“I have some anonymity at the convention. I appear to be just another middle-aged woman attending the convention. Only if a civilian examines my name badge, recognizes my call sign, and then puts two and two together, do they realize that I am not the ham I used to be.”
Saturday, “I will not be anonymous at the meeting. My name and call sign will be announced before I speak…”
Knowing hams, I assumed that the attendees would be dressed in weekend casual garb. Since I was representing and evangelizing the ham radio group in which I am the secretary, board member and newsletter editor, I wanted to make a good impression, so I dressed a little better than weekend casual.
I wore the new zip front dress I bought at Dress Barn last week and accessorized with an animal print scarf from Avon, nude high heel pumps from Payless, a gold retro style watch from Avon and a pair of vintage retro style gold earrings. (The accompanying photo is how I looked before I left home for the meeting.) And I was correct — all the attendees wore weekend casual garb — one fellow even wore sweats.
I arrived at the meeting site, American Red Cross Headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut, ten minutes before the start of the meeting at 9 AM. There were four or five attendees already in the meeting room. In all, 14 attended myself included, ranging in age from mid-30s to the mid-70s. There was one other woman; she also was a ham and the wife of one of the other attendees.
I introduced myself and everyone was polite to the stranger (me). But no one engaged me in conversation. My guess is that they did not put two and two together and had no idea who I was.
About an hour into the meeting, I gave my 15-minute presentation. When I was done, some of the attendees were no longer polite — they now knew who I was and talked ham radio topics with me.
The fellow sitting next to me, who had ignored me up to that point, began talking to me like we were old friends. It turned out that we were old acquaintances. I recognized his call sign and realized that we had conversed over the airwaves using Morse code a number of times over 30 years ago!
When I left, the attendees thanked me for coming to their meeting and really seemed pleased that I had come.
I don’t think it could have gone any better. I never mentioned that I was transgender and everyone seemed to accept me as I appeared. No one confronted me about my past history as a male.
The only bad thing is that I completely forgot to take photos at the meeting!
I promised my wife that I would buy some groceries after the meeting and a Stop & Shop is on my way home.
Since I was on a roll, I decided to go grocery shopping as a woman instead of driving home, changing into boy mode and driving back to Stop & Shop. I hesitated momentarily because I was overdressed for grocery shopping, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and went grocery shopping anyway.
During 15 minutes of shopping, I noticed three or four guys checking me out, but no one else paid much attention to me until I queued up to check out. After I emptied my shopping cart onto the conveyor belt, I noticed the woman ahead of me look down at my shoes. Then she looked at me and remarked, “You are a brave woman to wear those heels to go grocery shopping!”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled at her. She didn’t know it, but she just made my great day that much greater.
Still on a roll, after I loaded the groceries into my car, I drove to the Stop & Shop gasoline station and pumped gas in my pumps.