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I promised my faithful readers (or is that faithful reader singular?) another post about the trip. The first one told all the places I went and stuff I did but it was just a travelogue.

Overall, I was happy. Aside from getting to do a bunch of fun stuff and see pretty sights, I was pleased with the acceptance that I experienced as a woman. There weren't a lot of awkward moments along the way, though there was the occasional confused server who wasn't sure how to address me. The short answer: address me as a woman because that's how I'm presenting. The long answer: if we're actually talking, rather than you just being my server or something, ask if you're not sure.

SLCC being cool was no surprise as I had been to it last year. Oakland wasn't much of a surprise; it's not San Fransicso proper but it's still part of the Bay Area, and LGBT people and issues are part of the atmosphere. I was less confident about how things would go in Tahoe and Reno (I wasn't worried about the science fiction fans in Reno, just the city around them) but it was all good.

I did worry about the bathroom issue in the airports, but I was able to find single-occupant facilities (usually meant for handicapped people or family groups) and avoid that confrontation. Airports are a particular concern because the people there come from all over. Even if I'm in a location where I can expect acceptance, some of the other airport patrons might not come from such a place. I'm legally protected in California and Colorado and in the city of Boston, but probably not at DFW airport which is not within the city limits of Dallas TX. But the law isn't always the only thing that matters; not ruining the experience of my fellow travelers is important also.

My new Aravon shoes that I bought just a couple of days before the trip worked out really well. They're comfortable; I did a lot of walking in them, and even managed to climb the rocks at Eagle Falls though my sneakers would have been a better choice for that day if I had known how much climbing was ahead. They have just the right amount of heel (about 1.5 inches) for everyday wear: high enough to remind me not to walk like a man, low enough to be wearable for an entire day. And they're cute but not fancy, and a neutral black, so I can wear them with nearly anything.

The really pleasant surprise was Susan's reunion. Going into a social situation like that (where everybody knows most of the other people, and you don't know anybody other than the one who brought you) can be awkward, but I was able to charm people right away and get involved in conversations. Sometimes I was a bit lost in the conversations, as people talked about people and places I didn't know, but I expected that going in. When Susan got too hot and heavy doing the "where are they now" thing with someone, I would wander off and find other people to talk to; one guy even came up and introduced himself to me. I didn't meet any future best friends forever there but I suspect there are people who would recognize and welcome me if I ever show up again.

The girl's day with Amelia was another highlight of the trip. First, she's totally awesome and really easy to talk to. Second, San Francisco is a beautiful city. And we were in tune about how to spend the day, including the rest after the day of walking followed by a simple home dinner.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm finding it easier to be out in the world as a woman than I did as a man. I don't scare people so much; I can introduce myself and engage in small talk effectively. I'm not at all sure why I ever DID scare people as a man; maybe I was tarred with the brush of the entire gender, maybe the fact that I wasn't sufficiently in alignment with the expectations for my gender bothered people on some level. I think I was usually a nice person, maybe sometimes too nice for my own good, but people didn't always get past the surface to even find that out.
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