in Thoughts and whatever

From Philly to Gastonia: March promises a busy social, advocacy and education agenda

The good thing about being sick last weekend? Getting it out of the way for a super-busy month.

I’m still dealing with some residual sinus pressure, but I’m sure I’ll be okay so long as the plane flight on Friday morning doesn’t mess around with all that.

This weekend, I’ll be traveling up to the LGBT Media Journalists Convening‚Äč in Philadelphia. Dozens of LGBT editors, journalists and bloggers will gather for some great, continuing education. There’s a phenomenal Friday keynote speaker with a North Carolina connection. I wrote about that over at the day job on Thursday.

Dyana Bagby, editor of Atlanta's The GA Voice, works alongside me at 2014's LGBT Media Journalists Convening in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: LGBT Media Journalists Convening.

Dyana Bagby, editor of Atlanta’s The GA Voice, works alongside me at 2014’s LGBT Media Journalists Convening in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: LGBT Media Journalists Convening.

I’m definitely looking forward to a full weekend of networking and education. I’ve been to the LGBT Media Journalists Convening for five years now, counting this weekend. Unfortunately, I missed the first year they held it in New York. Each year, I’ve taken away valuable lessons, new resources and skills to assist me in my local LGBT news writing. I’m expecting the same kind of intriguing information from workshop sessions this weekend, particularly with workshops on all the so-called “religious liberty” bills floating around in state legislatures, one on race and gender and another on HIV-related stories.

It’ll also be interesting to see what the national conversation and perspective is on Charlotte’s recent decision to reject LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances, including a public accommodations ordinance. I’ll be particularly interested in hearing from national trans voices since transgender folks seem to be at the center of so many rightwing attacks on ordinances like those considered here at home. Coincidently, the next print edition of the day job’s newspaper comes out on Friday, in which I’ve written a pretty lengthly rundown on what happened in Charlotte. I’m taking a few print copies with me to Philadelphia to share some of that in-depth reporting with my national colleagues.

Many thanks to Bil Browning, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund for making this weekend’s event possible.

Later in March

Later in the month, I’ll be hopping around here and there, attending the Charlotte Business Guild’s annual fundraising and awards gala, where state Sen. Jeff Jackson and Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield are expected to speak.

I’ll also be attending the board retreat for Charlotte Pride. I stepped off the board for the group last year, but I’ve remained involved as a volunteer on the group’s media and marketing committee and lent my voice as a longtime former board member to ongoing discussions about the group’s continued, upward growth and stability. It’s been an amazing experience watching Charlotte Pride grow from a small community festival when I first joined in 2008 to the massive city-wide “signature event” it is today. In case you missed it, take a look at this recent release on the nearly $8 million economic impact brought in by last year’s Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade.

Finally, on March 28, I’m honored and humbled to be the afternoon keynote speaker at Gaston Has Heart’s first local LGBTQ education, awareness and organizing conference. The event is free and open to the public, so you should definitely click here to register to attend. The morning keynote will be delivered by UNC-Charlotte staffer Joshua Burford, who works with LGBT students on campus and has worked to organize Charlotte’s first local LGBT community history archive. During the day, the event will feature a wide variety of workshops for education, skills building and activism. You’ll definitely not want to miss it.

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