Nathan Kitchen, president of Affirmation, announced that for the first time, the group will hold its entire international conference online. While necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kitchen said this year’s conference allows for greater participation by the worldwide community of LGBTQ Mormons and allies.
There will be short and manageable online sessions over four weekends: September 12–October 4.
“This conference will be highlighted by author Blaire Ostler interviewing Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black [on Saturday, Sep. 26] and concludes with an address [on Sunday, Oct. 4] by author Carol Lynn Pearson,” Kitchen said. “Additional speakers include the president of the Human Rights Campaign Alphonso David, artist Matthew Gong, author and journalist Samantha Allen, and activist Ricardo Córdoba Moreno.”
The conference will also feature over 30 workshops facilitated by a diverse group of presenters. Also, a film screening of Same-Sex Attracted, a documentary made by LGBTQ students and alumni of BYU.
“This entire conference is a time where we can come together as friends and learn from the amazing talents and experiences of our LGBTQ peers,” Kitchen noted.
Of note, Affirmation’s certified trainers will offer QPR suicide prevention and awareness training in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Affirmation will again include its popular church leader session on September 12 for leaders of every level and organization in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who seek to better understand and minister to the LGBTQ people they serve. Leaders can watch this panel session and attend QPR training for free by registering at affirmation.org.
Joel McDonald, Director of Operations for Affirmation, led this change from in-person to online. “Because our conference was scheduled for September, we had several months to watch and learn from other organizations broadcasting content online,” Joel says. “Technical issues aside, planning and organizing multiple concurrent presentations and interactive events in multiple languages requires a level of precision we haven’t had to consider in previous years, but I am confident we have created a rich and accessible program that will rise to the quality of previous conferences.”
Kitchen invites anyone interested “to browse the schedule on our website and map out an incredible experience. You don’t want to miss this.”
For more information and to register for the conference visit: affirmation.org.