Valentine's Day can be hard, even more so when your love life may not look like those around you. We've put together some ideas on how you can make the day a little easier.
By Sara (aka the leprechaun), Transcending Boundaries 2012 Director of Membership
Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending the 24th Creating Change Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Creating Change is an annual conference on GLBT equality sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). This year’s had over 2,700 people.
I was initially afraid that since Creating Change was sponsored by a prominent national GLBT organization that it would be too “mainstream” and too focused on the “G” and the “L” in GLBT at the expense of the “B” and the “T” as is so often the case with large national organizations and events. I was surprised at the diversity of the workshops offered and amount of overlap with issues we cover at Transcending Boundaries. I was only able to attend for one day but attended four workshops including one on queer parenting options, one on bisexual health disparities, and one on organizing pro-equality Catholics.
Among the other 350 workshop and training sessions offered were workshops on GLBT immigration issues, same-sex marriage, polyamory, and the status of organizing efforts on Maryland’s anti-transgendered discrimination bill. In short, there was something for everyone. There were hundreds of exhibitors and art and entertainment options. Participants also heard from prominent pro-GLBT politicians and leaders such as Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey, and artist and activist Wilson Cruz.
Finally, there was plenty of time to network which allowed me to handout 200 TBC 2012 flyers and exchange business cards with several potential speakers and attendees. I was particularly impressed with how Creating Change treated issues of class, race, and religion.
Bella Kaldera is a transwoman and Constable of Hubbardston, Massachusetts. She transitioned in 1987, and completed her surgery in 2010. In addition to serving as Constable, she practices martial arts, studies military history, and contributes to her family's working farm. She sat down to talk to TBC about her experiences growing up trans in a time when it wasn't as accepted as today, as well as serving in the Air Force.
On January 8th, 2012 we held our monthly organizers meeting. Although this meeting was slightly smaller than the last, with 6 people attending in person and another 10 through Skype, it was still very lively and involved.
After getting settled with Skype (and enjoying some freshly made bread), Ian led the meeting.
First up was an update on the Departments. The Departments have worked up their plans and should be contacting their teams in the very near future to begin working on projects.
We had a tech update. We are using the Google for Nonprofits suite, but need the account to be fully approved before we can fully switch over to it. We will also be focusing on updating our email lists this month so we can start contacting the correct people as needed.
The primary focus on the meeting was to discuss a proposed budget for the 2012 conference. Although some of our costs are firm, such as the facility rental, others are not known, and need to be estimated based on what we have spent in the past and our projected growth. Similarly, our income, which is primarily from registrations and sponsorships, is not precisely known, and must be estimated. We discussed what each department would need to spend money on, and where potential sources of income were. This was the largest portion of the meeting, but finished with a proposed budget for the year, which can be compared to our actual costs and income as we progress.
Micah then announced his final task as Operations Director, as in 2012 he will be leading the Investments Team. We are proud to announce a location and date for the 2012 Transcending Boundaries Conference! We will be back at the Mass Mutual Center, October Friday 26 through Sunday 28, 2012. We hope to announce this year's keynote speaker in the very near future.
We also planned our promotions schedule for the next several weeks. Transcending Boundaries Staff will be on panels and attending Arisia, a Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. Although this may seem like a strange place to promote, Arisia has a wealth of panels that focus on topics of gender, sexuality and relationships both in relation to fandom and not. Leprechaun will be taking fliers to Creating Change in Baltimore, Maryland, which is the National Conference on LGBT equality. In early February TBC will have a table at the New England Leather Alliance's Fetish Fair Fleamarket. Lastly, several staff members will be at Wicked Faire, and hope to distribute fliers as well.
Because the second Sunday of the month overlaps with the Fetish Fair Fleamarket, where we will be tabling, the February Organizer's meeting was moved to the week earlier, February 5th. It will be 1-3 PM, at a private residence in Springfield, MA. Meeting participants are welcome to stay after for a Superbowl party.
It is our sad duty to report the passing of a friend and regular attendee of TBC.
Alice Washburn, known affectionately as Badger, passed away on December 26, 2011. Badger, an attendee of both the 2009 and 2010 TBCs, got around on her scooter with her friend (and personal friend of many members of the staff), Larry Nelson. Badger missed this year's event due to illness. She had been hospitalized for several weeks prior to her passing.
The staff of Transcending Boundaries want to extend our condolences to Badger's friends and family. Her wonderful attitude and easy smile were always a joy to see, and she was definitely missed at this past year's conference.
In addition to TBC, Badger was a vibrant member of many other communities, including science fiction fandom and "filking" (an irreverent style of folk music heavily based on science fiction and fantasy themes). A memorial service for Badger is planned for Friday, Jan. 13, at 3 p.m. at the MIT Chapel in Cambridge, with reception to follow at the nearby Student Center. That day is also the first day of Arisia, the largest science fiction convention in New England, and a memorial filk sing-along in her honor is in the works.
Donations in Badger's memory can be made to the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to "addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres such as science fiction, fantasy and horror... to foster dialogue about issues of race, ethnicity and culture, raise awareness both inside and outside the fantastical fiction communities, promote inclusivity in publication/production, and celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in science fiction, fantasy and horror."
On a personal note, Larry is a long-time friend mine, and I met Badger through him at Arisia a number of years ago. I cannot imagine going to Arisia (or any other science fiction convention in the northeast, for that matter) and not seeing her there. Her absence will be noted for many years to come.
Peace be with you, Badger. You will be missed.
The staff of Transcending Boundaries wants to wish you a Happy New Year! We hope your holidays were wonderful, wherever and however you celebrated them. Over the holiday season, we received the following story from one of our attendees, who graciously gave us permission to share it on our blog. If everyone's coming out story were this positive, the world would be a much happier place.
Meeting the "Out-Laws"
We all know that the holidays can be perilous for those who identify as "other than normal." I went into this season with quite a bit of trepidation. We (my family of choice, which consists of three adults) took an enormous leap of faith. We invited my mother, my husband's parents, and my partner's parents all to the same dinner table for the first time.
Choosing to live as a family, the three of us, has had mixed reactions from those who don't know us as well, and that includes all of our biological family members. This year, we made the choice to finally come out to my in-laws. They really didn't know what to make of the information, and though they want to be clear that they love us, it wasn't certain how much of our news they were actually processing and accepting.
So imagine our surprise when, after some very awkward introductions, my in-laws and my partner's parents (the "out-laws", as we call them) discovered that not only should political conversations NOT be avoided at our dinner table, they actively had huge swaths of political common ground. This may have been the first family dinner at which we
actively ENCOURAGED politics and religion to be the topics. By the end of the meal, the mother-in-law and "mother-out-law" were trading email addresses and cheerfully hugging each other farewell.
I just want to encourage everyone with this story. I never would've expected to have such a positive experience, but apparently, it can happen.
I wish happy holidays to everyone. This has certainly made mine fabulous. :)
Happy New Year! May 2012 bring you happiness, heath, and all your wishes.
If your New Year's Resolutions included getting involved with a volunteer organization, spending more time in your community, or even making some new friends, consider joining us on January 8th, for our next organizer's meeting.
This month we will be discussing the date and location for the 2012 conference, and hopefully have it finalized. Department heads will be proposing their plans and recruiting volunteers for specific components, so if you want to find a project, large or small, this is a great time to get started. Lastly, we hope to discuss the proposed operating budget for the conference, so we can set targets for fundraising, attendance and costs.
We hope you can join us!
Overwhelmed by the Awesome, by Melissa
This year I participated in my first Project For Awesome. The Project For Awesome (p4a) is a sort of crowd sourced You Tube telethon conceived of by the vlogbrothers (www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers) in 2007. Once a year, on December 17, members of the community surrounding the vlogbrothers (collectively known as "nerdfighters") post hundreds of videos to youtube in which they promote a cause, charity or non-profit organization they feel is important. Then all the nerdfighters spend hours on youtube watching these videos, commenting on them, liking them and favoring them so that by the end of the 24 hour project, the entire "most liked" or "most viewed" page on youtube contains nothing but videos about worthwhile causes. In addition, people can donate to a large cash pool on the project home page and then vote for where they think the money should go. Of course folks are also encouraged to go to the websites of whatever causes they find interesting and donate directly.
Myself and three other TBC organizers (Jenn, Dani and Jawn) filmed a video talking about our work with the conference, why we love it so much and what it needs to grow. It went up on my youtube channel on p4a day and I spent the next 10 or so hours watching amazing videos about great charities and hilarious live shows where various youtube celebrities did increasingly embarrassing tasks as the amount of money raised went up. I was able to get our video featured on two prominent nerdfighter tumblrs but unfortunately, it did not get featured on the live show. Currently the video has 97 views which is less than I had hoped for, but the comments are overwhelmingly positive and those people who did see it promised to spread the word. I was also thrilled to see tons of support for The Trevor Project, FKH8 and Scarleteen. Probably the most exciting moment for me was reading a comment from someone in Philadelphia who said that she had heard good things about us from other local folks. Our message really is spreading!
If you'd like to see the video, its still up on my youtube channel at http://youtu.be/2Scb--9KN-U
If you've never been to an organizer meeting before, it might sound intimidating, but we promise we are a friendly bunch, and welcome anyone who wants to be involved in the event. Here is what you can expect for a typical meeting.
About a week before the meeting the chair or an assistant will solicit agenda items over the organizer's email list (you can join here). If you have a specific idea or topic you'd like to talk about, this is a great chance to make sure it gets mentioned.
The day of or a day before, depending on schedules a rough agenda is sent out over the list via Google Docs. Any additional agenda items can be added by folks as necessary.
Our meetings are very casual and friendly. We suggest bringing a pen and paper to take notes or a laptop (wireless is usually available) if you are attending in person. Beverages and snacks are usually available, but if you'd like something specific, it's always nice to bring something to share.
Shortly before the meeting, we'll begin the Skype conference call, and usually there is a bit of friendly chatter before we actually get settled and begin the meeting. Don't worry if you're running late or need to leave early, things are informal, and we can move agenda items around to work with your schedule.
We begin with introductions if new folks are in attendance, and a check in. Then we usually go through the agenda, with one or two people taking the official minutes on a Google Doc. This means that you can follow along if you're using a computer or look things up later. The meetings usually go in a similar order, by department. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussions, ask questions and give suggestions.
At the end of the meeting, any other open issues are taken care of and we plan the next meeting, trying to keep a regular schedule of second Sundays each month. Additional committee meetings sometimes are scheduled for other days.
Depending on where we are in the planning process, meetings typically run for 1-2 hours. The December meeting will likely run longer, because it is essentially two meetings in one. Often after a meeting, smaller groups will get together for a short time to meet or work on a project.
After the meeting, minutes are sent out via email, so you can reference them and see what happened if you were unable to attend.
The organizer meetings are a great way to meet other folks and experience the TBC community year round. We have a lot of fun and many of us have developed wonderful friendships because of our involvement. If you're on the fence, join us for a meeting and observe. We think you'll want to join us again. Even if it's just for the baked goods that are often involved!
Happy New Year folks!
We at Transcending Boundaries are pleased to announce that our 2009 conference was a resounding success, and planning for TBC 2010 is underway. The Transcending Boundaries Conference focuses on the bisexual/pansexual, trans/genderqueer, intersex and polyamorous communities, as well as others who don't fit society's either/or labels.
Also keep your eyes peeled for more Transcending Boundaries activities besides conference planning! We have a new Board of Directors hoping to bring some of that conference energy back into the community at large.
Wishing you a bright new year,