So, I went to the queer students of color conference, mostly because it was held on my campus again this year. (Let me just put this spoiler alert here: I am white.) At first, I was nervous because 1) I do have two kinds of anxiety disorders and 2) I felt out of place / experiencing ‘should I even be here’ feelings. Then, I got to know people and made a few friends which made me glad I stayed. In one workshop we went around the room, explaining why we were there: I was honest with my reasons: to learn, to listen, and to be around other queer folks. I thought people would see my skin and be mad that I was at a person of color conference. This was not my experience. When I was leaving and saying goodbyes on the last day, I put my helmet on and a person said sincerely, “Wow! You ride a bike. I love seeing qPoC people ride bikes, it’s usually such a ‘white person thing.’” I remembered that during Monika London’s workshop, she said she identified as a transwoman of color. She said that although some people think she isn’t Latina because her skin isn’t brown enough or her spanish isn’t “good” enough, that that is who she is anyway. My friend didn’t judge my identity from my light skin. I did tell him that I have a maternal grandmother who is Armenian, but that I’m pretty white. I recognize that I don’t know how to feel, what to say, or how to respond in certain situations. I learned so much from voices that I’d never gotten to hear otherwise. I’m grateful. I was reminded over and over again of my own privileges as well as my oppressions.
I took a pronoun pin from the conference that says SHE HER HERS that afterwards I wore to the school that I mentor at. When kids asked about the pin, I explained, (maybe for the first time in their life?), what transphobia was and what preferred pronouns mean, including no pronouns.
I got to listen to Vivek Shraya’s spoken word pieces and hear him talk about his books, projects, and his life. Then he screened his movie “What I LOVE about being QUEER.” I laughed, I cried. Spending my weekend at the conference was where instead of sitting at home watching shitty daytime weekend tv, I learned about radical self care: taking care of yourself so you can better take care of your community.
As of late, one phrase has been noticeably repetitively uttered by me: I am so excited for Vida Vegan Con. I am so excited for Vida Vegan Con. So much that I feel like a robot, I’m not a robot (but if I were I would definitely be a dalek– a cool one.) So, please allow me to share with you what I’m looking forward to. So excited.
What’s Vida Vegan Con? Read it if you don’t already know. Okay, now that we’re on the same page:
First: Topic excitement vs. Speaker excitement:
So much love here. I need to distinguish between the two because there are some topics that I’m stoked about sitting in a room and absorbing everything and there are some people that will be speaking where I’m more excited about the person than the topic, AND there are even some cases where these two things overlap. This is the agenda, which includes both speakers and topics.
Especially looking forward to:
Grant Butler moderating The Art of Writing Recipes and talking about Restaurant Reviews with Authority (Swoon. I have such a Grant Butler thing.)
Everything Gabrielle Pope (Possibly the nicest human on earth?)
Julie Hasson (I don’t care about being a cookbook author! But I love her.)
Joni Marie Newman (Mad mad style.)
Jamie J. Hagen (From autostraddle.)
The Mofo workshop (Angel, go with me!)
Joanna Vaught (You know when someone has a funny kid and you become a fan of them as a person for that and what they write on the internet? This is what Joanna means to me. Will I be a shy nerd when I meet her or will I be cool? Time will tell.)
Maeve Connor (She’s got quick wit and points comparable to Rachel Maddow and her cats are super cute.)
Sensitivity and Trigger Words. (The topic most close to my own heart.)
Chelsea Lincoln. (Is awesome.)
Interdietary Cohabitation. (Does not apply to me… and yet, so excited.)
Really, I’m excited about everything but I can’t just re-list the whole agenda. After the closing talk, my goal is to hug every. single. person.
Excitement point 2: THE FOOD.
I hear rumors… Veggie Grill, Sizzle Pie, breakfast spreads …
I am 24 years old and I know that the weekend of VVC II will be the best eating weekend of my life.
Excitement point 3: THE SWAG BAG
I hope I’m allowed to say this, but there are multiple boxes of Go Max Go candy bars in my kitchen and I’m not allowed to eat them because they are going into the swag bags. So far I’ve kept my cravings in check… you’re welcome. What else is in there?! People are still talking about the VVC I swag bag.
Next: The people who are in charge of this are cool. One of them is my girlfriend. The work Janessa, Michele, and Jess put into this conference is (say this in Chris’ voice from Parks and Rec): literally mind boggling. They don’t ever stop working on it. Cue photos of me falling asleep while Jess works feverishly into the night brimming with inspiration and work-ethic:
Another thing, the conference is at the Portland Art Museum this year. BEAUTIFUL much? Besides the conference, there’s extra curricular hang outs and pop ups. For once in my life, everything is applicable. I am so excited for Vida Vegan Con.