Showing posts with label socialization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label socialization. Show all posts

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Transgender Safe Spaces

This afternoon is my oldest grandson's birthday party/dinner. Without hesitation, my wife Liz and I said we would attend. Not so long ago, my response would not have been so quick or so easy. Similar to so many of you transgender women and trans men, I went through significant stress finding a safe place to go to and explore the limits of my new authentic self. 

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

The first venues I tried were the primarily gay bars where I discovered quickly I really wasn't welcomed. After all the vast majority of the gay men in the space were looking for other men and only viewed me as another drag queen. If there wasn't a drag show scheduled for the night I was there, I was totally out of place. It did not take me long to seek out other so called safe spaces where I could attempt to learn to live my new life. 

A few of the venues I chose did turn out to be safe while others not so much. First I tried a couple of small lesbian bars I discovered in the Dayton, Ohio area. Both were former biker bars. One maintained that image for lesbians While the other was certainly more mellow and welcoming. The first place always made sure I never felt welcome while the other was the opposite. Primarily because it turned out my male self knew one of the bartenders. The only problem I ever ran into in the second venue was when I was forced into singing karaoke by a very masculine lesbian. I don't sing at all, so it was quite the challenge. It wasn't so long after that the place closed for good and I was forced to find other safe spaces to go to.

Since I was already the general manager of a very popular and busy casual dining bar/restaurant, I knew with some certainty what I could do to develop another safe space or two to go to. I found I was successful in locating a couple and decidedly not successful in trying to become a regular at others. So much so, I had the police called on me when I tried to use the restroom. I easily explained my situation to the cops and was sent on my way. I did manage to become a regular at three other sports bar type restaurants and even received rest room privilege's in the process. Plus when I finally established myself with a small group of friends I came with, I became ever more of a regular. I enjoyed my space spaces immeasurably and was able to grow my feminine self. 

Outside of a couple isolated instances, I never went back to the gay venues again. Where I never did really fit in. 

As far as my daughter's in laws were concerned, I write often concerning how accepted I was as a transgender woman. I think I was more concerned about how I would be treated than they were. After all I was carrying a ton of my old macho male baggage with me. Plus, speaking of safe spaces, I would be remis not mentioning all the current concern over a pre opt transgender woman in a woman's locker room without any clothes, I don't believe it's time for  any real input from me  Except from saying personally, I wouldn't want to show off my naked body in either locker room and I can't imagine someone doing it without backlash. Also, as a transgender community, we don't need any potential negative publicity. 

On a brighter note, I hope you all have found and developed your own transgender safe spaces.  

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Feminine Socialization 201

 Essentially this is a continuation of my recent post describing portions of my early feminine socialization. Included  in the post, I wrote about almost being included in a bachelorette party get together. I say almost because I was briefly invited then heard nothing more about it. I didn't give it much more thought because the marriage only lasted approximately one week. 

The entire situation started when I expanded where I was going to socialize, or try to. If it sounds as if I was doing quite a bit of drinking during this period of my life, it was because I was. It is important to note I rarely drink alcohol at all now. Back then though I used it as a crutch in numerous ways. When I drank I was braver to go and try to socialize with others. To basically dive into the girls sandbox and see what happened. 

What happened was I found I was accepted into a small group of acquaintances who were socially interesting. Especially the exotic sister of one of the bartenders. She was truly exotic in that she was a dancer as well as being a hair stylist. This was in addition to her being a well tattooed dark haired beauty. To say I was envious is an understatement. She always threatened to work on my hair but I wasn't sure how that would work back in those days when I was wearing a wig. It turned out it never really mattered. The rest of the group included me (the transgender woman) a lesbian, the bartender and her husband as well as others who drifted in and out. 

How I looked back then.

Very quickly it seemed our little group of acquaintances who gathered in the venue for drinks grew. Included in the group was a big teddy bear of a man who worked in a local lumber yard  and rode a classic Indian motorcycle. He fell in love with the exotic one and they decided to get married at the spur of the moment. Ironically, I think most of the group thought it was the wrong move to make. I know I did.

We all were right because the marriage only lasted one week. After it was over, it turned out my feminine socialization was to take another turn into new territory. I was becoming attracted to a man who was paying some sort of attention to me. It all started when the marriage had dissolved. The poor guy still kept coming into the venue and I thought was treated rather poorly by most of the group. I felt sorry for him and let him know. By knowing both of them the short time I did, I didn't think the two were a match made in heaven. 

At any rate the group began to go in separate directions but I kept coming in the venue as did he. Surprisingly to me, he chose to sit next to me at the bar and all of the sudden I had the ultimate validation of a novice transgender woman...a man at my side. Especially a bearded one who rode a motorcycle. I always fantasized about how it would be to ride with him but never got the chance. Very quickly he took another job and moved away from the area.  

What did I learn? Even though I was having a difficult time being attracted to male companionship, I proved it wasn't totally out of the question. Also knowing the lesbian in the group was my introduction into knowing anyone who identified as a cis gay female. 

Most importantly I gained another level of confidence. I found I could socialize with a diverse group of other people.

I had graduated to another level of life on my transgender path and it was looking more and more as if there was no turning back.