Notes from the Lesbian Caucus at NGLT Creating Change 2012
February 1, 2012
24th Annual Creating Change Conference
Baltimore City, Maryland
Saturday, January 28, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Key Ballroom 10
Cathy Brennan introduced the Reverend Mother Meredith Moise, who in
turn introduced the Honorable Judge Shannon E. Avery and University of
Maryland, Baltimore County Professor Jodi Kelber-Kaye
Approximately 85 individuals participated in the Caucus. The format
of the caucus was a moderated discussion by Judge Avery and Professor
Kelber-Kaye, giving anyone who wanted to speak the opportunity to do
The following topics were noted as important to the individuals in
■Lack of lesbian-specific content at Creating Change. Numerous
participants noted that only one workshop addressed Lesbians
specifically in addition to the caucus.
■A desire to have a discussion over sex vs. gender and how to navigate
that space in a manner respectful of all members of the GLBT
■Generational Issues: commenters wanted to have more information about
the “stages of life” in the lives of lesbians (e.g., in your 20s, you
might expect ____) to help develop a lesbian “narrative.” This should
account for medical and legal issues and also account for the
diversity of our community among racial and other lines.
■Commenters expressed a desire for more conversations relating to same-
gender loving women.
■Ageing Issues: Participants expressed a desire for concrete,
practical guidance with regard to legal, health/medical and insurance
■A need for an experiential intergenerational dialogue among lesbians
of all ages. We need to talk to each other, across age cohorts.
■Images and stories are important for combating lesbian invisibility.
■Focus on women’s issues: reproductive rights and health, wellness and
physical autonomy. We need to talk about vagina.
■Create a safe-space away from male-dominated space. Some commenters
noted that the welcome bag included a condom and lube, but nothing for
females. Also, “gender neutral bathrooms” force lesbians to relieve
themselves in space with males.
■Dismissal of lesbians everywhere but specifically within ethnic
workshops and groups at Creating Change.
■Why can’t Creating Change have a history of lesbian movements?
■Youth/professional issues for young lesbians – navigating the
■Ageism: debilitates our communities, is never mentioned and needs to
be addressed from the podium by leaders of NGLTF.
■Sexism and feminism – more discussion of these topics.
■NGLTF communications/publicity surrounding the event; need to do a
better job of identifying local leaders.
■Discussion of the tension between sexism/sex stereotyping and gender
■Where did all the lesbians go? Why aren’t more lesbians
participating? A commenter noted that NGLTF needs to do better to mine
the communities outside of the GLBT community where lesbians do work –
reproductive rights, domestic violence, social justice, poverty
■Women’s issues are invisible – we need to change that.
■We need to get women to graduate into leadership in our communities –
how do we support that?
■Safe-sex for lesbians and lesbian-specific giveaways.
■We need to combat the lack of empowerment of lesbians, the lack of
communication. We need a blog and stronger networks of communication.
As a result of this discussion, which lasted about 40 minutes, we
identified the following action items for NGLTF to implement on a go-
forward basis, acknowledging that this Lesbian Caucus was just the
BEGINNING of the conversation to increase visibility of lesbian
■NGLTF should identify one person, in advance, to focus on women’s
publications and marketing to women’s/lesbian community (e.g., Lesbian
■NGLTF needs to address oppression of women in the Movement.
■Mentoring – lesbian-specific mentoring, intergenerationally and
■Implement a communication platform for lesbians, e.g. use Tumblr,
Facebook to connect and coordinate lesbians for next year and going
■NGLTF should work to create images of women created by women,
including establishing a video/photography area at Creating Change
where lesbians can document their existences.
■Lesbians need a safe space for safe ad happy interactions, to give us
a place to overcome difficult feelings. We need a Lesbian Suite at
■NGLTF should identify lesbian health resources.
■NGLTF should establish the Women’s/Lesbian/Women Same-Gender Loving
Caucus as a permanent caucus at Creating Change.
■NGLTF should identify liaisons to outreach in various regions of the
■NGLTF should respect that “Queer” does not always include women, and
should be more sensitive to use language inclusive of women.
■NGLTF should identify one staffer responsible/accountable for
ensuring that Creating Change is well-advertised in lesbian media.
■NGLTF should ensure that it affords scholarships to women living in
poverty so that can attend Creating Change, including scholarships for
travel and accommodations.