My wife, Joanne, and I Arrived in Newburyport, MA early enough in the afternoon Saturday to be able to check in to our hotel and to get changed and ready for the evening. We had signed on to attend an "All Women's T-Dinner. comedy show and dance" for that evening and were anticipating quiet an interesting evening. Joanne and I both had some reservations as to how we would be accepted in what most likely would be a women's venue but this unknowing aspect was just part of the attraction and anticipation to attend. What I didn't realize at the time we signed on for this was that the letter "T" in T-dance had nothing to do with transgendered!
By 6:00pm, I was fully dressed and just finishing up on a second coat of nail polish when Lida arrived at our hotel. We had offered for her to meet us here so that she could get ready and so that we would be able to all go together. Lida changed, worked on her makeup and chatted with us just as Sheila arrived in the parking lot at the Marriott. I threw my heels on and scurried out to open the outer hotel exit door and let her in. Back in the room, Joanne helped provide some finishing touches to Sheila's makeup and hair, the results of those efforts being impressive to say the least.
Fashionably late, we left the hotel and car-pooled in Lida's car to make the short 10 minute drive to the restaurant and function hall. Pulling up near the venue as close as we dared chance for some opportune on-street parking, we scampered out of the car and onto a brick lined sidewalk. We realized almost immediately how poorly matched a brick sidewalk and tapered high heeled shoes were. Almost every other step was one which saw a heel find a crack in the bricks which would send one or the other of us, sometimes in near unison, into a very unladylike stumble. fortunately our walk was short and we were soon upon the steps of the restaurant, itself a converted church with high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.
Not realizing that the function was upstairs and not in the lower dining hall, we opened a set of double doors and stood in the doorway of a fully crowded restaurant, several steps higher than the dining room. The patrons immediately took note of us and a variety of gazes were focused upon us as we stood there, all decked out in our fanciest evening wear. "I think this may not be the event", I noted stolidly, motioning toward the stairs which led to a second level. We left the patrons in the restaurant to reflect upon what they just saw and we jaunted up the stairs to the function hall.
After providing our names to the hostess, we were directed into the main function room. It was immediately apparent that we were the only transgendered gals in the room which meant we just spiked the diversity up a notch by bringing some "T" into the otherwise "L" of GLBT in that room. We enjoyed dinner and a two comedy acts before the dance floor opened up. Immediately, Sheila was out on the dance floor, doing her solo dance and luring us out to join in. Next was myself, Joanne and Lida and in short order, we had the rest of the floor out there partying with us.
Initial trepidation which may have existed between the natal women and ourselves was quickly dispelled as we brought them into our dance circle and and showed them more than a few moves. Sheila led some extraordinary swing and salsa steps which took me for quite a few pirouette like spins - all in 4 inch heels and on a glossy dance floor! One woman, Brooke, mentioned to me that I had a smile on my face that entire evening. I simply told her that it's so easy to smile when I have the opportunity to be able to express as my whole and true self!
The dance music finally finished up, and all too early we might add as we extolled our requests to the DJ to keep the music pumping. It was then that we chatted up with several of the women we had been dancing with and with a few other of the tables where the women seemed amazed by our makeup, clothes and ability to power dance in high heels. Where the dancing finished, the deep conversations began. Here we traded stories of powerful similarity with several of the Lesbian women we had been closely dancing with. The relations between what they had to deal with and endure regarding the cost of coming out with their sexuality and the consequences it brought both to themselves and their own families mirrored so closely to what so many of us have had to deal with and endure.
I related that we shared many similarities but for the fact that gender identification was one which was less easily hidden. As transgender, we publicly display our variance which adds a whole level of complexity in assimilating with society. The common ties we developed in our conversations there on the dance floor that evening, quietly chatting as the hall was shutting down was priceless. Perhaps when we entered that room there were some looks and questions as to who we were or what we were all about - but by the end of that evening we were all great friends.
We parted that night with a flurry of kisses between all and a series of embracing hugs. Jackie, the comedian, who seemed to enjoy my honesty, dry wit (and more than a few comments on my outfit and presentation), ended up planting one on me straight on. Truly, I did try to duck for the left or right cheek but she was intent on her set course. Joanne, bless her, understood this gesture as nothing more than what it was - that there was a great appreciation for who we were and how we were able to coalesce a great night in unique ways. And the huge take away for us all from the evening was that we turned an all lesbian women's event into a learning opportunity. We came away from that evening being able to understand each other in ways that brought us all closer in assimilating the common issues we both face. We came in as strangers to be wary of but parted as great friends and in high spirits! Joanne and I were laughing and chatting about this for much of the next day!