Some things my Mother never thought she’d have to tell me about

Like most of us, I remember growing up and taking chances to find moments to be me. I would go into my sister’s room and wear one of her dresses, even for just a minute. Later on in life, living by myself, I had more chances to dress up. I realized I didn’t know much about clothes and makeup, what colors and styles would suit me, what sizes to buy, hair styles or color. All the things mothers helped their girls learn as they grew up into women. When I started going out, there were so many things I had to learn all by myself.  These are a few of the things I learned on my journey; I hope they can be of help to others as they embrace their own path.

I posted this list of mostly common sense tidbits on a different forum before. I had many good comments and I wanted to share them here. Most of these, I learned firsthand through personal experience (another story to share someday), and others happened to my friends and family. Hopefully, this list can help some of you avoid the mistakes that I learned the hard way!

1. Most important; you are the only one who knows all the facts about your own life so don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Make your own choices within your comfort level. Be happy with who you are.
2. Dressing up to stay home is a cool thing. You can wear whatever you please, makeup doesn’t need to be perfect, clothes don’t need to match, and it’s a great opportunity to experiment. If it makes you happy, great!!
3. Women come in all heights, weights, and shapes. It’s the same with us. You can look good no matter your body makeup. Don’t be afraid to try different looks.
4. Be realistic. Going out and trying to “pass” isn’t about being a glamour model…though some can pull it off; it’s more about looking like an everyday woman. I’d rather pass as a soccer mom than be called out by comments such as “That’s a hot tranny”.
5. Gaby’s Main rule for going out. There’s a big difference between being read and being recognized. Being read isn’t always a big deal. If you aren’t ready to deal with the repercussions of being recognized, then DON’T go out, at least not where you might be compromised.
6. Gaby’s second rule about going out. BE SAFE! Going to places that might put you at risk should be avoided. They might sound exciting, but if you don’t have a support group to go with, it’s better to go elsewhere. Don’t put yourself in a situation that could lead to harm.
7. Unlike dressing at home, going out is about blending in. The best way to find what works is through trial and error. Wearing the right size of clothes is key!!! The fact that you can squeeze into a size 8 dress doesn’t mean you’ll look good in a size 8 dress. It’s better to pay attention to how the clothes fit, rather than the size. This is especially true when buying tops and bottoms, usually different sizes for most of us.
8. About makeup. You need to find the right light to check your makeup. What may look good under fluorescent light may look like… well, not good in the sunlight.
9. Don’t be afraid to try different colors and clothing styles. The dress you envy in a catalog looks great on the model, but might look dreadful on you.
10. Most anybody can do a “glamour” look. The glam look isn’t normal for going out to most places. Take the time to practice with a more natural look. It also makes it less likely you’ll be read.
11. Always carry your real ID with you. If flying, don’t try to use a fake id, the same if you are stopped by police when driving.
12. Most stores will be ok with you shopping there as a woman, even if they read you. One thing to do to avoid a potential problem… when selecting things to try on, ask the clerk “Where can I try this on?” She may lead you to a more private dressing room. If you take the clothes and head to the main dressing room, and the women read you, it might make for unwanted trouble. Be upfront.
13. On using the ladies room. Act lady-like. Remember most women wash their hands before leaving the ladies room. Many times, you’ll find a line of women. Take a notebook, agenda, or something else to read, write on, etc. so you’ll look busy. The women will be less likely to talk to you (if you want to avoid small talk or lack confidence at first). A crowded restroom isn’t a good place to re-apply your makeup. If you are read, be quick to leave if you are asked and avoid making a scene. It’s not because she has the right to kick you out, but sometimes the wiser decision is to avoid the hassle.
14. High heels are nice. It takes lots of stamina to stand all day in them, especially if you aren’t used to doing it. Try keeping another pair of flats nearby, just in case.
15. In the long run, passing is better than not passing, though it sometimes feels anti-climactic. How can you really be sure you weren’t read and actually passed? (It’s not always easy to tell)
16. The chances of being read increases greatly by the number of CD’s in a group. The more there are, the more likely you might get read. Not that it’s bad being read, just be aware of it.
17. Do your best not to become a caricature of a woman. Avoid falsettos! Don’t overdo the hip-sway, etc.
18. Unless you are lucky to be “blessed” with wider (woman-like) hips, use some padding… really. Many women would love to have “boyish” hips, but in a CD, it increases the chances of being read. It’s better to keep a proportioned figure… (hips and shoulders should be balanced, waist should be roughly 2/3 the size of the hips)
19. Even if you have a credit card in your femme name, always carry some cash with you. Be sure to carry your male card with your name and another appropriate ID in case you are asked when you use your femme card.
20. A good “Rule of thumb” on how to dress for the occasion. Take note of what other women wear to similar outings. You don’t often see women dressed fancily at the mall. There is a cool trick if you want to dress up. Wear a small badge/plaque with your femme name on your lapel and people may think you work at one of the stores at the mall.

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These are only a few of the things to be aware of and considered. I’ll share more in another post.


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  1. April Serrano 1 week ago

    Nice points–especially about going for a more natural look!

  2. Jennifer Acevedo 1 week ago

    Good list,you contradict on rule 3 and 18 ..Note to first timers if you can go out with a veteran or seasoned gal go for it .

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 1 week ago

      You think so Jennifer? Maybe. But while women may have narrow hips, (or wish they did), that is one clue for people to maybe look twice, and on a CD, is is likely that there will be more clues, in my opinion.

  3. Lori Femme 2 weeks ago

    All good points! I’ve been 24/7 for 2 years now and I’ve figured a lot of this out the hard way.

  4. Patricia Marie Allen 3 weeks ago

    On passing; I tried for years to pass. I went to Merle Norman twice to learn to do make up, I watched untold videos on how to walk and practiced for hours on end speaking in my upper register and avoiding falsetto. All in all, I did learn some good things about appearing feminine. But all too often, I could tell that someone read me. Most distressing of all was when three people (workers) stepped out of a store to point at me and talk among themselves.

    In the end, I wasn’t nearly as successful as I’d hoped. Finally, I began to accept that no matter how good I got at the illusion I’d likely be read at least once every time I went out.

    I decided that what I really wanted was to be accepted. I purposely made sure that I didn’t pass. Oh I don’t mean I did a bad job of looking feminine… what I mean is I went out in drab and asked to try on women’s clothes.

    I determined that if anyone was in the least upset or disrespectful I’d simply take that store off the list where I spent my money… for anything, not just women’s clothes. I accepted that they would direct me to the men’s fitting rooms, so long as the treated well. Kmart was the only one that did that.

    I only had one place refuse me the use of a dressing room to try on. That was at a second hand store I’d been into before. The sales clerk in question was a hireling, the manager (owner?) had been fine with me trying on.

    The real surprise for me was a Sears store. I stopped by after work to pick up some tools, wearing a very masculine uniform. As was my habit, no matter why I was at a store, I took a stroll through the women’s department just for a look see. I spotted a dress that just called out to me. On closer inspection, I knew I had to try it on and if it fit, I’d likely buy it.

    I pulled it off the rack and went to the cash register and asked the clerk if there was a place to try it on. She was busy, looked up at me, gave me look that asked if I was dense and waved me to the women’s fitting rooms directly behind the register. Unfortunately, it was too small and they didn’t have it in larger size.

    These days, I wear the kind of clothes you suggest, minimal make up, usually just mascara and lipstick. I go everywhere I’d go in drab… shopping for clothes and groceries. Clothes shopping, I’ve never been directed to any but the women’s fitting rooms. At my local Safeway, I go in drab as well as en femme and go to the same checkers. I wasn’t sure if they thought I was two different people or realized that I was male sometimes showing up in drag. That is until one day when my wife sent me to the store as soon as I had change in to my comfortable skirt and blouse. She needed something to finish dinner.

    When I went through the checkout line, the cashier asked if I’d not had to work that day. I said I had worked. Her response was to observe that when I came in at that time of day I was usually in my work uniform. Obviously, she had no trouble reading me and simply accepted that I would often wear women’s clothes.

    At that time, we had one of those curbside mail boxes that the post office puts up with multiple boxes and our post man seemed to get confused a couple of times month. I always waited until I had change into my feminine attire to get the mail. I took to taking the mail to the lady across the street. I usually had to leave it behind their screen door, but several times she answered the door so I could hand it to her. After a few times, she struck up a conversation with me, mostly about the incompetence of USPS, sometimes about the HOA or other neighborhood gossip.

    Last year, I decided to go in for electrolysis. They know there that I’m definitely cross-dressed when I came in. I was referred by the Kaiser Gender Pathways clinic. The receptionist has taken a like to me and always comments on my outfit. (I try to dress up a little bit.) I’m there for an hour and a half. We take a break halfway through and I use women’s room. Several times it’s been busy and no one seems to pay any attention to the tranny using the women’s restroom. Once the receptionist came in while I was there and we talked. Twice, my electrologist has come in while I was making second stop on the the way out for the day… no big deal.

    Acceptance. Much better than passing. Passing carries with the possibility of discovery. If they already know and accept, I’m much more relaxed and can enjoy the interaction.

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 3 weeks ago

      Hi Patricia.

      We are in total agreement. Being accepted is much better than passing. But… it all depends on what is the motivation people may have when they start going out presenting as females. Some do it just for the shock value, while others really want to be seen as females (nothing wrong with either)

      But being yourself wearing what you like to wear should be a non-issue. Sadly, it still is.


  5. Leah Princess 3 weeks ago

    Great Article! I loved #14 … as I learned this the hard way. Ouch!
    14. High heels are nice. It takes lots of stamina to stand all day in them, especially if you aren’t used to
    doing it. Try keeping another pair of flats nearby, just in case.
    Thank You!
    Princess Leah

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 3 weeks ago

      Hi Leah, and thank you! Yeah, first cd/tg event I attended made me realize why most women are eager to kick off their high heels as soon as they get home…

  6. Howdy…..just love your article….helpful and informative….thank you.
    I laughed at #7 about blending in. I always maintained…………”.if you are going hunting for a sheep dinner…….do not go there dressed like a wolf”!

  7. MaryJo 4 weeks ago

    Could you expound on “safe place?” I would want to know what to look for, and what to avoid. I just need help because I may not be a good judge of a scene.

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 weeks ago

      Hello MaryJo. Safe places: Basically, if you wouldn’t mind you daughter or your wife or your mom to go there, that is a safe place. Would I go as a woman to walk in Beale street on a Saturday evening? No, I wouldn’t. Not even with friends. Or just walking around the block at 3 am? I don’t think so… just not safe. Apply your motherly instincts on yourself… 🙂

    • Roxanne Lanyon 3 weeks ago

      Are you talking about Memphis? Oh, this girl loves that place! I love to melt to a sweet blues song. Oh, just being there sets me off! Safe? Well, late at night, I would be oh so careful, but in the day, or during “bewitching hour”, I would not worry, honey.
      Your Loving Roxanne

      • Author
        Gabriela Romani 3 weeks ago

        Roxanne, yes, the one Beale worth visiting for sure! 🙂

      • Roxanne Lanyon 3 weeks ago

        So True, Dear Gabriella!
        I adore the place, myself. Especially if one stays in the Peabody Hotel!
        Your Excited Roxanne

  8. Roxanne Lanyon 4 weeks ago

    Thanks again for your useful ideas! I can really enjoy being a sweet girl with them! You are such a treasure, Girl!.
    Your Roxanne

  9. Very good article thank you so much for put this out there for all of us. I love the name plaque ideal. I think that is a great idea. I had never thought of that. Love your look and style and all your ideas. Thanks again.
    Sara Marie

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 weeks ago

      Sara Marie, yeah, the little trick about the plaque will make you fit right in at the mall since many ladies at the makeup counter ir jewelry department in large stores are usually required to dress nicely.

  10. Joanna Knight 4 weeks ago

    Thank you so vary much for posting this! I will keep it all on my mined and a copy on my computer to refresh if I need to!

    Love Joanna

  11. Roxanne Lanyon 4 weeks ago

    You are so intelligent! I adore your advice! It will help me so very much! I really do want to blend in, and be the girl I know I should be. Who knows, one day . . . . well, who knows! I adore being Roxanne, and feel ever so good when I am. You have gone a long way to helpin me. Thank you so much!
    Roxanne Lanyon, As Sweet As I Can Be!

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 weeks ago


      Thank you very much. Blending in is doable for everybody. And also, reality is that it is even better to be accepted as who you are, wouldn’t you say?


      • Roxanne Lanyon 4 weeks ago

        Oh yes! Girlfriend! You are sooooo sweet! Thank you!
        Your Roxanne

  12. fiona moss 4 weeks ago

    great article gaby. it sure opened my eyes and mind to things I have not really considered. I would add another just by saying ‘dont give up’ simply because you will make errors along the way but they can always be corrected with time and patience. true, you can get frustrated when things dont go right first time but its all experience which in itself can be very rewarding!

    thanks for sharing that with us!

    love fiona xx

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 weeks ago

      Fiona, you are totally right. Also, people shouldn’t get discouraged because they went out and were read… It happens to everybody. Even those who may believe that they are “totally passable” can and will be read from time to time. The thing is that if you are read but you are in a safe location, at a safe time, being read, meh! not a big deal. But for those who are trying to push their luck that may really get them in trouble.

      Anyway, glad that I was able to share.

  13. Alicia C 4 weeks ago

    Good advice. I found a pair of low heals, maybe 2″ that I’ll wear for more everyday. they are a lot more normal looking since you don’t need to gain any height when you are tall already. it helps a lot to not be the 6′ woman so leave the tall 4-6″ heals for clubbing.

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 weeks ago

      Alicia, yeah, there are not many very tall women. But let me tell you that once I was in Chicago with one dear friend of mine (Nikki) and we went to the Navy Pier. When walking around I got distracted looking to something so I had to catch up to her, she was at least 20 yards ahead of me. And I heard this comment from a pair of guys walking past her and in my direction… “Man, that was a tall broad”. No, not that’s a tall “crossdresser”/”trans” or whatever term people may use… So, even if you are tall, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear some heel. But true, there is a place for everything… and 4″ heels at the market are not exactly a good match.


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