On Saturday, I drove an hour north to Holyoke to attend and present at The Conference of Tolerance and Acceptance. The Holyoke Equal Rights Association (HERA) presented the event and invited all youth and their supportive adults to the free LGBTQ youth conference.
I was up early and fed our menagerie, then I ironed my dress, shaved my face, depilated my legs and arms with Veet, showered, did my makeup, dressed and was on the road by 9 AM.
On the way, I stopped at Shop & Stop to buy gas. Typical for a Saturday morning, each one of the six gas pumps had a customer, but I was the only one in high heel pumps!
In the recent past, I would make sure I gassed up in boy mode before a roadtrip en femme, so this was another baby step taken for me en femme. By the way, this Shop & Stop is where I regularly buy gas. I recognized the attendant in the cashier booth, but I don't believe he recognized me.
I arrived at Holyoke High School at 10:15, checked in at the registration table and encountered Phoebe Scott, the woman who attended my workshop at the True Colors Conference and asked if I would speak with the youth groups she mentors. She was responsible for my invitation to the Holyoke conference.
We chatted briefly then Phoebe pointed me in the direction of the cafeteria where I got a cup of coffee. I need to get out more because I did not know how to get coffee out of the cardboard box from Dunkin' Donuts.
The Holyoke police officer assigned to the school noticed my predicament and came to the rescue of the woman in distress. After rescuing me, Officer Sustache and I had a pleasant chat and he said he would attend my workshop (which he did).
Then I chatted with two Sheila's! One Sheila was a presenter from Northampton, who planned to talk about Shamanism and the concept of two spirits. I was very interested and attended her workshop at 11 AM.
The second Sheila had ferried a group of youths to the Conference from Leominster. We chatted until the Conference got rolling at 11. She was very interested in my "story."
There were 50 to 75 attendees and four sets of workshops beginning at 11 AM and ending at 4 PM. My workshop, "Femulate, the Art of Becoming Womanly," was in the 1 PM/after lunch slot. About a dozen people attended, which I assume was typical because the other workshops I attended each had a dozen attendees more or less.
I basically rambled on for an hour about my en femme life in the trenches interspersed with anecdotes, tips, and Q&A. If smiles and occasional laughter is any indication, most of the attendees seemed to like my workshop; a few even came up to me afterwords to say how much they enjoyed it.
There are three photos of my workshop on HERA's Facebook page. The one at the top of this post is my favorite; another shows the attendees and the third one is similar to the one above. Oddly, I was so absorbed in my presentation that I did not notice anyone taking photos!
After my workshop, I attended Phoebe's excellent workshop at 3 PM. Titled "Revamping the Gender Perspective, according to the online description, it was "a workshop on understanding the gender spectrum and where you fall! Using our understanding(s) of stereotypes and playing with gender expression, we will explore and learn about gender identities in a fun and interactive way."
After that workshop, I said my goodbyes. Although I drove to Holyoke in heels, my feet needed relief by 4 PM, so I switched to flats and drove home after having another fun and very rewarding day as a woman.
Actor Sydney Chaplin femulating in the 1925 film Charley's Aunt.
Actress Hayley Mills femulating in the 1967 film A Matter of Innocence.