Recent Changes, Corrections & Updates
How to Get from the Airport to the Hotel
Getting from the airport to the hotel is very simple. Follow the signs
from your terminal to Baggage Claim, which is on the bottom floor.
From that floor, exit the doors on the far right. Before exiting the
doors, you will see TriMet ticket vending machines. An adult ticket
from the airport to the hotel costs $2 even. Put in your change, bills,
or credit card and receive your ticket. Then exit the doors and get
on the MAX light rail train. (Airport is the last stop, so it only
goes one direction.) Exit the MAX train at the Lloyd Center stop,
and you'll see the DoubleTree Lloyd Hotel within short walking distance.
You can also travel from the DoubleTree Lloyd Center stop to Downtown
Portland and back on the MAX for free.
You Can Still Register for the Conference
| Download conference registration form
(1 page, PDF format)
You can still register for the conference, but make sure that your
registration form and payment arrive in Palm Springs by Monday,
October 16. If you miss that deadline, do not mail your registration:
Mathew Cowan for instructions on how to register.
Print the registration form, fill it out and mail it in with payment. Here are some things to keep in mind. First, if you are not an Affirmation member, you pay $20 more to attend. Therefore, the best deal is to join Affirmation: for only $5 more, you will be a member for the whole year. You can also become a sustaining member at $50 a year, to show greater support. Perhaps you don't recall when your membership is due for renewal. In that case, go ahead and renew now to eliminate the worry.
- Affirmation Members: $159
- Full-Time Students: $139
- If you are staying for the Columbia River Gorge tour, add $10
- If you are not a current Affirmation member, add $20
OR join Affirmation for only $25
When it comes to payment, we accept Visa & MasterCard for your convenience, but the best option for Affirmation is to pay by check. We must pay the bank a 5.3% (plus 10 cents per transaction) fee on each credit card payment processed. Paying by check on a $159 registration fee and $25 renewal is like making an additional $9.85 donation to Affirmation. That can really add up! You will also notice other "additional payment" lines besides joining or renewing your Affirmation membership. The Irwin Phelps fund was established following the 1992 murder of Affirmation Executive Director Irwin Phelps to honor his memory. The funds donated are used to provide assistance to people who would otherwise be unable to attend the Conference. More details can be found on the website. In addition, the registration fee barely covers the costs associated with a conference. We want to keep the conference as affordable as possible and to do so additional donations from those able to help will allow us to keep registration costs down each year. These additional donations are completely tax deductible (conference registration is not).
Register now and mark your calendar for "Bridging Our Journeys". Don't
worry — if you have a family or work emergency, we will graciously
refund your registration, up to Oct. 16. A successful conference is
one with you in it!
Irwin Phelps Scholarship
The Irwin Phelps Fund provides assistance to Affirmation members who would like to attend the conference but may find it to be a financial burden. Donations earmarked to this fund are gladly accepted!
Irwin Phelps was the executive Director of Affirmation in 1992. His calm and compassionate leadership carried Affirmation through a time of great turmoil. Shortly after the 1992 Conference, he was murdered in his home in Phoenix. The Irwin Phelps Fund was established in his memory.
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need and contributions to Affirmation, such as activity or willingness to volunteer for service. Funds are limited and scholarships will be awarded on a "first-come, first-served" basis and only to those who establish a definite need for assistance. Past examples have included full-time students, unemployed or under-employed, retirees with limited income, international members and those living on disability payments.
Assistance generally takes the form of a 50% reduction in conference registration fees. We do not provide assistance with hotel rooms or airfare. To apply for this scholarship, send an email with your name, address, contact information, and reason for your request. Send the email
to Olin Thomas. If you do not have email, you may mail a request to Affirmation, P.O. Box 77504, Washington, DC 20013 Attn: Irwin Phelps Scholarship. For urgent or complex questions, you may call Olin Thomas directly. Feel free to call at any hour of the day and leave a message.
Scholarships are available only for current Affirmation members, but we will accept a membership renewal and scholarship application simultaneously. Please don't wait until the last minute to inquire about scholarships! If you are interested, contact us now. We do allow you to change your mind, and feel free to contact us with questions.
|Tentative Conference Program
Friday, October 20
Download hotel floor plan in PDF
|2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
|3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
||Conference Check-In Foyer
|4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
||First Timers' Reception Hospitality Suite, Room
|5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
||Load Buses for Scream at the Beach
|5:30 PM - 5:45 PM
||Buses Depart DoubleTree Hotel
|6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
||Friday Night Activities
• Conference Welcome
• Pizza Social
• Scream at the Beach
|10:00 PM - 12:00 AM
||Hospitality Suite Open Room 1555
|Saturday, October 21
|7:45 AM - 10:00 AM
|8:15 AM - 8:45 AM
||Light Breakfast Oregon Room
|8:45 AM - 10:00 AM
||Opening Session Oregon Room
• Welcoming Remarks
• Special Speaker--Emily Pearson
|10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
||Workshops: Session 1
Willamette Ballroom (Morrison, Ross Island, Sellwood, and
|11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
||Workshops: Session 2
Willamette Ballroom (Morrison, Ross Island, Sellwood, and
|12:30 PM - 6:30 PM
||Lunch on Your Own & Explore Portland!
Hospitality Suite Open Room 1555
|1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
||Gamofite Luncheon (Optional:
Requires Separate Registration)
|1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
|3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Afternoon Workshops Willamette Ballroom
(Morrison, Ross Island, Sellwood, and Hawthorne)
|6:30 PM - 7:00 PM
||Doors Open for Banquet Willamette
|7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
|| Banquet Willamette Ballroom
• Keynote Speaker: Serena Cruz Walsh, Multnomah County Commissioner
• Presentation of Awards
|10:00 PM - 12:00 AM
||Hospitality Suite Open Room 1555
|Sunday, October 22
|9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
||Breakfast on Your Own
|10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
||Devotional Pacific Northwest Ballroom
|12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
||Closing Lunch Breakfast Pacific Northwest Ballroom
|2:30 PM - 8:00 PM
||Optional Tour of Columbia River
Leadership Meeting Friday 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Willamette Ballroom
The traditional start to the annual Affirmation Conference is the "leadership meeting", sometimes called the "business meeting". By our Bylaws, it is called the "Council of Chapter Representatives." Although we refer to it as a leadership meeting, it is open to all members, not just the formal representatives. However, each chapter should designate a representative, who will have voting abilities to decide major issues, such as changes to by-laws, changes in dues or major policies.
The executive director, treasurer and other officers will also present concise reports on the state of Affirmation. We will also discuss locations and dates for upcoming conferences. Attending this meeting is a great way to meet the current leadership of Affirmation, to get a sense of Affirmation's direction and to contribute your views. The executive director will keep the meeting strictly on topic and on schedule. Join us this year from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Friday for this important session!
First-Timers Reception Friday 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, Hospitality Suite (Room
New to Affirmation's National Conference? Drop into the Hospitality Suite (Room 1555) between 4:00 and 5:00 Friday night. Let's get acquainted, answer your questions, and help you get into the swing of things. This event is geared towards those attending their first conference.
Friday Night Activities
Buses Depart DoubleTree Hotel Friday 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
In the Willamette Ballroom Foyer (within eyesight of where we'll have the
registration tables set up) is where the big doors lead outside for us to
meet our buses for the Scream at the Beach outing. The area is covered,
and both of our busses can line up one behind the other. Once we get to Scream at the Beach, we'll have our
opening remarks and pizza dinner.
Welcome, Pizza Social & Scream at the Beach Friday, starting at 6:00 PM, Jantzen Beach
Please note the following:
We understand that some people do not enjoy haunted houses, and you,
therefore, may be wary about joining us at Scream at the Beach. We
guarantee that you can still have a fantastic evening at our Opening Night
Social & Dinner at Scream at the Beach, even if you choose to not go through
the "scary" attractions.
In addition to the pizza dinner, Scream at the
Beach has "Zombie Theater," a stage where musical comedy shows occur, a
Pirate Ship for all ages (with actual pirates putting on shows for the
patrons), a Tarot Card Reader, Gift Shop, child play areas, etc. And the
bus will be going back and forth to the hotel every 30 minutes, so you can
leave when you're ready.
Scream at the Beach is the premiere haunted house attraction of the Pacific Northwest. The creation of Henry Miller (Affirmation
member), Scream at the Beach features 4 separate scary exhibitions spread
across multiple buildings, with distinct themes like jungle temple ruins or
a haunted castle filled with specters. Henry has utilized amazing visuals,
sounds, and even special effects to make Scream fun and scary for all who dare
Scream at the Beach will be our opening night activity. From
the Doubletree Lloyd Hotel, we'll shuttle as a group to Scream (at Jantzen
Beach), mingle over a pizza dinner, and then go through all 4 of these
chilling attractions. Over a $25 value, this evening will be free to you
with your registration to the conference.
Women's Luncheon Saturday, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
On Saturday from 1:00 - 2:30 PM Portland Affirmation members Nancy
and Susan will be hostessing a luncheon in their home for the women
attending the conference. Their home is near the hotel, and carpooling
will be available. If you are interested, please
Gamofites Luncheon Saturday, starting at 1:00 PM, Stanford's Restaurant and Bar
Gamofites (Gay Mormon Fathers) will have their traditional Saturday luncheon at Stanford's Restaurant and Bar near the DoubleTree Hotel on Saturday, October 21, at 1:00 PM. The Michael Farr Award will be given out, and a short discussion will follow. This luncheon requires separate registration. If you're interested
in attending this event, please contact
Saturday Afternoon Workshops 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Willamette Ballroom (Morrison, Ross Island, Sellwood, and Hawthorne)
Unlike recent conferences, the Portland conference will include several Saturday afternoon workshops. One is a panel titled, "Does the Law of Chastity Have Relevance in the Gay Community?" Other workshops will be repeats of morning presentations.
Sunday Afternoon Tour Approximately 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Following the conference, there is an optional tour of the Columbia River gorge: one of the most beautiful natural areas in the United States. A $10 fee is being requested to cover transportation costs, though you'll need to pay for food separately. This tour will begin after the luncheon on Sunday and return to the hotel in the early evening (approximately from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM). If you wish to stay for this event, we suggest you not plan on your return travel until Monday.
Limited Space for Tour: The Portland Conference Committee is sorry to announce that we must cap the number of people who are going to the optional Sunday Trip through the
Columbia River Gorge. If you have already registered for this, your spot
for this trip is guaranteed. If you have not yet registered for this event,
we are only able to guarantee the trip for the first 70 people. Any
interested parties after the 70 will be put on a waiting list. We hope to
accomodate everyone who wishes to attend this event by driving them in
private vehicles, but we cannot guarantee this at this time. (If you
register and pay the $10 and don't go due to the Waiting List, your money
will be refunded to you.) Thank you for your understanding regarding this
Saturday's Opening Session is a plenary and will be held 8:45 AM - 10:00 AM in the Oregon Room. After the plenary, we will move to the Willamette Ballroom area of the hotel, which will be divided into four rooms: The Morrison Room, the Ross Island Room, the Sellwood Room, and Hawthorne Room. All Saturday workshops will be held in these four rooms.
Workshop Session One (10:15-11:15 a.m.)
Workshop 1A: Creating Families: A Panel Discussion
Presenter: Facilitator, 3 adoptive parents, and 1 adoption professional.
Most LDS people have been raised with the idea and expectation that creating and forming a family of their own is a primary goal in life, and this is no different for GLBT Mormons. However, many GLBT Mormons feel as if they must dismiss the idea of creating a family after reconciling their sexual and emotional orientation. Naturally, there are challenges that GLBT people must face in creating a family, but the door is not closed to them. Foster care, adoption and surrogacy are a few of the options available to GLBT people who desire to create a family of their own.
This workshop will be panel discussion of how some GLBT people who have created their families through adoption. An adoption professional will also share how GLBT people can participate in foster care and adoption. The workshop will explore modern-day options and challenges of creating families as openly gay people.
Workshop 1B: Discovering Spirituality after Religion: An introduction
to New Thought
Presenter: Kevin Cox
This workshop will explore the unique evolution of spirituality in
each of our lives, including where we were in religion, and how we
can now incorporate new spiritual perspectives and ideas into our
lives. Topics will include energy, positive thinking, life changes,
feelings and self-esteem, as well as biological demonstrations for
the skeptical. Note: This workshop will be presented again
at 3:00 PM as session 3C.
As an active member in the LDS church with a multi-generational
Utah Mormon family, Kevin's reconciliation between spirituality and
sexuality has been a difficult journey. In recent years, he has been
active with the Living Enrichment Center, a new thought church, and
several meditation and spiritual discussion groups.
Workshop 1C: Family Fellowship: Unconditional Love, Family,
and the Mormon Church
Gary and Millie Watts
Presenters: Gary and Millie Watts & Bill and Marjorie Bradshaw
Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to be the parent of a gay child while active in the Mormon Church? How would you reconcile your love of the gospel with the love you feel for your child? The Watts and Bradshaw families will speak to their unique experiences and how they came to support and sustain the Family Fellowship organization.
The parents of six children, including a gay son and a lesbian
daughter, Gary and Millie Watts are co-chairs of Family Fellowship,
a Mormon organization engaged in the cause of strengthening families
with homosexual members.
The parents of five children, including a gay son, Bill and his wife
Marjorie are members of Family Fellowship. Bill Bradshaw is currently
a Professor of Molecular Biology at Brigham Young University. Bill
served as the Mission President of the Hong Kong and South Vietnam
Mission from 1971-1974.
Workshop 1D: Building a Fun & Successful Affirmation Chapter
Alyson Bolles, Jason Giles, & George Cole
Presenters: Alyson Bolles, George Cole, and Jason Giles
2006 has been the "Year of the Chapter" so how could we not include a playful and resourceful workshop on building your very own Affirmation Chapter! For almost a decade, this terrific trio has participated in the leadership of one of Affirmations largest and most active chapters in the country. Join them as they explore the challenges and blessings of creating and sustaining a vibrant, FUN, and active affirmation community. They promise you a fun time as well as several user-friendly strategies to try in your own community!
Alyson Bolles is a senior assistant director with Affirmation: Gay
& Lesbian Mormons. George Cole and Jason Giles are co-directors of
the Portland Chapter of Affirmation.
Workshop Session Two (11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Workshop 2A: Out parenting: Gay/Bi/Trans Men Raising Children
Presenters: Stephen Dunlevy, LCSW and Joshua Todd, BSW, MPA
This session will cover topics specific to gay/bi/trans men such as school related issues for children with gay parents, building support for your role as a father within your family of origin and network of friends, and negotiating the challenges of parenting with a former female partner. This will be an interactive dialogue where participants will have an opportunity share their parenting experiences, explore current research on gay parenting, and learn about supports/services for gay fathers. All participants will receive extensive written materials on related topics for further reading and exploration.
Stephen Dunlevy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently
works for Multnomah County's School-Based Mental Health program. Stephen
Graduated from Tulane University with a MSW in 1994. Over the course
of the past 12 years his work has focused on providing individual
and family therapy to children and adults. He has worked extensively
with GLBT youth and helped develop the Portland area Gay Straight
Alliance Network. Stephen lives with his partner and their two young
Joshua Todd moved to Portland in 2001 and became a foster parent with
the State of Oregon. He has parented his two foster children, ages
5 and 4 for the past three years and recently adopted both in March
of 2006. Professionally, Joshua is the Youth Development Coordinator
for Multnomah County and works to engage middle and high school youth
in local government policy and planning. Mr. Todd received his Masters
in Public Affairs, with concentrations in domestic policy analysis
and public management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in
2001 and earned his Bachelors in Social Work, with an emphasis on
group work, in 1997. He is the founder of Daddies&Papas, a local
social network for gay, bisexual and transgender men raising children.
Workshop 2B: Recent Evidence on the Biological Origins of
Presenter: Bill Bradshaw
This workshop will explore and educate participants on the recent research findings supporting the biological origins of homosexuality. Dr. Bradshaw believes that there is clear evidence that biological factors are involved in homosexuality, but the data are somewhat scant and it is not possible to outline an unequivocal biochemical or physiological mechanism that explains why some individuals are attracted to persons of their same sex. Note: This workshop will be presented again
at 3:00 PM as session 3B.
Bill Bradshaw is currently a Professor of Molecular Biology at
Brigham Young University. Bill served as the Mission President of
the Hong Kong and South Vietnam Mission from 1971-1974. The parents
of five children, Bill and his wife Marjorie are members of Family
Workshop 2C: Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction in the GLBT Community
Presenters: Eric Martin
This workshop will explore the current research findings about drugs, alcohol, and addiction within the gay community. How does guilt and shame contribute to high-risk behaviors? As openly gay individuals, does our religious upbringing make our community more or less vulnerable to Drug and Alcohol addictions and the associated risk behaviors? How do we incorporate aspects of the word of wisdom into our lives, or should be at all? What are effective strategies to support our friends and loved ones who are living with addiction?
For over twenty years, Eric Martin has worked in the Addictions
Counseling field. He is currently the Executive Director of the Addictions
Counseling Accreditation Board of Oregon (ACCBO). Eric travels frequently
across the country doing trainings for professionals in the addictions
field. You will no doubt enjoy his informative and entertaining presentation
style as he touches on one of the "taboo" topics of our community.
Workshop 2D: What I learned from Primary, Sunday School and
Seminary about being Gay?
Presenter: To be announced
A light and playful account of our childhood experiences in the church and how it applies to our lives now.
Afternoon Workshops (3:00 - 4:00 p.m.)
Workshop 3A: The Law of Chastity and the GLBT Community—Does
Presenters: Olin Thomas and Selected Panelists
A moderated panel discussion with audience interaction will present views from both the liberal and conservative sides of the issue as well as the center. A written survey will be distributed and further distributed at the conference and throughout Affirmation to provide a measure of the positions on this topic. Note: This panel will run through 4:30 PM.
Olin Thomas is executive director of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian
Workshop 3B (Repeat): Recent Evidence on the Biological Origins
Presenter: Bill Bradshaw
This workshop will explore and educate participants on the recent research findings supporting the biological origins of homosexuality. Dr. Bradshaw believes that there is clear evidence that biological factors are involved in homosexuality, but the data are somewhat scant and it is not possible to outline an unequivocal biochemical or physiological mechanism that explains why some individuals are attracted to persons of their same sex.
Bill Bradshaw is currently a Professor of Molecular Biology at
Brigham Young University. Bill served as the Mission President of
the Hong Kong and South Vietnam Mission from 1971-1974. Bill and his
wife are members of Family Fellowship.
Workshop 3C (Repeat): Discovering Spirituality after Religion:
An introduction to New Thought
Presenter: Kevin Cox
This workshop will explore the unique evolution of spirituality in each of our lives, including where we were in religion, and how we can now incorporate new spiritual perspectives and ideas into our lives. Topics will include energy, positive thinking, life changes, feelings and self-esteem, as well as biological demonstrations for the skeptical.
As an active member in the LDS church with a multi-generational Utah Mormon family, Kevin's reconciliation between spirituality and sexuality has been a difficult journey. In recent years, he has been active with the Living Enrichment Center, a new thought church, and several meditation and spiritual discussion groups.
Hotel to Honor Reservations Through September 25
By Olin Thomas
The hotel reservations manager told me they will honor the conference rate through September 25 (Monday). Call the hotel directly at 1-503-281-6111 and ask for reservations (#1 on the phone tree). The in house reservations department is open 7:00 - 5:00 Mon-Fri ONLY (Pacific Time).
Even past that date it doesn't hurt to ask for the rate, they might honor it. And even if they don't, please don't forget to tell them you are with Affirmation so we will get credit for the rooms rented.
Hotel Rates & Information
We will stay at the
Doubletree Lloyd Center Hotel (where we stayed in 1998), so that the MAX
light-rail can take you directly from the airport to the hotel to Downtown Portland.
Affirmation has fifty rooms reserved for Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21 and twenty rooms for Sunday, October 22. We have negotiated a special flat rate of only $114 per night (plus tax) regardless of the number of people in the room. You can book for up to three days before or after these dates at the same rate, subject to availability (that is, at the hotel's discretion.) Follow the directions below to reserve your room now, while the availability is still good.
To reserve a room, call 1-800-996-0510 and ask for the "Affirmation Conference" room block and rate. You can also book on line at http://doubletree.hilton.com. Put in the dates and city and when you see our hotel name, click on the "View Rates" box below and on the right. Do NOT select the more obvious link of the hotel name. On the next screen will be a box "Need to book multiple group reservations?" Select this and enter our group code AFC, check that you accept the rules and enter. The next screen should have "Affirmation Conf" at the top and show our rate of $114. Be aware that both the toll free reservations number and the website can only be used to book rooms on October 20, 21 & 22.
If you wish to include dates other than October 20, 21 & 22 in your stay, you will need to call the hotel directly at 1-503-281-6111 and ask for reservations (#1 on the phone tree). The in house reservations department is open 7:00 – 5:00 Mon-Fri ONLY (Pacific Time). If you are on hold over 1.5 minutes, it will roll over to central reservations. Unfortunately, they do not have the ability to reserve rooms outside our three day room block at the special rate, so you'll have to make those reservations "in house" during the specified hours. If you have difficulties, you may call the reservations supervisor Michelle Kirn directly. (Please only do this if you have problems.)
In addition to regular rooms (1 or 2 beds), we have a special rate of $164 per night for Lanai Suites and $189 for Parlor Suites (both very limited in number.) Lanai Suites have a king size bed and a pull out sofa and are $179 for more than two people. Parlor Suites have only one king bed, and are thus limited to two people, but have a Jacuzzi tub. Full details about all hotel amenities may be found on the Doubletree website.
You must make reservations by SEPTEMBER 20, 2006 to get the special conference rate, but don't delay because the if our room block fills up you are more likely to get special consideration earlier than near the deadline. You may cancel your reservation 72 hours prior to the day of arrival without penalty. If you reserve and are a "no show", you'll be charged for one night. Checking out earlier than you reserved for will result in an early departure fee of $25.00.
All meetings and events will be at this hotel (or leaving from it), so if you are attending, please stay here. Not only will it be more convenient, but it will support Affirmation. Our hotel contract requires that we use a large percentage of our room block in order to qualify for free meeting space in the hotel. Without your room reservations, we will have to pay for additional rooms. So stay at the Doubletree with all your friends and get the warm chocolate chip cookies the Doubletree's are famous for!
Parking at the Hotel
Arriving at the airport by car: There is a parking garage just past the
lobby doors on the left. Those who are driving can pull into this garage.
When they check-in, they can ask to add the parking to their hotel bill.
Parking at the hotel is $9.00 per day for Affirmation Conference attendees staying at the hotel (the regular rate is $18 to $21 per day.)
If anyone is coming to the hotel for the day only (without leaving their
vehicle overnight), they NEED to remember to go to the Front Desk and
explain they are here for the Affirmation conference and ask for the $3.00
day parking pass. If they don't get this pass and try to leave the garage
(paying the parking booth attendant), the cost will be MUCH MORE.
Finding a Roommate
To find a roommate and save in your hotel bill, visit the Roommate Finder.
Millie and Gary Watts to Present Conference Workshop
Gary and Millie Watts
Millie and Gary Watts will present a workshop at the Annual Affirmation Conference to be held in Portland October 20-22. The parents of five children, including a gay son and a lesbian daughter, Gary and Millie Watts
are co-chairs of Family
Fellowship, a Mormon organization engaged in the cause of strengthening
families with homosexual members. Over the years, the Watts have been
faithful supporters of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. Open for
Affirmation activities, the Watts' home in Provo is a safe haven where
gay BYU students and others find support and understanding.
For years, Gary and Millie have been active in raising awareness about
gay and lesbian issues, especially in Utah and in the Mormon community.
"When people ask me what I want for my gay children, I respond: I want
them to have the same rights and opportunities as my straight children,"
wrote Gary in 1998. "The morality of a relationship should be judged on
the way the relationship is conducted, not on who is involved in the relationship"
(Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 31:3 [Fall 1998], p. 56).
Portland Conference to Feature Laurie Mecham
Author and comedian Laurie Mecham will perform a comedy act during the Affirmation 2006 Conference. Laurie has a background in acting, having performed in the Salt Lake Acting Company and having co-founded the improvisational acting group "Head Games."
Laurie has delighted audiences in Mormon forums such as Sunstone and Affirmation for years.
Many Affirmation members first met Laurie as she impersonated the hysterically funny Sister Fonda AlaMode—a character she took to the Las Vegas Conference in 1994. In 1996, again as Sister AlaMode, Laurie penned Special Living Lessons for Relief Society Sisters, which soon became a classic of Mormon humor. Sister AlaMode has become an icon for such inspiring thoughts as "The Ward is truly a place of open inquisition," and "Premarital intimacy is foul, filthy, and disgusting and should be saved for the one we love most."
Laurie is a columnist for QSaltLake and has two grown-up children "with heterosexual tendencies," as she puts it. She and her wife met in Salt Lake City and married in Provincetown, Massachusetts. They have been living in Portland, Oregon, since 2005.
Emily Pearson to Speak at the Portland Conference
By Jared Ivie
Emily Pearson's last words to her father were, "Good-bye, I Love You."
It has been twenty years since Carol Lynn Pearson published her groundbreaking
book about her unique and unwavering love for her gay husband who
eventually contracted AIDS and came home to die. Since that time,
Emily has often been introduced as the daughter of Carol Lynn and
Gerald Pearson. Then, roughly fifteen years later, Emily was re-introduced as the ex-wife of Steven Fales, the gay Mormon author and performer
of Confessions of a Mormon Boy. Although she has most always been known for the things written and said about her by her parents
and her former husband, she has been waiting patiently on the wings
and is now standing center stage with a few things to say. As a part
of the general session of this year's Affirmation Conference in Portland, we will hear the powerful and touching experience and perspective
offered by Emily as she offers her story in her own words.
Emily is the mother of two beautiful children, who give a great deal of meaning and purpose to her own journey towards self-awareness and acceptance. She is the author of two children's books, and is currently working on two new books: Dancing with Crazy—a memoir detailing her life thus far; and Kissing the Pink Frog—a book for women currently or formerly married to gay men. Emily is also the co-founder of Wildflowers, a support network for women currently or formerly married to gay men. Most recently, Emily's essay "Irreconcilable Differences" was published in the Sunstone Magazine.
The theme of this year's conference aims at giving insight and encouragement to the challenging process of bridging the gap between our relationship to LDS faith and community, and the newly embraced knowledge and acceptance of one's sexual orientation. Emily describes the process of her own journey towards peace as "losing herself in order to find herself". Few people know—as Emily does—the irreconcilable differences between the Mormon Church and being or loving someone gay. Also, in honor of the 20 year anniversary of Good-bye, I Love You, Emily will share from Carol Lynn Pearson's not-yet-released book, No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones.
Please join us in Portland this October in celebrating with each other our individual and collective experience as we embrace the healing parts of our pasts with the hope of our futures.
Portland Keynote Speaker: Serena Cruz Walsh
Serena Cruz Walsh
by Jason Giles, Portland Conference Chair
In March 2004, Portland, Oregon made international news when marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples by Multnomah County. For the 2006 International Affirmation Conference, we are excited to announce that Serena Cruz Walsh has agreed to be our keynote speaker. As one of the Multnomah County Commissioners, Serena Cruz Walsh was instrumental in trying to establish equal marriage rights for all U.S. citizens, at least in one U.S. county. Why would this public servant with an LDS background take this stand, going against the traditional values of her church and government, and putting herself at risk of receiving a great deal of public backlash?
Join us at the 2006 Affirmation Conference from October 20-22, and hear Serena Cruz Walsh recount this exciting moment in American history.
Fly from DC to Portland for $218
The traditional late August fare cuts have begun as the airlines begin to shore up their Autumn business.
There is currently a $218 round-trip fare ($265 including all taxes and booking fees on www.Orbitz.com) available on both Delta and USAirways from Washington to Portland, Oregon, for conference weekend. Flights are 1-stop each way with good connections in Salt Lake, Cincinnati, Atlanta, or Detroit. Most flights are from BWI, but as of late morning there were a couple of flights out of DCA. Typically, these fares will not last long, and fares will come and go between now and the end of the month.
Portland is going to be a great conference, and this will be the last Western conference until 2008. Registration forms, hotel information, schedules, speakers, and everything else that you would want to know are at www.affirmation.org. You can still register for conference at reduced rates until August 31.
August 24 Update:
Orbitz.com is currently offering a round trip fare between Reagan-National
and Portland, Oregon, for the weekend of the 2006 Affirmation Conference
(October 19-23) for $236 ($196 air fare plus $40 taxes and fees).
And if you register for the conference before August 31, you can still get
the "early bird" registration rate.
www.kayak.com is still offering roundtrip bookings
for under $299 including all taxes and fees;
www.orbitz.com is just over $300 but has a larger selection.
Book Your Flight Now for Conference!
by Olin Thomas
It's not too early to book your flight for the upcoming conference in Portland. Although registration won't begin until May and you have months before it's necessary to reserve your room, you can save big by planning your flight now. Those incredible airfare deals you hear about and see advertised are only available on a limited number of seats. When they are gone, so is your chance to travel on a budget. This conference will begin on Friday evening, with the annual business (leadership) meeting a little earlier, at 2:00 pm. Schedule a flight for early Friday, or come earlier and see more of Portland. The conference proper will end on Sunday by 2:00 PM, so you can get a Sunday evening flight, or stay an extra day to enjoy the post conference hiking, rafting and exploring. Sunday afternoon there is an optional tour of the Columbia River gorge (see information in Tentative Schedule)
One Washington, DC chapter member already found a $169 round trip ticket from the East Coast! Personally, I've already got a ticket, courtesy of my frequent flyer miles. This is the time to redeem those miles while you can still get a seat on a decent flight! Another nice thing about booking now -- it spreads the overall cost out over an extended period. Buy your ticket now, pay your registration in the early summer, and your room at the event. Booking early is smart shopping! See you in Portland.