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Question MarkA reader writes: “Why is there usually (always?) a drag show at transgender events? I don’t see how drag kings and drag queens have anything to do with transgender people. Drag queens and drag kings dress up in the opposite gender’s attire and lip sync to music. What does that have to do with living authentically? I personally find it offensive and will not attend any trans events that have drag shows as part of the entertainment.”

Although I have never done drag, I have been to a lot of drag shows and know a lot of drag performers, so I am going to make my best observations and call on readers to fill in the blanks. Here is what I think:

Drag has a long history in the U.S., primarily in the gay and lesbian communities. It is a form of entertainment, and it is taken very seriously. I know drag performers, and particularly drag queens, who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their costumes, wigs, makeup, and other accoutrement. Drag is really a performance art. But drag is also where everything can get convoluted. (more…)

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First Event Logo… the teacher will appear. Unless you’re the teacher. But sometimes, even then, you learn something.

Last weekend, I presented at the annual First Event conference put on by the Tiffany Club of New England. Once again, it was an excellent event, with a fantastic Saturday men’s track organized by Anderson Clark, and Jamison Green as the Saturday evening keynote speaker.

Over the course of the weekend, I interacted with a non-trans man who was not at the conference, but who was aware that something was going on there. I won’t say how I came to interact with him, because that would violate his privacy, but I will say that he appeared to view the conference less than favorably.

“Is this some kind of transvestite convention or something?” he asked me. “Men dressing up like women?

I attempted to set the record straight and do some much-needed education, all with an eye toward my personal safety, because the situation was such that it could have deteriorated into something risky. (more…)

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Matt booksTrans guys and trans conferences are not mutually exclusive — but sometimes it seems that way.

I wrote earlier about the First Event conference. I had a really great time, and I think conferences can be an incredible way to get back to our “trans roots,” if you will, and to connect with people who have shared similar experiences. The TransMasculine Track at First Event, organized by Anderson Clark, brought in approximately 50 trans men, which is really impressive for a new program — especially a program aimed at the guys.

Low to nonexistent conference-and-activity attendance by trans guys is a familiar complaint. I hear it here in Colorado, and I hear it pretty much wherever I go. At First Event, Anderson and I were asked why trans men don’t attend trans conferences and what to do to get us there.

The reality is that trans men do attend trans conferences — but we tend to be scarce at many of them, for a variety of reasons: (more…)

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First EventI just got back (late last night) from the Tiffany Club of New England‘s annual First Event conference. I have to congratulate the planning committee, because I thought the event was excellent, and I had a great time.

I’m sure there were plenty of glitches — having been on the planning committee of the Colorado Gold Rush in its early stages, I’m aware that glitches abound at every conference. But the attendees rarely notice them — they are all having too much fun. What the planning committee agonizes over, the attendees party right through. Kudos to the First Event committee for making it seem effortless when it was the result of blood, sweat, and tears — these conferences always are.

This year was a special year for the guys, because the event featured a Saturday transmasculine track that drew in an estimated 50 trans men, and trans men are notorious for not attending most gender conferences (more on that later this week). So congrats to Anderson Clark for the programming and for getting the guys there, which made for a better event for all in attendance.

Although I’ve been to some of the biggies across the country — Colorado Gold Rush (I live here — that makes it easier), Southern Comfort, Gender Odyssey, Transcending Boundaries, Forward Motion, and now First Event — both lack of time and lack of money keep me (and many others) away from such conferences. And that’s a real shame, because every time I go to one, I’m glad I went. (more…)

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