|Photo from the Jessie Hart|
In the past I have had several people ask me about any tips or hints I may have about how I managed my gender transition. After hours of thought and many replies I have posted here, I came up with a new answer... find the biggest fire you have and jump in. I know it sounds a bit radical but here is what I mean.
First and foremost I recommend trying out living the lifestyle you want to transition to. I read with suspicion anyone who says essentially they want to "become a woman" by simply putting on a dress. I automatically feel the person has no idea of what they are getting themselves into. A major learning point is gender is more than sex and certainly more than just clothes. At some point in time, you have to hitch up those big girl panties you admire so much and try to live in the public's eye. Or get out of the mirror and into the world.
Sure it is scary or even terrifying but it is a necessary evil you need to face if you are to ever discover if the internal need you are feeling can be taken care of simply crossdressing on occasion, or is the urge much deeper. In my case, I always go back to the evening I decided I was going out to a crowded public venue to have a drink as a woman and not just look like one. There was a huge difference to me and in fact I look back at the evening as the beginning point to me realizing I was more transgender than a cross dresser. Furthermore it is important to mention how scary the evening was for me. I was so scared I sat in the venue's parking lot for at least twenty minutes or so nervously checking my makeup and hair before I summoned the courage to go inside.
Amazingly once I found a seat at the bar which fortunately was heavily populated by other women, I was able to start to breathe again and enjoy my accomplishment. Once the rush of the moment seemed to fade away the realization set in my life could never be the same again. Why? Because my first main trip into the world as a woman was a successful one and it felt so natural. Finally I was getting positive face to face feed back for all the time I had spent dreaming in front of a mirror.
Even though my first transgender trial by fire was successful, little did I know how many other fires were to come. My first dinner date with a trans guy comes to mind. Here I was trying to be as attractive as I could be and still trying to maintain myself in a whole new world where all my male privilege was gone. He told me years later how scared I was, so I didn't hide it well.
Changing genders is a very layered experience and going through it is not for the faint of heart. The farther you pursue the journey the more you learn you have so much farther to go. Once you have gone through your own transgender trial by fire, you will understand on your own terms how much more gender is than sex or appearance.
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