What an incredible whirlwind.
I didn't write about it much before this weekend, so here's a short explanation. MBLGTACC stands for the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgendered Ally College Conference. It's a yearly conference for college students (undergrad or graduate level) who identify as one of these populations. The first year I attended this conference was in 2007 when I was still a student at Truman State University. This conference was at University of Minnesota (it changes every year where it is). It was an incredibly moving experience. Despite being broke college students and the Midwest being as spread out as it is, thousands of GLBT students still came together in the frozen north for this conference, and the kind of energy that they brought with them was amazing. Even though things kinda suck to be GLBT in the Midwest, the level of sheer joy and optimism that you find among these inspiring individuals is life-changing.
This year's conference was at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As people were gathering in the Hill Auditorium on campus on Friday night for the opening ceremonies and the first keynote speaker, a dance party broke out when the DJ put on Lady Gaga's "Born This Way". Have you ever seen a random dance party break out as 2,000 people are gathering for a speaker? That's the kind of energy that just flowed this whole weekend.
When I first attended in 2007, there was a kink/BDSM workshop there, which was great. But unfortunately, it was not very well attended. Also, the presenters were not really college students, which is fine (lots of the workshops at the conference are put on by community members and not just students), but I thought there would be more interest if the presentation was made by someone the conference goers could relate to. I applied to do a kink workshop for the 2008 conference which was at University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. It was incredibly well attended - so well, in fact, that I had 75 people crammed in standing room in a classroom made for 30 people, and another 75 people out in the hall who had to be turned away due to lack of space.
I presented a similar workshop again in 2009, but since I graduated, I decided to skip the 2010 conference. I still keep up with some students who attend Truman State who went, and I was told by several of them and others that there wasn't a single kink-related workshop or presenter at the 2010 conference. It was a disparity.
So back I came, this weekend, in 2011. I applied to present two workshops on the New Guard and Kinkphobia as well as the first ever Kink-Identity Caucus (for people who identify as kinksters to meet, organize, and discuss). I was surprised to find out that someone else, Elliot Jensen from University of Iowa, was supposed to also present two BDSM workshops. He unfortunately had to cancel, so I volunteered to pick up one of his two workshops (the one on BDSM 101). That made for a busy weekend, to do three workshops and a caucus, but it was a lot of fun! Especially my workshop "Justifying Kink". This was a one hour workshop on Kinkphobia and how it's felt within the GLBT community. In retrospect, I should have asked for a 90 minute slot for this one - there were a lot of questions and great dialoge bouncing around and we almost ran out of time.
All the workshops I did were very well attended. They were all in the same auditorium-style classroom that seated around 200 people. For all of them, every seat was filled.
What can I say? Wow. I love this stuff. I love presenting this workshops, and I love the energy I get from this. I would love to present more of these workshops at other colleges/universities, or anywhere else. I already can't wait for MBLGTACC 2012. Maybe I could become a public speaker as a side job....anybody know anything about how to get started in that?
To anyone who was present at the conference and attended the workshops I did, I know I saw lots of people in the audience taking pictures and video. If you have any pics or vid of me presenting, please e-mail it to me! I don't have any pics of me doing this yet. Please send to TynanFox@gmail.com.
I have a whole week off work still. Time to set to work on a new project :)