Friday, May 24, 2019

More Hamvention Shorts

My Hamvention picnic outfit
I have been attending Hamvention most years since 1978. Before 2010, I attended in boy mode. Since 2010, I have attended as a woman.

As a well-known writer in the ham radio world, I made a lot of friends and acquaintances and when I attended Hamvention, I was on a first-name basis with a lot of the people staffing the booths at the show as well as with the makers and shakers in the hobby, many of whom made presentations at Hamvention.

When I began presenting as a woman at Hamvention, the only people who were aware of the change were the folks I came out to. Everyone else had no clue. Either they assumed I was the wife of a male ham attending the show or I was one of those rare female hams.

As a result, I had to reintroduce myself to the makers and shakers and folks who staffed the booths. And to tell you the truth, the first few years I attended as a woman, I was very shy and did not perform a lot of reintroductions because I worried how people would react.

When I realized that most people reacted positively to the change, I became more confident and outgoing and began touring the show with great abandon just as I did when I attended in boy mode.

Now I am again on a first-name basis with the makers and shakers and folks who staff the booths, but now that first name is "Stana" not "Stan."

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I lost one earring (a favorite from Napier) and my lip brush at Hamvention. Actually, my lip brush probably never made the trip. Last time I looked, it was in the bag that holds my makeup brushes, but when I did my makeup in Ohio Thursday morning, it was gone.

Back home grocery shopping on Wednesday, I checked the makeup aisle at Stop & Shop. Although they have a large makeup aisle including a big selection of makeup brushes, they did not have a lip brush.

Next I tried Rite Aid which has an even bigger makeup aisle, but still no luck. In case I missed the brush among the huge array of products in the makeup aisle, I asked a sales representative and she said, "I haven't seen a lip brush for sale in years. Does anyone even use them today?"

I replied, "I do."

Since I was in boy mode, she laughed.

I ended up ordering a new lip brush from Amazon. And I found the earring on eBay. Yay!

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As a ham radio operator, usually you have no idea about the people you contact over the air.

For years, Bill and I were key operators in a ham radio network spanning Connecticut and we worked together to make the network function efficiently. I never met Bill until I ran into him at Hamvention. (Yes, we traveled over 750 miles to meet each other even though we lived about 40 miles apart.)

After that first encounter, we usually met up at Hamvention each year, until I began showing up as a woman. As I mentioned above, I was shy those first few years attending as a woman, so I did not go out of my way to find Bill. Then about five years ago, I saw Bill sitting in the audience of a forum I was also attending and when the forum was over, I made a beeline to Bill to reintroduce myself.

Bill was surprised, but seemed OK with the revised me and said that I had to be true to myself. Since then, Bill and I usually meet up at Hamvention as if nothing changed.

This year, as I was returning to our booth after making my presentation, I heard someone call out my name and I turned around to find Bill waiting in line to buy lunch from a food truck. He informed me that he retired as a state police officer (I had no idea he was a state cop) and had moved to South Carolina. And then he said he wanted to introduce me to his wife, who was also waiting in line.

It does my heart good when a friend or acquaintance wants to introduce me to their spouse. It is so meaningful to me because they have accepted me as a real person, not a freak, but a woman.

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard

Scott Willis
Scott Willis femulating on stage in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.


  1. Am I correct in assuming Bill introduced you to his wife as, "Stana", and not, "Stana who used to be Stan"? The former is an indication of his acceptance of you as a woman, yet another big step forward into your womanhood.

    1. He introduced me as "Stana." There was no mention of "Stan."

  2. AnonymousMay 24, 2019

    Hold on now!

    Stana is a woman from birth ut it just took her some time to figure it out

    I am trying to be what she is internally