OUT On The Hill-Busy Day, Especially For Me

Yesterday was the first full day of events for the 2011 edition of OUT on the Hill and I made my way from my undisclosed location in NW Washington once again to the AFL-CIO headquarters. 

Made a wrong turn after I exited the Farragut North Red Line stop and walked two blocks before I had to retrace my steps up L Street and back to 16th St.

Since I was in the 1000 block, still had to walk a few blocks to get to the AFL-CIO headquarters building in the 800 block, and chuckled when I passed the infamous K Street where many of the DC lobbying firms are predominately located.

Eventually strolled into the building after my extra exercise I got enroute and was greeted by the smiling faces of MarQuis, Katina and the rest of the NBJC gang at the registration desk.  I picked up my packet and started surveying the room to see who was in the house.

Spotted my mentor and NBJC founder Mandy Carter, and walked over to her as she was checking her computer and bowed to her, which elicited a smile and a hug from her. 

While I was chatting with her Kamora Herrington and I finally got to meet and hug.  Have known Kamora and talked to her online for years and we barely missed crossing paths while I was in western Mass for NoHo pride last year. .

Same was true for Valerie Spencer of LA and finally got to meet her.   She was siting next to my DC homegirl Tia.

Okay I’ll drop some more names later in the lifestyles of the activist not so rich but famous files.  It’s time to get to business chronicling the events of the day.

After some opening remarks from NBJC ED/CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Katina Parker, NBJC’s Communications Director took the stage to do some media housekeeping announcements.  In addition to the official Out on The Hill hashtag for tweets from the conference, (# OOTH2011), No More Down Low TV is also filming the conference.as well.

We moved to a panel discussion that focused on various aspects of activism and focuses from Mandy talking about the historical perspective, Kylar taking about the trans piece, Charles Pugh on the political one, George Walker talking about he importance of LGBT officials and Stacey Long discussing the Task Force’ work.

We broke for lunch before shoving off to the White House for our three hour meeting with Obama administration staffers.  After clearing security and getting comfortably ensconced were were treated to a briefing on the various aspects of Obama administration policy initiatives as it applies to TBLG people.    

We had a surprise guest in White House advisor Valerie Jarrett.before we dove into three hours of briefings covering public policy on issues ranging from minority health issues to DADT , jobs and HIV/AIDS.

We then moved when it was over via bus to Washington DC’s city hall and after another reception with good food, we headed to the fourth floor for a panel discussion on two topics.   The first half of it was devoted to the DC marriage equality fight and how they melded local and national orgs and activists into a winning team on that issue.

The second half panel I was to take part in was a discussion on the recent spike in trans hate incidents and assaults that was a mix of local and national activists .  We touched on everything from racism in the trans community, laments on the infighting and challenging the GL community and our allies to do a better job of supporting transpeople.   We also challenged transpeople to handle our own shame and guilt issues before the discussion broke up.

One day down, another to go.

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