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Inclusivity of Diversity, by Misty

Misty – “a gender outlaw feminist and an income-challenged, retired elder” – attended her first GO conference last year, and was so blown away by the workshops, events, and people she met, she is sure to come back again this year. Moreover, she’s already putting some effort into the 2013 programming for the Elders’ track.

“Inclusivity of Diversity – keep it up GO!”


Introduce yourself! Who are you, what do you do, what is your involvement with the trans community?

I’m a gender outlaw feminist and an income-challenged, retired elder. As a transwoman, my gender identity has evolved to a high comfort level with the term ‘gender outlaw’.

Had you ever been to a transgender conference before?

Before attending Gender Odyssey by myself in 2012, I had been to the Transcending Boundaries Conference in Springfield, MA and to several National Lesbian and Gay Taskforce’s Creating Change Conferences for their trans-friendly workshops. As someone who currently lives in the Southwest and hopes to move to the Pacific NW in the near-future, I was hoping to find a high-quality, western states conference vs. the other two excellent, but more eastern venues. G.O. is indeed that find!

Was this your first time at GO?

This was my first time at G.O. and I came because another transwoman acquaintance had attended in 2011 and came away with glowing recommendations.

Is there a particular workshop that stands out in your mind?

Of all the inspiring workshops I attended at the 2012 Gender Odyssey (so many good choices in each time slot; hard to choose just one), the “Race and Gender Balancing Act” was especially memorable. I wish I could have also sat in on “Gender and Class” and “Size and Gender” (alas I had others competing for my attention) because it is so important to be inclusive of ALL of our differences. Inclusivity of Diversity – keep it up G.O.!

What was your favorite event?

Ah, how to choose just one? Gene Tagaban’s keynote, the All-Conference Picnic, and Alexander James Adams performance all greatly enhanced my conference experience.

Did you make some good connections?

Well, I was so busy going from workshop to workshop that until the wind-down party, I didn’t really start connecting with others except by volunteering for a while at the registration table. In 2013, I want to make sure those connections happen throughout the conference. As one of the artists exhibiting my photography in the art show, I did have some good conversations about my work.

What is one thing that you took away from the conference?

At my age, just when I start to assume that I have seen and experienced all the many ways that we express ourselves individually and in meaningful relationships, I am awestruck by the ever-expanding color wheel of who we are and what is possible.

What is something you think the Gender Odyssey conference accomplishes for you personally? For others? For community? For society?

What G.O. does for me is it gives me the strength, courage, renewal-energy, and plenty of reasons to continue being a survivor in a difficult life, and it points to paths for helping others to ‘keep on keeping on’. As for our community, I think of a paraphrase on an old Sister Sledge song, “We are family…” – ‘all my gender outlaw kindred spirits and me’. If we as a society are ever going to see a better world, G.O. surely charts a course!

Are you coming back to Gender Odyssey? If so, what draws you back?

I will be back! I’m helping ‘boundless-energy-and-passion-for-the-cause’ Aidan organize an important elders’ track for 2013. I may also submit a separate workshop proposal, and a new piece of artwork, and my activist batteries will need re-charging by August with more G.O. good vibes.

“Out of the Mouth of Babes” – Misty

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