It’s important for us to come together I just returned from the 2014 Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, GA, that ran from September 4 – 6. It was an amazing time filled with wonderful and thought-provoking presentations, beautiful and interesting people and overwhelming emotions. Spending much of my day-to-day life with a few close friends and lots of e-mail and calls, it was nice to be in a gathering of our community. I went from working alone in my home office to surrounded by hundreds of trans* people. What a culture shock! It reaffirmed how important it is for us trans* people to come together.
We are not alone Less than ten years ago, I had never spoken to or knew any trans* people. I thought I was totally alone in the world. This past week, I spoke to many who had felt the same way. Now here I was surrounded by hundreds. As I wrote a few months ago, I had never met any transmen. I’ve met, know and spent time with a number of wonderful gentlemen. We discussed our similarities and also our differences. I am filled with joy, pure unadulterated joy, that I was surrounded with my community. What a relief. I didn’t have to explain. I didn’t have to make excuses. I didn’t have to apologize for being me. It was amazing. To all who have yet to connect, please know, we are not alone.
The full spectrum of our community There was a large cross section of gender non-conforming people present. What a blessing! Where in the past I’ve experienced trans-on-trans bias, I saw none of it there. Where an identity was only know to me as a name, I spoke with people who identified and embraced their true selves. People who identified as gender queer, crossdressers, pansexuals or gender fluid were proud and loud. We sat together, learned together, shared together, ate, danced, laughed and cried together. All these things and more with full acceptance and love. Why can’t the rest of the world take a tip from the trans* community?
First timers I was so pleased to speak with a few individuals who were out for the first time. I spent a significant amount of time with one woman who at eighty years of age had just come out. She told me she had known since she was three years old she was trans* and was finally able to tell her children, grand children and great grand children who she truly is. She is my heroine. I also sat in a presentation and heard another woman tell us that today was the first time she had ever been dressed outside of her home. She had been too afraid to come out, but here she was and we all rejoiced.
It’s important for us to come together Why is it important for us to come together? For the simple reason in knowing we are not alone. There are others who have experienced our fears, difficulties and obstacles. In a few short hours I was able to hear someone describe so eloquently what I have felt in my heart, but have been unable to describe. I met people who, like me, are transitioning later in life toward our goal of living honestly and authentically. I am part of a community and will never feel alone again.
My recommendation to you If you can, go to a support group, local meeting, conference or convention. Meet people and talk to them. Listen to their stories and tell them yours. Get to know someone with whom you can call, write or meet. Don’t be alone. There’s wonderful people out there and they want to meet you too. We are not alone.