There was something liberating about saying “yes” when Stacy, a transitioned woman friend from our Crossport support group asked if anyone wanted to go dancing with her. On a peak of confidence, and feeling the comfort of being with the group of gurls at dinner in a public restaurant where she asked the question, I couldn’t resist. After months of occasional “socials” with my crossdressers’ support group, I was growing more comfortable with expressing my woman in public.
The venue where we went was familiar as was the band that played, which offered up some diversity to the crowd. Wearing a short, black, corduroy skirt, with purple leggings and a purple bojo top and ballet slippers, I boldly stepped from the car and began my sashay to the entrance.
Stacy wasn’t there yet, so I tried to find a spot that wouldn’t draw attention while texting her that “I’m out front.” True in more ways than one, lol. Stacy arrived and led the way into the concert hall, The Redmoor. At the entrance, the gentleman taking the cover charge seemed uninterested in my status and the other man looked away when I held his gaze.
As I walked through the lobby, it took on the surreal sensation of a movie camera being carried along, turning from side to side, from face to face, looking for the slightest reaction. I was an observer behind a mask, behind a cardboard cutout.
Stacy said, “Do you want to dance?” I looked back at the entrance and saw an actual coat rack, where I walked (as a lady) and hung up my coat, adjusted my purse across my body, took a deep breath, and then walked confidently back to Stacy, who asked, “Are you ready?”
That was a loaded question; NO! Yes! I don’t know!
Yet, I found myself following Stacy down the walkway, past patrons who seemed to notice us, and splitting through the packed dance floor to find a spot close to the stage. As self-conscious as I was, I couldn’t tell if people were clocking me or not.
I faced the stage because I didn’t want to look directly into anyone’s face; it became apparent that I didn’t “pass.” A group of women noticed me. Soon, each was tapped on the shoulder by a friend and directed to turn around and look at the crossdresser. I tried to maintain my composure and live my own life independent of their reactions.
Looking back as I write this, I am shocked I didn’t run from the Redmoor in an anxiety attack. For some reason, I was feeling my full Lorie, not in a defiant way, but more as that observer wanting to see what comes next.
A woman from the group decided to be the “daring one,” turning to dance with me, in her sexiest style. She was an attractive woman, engaging Lorie’s lesbian fantasies. I continued to dance with her, matching her moves, mirror like, which allowed me to feel Lorie without apology. This lovely woman eventually tired of the game after a couple songs. Their group’s attention towards us seemed to wear off. At first glance it felt as if they tended to ignore us, but not really. In reality, it felt as if they included us in the sisterhood, to a degree.
After several songs working up a dance sweat, Stacy and I walked up to the bar for a drink, finding chairs over to the side. Renee, one of the gurls from our group arrived. Stacy loves to take pictures when we’re out at social events, so she approached one of the men, who seemed uncomfortable by us and asked him to take our picture, lol.
A couple of women at the bar began a conversation with me. One asked me about her hair, what I thought of her hair extensions. It was an extended and animated conversation, one in which I was able entertain as my full, feminine self.
After they left, another woman came and asked if she could sit while waiting for her friend, who wasn’t ready to go home. We talked for a while, laughing at the fact that my name is Lorie, her name is Laurie. We slipped into conversation about the rainstorm, which led to churches, and then to a person we both knew at my church. She visits with said friend, which then led to a discussion about me speaking at my church in a couple weeks. She said she would come to see me, and I told her that she might not recognize me.
I guess my point is that I don’t know if she, or anyone there, talked to me because of the novelty, their curiosity, or their need to be the daring one, or if they had an attraction to me. I believe that I witnessed an element of kindness, acceptance, encouragement, and most of all, friendship from the majority of the women who saw and talked to me. It seemed as if the women were willing to honor my desire, and my attempt to be the woman that I am inside, that woman who was willing to risk the consequences, which might arise so that she could shine that night.
I have no delusions that I passed when dancing at the Redmoor. The amount of attention I received was nothing like I experience as a male. And yet, as I drove home that night feeling elated that I’d risen to the occasion, I was aware that kindness and sisterhood awaits me out in the real world.
For those who are saying, “I could never do that!” Let me tell you; even now my knees are shaking at the thought. I don’t know where my courage and vulnerability came from, but I do know that I’ve stretched my comfort zone, and it will continue to spread outward into that green, growth zone where my authentic self lies.
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