Saturday, 26 October, 2013
OUTstanding was created in 2011 to explore the intersectional diversity within the LGBTIQ community for the University of Tennessee Knoxville and surrounding communities, and to educate and increase compassion within our University, the greater Knoxville community, and beyond.
This year's conference will focus on intersections of diversity and how communities and individuals can find common ground as we defy – and help to shape -- the status quo and seek equality for all. The platform of this year's OUTstanding conference will shed light on the difficulties facing underrepresented groups who also consider themselves a member of the LGBTIQ community. For instance, never before has OUTstanding offered a keynote speaker who identifies as female-this year we will bring you two!
In addition to 12 workshops, lunch, and daytime entertainment, the conference will begin with a keynote address from bisexual woman, activist, writer, and speaker, Robyn Ochs. Ochs has an inclusive approach and will address broad topics pertaining to the LGBTIQ community and present a workshop on bisexuality, an often underrepresented demographic. Ochs co-founded Harvard University's LGBT Faculty & Staff Group and its Trans Task Force and served as adviser for its LGBTQ student group. She is currently the board Vice President of Mass Equality, a statewide equality group founded by Ochs. Robyn is also the editor of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and of Bi Women, an anthology of more than 40 countries. Ochs has previously taught courses on LGBTIQ history and politics.
The conference will culminate with special guest slam poet, Jamaican lesbian woman and mother, Staceyann Chin. Chin's political slam poetry is one of her many accomplishments, as she is the recipient of the 2007 Power of the Voice Award from The Human Rights Campaign, the 2008 Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, the 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project and the 2009 New York State Senate Award. Staceyann has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, and New York theater stages. In addition, Chin has written a memoir entitled The Other Side of Paradise.
All of the aforementioned will educate students and faculty of LGBTIQ issues, facilitate discussion about a global and domestic social problem, and better equip the University to work alongside the LGBTIQ spectrum and its (their, ze's, her, and his) allies. With the Princeton Review ranking the University of Tennessee the 16th most "LGBT- unfriendly" campuses in the United States, it is clear that the University needs to continue furthering our community's education about and awareness of LGBTIQ topics.