Esprit 2019 30th Anniversary

Pearls by the Sea

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Note: To get the Esprit room rates please contact the Port Angeles Red Lion directly at (360) 452‑9215. Do not select the "reservations" option.

Registrations after mail goes out on May 4, must pay via PayPal or in person.

2019 SO Program


2019 Esprit Theme for SO's and Couples

There is no better city to support you than Port Angeles, an amazing city by the sea, which has supported the growth of Esprit over its 30 years. There is also no better conference to attend in terms of an opportunity for reflecting about your life, both individually as a SO ( Significant Other) or a person who is transgender or questioning, and as a couple.

Look at the definition of how a pearl is formed and you might more readily accept that you are on a journey that is like "Pearls by the Sea."

"Natural Pearls form when an irritant - usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand - works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre', is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed."

If you are open to a new understanding, you might embrace that what you perceive as an "irritant" (your discovery and/or difficulty with accepting that your partner is transgender) can actually lead to the formation of a beautiful Pearl that is each of you and your newly evolving relationship.

You may have already discovered and accepted that being transgender is never a choice; however, to be honest and live authentically is a choice. Our program will provide you a safe space for reflecting, contemplating your choice, and taking steps to become your own pearl, as you journey through the week with your SO.
Making choices also applies to you as the SO as well as both of you together as a couple. The journey of the person who is transgender and making a decision to disclose that information means you may be faced with choices for which you feel unprepared.

You, individually and together as a couple, are confronted with multiple choices. Our program will provide you a safe space for reflecting upon and contemplating the diverse choices with which you will come to better understand during this week at Esprit.

While relationships can sometimes have common threads and share common stories, none are exactly alike. Both the SO and the person who is transgender must find empathy and support for exploring the nature of their unique individual selves and their relationship. Our program will support you in becoming "your own Pearl" as you move beyond isolation you might be feeling.

If you have previously attended Esprit and been a part of our SO/Couples program, your sense of what's happening in your family has possibly been evolving, and that, too, is a part of your journey upon which you can reflect.

Whether you are married or partnered with a FtM, MtF, be they crossdressers, transsexual or genderqueer, (your partnership might total more than two people) Esprit's SO/Couples program is designed to help you get answers to your questions. It is designed to help you build friendships that encourage you, hear you, and make sure you know – you are NOT alone!

Attending Esprit offers many insights, whether you are a newbie or a long-timer. Bottom line? Everyone is welcome…because we all have value and that is worth reflecting upon and accepting. And YOU are the PEARL you have been seeking.

2019 Daily Groups:

Tuesday 9:00-11:00 am: Where's the "Pearl" when I feel isolated as a SO?

For SO's ONLY. For the Significant Other of the partner who is transgender, whether such partner is male, female, or questioning.

You might feel unprepared for this journey if you are at the beginning of it…or unprepared if the status of your partner who is transgender seems to be evolving.

It is easy to feel left in the dark and isolated as the non-transgender partner or SO. If you are an SO who feels isolated, we will be investigating how you have choices and what those choices entail. You will have a safe space for reflecting upon how you can positively impact and alter your isolation if that is your desire during this week at Esprit.

Our intention is that you feel heard, acknowledged, and appreciated. Join us, whether you are a newbie SO or have attended Esprit in the past. It's a new year with a new group of people who show up. Dare to become your own Pearl this week!

Tuesday 11:30-1:00: SO Luncheon (for SO's only)

Tuesday 1:30-3:30 pm: Where's the Pearl when we are working to expand our circle as a couple?

For transgender couples (all parties must attend)

Creating new situations for expanding as a couple means both need to be on a similar page. How can you create that for yourselves? Come explore the possibilities available once you identify the "irritants" that are barriers for you. Discover how to leverage those "irritants" for creating the Pearl you want!

Wednesday 9:00-11:00 am: How do I trust again when I feel betrayed?

For SO's ONLY. For the Significant Other of the partner who is transgender, whether such partner is male, female, or questioning.

Join us in a safe space where you can delve into how trust, or lack of it, impacts your relationship. Are you a SO who is currently experiencing this situation or one who has moved through this situation? Come share your story so that others can benefit.

Whether you are a newbie or a person who is further along on your journey, you can be a sounding board for one another and use whatever is irritating you to become a beautiful Pearl!

Wednesday 1:30-3:30: How do we trust again as a couple when trust has been compromised in some manner.

For transgender couples (all parties must attend)

Broken trust is one of the most challenging aspects of any relationship, without ay extra "irritants" such as a new discovery about your partner. Be open to looking at how broken trust compromises and impacts the integrity of your relationship. Commit to using the "irritant" as a vehicle for restoring trust and allowing your relationship to develop into the Pearl you have always desired.

Thursday 9:00-11:00: Learn How to Define Yourself and create your own Pearl.

For SO's ONLY. For the Significant Other of the partner who is transgender, whether such partner is male, female, or questioning.

Isn't it time to speak your mind based on what you want vs only considering what your partner wants? Your voice is an important one, perhaps an "irritant" in some moments. Allow for that. Not speaking your truth does not contribute to the making of a Pearl!

Thursday 11:30-1:00 Couples Luncheon (for couples)

Thursday 1:30-3:30: Create your Relationship Pearl by Learning to Define yourselves as individuals and as a couple.

For transgender couples (all must attend)

Begin by discovering how to speak your mind and learning how to negotiate with one another about transgender expression and/or transition. Define what is at stake by establishing boundaries. Embrace the "irritants" you feel by naming them and them using them to create a new Pearl!

Friday 9:00-11:00: Reclaiming Intimacy…what matters most.

For SO's ONLY. For the Significant Other of the partner who is transgender, whether such partner is male, female, or questioning.

Lack of intimacy is one of the most common pitfalls that occurs from secrecy and broken trust. With all that these "irritants" create, the environment is also ripe for reclaiming intimacy. Are you open to developing a beautiful Pearl? Decide what is at stake for you, and be prepared to speak your truth in the afternoon session with your partner.

Friday 2:00–4:00: What type of intimacy do you want to reclaim as a couple?

For transgender couples (all must attend)

Your SOs had the opportunity to look at their feelings about reclaiming intimacy in our morning session and to consider what is most important to them. Now is your opportunity to look at the varied components of intimacy for yourselves, and then for you all to discern as a couple where your priorities lie with one another. Are you ready to take all of the "irritants" you have felt with one another and enable those "irritants" to create a new Pearl in your relationship? With so many different types of intimacy available, you have options and connecting on any one of these can connect you in new ways.

  • Moral Intimacy - Shared common vision of what is right & meaningful
  • Emotional Intimacy - Being tuned into each other's wavelength; willingness to acknowledge the other for whom he/she is without reservation, unafraid to show the real you without fear of repercussions or judgement.
  • Intellectual Intimacy - Sharing in the world of ideas & passions
  • Aesthetic Intimacy - Sharing experiences of beauty, with compatibility showing through your ability to acknowledge tastes in music, theatre, decor, and then live with and impart together decisions which, though might not be precisely the same, still inspire one another.
  • Creative Intimacy - Sharing in acts of creating together
  • Recreational Intimacy - Sharing experiences of fun and play
  • Crisis Intimacy - Closeness in coping with problems and pain
  • Conflict Intimacy - Facing and struggling with differences and how to navigate any irreconcilable differences
  • Commitment Intimacy - Mutuality derived from common investment
  • Work Intimacy - Closeness of sharing common/differential tasks
  • Spiritual Intimacy - Endeavoring to create we-ness in sharing ultimate concerns about one another, humanity and our place in the world
  • Communication Intimacy - The foundation and source of all types of authentic intimacy and the ability to speak to one another in the language
    which the other likes to receive information and input
  • Physical Intimacy -shared touching in non-genital ways, including touching, hugging, and kissing
  • Genital Intimacy - Erotic or orgasmic closeness
  • Unconditional Intimacy - The hardest to attain - loving without reservation the person they are yesterday, today and tomorrow, without waiting for anything in return. You love because you choose to love, not because you expect them to do the same. You love in a way that opens up a space for them to return to you what you give to then.

Saturday 9:00-11:00: Integrating the week's learning experiences or embracing your arrival as a couple at Esprit.

For transgender couples (all must attend)

You've been at Esprit and participating in our SO/Couples program for some of the sessions, for all of the sessions, or you have just arrived. What Pearl are you seeking and how will you use the "irritants" that enviably happen in your relationship to create your own special Pearl?

Join us. Listen, explore, embrace the "irritants" and be open with one another and with other couples. Your feelings and your stories matter. They are the basis of all Pearls that are created.

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