This weekend I fly out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Rio Grande Leather. I'm presenting a keynote speech on TNG, and my involvement with its founding.
It would appear I have good timing, as things are afoot.
On one side of the country, you have people in San Francisco planning the fourth TNG conference, TNG4. In the middle, there are TNG leaders trying to plan the "TNG revolution," or some nonsense like that. And in the east, one of the two founding TNG groups seems to have fallen victim to the wave of political drama that has been happening in DC for years and years and years.
It's a mixed bag of emotions for me. The baby that was born out of the efforts of high4tower, Schelli, Kyri, and myself seems to have grown into a teenager, full of the growing pains, angst, and beautiful moments that those years stereotypically offer.
I've seen TNG exist as a local service - a safe, comfortable place to serve as a gateway to our young - as it was originally intended. In some places, like New Mexico, Boston, Ohio, Arizona, among others, that spirit lives on. In other places, it seems to serve as a bargaining chip in a bizarre remake of West Side Story. And yet in others, people seem to think TNG is due for a revolution, and needs to step up and take on the world as its own center of power. (Would you believe some of the things I have heard? A national TNG umbrella organization where all other TNG groups would become chapters? The need for a TNG flag? Or, my favorite, a Mr. and Ms. TNG contest!!!)
I distanced myself from TES-TiNG two years ago. I was 29, looking towards 30, and I decided it was time to hand the reigns off to someone else. In that time, I have attended precisely one meeting - one that I was asked to teach. I intend on keeping it that way, letting them do their own thing. I will attend and teach at TNG4, and then I am officially done with TNG. That is it - my last hoorah.
Yet my head spins from all of the things I am seeing. The state of TNG groups. The attitudes towards the young that are binding us. The horseshit that is being crammed down our throats.
This should be an interesting speech.