Thursday, April 07, 2011

Monica's 2006 IFGE Trinity Diary

TransGriot Note: On the Transsistahs-Transbrothas Yahoo discussion list I began compiling a diary to chronicle my thoughts as I prepared to head to the IFGE Conference in Philadelphia to pick up the Trinity Award.   I was surprised to note as I perused my archives I didn't have it posted here.    On the fifth anniversary of that historic day I'm sharing with you TransGriot readers what I wrote enroute to me becoming the first African-American trans Houstonian and trans Texan to win the IFGE Trinity Award.

Hey Transfamily!
On Wednesday morning I hit the road enroute to Philly and the IFGE Convention to pick up the Trinity. I'm going to start a diary and give you my impressions of how the week unfolded and post them to
this thread.

April 2, 2006

Three more days until I hit the road and begin a journey to Philadelphia and a rendezvous with history. Still tweaking my speech and wonder what mischief AC and Dawn have planned when they do their intro of me.

My butt needs to be in the bed since I'm following Dawn to Richmond, KY for her regional fencing tournament tomorrow and it isn't helping that this is the night we change over to Daylight Savings Time.

But I'm excited. It's been a while since I've been to an IFGE convention and ironically the last time I attended one was to present Dawn for her Trinity. Funny how life comes full circle at times.

Just yawned. Time to shut it down for the night.

April 4

Frantic day ahead of me. I'm also in a little bit of a melancholy mood since today is the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Probably the greatest leader our people ever produced. That level of leadership is a tough standard to live up to, but I'm damned sure gonna give it my best shot.

Heading to the nail shop to get a touch up before I finish packing, then working from 4-12 AM. Adding another paragraph to the speech since I feel it needs to end on a upbeat note. I'll post it later tonight so y'all can give me feedback before I bail Thursday morning.

The trip to Richmond, KY on Sunday was interesting. It was my first time on the EKU campus and while waiting for Dawn's first match took a walk around it. Not much activity on campus but then again most of the students weren't back from their weekend yet. Caught some of the tennis match that was being played between EKU and Tennessee State before heading to the gym where they were hosting the regional qualifier.

Dawn did qualify for nationals, but the real excitement was on the way back. As we entered I-64 at Midway noticed some nasty looking clouds trying to organize into a funnel cloud. Needless to say we hauled ass all the way back to Da Ville and got back 45 minutes before the nastier second front came through town.

April 5
11:46 PM EDT

It finally hit me when I got off from work at 5:30 PM that I was finally gonna be on the road enroute to Philly in a few hours.

I'm looking forward to it since I've never been to the city. Philly was on my 'To Visit' list when I was working at CAL but never got around to planning a trip there.

When I got home made some final tweaks to the speech and practiced it just to see how it would sound, how well the words fit together and how well it flowed. Fixed the parts that sounded awkward and added a paragraph or two before I headed to Kinko's with Dawn to print two copies of it. (my printer is down)

Checked out the hotel website and discovered they have a business center. We'll be packing a laptop with us so I can easily continue posting to this online diary.

Been thinking a lot about what we've accomplished as a group in just two years, the conference and my own personal growth since 1998. Will be doing a lot more of it between now and 12 noon on Friday.

April 6

We're on our way. Cloudy day here in Da Ville as we start heading east on 1-64 at 10 AM destination Philadelphia. Eventually outran the cloud cover just outside of Lexington to reveal a beautiful sunny day.

AC, Dawn and I are cracking jokes as we usually do on long road trips as the miles and states quickly pass in our rear view mirror. There are moments when I'm staring out the window thinking about my speech and how it will be received.

We started laughing when we crossed over into Pennsylvania on I-95 and a street sign plastered on an overpass crossing the freeway in Chester read Blueballs Rd (I kid you not)

Finally arrived in Philadelphia at 9:16 PM and got checked into our hotel room. Ours is on the sixth floor with a view of downtown Philly. Surprisingly since we're in rock-throwing distance of the airport it was relatively quiet.

AC and I went to the bar and sat down in the hotel sports bar and had an unusual reaction for us. Neither of us were recognized until Monica Helms came over to our table to hug us. Yvonne Cook-Riley of IFGE congratulated me for winning the Trinity and pulled me aside to talk shop.

When AC and I joked to Monica Helms about being anonymous, she replied, "In Monica's case that will only last until 12 PM tomorrow."

April 7

The day has finally arrived. In a few hours I will be joining a short list of folks who won the Trinity. Got up earlier than I normally do about 8 AM and started getting dressed from the noon luncheon at 10 AM. Met Jordana in the hotel lobby and we ran our mouths until 12 Noon.

They were late getting the luncheon started and then the big moment arrived. Time to introduce the Trinity Class of 2006. Julie Johnson accepted Miranda Stevens-Miller's award. Next was Nancy Nangeroni to introduce Gordene McKenzie.

Finally it was my turn. Monica Helms introduced me to a standing ovation, then I started my speech. Ended up getting three standing ovations despite the fact I had to leave out a few paragraphs because I was running short on time. After taking a few pictures Dawn and I bounced with Jordana and Dionne for a guided tour of Philly and to grab some cheese steaks. We ended up back at the hotel laughing and talking until a little after midnight about a wide range of subjects.

April 8
The Day After

What a difference a day makes. I walked in unknown by most of the convention attendees. Now every time I turned a corner in the hotel I was getting congratulated by peeps about the speech. Some people have ranked it as one of the best acceptance speeches ever given at a Trinity Awards ceremony. I was still bummed about have to cut some paragraphs from it.

Bounced into a couple of seminars before hanging out with my Texas homegirls Beth Boye and Mechelle Salinas. Ended up talking to Kalina Isato later that night at the bar and having some long conversations with my activist mentor Phyllis Frye. Dawn, Dr. Marisa Richmond and I are now referred to as Numbers One, Two and Three for the order in which we received our respective Trinity's. Dawn made the crack as they took a picture of us the day before.

The convention is rapidly coming to a close and although it's been fun, I'm ready to head back to Da Ville.

April 9

The long journey back home. As we were headed to the car with our luggage ended up in the elevator with more IFGE attendees who congratulated me on the award and the speech. After talking to some hotel staffers ended up in brief conversations with IFGE leaders before we hit the road. Raised a eyebrow as we passed a mountain on a stretch of I-68 in Maryland named Negro Mountain.

As we get closer to home we started reflecting on all the stuff that we've experienced at various transgender events. We talked about the folks that weren't present at IFGE, the ones that are no longer with us period and the things that we hope to accomplish as we build our community.

Finally hit the Louisville city limits about 10 PM and the first thing I did when we got home was grabbed the Trinity, walked into the house and placed the Trinity on the opposite end of the mantel from Dawn's.

I was right. Sure looks good up there.

No comments: