Our Story

Founded in 2008 as the National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative, LGBT Netroots Connect develops programs that bring online and offline activists and leaders together to create change. We work with leaders, journalists, LGBT organization staff, bloggers and activists to discuss the future of the LGBT movement and the ways in which our actions impact it.

Our annual gatherings have created alliances and projects that focus on uniting today’s and tomorrow’s community leaders. By bringing together these leaders with the larger progressive movement, we are able to engage on an array of issues that are central to LGBT equality and a just society. Our successes are testament to our programs. Our cutting-edge work and agile operating method have kept Netroots Connect relevant and creative. Our programs are designed to keep pace with evolving web technology.

To-date, We have provided over 600 full and partial scholarships to Netroots Connect, Netroots Nation, BlogHer, Blogging While Brown and other national programs.

Here are examples of the many exciting programs of Netroots Connect.

Monica

In the wake of the tragic killings of 50 people in the LGBT Latinx community, Netroots Connect 2016 focused on emerging efforts of community groups to engage in work to reduce gun violence in the United States.

With just two weeks to plan, Netroots Connect brought together leading voices concerned about this important issues. Staff from LGBT and allied organizations, community leaders working on violence reduction, elected officials, and others met for a day of strategizing and planning ways to engage attendees at Netroots Nation.

In addition to presentations and collaboration sessions, our leadership coordinated an outreach effort at Netroots Nation to increase the numbers of those involved in this issue.

In a separate meeting, a dozen LGBT and allied leaders who have participated in Netroots Connect met for a day or review and strategic planning for the Netroots Connect program.

Monica Roberts (above right), A Netroots Connect participant and founder of Transgriot, won the 2017 Pundit’s Cup, a contest held to identify rising talent in the punditry field.

Sessions on the role of history in our current day movement framed our work on current issues within the community and ways to solve problems. The one-day meeting resulted in a national #Testme Campaign for National HIV Testing Day that had over 2.5 million social media hits. The work was supported by the (RED) Campaign and the White House social media network.

In addition to repeating the Marriage and LGBT Caucuses, we expanded and added an ENDA caucus and a live broadcast of an ENDA panel on SiriusXM Radio. An expanded presence in the main exhibit hall provided us the opportunity to recognize our sponsors and to do outreach to attendees on LGBT issues. Over 100 attendees received scholarships.


Our work in Providence soon became known nationally. With our support, national leaders convened a meeting and Scouts for Equality was born. Within 11 months, the Boy Scouts of America lifted their ban on gay scouts. Scouts for Equality played a key role in that success and continues to lead the effort to lift the ban on LGBT leaders.

At Netroots Connect we developed a strategy to pressure the Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to transgender patients. That work resulted in a successful campaign to change health reporting statisticical methods nationwide.

Our caucus program expanded; over 200 attended the LGBT and Marriage Caucuses.


2010 marked the first LGBT pre-conference before Netroots Nation. Eighty participants included bloggers, online and traditional media, LGBT organizations and activists. In most cases it was the first time that organizations spent time with groups of new media professionals.

Over 50 full and partial scholarships were awarded for those unable to otherwise attend. Netroots Connect hosted events to introduce the LGBT community to elected officials and candidates for office. The LGBT Caucus continued to grow; over 125 people attended. Activities focused around building cooperative partnerships. Immigration and Marriage were examples for which groups created action plans to work on post-conference.

The National LGBT Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative — later Netroots Connect — was founded as more than 60 leading LGBT online voices gathered in Washington, DC. For many it was the first time they had met colleagues they had worked with virtually for years. Held at The Center for American Progress, the event featured three days of workshops and trainings on investigative reporting, management, building online income and media. Social events provided an opportunity for attendees to build relationships, many of which continue in the movement today.

The meeting and events marked the beginning of new era of cooperation among online voices and traditional LGBT media.