This was the first time I was in Atlanta, in 2000. Yes, I was going to Southern Comfort, but first I was going to stay with friends who were taking me out shopping in Little Five Points. I’d flown in the day before and had spent the night at their house, which is when I found out that as nice as they were, I was really putting them out, so I was going to leave their place a day early and move into the hotel where SCC was being held at that year.

But before that, we were going out. And for me, it was a huge moment. Because up to that point, I had never been out during the daytime, or been out shopping as a girl. I threw on my best gothgrrl/alternachick look, and off we went.

And I had a fun day! A great lunch at the Vortex, shopping in the stores in the area. I found my favorite ring on this trip, too. Towards the end of the afternoon, I posed for one last picture, in front of Throb, which was a fetish/alternative clothing store. I spent five minutes posing, waiting for her to take the shot. Finally I just put my foot down, and that’s the pose you see.

It’s one of my favorites, because it reminds me how happy I was that day, and how I could be out in public and actually be accepted. For me, it was an important day-and one early step.

Now, what happened afterward…

I got directions to the hotel, in Buckhead, and left Stone Mountain for what should have been a short drive. Of course, I get lost. Badly. Eventually, I find the right exit, start driving down what I hope is the right road, see the hotel, and when I walk in the door I realize I’m in the right place.

The rest of that weekend? Fabulous! But that is another story…