This last week has been a busy one for me. On Saturday there was the Twenty Club meeting, on Tuesday there was the COS board meeting, Wednesday I had the regular COS meeting and on Thursday the "uniTy" meeting in Springfield Ma.
The Twenty Club meeting had a small turnout, a couple of members brought up some problems that they were having and I mentioned again if I should tell my doctor that I am transgendered. The consensus was no, if he doesn't need to know don't tell.
At the COS board meeting, we were planning the fall schedule. The first meeting of the season will be a potluck dinner. For the regular Wednesday COS meeting we had a guest speaker who talked about the up coming Transcending Boundaries Conference this October 4 - 6th. We also had a small turnout of about twelve members due to the heat and humidity and the fact that the meeting hall is not air-conditioned.
Once again it is a long drive up to Springfield for the "uniTy" meeting. They have a very diverse group, which makes it very interesting. They had a large turnout with about twenty people, however the room was a little on the small size for the number of persons there.
On Wednesday I organized a dinner for COS members at the Pond House Café in Elizabeth Park, West Hartford. Before the dinner some of us walked around the park's rose garden. Just before I got there a passing thunderstorm brought in a cold front, the temperature dropped from the mid-eighties to the fifties, so it was rather chilly as we walked around.
Our reservation was for seven-thirty, however our table wasn't ready until eight o'clock. We sat around in the lobby waiting for our table and in the meeting hall there was a conference for a nationally know software company, we kind of added a little variety to their suits. Once our table was ready our dinner was very good. I had Crab Cakes and they were delicious. They gave us our desserts free because we had to wait. I had Tiramisu and I think I have to go up another dress size.
It is always nice to have dinner with good friend and it makes for good time and memories.
Thursday night a number of friends and I went to a new support group that is forming up in Springfield MA. The new group is called Unity. They are have good leadership with a lot of experience in the community and they have diverse group of members. I think they are going to do very well. The only downer was on the way back home, we hit construction on I-91 and sat in traffic for about an hour.
Yesterday was a double meeting day, Twenty Club in the afternoon and COS in the evening. This makes for a long day.
At the Twenty Club the guest speaker never showed up, this makes the second time that she was a no show. However the meeting was still interesting and we had a good discussion. The turn out was low, I think that as the weather warms up more members want to do something else than sit in side on a beautiful day.
The meeting at COS also had a low turnout, but the guest speaker did show up. She was a representative from a cosmetic company and she showed was their product line. She gave us a good number of make-up tips and I bought a few of her products. I got home around midnight.
Wednesday night is the dinner at the Pond House Café in West Hartford and on Thursday night I am going up to Springfield to a new transgender support group with some friends.
A night out at the movies. Went to the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last night, which runs for nine nights at Trinity's College Cinestudioin in Hartford, it featured five films. Four of them were shorts, "Do You Take This Man", "Scar", "Size Them Up" and "Blue Haven" and the other was a full length movie "The Trip". The theme for "Blue Horizons" was a transsexual skateboarder who needed money for her operation. All were enjoyable except "Scar" that was a little too esoteric and ethereal for my taste. The featured film was a love story that was very good and very poignant.
Before the movies, I had three friends over for a spaghetti dinner. At the movie theater we meet up with four other members from COS, we had our own little tranny corner of the theater ( Which I feel is nice, because we add the "T" in the GLBT. It lets them know that we are here and a part of the community. ). After the movies they had a reception buffet and we stayed for a little while. I got home around midnight.Return to Top of the Page
We had a good turn out last night at the Wednesday night meeting with about fifteen people showing up, include one possible new member. Before the scheduled event we had someone from the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective explain to us what the mission of the collective is and asked us what would be some of the needs of the transgender community. We had a good discussion and brought up many ideas of how they could support our community.
After she left, we had what we call our obstacle course. Where you walk into the room, sit in a chair and then stand up. Walk towards the camera, walk back to the table and write on a piece of paper, drop the pencil on the floor and pick it up. Then walk to a bookshelf, reach for a book, and then walk out of the room. Then we play the tape back and everyone critiques you. It sounds hooky, but everyone gets involved and we all had fun. You could either keep your tape or we erased it.
I got home around midnight, ugh getting up for work the next morning was hard.
At the board meeting the night before I volunteered to organize a dinner at the Pond House Café for the twelfth of June. As we discussed it most of the board members thought it would be great to have a tour of the rose gardens before the dinner. So now I am arranging the tour also, ugh I didn't really care for that idea.
I am also setting up the trip to the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at Trinity College on Friday the thirty-first. That I don't mind, I had a good time at the festival last year
I went and got zapped yesterday. I had laser hair removal treatment done on my arms yesterday with an Alexandrite laser. The laser was set on twenty joules and took about forty-five minutes to do both arms. Did it hurt much? Well everyone I talked to said that it hurt about as much as a rubber band snapping. However, they did not say what size rubber band. I will say it did hurt as much as a rubber band snap, a quarter inch wide rubber band pulled about eight inches. Or to put it another way, it was like getting stabbed with a needle every inch up and down your arm. It was unpleasant to say the least.
On one arm I used Ela-Max 5 by Ferndale Labs and on the other arm I used Lidocaine Ointment USP 5%. Why one of each? To test them? No. Because, when I went to the drug store Saturday they didn't have the Ela-Max 5 and had to order it for Monday and they didn't know what time it would get there. So to be on the safe side I bought the generic and ordered the Ela-Max 5. Since it did come in time for me to use it, I decide to try both. The generic is a petroleum-based ointment and the Ela-Max 5 is a cream based product. They both seemed to work equally well, with the generic giving a little better coverage. It went on in a smoother more even film. Today there is no soreness, itching or redness of my arms.
The worst part was the fact that the machine beeped when it was ready for the next pulse and I would know that the next zap was coming. Beep, zap, beep zap, beep, zap.
In the coming months I will let you know how affective the treatment was over the long run.Return to Top of the Page
Yesterday was a hectic day running around all morning going shopping for my folks. Got back home and change to go to Twenty Club meeting. I am half way there when I remember that I forgot to bring the cheese and melon platter. There were not too many members at the meeting only about ten, I think it was the weather. Sunny and around seventy-five. If I had not had to bring the food I might have stayed home also and worked around the yard.
After the Twenty Club meeting I went home and had supper, then rushed over to open up the meeting hall. On the way. I remembered that I forgot the key and had to turn around and get it. It was one of those days.
The meeting was good, we had about fifteen members there. We had some one from Wakefield MA. talk about laser hair removal. I told her that I wanted to make an appointment for Friday before Memorial Day to have my arms done. Another member was also thinking about having a part of her face done also. We might have it done at the same time.
After the Twenty Club meeting, I gave a dinner party. I had four members from the Twenty Club over for dinner of Apple Glazed Pork Roast, Potatoes Au Gratin, Corn Pudding and for desert Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.
The main discussion at the Twenty Club was about doctors, who is friendly and who is not. If you should telling your doctor or keep it to only those who need to know. Some doctors didn't bat an eyelash, some showed them the door and said they didn't want them for a patience and others the first words out of their mouth, "Let's test you for AIDS" even though they told them they haven't had any sex or used drugs.
I volunteered to bring the food for the next meeting. I figured that since I was bring the food for the COS meeting, it would be no more trouble to bring food for Twenty Club.
After the meeting I went home for the dinner and waiting for me on the front steps were two friends who went to "Women's Health Summit". The other two friends from the Twenty Club were right behind me. The food went fast and we all had a good time. It's always nice to have good food, good wine and good friends and the party broke up a little after ten.
Yesterday's meeting was real good. It was the first time that we showed a movie at a meeting, we showed "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" ( I saw the movie in the theater at Trinity College last year. See the 2001 Current events page. ) on DVD. I brought my 27 inch TV with the grateful help of a friend to carry it out of the basement and over to the meeting hall, A couple of other COS members brought the DVD player and the movie. I think everyone enjoyed the movie to some degree. We have to think of some other movies to show.
We had fourteen people show up for it, include a prospective new member. It was her first time out in public, she is in her sixties. She was so happy that when she left she gave everyone a hug. She brought back memories of the first time I went to the meeting. It was also the first time I ever went out in public. That was back in October 1999, on my birthday. We have all been there.
I have been remised in updating the page. I do a website for some friends, they got moved to another server and I have been working furiously. Trying to get their website's shopping cart up and running. So far no luck, I think it has something to do with paths to various programs and permissions for those programs.
Well anyhow last Saturday was a double meeting day, Twenty Club in the afternoon and COS in the evening. At the Twenty Club meeting was the elections of officers, I was hoping that the current president would stay on but she decided not to run again. I thought she did a really great job in running the club. Hopefully, the new president will do just as good job as she did.
After the meeting four of us who are members of both the Twenty Club and COS went to the Gold Roc Café for dinner. Since the Twenty Club get out at five and COS opens the doors ( Which I am now in charge of opening up. ) at six-thirty we had plenty of time to eat. We got a few stares at the diner and the waitress was a little nervous serving us, but we had a good dinner.
Then after dinner we went over to COS so I could set everything up for the meeting. We were suppose to have a guest speaker from a national cosmetic company to give a demonstration, but she never showed up. She was bugging us for the past couple of months saying she wanted to give a demonstration we had about twenty members' show up and they were disappointed. She called the next day to apologized and said that a family matter came up, that she still wants to give talk.
Tuesday night was our COS Board meeting and that didn't end until after nine. We were trying to schedule the next couple of meeting, after all we only have five more meeting until the end of the season.
Now I have to get back to trying to figure out what wrong with the other website.
Something came up on Saturday and I was delayed in leaving for the COS Banquet.
As a result of it I had a headache and rushed off to the hotel. I got there at five thirty instead of four o'clock. While I was changing I found out that one of my contacts had a piece torn off of it, another aggravation to add to my headache. Also, as I was walking across the lobby, there was a guy registering at the desk. He started laughing and made a rude comment. That didn't help either.
The banquet was nice, but I really couldn't get into it. However, I did stay until one o'clock ( Standard time ) and help pack up the sound equipment. I didn't sleep well and I got up at six ( Savings time ), checked out and went home took two Advil and slept till noon.Return to Top of the Page
It was a quite meeting last night we only had six members show up. But it's nice to just sit around and talk. The meeting was a coffee clutch, so that is probably why the turn out was so low. I stayed until around ten thirty when we closed the meeting.
Back in January, a COS member asked if I would be interested in being on a discussion group about being Transgender in the Sixties at the "Children from the Shadows" convention. The idea was to have on a panel, members who were various ages from their seventies down to teenager. I agreed. Also Executive Director of COS was looking for volunteers for the COS table at the conference and I told her I would help out.
So a little after seven in the morning on Friday March 22, the COS member ( If you haven't figured it out yet, I don't use any names on my website. ) stopped by my house and we went off to the "Children from the Shadows." I only had a vague idea what the conference would be like, but when we got to the University of Hartford where the conference was being held the parking lot was starting to fill up. There were a number of school buses and cars in the parking lot already, with lines forming at the registration desk.
We went in and set up the table and before we got settled in people were already stopping by the table. From then on it was none stop people. Some just walked by and glanced at our table, some took our flyers and other stopped and talked to us. They were interested in where to get support, not for themselves but for their students. Because most of the people who stopped and talked, were faculty advisor or guidance counselors. I would estimate that over all percentage of students to professionals to be about 85 percent students to around 15 percent faculty and professionals.
A little later the third COS member who was going to be in the presentation with us, came and joined us at the table. From time to time other COS members would stop by and see how we were doing as they were going to various seminars.
There were over two thousand people who attended the conference that day. They came from all over the Northeast United States and Connecticut, students, teachers, faculty advisor, guidance counselors and professional counselors. All for one purpose to learn more about GLBT issues at the over a hundred workshops and seminars that were offered.
After lunch, our replacements arrived. Then the three of us and a member from the Twenty Club went off to the seminar that we were going to give, "Bridging the Gender Gap". The seminar was a little disappointing, there were more panel members then the audience, but it turned out all right. It made for a good group discussion and I think we all learned a lot, both young and old. We learned what it is like to be transgender now and they learned what it was like to be transgender back then in the thirty's, fifties, sixties and the seventies.
When the seminar broke up we went over to the next seminar, this one was presented by a COS member, a Twenty Club member and a person from the "Connecticut Women's Educational and Legal Fund" and was called "The Politics of Peeing". A catchy title about the legal and political issues of transgenderism. The room was packed and they were even sitting on the floor to listen to the presentation. Myself, along with three other transgendereed individuals were among those in the audience. But all most all of the audience were professional people from the education field. One member was a mother whose son just came out and told her that he was a transsexual. We were the first transgendered people that they had meet and they were there to lean from us. They wanted to be able understand and help their students if the need arouse. The question that they asked showed that they were willing to listen and learn what they could.
What did I get out of it? When I waked out of the conference that night, I felt a little pride in that I had helped in some way. I had gained a little knowledge in what it's liked to be GLBT now. That there are now people willing to listen, learn and help.
A little while ago there was a notice on the COS e-group mail list that there was going to be a fundraising Bingo sponsored by the "The Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective" was going to be held on Friday the 22nd of March at the Pond House. A COS member sent out an e-mail that she thought that she might like to go and have dinner at the Pond House and was anyone else interested. I thought that since I was going to be at the "Children from the Shadows" all day, that that might a good way to end the day, so I said yes.
I left the "Children from the Shadows" with another COS member and we went over to the Pond House and meet up with the other COS and her spouse, and a friend of theirs for dinner. As usual the Pond House staff was very transgender friendly. And the food was excellent as always. The dinning room was filled mostly with straight couples and we had no problems at all.
After dinner we went in to the hall for Bingo where we meet up with still another COS member. We all had fun, didn't win anything, but had fun.
I got home around eleven and it was a good day. A long day, but a positive day.Return to Top of the Page
Had a great day yesterday. First, I went to the Twenty Club meeting. After the meeting I went over to a friend's house from the group with some other members. We had dinner and then watched a movie "Miss Congeniality" at their house. Then I rushed over to the COS meeting or a while. I didn't get home until around 11:30.
At the Twenty Club meeting I signed up for a presentation at the Children from the Shadows. Children from the Shadows is a two day national convention for GLBT youth sponsored in part by True Colors, Connecticut Department of Education, Connecticut Department of Families and Youth and more than 35 other sponsors. It is being held on March 22 & 23, at the University of Hartford. The presentation is called "Bridging the Gender Gap", it is to be a discussion about "How it was back in my day" in being transgendered on Friday afternoon. This will be the first time that I will be given an outreach presentation.
Then at the COS meeting I volunteered to be at the COS booth at the convention Friday and Saturday mornings.
I am looking forward to the convention, I want to give back to the community some of what I got gotten from the community. The support that I have gotten without the COS and the Twenty Club I would still probability still hiding the closet. The support that I received when I first peeked out of that crack in the door. The hands that reached to me.
At the COS meeting last night we had a representative from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity speak before about twenty of our members. It was both informative and educational. Transgender is cover in Connecticut by both a ruling and a statue. The ruling is that Transgenderism is covered under sexual orientation and you can read it here Declaratory Ruling on behalf of John/Jane Doe. Which is a ruling that was asked on behalf of a woman who was about to transition on the job. She wanted to know if she was covered under sex discrimination statues. On January 31, 2000 they ruled that it did. However, it's ruling has never been tested in court, it is only the opinion of the CHRO that it is covered.
The statue is bitter sweet, we our covered because Connecticut statue states that a person with physical and /or mental disability as defined in the DSM IV is covered. We tend to not like the fact that transgenderism is mentioned in the DSM IV, but in this case it works in our favor.
He gave about two hours presentation and stayed around to talk to us individually for about another half an hour. I think he learned as much as he gave.
This week I went to the Board meeting on Tuesday night and we nominated the officers for next year. I volunteered to be the program director and open up the meeting house. Then on Wednesday night I went to the COS dinner that we had at the Pond House Café in West Hartford. We had fifteen members and their spouses show up. It is a very nice restaurant that is located in Elizabeth Park. It a little on the expensive side, but the food is very good. It was a nice evening out, since they don't have a liquor license, we brought our own wine and it flowed rather freely. And then this afternoon I am going to the Twenty Club meeting.
I also bought so books that I am reading. Of coarse they are on Transgenderism. The first one is "True Selves Understanding Transsexualism For Families, Friends, Coworkers and Helping Professionals" by Mildred L. Brown and Chole Ann Rounsley and I would highly recommend it to give to any of the above if you are thinking of coming out. the second book is "My Husband Wears My Clothes" by Peggy J. Rudd, Ed.D which is also a good book to give someone trying to understand us. And the third book I bought is "Gender Loving Care A Guide to Counseling Gender-Variant Clients" by Randi Ettner and it is more technical in nature and is written more for the medical professional. But it is still very interesting and informative.
As I read these books, I see myself in my early childhood, teens and adulthood. In some ways it scary to know that it was so typical of transgender youths. It's amazing as I read the books I can relate so much to them. The "I been there, done that" syndrome
Yesterday I went to the Twenty-Club meeting. Their meetings are different than the COS meeting because they tend to be more of a discussion than a social type of meeting. Yesterday it was mainly about new legislation that is coming up at the next secession of the state legislature.
Afterwards I went over to one of the Twenty-Club member's house for dinner with some other members. Then I rushed over to the COS meeting.
The COS meeting was about eye make-up and there were about fifteen to twenty people there, one of which was a prospective new member. I also signed up for the dinner at the Pond House Cafe on Wednesday February 20th.
I have been reading two books, the first "Confessions of a Gender Defender" by Randi Ettner, Ph.D. and the other "Crossing" by Deirdre N. Mc Closkey. I have read other books about transitioning before when I was first coming out of the closet around three years ago. I didn't really have any feeling of connection with them. But, as I read these books it was somewhat different, I could feel a connection with these books. The first book is by a psychologist of deals with transgendered patients as she was talking about various patients of hers. I saw myself in several of her case histories. That was rather unnerving sitting there reading it and thinking, "Yeah, I done that" or "Yeah, I thought that".
The other book also invoked the "I seen or done that" response. Also I have either seen in person or meet three of the people that she mentioned in the book. Think of it, when was the last time that you picked up a book in a bookstore and as you were reading it mentioned people that you knew? We live in a small community. Two of the people were at Fantasia Fair and one at Yale University.
I think I'll try to buy a copy of Randi Ettner book, it might be a good book to give my brother if I ever decide to tell him.I think that it is a good coming out book, as it tries to explain what transgenderism means. I haven't found a book that does a good job of explaining transgenderism, but this one comes closer than the others.
Aagghh! This has been some week. I came down with a cold on Tuesday, dragged myself around the house carrying a tissue box for three days feeling like I was hit by a Mac truck, the only good thing was I didn't go to work for those days. On Saturday I was invited to a dinner party at a friend from COS house. As I got into my car I looked at the steering wheel and it was one of the rare times that I swore. I left my keys on the kitchen counter, I had just locked myself out of the house at four thirty in the afternoon dressed. After pounding the steering wheel a couple of times I knew I had go outside and get the spare key. So I remembered everything that I had learned about going out in public, took a deep breath and walked out of the garage went to where I had the extra key hidden and opened front door. I just walked slowly, head held high and looked like it was nothing out of the ordinary. Luckily for me the neighbor kids across the street were not playing basketball in their driveway, they are usually glued to the basketball hoop all day long.
I had a good time at the dinner party and I got back home around eleven. That's when I swore for the second time that day. As I was gathering everything up to take into the house, I realized that I had left my pocketbook at their house! So today I have to drive up and get it, one hour up and one hour back.
I went to the Twenty Club today. I didn't bring up the question, but I did talk to some of the others about. Once again some had good luck and other had problems. So it boils down to what my gut says and it says that I don't think there will be a problem. I think that my brother will understand. However, I did get an idea with the TV show "The Education of Max Bickford". Break the subject by talking about the show and see if he watches it and what he thinks about it. Of course it could turn out he doesn't watch it.
COS meeting had a guest speaker from Westport who is a psychotherapist. She is also studying for her Ph.D. at New York University and is an adjunct professor at NYU. She also specializes in transgender individuals and their families. Of course one of the questions I asked was how to tell my brother. Once again the answer was there is no clear-cut way to tell him. And that also will be a question I bring up at the Twenty Club meeting on Saturday.
Had a good time at the meeting and left a little after eleven.
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 changing the flat and the truck drives passing us by were honking their horns at us. When we got to the hotel around five thirty we grabbed a bite to eat and went to the pool party. I liked that a lot. I stayed in for over an hour going between the heated pool and the hot tub. I have a royal blue maillot bathing suit and it was really neat to swim around in it.
On Friday I went to the morning seminar "Your Transgender Road map" and in the afternoon I went to "Coming out to Family and Friends". That night they had a fashion show, after that I went down to the bar and left around eleven.
Saturday I sat in on the "Your Transgender Team" seminar, which was very interesting. The question that I asked Dr. Meltzer was what can be done for male pattern baldness and his answer didn't hold much promise. The afternoon seminar I went to was "Driving While Dressed".
The evening brought their Banquet in which 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 through out the year.
On Sunday was the farewell brunch were we all said are good-byes. One of the highlights at the brunch for me is trying to figure out who's who in male mode. It's a little sad for many because of the realization that they will have to return to boy mode again after three days in girl mode.
One of the things that I like about the conventions is the sense of community that you get. You develop many new friendships and you realize that you are not alone. You see many of the same faces and couple at these events. Everyone seems warm and friendly, outgoing. After all they are in their chosen gender when they are at these events and you can see it in their faces.
Now that I told you all of the good, it's time from me to get on my soapbox and tell you of the other side. So?
In my humble option, when you go to these events you represent our community and you should dress and behave accordingly. Spandex tops, hot pant, fishnet stocking and mid-thigh spiked-heeled boots or spandex dresses that hardly cover your crotch do not belong out in public at these events. It is a family hotel with little kids running around, not some place where that type of clothes belong. If they want to wear that type of clothes, ok I have no problem with that, but at these public events no.
Maybe I am an old prude, but I feel that we represent our community at these events and they can rune years of good work to bring our image around to the general public in just minutes by their behavior.
Well so much for my soapbox, I just had to get that off my chest.
Now I have to unpack.Return to Top of the Page
Off to Tiffany's Club "First Event" see you all there.
Last night I had a good time at the COS meeting, we had a very good turn out. We had a couple of prospective new members and we had a couple of former members who were in the area show up. All total we had about twenty people there. The meeting was a photo session to take pictures for our membership directory. Unfortunately when I tried to open the CD ( I volunteered to write the directory ) this morning to start working on the directory, I get a disk error. But, it was also nice to just sit around and talk. I left a little after eleven thirty.
Earlier in the day I went over to Waterbury to have my back and arms waxed in preparation for First Event on Thursday. Then afterwards I had a couple of friends from COS over for supper.
Last night went over to a friend's house from COS for a New Year's Eve party. It was only a small party with only five of us there. But, it was nice to spend the holiday with friends. I left around 12:30 because it was an hour drive back home.Return to Top of the Page