When we as HOHs decided to begin our respective journeys, we did so with the expressed understanding that going to conferences exact a cost of resources, time, and energy, especially if we made the conscious decision to acquire charges who resided in other states/countries, that may overextend what we may have earmarked and or planned for.
Cliché: it costs to be the boss
Cliché: best-laid plans are the ones that go wrong
With those clichés in mind, it can technically be reasonable to simply ask for what you want, and the least that can happen is that the other party says no, and you can govern yourself accordingly. It is also reasonable to expect some form of compensation if your name is one of many that are drawing a significant number of the masses to a conference or event, and that the more persons you can personally draw based on popularity/notoriety, the more you would expect a commiserate rate of return.
There are those of us that have put in work long before it became vogue to be presenters, the same can be said for Leather paths and such, and I would dare say, at the time we were presenting or advertising, we were doing it for the chance for others to “see” what was once invisible and underground. We also did it because we had the time and resources to spend while balancing work and life away from kink, and somehow make it all look easy as fuck (kinda sorta, not really … that shit was TIRING LOL)
It is something that is a current topic of conversation within LHOCC, especially as we come into Year Four of existence.
Considering the current membership of LHOCC at present day, to collectively abstain from attending or presenting at any conferences for a calendar year would be, in this current climate where social media has now become the dominant engine, tantamount to being forgotten in a New York minute. Visibility and ubiquity as a collective on a consistent basis are always the goal of any organization and removing that visibility would also remove the ability of the collective membership, much less the Board of Directors, to control the narrative over the WHY of it all. Optics are what they are, fair or unfair, and a collective disappearance would raise more problems than it would solve. It would cost too much time to explain the disappearance and cost too much time and energy to restart an engine that has been shut down for a prolonged period of time. We still have to balance that as HOHs and as an organization as best we can because we believe in the importance of LHOCC as an influencer in the larger kink and Leather communities.
It has been a pay to play system the entire time, nothing has changed but the dates on the calendar: to try to move the needle to where conference organizers should now consider travel budgets for their entire presenter roster will simply shut down all but the long-standing larger conferences that had built themselves to the point to where they can afford to do so. Expending resources to attend conferences, even from a vanilla construct, is a necessary evil, as Greek Letter organizations (Black and otherwise) and faith-based organizations have been doing so (and happily doing so for the betterment of the collective) for the last century or so, and even the majority of the collective in those instances cannot make it EVERY year because, economics. It is nice to be wanted and in demand, it is quite another to understand what the economics of kink has always been and realize that you may have to say no because they simply cannot afford to get you there, and neither can you.
Even stepping away from the presenters’ point of view, being an attendee is no small task, either. The same costs are ever-present: hotel stays (which may include staying an extra day for travel ease), flight time, food and beverage, registrations fees (which can be defrayed by volunteering for said conference), and patronizing vendors that have all the things you want to incorporate into your always expanding toy bags—bags that becomes more difficult to slide through baggage claim because of the weight requirements. Empress and I have gotten to the point to where it is less expensive to ship the bag via FedEx, and with less hassle.
Those costs can skyrocket if you have charges within your House. Even if you only have one, it is something to consider. Yes, they are autonomous beings with the ability to expend resources just as you do, but there is the overarching responsibility to ensure that your property/s-type(s) safely makes it to the destination that you as HOH has designated as a part of the growth and path that you envisioned.
Hence the reason it costs to be the Boss.
You have to pick your poison; even if the majority of us had the expanded resources and time to spend, I suspect the majority of us would still be discerning in their selection of which conferences to attend or present simply because said conference “speaks” to us on a specific frequency (in the specific case of HKN, that would be Frolicon or SELF).
Pharaoh Khaf-Ra & Empress Nahara
LHOCC Member House