Transgender Spectrum Conference, Day One

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.

5 thoughts on “Transgender Spectrum Conference, Day One”

  1. Hi Dee,
    Your post is right on with something that I’m dealing with now .On my social media accounts I use the pronouns she/her, my preference, maybe I’m incorrect, I don’t know. My friend, who I will refer to as “L” recently we had a falling out. “L” is a transgender woman and she took offense that use those pronouns( she/her). “L” says I’m not transgender, that I’m a drag queen period! Well, I’m not a drag queen I told her and I tried to explain to her about the variety of individuals that fall under the transgender umbrella, she wasn’t having it . She threatened to report me to my social media platforms as a fake account or spam if I didn’t change my pronouns. Funny , I went on Instagram today to change my pronouns to they / them and they /them are not on their list, so I had to keep she/her on my profile..
    Dee,your dress is lovely I like it a lot ! Love the way it matches with with the conference sign.
    Take care and have a beautiful week

    1. I hope Dee won’t mind me adding my thoughts here.

      Jennifer, sadly we will always encounter people who believe that their view of transgenderism is the correct one or that unless you’re transitioning, you can’t call yourself transgender or that the mere fact that you crossdress from time to time means that you are denying reality if you don’t transition. The only person who matters here is you. We’ve all been dealt a challenging hand and have to take whatever steps are necessary to live with it and no one other than you has the right to judge how you approach life.

      You’re absolutely right, ‘transgender’ is an umbrella term and, mercifully, most of us realise and embrace that. Sadly, people like ‘L’ do seem to pop up on forums from time to time but there are far more of us who are happy to celebrate the broad spectrum within this community and offer support regardless of where someone sits on the spectrum than there are people whose sole purpose in life seems to be to adversely judge others who don’t fit their view of the world.

      In the end, the only person you need validation from is yourself so don’t worry about what anyone else thinks and enjoy the ride!

      1. Thank you so much for reminding me that there is far more of us who are happy to celebrate the broad transgender spectrum. “L” was a friend so when she said that I was wrong for using the pronouns she/her I took her seriously and was going to change them. I’m not jealous of her transition or nothing, my journey is different my journey is my own. I feel ” L” lost a lot when she first started on her journey at a very young age. She lost her family, lost her job, and was discriminated for being trans and I feel for her, we all struggle. So maybe “L” feels since I haven’t walked in her shoes im not allowed a seat at the table? I don’t know and will never know , I blocked her from life .Amanda thanks for the kind words…. I’m part of the transgender spectrum ❤️

  2. Jennifer, Amanda, thanks for your comments.

    Jennifer, YOU get to choose YOUR pronouns! Not anyone else. YOU!

    The organizer of the conference, when she spoke at our dinner meeting prior, said something very important: “When you’ve met one transgender person you’ve met one transgender person.” You can’t judge othe TG by one TG person. Everyone has unique experiences.

    You’re (ex) friend L seems like an unhappy person. It could be because of her being trans and not being accepted when young. Regardless, why hang around unhappy people?

    Within our TG group we have members who have transitioned, as well as those who are transitioning. I find their stories interesting and informative. But it was called the Transgender Spectrum Conference for a reason; it is a spectrum, and as a self-defined crossdresser, I definitely feel I fit under the transgender umbrella, along with lots of others.

    And yes, it’s a cute dress.

    1. Yes Dee you’re right. I felt because my ex friend being trans knew more about this than me,how naive of me. I thought my ex friend could do me no harm, lesson learned.

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