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 2015-08-26
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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 del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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

Chicago panel calls for awareness, action for murdered Black trans women 2015-08-27
Project Fierce buys building for LGBTQ youth housing 2015-08-26
Transgender murders in Aurora, IL and Kansas City, MO 2015-08-26
Report: Military's transgender ban could end by May 2016 2015-08-26
Homeland Security raids Rentboy.com offices in New York 2015-08-26
Trans group to hold 'education rally' outside Warner Bros on Stonewall film 2015-08-26
Trans-led documentary series launching soon 2015-08-26
National: Hillary; Texas hate crime; Trump; 18th trans murder 2015-08-25
Trans Liberation and Black Lives Matter, Tuesday, 5:30pm, 1255 S. Halsted 2015-08-24
Caitlyn Jenner to headline Chicago House Speaker Series 2015-08-24
Caitlyn Jenner to headline Nov. 12 Chicago House luncheon 2015-08-24
Conference to look at HIV and the trans community 2015-08-19
Upcoming events: TransReelization; Rodeo Round Town 2015-08-19
LGBTQs in LA protest homicides targeting transgender people 2015-08-18
Chelsea Manning found guilty of breaking prison rules 2015-08-18
National roundup: Ohio ruling; trans candidate; Missouri murder 2015-08-18
NCAVP mourns deaths across the nation 2015-08-18
NCTE policy advisor is first openly trans White House official 2015-08-18
Chicago researcher among recipients of transgender-health grant 2015-08-16
New England Journal of Medicine: Health costs minimal for trans military 2015-08-12
13th trans woman murdered in U.S. 2015-08-12
TransReelization fest Aug. 29 features stars of Wachowski's Sense8 2015-08-12
Trans immigrants in custody are subject of U.S. House briefing 2015-08-12
Guide for helping trans students released 2015-08-12
APA adopts trans, GNC guidelines 2015-08-12
Trans woman killed in Detroit 2015-08-12
Gov. Christie vetoes second bill for transgender New Jerseyans 2015-08-12
Conference to look at HIV and the trans community 2015-08-10
Transgender individual charged with attacking alderman 2015-08-10
Attorney calls for trans-related legal challenges 2015-08-10
City insurance to cover transgender-related health services 2015-08-10
Survey to assess needs, realities of transgender people with HIV/AIDS 2015-08-06
APA adopts guidelines for working with transgender, gender-nonconforming 2015-08-06
Youth & families share their #transTRUTH 2015-08-06
Mayor Emanuel says city health benefits to cover trans services 2015-08-05
Upcoming: TransReelization; Tiki Holiday; Kristin Lems release CD 2015-08-05
National: Pope in Philly; 'confused' politician; trans woman punched 2015-08-04
Amanda Lepore releases "I...Amanda Lepore: Make Over Sessions" 2015-07-31
Seattle to host international confab on trans, gender-nonconforming topics 2015-07-29
Torch carried by Jenner to be auctioned 2015-07-29
 



Copyright © 2015 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
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.