Helping Hand Director
Nervous? Need a friend with a warm smile? If you are feeling a bit faint-hearted, consider connecting with Keystone's Helping Hand program. These volunteers are here to answer questions and help put aside any fears you may have about facing the world as you take those first steps out of the 'proverbial closet.' They can be your first contact here at Keystone and can help get you through that initial trepidation you might have. They are neither babysitters nor guidance counselors, but rather a friendly face with a warm heart that can help give you a good advice beginning. If this is your first time, we're sure you are feeling extremely apprehensive, worried and nervous about being in a public setting. Well, our goal is to provide a meaningful and enjoyable opportunity so that you will feel comfortable with yourself.
Being nervous is expected and we promise to do all we can to help alleviate your anxiety. The number of people, information and activities can be overwhelming and you may find yourself wanting to slink away to your room to hide quietly especially when you don't know anyone. But remember, the Keystone Conference is what you make it. Please make an effort to reach out and introduce yourself. Once you do, you'll quickly find that the people you meet are real and that you'll share common history and experiences. We guarantee you'll develop honest and true friendships faster than you every have in your life. We all have known at one point the anxiety of keeping this 'secret'. Share yours and let go of that toxic shame and guilt!
Our Keystone Helping Hand Volunteers are here to help you get through that initial trepidation and assist you in making that first step out. Staring at a hotel door for hours or days is not very much fun so we encourage you to open that door and take that big step out of your room to enjoy everything the Keystone Conference has to offer.
Email us at HelpingHand@Keystone-Conference.org or call 267-777-7301 if you would like a helping hand.
First Time AdviceChecking in
The Sheraton has hosted the Keystone Conference since inception and are well aware of the unique issues of transgender individuals, and their friends & families. They very much enjoy our presence and you will find them courteous and professional. If you are staying at the hotel, you'll need to register at the hotel's registration desk. Since you may have the room reserved under a name other than your 'preferred name', we suggest that you leave your preferred name with the hotel in the event a friend tries to call you during the conference. Rest assured the hotel staff is friendly and accepting and understands our need for privacy and discretion. The Keystone Conference Registration Desk will be located on the main floor of the hotel, just look for the marquee or ask a hotel staff member. The registration desk operational hours will be prominently displayed. This is where you check in for the conference and receive your registration package including your nametag and meal tickets (if part of your conference package). Please safeguard these items and wear your nametag to all conference events. Email us at HelpingHand@Keystone-Conference.org if you have questions or concerns prior to the conference. And don't be afraid to ask questions while you are here, too! During the conference
We recommend bringing a pad of paper to keep a journal, take notes and jot down your daily thoughts and feelings. Being immersed in a conference like this can be informative, exhilarating and overwhelming and may lead to a number of profound emotions, feelings, thoughts and questions that you'll want to remember and reflect upon when you have more time. There will be a lot to digest both educationally and emotionally! Your name badge is required for admittance to all seminars, meals and events during the Keystone Conference. You will be asked to retrieve your name badge if you forgot it. It is also a great way to introduce yourself to others and get to know as many people as you can. Also, don't lose your meal tickets! They are required to gain access to the lunch and dinner events--no exceptions! If you have special dietary restrictions, special meals must be ordered in advance. Special dietary arrangements require a special meal ticket. What to wear
Participants are expected to dress appropriately for public gathering. Please use common sense and remember that you are representing our community. Formal, semi-formal and business attire are appropriate for Saturday's Keystone Gala Dinner & Dance. Those individuals who are disruptive or disorderly may be asked to leave by the conference management team or the hotel staff, no refunds forthcoming. Anyone asked to leave by the hotel security will also be banned from the conference. Please be mindful of the effects of alcohol and drink wisely. Above all, remember: you are a representative of our community, so be a kind, polite and respectful one. Restrooms
Please use the restroom appropriate to the gender you are presenting AND use it as a person of that birth gender would (Hint: women always sit down...if you present as a woman, please do so as well). Do your business, freshen up and leave--no loitering in the restrooms. DO NOT change clothing in the restrooms--use your hotel room for that, please. Gender neautral restrooms are available as well, ask at the front desk for their location. Taking pictures
Before taking any photos, you must get the permission of anyone you may capture on film or video tape including those in the background. Please respect those that do not desire to have their picture taken. Please no photos during the presentations without the consent of the seminar leader.