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Creating Change was a wonderful experience! Being a first-year at JMU, I had no idea what to expect from the conference. I was surprised at the multitudes of communities represented upon arrival at the conference center. I met people from different universities and cities as well as people of different religions, ethnicities, and identities within the queer community. I think the most affirming experience at the conference for me was the QTAAPI (Queer/Trans identified American-Asians/Pacific Islanders) Day Long Institute. In the closed group, we were able to explore our racial and queer identities as mixed influences, not two aspects separate from one another. Within the space, we were able to support and uplift one another through validation exercises and experience sharing. We also learned about the longstanding existence of queer influences in API cultures and belief systems in the institute. The next two days were divided into multiple workshop style sessions. I attended a session about masculinity within the queer community. The session was facilitated by an advisor from Georgetown University who stressed the importance of masculine unity within the queer community. Though I didn’t necessarily agree with all of his arguments, I was able to learn from the experience as a whole, as the session involved a great amount of interaction between participants. In addition to the educational value of the conference, Creating Change was an ideal setting to make friends and contacts. Members of Madison Equality got lunch with members of VCU’s queer organization and have made close connections for future, possibly inter-university events. Overall, Creating Change was a great learning and personal experience. I look forward to applying what I learned at the conference to Madison Equality, the Program, and my life.




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