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Doug Bauder
GLBT Student Support Services Office

Rob DeCleene
Bloomington/Monroe County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bloomington and IU attract 2009 conference for GLBT students

June 26, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Bloomington/Monroe County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in conjunction with Indiana University's GLBT Student Support Services Office, announced today (June 26) that the Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Ally College Conference will be held on the IU campus Feb. 13-15, 2009.

One of a series of regional conferences held around the country, the Midwest event has attracted hundreds of students over the years and has been held in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. This will be the second time the conference is being held in Indiana and the first time it has been hosted by IU.

Last February, six IU students attended the conference in Minneapolis, and along with Doug Bauder, GLBT Office coordinator, and Rob DeCleene, director of tourism for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, made a convincing bid to bring the conference to Bloomington in 2009.

"This promises to be a fantastic town and gown collaboration for the GLBT community," DeCleene said. "Additionally, the city can expect an economic impact of several hundred thousand dollars."

The theme of the conference will be "Living Out Loud: Examining our Past to Enhance our Future." Bauder noted that "support for the conference is already strong with backing from the Mayor's Office and the IU Office of the Dean of Students. We have heard from other IU administrators and city leaders who are eager to support this adventure, as well."

A 2005 article in Out Traveler magazine said of the community, "whether you are gay, straight or somewhere in between, Bloomington offers something rarely found in this country: a small town with a bold history of openness and acceptance." IU also was named one of the most GLBT-friendly college campuses in the country in the 2006 edition of The Advocate College Guide.

It was that history to which Bauder and DeCleene turned in inviting the conference oversight committee to consider IU as the 2009 conference site.

"The presence of the Kinsey Institute, the fact that Bloomington is one of the few cities in the state which includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its human rights ordinance, and the fact that Bloomington ranks fifth in the country for same-sex households per capita all helped in making the bid," Bauder said.

"Add to this the fact that the city and the campus have, in recent years, hosted national conferences on issues related to sexual minority youth; sponsored a four-day Pride Film Festival in January; and are currently working to make the city a destination for the gay traveler, and we, simply, had a winning bid," DeCleene said.