Monday, September 21, 2009

Transgender Adventures in History at 2009 SCC

Hoop skirt, check. Corset, check. Big cotton dress, check. Lots of makeup and digital camera, check! Hmmm, it must be time for Southern Comfort Conference (SCC) in Atlanta with a bit of a historical twist. For those who have not heard of SCC, it is the largest transgender gathering in the world. For several days every fall, the community comes together in a celebration of its gender gifts. The three main days of SCC (Sept. 24-26) consists of seminars, outings, luncheons, and the marketplace in the lovely Crowne Plaza Ravinia in northern Atlanta. It concludes Saturday night with a formal dinner. This year’s theme is “Heroes in Our Lives,” and many efforts are being made during SCC to recognize those who have gone before us and many who are thankfully still contributing.

SCC will be a bit different for me this time as I am only staying one night and two days (Thursday/Friday). I will once again gather with my Vanity Club sisters Thursday evening at a local Italian restaurant for our annual Glam Dinner. We love dressing up to the nines and enjoying each other’s company. For many of us, this is the only time we “see” each other. I am still deciding on a dress… decisions, decisions!

Friday morning at 10:35am is my Transgender Adventures in History presentation. Like last year, it will be broken up into four parts. First, I will share some stories from gender variant people of the past. As part of the SCC theme, I will give special recognition to the women who served during the American Civil War. Second is a history of 19th century women’s fashions. I have many new photos to show this time. Third, I will tell some of my own stories breaking into mainstream reenacting. Those who read this blog regularly will have a head start on those tales! Finally, I will speak about the world of reenacting with special attention to Civil War reenacting. I will, of course, be dressed appropriately in Civil War era dress. This time, the costume will be much more historically accurate, although still not perfect. Like any reenactor, my impression must grow and improve, and the costume is a big part of that.

One of the wonderful things about SCC is the many who choose to go out en femme for the first time during the conference. The organizers and longtime attendees are always amazed and humbled that so many discover their feminine identity at SCC. I am inspired by their courage and resolve. I am also lifted up by all the stories from my transgender brothers and sisters around the world. It was 2006 SCC that moved me to begin taking more steps in being out in the real world. The Civil War reenacting and contra dancing are some of the fruits of that inspiration. I will be sad to leave after the Friday lunch, but I will be returning with many new stories. The great thing is I will be diving right back into the real world with a great contra dance event Saturday night (Feet Retreat) and some other planning meetings. I want to keep my feet firmly planted in both the transgender and mainstream communities. This week is another step in that direction.

No comments: