Pages Navigation Menu

FTM Conference a Huge Success! (1995)

FTM Conference a Huge Success! (1995)

©1995, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1995, November). FTM Conference a Huge Success! AEGIS News, No. 1, V. 5, p. 1.






Thumbnail Photo: Illustration of Jack Bee Garland, taken from the cover of Louis Graydon Sullivan’s biography. Garland was a female-bodied man who lived in turn-of-the-twentieth-century San Francisco. Sullivan was the founder of FTM (Later FTM International) and an activist who used his personal experiences to convince physicians it was possible to be a gay-identified transman. He once wrote, “I took a certain pleasure in informing the gender clinic that even though their program told me I could not live like a gay man, it looks like I’m going to die like one.” He died at age 39 in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.

Lou Sulivan Holding his Biography of Jack Bee Garland

Lou Sullivan Holding His History of Jack Bee Garland


AEGIS News Page (PDF)

Read the Text of the Article

FTM Conference Huge Success!


Mayor Frank Jordan proclaimed August 18-20, 1995 “FTM Conference Weekend in San Francisco” as over 360 female-to-male transgendered people, transexual men, their families and friends, medical practitioners, and psychologists convened there for the first International all-FTM gender conference ever held in North America. The overwhelmingly successful conference drew participants from all over the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and Germany. The conference theme, “A Vision of Community,” was chosen to help focus participants’ awareness that they are not alone in dealing with their gender issues and that unity is necessary to make improvements in the lives of FTMs.

The conference was hosted by FTM International. Sponsors were FTM International, AEGIS, the International Foundation for Gender Education, and San Francisco’s Educational TransVestite Channel. There were numerous individual contributions from members of the above organizations, Transexual Menace, NYC, FTM International, and supportive friends.

FTM International’s press release stated, “The conference is an important historical milestone in the development of the transgender movement. It signals the rising awareness that people who identify as FTM will not be confined to prescribed behavior roles outlined in theoretical papers and based upon extremely limited studies. FTMs and their issues are usually overlooked at gender conferences, where, as in the larger society, the commonly-held view of transgendered people is that they are predominantly male-to-female (MTF), or transexual women. According to members of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), a professional organization for medical and psychological caregivers who specialize in gender and sex transitions, most clinics where sex reassignment is performed in North America today have acknowledged that the applicants for the procedure are 50% “male-identified.”

Featured speakers included James Green, Director of FTM International; Robert Bray of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; author and activist Leslie Feinberg; art photographer Loren Cameron; San Francisco Police Sgt. Stephan Thorne; organizer Sky Renfro; educators Dr. Steve Dain, Jason Cromwell, Ph.D.(c), Susan Stryker, Ph.D., and Judge Patton, MFCT; surgeons Donald R. Laub, M.D. and Michael Brownstein, M.D., and San Francisco Human Right Commission staff member Larry Brinkin.


AEGIS Plays Pivotal Role in FTM Conference


AEGIS noticed long ago that the needs of female-to-males are often ignored or overlooked in a transgender community that is geared primarily to meet the needs of male-to-females. We grew increasing convinced that for FTMs to take their rightful place in the community, they needed their own space in which to come together and grow strong.

AEGIS has a very limited budget, but we earmarked $500 for a special fund, and in mid-1994, we issued a press release, stating that we would award the money to any group which would match the amount for purposes of putting on a national conference for FTMs. FTM International took the challenge, and in early 1995, we presented the funds to James Green, FTM’s Director.

The conference succeeded beyond everyone’s wildest expectations. Conference promoters had expected about 125 attendees. We have promised to donate a free copy of the special FTM copy of Chrysalis for each attendee, expecting that number. We really had to scramble to assemble the extra two hundred.

We ended up sending 320 copies. Jeremiah and Karen Gold-Hopton, members of Atlanta Gender Explorations support group, who attended the conference, kindly volunteered to carry the copies as part their luggage. Little did they realize how voluminous it would be—there were three big heavy boxes to carry!


About: FTM Conference a Huge Success!

By Dallas Denny


At the 1994 IFGE conference in Philadelphia there were at least 20 female-to-male transsexuals and a program track designed for them—a first for the International Foundation for Gender Education.

Several FTMs told me in private how frustrating one of the sessions was. I don’t have a record of the title, but it was something like “How to Be a Man.” Into a room full of feminist men came the instructor, an ex-U.S. army colonel in suit and tie with a lapel pin that was a bomb; he proceeded tell them to be succesful a man never apologized, never backed down, and in general behaved like an ass. The audience was astonished— so much so that nobody walked out. They were simply too taken aback.

The next day organizer Alison Laing told me IFGE was at a loss for how to work with transmen. “We don’t know what to do for them,” she said.

I immediately realized it wasn’t what IFGE could do for FTMs— it was about how to empower transmen to help themselves.

As soon as I was back at the interstellar headquarters of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit American Educational Gender Information Service, I wrote a press release, pledging a grant of $500 to the first nonprofit which would match the funds for the purpose of holding a national conference for transsexual and transgendered men. On the day I mailed envelopes to AEGIS’ considerable mailing list of individuals and organizations I phoned Jamison Green to give him a head’s up.

Writer and Activist Jamison Green

Writer and Activist Jamison Green

I would of course have sent the money to whichever organization responded first, but I hoped it would be an organization of and for transmen. Jamison was intimately involved with FTM International in San Francisco, the largest FTM support group and in my opinion the only one likely to be able to match the funds— hence the advance warning.

At the next FTM meeting Jamison read AEGIS’s press release; by the end of the evening FTM members had commited to providing the matching funds.

There was a bit of a problem— AEGIS was a small nonprofit with a tiny budget— it didn’t have $500. I sent FTM a check for $250 supplied partly by AEGIS and partly by me, with a promise to pay the remainder in two installments two weeks apart. Thankfully, money came in and I was able to forward the checks, as promised.

The weekend of 18-20 August, 1995 (my birthday is the 18th!) saw more than 360 transsexual and transgendered men, their partners, and helping professionals assembled in San Francisco for the first FTM Conference of the Americas. Conference organizers had hoped for 125 attendees. It was a great success and spawned several more national FTM conferences.

I would have loved to have been there, but neither AEGIS nor I had money enough for my flight and lodging.

One reason AEGIS was broke was because we had printed 450 extra copies of the just-published all-FTM issue of Chrysalis, AEGIS’ flagship journal (it was edited by FTM Jason Cromwell). I shipped 375 copies before the conference and every attendee was given a copy for free. Every magazine was distributed.

I’ve done a lot of things in my career as an activist and educator. Providing seed money for the first FTM Conference of the Americas is one of the things of which I am most proud.

Cover, Special FTM Issue of Chrysalis

Chrysalis FTM Issue


Announcement of AEGIS Award in Tapestry (PDF)