Tell your own First Event experience! We are looking for brief stories and impressions from past First Event attendees. We will compile and blog contributions below on this page to help newcomers get a feel for what First Event is really like. Please omit names and other personal information best kept confidential. Submissions may be edited for content, grammar and length.
Submit your own First Event story with the form below. Thank you!
My First “First Event”
Everyone who sees my pictures at First Event keeps commenting on how
much I was smiling. I can tell you that at times I thought someone was
going to have to help me come from the ceiling! I was that happy. I
learned so much and connected with so many people. To be honest First
Event has changed my life. I can’t thank all of the sponsors, staff
and people at the hotel enough for all of their hard work. The sense
of community is unbelievable. I can’t wait for next year. Big Hugs, Nicki
My First First Event – First Version
In 2003, I realized that I was really, really trans, and that it
wouldn’t change, and started therapy. It turned out that I was happy to
be stealth, but had a hard time coming out as trans to *anybody*, so I
didn’t work up the courage to go to First Event until a
year-and-a-half later. I reserved a room for one night, and drove up
on Friday morning, a couple of hours after I had intended to leave
because it took forever to pack and figure out what to wear. I didn’t
have a really warm jacket, so I stopped at Filene’s on the way and
found a deeply-discounted fake fur-lined jacket that fit perfectly.
For someone as tall as me, that was rare enough that I took it as a
good sign. That turned out to be false, though, as the car started to
overheat as I drove around Route 128 toward First Event. I ended up
getting off and heading toward Bedford to find a place to look at the
engine. This ended up being my first interaction with anyone outside
of a clothing store or restaurant, my first experience being politely
ma’amed by service station guys. They filled the water, and checked
the oil, and I made it from there to the hotel just fine. It was
almost anticlimactic to check in as myself for the first time
anywhere, and to meet other people like me, but it was so affirming
that I sort of floated through the rest of the day and Saturday, too,
learning from other people’s experiences and figuring out just where
in the spectrum, which was now more real to me, I fit in. It was
really the beginning of a seven-year, very slow transition which is
still not quite complete.
Nothing is Impossible!
My very first First Event was FE2010. After living in the closet for over 50 years I discovered I was not alone and that nothing was impossible! I created my very own four year plan and I can say that I have happily and successfully transitioned and have had successful FFS and GRS. None of this would have occurred without that first journey to First Event!
The Girl in the Mirror
2012 was my first time at First Event. I have been dressing
for nearly 50 years and have done nearly everything dressed, yet FE12
provided me with an experience I will never forget. While I had
planned my outfit for the banquet, I kept going back to Tiffany’s
Closet to see if I could find a dress that would provide a new
experience. Finally I found a full length light blue gown that also
showed more shoulder and clavicle than I normally do when dressed.
After the last session, I returned to my room, changed into the gown,
curled my hair and redid my makeup. Then off to the banquet. The hall
has a wall of mirrors and as I got up to get in the food line, I
looked in the mirror and for the first time in my life I saw a woman
in the mirror. The emotions then overtook all of my thoughts and I was
overwhelmed by the feeling of femininity. The weekend was great, the
sessions were great, the staff was great, but that one experience in
the mirror was what I will always remember.
A Special Kickoff
For the last 15 years I have been a regular attendee to First Event. I have met some of the greatest people ever. Over this time I had never been to the TCNE headquarters. A couple of years ago I flew in early from Los Angeles to be the guest of Joan. After getting off the plane we went to dinner and got to the headquarters. I climbed the stairs, and got very emotional. I started too cry and shave in joy of all the stuff I witnessed. There was Janet, Becca, Paula, Grace and so many others in smiles of joy. I saw everything and everyone in my journey. By the time I arrived at First Event I was in a natural high. You have me full of pride to be 3000 miles from home every January. I know I am out-going, and will do anything to make First Event even better each year year I come to New England.
Loss of Sight
Since I was five years old I have been wearing glasses. I had a left
eye with a lazy muscle detected by a doctor at the UCLA Eye Clinic.
Now fifty years later I still wear bi-focals all the time. At First
Event a few years ago I came in early as usual to visit the many
friends I had made at TCNE. On Wednesday my vision got messy in my
left eye, and I had no idea what to do. My roommate at the time took me to
a nearby CVS pharmacy to pick up wash and cleaner. This did not
help, and I got very concerned, but did not want to affect my time at
First Event. Upon my return to Southern California I learned a blood vessel
broke. Today I can see 100% clearly again.
One Arm Bandit
Ten years ago, just prior to the holiday season, I did the impossible. I
was walking to my car after work, and fell or tripped to the ground in
pain. My right wrist had collided with the pavement, and was not
looking good. I drove my car, how I will never know to the nearest
emergency room. I learned that my right wrist had broken in two
places, and was placed in an elbow length cast. It was just three
weeks prior to my annual visit at First Event. I knew I would have to
check tickets at the door for meals, and was asked to sell raffle
tickets. All in all it was tough to use my wrist, but I had to do the
work to help everyone at TCNE. The one armed bandit struck, and had a
great time. See ya.
Nowhere to Go
Every time I attend First Event there is a unique experience. I live far away in Los Angeles, but the journey is worthwhile. As I arrived in Boston, I was worried a “nor’easter” might arrive by Saturday night. What is that? I had no clue, but was informed by several a major snow storm would hit. The weather was clear all week long. As I was getting ready for the banquet, big clouds came in and most of the locals headed for home. I saw and heard loud noises outside later that evening. The snow had shut down Logan, and I could not go anywhere. I ran into Doctors Meltzer and Zukowski in the lobby. The hotel prepared us food, I called into work, they laughed, but I finally got back on a plane two days later. I learned that New Englanders live with this quite often. I get earthquakes, freeway closures and more. You all gave me courage to challenge the weather, and I shall return in 2013.
Assisting a First Timer
I have a reputation of talking to everyone and giving my ears to all. One time while attending First Event, I was quiet until someone put me into motion. Someone asked if I was part of First Event. I said I was an attendee all the way from Los Angeles. She had ever been to an event and had never let anyone know her “secret.” I gave her my room key in trust, and explained: have fun, express yourself, and we are part of special family. About three hours later she got off the elevator and I introduced her to the best group of people on earth. She had lunch with me, shaking like tree, but all in all had a great time.
First Event is the
Place to be.
Every January I
Make a special trip.
I come from California
Where I can be me.
One thing is certain.
I can’t get there by ship.
I always wear a hat.
This is a week not to sleep.
Over the years I have been fat.
My alarm clock has a beep.
The people give me a rush.
Peabody is our home
You all give me a
The volunteers should
Take a bow.
I can’t explain
Why I come all this way.
I do enjoy the cold
I will always pay
This is a good story to be told
With Janet and Mechelle we
Talk about football.
Joan shows me the sights.
With Becca we talk basketball.
Others go out at night.
I plan at least six
I wish I could do more.
I make my bed.
I am not a bore.
Saturday night is the
Time to dress up.
In 2014, I will return for
More of the same.
Thank you for allowing
me to be with you