Conference promoting rainbow pride comes to Ames


Illustration: Jordan Mecher/Iowa State Daily

Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Alliance conference hopes to open up like a butterfly at Iowa State to soar through the world.

Mary-Kate Burkert

Rainbow pride will envelop Ames this

weekend as Iowa State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Student Services hosts the 20th Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay

Transgender Ally College Conference.

The conference theme, “The Butterfly

Effect,” symbolizes the idea of “a butterfly flapping its wings,

resulting in ripples of change around the world. Similar to the

butterfly, our socially just and positive actions have the ability

to work together and create a more unified world,” said Christine

Peterson, co-chairwoman for 2012 conference.

Iowa State held the first conference

in 1993 and again in 2004 and will be the only institution to have

hosted it a total of three times. Iowa State is the smallest host

site for the conference, which consists of undergraduate and

graduate students, professors, volunteers and allies from the Big

10 and Big 12 schools, community colleges and private universities

from across the country.

Roughly 20 to 30 active members in

LGBTSS at Iowa State have been involved in the three years of

planning, which included putting in a bid to hold the conference in


“The MBLGTACC will be full of

positive, encouraging and prideful energy. It is our hope that this

energy will last a lifetime for participants,” said Brad

Freihoefer, coordinator for Iowa State’s LGBTSS.

The conference will consist of seven

peer and speaker-lead workshops, an exhibitor’s fair, state and

regional caucuses, and entertainment featuring Andrea Gibson, Luca

Silveira, Katie Wirsing and drag queen Pandora Boxx. Iowa State’s

own Dub H and Des Moines’s Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing as


The keynote speakers will be Rev.

Jamie Washington, Stacey Milbern and Monica Adams.

Thomas Hill, vice president of

Student Affairs at Iowa State, Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice

president and provost, and Steven Leath, ISU president, will speak

to the more than 1,500 registered attendees at the conference’s

opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday in Stephens Auditorium. Most

of the events and workshops will take place in the Memorial Union,

and the larger events will be held at the Iowa State


Throughout the weekend, the

conference intends to provide a place in which personal growth and

development can occur in areas including history, identity,

individual intersections and “socially-just action.

“There are workshops available to

every walk of life, and the mission of the conference is to bring

unity, personal growth and understanding,” said Anna Howie,

president of the LGBT Ally Alliance club at Iowa State.

Encouragement in transformation and

action means participants will receive the support and resources

necessary to take action at the individual, group and institutional

levels to create social change for equity of all people.

With the focus of the conference on

social justice, it is an event applicable to all people whether

they identify with the LGBT community or not.