Sunday, April 27, 2008

Continuing Education

One of the fun things I get to do from time to time is speak at universities across the area. I love going back to campus as a college girl of sorts because I get to live somewhat vicariously through the students. Of course, the engery, enthusiasm, and influx of ideas are all infectious. At times I wonder what life would have been like if I had come out in my college years and lived en femme. This is somewhat self defeating though as I do believe in a greater purpose for my life, and I am on the path I need to be.

Wednesday afternoon, my good friend Pam put out an email call for a speaker for the Day of Silence event at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. The other scheduled speaker had become sick the previous evening and could not make it. I got the email at 5:15pm and immediately phoned Pam that I'd love to join in. After getting my directions straight and jumping in my phone booth, I made it to the campus at 7:30pm in time for the 8pm event.

I met a wonderful group of students involved in GLBT outreach. The Day of Silence is meant to bring attention to the issue of bullying and harassment of young gay and TG students. The national day was Friday, April 25, but the Winthrop group held theirs on a day when the auditorium was available. Several taped their mouths as a way of saying that it is the silence that is killing the community. Removing the tape at the end of the day is a way of breaking the silence.

Pam gave a wonderful prepared speech focusing on how far we've come. I delivered my impromptu speech which nowadays also features the debutante dress and the Ghost Walk stories. I shared these because I am beginning to relate Stephanie to the real world, and the real world is in turn knowing me and hopefully liking me better. In fact, one of the banners in the auditorium said, "Don't hate... relate!" That is the story in a nutshell of how I win people over. It is more difficult to hate someonew when you know them. One person at a time, we are knowing each other better.

I believe Pam and I pass along more than just a few extra years of experience. We pass along hope. Hope that because of their efforts, they are literally creating a better world right before their eyes. All of our efforts are never in vain. If we can give the younger generation hope that they are fighting the good fight, then we all have already won.

A couple of more notes: I have a new YouTube video with the dress in the picture. Of course, that is the Loralie model. I think I have found a dress I can wear this year. I love digging through my closets and finding outfits I had fogotten about. I would do a Story Behind the Dress, but this story is still in its preliminary stages. Wait a few months on this one!

Southern Comfort registration is now open. The earlier you register, the better a deal you get. I will be at the last planning meeting in August, but I'll also be sure to pass along any new details I hear before then.

One new group I've started visiting is the PFLAG chapter in Salisbury, NC. I came out to a friend in that group in March. They are still somewhat low on TG members, but Pam and I hope to change that. I had a very nice dinner with them Friday.

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