Friday I was interviewed by a "30 something" college student concerning my lifetime of transgender experiences. I was selected because I matched the age requirement which was presented to the transgender - cross dresser group I am part of. The college student wanted someone over the age of 65. Naturally, at 71, I made the age cut.
Most of the questions were predictable. Examples were how did I get to where I am now and what advice would I have for younger transgender women and men. I explained the steps I took to finally make my way out of a very dark closet into a very terrifying yet exciting feminine world. I went into the visits I made years ago to transvestite mixers close to my home in Ohio. How I learned very early how there were many different layers to the community which was portrayed as a strictly hetero sexual male experience. In reality, the opposite was the truth. Ironically, I found once again I didn't fit in. I wasn't part of the "A" listers who I described as the impossibly feminine beautiful looking "women" or the cigar smoking, cowboy hat wearing crowd who were desperately trying to hold on to their masculinity even though they were wearing dresses and makeup. It was quite the experience.
Even though I didn't fit in with the "A" girls, I still went along with them as they went out of mostly gay venues after the regular mixers. Slowly I learned how much I wanted to continue living as a woman and more importantly, I found I could actually do it. I was breaking loose from the chains of being confined to a Halloween only experience into a life with others around me who had similar gender interests.
Other questions revolved around the differences between the years involving the advent of the internet and various social media platforms. It's not too much of a stretch to think both events have had the most effect on people being able to come out of the closet and live a transgender life.
We basically ended the interview with the most predictable question of all, "What advice would I give to younger transgender people?" My answer was probably over simplistic. I said be aware if you can live long enough to experience it, life is but a circle. Right now with the hope of a new president on the horizon, the circle can get rolling again.
Remember though, even if the going gets tough, sticking together always has the potential to move us forward. In other words, do not participate in ideas such as I am more transgender than you are.
When you look back to the days when you could be arrested for even going out in public cross dressed as a woman, we have come a long way. But we still have such a long way to go.