Almost 1,000 transgender people and allies from around the country are expected to gather in Atlanta Sept 4-8 for the 23rdannual Southern Comfort Conference, one of the largest and oldest events of its kind.
Alexis Dee, this year’s conference chair, has worn many hats for Southern Comfort over the years. She attended for the first time in 2005 and began volunteering not long after.
“Going that first year changed my life,” she said.
Buck Angel, the “man with a pussy” who garnered fame through porn films and is now an activist, was greeted warmly by dozens of young transmen at the 22nd annual Southern Comfort Conference.
At the Transmen’s Welcome Party on Sept. 20, Angel, attending his first Southern Comfort, talked with fans, posed for photos, signed autographs and mingled with the crowd. Not only a porn star, Angel is an educator on sexuality and gender through his “Sexing the Transman” documentary.
Angel discussed his story with the group of men and women who gathered in a conference room at Atlanta’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. But none seemed to know that Angel was embroiled in an online transgender controversy about the sensitive topic of disclosure — when is the right time to disclose to a romantic interest that you are transgender?
There were champagne toasts and rounds of applause as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health released on Sunday its newest Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People at a symposium at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta.
WPATH revision committee chair Eli Coleman launched the 7th version of the standards of care to some 300 people who attended the symposium as part of a partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association and the Southern Comfort Conference, the largest transgender conference in the nation that takes place annually in Atlanta.
Each year, the Southern Comfort Conference brings transgenders, transsexuals and cross dressers together in a safe space to not only learn from each other but also to learn from experts on such topics as surgeries, transgender fiction writing and career searches.
For the 21st year of the conference, set for Sept. 22-25 with the theme “Coming of Age,” SCC is also partnering with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association for an all-day joint symposium at the Emory University Conference Center on Sept. 25.
“It should really be an historic event,” said SCC chairperson Alexis Dee. “For the first time, our community will have the opportunity to directly address the professionals that set the guideline for transgendered care and treatment.”
Southern Comfort, the annual Atlanta transgender conference, celebrated its 20th anniversary Sept. 6-12, drawing hundreds from around the globe to the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel.
The conference included seminars covering everything from surgeons discussing their procedures to open conversations on a variety of topics pertaining to transgender life.
One of the main highlights this year was the appearance of transgender celebrity and advocate Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and hosted a seminar on media activism with Nick Adams, media awards communications manager for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Bono, the child of Cher and Sonny Bono, made national headlines when he came out as transgender. He mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing.
When Atlanta’s Southern Comfort Conference begins next week, it does so with its core mission in place, but with a renewed emphasis on entertainment – and with some star wattage in the form of Chaz Bono.
According to Alexis Dee, the chair of the conference as well as a board member, this is the 20th anniversary of the conference, designed for the transgender community. Dee feels the conference has changed over the years from being information-only. That is one reason this year’s theme is “Party Hearty."
When the conference was launched in 1991, it was done more to provide information to bring the transgender community up to speed, according to Dee. That’s still of vital importance, and the 2010 convention will have the same kinds of information as in previous years.
Chaz Bono will be attending the 20th annual Southern Comfort Conference this year, according to organizers of the event. SCC is a conference that serves the transgender community with seminars, workshops, as well as vendors and special theme nights and parties. The conference this year is set for Sept. 6-12.
In a letter to members of the SCC Facebook group, Alexis Dee, a member of the event’s board of directors, said she spoke to Bono and he would be coming to the conference to conduct a seminar with his friend, Nick Adams. What the topic is and when the seminar will be held is not yet listed on the SCC website’s schedule. Bono is listed as a presenter on the website.