Last week I had my first chance to attend PCAR's LGBTQ Summit. In its second year the summit theme was "Bringing Sexual Violence Out of the Closet ." Leading up, I was so excited for this learning opportunity because we built it like none other I've experienced. Workshops were picked to accommodate beginner, intermediate and advanced learners and were labeled that way on the agenda. They also addressed a variety of intersecting identities and oppressions.
The tone for the day was set from the beginning with an inspiring keynote address from AndreAs Neumann-Mascis from The Meeting Point . Simply perched on a plastic chair on the stage, he wove an intricate and inspiring tapestry of brain science and affirmation. I heard more than a few folks say that they followed AndreAs into his subsequent workshops just because they wanted the chance to catch some more of the droplets of wisdom that fell from his mind.
Personally, I'm a little bummed that I missed that session on queer bodies and disability, but my time was well spent. In my workshop with Shaashawn Dial-Snowden, a.k.a. The Voyce , I learned about her creative approach to using poetry and creative writing to reverse the harmful narrative that others have imposed on her. She unapologetically described the ways her identities influenced her life story. More important, she shared her therapeutic process for taking inventory of the hurts and making them into something beautiful. Maybe the most impressive part was her ability to write and perform a lovely poem about all of the attendees, during the course of 10 minute introductions, and making me feel amazing about some of my own insecurities in the process.
Like all conferences, this summit had some low points, but my overall impression of the day is positive. The sessions that didn't seem to fully realize their intent were still learning spaces. I'm confident that based on attendee feedback, we'll be able to improve for next year!