Day one of the conference proper saw Kevin and I taking an early morning bus for the University of Victoria. The more I see of this island, the more beautiful it seems, and the university campus did nothing to dispel that impression.
The day began with a paper from Parker Croshaw that was the closest to my interests all weekend. Linguistic theory and comparative mythology are possibly a bit esoteric for a non-specialist audience, but Parker had some very interesting things to say about Shiva. Also any presentation that features dragon-slaying and female Thor is OK by me.
One of my favorite papers from day one was Mary Ann Saunders looking at Ariel from The Tempest. There’s a very good case to be made for Ariel being genderqueer in some way, and I’m rather surprised that more hasn’t been made of this. Mary Ann focused on one such attempt, Julie Taymor’s 2010 film which features Helen Mirren as the mad scientist, Prospera.
Today’s keynote speech was from trans activist, Jamison Green, who is now President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Jamison is doing great work persuading the medical people to care more about their trans patients.
Despite there only being two streams of programming, I am often finding myself wanting to be in two places at once. That was certainly the case in the afternoon when my friends Jana Funke and Jen Grove were scheduled against presentations on Miss Major and trans pornography.
Not everything went well. The talks are taking place in a room divided by an airwall and there is a lot of sound bleed between the two sections. It isn’t as bad as the infamous 1995 Worldcon, but it is pretty bad at times. Also by no means all of the presenters are good at keeping to time, using a microphone or telling a coherent story. Overall, however, I am very pleased to be here. I have met some really interesting people.
My contribution to the weekend is a poster, which I cunningly had designed for me by the fabulous Ceri Jenkins, who also did all of my PR materials for the LGBT History Festival. I have by far the best looking poster on display. (And people, please, if every you are asked to do a poster, the objective is not to try to cram all of the text of a 20 minute paper onto the page.)
There is lots more good material coming up tomorrow. I suppose I should get some sleep before it starts.