The occasion was the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, an annual conference run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for 22 years now.
While many Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified people have been activate participants in "Creating Change" from it's beginning (see historic photo with the prominent "Visibility" Banner circa 1999-ish - click to enlarge), this year represented a milestone for our communities in the USA.
This year for the first time there was also an official conference supported Hospitality Suite and among the offerings arranged and promoted by the Task Force was a Full Day "Organizing Institute" that focused on the concerns of the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified portion of the greater LGBT Community.
To quote long-time Bi-identified LGBT Activist and writer Mike Szymanski in his article "Creating Change and Bi Institute Offer Big Motivational Boost for the Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Community" in describing the scene at the Organizing Institute,"They were from all across every spectrum you can imagine. They were from every corner of the country—Boston, Los Angeles, Florida, Seattle. They were from every walk of life, every gender identity, every, every ethnic mix and every kind of community. There were people who didn't like the B-word, and others who embraced only the B word, and many who identified as things I've never even heard of before. They were loud and quiet, tall and short, wild and meek, young and old, experienced and fresh, and yet all coming together for a common interest."
At the end of the event as Matt Goodman, who headed up the fantastic Bi/Fluid/Pan Community Dallas Host Committee as well as being a member of the main Creating Change host committee, so eloquently wrote, "For five days, Dallas was home to the National Bi Community. We had a place to call our own, to bond, connect and build a community. It was simply incredible to be in a safe space that was open to everyone. The space that became our home will always be a warm place in my heart. I was fortunate to see the magic it had. We educated people ... became friends ... then we became a family."
And now those who were fortunate enough to attend the event are taking the knowledge and energy gained back with them to their home communities as well as to Regional Conferences including this April's BECAUSE 2010: Midwest Conference on Bisexuality, this May's 5th Annual Queer People of Color Conference in San Diego and this fall's 7th Transcending Boundaries Conference (TBC10) in Massachusetts, where they will begin to disseminate and implement what was discussed in Dallas.
And come this August some from the USA will also take these ideas across the Atlantic this summer to share with there compatriots from around the world at the 10th International Conference on Bisexuality (10ICB) being held in the UK at the University of East London and to continue to do their bit to advance the cause of equality for all people.
If you can possible swing it, a Creating Change Conferences is a fantastic, try to make it to at least one, not to be missed event. Planning for the 2011 Creating Change Conference (CC11) which will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota next February is already underway. So mark your calendars now and see if next year we well all be seeing YOU in the photos.