If you look at the picture on the right and compare it with one on the left taken roughly 4 years earlier, you'll see a person much more confident in her femininity.
There will always be incidents that disturb me a little. But I am not too concerned about them as long as no one treats me nasty or means me any harm. I am open about being transgender, but try to blend in as much as possible and would like to "pass" as a cisgender woman whenever possible. Sometimes, I'm successful. And other times, I'm not so successful.. But, for the most part, I have always been treated with respect.
Unfortunately, not all people get the same respect that I do. And I think that this is, in part, in the way they treat others. For example, DD (at The Avenue) related several separate Christmastime incidents about males asking for bra fittings. In none of these cases, did the men show her (or any of her coworkers) proper respect. And in one case, the male did a chest bump (like a football player), getting DD very, very mad. In her position, I'd be pissed. And I told her so when she told me this story. No wonder why people look at transgenders like me a little strangely - until we are vouched for by other, cisgender females.
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A while back, when I used to travel up to Albany to see my polyamorous friends, I used to stop at one of the rest areas to relieve myself and get a needed refreshment. At this stop was a widowed lady who often had nothing better to do at 2:00 am than talk with an occasional customer. The two of us chatted as if I were a cisgender female, and we always had a great time for the 5-10 minutes that I'd be picking up my beverage. As much as I no longer need to go up to the North Country to feel that no one recognizes me while out en-femme, I do miss the people I know up there, including this lady who I'd only meet in passing.
It's interesting how people react differently to the presence of a woman than to the presence of a man. This woman would have never opened up to me if she thought I was not a cisgender female. I find that women open up much more when men are not present, and it's related to both how and why men and women communicate. Women look for excuses to network with other women, in part, because many of the tasks society delegates to females in our culture rely on collaborative behavior. Men, on the other hand, tend to be loners, as many traditional male tasks did not require help from other males.
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Sadly, our culture does not treat sexuality in an adult way. Traditional male sexuality is very fragile. Males tend to be homophobic, and very afraid to be seen as anything "less" than a cisgender, straight male. Proving one's masculinity is very important, and that often means that signs of tenderness are discouraged. But this poses a problem for many transwomen who want romantic partners. Our prior status as males work against us. The "ewwww" factor gets in the way for many of us risking a relationship with a cisgender male. If they see our former masculinity as still defining us, then they get turned off by the potential of having a gay relationship. And it can be worse. We're in a no-win situation about telling males about our past status, as we can either be dumped, beaten, or worse.
It isn't much better for transwomen who are interested in women. Women also have to deal with the "ewwww" factor when it comes to their own sexuality. We are neither fish nor fowl, and we don't register to them as potential sexual partners in many cases. So, once we are out, many of us realize that we have self selected ourselves out of the dating pool. Since this is the case, many transwomen turn to each other for romance - and have to deal with all the same problems that their cisgender counterparts deal with and more.
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I could go on and on. But I'd rather let other thoughts take their time to percolate and write another blog entry at another time.