Back in Seattle and Onward to the UK
(November 1996 through April 1997)
About four weeks after I got back, Elise e-mailed me to say that I'd won the drawing for $570 to attend Polycon UK if I'd agree to go, and I accepted. I also said that I'd write this trip report – which took much longer than I anticipated, but has been so much fun that I planned to do another for Polycon UK.
Elise posted my acceptance to the newsgroup, and I got a congratulatory e-mail from Anita Rowland, a poly-friendly Seattle fan who suggested that I connect with British fandom while I was over there so that I might win a Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund trip in a few years. I knew that TAFF alternately sends an SF fan from the UK to the U.S. and a U.S. fan to the UK, and I'd even met one of the former winners (Pam Wells) during her U.S. trip. But I didn't know that the U.S. fan gets to attend Eastercon, a convention held over Easter weekend – which is just one week before Polycon UK, so I decided to attend both. I briefly toyed with running for TAFF that year; my friend Luke McGuff needed an opponent or they'd put off the race, and I thought it would help British fans get to know me before my visit. I even sent something to the internet to explain myself, but learned that the current administrators thought it would be better to have no race that year so I bowed to their experience. Then again, "The Neo-Fan's Guide to Science-Fiction Fandom" was a TAFF fundraiser – so you could say that TAFF had already brought me to an Eastercon, albeit indirectly.
I'd already decided to stay abroad for longer than the weekend of Polycon – it seemed like a waste not to do so once I'd gotten over there. But the news of Eastercon really got me to start planning my trip much more seriously, so I asked my main Seattle lover, Nancy, for suggestions since she'd been to Europe several times. She replied that she wanted to come along to "take me to St. Kevin's Bed," an artificial cave in Ireland that's about 5,000 years old and is believed to be the site of ancient fertility rituals. This sounded like fun, and I'd also thought about visiting Ireland because my birth mother is part Irish, so I agreed. Eventually, we decided to fly into London and hang out with Avedon Carol and Rob Hansen for a few days before embarking on a circular route through Liverpool for Eastercon, York, Edinburgh for Polycon UK, Belfast, St. Kevin's Bed, Dublin (where I hoped to do some genealogical research), St. Kevin's Bed, Wales, and back to London before flying back to Seattle.
But first I needed a passport, and I decided to get mine based on my Original Birth Certificate and Decree of Adoption rather than my amended B.C. since I don't want to live the lie that I was born to my adoptive parents anymore. Getting my passport was an interesting adventure, and the details of it will be in my Polycon UK trip report. But I think the secrecy surrounding my birth supports shame about it – and refuse to be ashamed about being adopted. These convictions reflect those of Bastard Nation, a group of adoptees agitating for open records who I first heard about on the alt.adoption newsgroup (which I subscribed to at the same time as alt.polyamory). I was especially impressed with their webpage which talks about the downsides of adoption and reunion – and got me in touch with my own suppressed anger and helped me start to heal. In fact, I liked their attitude so much that I called in a debt from Chy to pay for a lifetime membership – shortly before she learned of her own probable adoption by her birth parents' siblings.
In closing, I'd like to thank Debbie Notkin for giving me the report from her trip to Japan in support of Woman En Large, a book of fat nudes by Laurie Toby Edison and assorted articles about fat edited by Debbie which was intended to change the way people think about fat women. Our trip reports are very different, but I got hers during alt.polycon (ironically enough) and it inspired mine.
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