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2006 NW PFLAG Regional Conference comes to Portland next month
2006 NW PFLAG Regional Conference comes to Portland next month
by Terry Rhines - Co-Chair for Washington, NW PFLAG Conference

The Northwest Region of PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians And Gays), consisting of chapters from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, will hold a regional conference April 21-23, 2006 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

The conference weekend kicks off on Friday afternoon with a pre-conference workshop, conducted by Dr. Robert Minor, on the topic "Developing Personal Strategies for Activist Burnout, Blowout, and Balkanization: Why We End Up Frustrated and Divided and What We Can Do About It". This four hour workshop runs from 1 to 5 PM and is open to individuals from any organization interested in tackling the issues around GLBT activism and burnout. The fee for this workshop is $35.00 for non-conference attendees and $20.00 for people attending the weekend conference.

On Friday night, the Portland PFLAG chapter will be host to a social evening at Portland City Hall for conference attendees from 7 to 9 PM, featuring the youthful poetry of the Bent Writing Group from Seattle.

Saturday opens with a welcoming speech by the Mayor of Portland, Tom Potter. The remainder of the day will be devoted to workshops such as "Working to Ensure Diverse Thinking is Really Diverse" (Dr. Robert Minor), "Celebrating Faith in Our Families" (panel discussion), "Celebrating Equal Rights - Legislative Perspectives (panel with Equal Rights Washington and Basic Rights Oregon), "Honoring Diverse Cultures/Faiths Within PFLAG" (panel discussion), "How Do We Claim The Gift We Are" (Dotti Berry and Roby Sapp). There will also be a whole series of workshops devoted to a deeper understanding of G, L, B, T, I individuals. For a complete list of workshops and biographies on speakers and panelists, go to the conference web site at http://nwpflagconf.tripod.com/.

The conference is open to all individuals, not just PFLAG members, who want to learn about the current issues affecting the lives of all GLBTI families, including parents, sons, daughters, other family members and friends. Conference registration is just $75.00 if mailed by March 20 and $90.00 if mailed between March 21 and April 12. The registration includes continental breakfast, buffet lunch and refreshment breaks on Saturday, plus access to any of the workshops (four sessions during the day) and Saturday evening entertainment by Kevan Gardner. The conference concludes with two plenary sessions on Sunday morning ("Strategies for the Future of the Debate Around Religious Issues" and "Building A Stronger NW Region") and a closing address by Dotti Berry and Roby Sapp ("Observations from Gay Into Straight America", based on their year long journey across America).

So, how can YOU participate? If you are not able to attend the entire weekend, consider attending the pre-conference workshop with several members from your organization. If you are with an organization that has information to share, consider staffing an information table at the conference on Saturday, April 22 for just $5.00 (to cover rental from the hotel). If you cannot attend any of the activities but would like to support PFLAG in the valuable work that it does in advocating for the GLBTI community, consider making a donation to the conference or, better yet, providing a scholarship for a PFLAG mom or dad to attend the conference. A $75.00 scholarship will pay for one registration; a $300.00 scholarship will pay for registration and hotel accommodations for the entire weekend for a deserving mom or dad. You cheer them in the Seattle Pride Parade. This is your chance to say "Thank-You" for their ongoing, loving support. Donations and scholarships (checks, no cash please, made out to "NW PFLAG Conference") should be mailed to: Terry Rhines, co-chair, NW PFLAG Conference, PO Box 39728, Lakewood, WA 98439.

Complete conference information, including a four page conference schedule and a two page registration form (down loaded as Adobe Acrobat files) is available at http://nwpflagconf.tripod.com/. As the Conference Committee Transgender Advisor, Robyn Walters, stated, "It's not just your parents' PFLAG any more. PFLAG is looking to grow and be more involved, doing more not only for the Parents, Families and Friends of GLBT people but, also, for us folks as well."

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