And so the Workers Out Conference began today with gusto. Set at the beautiful new DR Public Broadcast building, and the adjoining IT University, LGBT activists from around the world began their formal meetings. The morning commenced with a plenary session hosted by Svend Robinson and Rebeca Sevilla. As organizers of the Human Rights Conference, which incorporates the Workers Out Conference, they welcomed the delegates and thanked everyone for travelling such distance to attend this important Conference.
A special guest at the morning plenary was Axel Axgil. He was greeted with a standing ovation as the masses wanted to thank him for taking the leap - being the first man to marry a partner of the same sex. At 95, Mr Axgil is still spry and still taking on causes. The eloquence of his speech enamored the audience.
Delegates were also treated by presentations by:
Ritt Bjerregaard, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen
Virginai Apuzzo, Author and former American Politician
John Amaechi, retired NBA player and the first member of the NBA to come out
Regina Orozco, "Mexican maga star and diva celebrity"
There was then a workshop for the Workers Out Delegates. A panel discussion on education and issues arising in the LGBT community.
Haldis Holst, an educator from Norway, shared some activist actions
1 - Share a story
2 - Share your knowledge and experience with a teacher
3 - Build alliances and join forces, together you are stronger
4 - Never give up on unions!
The Afternoon plenary was dazzling! First up was Cleve Jones, who warmed the audience instantly by acknowledging that he was not Emile Hirsch, who played him in the movie Milk. He spoke of the changes that are happening in America with the results of the past election, and the impact of 8 years of republican govenment. Suffice to say that all delegates will be fired up for rallys on October 11, 2009 when Queer Americans ask for equality.
The plenary continued with personal and powerful stories that would propel anyone into action. Suk Hong, Kemone Brown and Parvez Sharma balanced delgates through levity and tears, enriching all with the knowledge that one person taking a step, can make a giant difference in this world.
The afternoon concluded with another workshop. Several of the CUPE delegates went to the session "30 Years after Nancy Wechsler and Harvey Milk". It was made clear that despite advances made during the past three decades, there is still much political action to be done.