Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-02-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transgender conference calling it quits after 30 years
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-12-31

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Citing waning participation and a shortfall of funds, one of the nation's largest transgender conferences has ceased organizing after more than three decades in the Chicago area.

The Be-All Conference, which gathered hundreds and hosted big name speakers in Downers Grove, has been cancelled.

"Everything has a life cycle, and unfortunately, it looks like we're at the end of ours," said Katie Thomas, an organizer of the conference.

According to Thomas, attendance at the spring event has dwindled in recent years, from about 500 at its peak to around 325 in 2012. That combined with a struggling economy and a lack of volunteers did the conference in.

Organizers faced a Dec. 28 deadline for booking a hotel for the 2013 conference. Facing declining attendance and financial liability, they finally called the event off.

News of the cancellation comes just weeks after Illinois Gender Advocates, longtime the only transgender policy organization in the state, announced it was considering dissolution due to declining membership.

Both organizations were primarily run by middle-aged transgender women, a large community currently experiencing waning participation across the board.

Chicago Gender Society, a transgender social group that formerly organized Be-All, has also struggled to maintain members.

"It's all in decline, really," Thomas said. "It's no fun playing in an empty house."

For years, Be-All served as one of few places in the country where many wanting to explore gender could go. While some identified as transgender publicly, others only crossed gender boundaries at the conference, often safely away from spouses or kids.

Be-All began 30 years ago, under the stewardship of Tri-Ess, a national crossdresser organization. Chicago Gender Society eventually took over the conference in 2000. It later became its own non-profit and has operated independently since.

Be-All trailed only one other conference, the Southern Comfort Conference, in attendance. Two years ago, the conference hosted Chaz Bono. Last year Amanda Simpson, the first out transgender presidential appointee, keynoted the event.

But many now lament that Be-All failed to attract younger participants to keep the organization going.

"Generationally, we're a lot older than the kids that are out there now," Thomas said. "We got to be an old ladies group."

But for those who have relied on Be-All for decades, Thomas points to a glimmer of hope. Transgender people have longed for acceptance in society beyond the conference, she said. Organizers worked hard to create a high-quality conference, with an emphasis on education to improve the lives of attendees beyond its annual meeting. Diminished attendance may signal the actualization of that dream.

"It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy," Thomas said. "We set the standards ourselves, and we have no regrets about it."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans foster-child bill, Black queer artist, breast-feeding first 2018-02-20 - In California, transgender foster children would be guaranteed access to healthcare specific to their unique needs under a bill announced by San Diego ...


Gay News

Advocates: Transmission laws hinder HIV/AIDS prevention efforts 2018-02-20 - Laws that penalize intimate partner contact wherein one person has failed to inform the other that they are HIV-positive are viewed by many ...


Gay News

Trans women sue Illinois Department of Corrections 2018-02-14 - Six transgender women have sued the Illinois Department of Corrections over what they say are the gross inadequacies in the medical treatment provided ...


Gay News

NATIONAL ROUNDUP Cold case, trans activist, gay official dies 2018-02-13 - Retesting evidence gathered from homicide investigations in the 1970s and early 1980s could help close about 20 cold-case homicides in Salt Lake City, ...


Gay News

Education dept. to stop investigating trans restroom complaints 2018-02-12 - The U.S. Department of Education confirmed Feb. 12 that it will no longer investigate civil rights complaints from transgender students who are barred ...


Gay News

Dept. of Ed admits to rejecting civil rights complaints by transgender students 2018-02-12 - WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to a shocking admission by the Department of Education regarding their refusal ...


Gay News

ACLU files appeal in local trans student's school suit 2018-02-08 - ACLU of Illinois has appealed a Jan. 25 decision by a Cook County judge refusing an injunction that would have allowed a transgender ...


Gay News

700+ parents sign letter condemning DeVos failure to protect of trans students 2018-02-07 - WASHINGTON — Today, more than 700 parents of transgender children sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos condemning her failure to ...


Gay News

Of bombs and men: Gender roles subverted in 'We're Gonna Be Okay' 2018-02-07 - When Hawaii panicked because a government employee accidentally sent out warnings of an impending missile strike, very few considered such a thing unthinkable. ...


Gay News

Gov candidate Ives releases anti-trans ad 2018-02-02 - Anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is running an ad mocking, among other groups, transgender Illinoisans. The ad features what's intended ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.