Ladies of The Breast Form Store at Esprit

| Jul 15, 2019
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The Esprit Conference took place in Port Angeles, Washington back in May. The ladies who staff The Breast Form Store attended and file this report.

View from Port Angeles.

It has been a few weeks since we visited the ‘pearls by the sea,’ and I’m sure that I am not alone in needing some time to decompress after such a wonderful event.

After many years of supporting the Esprit conference, the ladies of The Breast Form Store got to stretch our wings and make an appearance at the 30th annual Esprit Gala conference, held in Port Angeles, Washington. Although the conference ran from May 12th to May 19th, we were only able to leave the office come Friday evening, where we made our journey from Vancouver to the sleepy little town, nestled on the Olympic peninsula.

Anna, Eden & Dahlia of The Breast Form Store at the Esprit Gala.

Over 120 people attended Esprit, one of the premier transgender conferences in North America. The festivities run for approximately a week every year, and it is a safe space and haven for everyone who falls under the ‘transgender umbrella: ’crossdressers, trans women, and their spouses, partners, friends and family. The week is a vacation, an opportunity to learn, and embrace their gender identity.

As a fitter with TBFS, I’ve seen the impact that a week or weekend with sisters and friends can make in this community. I’ve seen the excitement of stepping out en femme for the first time, the preparation it takes (mentally and physically), and I’ve seen the inspiration and freedom that comes with being in a safe space. It’s what makes these events so important.

I shan’t bore you with the details of our journey south (but rest assured, when you tell a border agent “we sell boobs,” it makes for a very interesting crossing!). Dahlia, Anna and I reached the hosting hotel too late to join in the Friday evening’s festivities of the talent show, but we heard it was quite legendary. Instead, we chose to make our way over to the unofficial after party of the evening to socialize and introduce ourselves.

As we headed to The Metta Room (a handy walk across the street from the hotel), we passed several friends and clients returning from the talent show, making their way back to the hotel for a night on the town or to relax for an evening in. We said hello to a few and made our way to the bar, ready to dive into the Esprit spirit with both feet. After finding a beverage or two and a spot to sit, we chatted and watched our community and their supporters (wives, friends, significant others) mingle, dance and sing alongside the locals.

What was the most refreshing was the culture that the Esprit Gala and the community of Port Angeles cultivates. There were no snide comments, no weird looks, just people ready to dance the night away and maybe pick up a Nasty Habit or two, wink wink.

Seeing a band made up of trans members take the stage and rock out was an excellent way to start off our weekend with Esprit. As we watched The Nasty Habits’ cover Cheap Trick’s I Want You to Want Me, we enjoyed the atmosphere. Although we weren’t quite ready to get up and dance the night away, we definitely sang along. It felt like a good way to set the tone for our weekend supporting our community.

Before we knew it, Saturday’s Keynote speaker was here. We knew a little bit going in to the event: it would be Danica Roem presenting, and that she was the first openly transgender person elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and the first to serve in any U.S. state legislature. The three of us weren’t sure what to expect from Danica’s presentation, but we were definitely thinking something more along the lines of identifying your rights, etc. I know I was expecting a certain level of polish: maybe a business suit, high heels, maybe even a bun? 

We were pleasantly surprised.

Danica is not your average politician. She looks like she’d be at home really anywhere but a boardroom. She’s average in height, and unassuming; her long, brown hair comes to her waist. The Virginia delegate wore no makeup, no high heels, but instead wore a hoodie and jeans. When she said she loved heavy metal and playing the guitar, you didn’t doubt her. 

Danica told stories of being a journalist, how she chose to run for office, election antics from her opposition, and her personal life as a step-mother. Everything is a personal story, candid and truthful, yet filled with anecdotes and humor. Danica is, in short, hilarious.

The entire room broke into gales of laughter as she told the story of being protested by the Westboro Baptist Church, responding with a press release  encompassing just one word,


You just have to love that attitude.

She then told the story of how she revised the press release to gather more campaign donations… and how the frontman of metal band Lamb of God organized a kazoo protest in response. Yes, kazoos. I’m pretty sure by that time, more than one person was in tears from laughing, myself included.

Before we knew it, her presentation was over, and a meet and greet began. We chose to take this time to step out, in hopes that we would see Danica later in the evening. Unfortunately, Danica had another engagement and left shortly after, so we couldn’t stop and share our appreciation with her… and the kazoos.

We spent the afternoon by the waterfront, enjoying the sunshine and the ocean. We watched seals frolic and orcas crest in the ocean, and ferries arrive and depart. It was an excellent chance to relax and spend some time discussing what we had seen over our short time with Esprit, and what we could take back home to grow from. Before we knew it, the afternoon had passed, and it was time to prepare for the pearl of Esprit week: their Gala event.

Dinner was delightful, the food excellent, and the company… simply incomparable. We sipped champagne and listened to the speakers, highlighting the best of the week, the stories from the graduating class of new Esprit girls. We saw beautiful silent auction items, donated from the community and supporters, including a spectacular cutting board that had been crafted by one of the attendees, and purses made from the Esprit signage (literally, a way to take home a pearl!)

As the evening continued, the band started to play and more dancing began. As it became closer to midnight, we chose to go back to the room and get ready to prepare for returning home, but stopped by the Hospitality Suite where a different party was in full swing. A quieter room, this one was more social than dancing, perfect for more chatting and laughter.

 The good-bye breakfast on Sunday morning arrived too soon. Artist, musician and Esprit committee member Ginger spoke during the breakfast. She told stories of introducing the different elements of her life in a celebration of her birthday: family members, her extended Chinese community, art friends, musicians, and more. Her story summed up with a simple message: live true to you and yourself, and you can change the world. It may not be moving mountains, it may not be being the first trans woman in the U.S. Senate, but being truer to yourself can be an inspiration to others, to children and to friends, to be truer to who they are.

Esprit gave over 120 women, alongside their friends or spouses or partners, an opportunity to explore who they are, to become truer to who they are inside. The week gave each person pearls of knowledge, of experiences they may not have otherwise had. Each person there inspired me, whether they’re transitioned, living in both genders, organizing events in the community, or taking the brave step of stepping outside the hotel door for the first time en femme. Each person was strong, beautiful, and brave in their own way, and was being true to themselves.

And isn’t that what we all want to be?

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Category: Out & About, Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Eden’s love for all things feminine has been a major part of her life, and her career as a certified fitter with The Breast Form Store is a perfect match. Eden began coaching one-on-one after more than a decade of experience working to help trans women and crossdressers feel more safe, confident, passable and beautiful when presenting en femme. She launched her first course on confidence and femininity in April 2021. You can find her on social media as @findyourfemme.

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