Recently, I contacted one of the semi-regular members of the Whine and Dine group to see whether any of the group has tried to meet lately. And she said:
I know our hostess hasn't been working a lot. I haven't seen her in a long time. Some of us do text each other to see if the other wants to grab something to eat and have wine, but that's it. Its sad to see that meetup be inactive, but what can you do?
I feel that most of the others in this group feel the same way. It was a great group while it lasted, but I'll have to start looking for another women's group to hang out with. My continued growth as Marian depends on being with women as a peer, and not as Mario.
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The Whine and Dine group was my first group connection to women as a peer. It's not easy for most (newly out) transgender folk to get out and about and be accepted as female. But this group did - and for that, I'll always be thankful. Was there talking behind my back. WDJ would say - Yes, there was once. But after that one incident (where they wanted simply to find out whether I had "the operation" or not), it was smooth sailing.
I'm far from 100% passable because of my size. But I've found that there are several keys for a transgender female to be accepted as a female with other women - confidence, appropriate presentation, and a conscious effort NOT to use any trace of male privilege. All transgender women must learn how to behave as a woman would in social situations, and this takes time. And groups like the Whine and Dine are perfect places to hone one's skills in feminine presentation.
Feminine presentation consists of many things, not just makeup and clothes. Both verbal and non verbal communication also plays a part in a successful feminine presentation. For example, in the on-line article "13 things that men and women do differently", the author cites the following actions:
- Show their hands
- Throw Balls
- Hear Sounds
- Distinguish between left and right
- Tie Bathrobes
- Interpret feelings
- Deal with tasks
- Cope with problems
- Remember information
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But back to the Whine and Dine....
Not being a cisgender female, I won't even consider taking over organization for the Whine and Dine group. My role is to blend in as a woman, and not to lead - as a male might do in this situation. And here is where wisdom comes in. Many M2F transgenders forget that they have to surrender male privilege at the door if they want to be accepted as female. As transgenders, we must err on the side of caution regarding our behavior. A cisgender female can be assertive without having her femininity put in serious doubt. We do not have that luxury. For me, this means that if there are no more meetings called, then I must let this group fall apart, no matter how much this group may have meant to me. If another woman wants to resurrect the group, I'll be there in a heartbeat. Until then, I'll keep my pleasant memories, and try to build new ones elsewhere....