Members of the local LGBT community and their allies across the state will have the chance to unite Saturday at the third annual Louisiana Queer Conference, LAQC.

Open registration for the all-day event begins at 9 a.m. in Coates Hall, with the conference welcome beginning at 9:30 a.m. The cost of registration is free for University students and $5 for the public. Lunch will also be provided.

The University’s Spectrum organization is hosting the event, along with local LGBT group Equality Louisiana.

LAQC’s primary goal is to provide “leadership development, networking opportunities, and social support” to LGBT students and allies in Louisiana, according to the conference’s website.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be Alison Gill, government affairs director for The Trevor Project, who will discuss methods for turning education into action.

The Trevor Project is the foremost national organization for crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth, according to its website.

Organizers hope to increase attendance from the last two conferences and provide a larger range of workshops for attendees, according to international studies junior, Spectrum Vice President of Administration and LAQC Chair Moriah Graham.

Workshop topics available at the conference will include political activism, strengthening student organizations and transidentities, along with a variety of others, Graham said.

Spectrum President and biological engineering senior Kameron Kilchrist, who held Graham’s chair position for last year’s LAQC, said more than 200 people have already registered for the conference online.

Organizers are expecting attendees from across Louisiana, including students from every major university in the state, Kilchrist said.

Kilchrist said a “Queer Prom” will also be held in the Atchafalaya Room of the Student Union at 8 p.m. The prom, which will have an “Under the Sea” theme, began as a way for LGBT youth to receive the high school prom experience they may have missed out on, Kilchrist said.

“So many LGBT people aren’t allowed to bring who they want to prom in high school,” Kilchrist said. “It was essentially just an idea of allowing them to be who you are and bring who you want.”

Main events at the conference will be held in 143 Coates Hall, with workshops occurring in various locations in Coates.

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