The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Life

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Out in Front LGBTQQIA+ & Ally College Conference

OUT in Front is open to any currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate student at a two- or four- year institution and folks enrolled in both traditional and trade school programs.The conference is free to attend and allows you to meet peers from across the state to share resources, develop leadership skills, and foster a strong community of LGBTQQIA+ and allied student leaders.

The mission of OUT in Front is to engage students, faculty, and staff from across the region in issues relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community and society at large. Each year, the conference strives to connect both individuals and communities with resources that will help to enrich the lives of LGBTQIA+ and Allies in the South/Southeast. OUT in Front strives to enhance leadership development for LGBTQIA+ and allied students.

This Year’s Conference Details


OUT in Front will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2017 from 8:00am-5:00pm. Register here.


OUT in Front is held in the Sarratt/Rand Student Center at Vanderbilt University.


The theme of the 2017 OIF Conference is sh(OUT): resistance through existence. Our goal is to explore the ways in which survival and solidarity among intersectional queer+ communities remains vital. Our existence is a powerful presence against the oppressive forces that surround us everyday.  We want to boldly shout that we are ready to not only survive, but thrive, and demand that our voices be recognized and centered. Register here.

This year’s conference features Kit Yan, a New York based spoken word artist from Hawaii and performs theatrical slam poetry pieces about his life as a queer, transgender, and Asian American through stories about family, love, and social justice. Kit has been seen on television programs such as HBO’s Asian Aloud and PBS’ Asian America, and his poetry has been reviewed in New York, Bitch, Curve, and Hyphen magazines. He has toured internationally with Sister Spit, The Tranny Roadshow, and Good Asian Drivers. Kit’s work has recently been featured in Flicker and Spark and Troubling the Line- two new queer and transgender poetry anthologies and has a forthcoming book with Transgenre Press. You can find out more about Kit here or connect with him via social media @kityanpoet.

Kit will be selling merchandise outside of Sarratt Cinema before and after his closing performance.

Kit will be facilitating a slam poetry workshop and close the conference by performing his slam poetry piece Queer Heartache. Click on the youtube links below for a taste of what he will be performing!

Register for the 2017 OUT in Front Conference here.


We are committed to ensuring that at OUT in Front, no individual with a disability or disabled person is excluded. Below are some notes about the conference in order to maximize accessibility.

The hallways might be crowded during passing periods. If you need assistance navigating the halls, please find a volunteer.

We are unfortunately unable to control strong scents, but we do ask that participants refrain from wearing strong fragrances.

Flash photography is prohibited.

Please respect folx who wish their photo not be taken.

There are several entrances to this building with ramps, automatic doors, or both.

A Calming & Art-Making Space is an intentional room for well-being, equipped with meditation chairs, adult coloring books, calming sound machine, blankets, pillows, crafts, art supplies, & cookies. The Calming and Art-Making Space will be available during the entire OIF conference in Sarratt 112.

Free HIV Screening & Testing will be available thanks to Street Works, Project Uno. A few screening questions will be asked before the test to determine one’s eligibility. Testing is free and will be available during Session 2 (10:45-11:45) & Session 3 (1:15-2:15). Check-in and waiting area is in Sarratt 110 and testing will take place in Sarratt 114.

Free conference t-shirts presented by Hip Hues and the Office of LGBTQI Life are available on the Sarratt Promenade from 11:00am-2:00pm. You must visit the Hip Hues printing station to select your t-shirt size and the staff will assist you in printing this year’s conference logo. T-shirts will not be given out at any other time before or after 11:00am-2:00pm.

All-Gender Restrooms are located throughout Sarratt-Rand on all floors of the building. There are signs on restrooms indicating an inclusive space for all genders for those that may have been altered for today’s conference. Two single stall all-gender restrooms can be found on the third floor of Sarratt across from Sarratt 325. All other all-gender restrooms have multiple stalls and are shared spaces. Please inform a volunteer if a sign has been removed, you need assistance, or if you have any questions.

Schedule of OUT in Front 2017

8:00-9:00 Check-in & Breakfast

Sarratt Student Center (in front of Cinema)

9:00-9:15 Welcome Remarks

Sarratt Cinema

9:30-10:30 Workshop Session #1

Slam Poetry Open Level Workshop Part 1

facilitated by Keynote Performer, Kit Yan (ends at 11:45am)

Students of all performing experiences will engage in an interactive, educational, and fun workshop of learning tips from Kit and then performance techniques which they will practice with each other.

Organizing and Messaging for Trans Rights

facilitated by Dr. Marisa Richmond

Fighting for Transgender equality has proven to be a challenge for those who have never been active in politics or have not worked to educate others about the lives of trans people.  Many times, the “T” is often overlooked or shortchanged when discussing equal rights.  Attendees will discuss the challenges of discussing trans identities and effective ways of messaging to affect policies, laws, and personal relationships.

Supporting Loved Ones through Trauma: Implications for the LGBTQIA+ Community

facilitated by facilitated by Sarah Jordan Welch, MSW

The LGBTQIAP+ community experiences disproportionate rates of physical and sexual violence. This kind of trauma can have lasting impacts not only on individuals, but on the larger community. This workshop will look at the ways in which trauma impacts survivors, the complexities of the neurobiology of trauma, and practical skills in how to support friends, family members, and/or partners.

Privilege as Addiction: Combating Oppression and Building Solidarity

facilitated by Valencia Clement, Kathryn Farkas, & Malina Halman

This session has a trigger warning around substance abuse and addiction. Based on the work of Gail Golden, this workshop focuses on privileged identities through the lens of addiction and traditional substance abuse management methods.  Through the connection between addiction and social privilege within higher education, we aim to offer another tool for folks seeking authentic solidarity with others, through the critical work of honest self-reflection

Bisexuality 101

facilitated by Lauren Beach, JD/PhD, Sami Heller, & Joe Gibson 

This session offers attendees an opportunity to explore an often-overlooked segment of the larger community: people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled – and more! Participants will be encouraged to think critically about sex, gender and sexuality and will leave thinking about the next steps they can take to help make communities more welcoming and affirming for bi+ people.

Coaxing the Spirit: The History and Practice of Queer Spiritual Resistance

facilitated by SueAnn Shiah & Byron ‘Tyler’ Coles

This workshop hopes to display the variety of ways queer people of faith have used their spirituality as a means of resistance and resilience throughout history. Learn how ritual, altar building, song and dance can be utilized as tools for liberation in the days and years ahead.

Asexual and/or Aromantic Caucus Space

facilitated by Corey Janson

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Calming & Art Making Space Available

10:45-11:45 Workshop Session #2

Slam Poetry Open Level Workshop Part 2

facilitated by Keynote Performer, Kit Yan

How to be a Trans Buddy: Trans Health Care

facilitated by RJ Robles

Many times Trans people encounter the health care system with a lack of support. This workshop aims to practice healthcare scenarios that may be difficult to confront and navigate and will model practical skills for learning how to provide support to Trans people in healthcare settings.

Student Active-ish

facilitated by Mac Ploetz

For some college students, activism becomes a part of their campus experience, and for many among those, social justice becomes a passion. What happens when the obligation of the classroom conflicts with the expectation of active citizenship? In this workshop, we will learn how to manage both academic life and student leadership through discussions of goal-setting, priorities, and mental health to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between a little stress and lot of mess.

Unpacking the Toolbox: A How-to-Guide for Legislative Advocacy in Tennessee

facilitated by Henry Seaton, Justin Sweatman-Weaver, & Liz Welch

With the political landscape of 2017 threatening to undermine the rights of minority groups, the ACLU and GLSEN of Tennessee have partnered to educate, connect with, and provide resources for legislative advocacy and lobbying to local organizers in Tennessee. We’ll be discussing a wide variety of topics in regards to legislative advocacy, including the lawmaking process, self-care, handling media relations, and more.

Click for Full Photo: Online Dating in the Queer Community

facilitated by Thurston Howl

This workshop breaks down online dating in the queer community into simpler terms, also providing dont-do’s for those who are just entering the dating climate or are interested in trying it.

LGBTQQIA+ Youth and Bullying

facilitated by Tanner Kilpatrick

We will explore LGBTQQIA+ youth and bullying through two theoretical lenses, Social Learning Theory and Ecological Theory. The presentation will include research, family, and policy implications. There will be opportunities for small and large group discussion.

Bi/Pan/Fluid Caucus Space

facilitated by Sami Heller & Joseph Gibson

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Queerality Caucus Space

facilitated by Byron ‘Tyler’ Coles

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Calming & Art Making Space Available

Free HIV Screening & Testing provided by Street Works, Project Uno Available

11:45-1:00 Lunch on Your Own*

*for a list of nearby restaurants, click here.

Rand Dining Hall in Sarratt Student Center is open until 2:00.

Free HIV Screening & Testing provided by Street Works, Project Uno Available

1:15-2:15 Workshop Session #3

Flowers for my Mind: An Exploration of the Creative Expression of Queer Women of Color

facilitated by Valencia Clement

Growing up, I never thought I’d see the day where I’d hear music about queer people on the radio. In 2017, we now have queer artists surfacing and taking pop culture by storm in fashion, literature like poetry and music especially in genres like hip hop and r&b where homophobia is very prevalent. This workshop aims to explore different ways queer women of color pervaded pop culture & will explore the experiences they bring to mainstream culture through poetry, music & dress.

How to F*ck Up

facilitated by Lo Meisel

Every activist screws up. But don’t get upset, learn from it! Learn how to develop a “growth mindset,” apologize effectively, build empathy, and more. Learning and growing is an essential journey that every activist must take in order to better themselves and their work. By respectfully showing up in support with each other, we will be able to more effectively fight back against oppression of all kinds.

Preventing Suicide in the Queer Community

facilitated by Faith Gipson

This workshop will address active rescue & specific steps to take when a friend or someone you know admits to being suicidal. We will address specific suicide prevention needs of the queer community as well as the training that suicide hotline responders receive specifically for dealing with those needs & how to apply that training into your own lives.

Parent Traps: Successfully Navigating Difficult Conversations

facilitated by Dawn Bennett

The panel workshop will provide skills for family discussions around coming out, family dynamics, stress, anger, and how to diffuse difficult conversations. The panel of parents will address questions from youth as to how best to talk with parents about specific problems/challenges they are currently experiencing. Parents will provide feedback and support for youth who have ideas about what they want to say but aren’t quite “sure how to say it.”

Shady, Petty, & Me

facilitated by Justin Lofton & TK Hampton

Through unpacking some of the damaging jargon and actions, participants will understand how trauma-derived communication influences nuances of rejection, stigma, and self-worth. We will explore “why” and “how” there is a disconnect within the community, and create a safe space to discuss healthy communication strategies that are conducive to acceptance and community unification.

Breaking the Binary

facilitated by Students of Stonewall

The world we live in typically portrays us as feminine or masculine, but what if we wanted to be in between or neither? We want to let people know is okay to be different, and you don’t have to live your life held against normality itself. It is better to ask someone’s pronouns and gender than to assume who they are!

Queer Women & Lesbian Caucus Space

facilitated by Kayleigh Verboncoeur

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Transgender & Genderqueer Caucus Space

facilitated by Julian Sun

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Calming & Art Making Space Available

Free HIV Screening & Testing provided by Street Works, Project Uno Available

2:30-3:30 Workshop Session #4

From Exclusion to Activism: Perseverance of LGBTQ* Students in College

facilitated by Sydney Scheiner & Martin Jones

By examining the history of LGBTQ* students on college campuses one finds an empowering perspective on perseverance and activism. The men, women, trans, and queer people throughout the history of higher education demonstrate an unbreakable resilience through immense hardship that can be applied on campuses today. Join us as we explore the history of LGBTQ* students on college campuses and how to learn from their activism.

Building Inclusive Trans Spaces: Where We Are and Where We Need to Be

facilitated by Shiloh Bluttman

This workshop will focus on key concepts and actions that can be taken to provide non-hierarchical accessible, autonomous, and safe spaces for trans and gender-nonconforming communities. Including, but not limited to: ways to build safe and multi-purposed spaces, develop inclusive group dynamics, and general approaches to fostering emotional and functional support, creative expression, community building, and political action. The workshop will explore how to better create spaces that elevate the voices of, and are inclusive to, PoC, undocumented citizens, trans women, religious minorities, and disabled participants.

Surviving to Thrive: A Queer-Crit Approach to Examine Academic Bullying

facilitated by Mitsunori Misawa, PhD

Bullying affects everyone. The purpose of this workshop is to provide the participants with a better understanding of the intersectionality of racism, heterosexism, and homophobia in higher education. The workshop will specifically address how academic bullying affected gay men of color from a queer-crit perspective and how they survived their experiences of being bullied in higher education.

Zines as a Means

facilitated by Shawn Reilly

Zines (mini, independently created magazines) have been used through history as a tool to explore social & political issues. We will brainstorm together ways in which zines can be used in organizing & similar work, identify at least one practical way each of us can use zines in our life & work, & learn how to create a zine out of a single sheet of paper.

Bye Bye Bi(phobia): Leveraging Privilege & Personal Safety in Combating Bi-phobia

facilitated by Kailee Karr

In this workshop, participants will learn how they can make small changes in their own micro-communities in order to combat biphobia. While it will be centered on bisexual experiences, members of all identities are welcomed to reflect, heal, and learn how to help bisexual folx exist boldly as we move into an increasingly unstable socio-political climate.

Queer People of Color Caucus Space

facilitated by Damien Domenack & Tatiana McInnis

Affinity groups are intentional spaces centered around a shared identity where individuals can gather and draw upon a common life experience, race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, or identity.

Advisors of LGBTQI+ Students/Student Groups Caucus Space

facilitated by Liv Parks

Do you mentor, work with, advise, or teach LGBTQIA+ students? Come to this social to meet others who do similar work, share local and regional resources, and make lasting connections to build your support network.

Calming & Art Making Space Available

11:00-2:00 Free Do-It-Yourself Screen Printing T-Shirt Station Available

3:45-4:45 Keynote Performance “Queer Heartache” by Kit Yan

Sarratt Cinema

Queer Heartache is a testament to the resilience of queer love in all its forms—between cis and trans siblings, lovers, pride parades, etc.—in the face of heartbreaking barriers everywhere from the dating pool to the medical establishment. If you’ve ever had your heart broken, wondered how your pets self-identify, or wanted to tell someone your gender is none of their business, this award-winning one-person slam poetry theater show is for you. So wrap yourself in a rainbow and enjoy the ride.

4:45-5:00 Closing Remarks

Sarratt Cinema


If you have any questions or would like to know more information, please contact Program Coordinator Liv Parks (they/them) at