First Event 2022 is significantly scaled down because of rising COVID cases

First Event 2022 will only have two official events:

  • Friday January 14, 6pm: Trans Celebration dinner, fashion and variety show
  • Saturday January 15, 6pm: Frances J. Cardullo Banquet featuring Adi Sun

Both events will have significantly limited registration, keeping capacity to less than 1/3 of the capacity of the massive Grand Ballroom at the Boston Park Plaza. The entertainment portion of events will be live-streamed for free to those who are unable to attend. Additionally, we will facilitate organization of informal daytime meetups to explore Boston in small groups. There will be no vendor room, job fair, ball, late-night dancing, in-person workshops, or other planned activities. One bit of good news is that we will resume our free virtual Workshop Wednesday program to deliver the incredible workshops year-round.

Why is this happening?

We have a very deep responsibility to you – as individuals, as members of our community, and as members of society. And we just don’t see a path forward to being able to offer a safe and responsible full First Event experience. The COVID test positivity rate in Boston is currently over 6%. Massachusetts hospitals are already hitting significant capacity issues. The total number of new cases is almost identical to this same time last year and is expected to grow rapidly over the next few weeks as the Omicron variant begins to take hold in our region and as families and friends get together to celebrate over the holidays. 

To minimize risk of transmission, we are eliminating all programming that would be held in small or crowded spaces or that encourage close contact.  

At the same time, we know how important events like First Event can be for the mental health and well-being of transgender people, especially those of us who are unable to truly express ourselves in our daily lives. We want to provide safe opportunities for us to gather in community.

Is it safe to attend?

Here’s what we are doing to keep attendees safe:

  • Requiring all attendees to be fully vaccinated
  • Requiring attendees to wear masks at all times except when actively eating or drinking
  • Strongly encouraging attendees to be boosted if they are eligible
  • Holding reduced-capacity events in a very large room with high ceilings
  • Serving sit-down dinners with a reduced number of guests at each large table

But ultimately, you need to make your own personal risk assessment when deciding if you will attend First Event. We aren’t medical experts (except our resident physical therapist Dr. Holly), but we’ve learned enough about this virus over the last two years to know there are no guarantees.

What does this mean for TCNE?

Thanks for asking. As you can imagine, this is taking a heavy personal toll on our 100% volunteer team that has been working hard since March. But we’ll be OK and we will keep working to support you. We anticipate an adverse, but not fatal, financial impact to TCNE. We appreciate your support so that we can continue our free virtual programming and scale back up in-person programming when it is safe to do so.

What about my registration and hotel reservation?

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get back money you have paid for events that won’t happen or that you choose not to attend. We also want to make it easy for you to attend either or both of the dinners if you’d like, especially if you have already registered.

  • If your registration does not include either the Fashion Show & Red Carpet Cocktail Reception or the Banquet – Saturday night, you have a choice of a full refund or donating some or all of your original registration fee to Trans Community of New England. Separately, you are welcome to add either or both of the dinners to your registration here.
  • If your reservation already includes either the Fashion Show & Red Carpet Cocktail Reception or the Banquet – Saturday night, you are all set to attend the event(s) for which you hold tickets. If you registered for a package, you will given a choice of a partial refund or donating your partial refund to Trans Community of New England. The refund amount will be the difference between the package price and the à la carte price for the dinner(s). You may also cancel your registration for either or both dinner for a complete refund or donation.

Hotel Reservations: 

If your plans to attend First Event have changed, you may update your reservation on the hotel’s dedicated First Event reservation site. It’s hard to see, but look for the “Manage Existing Reservation” link under the Make Reservation button. Reservations may be cancelled or changed with no penalty until 72 hours before scheduled check-in. Discounted room reservations are still available at the same link for those who would like to attend.