Updated: Oct. 4,2018 (Westin URL)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The 2017 iteration of the Equality Federation‘s annual Leadership Conference will take place from July 26-29 at the Westin Alexandria. The federation aims to unify and strengthen state-based pro-equality groups like Equality North Carolina to work together towards progress for LGBTQ Americans.

The 2016 Leadership Conference focused on racial justice and intersectionality. The LGBTQ community is comprised of people from every race, religion and marginalized group — a fact that Equality Federation not only recognizes, but highlights.

“Through a partnership with Race Forward, we’ve been working to incorporate a racial equity lens into all our work,” the 2016 conference announcement said. “State equality organizations are increasingly embracing an intersectional approach to their work and taking on issues that weren’t traditionally seen as part of the ‘LGBTQ Agenda.'”

This year, the federation plans to continue its focus on the plurality of social justice issues that impact the LGBTQ community and its allies. Healthcare takes center stage in terms of gender transitioning, ending conversion therapy as well as the legal and medical treatment of HIV-positive individuals.

Legislation, both pro- and anti-LGBTQ, is another central focus of the conference. The battleground is fierce, a necessity made obvious by more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced a mere two months into 2017.

Events at the conference range from an Executive Director Institute, a Field Institute, panel discussions to FEDtalks, 5-minute speeches by the leaders who make state-based advocacy possible. The culminating event is a celebration of Equality Federation’s 20th anniversary, inviting alumni of organizations to join the festivities.

Although the Equality Federation Leadership Conference is designed for the leadership of pro-LGBTQ advocacy organizations, anyone can register to attend. Members pay $300 to register for the four-day conference, and ally tickets run $350. Member organizations bringing three or more people qualify for a $50 discount on each individual’s registration. There is a reduced lodging rate at the Westin for attendees of the conference.