Sunday, March 18, 2012

True Colors Conference: The Rest of My Story

I attended the True Colors Conference at my alma mater, UCONN, on Friday.

I was dressed and out the door at 8:40 AM and parked my Subaru in the campus parking garage one hour later.

I walked one block  to the Student Union and although it was a raw day, it seemed as if the sun was shining through the clouds as I passed hundreds of kids dressed in every color of the rainbow.

The vendor and support organization booths were in the Student Union and I quickly found the booth of the Connecticut Outreach Society (COS). I met Janice, who was coordinating the booth and sat next to her to interface with any and all who stopped by.

I worked the booth for about two hours, then took a break to get a cup of coffee. There was a Dunkin' Donuts at the other end of the Union, so that was my destination.

The five minute walk to Dunkin' Donuts took about a 45 minutes because I ran into so many friends and acquaintances along the way. I was surprised how many!

Here is a shout-out to all of them: Angie, Barbara, Diana, Glenn, Holly, Karen, Kelly, Lisa, Lee Ann, Liz, Robin G, Robin M, and Tony.

A lot of trans kids visited our booth. Although COS is intended as a support group for adults, we fielded all the kids' questions and concerns and they seemed to be satisfied customers.

Throughout the day, my Nine West shoes received rave reviews. I lost count how many kids and adults told me, "I love your shoes!"

I wish I could say the same. All was well until about 2 PM when both my feet began to ache. I had a pair of comfortable heels in my car, but I toughed it out by avoiding walking, which was easy to do since I sat at the booth.

Diana and I planned to go to dinner, so we left the Conference around 3 PM and met up at Rein's Deli in Vernon. (I switched to my comfortable heels before leaving the campus and driving to the deli.)

There is a big contrast between the True Colors Conference and Rein's Deli. Whereas the conference was full of TLGB folks and their allies, Rein's was full of civilians, yet we were treated with respect at both venues. None of the staff or other diners at Rein's seemed to give us special notice. Is it because trans are so commonplace and/or accepted in Connecticut that no one pays them any mind or did we blend in so well with the civilians that no one noticed us? I like to think it was the latter, but it is probably a little bit of both.

During the conference, I was talking with another girl about how lucky we were to be living in Connecticut, where diversity is more accepted as well as legally protected. On the other hand, I have never had much trouble anywhere I've traveled en femme, yet I still appreciate living in the Constitution State.

A funny thing about living in Connecticut... when outsiders learn that you are a Connecticut resident, they often think you are rich and live on a multi-acre estate. That is a false impression promulgated by the mass media, particularly Hollywood films.

Yes, there are rich people in Connecticut, just as there are in any other state, but most Connecticut residents are not rich including me. But I digress.

I had one on-the-spot outreach session during the conference. While I was washing my hands and fixing my makeup alone in the ladies' restroom, a high school aged girl walked in and as she passed by, she greeted me with a loud friendly Fonzie-like,  "Eh."

I was surprised by her greeting and was slow with a comeback, but finally replied with, "Eh… it's Friday!"

We exchanged words about how the day was going and then she asked me how I identified.

I responded, "As a woman."

With that she assumed that I was a post-op transsexual and asked me about my surgery and hormone regimen. I enlightened her that I had no surgery and I never took hormones. She admitted that she had just learned something new. (That was the outreach portion of this encounter.)

She then said that I looked "great" and asked my age.

I replied, "Guess" and she immediately responded with "In your 30s."

I told her my age; she was surprised and I was elated.

But thinking back when I was in high school, I recalled that my accuracy at guessing the ages of adults was poor and I am sure most high school kids are in the same boat.

Back then, I ball-parked ages accordion to my relatives' ages. My parents were in their 40s and my grandparents were in their 60s. So according to me, anyone who was not retired and wrinkled was a contemporary of my parents, that is, around 40, whereas anyone who was retired and wrinkled was a contemporary of my grandparents, that is, around 60.

So, I guess that my elation was justified after all.


  1. On the way back from the conference yesterday, I stopped at Rein's and bought a tub of half sour pickles... unfortunately only three are left today. I love their home made pickles :)

  2. I great day out and about doing outreach that benefits all of us.
    I think that the more that we can get out and about, regardless of the circumstances, the better it will be for all of us.
    My wife remains very concerned whenever I want to get out of the house. She is concerned that if I leave dressed or are seen coming home dressed that it would not be good at all. The idea of leaving during daylight while dressed is of concern.
    Nevertheless, when we are out and about together we have encountered some TGs out 'blending' and as long as it is not me she is OK with it and has even commented that she has encountered other CDs when she is out doing her basic shopping, etc.
    Folks tend to fear and distrust that which they do not understand. Every time a TG or CD has any sort of positive 'civilian' encounter, the better it is for all of us.