The other UN, the University of Nebraska, that is.
The Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) will convene at the University of Nebraska Omaha in February 2018 and feature the theme “All Roads Lead To Intersectionality.”
The conference website states: “The mission of MBLGTACC 2018 All Roads Lead to Intersectionality is to educate queer and trans Midwest college students to empower and celebrate their identities, while enabling them to resist oppression and develop resiliency against personal and societal injustices.”
This will be the 26th iteration of the event first held in 1993 at Iowa State University—that first conference was called the “Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay College Conference” but the title was altered in 1997 to add “Transgender” and changed in 2001 to include “Ally” according to the Midwest Institute for Sexuality And Gender Diversity website. The site also says, “MBLGTACC is the largest and oldest continuously-held LGBTQIA+ college conference in the nation. And it is entirely and proudly student-run.”
While the conference has existed for over two decades, the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity just launched in 2016. The Institute describes 6 “Core Values,” including one titled “Liberation” that speaks about working “toward an inevitable revolution”:
“We situate ourselves in this work with determination to annihilate systemic barriers, combat deeply ingrained beliefs and practices that negatively impact our communities, and conduct our work with urgency toward an inevitable revolution.”
The Institute’s mission statement says: “We re-envision an educational climate that centers the needs and experiences of systemically disadvantaged students and affirms and encourages sexuality and gender diversity.”
While the 2018 conference will occur at the University of Nebraska Omaha, previous conferences have taken place at a variety of other universities and the 2017 event occurred at Chicago’s Navy Pier and was “hosted by the Chicago Coalition of Queer and Allied Students (CCQAS).” According to the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, this coalition included DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University.
“CCQAS is the first collegiate coalition of schools to host the conference since the first MBLGTACC in 1993, when it was hosted by Iowa State University and Drake University,” the 2017 conference site stated.
That site also said: “The conference is funded through fundraisers, registration fees, and donations from both individuals and corporate sponsors.” Some of the 2018 sponsors thanked in posts on the MBLGTACC Facebook page include: Iliff School of Theology, Mutual of Omaha Insurance, and the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Student Government, Queer and Trans Services, Grace Abbott School of Social Work, New Students and Family Programs, Student Service and Leadership Collaborative, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Public Affairs & Community Service, College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
According to the 2017 conference booklet, the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE) was one of the 2017 conference sponsors and Patrisse Cullors, one of founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, spoke at the conference.
“The Safe Space training is open to any student, faculty, or staff member who would like to be trained and publicly identify as an ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans spectrum, queer spectrum, intersex, asexual, gender spectrum, and/or sexuality spectrum (LGBTQIA+) students, faculty, and staff. This four hour training provides education and tools to support the LGBTQIA+ members of our community.”
Alex Nitzberg is a freelance writer and the host of “The Alex Nitzberg Show” podcast. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube