I have never “gotten caught” in public. When I first began to go public, I knew that I would be outed as a man. So, I decided not to hide, but to engage people in conversation, and just act normally. I have never gotten a hard time from anyone. At that time, 25 years ago, it was obvious what I was. One thing that needs to be understood is that you can also make people around you uncomfortable. Acting normally, speaking to people blows all that away, and that’s how I figured out how to solve this. Next time that you are in a shoe aisle with another person or two, (women) pick up a horrible looking pair of shoes and say to them, ‘Aren’t these the ugliest shoes you’ve ever seen?’
I guarantee they will laugh and smile at you. All tension gone.
I started to practice this whenever I was clothes shopping. If you think about it, it’s a perfect way to begin. You are there to buy, spend money, and the store associate is there to sell. They are not going to discourage you in any way if you are buying things. They are a great source of help for information, sizing, etc..
If other shoppers see you acting normally, conversing with someone at length, they become more at ease around you. In the beginning, I used to ask if I could go into the (women’s) fitting room and was always told yes. I would come out and ask the associate their opinion. As I was a serious buyer, I never had a problem. Modeling clothes in stores has become an enjoyable pastime. Even asking other shoppers their opinions.
I have improved tremendously since my beginning and can actually go up to, and speak to, people who know me as a man; and it takes a minute or so before they realize who I am.
As far as neighbors, I have told them all. “If you ever see a woman that you don’t recognize doing stuff around my house, it’s me. I cross dress.” Twice in the past, I’ve walked up to new neighbors dressed to say hello.
I find that this open honesty fits in perfectly with the happiness and peace of mind that I want to enjoy as Lisa.