I went to First Event in Boston, in January, still quite unsure whether I could do this. It was my first real exposure to trans people outside my support group. I had so little confidence, back then. Just five months later, I feel so strong. Such a difference a year makes – so much is up in the air, and yet I know I can do this. The doubts vanish daily, filled with a gentle knowledge inside that I am so much stronger than I look.
I’m filing to change my name, and most likely I’ll be flying under my new name before I get on another plane. Delta kindly explained to me that getting my tickets updated, assuming my legal name change goes through by then (it should – I should be able to get a court date in a couple weeks when my fingerprint check clears), is no big. I got this, and, as it turns out, they do, too.
This will be only my second APA, altogether (the first was an emotional rollercoaster – it was one of the first conferences in New Orleans after Katrina, in 2006, and a friend and classmate died driving to it, and had I not been so lazy, I would have been in the car with her, but that’s a story for another time), and my first non-LGBT conference (& what a doozy, APA is huge!) at which I will be recognized as a woman. But I’m going to enjoy it. I bought a benefit dinner ticket to eat at HRC’s headquarters down the street from the conference, and raise money and awareness for APA’s Division 44. So I guess I’ll be packing a little black dress*. I’m hoping to see a dear friend and his wife, and re-connect, while I’m there, also, since it’s been almost four years since I’ve been to DC.
SCC will be my second transgender conference – when I went to FE in January, I wasn’t sure if I would even pack a dress – I felt so squeamish and unsure of my self. This time, I may be packing a skirt suit, too, if my presentation gets accepted (I’ll be talking about what it’s like to transition as a healthcare professional and as a leader). And more to the point, I won’t be packing any men’s clothes, not then, and probably not ever again. I’ll be flying as a woman, on both occasions. I’ll be working as a woman, everyday. I’ll be advocating for the kids and families I serve as a woman. I’ll be back to living a single gender life (well, except for my drivers license, for a little while, at least). But it’ll be my gender, not the one to which I pretended for all these years.
And I’m not scared about checking in at the hotel as a woman, or riding the MARTA to the hotel in Atlanta (no, I’m not staying off it because of what happened recently – because justice will not be meted out by running away), or going through the TSA scanner and generating an anomaly. Not at all, no, I’m trying to figure out an excuse to fly even more in the fall (okay, so I’m also one flight away from a status jump with Delta Skymiles… and right now, I don’t have flight plans from September all the way till January!).
What a tidal wave. And I am surfing on it, not being swept away.
* And, erm, semi-comfortable shoes – it looks like an eight block stroll to the dinner. Too bad it’s a short trip and I have to pack carefully. This would be a perfect opportunity to use my über-cute minaudière.