|A Thursday Morning Selfie|
OutreachAfter shopping, I drove to the University and as I pulled into the parking lot where I normally park, I could not help noticing that most of the lot was torn up and under construction.
The guard, who is always gracious to me explained the situation: there was a parking garage down the street in one direction and another further down the street in the other direction and I could take a shuttle bus from the garages to bring me to the classroom. He added there were a limited number of visitor slots in what was left of the torn-up parking lot, but they were not likely to be available at that time of day. I decided to try the visitor slots first and I was a lucky girl as I found two empty slots side-by-side right across the street from the classrooms I would be visiting.
I arrived at the classroom and greeted the professor, Anna Schildroth, and the members of the outreach panel all of whom I had done outreach with in the past, two male-to-females, Maryann and Michelle, and one female-to-male, Quinton.
We started by briefly telling our trans life stories… about five minutes each and then the class splits up with Maryann and I handling questions from one half of the class and Maryann and Quinton handling the other half. Half way through the 75 minutes, we switch off. The logic of the pairings is that Maryann and I are no surgery, no hormone replacement therapy (HRT) transwomen, while Michelle and Quinton have had HRT and Quinton has had top surgery.
The students had a lot of questions and we did not have to pull teeth to extract them, which is nice. Most of the questions were the same or similar to ones we have fielded before, but I did receive one question that I never received before, “Where did you get your sense of style?”
That was not only a question, it was a compliment!
I explained that initially I learned a lot from my mother and that as I grew older, I became a follower of fashion and kept aware of fashion trends, as well as the classics of fashion.
A similar question we were asked was “Who was your role model?”
Again, my mother was the answer on a personal level and Jacqueline Kennedy on a non-personal level. A lot of the women in the class nodded in agreement when I mentioned Jacqueline Kennedy, which was surprising considering that Jackie died before most, if not all of these women were born.
One other question I received, “Do guys try to pick you up?” is one I do not recall receiving before, but was asked by students in both the early and late outreach sessions on Thursday. Go figure!
After class, we went to the student center to eat and relax until the next class. On the way, I met up with Nora who was a student in the class I did outreach at back in April. She reads Femulate regularly and read that I was coming to the University on Thursday, so she planned to search me out. I was happy to see her again and she joined us at the student center, where we chatted over lunch about her home (Cairo, Egypt), high heel issues, and my lack of Tweeter activity. The time flew by and we had to say our goodbyes because it was time to do outreach with the second Human Sexuality class.
The set-up for the second class was different than the first class because two classrooms were not available. As a result, the class could not be split in half in order to optimize questions for Maryann and me or Michelle and Quinton. We all got our share of questions, but just fewer questions than there would have been if the class had been split in half.
The only unusual question in this session that I recall was directed at all of us. A woman asked “What would be your dream sexual encounter?” I do not remember how the others answered the question, but I did not answer the question because I felt uncomfortable answering it and I was sure how to answer it.
By the end of the class, I was very tired. It had been a very hectic week — sickness, surgery, death — one of those weeks you do not want to relive. Thursday’s day out provided a nice break from all that, although my iPhone kept me in the loop all day long. (What did we do before cell phones?)
The students in both classes thanked us — they always do — and we thanked them for giving us the opportunity to show them that transgender are real people, too.
Femulating at a Lindsay for Mayor drag party in New York City, 1965.
Wearing Pierre Balmain (dress) and Just Cavalli (skirt).