Transgender Heaven by Cerise Richards

| Apr 6, 2009
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Nestled in the Delaware River Valley, there are two idyllic towns, which have an unusual history of tolerance and diversity. On La Rive Gauche (The Left Bank) there is New Hope, PA, which for the past hundred years has attracted artists to paint its magical scenery. On La Rive Droite, (The Right Bank) there is Lambertville, N.J., the home of more real antique markets and junk markets than you can count. Eclectic just doesn’t tell the whole story. There must be something in the water, which has attracted the hippies in the ‘60s, the gay population in the ‘70s, the biker’s from Wall Street in the ‘80s, and transgenders in the ‘90s to New Hope. And what is more amazing is that they are all still here. You will always bump into someone from the above groups in the supermarkets.  Once you come here to visit, you will want to stay. Quaint, charming and historic describes the architecture, which appears unchanged except for a Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts in historic buildings,

Aside from many gay owned B&Bs, restaurants and bars, there is a sense of welcoming for everyone. If you don’t believe me, try a weekend at the Nevermore New Hope with dinner and piano bar at Bowman’s Tavern, both gay-owned.  If you like crowds, try New Hope Celebrates GLBT PRIDE from May 15-17, 2009. It’s a weekend full of events. There will be parades, fashion shows, singing, dancing and entertainment.

What is more unusual from a transgender point of view is that a TG support group meets here once or twice a month. Most TG support groups meet elsewhere under the radar at a location known only to their members. This group of about 10-25 ladies meets for dinner bi-monthly at a different local restaurant fully in the public eye — not in some back room, but looking eye to eye at the customers and engaging them with a smile. This is Emily’s Ladies Night Out, which was begun about six years ago by Emily and Sally.  Emily is the Doyenne of Dinner. She has her rules about whom she invites, mostly for accommodating numbers and sometimes for personality reasons. Reservations with her are a must.

The Dinner Club

Photo by Ava Francesca

Emily does a lot of research on TG acceptability of restaurants as she reaches out to owners before we get there. But this is totally unnecessary in this area. She in turn becomes very friendly with the owners of the establishments, which are packed on Saturdays, when we meet. We in turn have a seat at the table always without waiting.

Now did I forget about Happy Hour, which begins two hours earlier at a different location? The objective of Happy Hour is to meet the local folks, who often will buy you a drink in return for pleasant conversation. We feel that we are educating the public by presenting a friendly conservative image of transgenders.

We are all about conversation with others and being ourselves. We do have a lot of fun together as we share a lot in common with each other and our partners or GG’s, who on occasion join us for dinner. We are a diversified group of professionals, educators, pilots, truck and race-car drivers, engineers, IT people, etc. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to be feminine, well-dressed and talk to the public about TGs or just lite dinner talk, this is the place to be. There are no other group formalities as we’re just a bunch of ladies having dinner together at straight, fancy restaurants enjoying the ambience.

Now if you put ten transgendered people at a table in a restaurant, you will always draw some attention, but it is always such a cordial experience. We have only visited the gay establishments once each because there are so many other great restaurants in Stockton, Rosemont, Doylestown and Clinton. They must be drinking the same water. In retrospect we all do miss The Raven and The Cartwheel, which were gay New Hope institutions. I don’t pretend for one second that this could happen just anywhere as the legal protections for gender identity and expression have been in place in New Hope, Pa. and the entire state of  New Jersey for years in the form of anti-discrimination laws which include transgendered people. Businesses know that we are good for them and they have started hanging our group picture from our Holiday Dinner on their walls. (Like the photo above.)

We are definitely a recognized transgender presence in the area. Here, you are regarded as you present and appreciated for your transgender self.  This is not your typical TG party at a gay bar, but life as it exists for ordinary people out for a pleasant evening.  If you can dream of a place for Transgender Heaven, it is already here on the banks of the Delaware.

Hope to see you soon in New Hope at Ladies Night Out.

Luv Ya,


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  1. says:

    Cerise, I sure wish you were not so far away from Mayberry…have fun for me too. Candy

  2. says:

    Tentatively we’re thinking of doing Tandoori Indian food in Doylestown on April 18th. e-mail Emily for a reservation and details, if you’re interested.. [email protected]/

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