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Hundreds expected for Southern Comfort trans confab

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.

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Annual transgender conference offers resources, community

Southern Comfort Conference

For most of life, Blake Alford was enveloped by solitude.

From the ostracism experienced coming of age in the 1950s and ‘60s – getting beaten up and kicked down the stairs at school for being queer – to more than 30 years on the road driving a truck, Alford was used to feeling alone.

And sharing one’s own company can be particularly isolating when you are at war with yourself, when your body and your mind have dueling definitions of who you are.

“Being behind the wheel of a truck, you don’t see very many libraries, you don’t hear very much about being transgender, especially back during that time, so I didn’t have any information about it,” said Alford, who, at age 56, transitioned from female-to-male almost a decade ago.