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Harvard Hosts International LGBTQ Conference

LGBTQ Conference
Consultant and LGBTQ advocate Christie Smith discusses "covering," a behavior she says is characteristic of minorities on Sunday afternoon at Harvard Business School. This talk was part of the annual LGBTQ Conference at Harvard University that took place over the weekend.

More than 450 participants from more than 35 universities around the world gathered to discuss a variety of LGBTQ issues at a conference this weekend organized by students from Harvard’s graduate schools.

Hosted at the Law School and the Business School, the two-day conference aimed to encourage discussion and action on past successes and current issues in the queer community through a series of speakers, panels, and interactive sessions.

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Binbin Chen, a participant at the conference and a student at Stanford Medical School, highly praised the weekend's events.

“It’s Harvard, so the quality of the speakers were unheard of for me, and each module tackled very pressing issues,” he said.

Attendees listened to discourse about a number of varied subjects, including LGBTQ athletes, the military, inclusiveness in the workplace, and support for queer issues in the Republican Party. Speakers included Kristen Beck, a former Navy SEAL and a trans woman, Caitlin Cahow ’08, a queer women’s hockey player on the U.S. national team, and Gautam Raghavan, LGBTQ liaison to the White House.

AJ Lee, one of the co-chairs of the conference and a student at the Kennedy School ofGovernment, remarked that the organizers made special effort to represent the diversity of the community in both the topics discussed and selection of speakers.

“[The queer community is] a very broad community with a lot of stakeholders,” Lee said. “So, when thinking of topics and speakers, we wanted to cover as much as we could. We wanted to pay particular attention to communities that are more marginalized or less visible in the larger LBGTQ community.”

He added that the conference further set itself apart by approaching these issues in an interdisciplinary manner and by encouraging reflection and action from attendees through “‘ideation’ sessions.” In these sessions, attendees shared experiences and worked on plans of actions related to a specific topic they had selected, such as bullying or trans inclusivity.

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