It's a little earlier than the early April date it normally happens, but the 23rd edition of the IFGE Conference is kicking off today through February 8 at the Hilton Alexandria at Mark Center in Alexandria, VA.
This year's location I have fond memories of because I attended the last IFGE Conference that was held in the Washington DC area back in 2000. I not only got the opportunity to lobby some congressmembers, but watch as Dawn made history by becoming the first African-American transperson to win the IFGE Trinity Award.
Speaking of history, IFGE Executive Director Denise Leclair noted the historic timing of this year's event as well. "We are very excited to be staging this year's conference right next door to our nation's capital at such a pivotal time in our country's history. We believe it is very significant that the transgender community will be gathering in the Washington, D.C. area just two weeks after the presidential inauguration.
2009 is a critical year for our community in terms of securing the same employment rights and protections enjoyed by the rest of society, and we firmly believe that this conference will create momentum for change that will carry through the rest of the year."
That change she articulated is the expected introduction of a transgender inclusive ENDA and Hate Crimes bill that the community has high hopes will pass with expanded progressive majorities in the House and Senate and a president in the White House who will sign it.
As with any IFGE Conference, in addition to the informative seminars, the highlight is the presentation of the IFGE Trinity Awards. While there won't be any additions to the exclusive club of African-American Trinity winners (2000 Dawn Wilson, 2002 Dr. Marisa Richmond, 2006 moi), the Trinity Class of 2009 will consist of Lisa Mottet, Gunnar Scott and Spencer Bergstedt.
The IFGE Conference's target audience is anyone and everyone who is part of, allied with, or of service to the Transgender Community. So if you're in the Washington DC metro area, you may want to check out IFGE 2009.