LGBTQ+ conferences can be amazing. It’s an amazing escape from the constant heteronormativity in society. Not to mention, the amount of free condoms and lube distributed are nice, useful, and potentially embarrassing keepsakes
(The amount of times lube packets have fallen out of my bags when I get back from a queer conference are insane…however they do provide many awkward/interesting conversation starters with strangers).
However, LGBTQ conferences aren’t perfect. There’s tons of issues and the experiences can be super overwhelming. But these experiences can also be helpful in developing and discovering your identity and their a great way to meet other queer people. So what have I observed from queer conferences that may be useful insight?
- The hookup culture is way too real. Whether it’s the infamous IvyQ to the more professional Out for Undergrad conferences, as soon as the day ends, don’t be surprised to see the amount of thirst going on. This shouldn’t be shameful though. Sex positivity is so crucial and slut shaming isn’t cool. However, one also shouldn’t feel pressured to hook up as well. Although non-monogamy can be fun, it’s also great to just meet people and get to know them in a completely platonic way
- So that diversity though (or lack thereof). The LGBTQ+ community is known to be dominated by white, gay, cis males.
Even though we are making strides in increasing the representation of minorities within the LGBTQ community, the current situation isn’t exactly positive towards the less represented groups within the queer community. On a positive note, there are specific conferences dedicated towards specific minorities within the LGBTQ+ community such as being trans or having a non binary gender, being a queer female, to even being a queer person of color and many, many more!
- So much going on. Sometimes, there’s too many workshops and too many sessions that you want to go too that are all interesting and pertinent to you. It’s important to get some down time and reflect on what you’ve learned during each day of a conference.
- So many new identities and lifestyles. Being in the heteronormative society we live in, it’s hard to really learn more about other identities other than the widely popular Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,and Transgender identities and the common stereotypes associated with them. However, you learn so much more about these identities and other alternative identities and lifestyles when you go to queer conferences whether its pansexuality or aromanticism
- You discover yourself. When I went to my first queer conference, I was convinced I was just physically attracted to girls and that was that. Then I turned out not only realizing that I was also emotionally attracted to girls but also that I identified more of queer than bisexual. You do learn a lot about yourself by going to these conferences which is why I HIGHLY advise for any queer student to attend an LGBTQ conference