Moving Trans History Forward Conference 2023 – Day 2
If you have not yet had the chance to read about the first day that I spent at the ‘Moving Trans History Forward’ conference at the beginning of April, then I would encourage you to go give it a read.
Arriving at the conference for my second and final day, I felt excited for the events that I was about to attend. The day started off in the same way as the first, with complimentary tea and coffee and a light breakfast.
I chatted with some of the other attendees and noticed that we all shared a bittersweet feeling. We were tired after the long days spent attending panels and activities and we were excited to take some time to rest once the conference concluded.
But we also felt that there was so much more for us to learn and do, and we didn’t want the weekend to end and have to return to our ordinary lives after having such a wonderful experience.
Once we had finished with our conversations and coffee we were welcomed by the organizers of the conference and invited to make our way to the first and final concurrent panel of the day.
The panel that I chose to attend that day was lead by two researchers who each presented on different subjects that related to Two Spirit identities. The first was research about Two Spirit people and Neurodiversity, with a particular focus on Autism.
I found this very interesting and I loved learning about the ways that the two identities influence and have an effect on one another. I learned that many people who are Autistic experience gender in a different way than the wider population, and as a result they often find themselves identifying with Trans, Non-binary, or Two Spirit identities.
The second presenter shared their experiences as a Two Spirit drag artist, and they talked about how they are able to express themself and explore their identity through performance. As part of their presentation they included some video clips of them performing.
I have seen drag performances before, but I found this performance to be especially powerful because of the focus on Indigenous culture. After the presentations concluded we regrouped in the Vertigo room and enjoyed a selection of sandwiches for lunch.
After lunch was the final session of the conference: the youth panel. This panel was led by four young Queer individuals ranging in age from 15 to 17 years old. They talked about their experiences growing up Trans in Canada and shared their stories of bullying from their peers, discrimination by school administrators, and the social barriers they have had to overcome.
The insights they shared about what life looks like for so many young LGBTQ+ people shows how vitally important it is to advocate for change and expectance for all people, regardless of their gender identity. At the end of the panel they expressed hope for the future and shared their ideas on how to enact positive change for current and future generations.
This panel was one of the most impactful sessions that I had attended during the course of the conference. It was amazing to hear from youth who spoke so eloquently and confidently, and did not hide their authentic selves from the public view.
After two long days filled with educational, insightful and fun experiences, the conference finally came to a close. We heard from the organizers one last time before they wrapped up the session and sent us all on our separate ways.
Before I headed home I reconnected with all the wonderful people that I had the opportunity to meet and form connections with over the course of the weekend.