Sunday, November 04, 2007

And Now What?

“You cannot step in the same river twice” is an expression of the experience of having “been there, done that”.

So you can dress to the nines, go to the gay and transgendered clubs and be constantly complimented, ogled, and hit on by guys and masculine cross-dressers. So most of your transgendered friends cannot pass well enough to go to mainstream public places, and even those that could, choose to go to the same blasé, gay, transgender-friendly, safe clubs. And some of those who don’t pass go to straight places anyways, and don’t mind being mistaken for drag queens and being instant celebrities whom everyone wants to have their pictures taken with. So you pass on this option. And now what?

So you can dress as an attractive female, go alone to the mall and the straight clubs, fly under the radar, and still be complimented, ogled, and hit on by guys (albeit fewer times). But you don’t dare to interact much because of the fear of discovery of your true identity and the peril that might follow. So you can alone go to lesbian clubs and be complimented (but rarely hit on by women even though you like women). So your experiences start to seem hollow, void, empty, lacking in substance. So the thrill is gone although you spend considerable time helping others. So is this all there is for a non-transitioned, transgendered woman? And now what?

So you have been unable to meet people with the same needs, wants, and desires? So is this a forecast that the transgendered life is not for you or is it the prelude of the need for something fresh, vital, and alive? And now what?

Felicia Conti

7 comments:

genevieve said...

I enjoy dressing up but being involved with trans issues has helped me to understand what my trans brothers and sisters face. I am establishing some friendships. I am praying for a crossdressing friend(s)for friendship. When I started cding, I sensed that it would lead me to other things. I embraced my transgenderism and seek to help others understand themselves.

Gennee

erica12bexcited said...

we all want to be part of a group, we want to fit in and share our wholeself with someone that wants us as we are, and to share our life with.

Miranda Skye said...

This really should be titled "Sound Familiar". Felicia ...... this really would have hit home if
it wasn't for the RARE fact that I've found a lesbian oriented woman (GG) who wants ME
and not a different version of me. She thinks of me as a woman, calls me my female name
and wants to make a life of it so far.

"And Now What" for me is to seek a well rounded life with one's dress dipped in all the
varied fountains of life, giving and receiving in your friends, hobbies, work and love etc. It
has made an ENORMOUS difference to share this with someone and I can only hope
everyone can be blessed the same way if they so choose. I had to find someone very
young with a very open mind but so far, so good. I had been hanging out in the lesbian
community as they are the ones I identify with most, more than TG people actually and she
manifested into my life.

I am so grateful ........ thanks Felicia.

-Miranda

Stacie said...

I think a person's 'Now What' depends on what stage of life they're in, and where they are on the road to femininity. My 'now what' seems to be withdrawing into my cocoon, at least socially.

My wife and I have know each other for over 30 years and have been married almost as long. She has always been supportive of my dressing and allowed/encouraged me to explore my femininity. Having had the freedom to dress and go out, date, and heaven forbid, lose my virginity, I now find myself stepping back.

I feel that to continue down the path I've been on, it may lead to me trying to figure out if I am truly transgender; perhaps to the point of starting hormones and entertaining the thought of SRS.

In listening to girlfriends who have transitioned, talk about the way they felt before they transition; about how unhappy they were, and how they were in the wrong body; I find I either don't have that overwhelming feeling of being in the wrong body, or I am very good at suppressing such thoughts. I'm comfortable with my body, what I have, and the fact that I can express my femininity at home, or in public. And I am not terribly unhappy as some of my pre/post op girlfriends are or use to be.

So I weigh that against the cost/risk of losing what I have versus what I might gain. I've heard more stories about girls who transitioned and lost their families than girls who transitioned and kept their families. Or perhaps I watched too much Star Trek and absorbed some of the Vulcan idealism/philosophy. To paraphrase Spock a little (since I can't remember the exact words) 'The needs of the whole outweigh the needs of one.' So the needs of my family/wife outweigh my needs.

As I went out more frequently, I found myself wanting to do even more, to stretch my boundaries. But like stretching a rubber band too far, at some point it breaks. If I kept pushing my boundaries, it might lead to breaking my relationship with my family and that was a price I was not willing to pay. So I remain, as you put it a non-transitioned, transgendered woman.

Now a days, when I do go out, I tend to fly solo. For the most part, I tend to stay out of clubs and bars, places where trannies and their admirers congregate. In my travels, I always bring Stacie along. Occasionally, I'm fortunate enough to meet with a local girl, but generally all I do is sightsee, dine or (window) shop by myself. And yet, sometimes, Stacie never even leaves the hotel room.

I also looked down the road at what might happen as I get older. I've already heard stories of older gays and trannies who have gone back into the closet because they reached a stage in their life where they could no longer live independently, either because of finances or physical limitations. At this point, I know of no assisted living facilities; independent living facilities, or long-term care facilities that cater to LGBT seniors. While my kids grew up with Stacie, I'm not sure that they want their husbands/wives and children to know her. So if I end up living with one of my kids, I suspect Stacie is going to be put back in the closet.

By being non-transitioned, transgendered woman, I am not burning my bridges. If down the road I ever lose the ability to live independently, I'll be able to move in with one or my kids, or into a long-term care facility without having to worry about whether they'll accept me if I'm transgendered. In the meantime, I will enjoy my Stacie time whenever I can.

Stacie

annette said...

(I had typed in something last night and before I could post it my computer died. Aaargh!)

And now what?

I have asked myself that question many times in the last 12 years. I thought about it again when I read a number of thoughtful responses to this question. Back in '95 when I first started going out in public regularly I joined a tg support group called the Tiffany Club. It met once a week in a small building above a machine shop. The internet was not widely popular then and it was the only place to go outside of a few "dive" bars in Boston. I was so excited I tried to wear a different outfit every week. The group consisted of a decent mix of tg people from closeted cd's to pre-op transsexuals. Many were married with kids. This went on for 12 to 18 months and then one week I stopped.

I wasn't sure why. Maybe I was a little complacent. It had become rather routine. I thought to myself that I didn't need a support group anymore and that I could go where I wanted anyway so I stayed away. Most of the time I dressed at home interspersed with an occasional trip to the malls. After six months I realized that I missed my tg friends. So I went back to Tiffany club but on a more sporadic basis.

I went through the same sort of "burnout" around 2003-04. Again, it took me awhile to figure out why. A couple years ago, I had had a transsexual roommate and my current boarder (at the time) was a genetic woman who liked cd's and we often went out together. And then it hit me. It was "all tg, all the time, 24/7" and never a break. When I wrote that in my little journal I made up my mind that I would listen to my heart, not my head. As I result I ended up passing on a number of primetime nights like Halloween and New Years Eve.

When I grew out my hair in '01, it was very exciting for awhile. No more wigs. And yet I also began to stagnate. Going from drab to drag meant putting in some breast forms, grabbing a purse and walking out the door. I had the ability to fly under the radar screen and pass as a guy or gal or something in between no matter how I was dressed. I liken it to being wealthy but preferring to stay at home and eat rather than schmoozing with company at a fancy restaurant. Now what?

As of today I spend lots of time doing things non tg related like Photoshop. I also have a couple very close friends outside the tg community who don't really care how I present myself gender wise. I'm closer to them than I am to my family. There's no internal censor needed when I am around them and there's a freedom to really BE YOURSELF that is hard to describe that I don't even find in the transgender community.

I still enjoy going to bars but I time my outings carefully...usually every four to six weeks, with an occasional visit to the hinterlands. (Manchester, NH) I don't get much excitement wearing a dress any more so I'm in jeans the vast majority of the time.

Anyone reading this might wonder why I don't just cut my hair and stop doing this if I don't get the excitement that I used to. I've often thought about this psychological "purging" process myself. I've come to the conclusion that while dressing up doesn't do that much for me anymore, I would be extremely unhappy (somewhere down the road) if I were forced to stop doing it permanently.

Alexis Rene said...

"Any single one of us can become so consumed with reaching our marks that sometimes we ascend to our unique destiny only to decide upon arrival the view is not of our liking" was a quote I heard the other day. Though it may or may not be an exact fit for this writing in particular, I feel the initial understanding will hold a different meaning with each reader.

I do believe the love from the one we seek most may influence the outer layers of who we are, allowing us to reach a higher plateau in betterment of persona within, but not the defining characteristics or core of who we are. It is imperative to remember that we must acceptably love ourselves within before anyone else will be apt to share the kind of love most seek and that single factor alone will impact every choice we make in life paving the path to our destinies. Everything else will balance itself into place thereafter.

"So now what" is that call to action to examine the heart of this feeling within and lead the life it desires regardless which denomination it may fall under. It may become clear that transgender aspects aren't even in the agenda for happiness right now, or maybe a stronger affiliation will be met with open arms. Either way, an inner voice is speaking loud and clear that changes in course are mandatory & one must be willing to allow that voice to be heard while having the strength to heed what it is saying. The answer you seek will be found within those linings.

R & L, ~A~

Samantha said...

Felicia,

I guess I'm lucky in that I have been given no reason to be in fear. I follow the rules a native fem would follow to stay safe. Am I the only person who can envision a happy medium; the 16/7 lifestyle I live.

I love my wife. I love my kids. I like my job. Sure my boss is a jerk and won't let me transition on the job, but what do you expect when you're self employed. No matter how well I think I pass the two kids yelling daddy give me away every time. It is fun getting that look from the sixth grader at the father child breakfast (Gee, are you sure you're a father, I swear he asked me twice if I was Eric).

Well I will vouch safe for the Presbyterian Church. First church to have a minister transition while keeping ordination the whole time. I went in in my favorite yellow dress August last year. "Hi my names Eric, my friends call me Samantha." I have not regretted doing it.

Gee, my wife and I go to mainstream restaraunts. Only had bad service once at an Olive Garden. We complained and management appologised profusely. If you are hesitant, stick with chain restraunts nobody wants to risk being picketed by the GLBT.

Pediatric specialists seem to be nice folks in general. With all of the fun filled experience of my daughters cancer treatment nobody has commented negatively on my outfits. Sitting in the hospital room, no wig, no make up and a five o'clock shadow from hell, short denim skirt, yellow top; I'm just another parent whose child has a life threatening illness. In the family room even Orthodox Jewish women will talk with you. People just have way too many important things going on to worry if you're an ugly transgender person.

Pumping gas, buying the family groceries, waiting for my daughter at dance. Nobody gives a sh-t and people interact with me the way they do everyone else, and my voice is my worst asset after the 5 O'clock shadow from h-ll. Sure at the small town carnival down all the curvy roads I got some looks; hot summer night, I was not going to bury myself under wig and make-up. I got LOOKED at but nobody said boo, let along trying any violence. It may have been redneck central but it was a family place. They had a family I had a family; we all played nice for the night (my wife did wonder why I just couldn't have looked more like a guy).

So Felicia go to church next Sunday and have some fun. Meet some real people and make some friends. Nothing in life is better than just being yourself with people.

Love and Peace,
Samantha