“Girls’” Day Out

Friday, I attended the True Colors Conference and presented “Makeup Basics for Trans Females.” The site of the conference is the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut — one of my life’s happy places — and it is always wonderful to return to my alma mater. My presentation was at 1:15, so I did not have to get up early and rush to Storrs. Instead, I even had time for breakfast, dressed and left home at 9:30 arriving on campus an hour later. I wore a dress rather than pants as I originally intended and I don't think it made much of a difference during the five-minute walk between the parking garage and the Student Union. What I really needed was a hat. The wind was so blustery that I thought my wig was going to go airborne, but I made it indoors in one piece. (Fashion Note: I wore my black laser cut dress from Avon, nude pumps from Payless, fake white fur jacket from Fashion Bug, nude thigh high hosiery from Berskshire, big beige bag from Avon, jewelry from Napier and Avon and a variety of unmentionables.) Indoors, I checked in and received my presenter’s package. The first round of presentations were underway, so there were not many students moving through the building. I took advantage of the low level of activity to camp out in one of the Student Union lounges to go over the presenter’s package and review my presentation. I found a window seat with a nice view of the quadrangle between the Student Union and the Benton Art Museum. It is one of the few open spaces remaining from my days as a student on campus in the early 1970's. Most of the other open spaces have been taken over by classrooms, dorms and sports facilities (when I was going to UConn, we launched model rockets and played touch football in the space now occupied by the garage where I parked my car). That’s progress! After doing some paperwork and going over my presentation, I thought I was in an excellent spot for a photo, but I did not see anyone I knew to designate as the photographer. A woman seating nearby was reading texts or e-mails with her iPhone, so I figured she would be a good candidate to take some photos with my iPhone. So I asked and she was very happy to shoot me. Just as she began, one of my long time trans girlfriends, Angie, came into the lounge, called me “Beautiful” like she always does and that put a big smile on my face that is evident in the photos I posted from the conference. (It is amazing the difference between a posed smile and a natural smile.) As the time for my presentation approached, I found my assigned room and settled in. Thirty-two people showed up. They were all school-aged (middle school through college) and I thought that some of them were already gorgeous and did not need any help from me; they could probably teach me something. It turned out that one of the “gorgeous” girls works part-time at Sephora. I asked her a question about lip gloss that she was happy to answer, so "they" did teach me something! The presentation went well. There were questions, answers and a lot of give and take, but I don’t know. I wonder how valuable it is to teach teens and twenty-somethings makeup basics and tricks that a 66-year-old transwoman uses? Some of what I do is applicable, but I will have to make some adjustments to my presentation for any future young audiences. After my presentation, I attended my friend Diana’s presentation on post World War II trans history. One goal of her talk was to counter the popular notion that there was no trans advocacy until recently. Her presentation showed that there was a lot of trans advocacy throughout the post-war era including Stonewall, where trans peeps have been written out of some histories of that uprising. Diana and I planned to dine after her presentation, so we left UConn and rendezvoused a half hour later at a restaurant in Manchester, where we have dined after the previous two True Color Conferences. The big difference this year was that the conference was on St. Patrick’s Day, so the restaurant was busier than after past conferences. Our waitress was the same as in previous years and she was as affable as before, but this time, instead of referring to us as “ladies,” she called us “girls.” That was different in a good way and made me smile. After dinner, we went our separate ways and I arrived home at 7 PM, a little tired, but very happy after a productive day out.