Dust Off Your Passports! Canada is Calling!

| May 2, 2011
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Linda Jensen talks with a Canadian friend who is very enthusiastic about the Gal’s Spring Fling. Gal’s Spring Fling is the name of a near week-long event for the transgender community and their friends.   This event is held annually in the spring, organized by members of Gender Mosaic Ottawa, with support from Xpressions of Toronto, and from girls from across Eastern Canada and the USA. This year’s event will be held May 9 to 15 in Gananoque, ON, Canada and yes, there is still time to register!.

Natalie is one of those girls in the t-community who brings life in to a room just by being there so when I had a chance to talk with her about the Gal’s Spring Fling I jumped at it. I knew she would be an enthusiastic spokesperson.

“Hey twin-separated-at-birth,” I called out to her, “I’m doing an article on the Gal’s Spring Fling. I need your help.”

I’ve taken to calling Natalie my separated twin as our TG paths have taken many similar twists and turns. We are about the same age. We both started going out in the 1980s. We are comfortable being out shopping en femme, travelling en femme and our femme identities are not secrets we keep from our wives. However we are not identical twins. Natalie is much prettier than I. (Here you can feel free to disagree)

“What do you want to know?” she asked.

“What was it like for you the first time you went? Why do you keep going back? Would you recommend it to others?”

“I’ve been involved with the transgender community here in Ottawa since 1989. I’ve been out of the closet that long!!  I enjoy every moment and am very comfortable in my duality of life. I go everywhere, any time, even flown from Ottawa-Washington DC-Seattle and back, and yes I’ve gone as Natalie across the border with no problems. So being en femme for several days with a group of others was not going to scare me but it was still a neat experience. I remember my first GSF back in 2006. The event was at another venue in previous years but has been in Gananoque the past two, but wherever it was, the friendship you gain is invaluable, and leaves you with fond memories. No one gets left aside. You know Amanda and Sophie. They make sure even the shyest person is made to feel welcome.”

“How did it go last year?” I asked.

“Well it started for me on the Thursday morning. I was still at home in Ottawa. I got up around 7:30 a.m. to get ready for the day.  It wasn’t as if I haven’t done this before, but I was nervous from the onset.  I did my makeup, got dressed, and around 9 a.m. I was ready to go.  All my suitcases were ready and packed, which I had done the Sunday before.  It shows you how anxious I was about this event.  Getting everything ready in advance, not waiting for the last minute.  I decided to wear my capri jean pants, tank top, comfy sandals and a cotton hoody.  Just plain Jane for the long drive.

So around 10 a.m., I moved my flight bag, suitcase, and duffel bag to the garage.  At this time my spouse was still conveniently sleeping. She doesn’t want to see Natalie anymore.  Compromise in our relationship allows me at least some freedom. I kissed her good-bye from a distance and then hit the road for the ninety minute drive.”

Natalie continued, “I was nervous, more than usual.  The day was sunny and clear, a bit cool, but perfect for the trip. My body temperature was up again, and my nerves . . . over anxious I think.  I’m not like this normally, but for this time I didn’t know what to make of it. Vacation time, that’s what it is!  To calm down I stopped at a local mall to do some shopping, I needed to be out in public. I enjoy these precious moments.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

“It took almost two hours to get there. Along the way I stopped at a Tim Horton’s for coffee and muffin, I was in paradise, people treated me like any other customer, no odd looks, just a good looking woman stopping for coffee.”

“A great looking woman properly dressed for the location,” I reassured Natalie.

She smiled. “I took my treats to the car . . . seats are more comfortable, plus I didn’t want to draw too much attention, especially being alone.  Next stop: Gananoque!

Once I arrived at the Ramada Inn, it was just a matter of finding busy bee Sophia to drop off my luggage in the room we shared for a couple days.”

“You roomed with Sophia!” I exclaimed, referring to one of the event organizers, “that must have been like living with a tornado of activity.”

The Magic Show

“Yes, she’s always on the go.  I would have to switch later in the week to share a room with another of my friends.  From this point on, it gets a bit fuzzy, as this was a year ago, and I do not remember all the things I did.  I normally keep a journal, but I was so busy, I didn’t take the time to recollect everything.  I remember just having the time to change and go to the cocktail, supper, and the entertainment which had the Magic Show & Comedian.  Seeing my good friends that I hadn’t seen for a while was the highlight of the night.   This was truly an enjoyable evening, good entertainment and excellent company.”

“When did you do the modelling for the fashion show?” I couldn’t wait to ask as one of the annual highlights of the weekend is when Natalie and some of the other attendees go to a nearby Sears to prepare for an evening fashion show.

Spring Fling Fashion Show“The next morning. I was up early. Breakfast with friends and off to Kingston for modeling fit at Sears.  The salesgirl I met was very helpful and eager to assist.  I tried three outfits, from casual to dressy , and didn’t take too much time to pick.  She kept complimenting me on my selections and looks.  She told me she was jealous of how well the clothes fit me.  I must have blushed!  It was a very pleasurable moment, boosting my ego for sure.  But the experience and professionalism of the sales person made it all worthwhile.”

“I heard that the salesladies say things such as they wish their partners were as attuned to ladies clothing and needs as the Spring Fling girls are,” I commented.

Aunt Lucy's

“Yes, that’s true normally.  I had a chuckle this time because she didn’t know what to make of me, TS, TG or woman, she told me she would never have believed it if I hadn’t introduced myself.  I smiled!  This was my third time as a model for the GSF Fashion show, but I can’t forget these memorable moments.   Plus, getting a discount on the clothes I selected if I purchased them afterwards, made it a bonus.  Well, I did buy all three!  Not bad for Sears, eh?

We finished the day with the group supper and entertainment at Aunt Lucy’s restaurant in Kingston.  Again, good meal and excellent company.  It’s the camaraderie that makes this event so enjoyable.  People you haven’t seen for a while, talk about their life experiences and challenges in life.  I laughed so much… it felt so good for the soul and spirit.”

GSF friends.“This sounds a lot like Beauty at the Beach?”

“I think they are about the same in size and in friendliness. The key is to be kept busy.”  Natalie continued, “Saturday we had another busy day.  The seminars, makeup sessions, guest speaker; best legs contest; swimsuit contest; and Fashion Show. Time goes by too fast!  For those who haven’t gone to such events, even for only once, you are missing on the friendship that you gain.

Serious Natalie

To finish the evening there is the Dinner Dance, time to relax, excellent food, dancing which I love, and mingle with friends. Is there time to be serious? Maybe, but its really time to get those legs moving and enjoy the music.”

They got legs.

“You know what I hate most about those weekends?” I said thinking back to my Poconos and Rehoboth Beach adventures, “It’s the Sunday morning departure. Many of the gals have packed up their kits and they are back in boy-mode.”

“Yes, well I wasn’t going to waste a minute. I stayed as Natalie. Sunday morning was the brunch with the group, bidding farewell and safe trip home to your friends. Hitting the road to go home was painful.  I remember getting home with tears to my eyes but also with a big smile!

“Hey Linda, you’ve got to come this year.”

“I think you’ve sold me. I just might see you there.” I concluded with a smile.

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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