Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Camp Trans is made of win

As I said before, CT was awesome.
Michfest is no longer it's main thing, though certainly its still important to CT. The "WBW"(such a BS phrase) policy is pretty much unenforced and it seems like the majority of festies either don't care if trans* women are there or want trans* women there. In fact, some festies who left early left their wristbands with CT for trans* women to get in and another festy donated money for tickets for trans* women. I missed the days we walked the line, but I heard that reception was mixed which is pretty normal. Though there were some folks that didn't talk to any negative people at all.
The mtf-spectrum folks who went to fest all had a good time, they even hosted a workshop on ENDA. One woman I talked to said that one festie she had spoken with in the line recognized her and came over and said hi and was very glad that she had made it into fest.

There was some bad news. A fest van crashed and, while I'm not sure about details, apparently one fest goer died. When we learned of this, as a community, we immediately decided to get flowers and bring them to the gates. So the next day folks donated money and a few campers went to town to get the flowers. According to those that brought the flowers, the gate keepers were very grateful and I guess there were tears and hugs all around.

Getting back to CT...
I was completely in love with the trans*-centric space there. When we introduced ourselves we gave both our names and our preferred pronouns. Everyone I spoke to respected the gender identities of the others. I can't really put into words how awesome this felt.
It was literally the first time I ever felt really, really safe and not on the defensive in regards to my gender. It was the first time I felt that complete strangers would respect my maleness without me having to hide my transsexuality.
It was just utterly amazing to go somewhere and not second-guess myself and distrust the folks around me (in regards to my gender).

There were all sorts of genders represented; people who identified within the traditional binary to people who couldn't fit into it if they tried. There were butch mtf-spectrum folks; fem ftm-spectrum folks (besides me, though I wasn't feeling all that fem while I was there); and all sorts of flavors of androgynous folks. There were people who didn't use pronouns; some who didn't care what pronouns you used; there were folks who got very offended (rightfully so) if you didn't use the right pronouns.
And there wasn't any excuse for using the wrong pronouns; not only did folks introduce themselves with their pronouns, but it was perfectly acceptable and welcome to ask someone which they prefer. And I say this as someone who did accidentally use the wrong pronouns a few times; and I too don't have any excuse--all I could do was apologize and work to not fuck up again.
But yeah, just being around so many awesome trans* folk and making friends with them and really finally understanding that I'm not alone was just amazing. I really recommend going if you are trans*--especially if you don't know a lot of trans* folk yet. Though obviously only go if you are able to respect all trans* folk. *glares at the HBS folks*
Allies are of course welcome, but this is a, especially a mtf-spectrum, trans*-centric space.
And while I think mtf-spectrum folks were under represented, it wasn't nearly as bad as it used to be and there were a ton of totally awesome mtf-spectrum folks there. *waves at Cedar, Veronica, and everyone else*
There was also a lot of work on becoming better about class, race, disabilities, etc. It was sort of interesting because along with the folks who were in college and/or were rich enough to take a week long vacation, there were a lot of up who just didn't have a steady job or school who were able to come because we got rides or whatnot.
There weren't that many POC, but CT is working on trying to both be a more supportive and anti-racist place as well as reaching out to trans* people of color.
CT is also becoming pretty good about people with disabilities. We had an accessible porta poty this year. As well as folks who signed up to help with stuff like putting up/taking down tents for those who need help, carrying gear, etc. They also have a generator for things like power chairs.

There was also a great medic tent that anyone could go to. They had an herbalist, EMTs, and even a doctor for a bit. They did everything from advising about alternative treatments for long term things to removing ticks to giving folks their hormone shots.
There were also Advocates at most workshops and there was always at least one on duty and sober. They acted as amateur counselors, drama mediators, shoulder to cry on, etc.
I need an advocate now I think, I'm having a hard time writing this post because I want so badly to be back.

The workshops I went to were great. We had all kinds of workshops; serious ones like Accountability, fun ones like Ropes Bondage and Trans* bodies, identity-based ones like Genderqueer Caucus, and all sorts of others.
I attended one informative one about trans* and queer identities and science. An awesome festie ran it, she's a biologist and had all sorts of info and studies that apparently prove that queer, intersex, and trans* identities (at least regarding subconscious sex, gender isn't so concretely proven) are natural (I'm not a scientist and I didn't get a chance to read them through, so I can't say if they do prove anything). We exchanged emails and she got my url, so maybe she'll show up to comment sometime. It was amusing, when I mentioned my "how I experience trans*ism" post she seemed really interested in reading it. I guess my phantom limb syndrome really makes sense in her theory (something to do with the lymph system or something, I can't remember)[ETA: In comments she said it was the ancient mammalian limbic system of the brain, not the lymph system--I is SMRT].

The food was also really, really good. I need to get a hold of the vegan garlic potato soup we had for myself and I think my mom would like the vegan borst (though I'm not a fan of cooked carrots or beets, it was good).
Helping in the kitchen was a lot of fun. The kitchen princess (she's in charge of the kitchen and cooking) was really cool and workshifts were a useful and fun way to get to know more folks.
And you got extra helpings and/or treats for helping in the kitchen (cooking or dishes).

I don't remember how much I've talked about my depression or my current situation here in public, but I think CT will be the goal that gets me through. Not only do I have to goal to get to CT next year, but I hope to be in a place where I can work on various issues at CT.
Like I think that once I've started T, camp will be the perfect place to work on my nudity issues (CT is a very body-accepting place, but I just won't be able to work on certain body issues until I get on T). And I think that if I don't take on too much and keep my eyes on next August I could get through a school year okay, which means that I would have access to health care, which means I could go to an endo and get some vitamin T. I am waiting on my bf to see about possibly living somewhere outside of MI with him, but I think I will be able to deal if I do have to live in MI for a bit. Before I couldn't have dealt with that.
Even this year at CT, with all the problems I have currently, I was able to work on my confidence some while I was there, just by being there with such great people.
In less than a week I feel like I've healed and grown so much thanks to the wonderful folks I met there and the wonderful folks who put CT together these past few years.

And if anyone has any questions about CT feel free to ask. I'll answer what I can. ^.^
PS: CT friends should feel free to comment here or on my LJ (friend me to, I still read my friends page) at any time, I miss you all already. ^.^


ETA: [Removed because I'm not giving them energy]

ETA2: *waves to festies*
Hey, I hope you like my blog; theres a bunch of trans* 101 links to the side if you are interested. My friends who went to fest said it was a lot of fun! I'm glad you all have fun, personally. And I do support women-only space; I just support women-only space that includes all women.
CT was amazing and free (in more ways than one), maybe I'll see you all next year!

15 comments:

Queers United said...

rock on was camp trans vegan? im vegan, are you?

Helen G said...

Thank you for this - it sounds like you had the bestest time. If I start swimmimg now, maybe I can get across the Atlantic in time for next year ~_^
I am *such* a cheapskate ^_^

Debi Crow said...

Brilliant write-up - I'm glad it was such a good experience for you.

Trinity said...

Drakyn,

I'm glad you got to spend time in such an affirming place. It sounds like that was very good for you. :)

Tera said...

Awesome!

Mmmmm...now I want some vegan garlic potato soup.

Drakyn said...

All the community food at CT is vegan. I'm not, though I like a lot of vegan food. A fair number of campers are vegan or vegetarian (like me).

Tera, I <3 that soup. I'm still craving more.

Drakyn said...

Hehe, Helen, maybe you should get a sailboat Helen. Might take a month less to get here. ^.^

Drakyn said...

Thanks Debs and Trin, it was great. ^.^

Oliver A. FP said...

I have no words, other than an overused one that's generally hyperbolic - but not this time.

AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

Festie waving back. Hi Drakyn! What a wonderful blog. Someday I'll have to thank Heart for (not) pointing me over here.

Glad you had a great time at CT, and thanks for the great write up.

Drakyn said...

Thanks Ms. Festie, I'm glad you like my blog. ^.^

belledame222 said...

Awesome, I'm so glad, it sounds like a great time.

About how many attendees would you say there were, approximately?

Drakyn said...

Thanks Belle.
I'm not sure how many people were there... I'm really bad at telling that sort of thing.
Though once a bunch of us went to the diner in town and there were nearly 70 of us there--and that wasn't the whole camp.
(yes, we all tipped well and were polite; we didn't mean to overwhelm them like that ^.^;;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Kristopher,
Thanks for referring to me as an "awesome festie" biologist in your blogspot. I'm new to blogs and have been reading yours when I can find the time. I understand your anger, Kristopher. Don't blame you one bit! We should all be angry.
Sorry it has taken me so long to contact you. The email address you gave me is not working and I've been busy, but I have been thinking about you alot. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to meet you. I learned far more from you than vice versa. The system I was talking about, by the way, was the ancient mammalian LIMBIC (not lymph) SYSTEM of the brain.
Has my friend, Ryan, contacted you? I hope you two hit it off. You're almost the same age.
Do you ever come to Chicago? It's a fun town and I would enjoy showing you around. I am extending to you the same invitation I gave Ryan. If you ever would like to visit Chicago for any reason, you are welcome to stay at my place. I have a two-flat (totally lesbian-occupied) on the northwest side of the city. It's easy to get around the city from my location.
Please let's stay in touch. I would enjoy hearing from you personally, and of course I'll read your blogs. If you would like, I will be glad to send you information from my Science & Sexuality project as I prepare it. Maybe you could help me "get the word out."

Hope to hear from you soon. Take care of your precious self.

Ronnie

Veronica Drantz, PhD
drdrantz@sbcglobal.net

Drakyn said...

Hey Ronnie! I was wondering, but my gmail's been acting up recently too so I thought it might be me. I'll email you in in minute, so hopefully it'll go through (gmail hates me).
I'll edit that bit on the limbic system in after I finish this comment; sorry, I didn't remember the details well. ^.^;;

I haven't heard from Ryan, but as I said my email has been acting up. If he's tried emailing me and i haven't gotten it, have him try again (and double-check the email against the one I send you; its possible I didn't make a letter clear or something).

I don't really know what my plans are yet, but if I'm ever in the Chicago area I'll let you know! Thanks though. ^.^

If you don't mind, I would like to post parts or teasers of your project here! I'm not much of a scientist, but I like learning about sciencey stuff (I <3 the discovery channel). I'll also email that link to ZoeBrain's blog! She's really into science and would probably like to read it too.

You take care too, I really liked meeting you!