his career to advocating for awareness of the illness and eliminating barriers to treatment of those living with HIV/AIDS since the mid-1980s, will present the second keynote of the conference at 6 p.m. on Feb. 18. Staley is also prominently featured in the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague.
Also, transgender and undocumented immigrant-rights activist Jennicet Gutierrezwho famously interrupted President Obama during an address on LBGT Pride Month last Junewill present the keynote of the conference on Feb. 19. Among other accomplishments, Gutierrez has fought on behalf of her organization FAMILA: TQLM ( Trans Queer Liberation Movement ) to raise awareness for trans women in immigration detention centers.
In addition, Artists J Mase III and Vita E.also known as duo #BlackTransMagickwill perform.
In their own words, "We are a multi-gendered piece of Black Trans, multi-faith, neurodivergent, clay seeking to make a world for ourselves and those like us to rebuild in. For the masses we exist as poets and beats, but to those who we call family, call artists, call Black & Brown trans creators, call queer artists of color, call wisdom seekers, we are part of the very real revolution centering Black trans people."
The 2017 MBLGTACC will mark the 25th anniversary of the first conference and will center on the theme of "United in Solidarity." Approximately 2,500 people are expected to attend.
For more information or to register for the conference, visit mblgtacc.org .