A while back, I found an email inviting me to be the keynote speaker for Tri Ess’s Holiday En Femme conference which was to take place in November, in Chicago. I immediately asked the organizers if the National leadership were okay with me being asked, since Tri Ess hasn’t been happy with me since I wrote My Husband Betty and criticized Tri Ess’s policies in its pages. They had reason to be unhappy with me, that is, which is why I was surprised when I received the invite.
The organizers were confident they were in the clear, having been told that HEF is an inclusive conference. That said, over time, National got wind of what they were planning & had some problems with it – not just with me as the keynote choice, but with workshops on hormones & some other things.
The organizers who invited me eventually quit because they felt the national Tri Ess leadership were trying to control everything to a degree that made it impossible for them, the local organizers, to plan the event.
That said, I had given my professional word that I would speak, and so repeated my agreed-upon conditions with national. They were agreeable to the same conditions. Jane Ellen Fairfax and I exchanged a few pleasantly agreeable emails, even.
A local friend in Chicago emailed me a few days ago just to say hi and happened to mention, in passing, that he hoped Tri Ess had at least let me know before putting that message up on the HEF website. Not having any idea what he was talking about, I went & checked it, only to find this message:
The Board of Tri-Ess held a Conference Call last evening in order to determine the status of the various elements which are necessary to a provide an enjoyable, enlightening and productive Holiday En Femme for all of our Chapters.
After thoroughly reviewing this project for viability in meeting these goals, we determined that, with the short time remaining, Holiday En Femme should be canceled for 2009.
The Board of Tri-Ess wishes to recognize and thank those chapters as well as the many individual sisters and supporters who participated in our endeavour and offers a deep respect for all who made every effort to try to provide you a quality Holiday En Femme.
I had genuinely hoped I could work with Tri Ess on this event so that we could let bygones be bygones, and then, instead, I find this is the wholly unprofessional way they chose to (not) let me know the event was cancelled. I even waited a week before posting this information to give them time to notify me officially – and I wouldn’t have posted it if anyone there had gotten their act together to be professional. They didn’t. I haven’t heard a peep of an apology, an explanation, or even official notice that the event isn’t on.
So yeah, Tri Ess still sucks. It especially sucks that they cancelled it this year, as the conference should have been used to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Virginia Prince, who founded Tri Ess and who died in the past year.I expected people to put aside petty politics in order to recognize the passing of an important trans leader: silly me. I expected, at the very least, for someone who runs the organization to be professional.
That said, Tri Ess doesn’t represent the best of the crossdressers I meet. Some of them have gotten a lot of support out of their local chapters, but I still can’t recommend anyone join an organization that embarasses itself with behavior like this. Crossdressers, you deserve better.