I wasn’t really a stalker. As for teen-age, that ship sailed a long time ago. I did stop by Be-All for a brief time yesterday
Be-All is a transgender conference held in the spring just outside Chicago. More information at http://be-all.org/
I’ve never officially gone to Be-All but I have visited. A few times during the past few years, I’ve taken a long lunch, changed in the car and just walked around the hotel. I love going out but between my home situation and the sad fact that I’m not passable in the least, I never have a chance to be out as Linda. During the previous years, I did visit, it felt so great to be dressed and walking around a nice hotel. In the day time and knowing that it was perfectly fine. Staff at the hotels where Be-All has been held have always been very nice.
Be-All usually has a vendor area. One year, I spent about an hour visiting various vendors. The IslandGirls, a wonderful Chicago TG group which has since disbanded, had a booth that year. I spent about 20 minutes chatting with the girls there. It was so nice. When I left, the girls gave me a hug.
Between time commitments and my wife’s very strong disapproval to my going out as Linda, going to Be-All as an official attendee is out of the question. We currently have a kind of uneasy truce and as nice as it would be to attend Be-All, I don’t want to roil our currently somewhat peaceful waters.
This year, Be-All is taking place at the Downers Grove Doubletree, a hotel and convention center about 10 minutes away from where I’m working. Although it’s nice to know that a conference like this is taking place and other people like me are visiting with each other and enjoying each other’s company, it’s also very frustrating that this conference is going on nearby and I can’t attend.
Because work has been very busy, I wasn’t able to work in a long lunch this week and had resigned myself to not even stopping by. However, I was able to take an hour yesterday and decided I’d stop by, even though I’d be in my regular guy business casual clothes.
As I arrived at the hotel, girls were lining up to go into a large conference room for lunch. One of the cool things about Be-All, at least for me, is that the people who attend run the gamut in attractiveness and “passability.” I’ve attended a few TG gatherings where I’ve been intimidated by how good the girls look. While Be-All attendees generally dress nicely (there’s a general rule against “bearded men in dresses”), there are many attendees who look like me – a little older, not as slim as they used to be and with facial features that aren’t very feminine. And they still looked great to me. Just stopping in and seeing these girls helped me remember that there’s a large community out there that I’m a part of. That felt good.
So I mostly just walked around a little, tried not to look creepy or stalkerish, trying to look like I was going to a meeting at the hotel or lunch. I didn’t want to start up a conversation with any of the girls. What would I say? For some of the girls, this was probably a very special time out with others like themselves. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and didn’t want to come off like…well, I don’t know, but I was happy knowing the girls were enjoying being out and didn’t want to spoil anything.
So, I guess I was a little bit of a stalker. Didn’t mean to be, but I wanted to be there but didn’t know how to be there. Does that make any sense?