Keystone X

| Mar 19, 2018
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The Tenth Annual Keystone Conference was held at the Sheraton Harrisburg/Hershey on March 6-11, 2018. Those are the facts of the case, and they are not in dispute. I am one of the few who attended all ten. There were maybe 70 people at the first Keystone Conference. I don’t have the figure for this one, but the estimate is around 800 transgender people and significant others from all over the world.

This time was different from every other Keystones I’ve attended. This was the first one I’ve attended while unemployed. I withdrew the money from my 401k for expenses and rent, etc, so I’m fine for now, and the good folks at TransCentral PA, who created and run the conference, gave me a scholarship to the conference (as I was giving a presentation.) As far as a hotel room, both my dear friend Victoria and my Vanity Club little sister Gina volunteered to let both me and my roomie Linda stay with them.

I am blessed with wonderful friends.

Sophie

Fancy Sophie, 2018

In any case, as always there were wonderful speakers, informative sessions, and fun entertainment. Mara Kiesling spoke again, and she’s always a highlight of the conference. The Saturday night speaker was trans-actress Carmen Carrera. I think I’m the only one who DIDN’T get a picture with her.

As usual, I saw old friends and met new people. While there were MANY new faces at the conference this time, I didn’t meet as many as I’d like. It seemed that everywhere I went was crowded and people were in groups. I did meet some though (and I’m sure someone will accuse me of being a snob.)

One of my friends was there in a wheelchair. Dr. Ken Dollarhide was his usual chipper self, but he looked frail. He passed away less than a week later. I’m glad I was able to see him and give him one last hug.

The dealer’s area was wonderful as always, and had a welcome addition — a book seller! She had many books about being trans for children, teens, and adults. I bought two — one for Wife and one about transgender in the workplace. I’ll be reviewing it here on TGF! I haven’t seen a book table since the first Keystone.

As always, the staff of the Sheraton was incredible. In every way. They’ve been so welcoming.

I thought about that first Keystone. I remember sitting at the gala dinner in a red gown and blonde wig watching (eventual) Dr. Jeanine Rusham talk about how we were all part of a beginning — a community. How by understanding who we are, and being happy with ourselves, we show others that there is nothing wrong with being transgender.

Gala

First Keystone Gala

That was really the first time I thought of myself as being part of something Bigger. I’d met some TGs at Renaissance and Angela’s Laptop Lounge, but I never connected that with anything more than Local. I was part of a Family. Her words changed the way I thought of myself. I still was exploring my Truth — the depth of the Woman inside me. I figured I was just a crossdresser, but I felt it was something more. Inside, in a part of me I had ignored for decades, my Truth waited.

It would be years before Sophie finally flowered. By the time I went full time in 2014, I’d learned so much; made so many dear friends; lost so much.

I’m so glad I was able to attend this Keystone. The Spirit that all of those there is so uplifting. The conference is a transformative experience for all who attend.

I can’t wait until next year!

As always, a MAJOR thank you to the staff and volunteers of TransCentral in Harrisburg for staging this amazing conference. They put in a lot of time and heart, and it shows!

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Community News

Sophie Lynne

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https://sophielynne1.blogspot.com/

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