Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Keystone Conference Part 3: Out Like a Lioness

This is Part 3 (hence the title.)  If you haven't read the other parts, you can find links below:

Part 1
Part 2

You don't need to read them first, but it helps. 

Caught up now?  Right.

Saturday morning was grey and sleeting.  I mean Sleeting HARD.  No one was going anywhere it seemed, which was fine by me.  That said the Hockey parents came and went as if it were a sunny summer day, hauling their kids over icy roads.  

I woke up fairly early, shaved, dressed, and put on my face, and went downstairs for breakfast.  I wore my favorite purple sweater.  Down in the restaurant, I bumped into Henry (I introduced you to him in Part 1).  He invited me to dine with him, and I did. 

We talked about his experiences as a trans-man.  Aside from the gender part of this, his story is similar to most Trans-women I know.  Knew from an early age, uncomfortable in his skin, etc.  he asked for advice on his presentation, which I gave, and vice versa.  It was a pleasant breakfast, after which he resumed his duties for the convention.

I ran into my dear friend Charlotte and her wife.  We walked around for a bit and talked.  I started sweating a LOT.  The hotel had cranked the heat a bit to counter the ice storm outside.  I excused myself to go change.  Charlotte said she'd save a seat for me at lunch.

I changed into a lighter top, reapplied deodorant, fixed my makeup, and went back downstairs.  I met some people.  Caught up with others, then went to lunch.  I couldn't find Charlotte (an hour later a text arrived from her, saying where she was sitting.  Thank you AT&T.)  As I couldn't find her, I sat with some other people.  Later Charlotte found me, saying she'd saved a seat.  I felt like an ass.

The lunch speaker was Mara Keisling, founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.  She's spoken at every Keystone so far.  This time she updated us all on what was accomplished last year, and what was on the docket this year.  She also mentioned that she was able to hug the First Lady!

 After her talk, I went over to say "Hi."  She remembered me from past years (and the fact that I applied for a job with NCTE), and was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.

Does Mara make me look Fat, or just my lack of corset?

I bounced around a while after lunch, connecting with some people who were there just for the day.  At 2, I went upstairs to wash off my makeup and prep for the night.  My appointment with Amanda Richards was at 3.

My gala dress this year was actually something given to me by Charlotte.  It was a little big (as she's taller than me) so I had Lorraine Anderson at Occasional Woman do her usual alteration magic.  I also bought a bolero jacket, as I hate spaghetti straps, and the jacket covered them.

I then went downstairs to the reception before the dinner.  Cassandra Storm took some more pictures.  She was kind enough to take one with my phone picture as well.

The Gala Dress, Pic by Cassandra Storm

In the bar, I bumped into a dear friend, the gorgeous and talented Lisa Empanada, who I bought a drink.  We fell into conversation with a Tgirl at the bar who was a lawyer.  Somehow she and Lisa started getting into a heated argument (the lawyer called Lisa "arrogant" for being an atheist.)  I tried to diffuse the spat, but it got worse.  Eventually, Lisa walked away.  I thought "Make sure to stay on her good side!"  I spoke a little more with the lawyer, then went to the dinner.

For weeks in advance, the ladies in my therapy group and I spoke of sitting together.  And many of us did, but several of the group sat elsewhere.  I was a bit disappointed, as I'd looked forward to this. I invited Henry to join us, as we had several empty seats.  At the beginning, there was a twenty minute slide show of a photographer's work, so the room darkened and loud music started playing.  Henry excused himself for a smoke.  There was now no one seated on either side of me.  Ambient noise gives me great difficulty these days, so there I sat in the dark.  Isolated by sound and distance from people a few feet away.

Eventually the slide show ended, the lights came up, and dinner was served.  It was good.  The dinner speaker was Dr. Jillian Weiss, Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey.  her list of accomplishments is VERY long.  And she is a great speaker!

After dinner the room was cleared for the band to play.  I went to the bar, as I knew it would be LOUD, and there were people with whom I wanted to connect.  I bounced around there for a bit, and eventually settled in at a table with Dr. Ousterhout and staff.  He's always a riot!  other people joined the party there until the manager asked us to relocate to a "PDR"  so they could set up the restaurant for the

"Physician's Desk Reference?" asked Dr. Ousterhout.

 "Private Dining Room" was the reply.

At that point, it was 12:45.  My eyes were drooping.  I looked around.  The bar was crowded with Us and Hockey parents.  All were having a great time.  I walked over to the ballroom, where I saw the band packing up.  I felt just a little tipsy.  I still had to pack to leave.  So, reluctantly, I made my rounds and said good night. 

I went to my room, and slowly removed my heels, dress, hose, corset...  And looked in the mirror.  And frowned.  I then showered.

I then started packing things into the boxes I brought from my car earlier.  I drank water.  Eventually, I went to sleep.

The next morning was cold and dreary.  I showered again, but didn't shave.  I only brought one pair of guy clothes- the ones I wore up (and a change of boxers.)  I put on the guy clothes slowly.  It almost physically hurt to do so.  I packed the last of my boxes.  The last thing I packed were my wigs. 

As there were no carts available, it took six trips to get everything to my car.  Some folks offered to help, but I refused.  I didn't want this to be easy.  I didn't want it to be quick.

After the car was packed, I went to the bar and restaurant.  The bar was all but empty.  The restaurant full of Guys.  Some tgirls.  Many of the guys, well, they were like me.  Sullen.  Empty eyed.  I said goodbyes to those I recognized.  Some recognized me.  Some handshakes, some hugs.

I saw Tessa and her wife didn't recognize me (she's in my therapy group.)  Tessa said later that her wife "didn't recognize you in your man-suit until you smiled."

After scraping the ice from my car, I finally was on the road at 11:30.  It was raining.

Fitting , really.

So.  The 2013 Keystone Conference ended.  I spent a lot of time, energy and money on this event. 

To quote a segment of our population:  "What was the ROI?"  (Return on Investment)

This was the best Keystone Conference so far.  I had certain objectives for my growth, and did almost all of them.  I went out alone to a downtown area (which I will do again... in Philly.)  I met new people, and reconnected with old friends.  I presented a Topic, and achieved all my objectives with that.

In Keystones past, at night I would sleep in boxers.  TMI, I know.  Not this time.  From the time I dressed Tuesday until Sunday morning, I didn't so much as touch my drab clothes.  Total Sophie time. 

And it was RIGHT.

At Keystone this year, I confirmed to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I AM a Woman. 

That I AM on the Right path for Me.

That I CAN contribute to our cause and to society as a Woman.

And that I have many, many wonderful people to help me along this path.


1 comment:

  1. Sophie -

    I'm glad you're out and about. The first big step is going out in the real world, the unprotected world and realize - no one is paying attention to you being trans - they have more important stuff to worry about.

    For me, I started going out en-femme in September, and I was fortunate to be able to couple it with a trip to the SF Bay area. After spending the better part of the California segment of the vacation en-femme, I spend one day in Chicago en-femme before returning to New York. Now, I go out en-femme when I wish, and I don't worry whether I wear a blouse and skirt, a dress, or a t-shirt and jeans.

    Back to you and Philly....

    You're going to have a great time going out en-femme! Philly is a great little city (almost everything in the US is little in relation to NYC), and I plan to visit it again - this time en-femme. Who knows, maybe we'd bump into each other, worry a little about bumping into a "civilian", see each others' faces - and then breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that each of us had a short spike of discomfort....