In November 2017, I attended the Transgender Spectrum Conference, held at Washington University in St. Louis (because of conflicts, I’ve been unable to attend since then). I found the conference to be useful and informative, plus it provided me two opportunities to get out dressed.
I had read about the conference on the internet a few months prior to attending. The organizer of the conference, Amy, appeared at our St. Louis Gender Foundation October dinner meeting, which had a Halloween theme (of course). I went to the meeting dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and talked with Amy (she told me that if I came to the conference to introduce myself as Dorothy, so I did).
After the presentation at the SLGF dinner, I decided to take the plunge. I told my wife about the conference, and that I was thinking about attending. I was trying to prime the pump, so to speak. I then told her the week before I had signed up for the conference. A couple of days later she put two and two together and asked if I was going dressed, and I said yes. She wasn’t real happy, but didn’t say no.
On Thursday, the day before the conference, she asked what I was doing on Friday, and I told her the conference. I took that as a good sign, because she had forgotten about it. Unfortunately, dealing with my wife about going out dressed is a touchy issue, an issue that I’m always trying to navigate.
The conference covered a wide variety of gender issues. One of the first presentations was called Transgender 101, which covered a lot of transgender related terms. It discussed the difference between gender and sexual orientation, and how people often confuse the two. I liked one of the presenter’s statements, that gender is who you go to bed AS, while sexuality is who you go to bed WITH.
The conference also discussed the morass that is transgender terminology. As they explained, and I agree, the term transgender is a large umbrella under which a wide variety of individuals fall. As a male who occasionally enjoys (read: loves) presenting as a female, yes I consider myself to be transgender.
The conference attendees were a mixture of HR people, school personnel, healthcare personnel, social workers, etc, along with a sampling of transgender people (many of the presenters were transgender). From looking at some of the attendees, I found it difficult at times to determine which individuals were transgender. I think that’s a good thing. In the end, they were all just people. It was interesting to hear the personal stories of the presenters.
The organizer, Amy, was encouraging selfies with the conference sign, so I asked one of the staffers to take my picture, and she gladly did. I was eager to wear the dress, as I had only worn it out once, to see Hamilton in April 2017. I got a couple of compliments on the dress, and one coed in the elevator said she liked my polka dot tights. Afterwards, I received a text from my friend Michelle that the dress was color coordinated to the conference sign (I hadn’t noticed, but she was right).
Day two of the conference next Sunday.