MBLGTACC, an acronym of inane size and somewhat obscure meaning. In full terms, it stands for Mid-western Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered and Allied Collegiate Conference. Whew, almost a full line, but I did mention inane size.
Some time ago the APSU Gay-Straight Alliance decided to attend this conference, which has affectionately become known as the alphabet soup people conference, or somewhat more quickly as the big gay conference.
So, at 2 a.m. in the morning on Saturday, I find myself reflecting on the first day of the conference, or really the first evening. I remember my first distinct impression after our six hour or so drive to lovely but somewhat frigid Bloomington, Indiana was “Sacre merde. This place is (expletive) huge.”
Indeed, it took as a good 30 minutes after finding a parking spot to figure out where on the campus we needed to get to for registration. Of course, the lack of directional signs on campus was hardly surprising, as we’d already learned of the Indianan aversion to street signs. Thankfully, the Indiana Memorial Union is pretty hard to miss, as the Union is a huge, multi-story building that puts AP’s Morgan Center to absolute shame. The building single-handedly has a greater accommodation capacity than ALL of the AP dorms combined. Of course, after that it was off to another big building, the auditorium. Of course, with the clue of the size of the IU Memorial, the scope of the auditorium became somewhat less impressive, though any school with the resources to build an auditorium building wherein one theatre holds 1 500 people with seats left over is still impressive.
Of course, the real point of the conference is what was going on INSIDE these impressive buildings. Mr. Kand McQueen, a transgendered man, was already in full swing by the time us country bumpkins managed to figure out where the hell we were. Fortunately, one was quickly able to grasp the point of his presentation. Mr. McQueen spoke of the gender/sex dichotomy that has become so deeply entrenched within our society. Certainly, Mr. McQueen recognizes that categorization can’t be avoided (throwing in some Ayn Rand here, categorization is one of the functions of our rational intellect that lets us deal with the world in a meaningful way). And the male/female categorization has and will continue to serve us well, but he argues we must be aware of this false dichotomy. Or, more Rand, when confronted with information that fails to fit our paradigm we should question the paradigm we’ve constructed, not the information we’ve gathered. Further, Mr. McQueen makes a convincing point that this is an issue for every part of that MBLGTA group.
Of course, after such serious fare, the entertainment for the night, while keeping a point, was delightedly politically incorrect and funny. OutMedia’s Queer Riot quartet put on a really quite amusing performance, although Vidur Kapur’s politically incorrect digs about rural Tennessee in general and Clarksville specifically (hah! He thinks Clarksville is rural?) probably should have been insulting (though accurate). The highlight would have to qualify as the closing act, a really amusing song about gay marriage, possibly entitled “I Want to Civil Union You.” While humorous, the song serves to highlight the inadequacy of the separate but equal doctrine of civil rights.
Thus, it seemed the conference was off to a good start, so cut to about an hour later at 1:15 or so when our little group is clustered in the Hilton waiting for our pizza and perusing the conference options on workshops for the next day. The fare for that is delightfully varied, ranging from transgendered film seminars to how-to sessions for BDSM. None of our delegation chose to go to the latter, sorry to disappoint oh kinky readers, instead opting for some of the more serious fare. This writer personally plans on attending a lecture on the impact of hate and a student organization round-table before noon.
So, in short, despite 1,500 college aged homosexuals descending in mass on the mid-western town, things look to be off to a promising, if sleep-deprived start. Look forward to further conference commentary as we experience it.