Miami, FL – We arrived in Florida to our hotel mid-afternoon after a long drive from Mississippi. The accommodation was beautiful. My specific room was on the fifth floor of the property with a view of the back of the property including the pool. I took a shower and readied myself for the opening session of the Action Camp which was in Little Haiti at a community center. For organizations that have not and do not have a vested LGBTQI lense it was a very accepting and immersing experience for all involved. After the opening session, we had the pleasure of dining in the center and enjoying a drumming lesson from an elder.
If the opening session was to be any indication of the rest of the action camp, it did a very good job of setting the tone. The next day was a go at a crisp 8:00 a.m. We all communed after eating breakfast in a circle to get energized for the day. My first session was the one I had a part in facilitating, so naturally I did just that. Although I am not sure how well it was received, I feel I did a great job of outlining the subjects with which I was tasked.
After that I attended several other sessions that were informative and I felt my experiences were well respected and appreciated as well as my presence in general, which more or less is not the case in some other spaces where queerness is not an intentional conversation.
My only critique for the camp is the room and gravity with which people discuss and include LGBTQI issues and people. Just as people who are not queer, for the most part, do not want to be looked at as spectacles nor do people who are queer, for the most part. To do anything that insinuates or suggests that anyone ,with special regard to intersectionally oppressed folks, is abnormal is crass, disrespectful, and discomforting for all involved. Furthermore, validating and understanding truths about a person as they are presented is another thing that non-queer (and even queer people) do that lends to the erasure and inauthenticity of people in a space, which I think could have been better addressed.
My only answer to these solutions is more education around queerness and more active partnerships with organizations who are queer-centric as well as queer-friendly, but of course as I have discuss in the aforementioned paragraphs conversation is always welcomed and appreciated.