SO Program - Overview and Welcome Message (no session)

Presenter: Dotti Berry

SO Lounge, on Mon May 15 at 9:00AM

2022 Esprit Theme for SO’s and Couples: Return to the Magic

There is no better city to support you than Port Angeles, WA, an amazing community of support that enables you to love who you are by loving you first.  This picture visually embraces the light that comes from within as we return to the magic of who we are. It’s the joy of tapping into that authentic self. This community has supported the growth of Esprit for over 30 years.  It has been my privilege to serve you for close to 20 of those (yes, I am counting the two years missed due to the pandemic which would have made this my 19th year)!  There is also no better conference to attend in terms of an opportunity for discovering how to love yourself, or enhancing loving the person you already are, both individually as an SO (Significant Other) or a person who is transgender or questioning, and/or as a couple.

Understand that tapping into the magic of the light within and “loving who you are” will never be a point at which you arrive because it is not a destination. It’s an ongoing process, both a joyous journey and one that perplexes each of us (your facilitator included!)  You will never reach the finish line of loving who you actually are and finding the eternal magic.  It is not an end goal, the peak of the mountain, the final task you must accomplish. You simply discover how to experience the magic along the journey of life! I invite you to “Enjoy the Ride” because it is YOUR ride, your journey.

Returning to the magic by embracing the light within is never-ending, because your life is fluid. “Every day is a new day” is not a cliche.  Having said that, it can either work for you, or against you. One day you will wake up, feel wonderful and say “Wow, I get it! I am on my way to truly loving who I am!”  The next day you will wake us (as I did when I moved 3000 miles across the country to live with Robynne), look in the mirror and say “Who ARE you?” as I contort my face in all directions.  It will feel as if there is no way out.  One day you think you are “Ms. Popularity” and “Who I am is OK” and the next day you feel as if everyone in your orbit thinks you are worthless and a deadbeat.  But this isn’t about them.  It’s about you and how you feel about yourself.  The truth is that nobody should be given authority over you in terms of loving yourself.  If you have been doing that, STOP IT!  It’s not their job to don you with a magic wand.  Return to the magic means accepting that it’s your responsibility to use the magic wand and tap yourself on the head, saying, “Who you are is OK and I love who you are!”  Indeed, You ARE a Miracle!  

“Loving Who You Are” enables you to return to the magic.  It will encompass a combination of moments, sometimes within seconds of each other, in which you feel proud of  “who you are” and then disgusted with yourself at the same time.  This is NORMAL!  Everyone experiences these feelings.

The most important aspect of “Loving Who You Are” as you return to the magic and embrace the light within is that it enables you to both invite others to love you and then to accept their love.   This is never more true that when it applies to your spouse or partner. It becomes the cornerstone that can lead to the formation of a beautiful, engaging, respectful and 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.  To love yourself and to love others is also a choice, albeit one that takes time.  Bring others along with you in your journey, particularly your spouse or partner, and also your friends and family.

Our program will provide you a safe space for reflecting, contemplating your choices, and taking steps which empower you to live life “Loving Who You Are!”  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 your special 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 your journey of  “Loving Who You Are” as you move beyond isolation and what you are feeling and rediscovering that you who has been lost as you return to the magic.

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, transexual 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.

Presenter Info

Dotti Berry, CEO of Training2Transform Global Communications, was “Born to Coach.” This is her 17th year as facilitator of the Esprit SO/Couples Program, working with both Significant Others and Couples.
She is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer/Facilitator & Speaker. She worked on her doctorate in Human Sexuality. She studied with Brian McNaught, called the "Godfather of Gay Sensitivity Training" by the New York Times, at the Thornfield Annual Conference on Sexuality, where she completed a special track on corporate diversity and gay and transgender issues in the workplace. She works passionately for the acceptance and inclusion of the community of transgender,  gender diverse, and gender questioning individuals, saying, "Not only should they not be left behind, we must invite them to lead the way and take a place at the head of the table."  During 2017, Dotti and Brian McNaught created live hangouts called “Talk With America.”  
Their intention was to:

Dotti says, “If we really, truly want to hear and understand how our family, friends, or antagonists feel, there are ways to make it easier for them to talk, and for us to listen. What we did at Talk With America has application to what we do at Esprit through the SO/Couples program.”
Dotti has coached the expansive spectrum of gender diverse persons one-on-one, and has also keynoted conferences.  Additionally, she has facilitated groups for SO's and couples at other conferences such as Fantasia Fair, Southern Comfort, and IFGE (International Foundation for Gender Education), in addition to her ongoing work with Esprit.
Dotti has authored various articles, and since 1985, has worked with both youth and adults one-on-one, as well as facilitated seminars and workshops for organizations, universities, corporations, religious institutions and Leadership classes. Sodexho, Info Quest Clinical, the Girl Scouts, NCCJ (National Conference of Community and Justice), the University of Kentucky, Women Out Front, and Soulforce are some of the diverse groups who have secured her services in the areas of executive coaching, personal transformation, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) issues, diversity, team-building, and non-violent process.

Two Women & a Poodle, Dotti Berry, her spouse, Robynne Sapp, and their standard poodle, Rylee Joy, completed a year long journey,, in 2006, with the intention of engaging hearts and minds, creating authentic connections, and transcending differences that separate us. They traveled throughout the state of Washington in 2012, speaking about the importance of The Freedom to Marry for ALL.  Unfortunately, they lost Rylee Joy, their black Standard Poodle on April 6, 2016.  They welcomed a new addition to their family, a red standard poodle, Baylee Joy, who attended her first Esprit in 2017. During Thanksgiving, 2018, they added another family member, Willow, Baylee Joy’s mother. The family of four look forward to being at Esprit 2022!


Message from Dotti Berry:

The SO program at Esprit is invaluable for Significant Others, as well as couples who attend together.  Whether you are attending for the first time or have attended multiple times, constantly creating your relationship in the “moment” is essential to its success and its ability to thrive in the midst of whatever obstacles you encounter.

Facilitating the SO program isn’t about doing “presentations.”  The descriptions below merely serve as the foundation for the particular session. I facilitate the process, and we work with what each of you brings into the group session. YOU are the reason the groups work because it is the information and insights you share about your own personal journey that are key as others witness your process and vice versa.  When you ask your personal questions and share your personal story, you enable others to tap into the reservoir of insights that are yours.

If you’ve participated in the past as a SO or as a couple, please join us again.  Each year is new because you are constantly evolving and re-inventing yourself if you are alive and growing.  You are not the same people as you were last year. You are like any any person/couple in relationship. You have new issues/situations which come up on a daily basis.  

And if you think you have “done that already” because you already participated in the SO/Couples program at Esprit in the past, trust me, you haven’t!  And it’s all the more reason to attend.  Why?  You could have “done it already” in a past year, but because you haven’t yet attended Esprit 2022, you haven’t addressed your relationship in the present...and that is what keeps it alive and vital.

The nuances of each relationship are different, adding texture and meaning to life in an expanded way as they are explored. Refuse to succumb to the ordinary and simply “survive” as an individual or as a couple in your relationship. Commit to examining and bringing to light all that is and relish the opportunity to discover how to thrive vs survive, whatever it takes!

Contact Information: Dotti Berry , CEO, Training2Transform Global Communications 1-888-440-9780