Pride Center Staff Attends MBLGTACC
Students attend the oldest and largest continuously running conference for queer and trans college students.
More than 600 queer and trans students, faculty, and staff came together at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC). Dr. Jeff Maliskey, director of the UND Pride Center has been taking students to the conference since 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. This year, the conference was held in Lexington, Kentucky, “The horse capital of the world,” and was the first year Maliskey was able to bring the Pride Center staff to the conference.
“This was the first year of having a full Pride Center staff and I felt it was important to have them network and experience with other students across the region that are engaging in similar work,” Maliskey said.
The conference kicked-off with keynote speaker Hayden Krystal, a deaf queer activist and stand-up comedian; you might know Hayden from being a top 5 semifinalist on Season 17 of America’s Got Talent. Hayden addressed the importance of intersectional work by telling their story with navigating queer and trans spaces along with spaces for people with disabilities on college campus; explaining the challenges they faced pertaining to accessibility or the lack thereof in higher education. The staff also attended sessions such as “GaySL” to learn about LGBTQ+ related American Sign Language signs, “Hosting Successful LGBTQIA+ Events,” and “How We Cam, not Why We Can’t: Imagining Liberatory Futures for Trans and Queer Communities” to name a few sessions. Maliskey also presented at the conference to advisors on “Creating Collaborative learning Opportunities with Academic Programs” where Maliskey shared information about the LGBTQ+ collaborative initiatives in academic programs at UND.
MBLGTACC is a program of the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. In 2020, Maliskey worked with the Institute team to help create an advisor track at MBLGTACC. At the time, Maliskey was serving as a Region Representative for the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and it just made sense that the two organizations work together to curate a professional development experience for professionals bringing students to the conference. Since then, Maliskey has been working with the Institute in his capacity on the board for the Consortium alongside conference planners and other Consortium members.
“My role is not just about working at UND, I am professional in this field and I feel it is important to be an active participant in the work; getting involved in opportunities through MBGLTACC and the Consortium is how I do this and plus, I get to share about the initiatives and work we are doing at UND and in North Dakota when it comes to serving LBGTQ+ students and communities,” said Maliskey.
Maliskey hopes that one day, the students he works with will be inspired to get involved in their professions or even in organizations such as the Consortium or Institute to give back to the community and that their involvement can start with attending MBGLTACC and building connections across the region.