Image from the 
Jessie Hart Collection
Ohio River in Background

Perhaps the most important and the most fragile accessory we can add as a transgender woman or trans man is the confidence to be ourselves. Positivity gives us the power to move forward on our gender paths. 

In my case, confidence was hard earned and still remained very difficult to hold on to. The problem was it seemed as if every step I took forward as a novice cross dresser (or transvestite if you prefer), I would fall back two steps by doing something wrong. If I had the appearance of the presentation down perfect, then I would trip and fall in my heels which I was still attempting to learn how to walk in. To make a long story short, confidence was fleeting because this was the portion of my cross dressing life when I was still trying to dress too sexy and it turned out to be just trashy. I was learning the hard way to dress for other women, which allowed me to blend in and not cause unwanted attention.

When I arrived at the point when I began to effectively blend in, I became more grounded with my feminine presentation. When I did, I was able to gain more confidence and then attempt to communicate in the world as a transgender woman.  Sadly, my new found freedom was so fragile, I could lose it without much warning. I was always ready for pushback from the public. With someone laughing at me or worse yet inquiring which gender I really was. If the truth be known, I still feel the same way today. The difference is today, I am better situated mentally to take care of any attacks by a transphobe or a TERF. I know who I am and it is none of their business. 

In my overall presentation I think hormone replacement therapy has helped me greatly. The changes in my gender hormones over the years have helped me to change my way from the old unwanted male body I so disliked. My skin softened to the point my facial features became more feminine along with the rest of my body including the hair I have been able to grow. The whole process has enabled me to move with more confidence in the world. 

Speaking of more confidence, I recently saw a news story which said the Department of Defense or Pentagon was now going to make it easier for LGBT Veterans to have their less than desirable discharges reversed. Just having an Honorable Discharge is huge when it comes to being able to claim many veteran benefits and increases their confidence. Many of the discharges came during the ill-fated "Don't ask, Don't tell" military program. Hopefully many if not all of those who are trying to upgrade their discharges will be aided by this new program. I know my Veteran's Administration hospital has had an initiative to help LGBT vets upgrade their discharges for awhile now. 

My final VA ten week group session is coming up, so I should be able to find out more then. In the meantime, it is important to note confidence is earned not given. The more you live as your authentic gender self, hopefully the easier it becomes. Human's are like sharks and can smell blood in the water if anything is wrong. Just make sure you are not bleeding in the water and life will become easier.