Activist and entertainer Ts Madison will present the keynote speech at the eighth annual Louisiana Queer Conference (LAQC) conference on April 15. Madison will become one of the few openly transgender black women to speak at a major event on the University’s campus.
Madison is a comedian, social media personality, performer and author who went viral through social media platforms like Vine and Instagram. She is known for going against the traditional notions of gender presentation and helping educate the public on what it means to be transgender.
The LAQC will be held at the LSU Student Union on April 14 and 15. Applications for workshop and research presentations are open until March 31, and the 2018 theme for the conference is “Celebrating our presence. Imagining our future.” Though the event is student-run, it is open to community members across the state.
The April 14 date will include the “Queer After Party,” a drag show put on by local performers from 8 to 11 p.m. in the LSU French House Salon. The show will feature five drag queens, all of which are University students. This will be the first drag show put on at the LAQC.
The conference is an annual LGBTQ event put on by Spectrum, Queer Students of Color and the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. The conference began in 2011 with the mission of providing leadership development, networking opportunities and social support to LGBTQ college students and their allies in Louisiana. The LAQC allows individuals to discuss ideas and collaborate on projects, while building a statewide network to support and advance the LGBTQ movement.
The LAQC’s itinerary typically consists of workshops and panels including University faculty, students and alumni, as well as state activists and students active in their LGBTQ organizations at universities in other states. In 2017, the conference held 11 workshops on topics including LGBTQ sexual education, race and representation and the history of queer movements and resistance.
The first openly gay NFL player Michael Sam delivered the LAQC’s 2017 keynote speech. Sam’s speech told the story of his life as a gay football player and how he learned the importance of helping others like himself and representing the LGBTQ community.
Sam came out publicly on ESPN in 2014 and became the first openly gay football player to be drafted by the NFL later that year. Sam is one of the many members of the LGBTQ community to deliver the keynote speech at the LAQC, with other speakers including Equality North Carolina’s Jen Jones and Alison Gill, the Governmental Affairs director for the Trevor Project.