Conference Agenda

November 30 –  December 2, 2023
JW Marriott | Washington, DC

8:00 AM: Conference Check-in Begins


9:00 AM-3:45 PM: Elected Officials Summit (Invite-Only)

9:00 AM-3:45 PM: One-Day Candidate & Campaign Training (All conference registrants welcome)  

Curious about what it means to run for office as an LGBTQ+ person? Join us for a FREE pre-conference one-day Candidate & Campaign Training to cover the basics of campaigning, messaging, fundraising, and so much more.

Registeration is requested. Register here. You do not need to be a conference attendee to register for this free program. For more information or any questions, please email

12:00 PM: Check-in Begins 

2:15-3:45 PM: Political Appointments Training

Those seeking a presidential-appointed position face an opaque process full of acronyms and agencies few are familiar with, leading to many qualified LGBTQ+ people from considering federal appointed service. Join LGBTQ+ appointees and leaders from Victory Institute’s Political Appointments Program as they demystify that process, providing an overview of how it works and how Victory Institute can help put you forward to the Biden-Harris administration 

2:45 PM-3:45 PM: Victory Congressional Intern Orientation (Invite-Only)   



4:00 PM-5:30 PM: Opening Plenary: Back in the Political Playbook: LGBTQ+ Issues and Candidates in the 2024 Elections 

U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler, California
Fireside Chat Moderator: Imara Jones, Translash Media

Moderator: Brooke Migdon, The Hill
State Senator Sarah McBride, Delaware
State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, Pennsylvania 
Brian Derrick, Oath
A’Shanti Ghalor, Emerge

2024 brings another consequential election year, with LGBTQ+ issues potentially playing a more dominant role in the national narrative than it has in years. Join us at our opening plenary to learn what we can expect from the 2024 election season, including what the politicking and the election results could mean for LGBTQ+ people. How will LGBTQ+ candidates fare? Will right-wing extremists successfully weaponize LGBTQ+ issues, or will voters reject the hate-mongering? What are the opportunities should we secure a pro-equality US Congress? Panelists will explore how to fight back against LGBTQ+ political attacks and talking points, share their predictions for the year ahead and share some of the candidates and issues they are most excited about.  

5:30 PM-7:00 PM: Opening Global Reception 

8:00 PM-9:30 PM: Leading in Color Party 

You’re cordially invited to Victory Institute’s Leading in Color reception, a party celebrating LGBTQ elected officials and leaders of color who are shining examples of leadership and change within our community. Out Black, Brown and AAPI leaders of color makeup over a quarter of all LGBTQ elected officials around the country, and in the past year, there has been a 23.3% increase in LGBTQ elected officials of color. Let’s take this moment to celebrate queer leaders of color and elevate their voices!


9:00 AM-9:30 AM: Breakfast 

9:30 AM-11:00 AM: Breakfast Plenary: Emulating Our Opponents: Countering the Global Anti-LGBTQ Movement 

Senator Jerry Buttimer, Ireland
Alberto de Belaúnde, Outright International
Congresswoman Carolina Giraldo, Colombia
Congressman-elect Esteban Paulon, Argentina
Jessica Stern, U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI Persons

Beirne Roose-Snyder, The Council for Global Equality

Around the globe, opponents of LGBTQ+ equality are organizing, sharing best practices and tactics, and building collaborative partnerships that have led to successful anti-LGBTQ laws and initiatives. They have built a global anti-LGBTQ movement, that relies on relationship-building, consistent funding sources and messaging and lobby strategies. During this plenary, LGBTQ+ global policy experts, elected officials and other leaders will help us better understand the structure and tactics of our opponents and discuss in what ways our movement can emulate them as we work to build a strong LGBTQ+ political movement across borders.  

11:00 AM-12:15 PM:  Breakouts & Workshops 

1a: Creative Campaign Strategies – Elevating Your Campaign Brand 

City Council Member Reggie Harris, Cincinnati
City Council Member Shontel Lewis, Denver

Unleash your campaign’s full potential by thinking creatively and stepping outside the conventional boundaries of political campaigning. In this session, we will delve into innovative approaches for crafting a unique campaign profile that captures the hearts and minds of your constituents. Learn how to harness the power of creative strategies, such as dance and art, to amplify your campaign’s brand and message. Discover how these unconventional platforms can resonate with voters and set your campaign apart in a crowded field.  

1b: LGBTQ+ Migration – Creating Safe Havens and Inclusive Policies  

Moderator: Pax Santos, Rainbow Railroad
State Representative Lorena Austin, Arizona
Sharita Gruberg, National Partnership for Women & Families
Jamie Sgarro, InReach

In a rapidly changing world where LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face persecution, securing sanctuary and advocating for migrants is paramount in our ongoing global fight for equality. Join us for a thought-provoking discussion where we unravel the intricacies of LGBTQ+ migration in the United States. Our panel of experts will offer valuable insights by addressing the status of LGBTQ+ migrants and asylum seekers, examining the challenges faced by those seeking refuge worldwide, and sharing effective strategies for crafting inclusive migration policies.  

1c: The Continuous Fight for Gender-Affirming Care

Moderator: Andy Marra, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Benjamin Brooks, Whitman-Walker Institute
State Representative Keturah Herron, Kentucky
Olivia Hunt, National Center for Transgender Equality
State Representative Taylor Small, Vermont

Join us for a critical exploration of gender-affirming care as we address the growing challenges faced by transgender and gender-diverse individuals in state legislatures. This session will delve into the recent attacks on gender-affirming care, starting with children and extending to adults, highlighting the urgency of the issue. Our expert panel will explain issues most important to gender-affirming care at this critical moment and discuss actionable steps to counter these attacks and protect the rights of transgender individuals to access the care they need. The session will explore successful strategies, messaging techniques, and legislative approaches that have proven effective in this fight.  

1d: So, You Lost: Running for Office Again 

Moderator: Annise Parker, LGBTQ+ Victory Institute
Delegate Rozia Henson, Virginia 

City Council Member Ally Layman, Huntington, West Virginia
State Representative-elect Fabian Nelson, Mississippi 
City Council Member Janani Ramachandran, Oakland, California

Losing an election can be devastating, but it shouldn’t mean the end of your journey to public service. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities of running for office again. Our discussion will draw from data analysis and personal experiences to provide valuable insights on what it takes to bounce back and re-enter the political arena. Learn firsthand what it’s like to run for office a second time and discover the invaluable lessons from past losses. Whether you’re considering another campaign or supporting someone who is, this session offers a roadmap to resilience and renewed determination. 

12:30 PM-1:00 PM: Lunch 

1:00 PM-2:45 PM: Lunch Plenary: “We’re Still Here”: LGBTQ+ Indigenous Leaders and the Continued Fight for Equality

Keynote: Vice President Richelle Montoya, Navajo Nation

Moderator: Arlando Teller, U.S. Department of Transportation
Former State Representative Patrick Branco, Hawaii
Isaac Casados, New Mexico Democratic Party
Duane Duffy, Mescalero Apache
Vice President Alicia Mousseau, Ogallala Sioux Tribe

Despite being the first Americans, Native Americans only gained U.S. citizenship in 1924 and many were denied the right to vote in U.S. elections until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The legacy and continuation of racism, discrimination and colonization still influence Native American realities of today, playing out in policies around sovereignty, in Supreme Court rulings, and infrastructure challenges. These issues uniquely impact LGBTQ+ Native Americans – whose experiences with family and government often vary significantly from LGBTQ+ people who aren’t Native American. For this plenary, we are joined by LGBTQ+ indigenous leaders who will highlight important issues and concerns LGBTQ+ lawmakers and advocates must understand to be strong allies to Native Americans, and will provide an overview of the continued opportunities and challenges for LGBTQ+ Native Americans in their struggle for true equality. 

3:00 PM-4:15 PM: Breakouts & Workshops 

2a: Soundbites and Beyond: Effective Messaging on Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills  

Ross Murray, GLAAD Media Institute

Master the art of effectively conveying equality messages in the face of anti-LGBTQ+ challenges. This session is a deep dive into delivering impactful, research-based messaging that will resonate with diverse and moveable middle audiences. Explore what messaging techniques are proven to work and which tools are indispensable in opposing anti-LGBTQ+ bills and advocating for LGBTQ+ people. Discover the power of storytelling, compelling visuals, and data-driven communication to counter anti-LGBTQ+ narratives effectively.  

2b: Abortion & Reproductive Justice: Learning from Advocates Around the World  

Moderator: Johana Torres
Angeles Palma Maradiaga, Coalición por la defensa de la Ley Integral de Educación Sexual
Anne Yvker Gomez, LEDESER

While the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a devastating blow to abortion rights more than one year ago, other countries around the world are making successful strides toward expanding reproductive justice. In this session, we’ll go on an insightful journey into the worldwide landscape of abortion and reproductive justice, better understanding the strategies that have been successful in various countries and regions. This session will provide best practices and tactics from Latin America and beyond with discussions on how those successes can inform abortion rights movements in other countries.  

2c: Running in Hostile Regions 

Moderator: State Representative Neil Rafferty, Alabama
Sheena Barnes, Toledo Public Schools Board

State Representative Kameron Nelson, South Dakota
State Representative Michele Rayner, Florida

Discover the campaign strategies and resilience required to run for office in regions marked by anti-LGBTQ+ politics and where LGBTQ+ officials are significantly underrepresented. Learn from elected officials who serve in these challenging environments and discover the intricacies of running in deep red states. Explore why it’s crucial to stay and fight for change and gain inspiration from those who have undertaken this courageous journey. Leave feeling equipped with the knowledge and determination to make a difference, even in the toughest political landscapes. 



4:30-6:00 PM: Trailblazers by the Fire: Black, Queer, and Getting Elected – A program by LGBTQ+ Victory’s Black Leaders Caucus and National Black Justice Coalition’s Good Trouble Network (invite only)

4:30-5:30 PM: Convention Delegate Training

How to Run for Delegate in 2024: Learn the process of how to become a delegate to the Nominating Conventions happening in 2024. Leave understanding what you need to do and how to be selected.



6:00 PM-8:00 PM: David Bohnett Leaders Fellow Reception (Invite Only)

6:30-7:30 PM: Victory Congressional Intern Dinner (Invite Only)

6:30-8:00 PM: NextGen Reception

8:00-9:30 PM: Women Out to Win Reception

The Women Out to Win Reception is a party with a purpose, where we’ll celebrate LGBTQ women leaders who are making change around the U.S. and world. We’ll toast to our LGBTQ women elected officials, who represent 32 percent of all LGBTQ elected officials serving nationwide, while making friends along the way! Among the many women leaders in attendance will be the 2023 cohort of our Women Out to Win program participants – representing the next generation of LGBTQ women leaders who will pursue public office.


9:30 AM-10:00 AM: Breakfast 

10:00 AM-11:15 AM: Breakfast Plenary: The Politics of Hate: Understanding and Combatting Anti-Trans Political Attacks 

Moderator: Diego Sanchez, PFLAG
Shelby Chestnut, Transgender Law Center
State Representative Leigh Finke, Minnesota
State Representative Mauree Turner, Oklahoma
State Representative Zooey Zephyr, Montana 

More than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 2023 – from school boards to state legislatures to the U.S. House of Representatives. While the entire LGBTQ+ community remains a target of extremist lawmakers, trans people have become the focus of their ire, through their political rhetoric, the focus of their legislation, and even the censuring of trans and non-binary elected officials. During this plenary, you will hear from lawmakers and experts on the frontlines, who will share their learnings in efforts to defeat anti-trans legislation or advance a pro-trans agenda. Panelists will also discuss the political strategy of anti-trans activists, candidates and lawmakers and what we can expect from them during the 2024 elections. 

11:15 AM-11:30 AM: Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award 

The Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award is given to an up-and-coming U.S. state or local LGBTQ+ elected official with a promising political career who lives to fight for the LGBTQ community. This year’s recipient is New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán!

11:45 AM-1:00 PM: Breakouts & Workshops 

3a: Building Accessible and Inclusive Campaigns  

Sarah Blahovec, Disability Victory
Neal Carter, Disability Victory

Learn how to create a welcoming and accessible campaign environment that accommodates individuals with disabilities and diverse language needs. Learn from experts the practical strategies your campaign needs to ensure inclusivity. Uncover the significance of language and disability inclusivity in politics and equip yourself with tools to run a truly representative campaign that benefits voters – and your election prospects!  

3b: Opportunities on Gun Safety: The Road Ahead 

Moderator: Monisha Henley, Everytown for Gun Safety
KT Coleman, CHCI
Former State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida
Alderman Lamont Robinson, Chicago

Join us for a critical discussion on the state of gun safety legislation, including the challenges posed by legislative roadblocks at every level of government. Explore the pressing issues surrounding gun safety, identify opportunities, and discuss strategies for effecting meaningful change. This session offers a platform to engage with experts and fellow advocates as we chart the path forward in the ongoing fight for a safer society. 

3c: From Burden to Fulfillment: Learning to Love Fundraising… and Succeed  

Moderator: Jer Adrianne Lelliott, Victory Campaign Board
Ruben Gonzales, Former Executive Director of LGBTQ+ Victory Institute
State Representative Leslie Herod, Colorado

Curtis Sakow, LGBTQ+ Victory Institute 

Whether a candidate, elected official or activist, raising money will likely be an essential part of your success. While for many it is a necessary burden, others find enjoyment in making the ask, and they are the ones who are often most successful. In this session, we’ll investigate how to pivot your thinking on fundraising, making it an enjoyable (or at least more enjoyable) part of your routine. You’ll also learn proven strategies, effective communication techniques, and best practices for building strong fundraising relationships, including the tools and confidence to bring in those dollars. 

1:15 PM-2:15 PM: Lunch Plenary: “Queer Enough?” Bi and Pan Sexuality Representation 

Moderator: Robyn Ochs
Assemblymember Greta Neubauer, Wisconsin
City Clerk Nicole Bolden, Bloomington, Indiana
Councilmember James Coleman, South San Francisco, California

While 58 percent of LGBTQ+ Americans identify as bisexual or pansexual, just 13 percent of out LGBTQ+ elected officials in the U.S. are bisexual or pansexual, an enormous disparity in representation. The reasons for the gap are many, but biphobia both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community plays a prominent role and extends to our politics, creating unique challenges for candidates and those in elected office. In this plenary discussion with bisexual and pansexual elected officials and advocates, we’ll discuss the state of biphobia in the LGBTQ+ community and the U.S. at-large and the reasons bisexual and pansexual people are so underrepresented in government. Panelists will also share how together we can be strong allies and better support bisexual and pansexual candidates and elected officials looking to make change. 

2:15 PM-2:45 PM: Champions of Equality: LGBTQ+ Political Hall of Fame Induction

Join us for the LGBTQ+ Political Hall of Fame Induction, where we proudly recognize this year’s esteemed inductees: California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, former Massachusetts Senator Jarrett Barrios, and former Texas State Representative Glen Maxey. This annual ceremony honors exceptional individuals—current or former elected officials, appointed officials, or candidates—who have made significant strides in advancing LGBTQ+ political power. Be part of this inspiring event as we commemorate the achievements of our distinguished inductees and celebrate their lasting legacy in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and representation.

3:00 PM-4:30 PM: Closing Reception: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Power

Join us at our Closing Reception as we bid farewell to this year’s conference, reflecting on the moments of inspiration, collaboration, and empowerment shared over the past few days. As we conclude the event, let’s come together in anticipation of the upcoming Rainbow Wave set to take effect in 2024. Don’t miss this final opportunity to revel in the spirit of unity and look forward to the positive impact we’ll continue to make as a global LGBTQ+ community!