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Transcending Boundaries Conference a Success

Peggy Burns at Transcending BoundariesThe Transcending Boundaries Conference (TBC) is a convention in the northeast United States for the bisexual community: genderqueer; transgender; intersex and polyamorous people; their family, friends, and straight allies.

This year’s Conference was held in Connecticut during the weekend of April 4-6. DignityUSA was a Conference sponsor and I attended and staffed an information table.

The theme this year was “Inclusion in Action.” TBC strives to be inclusive of people representing all aspects of the gender, sexuality, and relationship spectrum.

The weekend included workshops, discussions, and presentations from professionals, community members, and activists from across the country.

Some two hundred people from every imaginable gender identity, sexual orientation, and relation- ship style had the opportunity to attend over fifty presentations, panels, and workshops to better under- stand the rich tapestry of diversity. Most presenters didn’t just lecture, but had interactive activities and plenty of time for Q&A. 

Wintersong Tashlin was the guest speaker at lunch. He (preferred pronoun) wears many hats as an educator, event producer, blogger, and shaman, teaching workshops on such diverse topics as queer/LGBT issues, BDSM, pagan spirituality, polyamory, and disabilities.

The conference organizers have posted educational materials on a variety of topics on their website: http://www.transcendingboundaries.org/ resources.html

Below are some useful transgender terms:

Gender Identity – The gender that a person feels they are. The gender you are when you wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.

Gender Presentation – The gender that a person shows to others and often to the world at large. It is the ”performance” of gender that we all do, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Transgender – A person who transitions from one gender to another.

Cisgender – A person who identifies as the gender they were identified as at birth.

HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. The artificial hormone regimen that many transgender people use to physically realign their bodies to their chosen gender.

SRS – Sex Reassignment Surgery. The operation performed to change the genitals of a transsexual person. Also often referred to as GRS, Gender Reassignment Surgery, or Gender/Sex Affirmation/Confirmation Surgery or other variants. It usually refers specifically to Vaginoplasty (the construction of an artificial vagina, or Phalloplasty (the construction of an artificial penis).

Passing – Being perceived as one’s chosen gender.

Gender Role – Societal expectations of gender.

Popular Gender Variant and Gender Neutral Pronouns – ze, hir, herm, they, them, and their all may be used at various times to refer to a person without specifying gender. When in doubt about a person’s preferred pronouns, it is best to simply ask.

Mx – An honorific, like Mr, Mrs, or Ms, sometimes used by GenderQueer folks.

Zister – A similarly gender variant or gender neutral honorific. Also sometimes used to refer to a gender variant or gender neutral sibling.