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Spectrum to host LGBT conference

Collin Burwinkel

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The University of Alabama will host the 2015 Southeastern LGBTQ+ Student Conference, an annual conference dedicated to topics affecting the LGBT community.

“This is a traveling regional conference that aims to foster a safe space to explore issues affecting the LGBT community, and specifically the issues that come with existing and doing activism work in the Southeast,” said Mat Wimberly, vice president of Spectrum and a senior majoring in management and marketing.

Spectrum, the University’s registered student group for the LGBT student population, is organizing the event.

“Students in Spectrum at UA decided to start the conference back up in 2008,” Wimberly said. “Since then, we have played a pretty big part in making sure that the conference comes to fruition each year, whether that be by hosting it ourselves, or assisting our counterparts at other universities who decide to take it on.”

The conference will be held from Feb. 27 through March 1 and will include universities, high schools and community organizers from across the southeast. The conference will include three days of workshops, discussions, social events, lectures, entertainment and community building with a focus on LGBT identities. Last year, nearly 130 people attended the conference.

“We are hoping for around 120-150 people to make the trip from over 6 states in the Southeast for the Conference this year,” Wimberly said.

Recently, a federal judge declared Alabama’s prohibitions against same-sex marriage unconstitutional, opening the door for same-sex marriage in the state.

Gaby Wilson, a coordinator for Spectrum, believes this ban still does not solve all the issues members of the LGBT community face.

“It’s great that folks are now able to get a marriage license and have their partnerships acknowledged by the state and have access to the many benefits of a marriage, but a marriage license doesn’t solve issues regarding access to good and affirming health care, comprehensive non-discrimination policies, homelessness, the rampant murder of trans people (particularly trans women of color) and number of other life-threating issues,” they said.

Wilson believes the conference is beneficial to not only members of the LGBT community but to people outside of the community as well.

“Having this conference is incredibly important for LGBTQ+ individuals in the Southeast because it provides a safe space, community and the understanding that LGBTQ+ people are concerned with more things than marriage, though it may not seem that way to people outside of the community,” they said.

Information about the conference, registration and donating can be found on the conference’s website at selgbtqconference.com.

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Spectrum to host LGBT conference