Session Descriptions 2020
Session I (10:15-11:10)
Queering the Word: Writers, Spoken Word Artists, and Performers in our LGBTQIA+ Community: What are the ways representation in writing and performance has enhanced and given representation to the Queer community? How can we use the written, spoken, and performed word to find community with other LGBTQIA+ individuals? Come meet local writers, performers, and spoken word artists as they share their stories and their work.
Self-Care Plus: Self-Care Plus is a guided conversation on the specific needs for self-care for the LGBTQIA+ community. We have all heard about self-care, but come learn about how LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals can take care of their unique needs for validation, support and ways to promote feelings of belonging in an isolated community. Additionally, we will speak on coping mechanisms that relate to day-to-day life as well as the more severe occurrences of trauma in the community. We could all get better at taking care of ourselves; here is a good place to start.
Trans in the Berkshires: A conversation with members of our trans community. Panelists will discuss the challenges faced by the trans community, including access to competent healthcare, the support groups and networks they have created, and the continued threat of hate crimes against the trans community.
Becoming a Better Ally: Allies are a vital part of the struggle for full LGBTQIA+ equality. But what does being an ally mean? What do members of the LGBTQIA+ community need from our allies, and what do our allies need from us? How do allies educate themselves on the issues and terminologies of the LGBTQIA+ communities? When do allies need to step up and speak out? And when do they need to follow our lead? How do we help one another create the inclusive community we all desire? Come be part of the conversation.
Session II (11:15-12:10)
Coming Out: NOT Once in a Lifetime: Coming out, unlike other milestones in our lives, doesn’t happen just once. When we gather with friends or family, when we meet someone new, when we enter college or a career, and when we are considering or undergoing gender confirmation surgery, we may be at a loss about what, and how much, to disclose about our sexual orientation, gender identity, or intimate relationships. In this session we will share our experiences in a safe, accepting and confidential conversation, and leave room for our audience to ask questions and gain a new understanding of the issues and challenges we face in this ongoing process.
Drag in the Berkshires: What’s involved in drag performances? What goes into those amazing presentations – the music, the moves, the costumes, the make-up? Who’s doing drag in the Berkshires, and what insights would they like to share with the rest of us? Come ‘backstage’ and find out.
LGBTQIA+ Healthcare: Healthcare is a major concern in the Berkshires. Where can our community find competent, affirming healthcare, not just for the big issues, but for the regular check-ups and other ‘routine’ interactions that can easily have hidden hurdles and pitfalls? What are the areas where we need to apply more public pressure? Come be part of the discussion.
Plenary Session (1:30-2:30)
LGBTQIA+ Visibility: LGBTQIA+ Visibility is at an all-time high. Elected officials and religious leaders, media figures and members of the military, librarians and law enforcement – we have always been everywhere, but now we are visibly everywhere. This is progress, but is it enough? Visibility still comes at a cost. What inspires people to be willing to put themselves out there? What are the rewards, and what are the risks? Where do we go from here? Please join in this important conversation with our panelists.