Saturday, I attended the Transgender Lives Conference at the UConn Health Center in Farmington. Continuing from yesterday's post, this is the conclusion of my story.
After my police escort, I found the conference and picked up the registration and presenter packages. I did not recognize anyone except a few people who were as busy as could be running the conference, so I did not bother them, got a cup of coffee and looked over the program trying to decide what presentation to attend before mine at 10:45 AM.
A few people I encountered said “Hello,” but they were passing like ships in the night hellos, rather than long time, no see hellos.
And then a male name-tagged “Tom” stopped and engaged me in conversation. She had attended my old support group’s meetings and remembered me, but I did not remember her especially since I would have only seen her en femme in the past. Nevertheless, we had an pleasant chat.
I visited the various booths that were set up for the conference, talked to the folks staffing those booths, picked up some literature and then went to auditorium for the “welcoming remarks.”
The person who was supposed to welcome us was a no-show, so my friend Diana, who was running the conference, welcomed us. One memorable moment during the welcome was when a woman seated in the row behind me tapped me on the shoulder and remarked how much she "loved" my outfit. (During the conference, I received a number of kudos regarding my outfit.)
I decided to attend a workshop that sounded interesting on paper, but was not interesting to me in person. The person presenting the workshop spoke well, seemed to know the subject matter, but I did not get it. Maybe it was me, I dunno. Anyway, I will not mention the title of the workshop or the presenter’s name to protect the innocent.
Jan and I were up next. Our presentation “Crossdressing in the Real World” was basically a show and tell. We showed photos of us out and about, explained what we were doing in each photo and hoped that it would inspire the attendees to get out of the closet and go out and about, too.
I felt that I was not very organized and winged it. Despite what I felt, a number of people said they enjoyed the presentation (by the way, there were about a dozen in attendance). However, one person (Allison) e-mailed me some feedback and suggestions for improvement including, "Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them."
Self-criticisms: at the beginning of the workshop, tell the attendees to break in any time with questions. Also, let the attendees introduce themselves and say why they are attending the workshop.
Allison was happy to meet me in person. I won’t go into details, but I helped her get out of the closet. She told me she was having lunch with an old support group friend, Willa, who I had not seen in about 15 years, so I invited myself to join them for lunch.
Box lunches were included and all the attendees met up together for lunch in the cafeteria. Only then did I realize how many people were in attendance – over 150!
I enjoyed chatting with Willa over lunch (I chatted more than I ate) and met some other girls including Betty and Francesca. I also ran into other old friends: Dallas, Janis, Karen, Moonhawk and Tony.
I left after lunch because my wife was having a bad day with her MS. So I missed the afternoon presentations and Dallas Denny’s keynote address, but I had a very good half-day and look forward to another outing real soon now.
Wearing Dior (dress and shoes, left) and Nina Ricci (dress and shoes, right)
Actor Sid Silvers in the 1935 film Broadway Melody of 1936