Trans Takeover at Creating Change

Reflections on the 2023 Creating Change Conference, part four

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Angelica Ross speaks on an indoor stage, surrounded by people holding trans and non-binary pride flags and cheering.
Angelica Ross leads a trans takeover of the stage at the closing plenary of the Creating Change Conference. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

This post is the fourth and final part of a series of reflections on the 2023 Creating Change Conference. For part one, see “Mixed-Race and Rootless”. For part two, see “Accessibility, Ableism, and Accommodations”. For part three, see “Trans Athletes and Fairness to Women”.

On the final full day of the conference, I was excited to meet actress and entrepreneur Angelica Ross, founder of TransTech Social Enterprises. I read about her founding of TransTech before her breakthrough role as Candy Ferocity on the (excellent) TV series Pose, and created her Wikipedia biography.

Angelica Ross and Pax Ahimsa Gethen pose in front of a sign with the logo of the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Meeting Miss Ross!

I appreciated that Angelica wore a mask (while not speaking on stage), unlike the vast majority of conference attendees; masks were strongly encouraged, but not required. Neither proof of COVID vaccination nor a negative test result were required either, which I felt was a disappointing and irresponsible decision on the part of the organizers.

I also met the current executive director of TransTech, E.C. Pizarro III. Last year, E.C. supported my presentation on transgender representation on Wikipedia at the virtual TransTech Summit. I will give a presentation on a related subject at this year’s summit, later this month.

E.C. Pizarro III poses behind a table that is covered with a black cloth with the TransTech Social logo printed in rainbow and white letters. On the table are a number of pamphlets and buttons.
TransTech Social Enterprises executive director E.C. Pizarro III. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

After the photo op with Angelica Ross, I got an alert on the conference app that the closing plenary was starting half an hour earlier than scheduled. No explanation or apology was given for this last-minute change. I headed to the ballroom, where Angelica and Pose co-star Dyllón Burnside sat with National LGBTQ Task Force executive director Kierra Johnson for their planned talk about the future of the organization.

They didn’t get very far along before Angelica stood up and invited a group of people to join her on stage for a demonstration. As I mentioned in previous entries in this series, this event had issues with lack of…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch