Fantasia Fair 2011 — Epiphany #2

| Nov 7, 2011
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Hebe Dotson in her fashion show dress.

Fantasia Fair 2010

When I arrived at Fantasia Fair 2010 in Provincetown on October 17, 2010, I found that I was something of an oddity. I was 80 years old. In those 80 years, I had never once been out in public dressed as a woman. In addition, some of the attendees were readers of my fiction and commentary in TGForum.

I registered at my hotel and at Fantasia Fair 2010’s headquarters at the Crown & Anchor Inn. With that accomplished, I hurried back to my room and began to dress for the welcoming reception that evening.

When the evening was over, I was still 80, but I had definitely been out in the streets of Provincetown dressed as a woman. It was a wonderful feeling to have finally done what I’d always wanted to do. As I looked at the happy face in my hotel room’s mirror, I had a genuine epiphany: “I could live like this for the rest of my life,” I said to myself.

Well, I got to live like that for the next six days, and then I had to go home. I’d met many new friends, spent an evening as an international model, and conducted a workshop on transgender fiction. It was hard to return to my home — but I did, after reserving my hotel room and a place in the 2011 edition of Fantasia Fair.

Fantasia Fair 2011

By the time I arrived at Fantasia Fair 2011 on October 16th, I’d made enormous progress — NOT! As of June 1st, I’d told my sister-in-law, my two daughters and their husbands, a therapist, and five other friends (well, the ratio of those knowing on June 1st to those who knew in October 2010 was infinite (11/0), so I was making some progress — s l o w l y.

When FF 11 ended on October 22nd, I departed with the feeling that I’d had another enjoyable time. I’d met more people and I’d enjoyed many good presentations. The weather was chilly but mostly fair, with the exception of rather heavy rain while we were lugging our fashion model outfits from our hotel rooms to the Crown & Anchor. But I guess the fact that I signed up for Fantasia Fair 2012 and re-reserved my hotel room is reasonable evidence that I enjoyed myself.

Somehow, I felt that I should have had another epiphany. But I didn’t. Strange . . .

Post-Fantasia Fair 2011

By the time I got home, I’d had Epiphany #2. “You’re just being too slow,” Ep-2 advised me. “You’re not a take-charge kind of guy at all.”

“I’m not any kind of guy,” I reminded her. “I’m a girl . . . or an old lady . . . or something.”

“You’ve got to speed things up. You’re 81. Ladies of your degree of antiquity don’t have all the time in the world.”

“I agree,” I said, “but I’m a little tired. I’ll ponder your advice in the morning.” But I didn’t. When I woke up the next morning, I dressed in women’s clothes and haven’t been back in male clothing since. My count of informed friends and relatives rose to 23 before FF 11 and now stands at 41.

I came out of my closet on October 24th. I now run errands all over town, not worrying about someone trying to have me arrested or run out of town. I feel freer than I’ve felt for a long time.

And in Conclusion

This piece was supposed to be all about Fantasia Fair, but it seems to be mostly about me. If you’re nervous about leaving your closet, go to a transgender conference. You’ll have fun, and you might have an epiphany.

(Click on the first photo. It will open in a larger size in a floating window. Use the navigation arrows on the bottom left of that window to view all of the photos.)


© 2011 Hebe Dotson


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Fun & Entertainment


About the Author ()

One of TGF's longest running authors, Hebe has been writing for TGF since the 1990s. With a focus on TG fiction she also has covered mythic crossdressing and recently has reported on TG events.

Comments (5)

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  1. Dear Hebe,
    Your wonderful story of self-realization has me in awe. At age 69 I am still in my closeted prison of unhappiness, and with wit and inspiration you have shown me a way out.
    I also just found JoAnn Roberts’ poignant and powerful piece from Nov. 1987, “Living In A Box.” She writes: “There are no barriers except those you erect yourself, so tear them down. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘I have the ultimate control and responsibility for my life.’ Then believe it and get on with the rest of your life.”
    With unabashed youthful-at-heart optimism you have embraced that perceptive advice, and I admire you.
    Elaine Margane

  2. says:

    What an inspiration you undoubtedly are.
    I’m only 67 and recently found myself and now understand why I have been like I am nearly all my life.
    Now I don’t want to stop dressing as myself but your comments sbout grand children made me think although I am not that close to mine that it would make a difference.
    I wear female clothes (nearly) all the time now. When I go out to specific events I am fully en-femme but during the day when we (I have a partner) go up town I tend to wear ladies jeans, top and blouse or cardigan etc.
    Unfortunately I am too concerned with what other people think when they see me and also not wanting to continulally have an atmosphere about the place with my partner.
    I hope you live many more years and continue to be yourself.
    Your story has been a real eye opener to me and reminds me how fortunate I have been to get where I am even at my age.
    Good luck,

  3. Hebe Hebe says:

    I created a misunderstanding in my article on Fantasia Fair. I do reluctantly dress in male drag when necessary — on three of the 19 says since October 24. My daughter was concerned about how she could ever explain Grampa-in-a-dress to her three young sons. I didn’t know either, so we came to an agreement: when my grandsons visit my home or I visit theirs, I’ll dress as a male. I’m waiting now for them to begin a three-day visit to my house, and I’m waiting in drab — but I will still dress as a woman 90 percent of the time after they return home. Eventually 100%? I should live so long!

    • angela_g angela_g says:

      We forgive you Hebe! But, if the kids are coming over you could still wear your lady clothes. You would have to wear some jeans or slacks, sneakers, and a sweatshirt type top. I have a sweatshirt from J.C. Penny that I bought in the women’s department and it’s totally acceptable for wearing while male. I’ve known several people through the years who have dressed in women’s clothes all the time, but when they wanted to be perceived as male they wore the androgynous styles that are available — and of course eschewed makeup and wig.

  4. says:

    I am so very happy for you Hebe! I am a longtime fan of your writing, and in a similar situation – 62 and still stuck in this horrible closet. I will be retiring by year end and am hoping to finally come out. Just need a little more acceptance from my spouse.
    I have long thought that a convention would be a great place to start. Your story has confirmed that for me.
    You look as pretty as you do happy! I hope you never have to dress in male drag ever again. Enjoy the rest of your life as the woman you were always meant to be. (HUG)