The Plural Positivity World Conference
The spark idea of the Plural Positivity World Conference was brainstormed by Power to the Plurals (Sarah& Clark), and The Crisses in the middle of the winter 2018-19, before the Healing Together conference in February 2019. Both had considered attending the upcoming ISST-D conference in NYC in late March 2019, but the cost would be prohibitive, with a registration fee of about $850 for the 3-day conference. The Crisses had asked about student pricing, being enrolled in the New York State peer certification program. They would grant student pricing, which was $350 (and with travel, food and lodging expenses still well out of reach).
One backbone of many rights movements is the idea of “Nothing about us without us!” — the idea that when a privileged group of people is creating policies, treatments, plans, etc. regarding a marginalized group, they should not exclude the people in the marginalized group in the decision process. The ISST-D holding meetings, disseminating information, creating policy, teaching new standards for treatment, discussing new options, or sharing their research findings about us should not be done in a place that by design excludes us.
So we wanted to protest. But even more so, as experts by experience ourselves, both plurals wanted to be able to share our expertise and experience. The idea of holding a counter-conference was born, but the half-joking idea of holding it across the street from the hotel where the ISST-D would hold their conference was quickly scrapped as a conference in NYC would certainly be cost-prohibitive.
So the Crisses seriously suggested doing an online conference. Many groups of life coaches and experts by experience in many fields participate in online telesummits or online conferences of a sort, the technology is there, and it would even be possible to hold the conference for free and by far much more accessible to our community.
That’s when the idea was born, but both plurals wanted to make sure to get community input. It wasn’t going to be a 2-plural conference.
Just before Healing Together in Orlando, we asked a group of attendees who attended a live plural meet-up what they thought (about the conference idea, Plural Pride, Plural Awareness Week, and other plural activism altogether). We did the same at the tail end of the conference after the closing ceremonies.
Having gotten input, we went home and having just 7 weeks before the ISST-D conference dates, we planned a counter-conference to run the same weekend as their conference. We opened the call for presenters, we recruited a total of 18 plural and 2 non-plural presenters, and recorded about 30 pre-recorded & live presentations, all still available for free on YouTube.
The goal is a fully accessible online conference that does not require excessive privilege or money to attend. To balance this, we have (for the time being) selected the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (PTWC), which has free admission, as the live/in-person meet-up component that is missing from the PPWC online — until such a time as we have momentum and funding to provide an in-person plural live conference or retreat with judicious scholarships or assistance for attendees.