Queering Arizona Conference 2017

"I feel like I found myself for the first time in 5 months."
"I feel overwhelmed by the compassion of this community."
"I learned that I am not alone."
"I learned that our community is larger than I thought."
"I will continue to advocate for equality, access, and action on campus, in Arizona, and in the US."
"I will always be myself. Always."

-Statements by participants at the 2016 Queering Arizona conference.

The Queering Arizona Conference is a free, annual, statewide conference held in partnership with UA, ASU, NAU and other Arizona colleges that allows LGBTQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual) and allied student leaders to network and develop skills to take back to their respective campuses. Approaching its sixth annual iteration, Queering Arizona has grown steadily. 2016 saw 163 people attend, including 44 students from UA.

Proposals for the conference come from students and community members in Arizona, covering a range of topics. Those include leadership development, activism, art, community organizing, immigration, faith, intersectionality, sexuality and more. Encouraging students to submit proposals, as well as running proposals through a student review committee, greatly contributes to student professional development.

The impact of the conference on student development is affirmed through post-conference evaluations. Qualitative data includes touching statements on the impact of the conference, such as those at the beginning of this article. Quantitative evaluations also demonstrate that, as a result of the conference, attendees feel more connected with LGBTQA+ students across Arizona, feel a greater commitment to advocating for LGBTQA+ issues on their campus, and feel that the conference developed them as LGBTQA+ student leaders.

The conference impacts students in other ways as well. The planning committee does all it can to make the conference free to students and to give them as many professional development opportunities as possible. Free transportation to ASU campus is included, as is a free lunch. One student described, “I really appreciate the financial accessibility. This experience gives me so much more faith in our humanity.” Another student shared, “The diversity of workshop choices was great. I liked having options that I may not have expected.”

This year, the conference will be held at the ASU Polytechnic campus on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10am-6pm.​ Registration is currently open and will close on February 13, 2017.

For more information please visit the QAZ website at: https://sites.google.com/site/queeringarizona2016/home​. There is also a Facebook event

To register visit: www.tinyurl.com/QAZ2017Reg