Sizing Up the Crowd


Image from Uwe Conrad 
on UnSplash

One of the earliest lessons I learned when I first began to attempt to present as a realistic woman in the world was how I was always on stage. It presented a problem since I had always been very shy around people.

It didn't matter because both men and primarily women sometimes went out of their way to size me up. Plus, while I am on the subject, I was very insecure about my size as a novice cross dresser or highly questioning transgender woman. Initially I made the mistake of walking slightly hunched over to hide the fact I was nearly six foot tall. Then I realized there were plenty of other cisgender women around me and I could stand up tall and project confidence to the world. I learned the hard way that people were similar to sharks and could sense another person's insecurities so I needed to do better in all aspects of my presentation as a trans woman. 

One of the key insights I learned quickly was quite naturally, the world I was trying to enter was run by women. So I needed to figure out how to effectively play in their sandbox. On the other hand, men were out since they had a tendency to ignore me anyhow. If a man did pay attention to me, he would normally treat me as a lesser individual. When men paused to size me up, my reaction was to quickly keep moving. I did have a few very rare interactions with men but didn't feel particularly secure with the experiences. 

Women were a different story. When I started my male to female gender transition I received more attention from women than I ever had as a man. As I soaked in the attention, I thought most of the women were just curious of why I was in their world and became amused when I needed to encounter the everyday issues they did in a feminine world. Such as personal security, hot flashes etc.. They would  simply smile and say welcome to their world. Little did they know how badly I wanted to be in their world. Being included in a group of women helped me not to be singled out for attention. When the group I was in was sized up, I was simply part of the group and not an individual. 

The group of women I was a part of just happened to be lesbians so I faced a unique situation when it came to what sort of crowd was sizing me up. On several occasions we would attend lesbian mixers, so blending in met a nice pair of jeans, top and in season boots in the winter. In terms of the society I was trying to fit in with was I attempting to present as an attractive lipstick lesbian. I was successful on occasion attracting super butch lesbians and in fact, one of my first dinner dates I had with a man was  a trans man. We stayed in touch and often he made fun of me for being scared to death on our date. Which I was!

Scared or not, over time I became experienced in sizing up the crowd and bracing myself for the impact I would make. Somedays I receive little or no response to my public appearances. When nobody seems to notice me I know I sized up the crowd and won my gender struggle. Other times, when the room I am in goes silent and I am stared at, I know I wasn't so successful. At this point in my life, I am used to all sorts of reactions, so I can move on quite easily. 

Even still, I am aware of the public crowds I face and do my best to size them up and react appropriately. No longer am I so shy.