Fifth annual SOGI conference promotes inclusive classrooms and communities
With a goal to create more supportive and inclusive educational and work environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex (GLBTQQI) individuals, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Initiative of Oakland University's School of Education and Human Services will host the fifth annual Michigan SOGI Education Conference from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29.
The event, which takes place at the Detroit Marriott Troy, in Troy, Mich., will feature expert presentations, roundtable discussions, best practices for integrating SOGI issues into school and work, and ongoing networking opportunities – all focused on meeting the needs of GLBTQQI individuals.
This year’s SOGI Conference will feature multiple special guests, including Michigan Board of Education President John Austin.
“Mr. Austin has close personal ties to the GLBTQQI community and is determined to see that all students receive equitable access to their education, free from harassment or other forms of discrimination,” said Timothy Larrabee, associate professor and director of the SOGI Initiative Taskforce. “Both he and the State Board of Education are committed to enhancing policies will that will help us reach our goal of ‘Creating Climate Change in our Classrooms and Communities,’ which is the theme of this year’s conference.
Sean M. Kosofsky, executive director of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, will present the keynote address “Bullying, Harassment and Humiliation. Stories and Solutions.” Kosofsky earned a political science degree from Oakland and has served in leadership roles for LGBT organizations throughout the United States.
Prior to joining the Tyler Clementi Foundation, he was the executive director for Amplify US, an organization created to drive a research and data-driven agenda for charitable organizations working on social change. Kosofsky also has served as Executive Director for Blueprint North Carolina, a statewide collaboration that brings together over 50 public interest advocacy organizations to shape policy and increase voter turnout. He is a former board member and co-chair of the Equality Federation, the largest LGBT lobbying and activist network in the nation, and also previously worked as a columnist for Between the Lines (Michigan) and an Op-ed writer for the Progressive Media Project.
This year’s emcee is Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan and Equality Michigan Action Network. Her career spans over two decades of leading collective action from U.S. Army Commander to Political Director for the Michigan Democratic Party and the Schauer for Governor Campaign.
White first moved to Michigan in 2002 when she served as the Campaign Manager for the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality and subsequently worked for the Michigan Environmental Council. She then spent six years in Washington D.C. working on federal policy issues, including serving as the Managing Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). She currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board for NCTE. She holds a B.A. from Texas Christian University, where she was a Distinguished Military Graduate.
Registration for the event, which includes a breakfast and lunch, is $100 for the general public and $25 for full-time students. Organizations wishing to host an information table can do so for $50. Sponsorships and donations can be arranged through the online registration site at oakland.edu/SOGI/register. Online registration closes Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 5 p.m.
The School of Education and Human Services' Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Initiative is helping a limited number of eligible full-time students attend the 2016 Michigan SOGI Education Conference through a conference PASS. The PASS will cover the cost of one student registration. PASS recipients will be notified of the outcome of their application by email.
View the PASS form online to submit an application.
On-site registration on the day of the event is payable by credit card or electronic check (ACH) only. For additional information, visit the conference website at oakland.edu/SOGI, or contact the SOGI Initiative Office at (248) 370-4614 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow conference developments on Twitter at @OUSOGI, #SOGICON.