Montréal, again?

Yes, I’m going to Montréal.  Again.  This trip will happen at some point in July.  In fact, there’s quite a lot to says about this.

My reason for going to Montréal this time will be a little bit different: I am participating in a charity bike ride called Friends for Life Bike Rally.  I’m joining a group of 400 riders and volunteers in downtown Toronto on July 24, and over 6 days, we’ll make our way to Montréal, travelling a total distance of more than 600km.  All of this to raise funds and awareness for people coping with HIV/AIDS.  As a transgender woman, over the years, I myself have been acquainted with a number people living with HIV/AIDS, and while I often don’t agree with the decisions they made that led to them contracting the disease, I feel that it’s important to be in solidarity with them, and help with their suffering.

When I first registered for the ride online, I had to write down my gender.  This is the first time in my life that “transwoman” was listed as an option.  At first I was overjoyed: finally, I can sign up for a cycling event as Kate! But then, I remembered that, regrettably, most people I in my circle of friends, and also in the church still don’t know about Kate, and most people who are sponsoring me will probably not do so had they known I was a trans woman.  And even if they would, I feel that this isn’t quite the appropriate time and place to “come out” to my friends.  It was disappointing, but at the end, I listed myself as “male”, and signed up with my male name.  As of this morning, I’ve raised just over $700, but I need to raise $2200 before June 30.

I have to admit that it saddens me to know that—other than a few exceptions, like my wife and a few close friends—most of my friends aren’t ready to deal with transgender issues, let alone knowing that one of their closest friend is transgendered.  In that sense, I decided that I’m still very much in the closet.  And as much as I can live (or at least pretend to live) a normal as a young man, I know that in my heart, I too live on the fringe of society.  Not all transgender people have the luxury that I have.

Interestingly, my friends who would be most offended by a transgender people—and people with AIDS—are devout Christians, and boy, Jesus had a lot to say about how we should show love to them.  Over the past few months, I had been more vocal in discussions about transender issues (another post for another day), and I have noticed that this new knowledge is slightly changing the way their see the Gospel and how transgender issues fits into that.

In any case, training for the ride has already began: a 70km ride last Saturday on my own, and a 63km ride this coming Saturday with other riders on the rally.  I have some hopes that the rides will shave off some weight off my belly, but so far it hasn’t happened yet.

Montréal: Day 4.5

Whispers
Sitting by the sculpture Les chuchoteuses (“Whispers”) by Rose-Aimée Belanger at the intersection of Rue Saint Paul and Rue Saint Dizier.

So the conference is over…and not a minute too soon. In fact, the last keynote lecture ended a full 30 minutes behind schedule. It seemed to be the theme of the whole conference that most people aren’t very keen on keeping track of time properly. Nevertheless, I’m glad that it’s all over now, and that I’m back safely in Toronto.

Kate Ruins
Picture taken at the remnants of the old Montreal General Hospital on Rue Saint Pierre.

Finally a bit of good news too: as the conference ended, the sky also cleared, which gave me a chance to change into some nice (i.e. more feminine!) clothes and roam around Vieux Montréal (that’s “Old Montreal” for those who do not speak French).  Vieux Montréal is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of town, and I always enjoy walking along the quay.  I also had pictures of myself taken while I was there too.  Since I have never been to Montréal en femme before, I thought I’d keep it low key, and go around town with my purple sweater that I’ve worn so many times before.  I managed to get a few nice pictures taken, but in the afternoon, the temperature got up to a balmy 23°C, and after awhile, the sweater was too warm.  I made it back to my car at the hotel, and got a nice flower dress out of my suitcase instead.

Continue reading “Montréal: Day 4.5”

Montréal: Day 4

Yesterday all thoughts of being a girl had to be put aside. I had to give a presentation (obviously not giving the presentation as a girl) of my work. It went quite well, although my session was in the biggest room and the microphone I had to used made me nervous. I was also in discussion with some people from a few companies who are hiring. I spent the evening watching one hockey game (Montréal vs. Boston) with my colleagues, and then another game (Vancouver vs. Chicago) with another group of potential colleagues, and there was no time to be a girl.  By the way, Vancouver won, but Montréal lost.

Which brings me to this morning. I had planned to go out for a morning jog around town–I even had my tank top and sports bra and running pants ready, but as it turned out, it was still pouring rain all morning. So the plan was scrapped, and I still haven’t had the chance to walk outside. Fortunately, the weather forecast for the afternoon is much more favourable… Continue reading “Montréal: Day 4”

Montréal: Day 2

The elevator lobby of the 26th floor of the hotel.
From the 26th floor of L’hôtel Delta centre-ville in downtown Montreal. This blue dress is actually very very comfortable, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites!
From the convention level of L’Hotel Delta centre-ville.

My second day in Montréal (the first full day really) is also the first day of the conference. I’m glad that I haven’t tried to attend the conference en femme, and to alter my name tag, because out of the more than 200 conference attendees, there were no more than 15 women. Everyone would have noticed if one more woman showed up, especially if “she looks a lot like that guy from that university, and how come they’re never seen them together? Oh.” So I dispensed with the whole notion of boy-mode trading place with Kate at the conference, and was happy with just stay being a boy until my free time in the evening. The talks at the conference on the first day had very little to do with my own research and interests, so it was rather boring being there.

Just before I left Toronto, I stopped by the post office to pick up a package: two dresses I bought from eBay. So amidst the heavy rain in Montreal in the evening–no chance to go outside, I tried on the dresses in the comfort of my hotel room. The dresses were of the party/prom/formal/bridesmaid variety by Alfred Sung, and they’re really beautiful. It’s also nice to know that I can wear them without alterations. I got some pictures taken, and also roamed around the hotel with them, taking more pictures. Again, when I have some time to edit the pictures, I’ll post them here. After spending some time editing them, here they are!

In Montréal

I’m in Montréal right now. Today is the first day of a conference that I am attending.  As I was getting ready for this trip, I realized that Katie has never been to Montréal before! Okay, so I have been to Montréal many times, just not as Katie. It’s time to take her there!

I had been stopped on Highway 401 for 15 minutes before I took this picture.

The original plan was for me to drive to Montréal mid-afternoon, and stopping occasionally to shop for clothes and shoes, and to take pictures along the route. Reality, on the other hand, deviated far from the plan. First, there was the rain…lots and lots of it too, which made stopping for pictures nearly impossible. Then there was the heavy traffic, first from Pickering to Oshawa, then through Brockville, which made shopping shops also impossible—I didn’t want to arrive in Montréal too late.

The water tower in Iroquois, Ontario, near the border with the province of Quebec.

I did (or at least my car did) finally managed to outrun the rain when I passed through the township of Iroquois, Ontario, at which point I was able to have my pictures taken. By the time I arrived at the hotel, it was very late already, and I went to Schwartz’s for their famed smoked meat sandwich and promptly went to bed.  All in all, it took me a very long 7 1/2 hours to drive to Montréal. (I’ve never had to spend more than 5 hours before…)

Beautiful sunset east of Iroquois, ON

Tomorrow I’ll see if I can sneak into one of the sessions as a smartly dressed woman attending the conference.  Daring, I know, and manipulating my credentials to say “Kaitlyn Young” isn’t even remotely difficult…but this is probably too weird even for me to do.  Today I will definitely try my best to go stroll around town, and if the weather stays dry, have pictures taken.  Of the pictures that I have taken along the way, I’ll post them after doing some minor edits. some of them are now posted with this post and on my Web Gallery and Flickr after some major digital editing…