My MBLGTACC delegation, being from a trade school, was on the older side. Our youngest attendee was 22 and our oldest 62. Most of my experiences from this year--just like last year--were about bonding with my classmates. The reason for that is that most (but not all) of them are either allies or have had a very limited understanding of queer and LGBT issues. I won't be talking about most of these experiences because they're mostly personal.
I didn't get to most of the keynotes due to an illness I picked up in Iowa (I like to think that's what happened) and the fact that the ride was exceptionally long. In fact the only keynote I went to was Janet Mock:
|Photographic proof that I both saw Janet Mock and looked|
terribly awesome doing it.
1. Polyamory Workshops
I went to two of these. One was actually a forum (kind of like an identity caucus) rather than a workshop. I went there hoping to talk with more experienced people but most of the discussions in my sub-group sprang from 101 questions from curious individuals (I already wrote about this last year when I criticized having non-closed identity caucuses). It wasn't terrible but I didn't get much out of it. The second was a more advanced workshop that was more like what I expected from the first one. Met some cool people there. The facilitator had a brilliant plan to weed out people casually-interested-in-polyamory without totally excluding them, which was to send them all to a different presenter in the back of the room.
2. LGBT Rape Culture
I liked this workshop but I don't know what I can really write about it at this point that I haven't already written.
3.Queer Identity Forum
Alright, I don't necessarily want to get all up-in-the-face of the other people who attended this forum, but what ran through my head immediately was the phrase "immature radicals." When I say that I don't mean the same things people typically mean when they use "immature" and "radical" in the same sentence. I don't mean that they were "too" radical, and it wasn't their tone or personal beliefs. It was that there was an appalling lack of understanding of history and a very self-contradicting set of expectations for what "queer" means. "Queer is an umbrella term for everyone!" but also "Queer specifically means the radical undercurrent!" People used the word "inherently" a lot in ways that are flatly inaccurate, like "queer is inherently anti-authoritarian!" There was a lot of potential there but... well... I'll probably write a lot about that one later.
4. Advanced Trans
I got next to nothing out of this. To be fair, I've been at this longer than a lot of people there, so for most of them it would have been advanced. The presenter talked about hierarchies among trans people and seemed confused when somebody brought up transmisogyny in the form of trans men being given more consideration than trans women.
5. Queer Self-Care
The person who had prepared this workshop didn't show up, so it was taken over by the guy who runs Boxers and Binders (he did a damn good job, too). We talked about the difference between self-care and destructive coping mechanisms. I am kind of iffy about this (because I'm a big fan of harm reduction as a philosophy and destructive coping mechanisms are still coping mechanisms). Personally my self-care Bible is Kate Bornstein's "Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide." I might write about some of the reasons people are so averse to self-care because that was a pretty good discussion.
On an aside, I left this last workshop very quickly due to somebody's use of the word "carnist" during a rant about some vegan thing he wrote on Tumblr. I try to avoid criticizing veganism as a lifestyle on this blog (because I don't give a flying fuck if you're a vegan) but I'll probably write about what my big issue is with how veganism is promoted in radical spaces, because it's more hurtful and oppressive than I think people recognize.
Anyway, it's getting late and I should probably sleep more to help mitigate the sick.