SUNY SPECTRUM Conference to Feature Leading Figures in LGBTQIA+ Fight for Equality

August 12, 2022

Registration Now Open to the Public, Educators & Free for Students – Register Here


Albany, NY
– State University of New York today announced the program for its groundbreaking SPECTRUM Conference which will discuss and address issues impacting the LGBTQIA+ community on campuses and across the country. The conference will feature groundbreaking figures in the fields of sports, fashion, and law, including:

  • Schuyler Bailar (he/him), the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men's team
  • Matt Berstein (he/they), is a creator and social media influencer with a confrontational approach using logic and humor
  • Amber Briggle (she/they), is an activist, speaker, writer, and mother of a transgender child whose family has made headlines for being subjected to attacks from the Texas state Attorney General

Additionally, the two-day conference will feature an array of experts discussing how campuses can become more inclusive and supportive, institutions can provide queer-allied emotional care, among several other topics.

It will take place September 15 and 16 in person at SUNY's Global Center in Manhattan. SPECTRUM is open to the public, educators, and is free for all SUNY students.

Individuals can register at this link here. The program for SPECTRUM is available here.

"The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse and dynamic, the struggles these students encounter are unique and, as leaders in higher education, SUNY is committed to continually fostering a more inclusive campus community. That has never been more urgent than now when, sadly, there are attempts being taken across this country to roll back equality and protections we fought so hard to achieve," said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. "We are here to send a message to every LGBTQIA+ individual that New York welcomes you, SUNY welcomes you, and we will do all we can to guide positive change on college campuses."

SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio said, "An inclusive spirit is the beating heart of SUNY, exemplified in the phrase SUNY for all. As our collective of higher education institutions continues to live by our motto to learn, to search, to serve, we are ever-mindful of the challenges we must continue to meet in the name of equitable treatment and access for all students. The conversations at SPECTRUM will further energize our commitment, system-wide, and beyond to outwardly support one another in a time that, although uncertain, will ultimately strengthen our resolve to nurture and protect a SUNY for all."

Amber Briggle said, "As a parent of a transgender child living in Texas, I feel the trauma that people in power enact against the LGBTQIA+ community – especially children – and those of us who love them. The SPECTRUM Conference serves as a way for us to address these harmful narratives and both elevate and destigmatize the conversation around queer youth. In a time when a majority of states have proposed or enacted anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation meant to erase the lives of queer people, we have a moral obligation to fight for a more inclusive environment where people can freely live as their authentic selves. I look forward to sharing my family's story and continuing my advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community at this year's SPECTRUM Conference, and I hope you'll join me."

Matt Berstein said, "At a time where far more LGBTQIA+ youth turn to social media and queer content creators to feel empowered to be themselves, we cannot ignore the importance of having safe spaces in both the physical and digital realms. I use my platform to educate others and use humor and principle to counter bigotry—concepts at the forefront of this year's SPECTRUM Conference. I look forward to speaking at this event, where I can not only touch on my own experiences navigating social media to find solace in my identity but to additionally give others the tools to ensure their own spaces uplift and support the LGBTQIA+ community.

About the Annual SPECTRUM Conference

SPECTRUM represents the resilience, the power, and the survival of the LGBTQIA+ community in the face of systems that uphold cycles of marginalization, rejection, and violence. SPECTRUM strives for access to safe spaces and resources, action toward a more inclusive and accepting future, and the achievement of an environment where queer individuals of all colors, genders, and identities can thrive out loud instead of survive in silence. The SUNY SPECTRUM Conference began in 2018 as a way to educate and inform SUNY's high-level human resources and legal personnel. It has since evolved to an energetic and interactive seminar built for the public and SUNY students, faculty, and staff. The SUNY SPECTRUM Conference is a safe space to learn and hear the lived experiences of those in the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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Holly Liapis
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