Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tripping the Light Fantastic in Lancaster, PA

Sally Stone

By Sally Stone,
Femulate Guest Blogger

Nothing makes me more giddy than to have a reason to wear a pretty gown and show off my feminine finery. It's even better when I can contribute to a worthy cause at the same time.

Last month, that's exactly what happened when I attended the third annual Fall Achievement Benefit. The FAB as it's called, is a key source of funding for the LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania . The event also recognizes individuals in the community that have contributed greatly to the LGBT cause. It's a wonderful event and this year, like years past, those of us that make up the “T” in LGBT were well represented. There were approximately 500 guests in attendance and there were nearly 40 of us girls.

This year's event was held in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, and while the event itself was the centerpiece of the weekend, the hotel, its location, and some wonderful friends made for an extraordinary two-day adventure as a girl.

Friday evening, 12 of us went out to dinner at a local restaurant and afterward we came back to the hotel for a drink before heading out to a local club for some dancing; at least that's what we thought we were going to do.

When we got back to the hotel lounge, it was packed with people and in the course of getting served and finding places to sit, we soon found ourselves in the middle of some pretty heavy conversation. Most of it centered around the way we were dressed and why we were presenting ourselves as girls. In essence we were conducting impromptu outreach.

It always amazes and thrills me when people want to know why I dress the way I do. The ensuing conversations were rich and rewarding and soon our little circle was so absorbed we forgot all about dancing. We closed the lounge and I didn't get to bed until after 2 AM.

On Saturday morning, some of the girls went shopping. Some of us stayed close to the hotel and did a little local sightseeing instead. After lunch, I spent the remainder of the afternoon getting myself ready for the evening formal. The preparation is almost as much fun as going out.

Our group had agreed earlier that we would rendezvous in the lounge for a before-the-formal drink. When I arrived around 5 PM dressed to the nines, many of my girlfriends had already arrived. They all looked so lovely in their sexy dresses, gorgeous gowns, and killer shoes. We really did make for a lovely group of girls if I do say so myself.

The lounge crowd wasn't too large at 5 PM, but like the night before we quickly found ourselves the center of attention. For some reason, T girls really do draw a crowd. We had to literally drag ourselves away from our new found friends to ensure we wouldn't miss the evening's big event. As we made our way to the ballroom, I had a confident feeling that I'd find my way back to the lounge later in the evening.

The reception was wonderful and provided a great opportunity to catch up with acquaintances from years past. The girls were beautiful and the guys looked so dapper in their tuxes and tails.

I took the time to pose with a few friends for a professional portrait photographer and then I did some more socializing before we were seated for dinner. Dinner was excellent and after the presentations were finished, we just couldn't wait to get up out of our seats to dance.

The DJ served up a non-stop menu of great dance tunes and soon the dance floor was packed with an undulating mass of boys and girls. Usually I'm not much of a dancer, but there's something about a dress and high heels that make the urge to boogie overwhelming. I found myself happily swaying with rest of the crowd. I had the opportunity to dance with girls, with boys, and with boys who were dressed like girls.

It was all great fun and as I moved from dance partner to dance partner I was suddenly surprised to find that my newest dance partner was a girl I had met earlier in the lounge. She, her two girlfriends and their boyfriends had sneaked in to the party to join us. I danced until my feet were screaming for me to stop.

The music was winding down by then anyway, so a group of us made our way back downstairs to the hotel lounge. I just knew it would call me back!

Like the night before, the lounge was absolutely packed. We met more new friends, engaged in more impromptu outreach, and simply had a wonderfully fulfilling experience interacting with a friendly and very accepting crowd. Like accomplished party animals, we closed the lounge for second night in a row. As tired as I was, it was too sad and too soon to be saying goodnight. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

This year's FAB didn't disappoint. I got to be a glamorous girl for two full days. I danced, made friends, and generated memories that will last a lifetime. The event also raised quite a bit of money for LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania and that isn't a bad thing either.

I can't wait until next year!

1 comment:

  1. To some extent, these encounters are a byproduct of the higher exposure on the mass media. From RuPaul's Drag race on LOGO to the stories about TG folks hitting the TV newsmagazine shows, there's been far more people seeing TG folks and now when they see one, they want to know more. You go girl!