Showing posts with label etiquette. LGBT. LGBTQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label etiquette. LGBT. LGBTQ. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

A Vocal Trans Girl

 

Image from Brooke Cagle
on UnSplash

The other night when we went out to eat, I needed to order what I wanted food wise loud enough to be heard above the noise of a busy restaurant. 

That meant projecting the best I could, my feminine voice to match my appearance. So many times in my past as a transgender woman and or serious cross dresser, I thought I had done a great job with my makeup and fashion only to destroy it all when I opened my mouth to talk. I could see the surprise in the other person's eyes when they discovered something was not quite right with the picture I was presenting. 

For the longest time, I tried to avoid talking to people all together. It seemed to be a good idea until I realized when I refused to talk, I was just coming off as being mean or standoffish...if I was lucky. Or worse yet, I was coming off as a bitch. So to preclude it from happening was I needed to improve my communication skills with the public. Mostly other women, since men had a tendency to leave me alone. At the least, I had only one gender to deal with as I was testing the world as far as my communication skills were tested. Initially, to sooth the panic I felt when I dealt with other women, I attempted to mimic their voices, which worked to an extent until the conversation became too intense. When it did, I was on my own to see if I could be the total package as a transgender woman in the public's eye. 

All was good, or so I thought, until I decided to go farther and farther in my femininization. I started with attempting to look close to the same as far as the wig I wore and the fashion choices I was wearing. No more trashy style as I attempted to blend in and build the woman I wanted to become. The whole process at time became too intense for me as people around me wanted to know more and more about me. Basically, what was I doing in a woman's world? To answer them, I needed to learn to communicate as a whole new person. I needed to put my straight forward often blustery male communication behind me and be more careful on how I chose my language. 

In order to aid in my vocal trans girl process, I even attempted feminine vocal lessons from an expert the Veterans' Administration assigned me. Of course my "coach" and I worked on how I formed my words but also more importantly addressed what I was saying. I learned the words women used more often to communicate what they are trying to say. During the course of my coaching, I had weekly homework I needed to work on diligently so I could do well the next time I went in for my vocal coaching. My goal was to attain all the extra communication knowledge I could from the help and move back into the world and try it all out. It has been difficult for me to judge how effective the vocal program was but I felt every little bit helped in my quest to communicate as a vocal trans girl.

Plus, I would be remiss if I did not mention the biggest gender flip of all, the switch from male active aggression to female passive aggression. The change to me meant, I needed to be more careful in how I chose any words I perceived to be negative when used with another woman. Which also meant, I needed to be on the outlook for hidden meanings when I was addressed by other women. Especially being told I was attractive...for a man dressed as a woman. 

Overall, I think being a vocal trans girl has been the most difficult part of transitioning for me. Since I was always shy, slipping back into being more or less and introvert was easy but not satisfying. I enjoyed the challenge of putting together the final big piece of my gender puzzle which was communication. Once I did, life became much easier when I could stand up again for my gender self. 

All my efforts at the least helped me to show other women who for whatever reason did not view my presence in their world as a negative and they helped me to succeed more than they ever knew. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trans Girl Vacations

Archive Vacation Image from Kansas.





Since it is summer time, it is vacation time around here. Spoiler alert, this post is not about flying these days as a transgender woman or making it through airport check points unscathed. It is about ground based transportation. I did all the flying I wanted to do at an earlier period in my life when the military flew me all over the world.

My problems with going on any sort of vacation at all began when I was cross dressing as a man on a vacation to Michigan one year with my second wife. Very early on, I began to feel the pressure coming on when I couldn't go out in the world as a novice transgender woman. Then, I began to resent the fact I needed to be a guy at all and I wanted to be a woman with all my being. By doing so, I started to grow quiet and introverted which alerted my wife that something was wrong with me and she started to pry. After all, we were on vacation from two successful jobs we liked, were blessed with my daughter we both loved and a 1860's restored house we lived in. Ideally, we shouldn't have any problems but I did. 

As I internalized my gender issue, I never answered her questions as to what was wrong. There was no way I was going to tell her I would rather be spending my vacation time as a woman rather than my male self. So I shut up and did my best to change or hide my feelings. By doing so, I was able to salvage what was left of my vacation. 

When I met my wife Liz, she had a passion for travel and we decided on several rather lengthy bus tours to places such as the Southwest, Maine and even Mardi Gras. The major problem I had except for the often brutal bus rides to my back was the fact the bus's restroom was off limits except for major emergencies. Which meant I needed to stand in line with a group of other women at mostly road side rest stops along the highway. Since there was no way I could hold my business an entire day, I needed to quickly learn what it was like to stand in line to use the rest room. Seemingly, either I became used to it in a hurry or the other women on the bus became used to me being there because they didn't seem to care I was there. 

Even with all of my acceptance, I still felt potential issues coming up when we traveled through deeply conservative states such as in the deep south. In fact, I received a real fright during a rest stop on the Alabama-Mississippi state line. To start with, in addition to the long line waiting to use the facilities, there was the faint smell of sewer gas and all I wanted was to do my business, wash up and get out. On this trip however, there were two women glaring at me when I left the stall, so I immediately thought the worst was going to happen and they were going to attack me. Thankfully, they didn't scream out there was a man in the woman's room so I did get out and hurried my way with Liz to the bus. Once we were safely back on the bus, my paranoia set in and I kept looking for a southern cop trying to pull the bus over. It never happened either and the next stop was a huge truck stop just outside of New Orleans where the bus needed to refill. This time, I didn't have to go and just had to wait for Liz in the so called souvenir shop. The only challenge I received on the trip was when we stopped to eat in a big venue just outside of the "Big Easy."

In the restaurant, I waited as long as I could for the restroom to be empty and took my chances. When I did, one of the women on the trip entered the room with me. She was very civilized and I didn't expect any problems and didn't when she look surprised and just said Oh! you use our restroom. She ended up sitting right across the big table from us and didn't say anything else. 

Our trip to West Virginia to check out local short line railroads we could ride proved to be fun and easy and proved to be a great beginners trip since it was relatively short distance from our native Ohio. Our trip to Maine was a fun trip also since for the most part we were passing through transgender friendly states, so I did not have to worry about harassment. Plus the Maine lobster (or Lobsta) did not disappoint. Finally the trip out west to Colorado was just too long although I did really enjoy the train rides we took out there, especially in Durango. 

Recently, we have not been able to find or afford any more tours so Liz and I have had more "stay-cations." Plus I don't have to worry about my gender when we go or what to do about restrooms. As the years have gone by, I have grown so much more confident about my presentation as  a transgender woman.

Can't wait for our next adventure.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Trans Girls in Women Only Spaces

Archive Image, Girls Night Out.
I am on the Bottom Left.

First, we have to describe as women's only spaces as primarily rest rooms but there is so much more to consider. For example, girl's nights out, trips to beauty salons or any other spaces dominated by cis-women. 

To consider being  in women's only spaces, we also need to look at the impact of impostor syndrome. Or, when you think you have arrived at your destination, only to think you are an impostor and don't belong there at all. Often the syndrome stops you from enjoying your dream of being out with and being accepted by a group of women.  

Now, lets start with the most problematic space at all, the women's rest room. Depending on where you live, just using the women's room for it's intended use is becoming against the law. Even if it is not, just becoming adjusted to the new etiquette of using a completely new rest room can be a problem. Even though many of us have used the women's room for years, there are still basics to remember. First and foremost don't forget to look any other women you may encounter in the eye, smile and speak. It's OK to do this, although it is completely opposite to do in the men's room. Other "musts" include always remembering to never put your purse on the floor, and always be careful to look before you sit down for stray moisture left behind by a previous occupant.

Perhaps one of the biggest actions to always remember is to stop and wash your hands even though you might think you have been "discovered" by another woman and are doing your best to vacate the room.  Back in the day when I was much younger, I even went to the point of carrying an extra feminine hygiene product in my purse if I was approached by a suspecting woman who was testing me. Even though, this list may seem excessive, I am sure there are those of you who could add to it. Such as the obvious. Such as always sitting down to pee and diverting your flow the best you can to match the woman in the next stall over. I think a larger portion of cis-women have used a restroom with a transgender woman in their life and not known it or even cared. IF the trans woman followed all the rules. 

One women's only space I was challenged in was when my daughter gifted me with my first trip to her upscale beauty spa. Since my hair had grown to a point when I could have it styled, she thought it was time to have it styled and colored. Of course I immediately agreed even though I was scared to death of the unknown. Plus, I was extra embarrassed when she met me there and it was the first time she had seen me in all my glory as a feminine transgender woman. Looking back, there were a line of chairs with stylists which went on forever in a long straight room and the only other man in sight was one of the owners who I already knew as one of the local famous drag queens. So the estrogen level of the place was at an all time high. Before I knew it, I was shown samples of hair color and styles which I had to try to decide on. Somehow I managed to decide on a streaked, layered reddish blonde look and I was amazed at the result. I knew right then why so many women make a hair maintenance stop as a regular appointment in their beauty routine. When I relaxed and started to enjoy the pampering I was receiving, I had never felt so feminine in my life and could not wait to make my next appointment in my new unique woman only space.

Along the way, I was able to join in with various invitations to girls' night out get-togethers. They ranged from women in my approximate age range to those who were much younger. Although I never reached the pinnacle of feminine acceptance such as bridal parties or baby showers, I still immensely enjoyed my experiences...once I overcame my bouts of imposter syndrome. 

All of my experiences in women only spaces helped me to improve my confidence as a transgender woman and deepened my belief I was much more than a part time cross dresser. I had reached a point in my life I had always dreamed of and never thought I could make it. Plus, because of the length of this post, I won't mention again the lesbian impact on my life once I was included in their spaces. I will save it for a later time.

Much More than a Phase

  Civil War Cemetery image from the Jessie Hart Archives.  When I was first experimenting with wearing woman's clothing, I worked long a...