[Ed. Note — Newspaper editor Matt Comer will be in Atlanta for this year’s Creating Change conference. Follow our coverage of the largest annual gathering of LGBT activists and organizers online at goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com and via Twitter @qnotescarolinas. Follow others on Twitter using the hashtag #CC13.]

The world was a different place in 1993. Bill Clinton was president. North Carolina’s longtime U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms was still riding high on his waves of bigotry. Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America would soon turn the tide of American politics in 1994’s so-called Republican Revolution.

It was also a different time for LGBT people. That year, activists had been embroiled in a bitter public debate over the military’s ban on gay servicemembers. Clinton had proposed what he billed as a compromise, and the now-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy became law in December.

This week, nearly 3,000 activists will head to the 25th annual Creating Change, the annual conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, hosted this year in Atlanta. Plenty of Carolinas folks will also be attending. We thought it would be a fitting time to take a look back. Where was Creating Change two decades ago? qnotes’ pre-event coverage of the conference, hosted in Durham, N.C., in 1993, is below. A small snippet from the beginning of the piece has been transcribed. Read the rest using the newspaper scans. Click images to enlarge.


Creating Chance Conference set for Durham
by Darryl R. Williams, Special to Q-Notes
September 1993, Vol. 8, No. 9 

DURHAM — This November, about 1200 gay and lesbian grassroots activists from the United States and other countries will attend the 6th Annual Creating Change Conference in Durham, NC. The conference, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Policy Institute, is a forum for organizers and activists to share skills and dialogue about the gay, lesbian and bisexual movement and to discuss strategies for the coming year, according to conference organizers.

While the conference is sponsored by the NGLTF Policy Institute, it is hosted by a committee of North Carolinians representing several organizations from across the state.

The fact that the NGLTF Policy Institute chose to hold the conference in the Triangle (a.k.a. Jesse Helms’ back yard) has invited a question that NGLTF Conference Director Ivy Young has head from activists around the country: “You’re having it ?”

Conference organizers originally planned to hold the conference in the Washington, D.C. area; however, contractual problems with the hotel they were planning to use sent them into a last-minute scramble to find a site that met two primary criteria: space to accommodate the activists and a community able to host the conference. Durham fit the bill and its selection marks the first time the conference will be held in the South.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.