I’m back at Casa de Monica after spending an amazing week hanging with my chosen family at the 2016 edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference in Dallas.
It was the fifth anniversary edition of this event, and it was a week in which I got to share the same space with old friends and make acquaintances with new cis and trans friends from around the country and increasingly the world. This year we had attendees from Brazil and Jamaica, and I hope we continue to draw more people from the African Diaspora to the Black Trans Advocacy Conference..
It’s an event that has the feel of a giant family reunion, but it’s one in which we get to learn, laugh and love each other in a world that is being stirred up for crass political reasons to become more irrationally hostile to all trans people.
It was sad we had to spend time putting out a press release condemning Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) for pimping anti-trans hate in the Lone Star State mere hours before our conference kicked off..
But we refused to let the transphobic devils suck the joy out of this conference.
BTAC is a gigantic raised clenched Black fist debunking the notion that Black trans people don’t exist. It is the middle finger to all those who would seek to harm and oppress us. It is an unapologetically Black trans focused space and conference that is also welcome to all who wish to attend and hang with us.
BTAC is your family beckoning to those of you to come, get your hug and the welcoming love you deserve that the world and at times your own blood families fail to properly give you at times. It’s having fun and enjoying each other’s company whether we are in the host hotel or out and about in the world trying to legislate us out of existence.
It’s where we went to the correct bathrooms for an entire week and nothing happened in this hotel except us pooping, peeing and washing our hands when we were done.
It’s remembering our ancestors who paved the way, the people we’ve lost, and the folks who wanted to be there but circumstances kept them away from us this time. Know that you are loved by your BTAC family, we missed you at BTAC 2016, and hope you’re blessed to be with us in 2017.
BTAC is where you can unapologetically be your fabulous Black trans selves. It’s sharing a meal with people who are like you and allies who unconditionally support us.. It’s displaying your talent at TransManifest Live. It’s strutting your stuff on the Black Diamond Ball runway as you get tens across the board from the judges. It’s being crowned the king and queen of the BTIPS pageant system by last year’s royalty.
It’s exchanging information, hugs and heartfelt stories not only in the seminars but as you chill in each others rooms, in the hospitality suite or in the lobby area with other hotel guests and staff. It’s celebrating the start of love connections made at past and this year’s BTAC conference.
It’s getting dressed up for the Awards Gala and being recognized by your BTAC family for the work you do not only inside the organization, but to advance the human rights of our entire community even if the rest of the world ignores your substantive contributions to doing so.
BTAC is where your voice matters and you get to role model the change you wish to see in the world.
It’s also a conference in which peeps find out I write and spit spoken word poetry, can step up my fashion game when necessary, I don’t bite when you approach me to say hello, I have a wicked sense of humor, and I play a take no prisoners trash talking game of dominoes while others are doing the same thing when they play whatever card game du jour that is going on at the time.
You have been warned for next year, peeps thinking about coming to challenge the Queen of the Dominoes table. And if it hadn’t been raining too hard Tuesday night, y’all would’ve found out I can bowl.
And trans haters, it’s where we gleefully blow up your lies about what it means to be an unapologetically Black trans person or an unapologetic ally to our community..
We are all painfully aware as we gather together one last time for that closing brunch it will be another 365 days before we’re blessed to be in the company of these amazing people we’ve spent a fab week with in the same BTAC space
And this year I missed the brunch because I had to leave early to catch my 2:50 PM Megabus back to Houston. I and Dee had to depressingly watch as everyone else attending it got dropped off by the hotel shuttle bus at Blue Mesa and we stayed on enroute to DART’s Addison Transit Center.
So yes, while BTAC 2016 is one for the history books, already looking forward to next year, and hope those of you who missed it this year will join us for BTAC 2017. .
And when the date and location for BTAC 2017 is announced, you will definitely see it on these TransGriot pages.