LONG BEACH - Politics will break out of the closet this week.
About 550 openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender public officials, activists and political operatives are expected to attend the 28th International LGBT Leadership 2012 Conference, which takes place from today through Sunday at the downtown Renaissance Long Beach Hotel.
Lesbian U.S. Sen.-elect lesbian Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay member of the Senate, is the keynote speaker Saturday afternoon. Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was elected to the Senate last month.
The Long Beach area has a few of its own openly gay public officials as well, and the city has been lauded for its inclusiveness. The Long Beach City Council has a gay member and a lesbian member, and Signal Hill has two gay members and one lesbian member.
Conference tickets, which range from $150 to $350, are available for each day.
"The LGBT leadership conference is the world's largest gathering of openly LGBT public officials and brings together elected and appointed officials, activists and political operatives for networking and workshops," said Denis Dison, spokesman with the Victory Institute, which organizes and hosts the event.
Some of those workshops include career advancement, such as "From Activist to Public Official: A Different Kind of Visibility" and "Strengthening our Numbers: Tools for the Seasoned Leader.
Other workshops address LGBT issues, like "Combatting LGBT Homelessness" and "LGBT Health and Health Reform."
The Victory Institute is a nonprofit group "dedicated to increasing the overall leadership potential of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," Dison said.
The group offers training and professional development programs to educate and inspire LGBT people to enter careers in in politics, government, business and advocacy, Dison said.
The Victory Institute is the education and training arm of the Victory Fund.
Founded in 1991, the Victory Fund was created by advocates who believed democracy works best for LGBT Americans when their community is reflected in the political leadership at all levels of government, Dison said.
The Victory Fund lists more than 1,000 "out" government and judicial officials internationally.
What: 28th International LGBT Leadership 2012 Conference
Where: Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, 111 E. Ocean Blvd.
When: Today through Sunday
Tickets: Full conference access, $350; public official full conference access, $195; student full conference access, $250; single day access, $105