Day one was action-packed from the start. While all of the topics were worth listening to and participating in, I found that today provided the context for the next few days of the conference. Daily activities included a welcoming to the working space, exploring individual identities, discussing definitions (racial and ethnic identies), a brief history of intersectionality, a forum theatre and a visit to the Cassero LGBT center in Bologna.
Even with the stifling temperatures and humidity, members faced their tasks and performed well.
Conference attendees were asked to unveil personal experiences. Ugla, a prep team member, said “there was a lot of sharing and getting to know people on a more personal level. I think its important. I’m also happy that people are comfortable sharing experiences. It means that we are facilitating a safe environment.”
Also, attendees were working in small groups for most of the activities. Rafail, an attendee, said that he “appreciated working in small groups. I saw that groups had dynamic discussions even with intense schedule. Safe spaces were created and people were empowered through sharing experiences.”
In regards to the positive impact of discussion definitions, Effi, a conference attendee, mentioned that “as activists, we bring different experiences to the table. While discussing the definitions, we found that at first we disagree. However, after good-willed, open-minded discussion we have enriched our minds.”
I look forward to the next few days of this conference. The safe environment is promoting discussion on many levels and people are comfortable expressing themselves. From the welcoming session to discussing the origins of intersectionality, the groundwork for fruitful LGBTIQA activism has begun to be laid out.