Phil Reese

When You Take Protein Powder to Creating Change

Filed By Phil Reese | February 08, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Creating Change conference, LGBT, movement, organizing

When you take a canister of protein powder with you to Creating Change, and come back with a packed suitcase with far more in it than when you began your voyage, this is basically what happens to your apartment when you unzip your suitcase.

At least now it kind of smells good here. Like fruit.

Want to read more of my initial reaction post-Creating Change? Read on!

  • Thanks to The Task Force, Bil Browning and Jerame Davis for everything!
  • I stayed with Mikey in St. Paul about 30 minutes by bus from the conference. Initially, not so bad, but after 6 days of back and forth, it got a little daunting.
  • I did fewer workshops this year, but did far more collaborating and networking than in previous years. It's true - many times when one attends conferences like this, some of the workshops and sessions are amazing, and some are... not quite what you'd expected. However, there's no reason to miss this conference if you can attend. Bil Browning calls it a big ol' family reunion, and he's right. It's a wonderful place to meet up with hundreds of folks you know but never thought you'd see in real life, or see those folks you haven't seen in years.
  • When I travel and then get in large groups, I'm going to get sick. It's inevitable. Luckily I held off until everyone left this time! Yay!
  • I'm finally starting to enjoy visiting Minneapolis. There are worse places in the world, that's for sure. Yeah, it was near or bellow zero almost every day, but there's some cool stuff to do in that town, and I'm starting to get the hang of it.
  • Our community rocks. That's all there is to it. Sometimes we fight over stupid stuff. Sometimes we waste energy attacking one another when we could be teaming up on our common goals. Ultimately, though, being a part of the LGBT community is a big blessing for me.
  • Finding common ground is awesome. Let's do that more.
  • I need to make sure I have no responsibilities to attend to next time I'm out of town. I had homework to do, work stuff and a few pieces to write. I should have finished the work and homework before I even left, and saved the writing for after. I sadly had to spend far too much time on non-conference jazz that could have been spent hanging out with the innumerable cool people that I wish I could spend a lot more time with a lot more often.
  • It's OK to take a break from activism to just have a good time. We'll still be discriminated against when you get up in the morning. Don't worry, you won't have missed anything.
  • The orgs aren't all bad. In fact, when you meet the staffers, you'll learn they're pretty freaking awesome. It's all perception and context. It's really easy to throw stones from the outside. Anyone who works 40 hours a week to further LGBTQ equality and/or liberation is pretty darn awesome at least 75% of the time.
  • You're not always in the fight you thought you were in. Sometimes a gruff online persona is masking a cuddly kitten in person. A tattooed head-to-toe kitten.
  • It's official: Queerty doesn't have an official snark style guide! It's taken me years of digging, but finally I've learned that very interesting and unique kind of writing is the product of the writer's creativity, not the hand of the editors. I don't know if that makes me feel better or feel worse, but I do know they have one hell of a talented new writer there that will make me want to pop over and read a little more.
  • There are some interesting rumors about me making their way through my circle of queer blogger friends. I think I'll just go ahead and let them keep getting spread. Can't hurt!
  • Nobody shoved my face in their armpit on this trip. However, I've got another queer blogger thing coming up soon, so there's still a chance.
  • Which reminds me, we must get Andrew Sullivan to attend more of these conferences so we can popularize Jerame's clever #britpit hashtag a bit more.
  • Joe Mirabella looks good with a beard. He also found an anctual round table at which to record this week's in-person round table for SameSexSunday. Clearly a higher power intended for us to be co-hosts and friends.
  • I need more business cards.
  • Shh, don't tell anyone. The sweetest man in this movement is Michael Rogers. I know that completely contradicts his bad-ass, take no prisoners public image. That's why I put it at the bottom of this post, so we can keep up appearances. However, if you read this far, now you know the secret: the nicest guy you can ever meet is Mike Rogers. As long as you're not a closeted gay Republican with an anti-gay voting record saying homophobic things on TV. Then he's not so nice.
  • Don't let Andy Szekeres tell you he's only buying one round. He's lying. He's right about everything else ever, though.
  • If you're ever ever depressed about the lack of progress in the movement, go to this conference, and meet some of the young kids coming up. They rock. They'll re-energize you.

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What a jaunty taste of the conference from your personal perspective! And the baby powder video is hilarious -- who can I do this to that won't kill me?

Now I'm bummed I wasn't there, but know I'll get My Fabulous Disease there next time! I look forward to more writings about what all went down!

Mark

Yeah- me, too. I want to bring Phyllis!

Lucky for the woman she didn't get seriously hurt.Many loose powders when exposed to heat explode in flames.Funny video but I hope some rocket scientist doesn't try it with flour or coffee creamer.

Next year, in Baltimore...

And as soon as I know the date, I'm buying the plane tickets. After that, the rest is somewhat easy.

Missed seeing everyone this year. Been working -- you know how it is, lol.

I feel like we should start saying this at our Passover Seders. "Next year in Baltimore!" Excuse me, I meant our GAYders.

I find it hard to believe that you guys have shown this. I have witnessed flour powder detonating. if at the right air to powder mix with a means of detonation it could have blown a wall out.

Gods knows what it would have done to her. Just breathing in all that powder has to be dangerous.

I have just removed your website from my favourites.


stephanie.

x

I'm sorry that you didn't read any other piece of this piece and missed the humor. Perhaps someday the funnybone implant will become a reality! I keep crossing my fingers!


The orgs aren't all bad. In fact, when you meet the staffers, you'll learn they're pretty freaking awesome. It's all perception and context. It's really easy to throw stones from the outside. Anyone who works 40 hours a week to further LGBTQ equality and/or liberation is pretty darn awesome at least 75% of the time.

I agree, although I'd say that points to the structural issues with the nonprofit world. These are great people who often have great politics doing a lot of work and it... gets funneled into causes that aren't so great.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | February 9, 2011 7:07 AM

First of all, it was great to hang out with you - at least now I know where this cold came from ;-). It is inevitable that we get CC flu since we are dehydrated and in a hotel in winter. The key is moisturizer, sprays for all orifices (behave here, people) and trying to get rest. I did them all and got sick too! It is an intense and exhilarating experience, kind of like a giant queer pinball machine and you are the ball. Just when you start talking to someone for more than a few minutes.....flipper! This year we were working on the trans survey release for the TF/NCTE so that made it even busier (in a very good way!) and made Saturday a back-to-back meeting/schmoozing extravanganza!

Anyway - to Alex's comment. I would wager most folks work more than 40 hours, first of all. And the staffers are rarely the issue, since the really big decisions are made at higher levels now that the orgs are so big. just look at the turnover and how challenging people say it is to work at the larger orgs. It is a fact of life when groups grow into the muti-million dollar level and is part of much bigger issues in our movement.

But Phil's point about younger, more independent activists and those who work are smaller, local, grass-roots organizations - they energize me and make me hopeful. There are SO many people doing this work in different ways. I am also VERY inspired by the incredible diverse space created by this conference, it is as close as we get to seeing the full rainbow in many ways.

Thanks Cathy! I'm not so sick, though I did take the day off from my practicum yesterday to try to sleep it out. Didn't work, but that's ok!

Can't wait to see you again!