What is Esprit?

Esprit is an educational conference for all people on the gender spectrum (crossdressers to transsexuals and everyone in between) with an emphasis towards educational programs and self-discovery for those with male-to-female interests. The conference also includes a variety of social and tourist activities.

How long has Esprit been going on?

Esprit started in 1989 in Port Angeles and has been running annually without interruption ever since. It is held in the middle of May each year.

Who is allowed to attend?

In general, you must be a registered attendee with a genuine interest in discovering or growing your transgender identity. Significant others (typically spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, or family members) may attend as part of the Significant Other Program. Resource Providers (instructors, service providers, product vendors, etc.) must be registered through our Resource Coordinator in order to gain access to the hotel grounds and attendees. A few events are open to the public with certain restrictions such as a cover charge, invited guest lists, or approval by a local security guard familiar with Port Angeles residents, etc. 

Esprit is not intended for nor designed for children. Those under the legal drinking age in Washington state may not be able to attend certain events.

Who can participate in the Significant Others program?

Any couple who meets the 1 year cohabitation requirement or is legally recognized can obtain the SO registration rates. However, attendance in the SO course offerings is typically limited only to genetic female partners of attendees. This is to ensure that this group of SO’s has a safe and open place in which to discuss and address their concerns.

What makes Esprit unique?

Esprit is one of the longest-running TG conventions in the US and has developed a stellar reputation as a small, friendly, and supportive setting especially well-suited to those early in the coming-out process. The superb Significant Other program is facilitated by nationally known experts and counselors and provides an intensive series of sessions that deal with SO concerns and relationships as a whole.

How can the public participate?

The public is generally not allowed into the Esprit classes, meals, and vendor/resource areas. However, there are always events where we open the doors to the public or which take place outside the hotel in conjunction with normal local business activities. The public is welcome to mingle with Esprit attendees when events are held in open areas such as at local restaurants, at open houses and welcome parties at local businesses during normal business hours, or at musical performances in local clubs. Certain Esprit events such as the Friday Talent show and Saturday dance are open to the public after meal service ends.

Esprit is not intended for children, and those under the legal drinking age in Washington may not be able to attend certain events where alcohol is served.

What does the registration fee cover?

The fee covers your attendance to all classes, social activities, community-hosted activities such as guided walking tours of galleries and stores, and a designated set of meals. There are a few exceptions to note: the fee does not cover any items or services you may wish to purchase from service providers (e.g. makeup, manicure, books), does not cover optional activities noted as requiring an additional fee (e.g. ferry ticket to Victoria, High Tea service), and does not cover room or additional meals beyond those specified in the registration package. 

What if I can’t afford the registration fee?

Esprit offers a needs-based Scholarship Program that is funded by contributions from previous attendees, several generous donors and some of our Resource Providers. Those in need of assistance can apply for scholarship support; do this immediately after you register. Don’t be shy about applying; your application is held in confidence and our donors are eager to help you share the experience.

Where is Esprit held?

Esprit is held in Port Angeles, Washington. The largest hotel in Port Angeles is the Red Lion and has been the site for Esprit since 1990. 

Is the setting safe?

Port Angeles is a quiet and safe town and the businesses and police are well aware of and look forward to our arrival. Traveling or walking in town during the day is perfectly safe. As in any location, you should avoid walking alone in the evening (there is a lively bar scene to be aware of).

Is a passport required?

It depends on whether you are traveling across the US-Canada border or if you plan to participate in the optional trip to Victoria for sightseeing and High Tea at The Empress Hotel. A US citizen who does not cross the border is generally the only case where a passport is not required. Any non-US citizen or anyone who crosses the border will almost certainly need a passport. However, we are unable to provide specific advice and we recommend that you review current rules that apply to your situation.

Travel from the US into Canada: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/menu-eng.html

Travel from Canada to the US: https://www.cbp.gov/travel

What clothing and how much should I bring?

Some attendees bring multiple high-fashion outfits for every day or extra suitcases of clothes to ensure they have enough to choose from for any occasion. Others choose to be more casual and opt for just enough comfortable and practical clothing to get through the week. It’s entirely up to you and your travel limitations.

Where can I get more clothing while at Esprit?

Port Angeles has many large stores such as a Wal-Mart, medium sized department stores such as Maurices, and many small clothing, jewelry, accessory, and shoe stores. There are several thrift stores such as Thrift Star and Goodwill. All of these businesses look forward to your patronage and you should look for special Esprit-only open house events and coupons posted in the Registration Area. In addition, Esprit offers two full rooms of free clothing, shoes, accessories, and miscellaneous items in our Clothing Boutique donated by other attendees.

Can I sell anything?

Only registered Resource Providers are allowed to conduct business on hotel property. Prospective vendors should submit a biography and proposal through our Registration page.

How do I become a presenter?

Prospective presenters should submit a biography and presentation proposal through our Registration page.

What are the ground rules for socializing and meeting people?

Esprit is an educational event and not a pick-up place. However, Esprit is also a place to make new friends and it is perfectly OK to make friends and exchange information in a mutually agreeable way. Esprit occurs on private property, in a public setting, and both the hotel’s and Esprit‘s rules of conduct apply. Offensive or intrusive behavior by attendees or visitors will not be tolerated.

What is the photo policy?

Esprit respects the need of its attendees for confidentiality but recognizes that at an event such as this many photographs will be taken that are outside our control.

Attendees who do not wish to be photographed may request a badge with a “no photos” icon at the Registration Desk to alert prospective photographers. However, this in itself is not a guarantee that other attendees will not photograph them and everyone is asked to be aware and to ask questions if in doubt. Espritasks that attendees respect the wishes of their fellow attendees, but cannot enforce this policy upon them. Please consider those appearing in the background of your photos as well as your subjects.

With the “no photos” icon, official Esprit photographers and those under our management will respect your wishes. Every effort will be made to avoid you in any photos to prevent them from appearing in any Esprit-produced material. Without the “no photos” icon, your photo may appear in Esprit-related publications such as the Yearbook, on-site multimedia presentations shown during Esprit, and the Esprit web site (we make extra effort to verify the identity and comfort level of people in photos in the web site).

If you are comfortable with your likeness appearing in published media accessible to the public, such as newspaper or magazine articles, release forms are generally offered by the content creators.

At events where the public is invited, signs may be posted asking that no photos at all be taken except by Esprit photographers and attendees. Again, this is only a request as it cannot be enforced.