I have not met most of you unless you were one of my FB friends before I decided to pull the plug on my nearly 1,000 “friends.”  I am now rethinking that decision after a session with my counselor who has helped me come to grips with my genderfluid self over the past three-plus years.  She is a “butch lesbian” (her description) and pointed out that the CD/gender non-conforming community will never be accepted if we do not at least have visibility within the LGBTQ community.

I work from home and I can be Carrie virtually whenever I want.  I am lucky to have a supportive wife.  I shop for groceries, go out to eat and spend time as Carrie pretty much at will.  In the past year I have pulled back from the local groups, Denver’s Gender Identity Center, the GBLT center in Denver, Out Boulder County and our local Tri-Ess group just because I felt some conflict in all of the groups.  I get the, “So, you are genderfluid, huh?  When are you going to transition/pick a side/get comfortable and admit you are a woman?”  In the LGBTQ community I would say gender non-conforming people are the least understood of any group and by pulling back I added to that.  In the general community, I am very visible – except nobody notices because I have a nice wardrobe and I dress to blend even though I am 5’10” and 185 pounds.

What I mean by this is that by staying closeted and on forums where all of us feel safe we run the risk of our community becoming even more marginalized. While there is the serious concern for safety, especially with today’s political climate, there are “safe harbors” in virtually every city across the US in the form of LGBTQ centers.  As genderfluid (sorry, I just do not like CROSSDRESSER as my label – when I am Carrie, I am Carrie for days or weeks and do not feel like I am crossdressing, but I know I AM part of the community) I need to help other LGBTQ people see that there are a LOT of others like me.

I have heard from more than one in the CD community that THOSE LGBTQ PEOPLE “creep me out!”  Even the leaders of Tri-Ess feel that way, as I found through personal communication with them.  We are always in the shadows even though there are way more of us than anyone realizes.  The thing is, the LGBTQ umbrella covers us.  The T even looks like an umbrella and, yes, we are part of the transgender community whether you identify as genderfluid as I do, CD, gender non-conforming, transitioning or whatever label you choose for yourself.  Do not like the T? How about the Q?  The Queer community encompasses a wide range of identities and personalities.
If gender non-conformity is to ever come out of the closet (thank you Jaden Smith!) we need to follow the lead of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans and Queer folk who blazed that trail.  How would your life be different if you felt comfortable as a heterosexual male being able to just present however you want, whenever you want?  Even though many of our cis-gender friends know Carrie and were at the 62nd birthday party my wife threw for me over the winter, there are still times I am not 100% comfortable.  The younger crowd does not feel the stigma those of us in the Boomer generation feel, but it is still not mainstream for assigned-males.
My goal with this article is not to point fingers but to ask any of you who can to start going outside your comfort zone and get involved with your local LGBTQ community.  Let’s see if we can make our community better understood!
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37 Comments
  1. Rozalyne Richards 1 year ago

    Hi Carrie it shouldn’t be up to other people how you live your life but it seems that more and more people think that you should live by their ideal’s and not your’s, if some people are happy staying in the closet then that’s their business and nobody else’s, in all walks of life whether if you are gay, straight, bi, or transgender they want you to fit in a box and wear a label, shoes are what you put in boxes not people and the only label you should wear is my name is!!!!!! Hugs Rozalyne x

    • Author
      Carrie Lynn 1 year ago

      Hi Rozalyne, thank you for the reply. I definitely agree that how far “out” a person wants to go is totally up to that person. I just want to be sure it is safe for those who want to be more public, as I am.

      As for labels, I hear that a lot, kind of like the song DON’T FENCE ME IN by Cole Porter. I agree to some extent, but when meeting new people (or coming out to old friends!) it is useful to me to have a descriptor which is both accurate and helps stimulate conversation and questions – hence my use of GENDERFLUID.

  2. Paula1 1 year ago

    Another great article thank you so much

  3. Maggie 1 year ago

    Thanks for the insights Carrie. What I take away from your article is that no matter the label we should be more willing to get out there in the world and support differences in people whether gay, lesbian, gender non conformist etc as they all have many various labels as well. These communities of people esspecially the LGTBQ folks are the ones that have paved many paths already.
    I have the pleasure of going to an LGBT lounge and the folks there are wonderful and very supportive. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Helen Boyd who has written books on the subject. As one of her constructive criticism s is and I happen to agree is that the gender fluid community is still so heavily closeted that we do very little to push forward. I feel that your article touched on that and every time we go out or go to an LGBT event we are just going to further our situation even as difficult as this can be for many of us given the threat of job lose or family rejection etc.
    Thanks look forward to exploring this idea as I continue my journey out of the closet!
    Maggie

    • Author
      Carrie Lynn 1 year ago

      Hi Maggie, thank you for the reply. I hope people who read my article do not take it as personal criticism if they feel they must stay in the closet. I get it. However, if we are ever to have a society safe for us to come out there have to be those who are able and willing to pave the way. I actually have an article in mind about staying safe while still being more public.

      As a community, the genderfluid or CD community, is very closeted much like the lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities before us. As you mention, the main reason I am not just totally public is my wife and I both would take the chance of losing our jobs so I keep Carrie “privately public.” All my family knows and I have felt rejection. I knew it was possible, but the overwhelming response has been neutral to positive.

  4. Mia West 1 year ago

    Carrie,

    I am a trans woman and have known for quite some time. I started my transition a little over a year ago. I have not gotten involved in the local LGBTQ community where I live currently. I was more active in my early 20’s when marching for gay rights than I have been for my own. This last weekend I went out to protest what has been happening out west with the migrant / child issues. While in the same month I did not participate in pride. I don’t feel guilty for it and for the most part it has kept me out of a lot of drama. I like the point that you make for those who are gender fluid or nonconforming and I support them weather they are visible or not. I guess I am so fortunate that others paved the road for me for so many years and has my own personal transition a very happy one, and one with out much conflict. I am not full time yet but am very close to being so. At times when out with friends when I am not dressed as Mia my friends have asked why. The answer is really simple either I did not feel like I had enough time to prepare for the day or event or quite possibly I might not have felt safe where I was going. I hope all under the umbrella of LGBTQA+ feel they are represented, their opinions count, and that their needs are met as far as acceptance as to how they wish to express their gender. Thank you for your article.

    Mia

    • Author
      Carrie Lynn 1 year ago

      Mia, thank you for the reply. I think that for most who transition the goal is to live a binary life, but on the other side of the fence and not straddling it like many of us do. I get that and support it.

      The non-binary/genderfluid/CD community needs pioneers so that one day generations to come can be as comfortable living that non-binary existence as you are living your life now.

      For you in transition I am sure you are Mia regardless of presentation, whereas, for me Carrie is a state of mind that is usually only present when presenting fully female. I find it difficult to blend genders like the young generations do.

  5. Tasi Zuriack 1 year ago

    Nicely said Carrie. We use labels so we can relate to other people but it’s a shame that those same labels also act as a filter and sometimes run unwanted interference. It’s almost unconscionable that any in the T community would use labels to separate others from our community. I identify as crossdresser but I could just as well be gender non-forming, genderfluid or just plain transgender. What difference does it make. I’m still a part-time girl when I want to be.

    I’ve been exploring the use of these different terms for some time so this is a most helpful dialogue. My specific interest is because gender counselors don’t understand the trans community unless they are transitioning yet 80% of us will never transition. The media and political communities just as soon cast us all in one mold, but we are hugely diverse. Take a look at my articles on All About Crossdressing and All About Transgenderism on Sister House
    (https://www.sisterhouse.net/library/category/transgender-resources/all-about-crossdressing/?numtoshow=3&archive=yes) and (https://www.sisterhouse.net/library/category/transgender-resources/all-about-transgenderism/?numtoshow=3&archive=yes).

    Yes the key is get out there and be visible. I did when living in the US and now when retired in Mexico. It’s not such a scary world after all

    • Author
      Carrie Lynn 1 year ago

      Hi Tasi,
      Thank you for the informative stuff. I have not had a chance to go through it all yet, but I will.

      I agree that many counselors are just not equipped to deal with “part time girls.” We were so lucky to find a counselor who has experience across the gender and LGBTQ spectrum. I have to give kudos to my wife for digging until she found the person who fit for both of us.

      In the general public, part of the problem, visibility-wise, is people just assume I am transitioning, I think. If I have time to discuss with someone I will share, but for the most part if I am even noticed they just think I am a trans-woman. I have never been mis-gendered in three-plus years.

      That is part of why I keep coming out to more and more friends – and another couple coming to our house for happy hour tomorrow will confirm what they saw on my wife’s FB page when I inadvertently tagged her in a photo on my Carrie FB page.
      Happy Fourth!
      Carrie

  6. Sorry this is a test to see if I can comment given the performance issues I am experiencing.

  7. Sassy Stacy 1 year ago

    I much prefer the term genderfluid than crossdresser because genderfluid describes what I am while crossdresser describes what I do (sometimes?). And I totally see genderfluid is being under the Q umbrella in LGBTQ. Nevertheless, it’ll take more time for the stigma to be lessened in the public sphere.

  8. A very interesting article. With most of it I’m in total agreement. I firmly advocate that we, in the trans community, quit hiding. I say this after years of hiding myself. The LGB community got no where when they were being as secretive as possible. It wasn’t until a significant number of them came out publicly that any of them were able to establish rights and acceptance from the general public by convincing the general public that they were upstanding citizens who’s only difference from the general population was their sexual preference. We likewise need to be visible so that we too can convince the general public that we are upstanding citizens who’s only difference from the general population is our gender identity.

    Now, the problem we face it having the courage to risk it all, just as the LGB community did. That mean risking our family connection, our jobs and our social standing. A huge price to pay for “the cause.” Everyone can’t afford the risk. So it falls to those of us who are already out to our families to assess the risks in the other areas and start taking those risks.

    I’m not advocating bursting out of the closet on all fronts and telling everyone to just deal with it. In my case, being willing to be seen in public by the same people in my male disguise and my true feminine expression… being willing to push the envelope, with the people who’ve only know my male persona, in gender expression, in clothing and hairstyle letting people who know me see that I have a feminine side that, to borrow a CBer’s expression, is “wall to wall and treetop tall.” The changes I made amongst my friends have been subtle but progressive. Over the years I’ve increased the use of women’s clothing in my everyday attire a little at a time to the point I no longer own any men’s clothing. I’ve let my hair grow starting to wear it first in a low ponytail, then a high ponytail and most recently gathered on the sides and top with a barrette at the crown; replacing first my trousers with women’s with the fly on the distaff side, then with side zip and finally elastic waist with no hip pockets; my shirts with loose shirts that button on the distaff side; my shoes went from men’s loafer to women’s penny loafer, then to women’s boots. My socks went to trouser sock, then to knee-highs. All that while, I was wearing a bra starting with small enhancers, growing to and A cup. growing finally to a full C cup. Years ago I began wearing Toujours Moi, by Dana perfumes daily and recently I’ve begun wearing a neutral lipstick. Subtle, progressive changes in how I present myself.

    I’m retired, but I just got a part time job driving school bus in a small western Oregon town with a population of about 2000. I applied with my hair worn as described as above with an obvious bust line.

    I’m sure that people notice I’m not your average male, but I’ve yet to have anyone take except to how I present myself. What I’m saying is, push the envelop where you can.

  9. Zoe Kay 11 months ago

    Thank you so much Carrie Lynn! Yes, I will try!!! <3

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