This is a continuation of Pondering Life as a Crossdresser.
Last week I began my response to some questions asked by another CDH member. Come with us again as we explore more of those questions that we ponder as we make our way through this transgender life.
Making those changes to our bodies that take us to a more feminine appearance, such as removal of body hair or letting our nails and head hair grow longer, are simple steps to take but can also be a challenge to accomplish without creating problems. My approach to it was to do so in small steps. The first thing I began doing was shaving those areas others rarely or never saw; legs, chest etc. After a while, in winter, I shaved my arms too. Eventually I became so used to it that by the time summer rolled around I was ready to answer questions (with a rubbish but plausible story if necessary) but I was never asked. I can only assume my workmates noticed but never said anything. By taking those steps a little at a time I found that no-one seemed concerned, perhaps just putting it down to a mid-life crisis. The important thing was that I achieved what I wanted to achieve without making waves.
Wearing makeup is another big step, one that is difficult to do well initially because in reality we have not had the upbringing and nurturing that most girls have. Observation and then trial and error is usually the way but thankfully these days there is so much info on line that we can learn from experts with no-one ever the wiser. I love wearing makeup, even when I admit that the time it takes to do well can be a pain. I see it as the step that takes me from my male self in women’s clothes to being Jane. That is especially the case now that I have my ears pierced and have my own long hair. There is not a lot of difference, facially, between Jane and the male me so the makeup is the refining touch.
Being ‘outed’ before one is ready to do so under one’s own terms is a fear many of us have. I managed to survive being exposed by someone else but I believe that the secret is to assess realistically what impact people can have on your life if they find out. For some it’s fear of dismissal from work, or of rejection by friends and family. For others, like me, the realisation that I no longer have a job to lose makes life much easier. I began to tell family members a few at a time so that there wouldn’t be a huge reaction either way. We (my wife and I) also took that approach with friends and told them a few at a time. In fact my wife told more of our friends than I did.
My final ‘outing’ came from a post I agreed to on a public Facebook page, dedicated to suicide prevention. I shared my story in the hope of helping others realise that suicide is not an answer and to encourage them to reach out for help. The post also had a photo so even though it was a couple of years old some people still recognised me from it. Even with all that the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Next week I’ll finish looking at the questions that have vexed many of us over time and hopefully help to provide some answers for those still seeking them.