Oh, yes, I remember that day vividly; in fact it is my earliest memory from my childhood. I remember it darkly. Sadly for it was that day that I discovered a reality about me that would haunt me until now, 57 years later.

Bright, sunny, end of October 1960. I was five then.  I was headed to a kindergarten Halloween party. Mom didn’t drive.  There were no buses then, so our neighbor across the way was taking us to school.

I was in my Indian Brave costume. Simulated buckskin pants and tunic top with fringe. I carried a homemade bow and tomahawk that my dad made, sported some “war” paint designs on my face, and had (I suppose) a simulated eagle feather in my head band.

Mom and the neighbor chatted a bit as I reluctantly made my way to the car in my “stupid” costume.  Why was it “stupid”? We weren’t rich; mom went out of her way to buy me an authentic costume rather than throw something together from what was around the house. I should have been so very happy, but something wasn’t settled within.

I was dark in spirit. I should like my costume, but I was not excited. Why not? I didn’t know, but I just wasn’t.

I climbed in the back seat of the car to be greeted by the prettiest little girl ballerina I had ever seen in my young five years of experience.  In fact, she may have been the only ballerina I had ever seen.

She was perfect. Shoulder length blonde hair in ringlets, a pink leotard, tights, tutu, and dance shoes, and a typical (for that time) mold plastic mask held on her face by an elastic string around head.

And I was confused, so very confused.  Who was this girl?  Why was she coming with us to school? She wasn’t from our neighbor? I don’t ever remember playing with her.

And where was Fred, our neighbor’s son?  Why wasn’t he coming to school with us?

And then she spoke.  Only it was Fred’s voice.

“Oh my, this is Fred!” I realized. This perfect little girl sitting next to me wasn’t a girl at all. It was Fred, who was sitting there as if being in a leotard, tights, and tutu, looking as much like a little ballerina as possible for a boy was the most natural thing in the world for him.

And then I felt sick in my stomach. Then I knew why my costume was “stupid.” For a boy it wasn’t a stupid costume. It was a perfect boy costume, only I wasn’t a perfect boy.  I was a princess, a ballerina, the girl figure skater I watched on TV, the “mommy” when we played house. I really wasn’t a boy; I was a girl.

The Halloween party at school was horrible. Sally, and Gwen, and Nancy, and Joyce, and Kathy;  all of them were there in “girl” costumes. Being little girls they giggled, and squealed, and twirled and skipped; all living realities of what I knew myself to be.  But. . . .

I couldn’t join their group that day. And I wasn’t interested in being part of the boys group either.

Since that day until now I have been in costume every day.  For a boy and now a man they’ve not been stupid costumes.  They have been perfect male costumes, but me, I am not a perfect male.

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Charlene Victoria

The most important bit to know about me is that I have a very strong Bible centered Christian faith. I filter everything in life through that faith. But OH MY!! I am without doubt undeniably transgendered. Have longed for all of my Christian life and before that to be simply that girl (now woman) next door. Balancing these two life realities so that joy prevails over shame and frustration is the essence of my journey.

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megan edwards
megan edwards

I can relate also. I always loved the little skating skirts the girls wore at the skating ring.

Cori Lostineyes

Youre also a writer!! Thanks so much for sharing!


Great story! Thanks for sharing from your heart. I still to this day, envy the women I see for what they are “ allowed” to wear. I too, wear my male “costume” and wish It could be different.
Well done you!

Sonja smith

Charlene i can relate to your story i too am of a strong christian faith and i know that God know thatt i love him and he also knows how badly i long to be a woman

Stephanie Cross

Thank you for your story Charlene. I too can relate to that grade school time when I would have more
friends that were girls than guys. I always looked for them each day at school to see what they wore and how nice and pretty they looked. I envied them. Then I started my own collection of girl clothes at home when in my preteens and thought I could look almost as good as my 3 favorite girl friends. It was great to finally get to dress like they did.

Bernadette Monroe

Me too it was Halloween Charlene I had to dress as a French maid to go with my friend at the boys club for a Halloween party. I’m 5’6″ and my friend is 6′ . I din’t want to do it at first but my friend told me it’s Halloween and nobody cares if u dress as clown a cowboy or a maid Halloween any costume is ok So I went and I was shy for people to look at me. Night goes on and after awhile I had a short skirt on and I got a few pinches on… Read more »


What in the world has taken us all over to this extent ? I know this addiction and its hostile take over of our (lives ?) We search for places like this so we can be validated and feel less sick ,,,and it feels good to be less sick . Can any of you write down any of the good points that this gurl has produced for you? How bout the bad ? All i do know is its one hella lonely life

Stephie Morgan

Charlene, thank you for sharing your story. It reminds me of days long ago when I use to daydream about wearing the cute skirt and blouse uniform girls wore at my school. How I wished I could be dressed like them and hop and skip and play with them. I was stuck wearing the drab black boy pants and blue shirt. At that time I did not realize why I was so attracted to girly things. All I knew is that if my dad caught me not being a boy then I was in for a good spank. It took… Read more »


Yes , I know what you mean by the other people will never know the woman that made you a better man for Their benefit, yet they would never except that woman!! I think that is one of the hardest for me to wrap my head around! Its almost like a bad joke, or maybe the funniest of all time, that your never able to tell to anyone! Yea, I know the loneliness too!!

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