Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A new Kara on the scene

I saw her on TV and totally fell in love.

She ran across my screen and dashed into my heart. Her name is Kara Goucher and she placed 3rd in today's Boston Marathon.

And she's hot.

Don't be surprised if you see her name a little more often now.

I totally forgot that today was the Boston Marathon, but I caught the highlights tonight on the news. Today was also the 10th anniversary of Columbine. I happened to be sick that day and spent the entire day on the couch in my pajamas watching the affair unfold on live TV. It was such a tragic event.

Another year, I found myself at home with food poisoning, and yet again curled up on the couch watching TV. I think it was the only time I have been able to watch almost the entire Boston Marathon. Before moving to California, I used to race home for lunch just to watch the winners cross the finish line. The three hour time difference has prevented that from happening since.

Perhaps that will change now that America has a new gal to root for.

Of course, she broke my heart when I saw the big rock on her finger...but I totally understand the emotions she is going through right after the race.

She came so close to winning, and was right there to see the winners just ahead of her. I'll still be rooting for her in the future...even if she does like guys.

Friday, April 10, 2009

2009 Transgender Leadership Conference

I have attended a variety of different conferences throughout my life. The first one on my own was the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Conference when I was between my sophomore and junior year. I was the only representative for my high school. A girl from the grade ahead of me who had attended the previous year was one of the counselors. She and I had also kinda dated on and off for a while. I’ll admit, I went in unsure of what I was doing there. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the conference, either.

The following year, I went to Missouri’s Boy’s State...a political model acted out by high school males. I would equate it to a conference on who had the larger penis, without the mess of getting naked, nor the act of violence.. I was one of two from my high school who participated, and perhaps that experience alone made me realize I had no business in politics. Also, I was the lamb thrown in with the lions, a girl amongst a tidal wave of testosterone. I did have fun with the sports we participated in there, though, and I met a lot of new people. Upon reflection, I remember one feminine quiet guy...I wonder what happened to him.

I was never aggressive as a kid. I was the one in study hall that actually studied, ran off to the library, or slept. OK, I ran off to the library more than anything. Instead of study hall, it should have been called Library Hour. I’m sure in one of my trips to the library, I wandered through the forty-pound dictionary and found the word transsexual. I probably put it in the same vault as fairies and leprechauns. No one would ever change sexes.

And, yet, some twenty odd years later, I attended the 2009 Transgender Leadership Conference. Last year was my first time, which happened to be local to me in Berkeley. This year, San Diego played host. Luckily for me, I have family in San Diego...and was able hang out with them a bit. My uncle, who is only 10 years older than me, his wife, a mere 3-4 years older than me, and their son, my cousin, who is headed off to college later this year, are a total blast to hang out with.

I flew in Friday morning and caught up with my aunt and uncle. I was able to chat one on one with them while the other was off at their appropriate appointments that day. It was actually really nice being able to just chill with them. When my little cousin got home from school, he, my uncle, and I jammed on Rock Band for a few sessions. OK, I just tried to stay up on Medium while both of them rocked out on Expert.

After bringing down the house, I headed over to UC San Diego for the Friday introduction to the conference. I met up with Ally, Lisa, and Bonnie, who all drove down from San Francisco. I saw a number of other familiar faces, as well, along with a lot of new faces.

Saturday started off with the first main plenary, as Masen Davis provided the first look at their transgender survey results (summary available here). It’s incredible data, and I hope TLC will move forward with gathering more info. There are some very obvious results, and some shocking ones, as well.

The first class sessions started shortly after the morning plenary. A number of us from TGSF headed off to the Lobby 101 session in what looked to be one of the better classes for the first time slot. It turned out so well, I came back for the second class after lunch.

I bounced around a few classes during the third time slot until I found the Beyond Jerry Springer session. It was entertaining, and actually led to some interesting discussions about how transgender people are portrayed on the screen.

Mara Keisling and Ms. Major delivered the evening plenary, which contained some very lively vocabulary. Mara has to be one of my favorite speakers at both leadership conferences I have attended. While she gives a great update on the current affairs in DC, she is also very entertaining.

Mara (not pronounced like Kara) told us that Alzheimers runs in her family. From what it sounds like, Mara’s sister is also a good kidder...just like Mara. Her sister joked that Mara’s future included her screaming “I want to transition” and “Who stole my penis?” I have to admit, I totally laughed my ass off.

After that plenary, a number of us were off to the Transgender Law Center’s fundraiser and then over to the San Diego LGBT Center for the night activities. My aunt and uncle were in the area, so I was lucky enough to have them drop by so I could introduce them to a lot of my friends, and my friends to them. I then jaunted off with them for a little dancing at a spot in the very posh La Jolla downtown.

Since I’m not religious, I skipped the early Sunday morning plenary focused on religion, but caught the final plenary which included San Francisco local, Cecilia Chung. I consider her one of my big trans-sisters, especially with how active she is here in the Bay Area.

Over the weekend, I’ll admit that I ran into a number of people that I was attracted to. There was a guy in the Lobbying 101 session who I thought might be pre-transition, but he turned out to be a recently transitioned FTM...and probably a bit too young.

And then there was this guy I saw at the LGBT Center. Cute, tallish...well, taller than me, and nicely built. I asked one guy who he was, and got a name. Later, I introduced myself and we chatted briefly. The guy who I initially asked later came up to me and asked if he wanted him to introduce me, and I told him I already took care of it.

I ended up introducing myself to a lot of new people at the conference, and found it was a great way to network and meet new people. It's amazing how easy it is now to just walk up, say hi, introduce myself...and get a conversation going.

I ran into the guy again Sunday morning, and he told me he had been looking around for me. Ahhh...so cute. It was unfortunate that we met so late into the weekend. In fact, we were basically the last two to leave as we wandered off to our separate vehicles after chatting for almost an hour.

I caught an early dinner with my relatives before almost missing my plane home. I even saw a number of leadership conference attendees on the flight home.

So, what about the guy, huh? Well, we’re still chatting here and there, but since he is in San Diego and I am in San Francisco, it makes it kinda hard. But who knows, our circles overlap here and there.