BY BTL STAFF
ROCHESTER – With a goal to create more supportive and inclusive educational environments for LGBT individuals, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Initiative of Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services will host the fourth annual Michigan SOGI Education Conference.
The event, to be held on Feb. 6 at the Auburn Hills Marriott at 3600 Centerpoint Parkway in Pontiac, will feature expert presentations; roundtable discussions; instruction on the best practices for integrating SOGI initiatives of safe and welcoming space for all students, faculty and administrators regardless of identity into school and work; and ongoing networking opportunities.
“This may be our best lineup of presenters yet. We have drawn presenters from across the country,” said Dr. Timothy Larrabee, associate professor and director of the SOGI Initiative Taskforce. “At the same time, we have not lost our local focus. The Southeast Michigan chapter of GLSEN is back to discuss starting and maintaining gay-straight alliances. We will hear from students in Novi. Experts from University of Michigan-Dearborn, Wayne State University and Michigan State University will be here. We will also discuss the intersections of SOGI issues with race, religion, health and education.”
Keynote speaker, Kris Hermanns, will deliver her address, “The New Frontier: Ensuring Safe Schools for all LGBT Students.” Hermanns, a self-described “country girl from Wisconsin,” has over 20 years of nonprofit and managing experience, including many years spent as the deputy director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Hermanns is currently the executive director of Pride Foundation, a regional community foundation that inspires giving to expand opportunities and advance full equality for LGBT people across the Northwest
This year’s emcee is Steve Spreitzer, president and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable. Spreitzer has held various leadership positions in the organization, having served as director of programs and managed the Roundtable’s Interfaith efforts and Walk2gether Michigan. His work has gained recognition from the World Sabbath for Religious Reconciliation, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, the Catholic Youth Organization and the Hindu American Foundation.
Registration for the event, which includes a breakfast and lunch, is $100 for the general public and $25 for full-time students. On-site registration the day of the event is payable by credit card or electronic check (ACH) only. For additional information, visit the conference website at http://oakland.edu/SOGI. To contact the SOGI Initiative Office, call 248-370-4614 or email them at [email protected].