My name is Emma Caterine, and I am a community organizer with Red Umbrella Project. But before I did the work that I do now, I was a researcher with the Lemon Project at the College of William & Mary. Studying the works of people like Ida B. Wells and Maggie Walker at one of the heights of the Great Migration made me interested in the historical and current position of the South with migratory, and especially criminalized, populations. Of course my interest is also personal: while I long to return to the South, many of the reasons I left had to do with the daily and near constant abuse I received there. But I also recognize the enormous amount of privilege I have as a white person with a college education, both in regards to how I am treated in the South and my ability to leave it. Many of my transgender friends and loved ones cannot or have not chosen to leave the South. Much like the Great Migration, it is an incredibly complicated situation that intersects with a number of issues: race, class, borders and citizenship, sex work, etc.
While I certainly enjoyed my first Philadelphia Trans Health Conference last year, the Southern United States was generally only mentioned as an example of the worst kind of place for trans people, and we all know that it is so much more than that. I want the conference to be more than it has been, and with the appointing of Samantha Jo Dato as the Coordinator I am very hopeful that this will be possible.
I am looking to create a panel of 3-5 people with expertise that intersect with idea of trans people and Southern migration. In accordance with the rules for this year’s conference, here will be the panel specifics (these are all up for discussion so please don’t view them as a deal breaker for your involvement):
A panel discussion with the following three objectives of constructing an accurate narrative of trans people and the South; learning the multitude of reasons for leaving or remaining in the South; and identifying how we as trans Southerners and ex-Southerners want to confront our oppression both in the South and as Southern people. Because of the wide berth of diversity in the South, the panel will be for a general audience. The four topics will be Activism/Advocacy/Community Organizing; Immigration; Institutions/Industrial Complexes; and Sex-Workers/Sex-Work. Ideal participant level will be 30-60 (I know from experience this usually has ended up being 10 less, i.e. 20-50). Then of course I will need the panelists’ contact info and a 750 character bio. Also just for my own aid in evaluating which panelists I will choose to have be a part of this panel, a short summary (1-4 sentences) of what you will be presenting on would be extremely beneficial.
Thank you so much for your time and I hope you will be interested in joining me in this endeavor.