Well, another fabulous Creating Change conference has come to an end. I’m chilling in the Minneapolis airport—exhausted, emotionally drained, and completely satiated. This would be the kind of feeling a religious believer would probably describe as being well within their soul.
More about religion later this week.
Every year, I feel compelled to write something during this moment of limbo while I leave behind “homotopia” to return to a world of heterosexual privilege and queer social isolation.
After leaving Denver in 2009, I described the awesome and important new connections I made there. Last year, Dallas left me energized to take action by bringing the energy of of the conference home with me. This year, I feel compelled to just say a few words about family.
It’s not used as often these days, but folks still often use “family” to describe members of the queer community. “Are they family?” It’s a little code to recognize a connection between us all and how our lives in this society are different from the heterosexual and cisgender norms.
But despite its purpose as a codeword, it also carries an underlying depth with it. Creating Change really is a big family reunion in a lot of ways. It’s an ever-growing family, and it’s the perfect opportunity to welcome and engage with new members.
I’m sitting in the airport with a new friend I made as we wait for his flight to leave. He’s someone I didn’t know four days ago and someone I’m now very sad to say goodbye to, one of countless new and old connections from the weekend that fit that description. I can’t imagine not cherishing every last second I have to enjoy such wonderful company. And whether or not any of us keep in touch regularly (we will) or see each other again before CC12 in Baltimore, our lives are different because our paths have crossed.
And as we all depart from the land of lakes, we return to lives where we don’t have this family at our immediate disposal, but we are refreshed and energized. We are reminded that we’re not alone, that our struggles locally are not unique and that we have a family to fall back on.
Most days, being queer is just one small facet of our lives that really doesn’t define us. But some days, we remember that it is still a significant part of who we are, a slice of our identities that connects us to others in a unique way we cannot ever truly lose.
Those of us with the privilege of attending Creating Change have a responsibility to bring back that sense of family to our schools and communities. We’ve touched base with that sense of love, support, and dependence that is at the heart of our queerness, and we owe it to the others in our lives to help them feel the same.
I’m tired and very emotionally drained, so I’ll refrain from babbling much more at this point… but to all you folks out there: you are loved. We are all part of a family, and it’s a family who will always be there waiting when we need it.
Cheers from Minneapolis.