WSC PRIDE students attend MBLGTACC in Chicago


Photo courtesy of the PRIDE organization

WSC’s PRIDE organization went to MBLGTACC’s 25th conference in Chicago the weekend of Feb. 17-19. The theme was ‘united in solidarity.’

Emmalee Scheibe, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College PRIDE club recently took a trip to Chicago to attend MBLGTACC, the Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Ally College Conference.
“I was most excited about the opportunity for education,” said senior Stephanie Hempel, one of the 15 attending members. “The conference is a great place to be immersed in diversity, and is also a giant safe space to understand new ideas.”
This was the 25th anniversary of MBLGTACC and the theme was united in solidarity. The conference focuses on celebrating various identities within the LGBTQ+ community but also discusses the oppression that members are faced with and how to resist it.
“I went to a workshop on Butch and Femme history,” junior Demetris Bumgardner said. “One law that was made in the 1950s was the three-garment rule that required a person to wear three garments of clothing that matched their assigned sex. This obviously targeted the trans community and affected butch lesbians as well.”
The conference hosts workshops, shows and activities for college students from across the country.
“I was excited for the opportunity to participate in workshops and further my education and understanding of the needs our community has,” PRIDE President Caleb Hayden said.
The conference has three keynote speakers, including Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter; Peter Staley, an AIDS and gay rights activist; and Jennicet Gutierrez, a transgender activist.
“I will never forget Cullors saying, ‘Resistance has always been Queer,’” Bumgardner said. “She had the entire audience chant with her loud and proud. That phrase has become so important to me.”
A workshop about middle sexualities was presented by Robyn Ochs. Middle sexualities include bisexual, pansexual (omnisexuality) and others.
“I’ve seen her speak before at the conference but this panel was especially interesting,” Hempel said. “She broke down the stigmas that society has about the middle sexualities.”
Marxism and queer liberation, trans 101 and gay identity forum are some other workshops that were held. The conference offered more than 40 different workshops throughout the weekend.
“One of the most powerful quotes I heard over the weekend was, ‘It’s a startling reality when you find yourself in a safe place and realize the only individual you need to understand and live with is yourself,’” Hayden said. “It’s life changing. You realize that what you have isn’t the worst. You start to understand that you are the person who can make the difference.”
This conference also helps students make connections with others who have similar life challenges.
“The very first MBLGTACC I went to three years ago, I met an individual who was unsure of themselves and how they fit into the LGBTQ+ community,” Hayden said. “Since our first encounter they have accepted their sexuality and assist others in understanding who they are. Seeing them live confidently brings so much joy to my heart.”
This year the conference planned to add a student panel to their many workshops, so that students can relate to other students on a more personal level.
“Next year, MBLGTACC is in Omaha and I hope that we can encourage other students outside of the LGBTQ+ community to go there to participate and learn,” Bumgardner said.