Creating Change is an annual LGBTQ conference put on by the National LGBTQ Task Force. Hosting hundreds of workshops, caucus sessions, keynote speakers and more, the more than 30-year-old event tours across the U.S., every year choosing a city in which to showcase the LGBTQ community’s local and national community. This year, Creating Change 2019 is coming to Detroit in January. In advance of the event, BTL has reached out to interview four local co-chairs who are involved in putting on this Detroit-specific event. This interview is part of that series.
Bridie Johnson is a state-licensed social worker and is currently employed as the clinical supervisor of the Behavioral Health Department of American Indian Health and Family Services. Prior to that, Johnson was the director of programs for the Ruth Ellis Center. Johnson has also conducted national trainings on transgender inclusion in the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Shelter safe space movement in Michigan. In addition, Johnson conducted research for the I Am for Survivors Project, an initiative focused on increasing accessibility in Michigan for LGBT survivors of domestic and sexual violence needing safe shelter spaces.
What does Creating Change mean to you?
Creating Change is a national change agent that assures those of the majority are awakened and opened up to learn and grow with people in desperate need for acceptance and inclusion. For some, Creating Change is a place to mingle, network and relax; for others, Creating Change is a life-saving mechanism that holds the individual together due to lack of community support in their lives.
What are you doing to create change in your own life?
I live by Creating Change’s philosophy. I model appropriate inclusive behavior and am an ally to many in the LBGT community and my personal networks represent those I support always.
What made you feel you had to be a co-chair?
The fact that I was nominated by friends and colleagues in the Metro Detroit area immediately created a sense of honor and devotion to assure the event goes smoothly for its 31st year here in Detroit. This along with my internal desire to consistently creating change in my life and in Detroit are both extremely important to me.
What are you most looking forward to about Creating Change 2019?
Presenting an educational workshop for the community at large. Along with seeing and networking with 4,000-plus individuals and spending a week here in the heart of the city of Detroit together with over 350 breakout sessions to learn from making it the largest LBGT training in the nation.
What is your take on Gay Rights in the Era of #45? Where are we as a community and where do we need to be?
My take on #45 is better left unspoken, and as a community we all as allies need to be in Detroit, in January, for Creating Change 2019. In Detroit our community should remember that we are here to resist, relearn and then return to our community stronger than we were before.
More information about the conference and its offerings can be found online at creatingchange.org.