More than three hundred activists from nearly every state in the U.S gathered in Washington D.C. this past weekend for the first National Conference on Gender and the sixth National Gender Lobby Day, hosted by GenderPAC. The participants differed in age, race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and sexual orientation, but reached out to one another across difference to discuss a united progressive movement for change that focuses on combating gender-based discrimination widely defined. Conference panel topic included “Reconnecting Gender, Transgender, and Feminism,” “Gender Connections: Gender, Age, Class, and Race,” and “Workplace Fairness.” A special track on gender and the law brought in legal experts to discuss legislative and case law issues in sex and gender discrimination, as well as sexual orientation law.
The opening plenary set a positive and activist-focused tone for the conference, with GenderPAC Executive Director Riki Wilchins asserting, “gender is not a personal problem; it is the civil rights issue of our time.” She called for a “revolution of the obvious” to liberate women, gays and lesbians, transgender and intersex individuals, and all people whose gender does not conform to society’s confining norms. She called participants into a movement that sees transgender liberation, gay, lesbian, and bisexual liberation, and feminism as intimately connected.
The conference will close today with a lobby day on Capitol Hill, where participants will meet with their legislators and ask them to honor gender rights when considering bills this session, including the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.