PORT ANGELES --
Elika Sicire decided that the time was right for her
to make a change.
``I've been a man for 63 years,'' the retired school
teacher from Portland, Ore., said Wednesday.
``Now I get to play around.''
So when Sicire heard about the Esprit Gala, a
gathering held at the Red Lion Hotel for those who
want to better understand and express their true
selves, she didn't hesitate to sign herself -- and
her girlfriend -- up for the week.
``I said, `I'm going, I don't care what it costs,
The weeklong meeting began with more than 80 on
Sunday, but is expected to double by the end of the
week, said Tori Phillips, an Esprit organizer from
Although many of the conventioneers meet up in Port
Angeles to shop, socialize, make new friends and
reconnect with old ones, Sicire also came for the
The informal classes run the gamut from information
on gender reassignment surgery to self-defense.
`Basics of Style, Fashion'
On Wednesday, Sicire and more than a dozen other
gala-goers attended a talk called ``The Basics of
Style and Fashion'' given by Ann Grogan, a custom
corset maker from San Francisco.
Grogan offered tips on not just ``passing'' in
society as a woman, but some pieces of advice that
every woman may hear from the time she is born --
but those born as males wouldn't necessarily get.
``Every little girl that grows up next to her
mother's knee is told to stand up straight,'' Grogan
``Fashion begins with good posture.''
The class also offered color tips and advice on how
to choose clothes that de-emphasize broad shoulders
and thick necks.
It was right up Sicire's alley.
``This is what I wanted to learn,'' she said.
``My style-sense is almost nonexistent.''