Sizzling SCC

| Sep 16, 2013
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The 23rd annual Southern Comfort Conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from September 4-8, 2013. I was there. Those are the facts of the case and they are not in dispute.

Southern Comfort. SCC. The grand lady of all TG conventions. It’s still the biggest and is one of, if not, the oldest. I’d read about SCC the past few years, and seen so many pics of it on Facebook, Flickr, and other sites. I never thought I’d ever get there though. I almost went last year, but that whole DUI thing ended that dream.

Not so this year. This year I was going if I had to walk.

Ok, so how to review such a massive event. Each person’s SCC experience is their own, so mine is not yours.

Here’s general stuff. There were seminars, and I attended some. There were meals, and they weren’t bad at all. There were speakers and they weren’t dull. There were four elevators and two didn’t work, so there were long lines. There was a bar, and I was often found there, reading or writing. Yes, really. It was ungodly hot outside, and there was a mall across the street.

So, that’s not exactly a well rounded review, is it? So maybe I’ll discuss what SCC meant to me. And like I did for Keystone, I’ll do so with vignettes.

On Thursday morning, I was heading across the lobby toward the bar. As I’d had FAR too much to drink the night before with my “Big sister” Mel and the beautiful Olivia, and sang far too much at karaoke, I wasn’t feeling my best. The lobby was coated in sunlight and I was trying to find a bottle of water or something to assuage my alcohol dehydration thirst. There I saw my friend Stephanie from Canada, outshining the sun. She had just gone full time as a woman, and was so happy she glowed! We hugged and I congratulated her. Then I saw her travelling companion: Linda Lewis. Linda has been one of my inspirations since before I dared reawaken my feminine side. We’d been corresponding a lot over the Net and by phone. I knew she’d be there, but didn’t know when we’d connect. And there she was — looking more beautiful than her pictures. We hugged. I think I said something stupid like “nice to finally meet you.” We then went shopping with my friend Devrah at the mall across the street. Victoria’s Secret! We both bought bras as Devrah looked around. I couldn’t believe that I was not only meeting Linda, but shopping with her as well!

Shopping with Linda

Shopping with Linda

Later that same day, I sat in the bar with Big Sister Mel. She was joined by Donna Rose and two women I didn’t know. Mel seemed very excited to see them, which is saying something, as she is very even-keeled. I knew that Donna was one of Mel’s “Big Sisters” and I had heard of her other one — Sarah. Well, one of these women was Sarah, who Mel hadn’t seen in a while and wasn’t expecting. Sarah projected a Zen-like calm. Seriously! Just being in her presence was comforting. We were joined by another of my heroes, Lana Moore, who is a firefighter from Ohio who transitioned on the job. I was speechless — sitting with people I admire and being welcomed as an equal.

Friday morning, I was heading to a seminar (Donna Rose’s seminar on writing, actually) when I encountered someone I’d never met. Her name was Emma. She reads my blog and we’ve communicated on Facebook as well. She’d never been out in public en femme before this very day. And there she was! She introduced herself and we hugged. She wrote to me that she was coming to the conference to meet one of her “heroes:” Me. I never had anyone call me that before. Well maybe back in my paramedic days, but that was the job. She said my words have helped her. That my being a woman and discussing my struggles have inspired her. I can’t describe how that made me feel. A bit self conscious? Happy? Validated? I’d said similar things to a few people myself, and meant them. But they? They were icons of the community. They are people who are activists, voices of the community: Heroines. I’m just me. So I guess that shows the power of TG Forum (as by my blog hits, it sure as hell can’t be that! LOL) In the end, I guess the word I’m grasping for is: Humbled. The fact that someone read my words and had them affect her life — in some ways that’s a Dream come true. After all, it’s why I write. But to actually have it happen? To have that particular dream bear fruit?

It’s humbling.

The Power of the Written Word.

The Wonder of it All.

Sophie with wine


Dreams. Reality. What do these encounters have in common? Sisterhood. Maybe a thousand of us, representing the Entire gender tapestry, converged on one place at one time, but for so many purposes. For some SCC is nothing but a drunken orgy (and for those people, please cease stopping the elevators so you can make out privately  — get a room!).

For others, SCC is a classroom, a laboratory where they learn the tricks of what we do. As GGs socialize as women and boys socialize as men, so we socialize as what we are in the spaces between. We ask questions, and then question the answers, as we should.

But for most, SCC is a Dream. A wonderful dream. A place where they can be who they are. And be among people like themselves, without judgment. Without fear. Fear is one thing that unites us all, isn’t it? The fear of discovery, the fear of reprisal, the fear of loss.

The Fear of our Dreams coming true.

It happens occasionally, to some of us. We dare to dream and maybe, with planning, patience, hard work, or even blind luck, we realize our dreams.

Some never do.

But the fact is, for many, SCC is the closest to fulfilling that dream they will ever get.

It’s been around for decades, and God willing, it will continue to be. It exists as a beacon — a call to all of us to be who we are.

Don’t Dream it, Be it.

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Category: Product Review, Transgender Body & Soul

Sophie Lynne

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