Thursday, June 27, 2024

Instilling Transgender Confidence

Image from Wesley Tingey
on UnSplash.
 
More than likely, many of you have suffered through a lack of confidence in your transgender lives.

We suffer fashion mistakes as well as learning the art of make-up and hair before we can even attempt to enter out into the public eye. The biggest problem we faced was catching up to the other women around us who had the benefit of growing up as young girls who had the chance to experiment with their friends and Mom's on applying make-up and trying on clothes. We had very little chance to improve our confidence.

Gender dysphoria destroyed for years any hope I had of establishing any confidence about ever being able to present well as a transgender woman. It was a rare day which I didn't see a guy wearing make-up staring back at me from the mirror. For some reason, I put all my misgivings behind me and still went out to see what the world was going to be like as the person I always dreamed of being. 

Any way I look at it, I took a long, long time to work my way through rejection and begin the basics of building confidence as a novice trans woman. I began by taking small steps. I took into consideration where I was going until I found certain venues to be untenable. For example the male gay venues which made me feel uncomfortable. When I left them to find a better more accepting world I did in straight venues I was used to going to as a guy as well as a lesbian bar I frequented. As I became a regular in my new homes, I was able to increase my transgender confidence. I did not expect to be mistaken for a cis-woman but I did expect to be treated with respect anyway since I was treating everyone else with respect. 

As luck would have it, I started to build my small circle of friends who helped me build my confidence in a big way. The women I met were mostly all lesbians, so I was not under any huge pressure to be more exacting with my make-up and my fashion. It needed to be just good enough to blend in with the group. The times I was not with women were rare and I needed to step up my feminine game to look the best I could. I wanted to look nice without appearing as if I was trying too hard. I knew I was succeeding when my wife even asked me to help her with her make-up. 

The problem I still had was how I moved and communicated as a woman, trans or not. I did not factor in the huge jump I would have to take in order to keep building my confidence. What good did I have applying a wonderful make-up job,  if I walked and talked as a linebacker, I found I needed to be present in the moment. For example, when I needed to walk a fairly long distance to my seat in a venue. Instead of worrying about getting there without attracting attention, I needed to worry about how I was getting there. Then, in most cases, I just had to rely on one of my friendly servers to help me out with the rest of my visit. As I mentioned in a recent post on the Vocal Trans Girl, communication basics were such a huge part of my past transition, they needed their separate post. 

Once I became more comfortable talking to the public as a transgender woman, I was able to do more and more to increase my confidence. I felt as if I was doing nothing wrong and if the other person did not like me, it was on them to fix the problem. I was being the authentic me as my shyness went away. 

If you are just starting, or in the middle of your gender journey, confidence is often one of the more difficult stages you will go through. Once you think you have it, it can slip away with just an ill fated encounter with a transphobic person. The only words of advice I can offer is believe in yourself and eventually you will win the battle to live as you please. 

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