"Wait, didn't you just spend last weekend doing that?" my friend asks me over instant messenger on Friday afternoon. See, I've just come back from the Femme Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. An intensive three days spent with femme-identified persons and allies breaking down how region, class, race, ethnicity, access and ability affect our relationships with each other and the world. We talked, danced, processed, performed, sang, fucked up, drank, made out, laughed and cried. We felt all the feelings. To put it more simply, the weekend was magical.
Monday morning, back at work, I was riding high. Every click of the "accept friend request" and "tag this photo" buttons set off a tiny glittery firework in my soul. But by Monday night I was deep in withdrawal. The reality that I didn't know when next I'd be surrounded, challenged and connected by such fierce femme power had sunk in. I ate all the feelings. Thankfully the goddess universe intervened. On Wednesday afternoon I clicked "accept" to the event request titled "Post Femme Con Potluck". Then I actually flung my hands up in just-crossed-the-finish-line fists in my cubicle.
Fast forward to Friday night. New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn transit lines were fighting with each other and I arrived twenty minuets past "fashionably late" to the potluck. Despite this, I was welcomed into the spectacularly decorated Brooklyn apartment by a circle of smiling femmes, allies, two cats and a table full of delights including a tower of gluten free vegan cupcakes! As I picked up the marker to scribble my name and preferred gender pronoun on a shipping label I was filled with that same sense of magic I'd had at the conference.
The night was low key but structured. We gave each other time to speak without interruption and listened with intensity. Those of us who'd been to the conference shared our highlights and lowlights on things like femme-on-femme speed dating and triggering racist remarks. We swooned over presenters like FemmeDagger, Miss Arkansassy, Chanelle, Savannah and Blyth, media maven Damien Luxe and so many amazing performers. These recaps acted as a springboard for the others to share their own personal narratives on mean girl experiences, racist interactions and challenges. We spent a good portion of the night strategizing on how build community while being in conflict with other femmes. We also attempted to name the ways we exclude femmes of color from our community spaces. Heavy, big topics we plan to keep tackling.
By the time dessert was served we found ourselves at the butcher paper with markers organizing future events. We closed the night with a running list of skill share ideas including, but not limited to, pivot tables in Excel, power tools, and wilderness survival skills. We're an informally organized collection of people in New York riding the Femme Conference magic wave. I have a feeling we'll be sending you invitations to events shortly under a pun-filled title or, at the very least, wheat pasting your nearest telephone poles with phrases like "trash litter not glitter." If you'd like to join us or start your own pocket of power in your city feel free to reach across the Internets via the Femme Conference Facebook page. It's my hope that more of us will be fielding contemptible questions like "Didn't you just spend last weekend doing that?" very soon.