Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Keystone 2012 Vignettes

The Keystone Conference was last weekend. I'm guessing if you read my blog you already know that as I keep talking about it. Well it's done now.

If you want a "blow by blow" look at the conference, you can read my column at TG Forum. (Membership required, but it's free).

Here I just want to put down some of things I saw and felt while they're still fresh in my mind. Caveat: I am on cough medicine as the cold I was fighting off all week finally caught me when I came home. So my brain is a little sluggish. More than usual that is.

I arrived Wednesday morning after a therapist appointment. I was able to check in immediately, then went for some lunch at the bar: the Dog and Pony Pub. I did this in drab as I was really hungry. There were a few tgirls in the bar, and we spoke briefly. From there, I went for a pedicure. I admit, I love pedicures, but I'm still uncomfortable getting them in drab. There were five tgirls there and three were in drab like me, including my good friend Charlotte. All but me were getting acrylic nails put on. I stayed with my reliable Kiss Stick ons. After that, back to the hotel to change. Dinner was at Carraba's that night with twenty other girls. I had my makeup done by Amy from Just You in Las Vegas. Had a great time out, then went back to the bar. I didn't drink much as I wanted to be sharp for my seminar the next day.

Weds night

My seminar went well. I had eleven attendees and we had a good time (or so they tell me.) I love wearing my suit. I love teaching. After the seminar, I had some professional pics taken. It’ll be some time before I get them back I’ll post them on flickr when I do.

That night, we went to the casino. After dinner at the Final Cut (same fancy place I always go), I finally sat down to a game of blackjack as a woman. On a $5 table, I won $70. I was quite happy, as this is something I've always wanted to do.  No one at the table seemed to care who I was or how I was dressed.  Went back to the hotel and sang karaoke.  I suck at it, but I had fun.

Friday was bop around time.  I spoke to many people, including some people who follow this blog or my column.  I also ran into my "Big Sis," who came to the conference for a few days.  I found her in the bar, book open, as usual.  She was discussing baseball with a guy in from Boston on business.  As she is a New Yorker, the discussion was animated and fun.
Friday night's dress

Friday night dinner was at Cafe Fresco.  I sat across from an interesting couple of people I'd never met.  One was Lisa, an amazingly talented cartoonist who does TG political cartoons.  She said she'd send me one for inclusion in column and blog, but it hasn't happened yet.  That said, back at the bar that night I watched as she was hit on by an admirer.  He was an older guy, tall and well groomed,  and was flirting hard.  Her every move and reaction were feminine and i was just enraptured watching this "dance" between them.  She was perfect and I was jealous as hell.  I wish I could be that feminine.
Saturday I spent bumming about and writing my TG Forum column.  I had to change early for the gala, as my roomie's wife needed the room to change.  After that, I went up to Amanda Richard's room for my makeover.  I was way early, so I sat there with a couple people watching the newest version of Shakespeare's "Tempest" with Helen Mirren... with the sound down.  It looked really good. 
Eventually I made it down to the gala, having missed the cocktail reception.  In fact, I was lucky to have a seat saved for me!  To my regret, I saw that almost all of the people in my support group were there for the dinner and I couldn't sit with them.  This group is sponsored by my therapist.  The funny thing is, before that night most of them had never seen Sophie before as I usually go to the meetings directly from work.  So here was a great opportunity missed.  I was able to catch up with most of them later, but still...
The Gala Dress
After dinner and speeches and stuff, I ended up back at the pub.  Here I sat with Dr. Ousterhout, the pioneer of FFS.  I met him the previous year, and he's a hoot!  Our politics are polar opposite, but he is a dying breed as he's a republican willing to listen and debate civilly without resorting to talking points or name calling.  He is also open minded.  We discussed (along with Stacy Hack and Victoria):  politics of the Middle East, GOP primaries, current LGBT issues, and he told stories of his different experiences.  He started as a dentist!
Victoria, Me, Dr. Ousterhout

Saturday nights at Keystone are always bittersweet.  After several days purely as Sophie, the next day was the end.  I was bone tired, but didn't want to go back to being drab.  Each time I become Sophie, it is harder and harder to return to drab.  Someday I don't think I will.  My therapist is correct when she says that Sophie is a creature of "parties and events" and I need more experience of mundane day to day activities as a woman.  That was one of my missed objectives this year's conference: I wanted to go out shopping alone as Sophie.  I wanted to go downtown for lunch and try to blend in, or just be me.  Didn't happen.  So now I don't know when it will.
Since the end of the conference, I've read about two of my friends coming out to their families and others.  Both have encountered no issues yet- just acceptance.  I am jealous.  Someday it will be my turn...

Keystone is over.  I am sick as a dog.  I have a major "Pink Hangover."  And I face yet another crossroads.  Others found themselves last week.  Their journeys began.  My journey is still one of shadows and deception, but for four days it was open and genuine.  Spring is here- a time of renewal and life and change. 
Someday it will be my turn.

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