Monday, September 24, 2012

The Trans Racial Political Divide Shows Up At SCC 2012

While I was owning my power inside I-495 AKA the Capitol Beltway, I thought about during some OUT on the Hill downtime that the Southern Comfort Conference was also going on in the ATL.   I've attended the 1999, 2000 and 2004 editions of SCC and it was undeniably a part of my trans activist evolution. 

Because at one point it was the largest trans gathering in the United States convention hierarchy, SCC has also been the backdrop of major trans political intrigue and drama.  The 2007 SCC convention was a major case in point of that . 

With its dates conflicting with OUT on the Hill and the increasing need for me to be in Washington DC for that event, it's highly unlikely I'll be back at another SCC unless I'm invited to do a keynote speech.

I've written SCC posts in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 but didn't this year.   I've talked about the irony of an overwhelmingly vanillacentric conference smack dab in a city considered the Black GLBT mecca.  I've noted the sincere attempts of the SCC board to diversify their attendance and one of their awkward moments brought on by that lack of diversity in 2008..  

My distinguished trans elder Cheryl Courtney-Evans attended the 2012 edition of SCC and reported in her abitchforjustice blog some of her observations about the sharp racial political divide that permeated this year's event over the looming presidential election.

So needless to say I was surprised, even shocked to find the reactions I got to my flier distribution...virtually every African American transgender person I offered one to, took it (some with the smile & "Obama in '12" comment). But I found that many of the Caucasians in attendance would refuse with a shake of the head (one telling me, "I'm not a fan of Obama's"), or just lay them down and leave them somewhere. It was during one of my 'smoke breaks' that I witnessed and heard comments from some Caucasian trans who were discussing a flier that was lying on a table between us from one of these "lay it down & leave it" occasions. "I really don't see what difference it's gonna make," she said, "they're both the same; they're gonna say one thing and do another after they're elected..."  WHAT??! Where have they been the last four years?? Hadn't they heard what one of their own had just said at lunch? (Also, I could see they were old enough to have seen at least three different presidents and their actions with regards to transgenders.)  Then I had to stop and think about who was talking...

Once again people, race matters, even in our little trans subset of society.  It's one of the reasons why NBJC and TPOCC exist.   Here's the rest of Cheryl's post for y'all to peruse.. 

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