Report on the First International Queer Disability Conference
Wow, a whole conference just for people like us! It was overwhelming at times, but as a whole, the conference was a fantastic experience. For some nitty gritty information about the conference as a whole, check out http://www.disabledwomen.net/queer.
There were plenty of workshops, a night of performances, some food, and amazing keynote speakers. There were concerns as well, as will happen with anything new. No one can think of everything. The next conference will happen in 2004, so there is much time for people to air concerns and volunteer to help address them.
Some of my favorite parts of the conference were the in-between times, just getting a chance to get to know other conference goers. Whether it was seeing someone I’ve known for years or meeting someone for the first time, I found great joy in the conversations during those two days. Without a doubt, my favorite scheduled item was the evening of performances. As a semi-retired performer, it was fantastic to watch other dis/abled people perform.
While there was a diverse range of folks there, it seemed that everyone agreed in hoping to see the conference’s diversity grow still. More youth, more people with or labeled with psychiatric dis/abilities, more people of color will only make the conference a more successful and wonderful experience. While some folks may disagree, in my opinion, this first year laid enough ground work to ensure that with enough volunteers, the 2004 conference will be a truly phenomenal success.