The Affirmation International conference is virtual again
The Affirmation 2021 international conference will be held virtually from September 11-19. This year’s theme is Lighting the World Together, and the conference schedule is being finalized. This conference is intended for the entire LGBTQIA + Latter-day Saints community, including current and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, family members, friends and supporters. church leaders.
Several featured speakers with a diversity of sexual orientations, gender identities, religions and life experiences will participate in the conference
Emmett Preciado is a transgender American actor and singer of Spanish, Mexican and European descent.
He was a sister missionary for 18 months in the Salt Lake City, Utah mission. When Emmett returned from his mission, he did a semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho. In the late summer of 2015, Emmett dropped out of school and moved to Utah to continue his physical transition from female to male. He remained as active as possible in the Church for a few years and spoke and participated in conferences and events for LGBTQ Mormons.
In the spring of 2020, Emmett was cast to play Rowan, a recurring Freeform’s character. Good problem. At the end of 2020, he shot his first guest star role on The good doctor like Rio Gutierrez. In the spring of 2021, Emmett played the role of Mateo Cruz on ABC’s Rebel.
Blaire Ostler is a philosopher specializing in queer studies and a leading voice at the intersection of queer, Mormon and transhumanist thought. She is an author who recently published her first book, “Queer Mormon Theology: An Introduction”. She is a member of the board of directors of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the Christian Transhumanist Association and Sunstone.
Blaire is no stranger to Affirmation or the International Conference. She was the emcee for the 2019 conference held in Provo, Utah, and interviewed award-winning filmmaker, writer and social activist Dustin Lance Black for the 2020 conference. This year, she will host a panel discussion featuring student leaders from BYU LGBTQIA +.
Hao lee is the president of Affirmation Hawaii, which was started by BYU-Hawaii students in 2020. While as a college student, she championed LGBTQ + students by communicating with the BYUH administration, including the president and vice -President of BYUH.
Carolyn Gassert is a Cisgender Demisexual Lesbian who grew up in the Mormon Church in South Carolina and is USGA BYU-Provo President. Her academic and professional goal is to become a therapist in Utah working with marginalized groups, particularly LGBTQ + youth and young adults.
TJ Thomas is an active Latter-day Saint bisexual therapist. He served a mission in Benin and Togo, West Africa, and attended BYU for his undergraduate degree. He went on to earn his Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California. He now works as a therapist for a wide variety of clients, with a focus on youth at the intersection of LGBTQ + and LDS.
He works to make mental health resources more accessible to everyone and provides free resources on his Instagram page (@tjcounseling) and his weekly podcast, Therapy Thursday. He has also been a guest on numerous podcasts to discuss mental health and the LGBTQ population, including “Questions from the Closet”, “Listen, Learn and Love” and “Oh My Health There is Hope”.
Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen is the executive director of Parity, a national New York-based nonprofit that works at the intersection of faith and LGBTQ + concerns, and the director of Blessed by Difference, a project that seeks to promote curious bridges and collaborations between LGBTQ + and the religious divide.
In 2013, Marian was named Personality of the Year by QSaltLake Magazine for her visionary leadership, and in 2015 was named Petra Fellow for her work with LGBTQ + homeless youth. She was previously Executive Director of the OUTreach Resource Centers, National Program Director of the Family Acceptance Project, and Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center.
Three special tracks have been scheduled, including one for youth ages 11-18, parents and allies, and church leaders.
The conference will be held virtually. While the group prefers to meet in person for the conference, being virtual has some advantages, according to conference leaders. With a virtual conference, people can attend it from anywhere there is a good internet connection. Last year’s program attracted many people who had never traveled to previous conferences.
There is no registration fee thanks to an Affirmation grant received to support this year’s conference. Organizers hope that with registration free and the conference virtual, this year’s conference will be the most accessible conference ever.
While there is no obligation to pay to attend, there is a suggested donation of at least $ 35, which will earn you a limited edition enamel pin with the logo and theme of the this year’s conference and those who donate $ 65 or more will receive a pin and conference t-shirt.
For more information on the conference, visit conference.affirmation.org