A (Partial) History of chi.queers

Tonight’s chi.queers party was another big success. I think it was one of the larger parties at CHI this year, and I was proud to be a co-host, along with JC, CV, and CK. CK asked about the history. I realized that I didn’t really remember the history, even though I was there for most of them. So, to whit, a reconstruction of chi.queers over the years, based on surviving journals, e-mails, and photographs.

I started attending CHI in 1997, and have registered for 18 CHIs since then. The exact number gets tricky because there were several years where I “crashed” CHI. I would go to the city that CHI was in, hang out with friends, but not worry about actually going to any of the sessions. (In many conference centers, you can even hang out in the hallways; you just can’t go into the rooms themselves.) I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with chi.queers, and make it into one of the better parties at CHI.

Anyway, here’s my notes of when we had parties over the years. If I wasn’t in the city, I don’t even try to see if there was an event that year. Most of the “Location” column is courtesy of Jean Hardy.

Year City Attended Role CHI.Queers Location
1997 Atlanta A SV Maybe1  
1998 Los Angeles *      
1999 Pittsburgh A SV Maybe2  
2000 Den Hague A SV No3  
2001 Seattle A DC Private4  
2002 Minneapolis A SV Maybe  
2003 Fort Lauderdale A SV Maybe  
2004 Vienna A SVC No  
2005 Portland A R No  
2006 Monteal * SVC    
2007 San Jose *      
2008 Florence A R Private4  
2009 Boston *      
2010 Atlanta A R Maybe?  
2011 Vancouver - Maybe?  
2012 Austin A R Maybe?  
2013 Paris R No  
2014 Toronto A R Yes Woody’s
2015 Seoul A R Yes  
2016 San Jose S R Yes5 Mac’s Club
2017 Denver A R Yes Charlie’s
2018 Montreal A R Yes Cabaret
2019 Glasgow A R Yes Delmonica’s
2020 Virtual * * No  
2021 Virtual * * No  
2022 New Orleans A R Yes  

Looking at this, it’s clear that Toronto was when it really became a thing. I don’t think it’s an accident that it was one of the first years that Jean Hardy attended CHI. He’s very much one of the founding fathers of CHI.queers. (For those of you know how Jean and I met, you will understand why saying “founding father” about Jean feels deeply unnatural to me)

Around Denver, CHI.Queers had a step-change in size. This was a conscious effort on the part of Jean, Jed, and myself, to turn this from the the party for LGBT+ people, into the party by LGBT+ people, and welcoming the entire CHI community. By Montreal (2018), this switch was complete, and we had over 150 people at the party.

One thing I’d really like to call out about creating this: we didn’t ask permission. We just did.

Attendance Records: * - Did not attend; † - Did not register; S - Got sick and missed much

Roles: SV - Student Volunteer; DC - Doctoral Consortium; SVC - Student Volunteer Co-Chair; R - Regular attendee.

  1. This was my first CHI; I might have tried something, but it’s at that uncomfortable point in the past that it was far after paper was a viable way to archive e-mail, but far before the limitless plains of storage we have now. 

  2. AI or “Nokia Man” might have helped in planning out CHI.Queers around this time frame. (I should ask YJ if she knew Nokia Man! I have a few pictures for reference). 

  3. A lot of my student efforts were put into the SV program, so chi.queers missed that energy. 

  4. For several years, I would host a private party at the time the CHI.queers party would have been held. This was mostly getting an astoundingly large suite in Seattle, and then a very well-placed hotel with a massive roof-top deck in Florence.  2

  5. Per Jean Hardy.