HRC Blog

A Transformative Conference: Southern Comfort

Post submitted by JoAnn Purcell, 2014 Conference Chair

Southern ComfortEvery single Southern Comfort Conference I’ve attended has had its share of transformational moments. From the conference goers who are experiencing the feeling of a transgender community for their first time to the long-time attendees who know each other almost as well as family, it’s a deeply inspiring event.

And this year stands to raise the bar even higher. The 24th Annual Southern Comfort Conference (SCC) is just four months out and we’re planning some special moments for this longest running celebration of the transgender community. And for our 2014 conference – held September 3 to September 7 in Atlanta – we’re launching a Friends and Family theme. While much of the weekend’s content will still go toward providing resources to the transgender community – including legal, medical and coming out resources – additional resources will engage our supporters as they stand with us. 

It’s true for all of us – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – that the friends and family who support us are essential to our journey. Sharing our truths with them can be the most daunting step on that journey. And while many of us have faced rejection, many others have been met with open and loving arms. But often it’s a journey, and this year’s conference will feature stories of that journey and welcome our supporters or those on the path to understanding.

Our Friends and Family theme represents a welcome, outward-looking embrace of the people whose support and understanding is critical to the next quarter century of social progress and justice for the transgender community.

Friends and family members attending this year’s conference will enjoy access to a wide range of educational seminars, expert panels, informal socials and gala evenings in the company of their loved ones. Additionally, SCC organizers are expanding "The Nest" for 2014 to really ensure a warm welcome for the Friends and Family set.

"The Nest" will be designed to provide the best possible environment for parents, siblings, partners and pals of transgender adults and children to quietly engage, understand and appreciate each other. Quiet quarters just off the beaten track, cool refreshments, comfy chairs and the company of people sharing the journey is the general recipe. "The Nest" will provide a home away from home for Friends and Family, and will be organized into 4 unique salons:

  • The Comfort Zone is the gathering place for the cisgender (or non-transgender) female partners and spouses of trans-feminine people.
  • The Open Space is home to partners of SCC’s trans-masculine, FtM and Genderqueer attendees.
  • The SCC * Family Day - is a separate one-day conference scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the first conference dedicated to families who have gender non-conforming children to be held in the southern United States.  For more information, please visit http://sccatl.org/content/family-day-conference
  • Last and not least, The Pair Tree, where couples of all imaginable variety gather to find common ground for our diverse journeys

I do hope you’ll join us. I can promise you it’ll be an unforgettable experience. Learn more about the conference at SCCATL.ORG, and on our Facebook and Yahoo communities. And register today at http://www.sccatlregistration.org/.

Human Rights Campaign staff and board joined us and spoke during the 2013 Southern Comfort Conference. This year, in 2014, the Human Rights Campaign is also a proud sponsor of the conference and providing additional resources to conference organizers.

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