As I’ve done for each of the TG/CD conferences I’ve attended, I wanted to write something about my recent time at Keystone in Harrisburg, PA. It was a glorious experience with some great workshops on makeup, deportment, and, for those considering or already on the path to transitioning, medical and legal advice as well. The speakers at the luncheons and dinners were captivating and the camaraderie at the hotel bar and the dancing sessions made for so many memories. (The band at the Saturday night gala was Wicked Jezebel, an all-female and part-transgender band, that played a great mix of music from the 1970’s to the present. In true rock band tradition, the drummer got so into her playing that at one point she tipped over backward in her chair, falling off the stage and out the ballroom doors! Fortunately, one of the conference attendees who was an EMT ensured she was OK and she even came back to finish the night’s set!)
What made the week so much better was spending time with so many others who were able to openly express the side of themselves that so many of us keep hidden away from the world. We are each at different points in our widely varying journeys, but these events allow us freedom as well as the realization that we are not alone as so many of us thought in our younger years. For those of us who are members of Crossdresser Heaven, we have learned that over the past few years anyway, but to be able to get together for a little while in the real world instead of just the virtual world is incredibly powerful to validate the fact that we are real and valuable human beings, just as the rest of humanity.
My week began with the arrival, the Saturday prior to the conference, of our own Pacific Princess, April, returning the visit that I made to Washington to visit her at Esprit last May. (I’ll be repeating this year as well!) We spent the next three days hanging out, playing pool til the wee hours of the morning, going out to dinner, and seeing the historical sites of Richmond, my hometown. On Tuesday afternoon, Samantha G arrived and the three of us had a delightful lunch at Maggiano’s and window shopped at the outdoor mall en femme.
Wednesday morning we left with Chloe for the conference but stopped for lunch with Codille. Mackenzie was there as well and we had a great meal (peanut butter for me of course!) and reminisced about how far Crossdresser Heaven had come under Codille’s management these past three years. Codille was the first one to greet me when I joined the site in the pre-chatroom days of August 2015. She asked me about my journey and in a PM that probably broke the all-time length record, I poured out the things I had kept hidden from most everyone for all of my life. A friendship was kindled that will last a lifetime.
After lunch, we left for Harrisburg and the conference. I won’t bore you with a recitation of all the great times we had (though I’m certain some of the rumors of our escapades have leaked out!) but it was an awesome time with friends, drinking, dancing, and getting to better know both Crossdresser Heaven friends as well as dozens of others. On the way back to Richmond, we had to drop off April at BWI so we spent a few hours in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and then drove back home. Samantha G spent another day, then had to leave for home in Florida thus ending the adventure.
We all love Crossdresser Heaven for the support it gives us and the opportunity to talk and share advice and express ourselves without fear of rejection and ridicule. However, to me, it is the friendships we form that make the site so vital in helping us through the difficult times and celebrating the successes. I encourage each of you to nurture those friendships for they are the lifeblood that will sustain us as we continue on our paths. Thanks to all of you for allowing me the honor of your company in chat and in a few (too-rare) moments face to face.
For most of us, the time we get to spend as we desire
Is limited to moments grabbed from hours in the mire.
But sometimes we are fortunate enough to get the chance
To let the world see how we thrive when we get out and dance.
For just a bit, we cast aside the chains that hold us back
And revel in the freedom which we all too often lack.
A week to share with others who accept us as we are-
To push beyond the boundaries and to wish upon a star.
For some this starts their journey to a life of full transition
While others must return to live much closer to tradition.
No matter what your circumstances, be the one you are-
For life’s too short to have regrets-keep reaching for that star!