MTSU welcomes ‘all identities’ to stat...

MTSU welcomes ‘all identities’ to statewide LGBT+ College Conference

2018 LGBT+ conference promo

Creating greater interaction and understanding among a diverse range of people is the mission of the 2018 LGBT+ College Conference at MTSU.

“All Identities — Bridging the Divide” is the theme of the statewide gathering, which is set April 5-7 in the university’s James Union Building, Keathley University Center and the College of Education building.

2018 LGBT+ conference promo 2The conference is free and open to the public, but attendees should register at to help organizers with planning.

A campus parking map is available at Off-campus visitors attending the daytime events should obtain a special permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation Services at

“Within the LGBT+ community, there are a lot of divisions where people aren’t sure why other people belong in the movement or haven’t taken the time to learn about each other,” said Dr. William Langston, conference organizer and an MTSU psychology professor.

“No one group of people is large enough by itself to advocate for their rights and inclusion. If we work together, we’re more likely to be successful.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 5, in the JUB lobby. Thursday’s events focus on research and examination; intersections of identity with the broader community will be explored on Friday, April 6; and Saturday, April 7, is set aside for working and learning sessions.

Dr. William Langston, psychology professor

Dr. William Langston

The opening panel discussion will be “Exploring Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry: Bridging the Workforce Divide” beginning at 9 a.m. Friday in the JUB’s Tennessee Room.

Technology industry representatives will talk about how job applicants can make sure a tech firm has an inclusive culture that promotes fairness.

MT Lambda logoWith an emphasis on the transition from the classroom to the workplace, this year’s “Bringing Your Whole Self to Work” panel will engage in a discussion of how people of all identities can integrate various business climates. It is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Tennessee Room.

“It’s not enough to know how to merge into a corporate culture,” Langston said. “If you want to be in a nonprofit or own your own company, you have to interface with your customers. How do people navigate their identity in that situation?”

The Student/Corporate/Workplace Issues Summit will bring students and the business community together to discuss job interviews and building an inclusive student organization or employee resource group.

The session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Room 149 of the College of Education Building.

Beverly Watts, executive director, Tennessee Human Rights Commission

Beverly Watts

Beverly Watts, executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, will deliver the keynote address at the conference awards dinner, which will start at 7 p.m. Saturday in the JUB’s Tennessee Room.

Watts, a Nashville native, has more than 30 years of experience in civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sectors. Her career honors include the city of Louisville’s Martin Luther King Award and induction into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame, both in 2005.

Tennessee Human Rights Commission logoThe College of Behavioral and Health Sciences conducts the conference in partnership with the MT Lambda student organization. Along with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, sponsors include Nissan, Deloitte, the law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, SunTrust Bank, Hilton Garden Inn, Dell Technologies, Dollar General and Focus Middle Tennessee.

MTSU sponsors, along with the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, include the university’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the Distinguished Lecture Fund, the Student Activity Fee Committee, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost for Enrollment and Academic Services, and the departments of psychology, sociology and anthropology, philosophy and religious studies, and social work.

For more information, contact Langston at 615-898-5489 or, or go to for a complete conference schedule.

— Gina K. Logue (