Editor's note: The print edition of Camp incorrectly listed a twitter account and the current employment of Brent Husher. This version of the story corrects the Twitter account for the conference and Brent Husher's role.
The 22nd Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) — the largest LGBTA college conference on the continent — will take place Feb. 7-9 at the Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo. Networking, speakers, workshops, caucuses, forums, vendors and entertainment are on the agenda. If you can get past the sesquipedalian name and acronym, what lies beneath is surely golden. Pronouncing MBLGTACC as Mumble Tack should get you by.
MBLGTACC was established to promote leadership, activism, networking, diversity, health and empowerment among LGBTIA students, staff and faculty around the United States and Canada. A different college plays host each year, and planners work for two years getting things in place. Workshop topics vary widely, but may include intersections of LGBTA identities and race, religion, gender, sex, disability, education, health, politics and more. During the conference, attendees will break up into state caucuses and may gather at identity forums.
Around 2,400 attendees are expected. Most will be LGBTA college students from 13 north-central states, but any adult may attend. Out-of-towners should book rooms now at either Kansas City Marriott Downtown or Holiday Inn Aladdin Hotel; check mblgtacc2014.org for specifics. The conference venues are one block away, and subterranean walkways connect pedestrians to the convention center. Public transit options ring the facilities and link conferees to nearby attractions. Registration is open through the first day of the conference.
Heartland Men’s Chorus, a Kansas City favorite, will help open the three-day conference on Friday evening. On Saturday, there will be an exhibitor/career fair during the day and a drag show/dance at night. Friday and Sunday are half-days. Katie Wirsing, Andrea Gibson, J Mase III and more will entertain and inspire. Featured artists and speakers include singer/activist Chely Wright, trans activist/writer Janet Mock and military veteran/author Rob Smith.
UMKC English and communication studies major Roze Brooks is the conference’s creative content and programing chair. According to Brooks, while attending the 20th annual conference at Iowa State University in 2012, the UMKC delegation submitted a bid to host the 2014 event. After winning the bid, a team was assembled to start the planning.
Brent Husher helped the planners during their two years of work. The leadership team of Pride Alliance, the university's LGBTQIA student group, and the MBLGTACC executive committee are technically separate entities, but their duties overlapped considerably.
Brooks is especially looking forward to a forum with panelists that include Missouri State Sen. Jolie Justus, Covenant Network of Presbyterians executive director Brian Ellison, bisexual activist Robyn Ochs, and James Wanser, an advocate for young adult LGBT students. She hopes the convention provides a safe and supportive space for attendees so they can be themselves completely. The uniqueness and diversity of the weekend can draw the attention of conferees and help to impel more student leaders into action.
Volunteers are still needed
To attend the conference as a volunteer, you still must register but you get a special volunteer T-shirt for your efforts. Contact the UMKC LGBTQIA Programs & Services office on Twitter @UMKClgbtqia or by calling 816-235-6556. There’s also a submittable form at the event site.