Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sharon at Keystone ~ Part III

Once again, straight from Sharon. This post was supposed to be the last, but I decided to split it due to length. If continuity suffers, blame me.  Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.

On Saturday, I decided to schedule some "down time".  Most of the seminars were about facial feminization surgery, gender reassignment surgery, and other issue related to transition.  Instead, I had a late breakfast with my friend Amy.  I wore a casual top, jeans, and black boots.  I tucked my jeans into the boots for a different look, and I wore a different wig (sort of in between dark blond and red).  I had another friend, Natalie, help me with the pose for this photo.  What do you think of it?
Amy needed a dress for the Gala.  She had left hers at home in NJ.  Her wife was supposed to attend and bring the dress, but had to cancel at the last minute.   The saleswoman at Macy’s was friendly and helpful.  Amy found a dress she liked.  I was looking for a casual belt to pair with my jeans, because I had forgotten to pack one.  I didn't find it a Macy's, but I did find a black one that I liked at a J.C. Penney's near the hotel.  I was hoping the Macy's would have a MAC counter, but strangely it did not.  And the Sephora store at Penney's wasn't going to open until June.  Penney's started upgrading all their stores to include a Sephora in 2006, but apparently this location was one of the last to be upgraded.
I had to postpone my makeup search until the afternoon.
Back at the conference, Jeanine Ruhsam, the President of TransCentral PA, gave a seminar titled “The Quest:  Balancing the Gift of Both Genders.”  In one of my earlier posts, I alluded to the difference between crossdressers and transgender persons.  Transgender is an umbrella term which refers to a state of being in which the apparent or biological gender (usually determined at birth) does not match the person's subjective gender -- that is, the gender the person identifies as. Crossdressing is the act of wearing clothing typically associated with members of the opposite sex.

Read more: How to Understand the Difference Between Transgender, Cross-Dresser and Drag Queen
Jeanine noted that in our society, there are only two accepted genders, and there is societal pressure to force us to choose one or the other. In the past, other societies such as Native Americans, had a third gender, in this case the Berdache, which was revered for having the "gift" of being two-spirited.  Jeanine noted that many TGs feel that the only way to be happy is to have surgery and transition.  However, she suggested that there are risks associated with doing this, such as losing your job, losing a spouse, and rejection by other family and friends.  She suggested that not all TGs need to have surgery and transition to be happy. Why not embrace the gift and be both a man and a woman, by take the best qualities of both.  You can dress as man or woman on outside as needed, for example, you can be a man at work to support your family, and be a father figure at home around the kids, while dressing as a woman at other times.  At the same time, you can be both (as opposed to either/or) on the inside, thus balancing the gift of both genders.

Jeanine gave a similar presentation at last year's conference. It resonated with me then, and it still does.  I do not think I would want to transition.  It may be the right choice for some people, but not me.  I am still trying to find the right balance in my own life.  While I agree with what she said, I don't think I am able to dress as a woman (on the outside) as much as I would like.  I usually go out only once or twice a month.  What I do need to work on is to embrace the woman inside, and draw on my feminine qualities more often.
Later in the afternoon, I was joined by Steffi and Natalie for another shopping trip.  We walked from the hotel to the shopping center nearby, where they had a Target, Penney's and several other stores.  Our first stop was at Sally Beauty.  A TG person at the conference had recommended that we buy these rice paper makeup papers, which you can use to blot moisture off your face without removing too much makeup.  At the store, I noticed that they came in difference colors (Translucent, Warm Beige, and Dark Beige).  I asked the sales associate why they came in different colors.  She said it was because they deposit a small amount of color back on your face so you need to match it to your skin tone.  I bought some of those papers, some lip gloss, and nail polish.  We also browsed the Target but didn't find anything we liked.
Back at the conference I shared this story with some other people. Pebbles, a GG from Northern Virginia who was attending the conference as a friend of a TG gal, Cindy, said we didn’t need to buy that, we could just use the paper toilet seat covers from the restroom because they are free and made of the same stuff.  I will have to test out both products and report back.  The lesson I learned here is that when you ask a TG, you can get some useful advice, but when you ask a GG, you get even better advice J
We all could use a friend like Pebbles.


  1. I just want to provide a comment of appreciation to Sharon for her reports from Keystone and, of course, a note of thanks to Meg for providing a source of publication.

    Keystone seems like a great conference for many reasons. It seems comfortable and non-pressurized.

    Thank you Sharon for your 'heels on the ground' reports. They are appreciated.

    I particularly like your comments reflecting the idea that those of us dealing with gender issues should embrace the positive and learn to appreciate the benefits of both genders and not be forced to choose one gender to the exclusion of the other. I am a proponent that both genders can peacefully and productively co-exist in the same person.


  2. See Gwen's T-girl Adventure post about mixing our feminine and masculine sides. How about a new poll, how many years will it take before a male can go to work in a dress heels and makeup, blond highlights in long hair, whenever she feels like it and no-one takes any particular notice, and if some one wants to blend genders from time to time, it's perfectly acceptable. 35yrs, 50 yrs, never?

  3. Pat,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I would also add that being 24/7 at the conference each year for 3 or 4 days straight helps me get though the rest of the year. While it requires more work, trying to embrace both genders every day is something that can be more rewarding, I think.

    Anonymous, thanks for pointing out the latest entry in Gwen's T-girl Adventure Blog. I have often wondered whether society (or at least a significant portion of the population) would be accepting of someone presenting as female one day and male the next, or vice-versa. It seems that the gay rights movement has come a long way in the past 40-odd years since Stonewall, so I imagine it will be a long time, if ever, before the Trans community has a similar level of acceptance by the general public.


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