It is our immense pleasure to welcome you to the 31st annual Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference—America’s largest and longest continuously held conference for queer and trans college students—and create space with you centering Midwest queer and trans joy.
Joy is the antidote to despair. Wherever you look across our shared movements, fields of study, and areas of influence, we witness communities and individuals grappling with the idea of joy amidst constant struggle.
Climate activists share their tips and tactics for not succumbing to climate grief as our planet gives clear cues it is changing. For decades, Black, Chicanx, and lesbian feminists and abolitionists have showered us with guidance, commentary, and challenges to maintain “hope as a discipline” in the face of devastating barriers.
Poet J. Drew Lantham tells us that “joy is the justice we give ourselves.” As queer and trans folks, we are alchemists, deeply experienced in the realm of creating for ourselves. We carve out space, we map out pathways, and we seek to replenish the joy that is so frequently stolen from us through legislative attacks, structural erasure, and interpersonal harms.
To choose and center joy is not to ignore our plights, but to shield us from the full brunt of them. This gathering is a testament to how coming together around joy can propel us into the next great battle, guide us through the next big blockade, and connect us across major causes.
As you move through this year’s conference, we invite you to follow your desires, seek pleasure, laugh and love in whatever ways you can discover. Our power lies in our capacity to hold joy, share joy, and reject the idea that we are only meant to struggle. Thank you for taking the time to join us at this year’s conference and may your MBLGTACC 2023 be an enjoyable experience.
Director of Programs, Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity
Executive Director, Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity