NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — With the goal of improving education, healthcare, legal, and social work outcomes in North Dakota for the LGBTQ+ community, the 6th annual LGBTQ+ summit kicked off in Bismarck over the weekend.
It’s an event promising to bring people together and share different resources available to individuals, who identify as LGBTQ+. The summit started with an idea shared with friends.

“It started six years ago when Barry Nelson from the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition and I had a conversation over coffee about the importance of the North Dakota organizations that serve LGBTQ people. We wanted them to come together. At that point, they were kind of working in silos. So, we didn’t really know much about each other and what we were doing. And so, the first summit was attended by 100-some people. And it’s grown now to 250. We sold out this year. And it’s growing exponentially,” said Erin Pringle, the event coordinator.

Officials and planners of the summit say that events like these hold special importance.

“So, this year, our theme is ‘Together we rise.’ Because of everything that has happened this year with the influx of anti-trans legislation, we’ve decided to focus this summit specifically on building community and showing people you’re not alone,” said Parker Leigh, Planning Committee and Security, “So, we have a lot of seminars and speeches and things like that that talk about inclusion and diversity. And basically, how to come together. And events like this is how we can show people that we can still come together and you’re not alone. And that’s what makes this really important.”

Issues discussed during the event include fair housing rights, suicide prevention, and advocacy.
Attendees also participated in breakout sessions and panel discussions. Young adults had their own special sessions including advocacy, inclusion training, and a listening session.

One of the keynote speakers was Taylor Brorby, a North Dakota native and author.

“The presentation today was just really acknowledging how important this summit is and bringing members of the queer community together and their allies to talk about some of the legislation that impacts the queer community, related to book banning, gender identity, transgender pronouns, in particular. And also, making people laugh. And giving some fun anecdotes and stories from my life and also exploring some of the history of North Dakota,” said Taylor Brorby.

Officials would like to remind those in the community that you are supported, and you are not alone.
The summit was funded by sponsorships and donations.