LGBTQ conference comes to U

More than 80 presenters from around the country will participate

by mackenzie collins

One of the nationâÄôs largest mental health conferences on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer issues will take place at the University of Minnesota Friday. Close to 300 students, mental and medical health specialists, therapists, educators and inclusive community members are traveling from all ends of the country to take part in Beyond the Borders: Emerging trends in LGBTQ Mental Health Conference. The conference, composed of more than 50 workshops on pertinent mental issues for the LGBTQ community, will take place on the third floor of Coffman Memorial Union throughout the day Friday. Keynote speaker for the conference, clinical psychologist Katherine Rachlin of New York, said she was extremely enthused to be at the University. âÄúI donâÄôt know if people realize it or not, but the U of M is one of the centers of the world for transgender scholarship and advocacy, and is highly involved on an international level with transgender professionals on mental health,âÄù Rachlin said. University Director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Ally Programs Office, Anne Phibbs, said the conference is a year in the making. âÄúStudents are going to have the opportunity to spend the day with professionals doing what they want to do, and thatâÄôs what we need to be doing here at the University,âÄù Phibbs said. One of the unique aspects of the conference is that it will include a large array of workshops and information on cultural minorities of the LGBTQ community, such as American-Korean members, Connie Studer said, publicity chair of the conference and local therapist. âÄúWeâÄôre making sure that weâÄôre covering those in the undeserved communities to let those individuals know that we are paying attention,âÄù Studer said. âÄúThey arenâÄôt a minority of a minority.âÄù The rate for each attendee to take part in the conference was $125, with a reduced rate of $40 for students interested in learning from more than 80 presenters. âÄúThere is a hunger among therapists and medical professionals for training in this area,âÄù Rachlin said, âÄúand most therapists and doctors really want to provide the best care for transgender patients.âÄù