2018 Conference Agenda

This is a draft agenda to assist with planning. This information will be updated frequently and is subject to change.

Wednesday, December 5 (Free Pre-Conference Programming: Elected Officials Advancing Hemispheric Priorities through Inclusion and Diversity )

Participation is free and does not require registration for the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference.
All attendees must RSVP clicking here.

Organization of American States
Main Building
200 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006


9:00am – 9:30am:  Registration of participants.  

9:30am – 10:00am:  Opening session: outstanding opportunities in the Americas.  

  • H.E. Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS (confirmed)
  • Ms. Annise Parker, President & CEO – LGBTQ Victory Institute (confirmed)
  • H.E. Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS (confirmed)

10:00am – 11:00amPanel on democracy – updating the laws: The role of parliaments in fostering a more inclusive democratic process

  • Experts intervention: 20 min
  • Mr. Randy Boissonnault, Member of the Canadian Parliament and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues, Canada
  • Ms. Gloria Reyes, Member of Parliament, Dominican Republic
  • Dialogue with the audience: 30 mins – Moderator: Ambassador Jennifer Loten, Canada
  • Conclusions and recommendations: 10 mins – Mr. Francisco Guerrero, Secretary for Strengthening Democracy, OAS

11:00am – 12:00pmPanel on human rights: the legal imperative of preventing discrimination and fostering inclusion

  • Experts intervention: 20 min
  • Ms. Tamara Adrián, Member of the National Assembly, Venezuela
  • Mr. Luis Eduardo Salazar, Presidential Commissioner on LGBTI Issues, Costa Rica
  • Dialogue with the audience: 30 mins – Moderator: TBD
  • Conclusions and recommendations: 10 mins – Mr. Gastão Alves de Toledo, Secretary for Access to Rights and Equity, OAS

12:00pm – 1:00pm: light lunch & networking opportunity

1:00pm – 2:00pm:  Panel on integral development: the advantages of inclusive economic growth

  • Experts intervention: 20 min
  • Congressman David Cicilline, U.S. (invited)
  • Mr. Justin G. Nelson, President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • Dialogue with the audience: 30 mins – Moderator: Ms. Janet Boyd, Director of Government Relations, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Conclusions and recommendations: 10 mins – Ms. Kim Hurtault-Osborne, Executive Secretary for Integral Development, OAS

2:00pm – 3:00pmPanel on security: the need to guarantee safety and security for all

  • Experts intervention: 20 min
  • Senator Jennifer Raffoul, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Mr. Frank J. Pearl, Colombia
  • Dialogue with the audience: 30 mins – Moderator: Ambassador Fernando Simas Magalhães, Brazil
  • Conclusions and recommendations: 10 mins – Ms. Farah Diva Urrutia, Secretary for Multidimensional Security, OAS

3:00pm – 3:30pmclosing session

  • Commissioner Flávia Piovesan, Rapporteur for the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Persons (LGBTI), IACHR
  • Víctor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, United Nations

Thursday, December 6

Pre-Conference Session for Elected Officials (Invite Only)

8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Opening Plenary: Celebrating the 2018 Rainbow Wave (Grand Ballroom)

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

An unprecedented Rainbow Wave of openly LGBTQ candidates ran for office in the 2018 election cycle – becoming historic firsts, breaking down long-held political barriers and inspiring others to consider a run for office. Hear from some of the history-makers who were part of this Rainbow Wave, including the opportunities and challenges of running as openly LGBTQ and how LGBTQ voices in the halls of power can move equality forward in the years ahead.

Opening Reception: Powering Our Movement (The Embassy of Canada)

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

LGBTQ elected officials makeup less than 0.1% of all elected officials nationwide – yet their influence on the LGBTQ movement far outweighs their numbers. When LGBTQ elected officials are in the halls of power, it humanizes our lives, changes the debate and leads to more inclusive policies and legislation. During the opening reception, we celebrate the Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ elected officials, along with allies who use their positions of power to advance equality for our community.

Leading in Color Reception
8:30 PM – 10:30 PM
RSVP (Free)

The Leading In Color event is a “party with a purpose” where you’ll have an opportunity to engage with LGBTQ leaders of color who make up 20% of all LGBTQ elected officials serving nationwide. Over a dozen Out elected officials, and two hundred community members, donors, influencers, and allies from across the country are expected to attend.

Friday, December 7

Corporate Appreciation Breakfast (Invite Only)
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

State of Victory Speech (Grand Ballroom)
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Remarks by Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO, Victory Institute

Breakfast Plenary (Grand Ballroom)

A New LGBTI World Order
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

The United States government is relinquishing its leadership role in the international movement for LGBTI equality and other newly elected nationalist governments may follow suit. Which governments, elected leaders, institutions and organizations will fill this vacuum? Openly LGBTQ ambassadors and international LGBTQ elected officials will discuss this new reality and whether this disengagement is temporary or long-lasting.

Speakers: TBA


10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

Breakout Session 1a: The Other Green Economy: Marijuana as a Business (Salon D)

Nine states, the District of Columbia, and Canada have legalized recreational marijuana, joining dozens of other states that have made marijuana available for medical use. Some experts predict that legalization could inject over $130 billion into US tax coffers by 2025. As the cannabis industry becomes a bigger economic player, hear from experts, lawmakers, and community leaders about how it is impacting their communities.

Breakout Session 1b: Out on K Street: The Power of Influence (Salon E)

Whether lobbying to end the “victory tax” for Olympians, for land exchange, or to ensure legal protections for 11 million LGBTQ Americans, lobbyists’ direct line to elected officials can play an important role in a productive government. This session will evaluate how lobbying has been effectively used to benefit the LGBTQ community and how out lobbyists are advancing their agendas in today’s political climate. It will also offer tips for developing productive relationships between lobbyists and elected officials.

Breakout Session 1c: Equality Through the Courts: A Look at Europe, Latin America and India (Salon F)

Recent regional court decisions in Europe, Latin America and India have opened the door to government recognition of marriage equality and protections based on gender identity and expression. But will these rulings be fully implemented and will they lead to societal change? Panelists will share their perspectives on those rulings, the opportunities they bring to expand equality, and the challenges to implementing the decisions.

Lunch Plenary (Grand Ballroom)

Becoming a Historic First: The Spotlight and Responsibilities
12:15 PM – 1:45 PM

When Christine Quinn became the first openly lesbian New York City Council President, or Danica Roem the first openly trans person to win and serve in a state legislature, the headlines were seen across the world: “Historic First!” “History Made!” “Trailblazing Candidate!”. But with the spotlight comes enormous pressure – both to live up to the promise of being an LGBTQ history-maker and to ensure constituents remain the priority. Hear from a number of “historic firsts” as they reflect on the excitement and challenges of shattering lavender ceilings.

Speakers: TBA


2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Breakout Session 2a: The Continued Health Crisis: Tackling Rising Rates of HIV in the Transgender Community (Salon D)

A National Institute of Health report found nearly a third of transgender Americans are HIV positive. Other research shows trans women of color as the fastest-growing population of HIV-positive people in the country. Properly addressing this health crisis will require a coordinated response from researchers, activists, community health leaders and private industry, but action must be taken now. Those present at this session will discuss the role we all must play in educating our community and securing the resources necessary to stop the spread of HIV.

Breakout Session 2b: Our Communities, Our Environment – An LGBTQ Perspective on Environmental Justice and Equity (Salon E)

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and other natural and manmade disasters have shed light on the appalling lack of protections and resources for many disenfranchised communities. In response, enlightened legislators and local leaders are considering environmental justice and equity concerns when developing environmental policies they wish to advance. Yet many policymakers remain unaware of these social justice concerns and fail to engage relevant stakeholders when writing legislation or policies. This panel will discuss how to change this dynamic through awareness and thoughtful engagement.

Breakout Session 2c: Forging Alliances with Allied Elected Officials: Lessons from the Caribbean(Salon F)

LGBTQ people remain severely underrepresented in governments all across the globe, but in some legislatures, out LGBTQ officials are extremely few or non-existent. In these environments, the LGBTI movement must rely on allied politicians to make progress on equality issues, and leaders in the Caribbean have had some success. In this session, change-makers from the Caribbean will share their perspectives and recommendations on how to build productive working relationships between civil society and politicians in low-equality countries or regions.

Afternoon Plenary (Grand Ballroom)

California in the Lead. And How the Rest of Us Can Catch Up
3:45 PM – 5:00 PM

California is the gold standard in LGBTQ equality and leads the nation in LGBTQ representation in government – not to mention it has out lesbian Toni Atkins heading the state Senate. In this plenary, LGBTQ California legislators will discuss how they advanced an equality agenda in the state legislature and city councils and provide strategies that can be applied to other legislative bodies regardless of the political makeup.

Speakers: TBA

International Reception (Invite Only)
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Rising Leaders Reception(Invite Only)
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Women Out to Win Reception
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Bohnett Reception (Invite Only) 

Late Night Out with Victory
8:00 PM – Late Night

Saturday, December 8

Breakfast Plenary (Grand Ballroom)

Year of the LGBTQ Woman
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

LGBTQ women ran for office like never before this cycle and became the stars of the Rainbow Wave of LGBTQ candidates that stormed the nation. Why are women – and particularly LGBTQ women – resonating so strongly with voters at this moment? Why are LGBTQ women running in such large numbers right now? Hear from some of the newly elected officials who embody the Year of the LGBTQ Women as they reflect on this historic year, and learn what they plan to do when they take office.

Bohnett Fellowship Refresher (Invite Only)
10:30 AM – 5:00 PM


10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Breakout Session 3a: Let Us Live: Ensuring Access to Quality Health Care (Salon D)

Tens of millions of Americans depend on the Affordable Care Act, and they are disproportionately LGBTQ people, seniors, people of color and low-income Americans. Healthcare access for people living with HIV and trans people seeking medical care has improved drastically under the law – yet it remains under threat. In this session, public officials, advocates, and private sector leaders will discuss ways to guarantee access to quality health care for LGBTQ people in every state, regardless of anti-LGBTQ state or local laws — as well as other health-related policy issues affecting the community.

Breakout Session 3b: On the Frontlines: LGBTQ Elected Officials in Low-Equality States (Salon E)

The challenges of being an openly LGBTQ elected official is even greater in states where few out leaders have historically served. Yet having one out person in office can transform legislative debates and humanize LGBTQ lives for other lawmakers.  Hear from LGBTQ lawmakers from low-equality states about the unique challenges and opportunities of being one of the few out officials, and how their presence impacts policies and cultural change.

Breakout Session 3c: Reaching Out: Corporations Supporting Equality Abroad (Salon F)

Ninety-one percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 83 percent include gender identity. While corporations strive to lead on equality, challenges arise in enforcing internal and external pro-LGBTQ policies in countries or regions hostile to equality. Join a panel of corporate representatives as they discuss their strategies for championing equality in conservative countries.

Lunch Plenaries (Grand Ballroom)

Broadening the Equality Agenda: Millennials in Office
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

For decades, LGBTQ elected officials pushed for marriage equality, non-discrimination protections and hate crimes legislation. With at least part of that agenda fulfilled for now, millennial LGBTQ elected officials are expanding the scope of what is an equality issue and are fighting for issues too long ignored. In this plenary, LGBTQ elected millennials will discuss their priority issues – whether gun control, immigration or treatment of LGBTQ prisoners – and how they believe a broader equality agenda can be achieved.

Returning the Favor: Fighting for Those Who Sparked the Fight
1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

The number of LGBTQ seniors is growing, but with few exceptions, states and cities have failed to address the needs of our aging community. Stories abound about LGBTQ people returning to the closet when moving to senior living communities. Others struggle to find caregivers who are culturally competent in LGBTQ health. Hear from experts about the unique challenges that face older adults who are LGBTQ, and from LGBTQ elected officials about the policies and legislation they are pushing to protect this community.


2:15 PM – 3:45 PM

Breakout Session 4a: Fired Up for 2020: A Primer on Running for Office (Salon D)

More than 600 LGBTQ candidates ran for office in 2018 and more than 400 appeared on the ballot – a historic number. As 2020 approaches, are you considering a run for office to be part of the next rainbow wave? Or do you want to help elect our next LGBTQ Congressmember or governor? Come hear from political training experts and elected officials on what it takes to prepare for 2020 — either as a candidate or a campaign staffer.

Breakout Session 4b: The Kids Are Alright? (Salon E)

LGBTQ youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth – and the challenges they face persist. While LGBTQ elected officials are leading the fight to end “conversion therapy,” the horrific practice is banned in just fourteen states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education has backed away from protections for LGBTQ students, including trans students ability to use the bathroom. What can we do to make life easier for our LGBTQ youth? Hear from a range of policy experts and elected officials on what they are doing at the local, state and national level to protect and support young LGBTQ people.

Breakout Session 4c: Inside and Out: Race & Criminal Justice Reform (Salon F)

Communities of color, which include millions of LGBTQ Americans, are disproportionately impacted by the U.S. criminal justice system. From unfair sentencing and arrest practices to ensuring basic civil liberties, out elected officials are leading the conversation on how to make our society more just and fair. In this session, openly LGBTQ elected officials and leading experts will discuss the solutions they have to reform America’s criminal justice system.

Closing Celebration (Penn Avenue Terrace)
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Join us as we celebrate the closing of the 2018 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference and prepare for the  Rainbow Wave to take effect in 2019!