Monday, March 18, 2013

Keystone Prologue: Why we Need Conferences

I attended the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, PA this past week.  I'll be writing a LOT about it in the coming days.  In fact, I already have a TG Forum column on it (registration necessary, but it's free).

During and right after the conference, I found the following bits on Facebook.  They are reproduced here, unedited, by the kind permission of their authors.  The facebook posts are italicized.

Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 at 1:46 PM by Amanda Farren

Funny story. We were at the casino last night. I passed through security and immediately an older woman holding some sort of gambling can. She grabbed my arm and said worriedly, "Honey, you better be on guard, (looks around whispering) there are men walking around dressed as women." I said, "Noo, really? That's odd, hmm. Well maybe they like to have fun too." She replied, "Well just be on alert." I whispered, "OK, I will."

(Amanda is a beautiful woman and has a great sense of humor.  I met her briefly at Keystone, and I wish I'd had more time to speak with her more than I did.)

Posted Sunday March 17, 2013 at 3:19 PM by Kristyn King

At Keystone Conference, and had a GREAT time....till checkout. I went up to ask for a manager, to express my thanks, for having us, and being open minded, as well as to thank his staff, as they ALL treated us great. When i got to the desk, though, a woman was aready in his face, in Mid-Rant, about us. So I had to listen to a 10 minute tirade, about how could the hotel, subject, their kids to such depreavity, and have been put in the same hallway, as those things! She wanted money off her room charge (no suprise there) she wanted another manager, as this one wasn't agreeing with her, she wanted the event managers #, as SHE would understand what "we" were doing to her kids. However, after being compaired to axe murderers, pedofiles, and other fine things...I had enough of biting my tongue (clean off, by now!)...I had to confront her. So, what was SO bad, that she was this bent?? Not missing a beat, she says, Im not talking to you, "sir"!...and continued spewing. Well, now Im ready to club her, like a baby seal! But, the manager, bless him, put his foot down, and very calmly told her, she could call corperate in the morning, she could complain to the event people, but she was NOT getting any discount. People, like this woman, are the EXACT reason, we need to get together in places, and events like this, to combat this type of thinking and abuse!
Kristyn is a dear friend and is President of South Eastern PA Renaissance Transgender Education Association, of which I am a member.
I just called the Sheraton Harrisburg and spoke to the manager on duty about the incident described above. I told him that I REALLY appreciated that the manager stood up for the attendees of the conference and Trans-people in general the way he did.
The manager, Dan, was very happy to get this call and told me that the manager in question was Andrew Lee. I am writing a letter to Sheraton Corporate about his bravery and for taking a stand for Us. 
I encourage others to do so as well.
Or just call. Sheraton Harrisburg 717-564-5511.
If local, please patronize the hotel and its bar to show support.
Contact the Sheraton Corporate HERE
I'll post more about the conference as fast as I can organize my thoughts.
Friday night at Keystone 2013
 Complete Keystone Blogs
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE


  1. Or, maybe one could consider that such in your stuff face is a good indication of what many gurls who think they want to live as women would experience out in the real world, given many of theirs total inability to pass?

    Too often "Trans" events are little cocooned bubbles that don't give the attendees any glimpse of what their lives would really be like if they transitioned. Also, too often people in the trans community mistake "tolerance" for "acceptance." They are not the same thing.

  2. I too wil write a letter to corporate and express my gratitude to a lovely staff. I am a spouse of a transgendered woman and see beyond the cocoon. And from my view I saw a lot this weekend ranging from tolerance, acceptance, confusion and insecurities.... all from the outside world. What was most interesting is that the kids at the hotel were the most accepting. And if truth be told... were more interested in running up and down the hallways being kids rather then the "drama" the parents were creating for themselves.

  3. One of the benefits of conferences such as Keystone and the attendant 'off campus' events that take place at such gatherings is that more and more civilians have some exposure to TG folks. Typically the term TG spectrum is used to note that there are all different types of people from the occasional crossdresser to the fully transitioned TS and that there is lots of gender fluidity all along the way.

    There is also an appearance spectrum. Some could not pass in a month of Sundays at a beer bash for the blind while others look so good that no one would ever suspect that they were born male. I suspect that most of us fall somewhere between those extremes.

    The older woman in the casino seemed to have some initial fears of 'men walking around dressed as women'. Those folks, yourself included, most likely succeeded in some incidental outreach when this woman survived the evening and learned that 'men dressed as women' were not to be feared and that everyone at the casino were able to safely and peaceably co-exist in the same public space. There were likely many other people in the casino that night who harbored similar feelings. All of them learned that they could peacefully co-exist with us. It is likely that after leaving the casino they discussed their experience in the presence of others. In my view that is almost all good in terms of extending the outreach.

    While the woman ranting at the manager came away from that encounter without reaching her goal of a room discount she also may have a chance to reflect and learn from her experience in Harrisburg. The way i see things for every person at the hotel who reacted as she did there were likely several hundred who came away from their time share the hotel with the Keystone attendees none the worse for wear and most likely more tolerant and accepting of us.

    This was a good post. Thank you for sharing the thoughts and experiences of Amanda and Kristyn.