Tag Archives: Keystone Conference

Keystone Conference 2016

SeleenaK_2011-10-21-14.38.17I’m home from yet another fun Keystone Conference and thought I’d share my feelings on this one.

The Good:  The weather in Harrisburg PA was almost summer-like.  The drive, both ways, was nice and it was great to go out each night with just a light jacket or sweater.

Once again, the nice people at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel treated us very well.  I booked a room on the Club Floor, as I always do, because of the little perks available up there and it was fabulous as always.

Friends!  Got to hang with my best event friend Dianne.  She’s made a marvelous recovery from back surgery and was rocking the heels once again.

My Kim and I got to spend a lot of time with our newest friends, D and C! Wanted to bring them home with us and keep them forever .. haha! … but instead we’ll just look forward to seeing them again soon.  (I’d love to post a pic of Dea and I here but will seek her permission before doing so. Update: ‘Permission Granted”!! Photo below)

And that hot chick from Kentucky was there.  It was a pleasure, and fun, to hang with Barbara Ann again.

I got to see Scarlett, from Scarlett’s Makeovers, again.  Should have had her do my makeup but I didn’t.  But I got the word that Scarlett’s Maine Event is on again this September.  But more on that in another post.

with my friend Dea. She’s a hottie, huh? Yes!

The conference lunches in the ballrooms each day were fabulous.  They just get better every year.

The dinner restaurant selection was excellent and the transportation to and from the various restaurants was wonderful.  Carrabbas Italian Grill in Mechanicsburg, watchng the thoroughbred’s race while dining at  Mountainview Restaurant at Hollywood Racetrack and Casino, and gourmet pizza at Bricco … enjoyed them all.

The Not So Good;  Keynote speakers each day were almost intolerable for someone like me.  Who do they think they’re talking to?

US politics was on everyone’s mind and discussing it was unavoidable.  I understand the passion, but not the presumption that everyone there is bend in the same direction.

That feminization lady from New York (I won’t mention her name), who I had spoke so highly of in the past, was snotty to me.  It appears we’ve gone from being on a first name basis to completely voiding eye contact.  I can only assume it’s because I’m not viewed as a potential revenue source.  Oh well.  Everyone comes out of her makeup sessions looking like clones anyway.  haha!

SeleenaK20160310_141017s

In Conclusion:  I’ll very likely go again next year,  but I suppose it depends on if my friends will be there.  As much as I love this conference, I’m starting to feel as though this event, like most of the others, needs to work harder for someone like me if they hope to continue receiving my registration fees.

I need a keynote speaker to stand up there and tell us, without being patronizing, that it’s okay … no, more than okay .. it’s fabulous to NOT go full time and to NOT have surgery.  To thank us for keeping our shit together while the few try to push their way into society via legislation.

But I’m going off on a tangent, aren’t I?

Keystone is a wonderful event.  And, in my opinion, one of the best of the big  ones.  You should go!

The dates for the 2017 Keystone Conference are March 22-26.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

SeleenaK_1010sAs 2015 draws to a close, I thought I should comment briefly on a few things happening on my website as I close in my 9th year.

I’ve managed to stay on track through 4 versions of the site software without changing course too much.  But what has changed is the amount of on-site interaction I get from you, as well as the amount of effort I have to put into things to keep the site away from the hackers.

I don’t know why I get the vast majority of feedback and comments via email instead of on the site directly but I’m appreciative for every comment, no matter how it gets to me.  I mention this because I see a  change.  And yes, I know … blogs, in general, have moved from cool to boring.  I get that.

But the hackers … dammit .. visit me way more than you all do! hehe!  I have nothing financial on my site any more, and don’t require members to provide personal info beyond a username and email address.  Yet the reason they want my site, and so many others, is so that they can use it as a spam host.

If successful, they will send out a guzillion spam emails before the web host realizes and shuts them down.  And they’re not even interested in email addresses stored here; yours and mine.  They have their own list and just need a previously-honourable server to send from.

So, your passwords now must be big ugly long things in hopes of making them unguessable. Your computer’s IP address is  compared to a “ban list” before you’re able to log in and I manually compare the country new users claim to be from with the country where they’re logging in from to ensure a match or else I delete them.

Lots of work, really.

But I think my best options are:

  1. charge a small fee for membership.  Spammer won’t pay, but 99% of you wouldn’t either.
  2. remove the entire membership/sign in process entirely.  This would remove a big part of the mechanism spammers use to gain access but it also leaves all my  content (which I work so hard to produce) wide open.
  3. shut the site down and move my content over to one of the social media platforms, where security is ~their~issue and not mine

I won’t ask for your opinion on this because .. well, you know.  But I thought I’d mention this here to ask you for your patience when logging in, and ask that you report any issues you encounter to me in case I made a mistake while trying to repel the hackers.


SeleenaK_0735sOn a personal note,  my circle of friends is holding it’s own.  Not growing, not shrinking.  Some acquaintances, it seems, are not impressed by the way I present myself in a casual setting and it’s been mentioned to me twice in the past month.   Both times it felt very judgmental.  I have a couple genetic women friends who are also judged regularly when in public because they’re just not sloppy or plain enough for the no makeup, sweat pants and flip-flop crowd.  Oh well.  My real friends like me as I am.

Silly as it may sound, I’m okay being judged by the uninformed, or the religious, or up-tight public at large but I just can’t deal with it coming from within the community.   So I wish them well but I disengage.

I’m going to miss the First Event conference in Boston in January because of a  family commitment which I’m really, really looking forward to. But I’ll  be at Keystone again this year in March.  I don’t do casual well enough (lol) for the Spring Fling crowd so I’ll probably skip their May event.  Yet Scarlett’s Maine Event in Ogunquit Maine will be a definite ‘yes!’.

My darling and I just might do another mega roadtrip across the US again.  If I do, I’ll try to visit with a few of you along the way.

And finally, I looking forward to spending more time with my friends Pauline, Dianne and Dea.  Let’s all put on our dancing shoes .. and not dance at all.   hehe

2016 is looking like a fun year!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Are Transgender Conferences Fading?

The last few years have brought about some changes in the world of transgender conferences.  And it’s a little concerning to those of us who enjoy attending this type of event.

After 10 or 15 years of status quo, the first thing to shake the tree was the disappearance of  the Be-All conference in Chicago.  Although where were rumors of infighting and mismanagement, most of us will never know why the management team decided to call it quits.

Most recently, the Southern Comfort Conference organizers announced they’re moving the event from Atlanta to Weston Florida in the Fort Lauderdale area.  It was no surprise, really, that changes were necessary but I always thought the location was the best thing about SCC.  I loved that hotel!

When I was there in 2013, the only three ‘seminars’ that even remotely appealed to me were all cancelled on the ‘day of’, and it seemed we were in charge of making our own fun.  Generally speaking, I came away wondering what exactly I had paid for.  My response to a request for post-event comments was met with hostility because I had negative observations and no suggestions for improvement.  Improvement, for me, is to stop giving them my money.

The organizing team are presenting positive attitude after announcing the change but we all know they must be concerned.  In spite of some pretty decent media coverage, the move isn’t being very well received except by those who live in Florida.

Gal’s Spring Fling, here in Ontario, might also be on the chopping block.  The organization of the event is in the hands of a single person who seems to have lost the energy to continue.  Time will tell but I would expect an announcement in a few months.

From my observations, it appears that Keystone Conference, First Event, Colorado Gold Rush and Erie Sisters Gala are all doing well and growing.  Although there are many other events, I can’t comment if I’m not aware of them.

Fantasia Fair is a big question mark for me.  Although it appears to have very loyal attendees, the clique and attitude is best suited to the mature transgender to the extent that young trans folk might not feel welcome.

It appears they’re struggling to find a suitable location in Provincetown to accommodate current attendee numbers for their Saturday night gala so maybe growing the numbers isn’t desirable.  But who will be there, in the not too distant future, when the small and aging crowd can no longer attend?

So, in summary, I have to wonder if large, all encompassing transgender events have run their course.  Back in the days when most of us were forced to remain stealth, getting together occasionally with like-minded spirits was huge.   And that enormity was a motivator for organizers.   These days, with Girl’s Night Out’s and Pub Nights happening monthly in many areas, the need for large gatherings has lessened; similar, maybe, to the effect that small casinos have had on Las Vegas.

I just returned from Fantasia Fair and will review this year’s conference in a separate blog post.  But the highlight of my year will continue to be the Keystone Conference in the spring.

Please, Keystone organizers … don’t change a thing!