MBLGTACC is an annual conference held to connect, educate, and empower queer and trans+ college students, faculty, and staff around the region and beyond. Each February, it makes one Midwest community a destination for a diverse gathering of 2000+ college students, who will learn and grow through the knowledge and experiences of others. It catalyzes conversation and action around issues that affect us as individuals, as a community, and as citizens of the world.
With over 70 workshops on LGBTQIA+ and cross-movement topics and interests, plus keynotes from leading advocates and performances from popular entertainers, there is something for all of us. From programming to all-gender restrooms to accommodations to ASL interpreter services, the conference is designed to meet the needs of all students. And we welcome attendees to join us as accomplices in holding ourselves accountable. It is, in part, because of this that MBLGTACC has become the largest, and longest-running LGBTQIA+ college conference in the nation.
Over its 28-year history, the conference has attracted advocates and thought leaders including Angela Davis, Robyn Ochs, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Kate Bornstein, Faisal Alam, and LZ Granderson; and entertainers and artists including J Mase III, Margaret Cho, Chely Wright, and Loren Cameron.
To date, MBLGTACC is America's largest and oldest continuously-held college conference for queer and trans+ students. And it is still proudly student-run.
Spread the word: #MBLGTACC2020
The 28th annual MBLGTACC will take place from Friday, February 14 to Sunday, February 16, 2020 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The theme for the weekend of empowerment, education, and connection is Envisioning a Future Together, and will be led by student organizers from the Western Michigan University. To be among the first to know about updates and announcements, be sure to connect with the Institute and MBLGTACC planners:
Learn more about MBLGTACC 2020.
Hosting the annual conference is an incredible opportunity to bring awareness to queer and trans+ experiences on your own campus and in your community! Each year the conference is hosted in a different location within the Midwest and is determined through a bidding process.
Planned and organized by students—a tradition that proudly continues today—MBLGTACC emerged in the early 1990s as an answer to the question of how to connect, educate, and empower queer students throughout the region. This came at a time when the continued growth of the mainstream lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights movement—largely underrepresenting transgender and gender non-conforming folx—was most present and powerful on the east and west coasts, isolating students in the Midwest from national LGBT work by geography, political realities, and access to resources.
In 1991, a group of college students at another conference in Des Moines came together around this reality and dared to dream the MBGLCC into existence. They wanted to be part of the solution; to give a voice to queer students in the Midwest; and to make the conference and the region a destination for acclaimed entertainers, activists, and thought leaders. They sought to create an oasis in what Justin Connor (MBLGCC ‘94) would later call “a queer desert.”
In the early 1990s, planners of the inaugural Midwest Bisexual Gay Lesbian College Conference, or MBGLCC (now MBLGTACC), could scarcely imagine that their gathering of 125 LGBTQIA+ students from the “fly-over states” would endure for a quarter-century. Even scarcer would be the thought of that conference spawning a professional nonprofit dedicated to building on their mission.
But more than 25 years later, this history is still in the making.
Were you an early MBLGCC or MBLGTCC planner? Get in touch with Noah, our historian and archivist, about our conference history project.
Here's to you, our MBLGTACC 25th anniversary video, was debuted at MBLGTACC 2017 at Navy Pier.