There are so many beautiful things that happen at Creating Change. One of them is what I like to call the impromptu mini-sessions. You know, those ones that take place during the wait in line for an elevator or downstairs in the hotel lobby in between sessions that can turn into some of the most amazing networking and collaborating done at the entire conference…
Here’s a great example… It’s been hard to find food easily during the conference and I finally had a break between sessions and staffing the booth so I went to the hotel sports bar for a burger in the mid-afternoon. My plans were to eat quickly and try to take a power nap. Be sure and see my previous post on self-care (or lack thereof) at conferences.
I hopped in and order a burger. I was eating at the bar when Josephine Tittsworth came in for a drink and decided to stay and have a snack so we could talk. Josephine and I connected the day before while I was staffing the lgbt tobacco control network booth. One of our many common interests is transgender advocacy. Josephine does tons of incredible trans organizing down here in Texas, and is currently trying to get her college to incorporate “gender identity and expression” in the campus non-discrimination policy.
Getting gender identity and expression into a college campus non-discrimination policy is hugely important. CU-Boulder has sexual orientation in our policy but we are currently working to try and get gender identity and expression added as well. College campuses all across the country are working on this, and some are having a harder time getting it done than others. One of the best ways to work on something like this is to talk to other schools in different stages of trying to do the same thing- folks who have gotten it added, folks who are also working on it at their schools etc… find out what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, share ideas/resources/experiences/knowledge and collaborate.
So Josephine and I started chatting more about campus inclusivity and some of our other common interests like social work. Then Matt from Bi-Net DFW showed up and joined in the conversation as I was doing my now repetitive shpiel about needing creating change nap time and activist burnout. It caught his attention and then when I turned to face him we recognized each other from a lot of the bi networking that has been going on here.
The three of us spent the next hour and a half talking more about the many intersections that the three of us have identified between with Transgender and the Bisexual communities, and brainstormed some more possibilities, hopes and dreams for networking and collaborating together in the future.
I’ll leave you with saying that we’re really hoping to do some serious work over the next year and from here on out, because, the 3 of us at least believe that the Bi and Trans communities have some definite areas of commonality to build coalitions around. Matt also has a great way of saying something that I feel, which is that we’re all working towards equality…and true equality would have us working together on things and collaborating, because being bi and being trans aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive or inclusive- and that shouldn’t matter, because we’re supposed to be making this world a better place for ALL people regardless of race, socio-economic status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, religion, age, nationality, level of education etc. etc. etc.
That is just one example of many of the great impromptu things that go on here at Creating Change. I never did get that nap in, and Matt got inspired to change the topic for his caucus that was coming up in an hour…but hey, that’s how creating change works sometimes isn’t it?