Thursday, June 02, 2022

My Story Part 150 – Trans Conferences [Reprint from January 31, 2013]

[Reprint from January 31, 2013]

Last Saturday I headed up to Peabody MA for the “First Event” conference to attend some workshops and to catch-up with some old friends (We want to give a workshop at the Massachusetts NASW conference next year.).

I first went to “First Event” back in 2001 and I went up with a couple of friends, in my diary I wrote,
I came down with a cold on Thursday and was out of work for Friday. When I went up to the Tiffany Club's "First Event" on Saturday I was still feeling the effects of the cold. I went up with T and G, we had light snow all the way and the driving was slow. But, we made it all right. At the Banquet we all had a good time with good food, old friends and some new friends. We had a good turnout for the COS {Connecticut Outreach Society] crew with nine members.
Back then it was a very special occasion to go to the conference because I hadn’t transitioned yet and I was just started to poke my toe out the door. I had only been to Fantasia Fair that fall for a couple of days and other than that I had never been out of my house as Diana except to attend the support group meetings.

The following year I went up to First Event for the conference, Thursday through Sunday. In my diary I wrote,
I had a great time up Tiffany’s Club “First Event”.
The only down side was on the way up we had a flat tire on the Mass. Pike, we were three old ladies (I went up with T and R) changing the flat and the truck drives passing us by were honking their horns at us. Luckily the weather was good and we were able to safely pull off the road.
That evening I went to their Banquet where they hand out their awards and their guest speaker was Jennifer Levi who is a staff attorney for GLAD and she talked about the gains that we have made throughout the year.
Little did I know then that four years later I would be working with Jennifer here in Connecticut on the Anti-Discrimination Coalition to pass Connecticut’s gender inclusive Anti-Discrimination law.

I go on to write…
On Monday morning at work everyone asked you, “How was your vacation?” and you have to answer, “Ok, I guess.” When what you really want is stand on your desk and yell, “It was fantastic!” But, you know they would never really understand. Oh, well.
That was one thing that I hated, having to tell white lies and not being able to share my weekend with others. I even had to lie to my family, so I told them a white lie that I was going to a Linux computer convention for the weekend. But that lead to another problem…
I also learned that [my brother] was in Burlington, MA on Friday and was thinking about stopping by for a drink. Boy, would he have had a surprise (Can you imagine him walking in to the hotel and asking for the computer convention and learning that they only had a transgender conference there?). That’s another reason to tell him, but I still feel that I would place an unreasonable burden on him and that it would also be selfish of me. That was one of the reasons I went to some of the seminars, to learn how to come out to [my brother]. It’s no simple matter, some of the ones that came out to siblings were rebuffed and others had no problems with their brothers or sisters. You just don’t know which way it will go.
I came out to him the following month.

I attended First Events until 2005, by then I was just about living fulltime as Diana and there was really no need to go to a conference like Frist Event again. I didn’t need a “Safe Space” anymore and that what conferences like First Event provide, a place where you can be yourself without having to worry who will see you. It is also one of the reasons why attendance at these conferences is declining; there is less of a need to go to conferences like First Event because the world has become a little more accepting of trans-people. The “Be All” conference in Chicago was canceled because of low attendance and even the COS Banquet will not happen this year also because of low turnout.

When I was writing this I was going over a number of old photos taking at conferences, not just First Event but also Fantasia Fair; it is something that I have a lot of, photos of me at the conferences. It seems like a “rite of passage”… everywhere you look at these conferences there are people having their photo taking. This photo is from the 2004 conference and you can see how much I have changed over the years. In the fall of 2004 I started taking hormones and electrolysis and my face started looking my feminine.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Diana, I believe that when First Event was still live (2020?) they were setting records for attendance. They have expanded it to include a much larger transmale portfolio as well as a day for trans youth and their parents. So, it isn't the same but it is still a big gathering. Hopefully, the meeting can be held live in 2023.