Greetings, BUTCH Voices Family!
In 2009, we closed out our first National Conference in Oakland. An initial group of organizers — who had not met each other prior — pulled together to create spaces where we could talk about our needs and experiences across identity and communities. By the end of that long weekend, over 400 people gathered and we used our voices not only to connect but start building a movement. Some of our BUTCH Voices were hoarse after a weekend of so much conversation, camaraderie, and community. It was truly beautiful to experience and witness. Many of us took so much of that energy to store away — truly wishing for more opportunities to come together; we wanted more.
In 2010, we held four regional conferences in Dallas, New York City, Portland (OR), and Los Angeles. Hundreds of community members came out to participate in our events in 2010. All of us moving beyond the ‘butch nod’ to interact, use our voices, and invest further in building community together.
In 2011, we held our Second National Conference, and in 2013 we held our Third. Both of these were again held in Oakland with amazing keynote speakers, workshops, films, performances, and challenging conversations. There was so much love and vulnerability created that we shared with one another. We created spaces that were not possible for many of us elsewhere; spaces that many of us are missing and need right now.
In late 2014, the final debt was paid in full for the Third National Conference. Through online and in-person post-conference fundraisers, and with many of your generous donations we were able to pay off what was still owed, mostly to the Oakland Marriott. While the conference in 2013 was a success in attendance and connection, it was not a financial one (for the first time in our history).
Faced with the task of deciding whether we would be able to plan an effective 2015 National Conference, the board decided that it was better to take time off. We needed to retool and return as a more effective organization. So we’ve taken some time off, and this year started to refresh our website (new theme, more content coming soon as it develops!), and have started to engage in some of the conversations that are impacting our communities.
Next Steps. That’s where you come in. We are an organization that was created to serve the Masculine of Center (MOC) community. We are proud of the conversations we started, and the community that we have all built together. Now, we need to ask our community for just a few things so that we can bring the BUTCH Voices National Conference back.
1. Fundraising Help
We would love to have a Fourth National Conference! However, we would like to bring it back on firmer ground financially. We are seeking ideas on fundraising for the organization. This could look like regional and local fundraising opportunities or larger scale fundraising efforts. We are especially seeking local fundraisers who would like to join our board. Click here to contact Board Chair Joe LeBlanc with your interest and ideas.
2. Feedback Survey
We have created a survey for your input. We are looking to gauge what you liked about previous events, and where you would like to see us go in the future. Your responses will help us chart a direction as we go into this next BUTCH Voices cycle. Click here to take the survey.
3. Board or Regional Engagement
We are looking for strong community members who are committed to the mission of BUTCH Voices and would like to join the team. We are looking for individuals who are interested in supporting the organization in a variety of ways, from our National Conference production, to regional events and organizing for more visibility and outreach. Interested? Click here to contact Board Member Mac McEachin.
4. 2017 National Conference Venue
We are searching for a conference space in Oakland that is more affordable and meets our event needs. We are thankful to Oakland Marriott for being a space where we have held many workshops and dialogues. Going forward we are looking to partner with organizations, schools, and businesses who can help us in providing accessible spaces, both physically and financially. We’re interested in potential locations that could meet our needs for plenary sessions as well as simultaneous breakout sessions in the Oakland area.Click here to contact Steering Committee Logistics Chair Debra Guy with your suggestions.
We are so excited to bring BUTCH Voices back to our communities, to work together with you all to build each other up, and as always, connect about how we can better serve our communities. It is our hope that by being transparent with the needs of the organization that we can build an even stronger link between BUTCH Voices and our communities, and quickly facilitate a return to programming. We can’t wait to hear from you!
BUTCH Voices National Board