It was a women’s week full of new emotions, in which I had one of the best moments of my life. It will be a memory that will remain engraved as a tattoo in my soul. My first chance to share in the flesh with people like me, as I told to an awesome woman I met at the bar. I would write about her and her nice husband later. I met wonderful people, both from CDH and TGH, who I had only interacted with online, and they were even better than I had anticipated. I also met fantastic people for the first time, even some who were not part of the conference. One of the more pleasant and fun moments was the CDH Meet Up, in which I had the privilege of hanging out with my beloved sisters of the site. I am very happy to have made the trip and what I accomplished there.

I admit that I am very reserved, somewhat closed into myself, and more of a listener than a talker. However, I felt very comfortable from the first night at the Hilton. On Tuesday I had my first achievement. In the afternoon my man (me) for the first time made a massive purchase of cosmetics to prepare me for my first decked out outing. I was a little nervous because I had never done such a complete makeup look. The body hair removal wasn’t a delight, but it was successful. After that I painted my nails. Red for the ones on the feet and orange for my hands. Then the arduous task of putting on my makeup began with setbacks and successes. When I felt satisfied it was almost time to go down.

I was wearing my blue Arabella flowy dress and flat shoes, ballet dancer style. Plus a leather and silver choker, and round earrings. The frustration was that none of my stay up stockings stayed up, but this allowed me to put on some anklets. I wore my long brown wig with blonde highlights. I didn’t hesitate. With my womanhood rising I left the room and went down to the lobby, where our hostess Suzanne, who turned out to be nice and fun, was already waiting for us. I felt overwhelmed. Finally, I was one of the girls. I was no longer a lone female wolf. At least for one night. A mixture of strong feelings made my heart beat loudly. I traveled to the restaurant with three wonderful ladies and there we were joined by a few more. Truly nice.

It was my first night out as a woman, and when I remember everything that happened to put me in that place I see it less as a personal achievement than a team success because all the encouragement, understanding, and support I have received since I joined CDH and later TGH. What a night!

Visit Transgender Heaven

I felt great pride as I shared my first big night experience at the Keystone Friendship Social the next morning. The ladies encouraged me. Then I had my first shopping en femme at The Carriage House Boutique: a cute dress for the Saturday Gala. The nice young lady who helped me was very kind and made me feel comfortable. Entering the fitting room with two dresses was intense. I liked how the blue dress turned out on me more than the red one. I loved the encouraging comments from my fellow shoppers; they were convincing. I had a great time shopping and then having lunch at Nagoya with three nice new girlfriends.

Keystone was an absolutely fabulous stay. Each meal was a new opportunity to meet friends and share stories. I even became a Veteran Navy Chef during a luncheon. For some reason the fact that I had arrived from Panama attracted attention. I didn’t think it was a big deal; certainly, in my homeland, I have not seen similar events exist nor do we have such acceptance. Besides I eagerly wanted to meet my girlfriends from CDH. However, I never felt like a foreigner. They always made me feel like another girl in the group, that I belonged at Keystone. I truly returned home overwhelmed by the love they gave me throughout the event. I feel like I have left behind another home with a lot to tell.

When talking about affection I have to refer to a very special moment that happened on Thursday night. I first discovered at Rubicon that there was a drink named after my username: The Firefly – and it set me on fire. Upon returning to the hotel I decided to go to the Hilton bar to drink a few margaritas. There I met the fabulous couple I mentioned before. They were from Harrisburg and had arrived at the bar out of habit. They found out quickly about the Conference, and they were impressed. They were both very nice and friendly. They welcomed me to their table and we talked about what it meant to me to be there. The wife especially nourished my spirit. I was flattered by her compliments: “You have a good soul” and “You are beautiful”. I just needed that. Before leaving she asked me to dance with her. “Dreams”, coincidentally. Fleetwood Mac. Another new experience. The woman-on-woman dance was delirious. My heart was swelling with excitement. They left after that, while I ordered another margarita before I went upstairs. They made my night.

At Keystone I strengthened my confidence and dignity. Keynote Speaker Gabbi Tuft was moving. Superb.

And I danced incessantly at both the Friday and Saturday night parties, both times I ended up dancing barefoot. Free and happy. I had never danced so loosely before. Keystone Conference 2024 marked a before and after in me. It has rejuvenated me. It is like unreleased music that I will be able to compose with the notes my heart chooses and dance to it at my own pace.


More Articles by Gisela Claudine

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    Gwenn Gates
    1 month ago

    Gisela, So glad that you had such a wonderful first time at Keystone! This was our (my wife and mine) 2nd year and as always a wonderful time. As you discovered, everyone is loving and accepting as it should be. This year we saw some friends from last year and met even more new friends. It will be the same for you as you attend more. If you don’t mind my asking, what part of Panama do you live in? My wife and I are discussing about relocating to Boquete since we visited it 2 years ago. I know Panama… Read more »

    Gwenn Gates
    1 month ago

    They are having a Keystone Klatch this Thursday? I haven’t got the email yet, but I’m usually there! I’ve been to Panama City and it seems like a great place. We are highly considering Boquete because my wife likes the micro climate there and doesn’t like the hot and humid areas. You took the big step in leaving your hotel room in Harrisburg! That is great! My first time out in public I was scared beyond belief. I thought everyone was watching me. I had a local trans friend that I met up with and she said “no one cares"… Read more »

    Catharine Connall
    Active Member
    29 days ago

    Such a wonderful experience, glad for you to have that.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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