|Photo courtesy Cyrsti Hart|
The first lesson I learned was relying on an obsession with appearance was not going to work. Certainly projecting a feminine appearance helped open gender doors but didn't accomplish much when I was faced with one on one interactions with the public. In order to survive, I had to pack gender communication skills as well as trying my best to achieve a feminine voice. To this day, I am not sure I ever made any real strides with my voice. Even after attempting vocal lessons.
I guess you could say I was traveling light and learning as I went during the early part o
f my journey. I discovered the hard way how women lead a multi layered experience.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was losing my male privilege. I lightened my baggage extensively and quickly. All of a sudden I was excluded from male conversations. Even to the point of supposedly not knowing the quickest route to where I lived. All of that was easy compared to the danger I encountered when I made in roads to areas where cis women knew not to go. I was fortunate to have not been subject to violence. I learned quickly to park in lighted areas and not be cornered by over aggressive admirers in narrow hallways.
All in all, it was a terrifying yet exciting time in my life.
So, what do you pack? What about your sexuality? In my case, I ended up with women anyhow so it didn't matter. On the other hand, these days, I know several transgender sisters who have made the journey and found men to live with. Plus with all the information available today I know several transgender individuals who were able to make the transition journey with their spouses. Finally, with all the surgeries and insurance becoming available, I know too several trans women who have found and established relationships with other transgender women through the increasing influence of social media.
Even though the gender crossing won't be easy with many hills and valleys along the way, the most important item to pack is your desire to make the journey. Otherwise, if you aren't willing to add or discard items along the way, the trip will be so much more difficult.