This week, the Big Apple is playing host to a conference bringing together transgender and cisgender black lesbians.
“The Evolution of Our Community” Black Lesbian Conference 2016, the inaugural event, takes place March 25 and 26 at Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts college. According to a press release, it’s been more than 30 years since New York City has had a conference for black lesbians.
“In this country, post-racial anything is a fantasy and ‘pro-LGBTQ rights’ are often only applicable to cisgender white men and women, which means the needs of the black lesbian community get minimized and diminished,” said Alyce Emory the co-founder of the conference.
The conference is being put on by Beyond Bold And Brave, a nonprofit that provides programs, projects, and events to support the black lesbian community. Topics that will be covered over the two days include black lesbian poets, a historical look at activism since the ‘70s, the issue of homelessness in the community, health, sex and sexuality, and more.
Emory added that the black lesbian community has often come together in smaller venues, such as homes and churches, and the “Evolution of Our Community” Black Lesbian Conference brings the needs of the community to a larger scale in a place that is “welcoming, respectful and authentically inclusive of what’s important to us.”
“We hope will help to fulfill this need by welcoming our trans and cis lesbian sisters of a variety of ages, socio-economic, educational and life work histories to responsibly and honestly address our priorities,” she said.
The featured keynote address will be given by Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, CEO of the Joseph Addabbo Health Center in New York. For decades, she has paved the way for LGBTQ public health work, including when she was appointed as the first director of the Mayor’s Office for the Lesbian and Gay Community. She also served as the assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.