GREENSBORO — An Obama Administration official and liaison to the LGBT community has been announced as this year’s keynote speaker at the Equality North Carolina Conference & Gala, as the group plans to honor the state’s only openly gay or lesbian legislator at their annual gala the same day.

The statewide group announced Tuesday, Oct. 6 that the White House’s Deputy Director of Public Engagement Brian Bond will deliver the keynote at the event, slated for Nov. 14 on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

“As one of the members of our community who works closely with the President, we’re honored to have Brian Bond join us in North Carolina. Our staff had a chance to hear Brian speak this summer and we immediately knew we wanted bring him to here,” ENC Executive Director Ian Palmquist said in a release. “We’re sure he’ll give our conference participants real insight into how change is happening at the state and national levels.”

Prior to joining White House staff, Bond worked for the Obama for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee. He’s also served as executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

The group announced earlier that state Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover), the legislature’s only openly gay or lesbian member, would be the recipient of this year’s Legislative Leadership Award. She is being honored for her role in passing the state’s landmark anti-bullying legislation, the School Violence Prevention Act.

“As the lead Senate sponsor of the anti-bullying bill, Julia fought every step of the way to pass this bill with critical protections for LGBT young people,” Palmquist said. “Julia’s hard work has changed the tone of the debate on our issues in the Senate and was an integral part of our effort to protect kids in school and make history for LGBT North Carolinians.”

Past recipients of the award include state Reps. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) and Paul Luebke (D-Durham).

The conference will include several speakers and breakout sessions led by advocates and community members across the state. Linda Bush, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project, will also speak during the conference.

Participants will enjoy a day full of cutting-edge policy discussions and activist skills training, followed by a glamorous evening of celebration.

Workshops cover everything from the next steps on the School Violence Prevention Act, addressing hate crimes in local communities, religion and advocacy, as well as skill-builders on campus organizing, employee resource groups, harnessing the power of the media and more.

The evening Gala at the Empire Room from 6:30-9 p.m., is Equality NC Foundation’s largest fundraiser. Presentation of the Legislative Leadership Award to Boseman will be a focal point for the event.

Sponsors at press time include: American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina; The Adam Foundation; Duke Center for LGBT Life; Food Lion; Freeman Foundation; GlaxoSmithKline; Grove Park Inn; Haas McNeil & Associates, PA; IBM; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Pam’s House Blend; PFLAG Triangle; Phase 3 Communications; Raleigh Consulting Group; Replacements, Ltd.; Triad and Triangle Financial Advisors; Triad Health Project; and UNCG Wellness Center.

Interested in joining the sponsor list? Contact Kay Flaminio at 919-829-0343, ext. 112 or email

Table captains are also being sought. Fill a table of eight to help support the ENC’s work to educate LGBT North Carolinians and their allies about LGBT employment discrimination in North Carolina. ENC hopes to fill 35 tables this year to meet a $30,000 goal to fill the war chest to fight against workplace discrimination.

To sign up, call Shawn Long at 919-829-0343, ext. 114 or email

Gala registration fee is $125 for individuals ($155 after Oct. 30), $65 for students ($85 after Oct. 30) and $75 for people with income challenges (reduced rate not available after Oct. 30). Registration is complimentary for each person who has made a gift of $1,200 or more to ENC and the Foundation during calendar year 2009.

For more information or to register, visit

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.