Waymon Hudson

A Taste of Utopia

Filed By Waymon Hudson | February 03, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Creating Change conference, Denver, racism in the LGBT community, transphobia

I just got home from my first Creating Change Conference in Denver and have been slowly processing the entire experience. I do promise to write an in-depth look back on the policy, tools, and overall look at the conference, but what is really sinking in to me today as I unpack is how used to the atmosphere of the conference I had gotten in just week.

I miss the little bubble of safety, openness, engagement, and camaraderie that being at Creating Change had created. I missed our short-lived, weeklong Utopia.

So this post isn't about the sessions or speeches. It's about the people.

As I navigated my way through the busy days of the conference, I began to notice something odd- people were talking to one another. Not just networking, but getting to know each other, tell their stories, and create bonds.

For someone who lived in New York and now resides in South Florida, let's just say that isn't an everyday experience.

And the groups had something else that made me happy (and yes, a bit hopeful)- diversity. People just viewed each other as friends. Many seemed to move beyond the separations that too often happen in our community, whether it was race, religion, gender, identity, age, or any of the barriers we impose in our community.

We were just a bunch of like-minded people coming together to try and make a difference. And have a little bit of fun in the process.

Now I know this was just the unique atmosphere of Creating Change, not some Pollyanna start of a new global community. I'm not that naive. Yet I can't help but think that maybe the leaders and activists coming home from the conference might have felt a little bit of what I do and perhaps spread it to their hometown communities.

And while there were many great sessions, tools, and ideas at the conference that I hope people went home with, I hope the idea of just being open to others in our community is the one they took to heart. The division, racism, homophobia, and transphobia within our own community are too often our undoing when it comes to making real change and progress.

Sometimes it takes getting a quick glimpse of how things can and should be to make you fight for it even more.

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Glad you could be a part of this experience. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks, EP. As cheesy as it sounds, it really was a great personal experience. I made some great new friends and learned about people I might not ordinarily have a chance to create such strong bonds with.

steve tabarez | February 3, 2009 4:47 PM

I find your story heartening, touching, and above all an unadorned, genuine accounting of you, your experience, and what it all meant to you. And more, that when it is said and done, it is about people. Above all, it is about you the person. In many ways, it seems you have found your "voice" through all this. Maybe even vision of how it should all be, work, and be carried out. A greater purpose than just the "self". For that is what is so needed to combat THE ISMS that exist. I feel that in you I can trust to be that voice. Throughout this past week, I scoured the blogs and websites searching for news and posts revealing what had transpired, and who just might be willing to be in touch with those not there so as to keep us informed, and take our concerns and questions there. U did that, Waymon. So it wasn't just the people there, it was also the people that weren't. Thank you.

Thanks so much, Steve. You comment means a lot to me!

Aidan Tharp Aidan Tharp | February 3, 2009 5:20 PM

Waymon, it was great meeting you at Creating Change! It was a great time and made some good friends.

Aidan, it was great meeting you too! I'm glad we had time to sit, talk, rant, and rave! :)

Hey Waymon, I have been feeling the exact same way since I got home. I've been joking with my friends, "You're not gay, are you?" The other thing I noticed was that nobody at Creating Change ever had an iPod earbud in their ear. The people who were there wanted to engage and wanted to connect... and we all shared the same passion for making a difference. It was great meeting you, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one feeling queer withdrawal!

I know exactly what you mean. I kept assuming everyone was LGBTQ on my travels home after being in the CC bubble.

It was great meeting you as well!

Cindy Rizzo | February 3, 2009 8:30 PM

Waymon, Kate Clinton warned us all about that bubble, and it's so true! It was wonderful to meet you. I just love Creating Change and agree with all of your observations. I'll see you in Dallas next year, if not before. Cindy

Cindy, it was a joy meeting you as well! Can't wait until the next time! :)

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 4, 2009 5:44 AM

Just how much do you have to unpack to be away four days? :) Wonderful posting.

I was gone for six days, thank you very much. And my shoe collection alone takes HOURS to unpack, darling!

I can view the Creating Change conference from a slightly different perspective. My girl friend and I were part of the Host Committee, the group that works on and plans for the conference. It happened because many people spent many hours in meetings and working on other tasks to bring about the conference. I like to think that a new and stronger and unified community has been created here in Denver as a result of it. This is an important lesson for the folks in Dallas who will host next year's event. We had the very first Trans Hospitality suite this year, and it was a resounding success. It gave us an opportunity to meet trans folks from all over the country, and to share our experiences in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Shari, thanks for all the hard work of the host committee. You guys created an atmosphere where we could all be safe and thrive. I think you all truly did help create a more unified community. Thanks!!

Straight from the heart. I felt the same way at previous CC conferences. You do add some octane the LGBT gas tank. I am perhaps unfairly critical of cold "three prong strategy" mumbo jumbo from bureaucratic non-profits so I appreciate real people like you Waymon to bring the human message home.

Thanks, Charles. The Conference was truly what I needed to "add some octane to the LGBT gas tank", especially after a tough political year here in Florida.

I miss seeing everyone. I've got more Twitter folks to chat with, but it's not the same. And at least Aidan and I have connected on AIM too since he lives 45 minutes away. Now if YOU were only closer - I always love spending time with you!

Yes- if only I lived in cold Indy instead of sunny South Florida, just so I could be closer to you... where are my priorities?

So, was there room for us Allies at Creating Change? I might consider it next year.

There was plenty of room for allies! We love our allies- like you, LOrion! They even talked about an event celebrating our friends that stand in solidarity with us...