In late November 2022, I had the opportunity to go home to Ireland, from Australia, for the wedding of a relative. (As told in Part 1 of my adventure. Read it before reading on.)

In my last week in Dublin, my sister treated me to a photo studio session. The beautician/photographer specialised in transgender clients, and she suggested I try outfits and looks that I might not normally try, including false eyelashes. While I got some nice photos from the session, I felt it was slightly sexualised at times, especially during one photo shoot with fishnets and a short leather skirt. However, I did like the other two outfits, a black lacey dress with a long auburn wig, and a red dress with a blonde bob wig. The photographer encouraged me to adopt various poses (including pretending to put on perfume and lipstick), and we even did a couple of videos. In the videos it was apparent my female walk needs a lot of work! I joked with the photographer that her neighbours must think that she is a sex worker, with men coming and going from her private residence. She informed me that she explains to others that she is a “counsellor.”

After the photo session, with the same makeup and lashes, and having changed into my more casual black denim skirt and white woolen jumper, I had a great girls’ night out in the city with my sisters and sisters-in-law. It was my favourite part of the trip, and my first-time socialising within a cis women-only group as Geraldine. On mentioning this night out to my father, the following evening, he commented that we had picked a gay district, and started rubbing his hands nervously. It was the picture that formed in his mind, having been told by my sister some months before that I had come out as being transgender.

Since this trip to Ireland, it has caused me to think about some issues. There was, of course, the matter of compromising for my parents and not dressing in their presence. While it would have been amazing to attend the wedding itself as Geraldine, I have no regrets. My parents are good people who just have their set views of the world. There was no reason to distress them in their old age, and I still had a great time in Ireland, and got to dress with other relatives.

En Femme Style

Something that I thought was a little strange was that while people appeared to be quite relaxed in Geraldine’s company, they didn’t seem to want to ask me about my crossdressing. However, I did get to have a couple of intimate conversations with my eldest sister and her husband, and at the girl’s night out it was a topic.  Maybe people thought that by not openly discussing it was the best way to respect me. They may have thought it would be awkward for me to discuss. Maybe it was awkward for them, or maybe they were just not that curious or interested. Still, I would have liked to discuss it more, so that it could help them better understand what it means to be a transgender person, and to do some myth busting. Something else surprised me; I had been mistaken about what I expected the reactions of my two brothers to be, with the more conservative one being far more accepting than the one I deemed to be more “live and let live.” They were both still very welcoming and happy to see me after a ten-year absence.

There was also my dilemma that most of my photos, as Geraldine, were with relatives. While they were happy to include photos of me as Geraldine on a closed social media family group, I decided it would be inappropriate for me to post photos of them and Geraldine on more public forums, e.g. on Flickr and here at CDH. Why? Partially because I still need to be careful not to over-publicise my feminine side for fear of it will eventually come to the attention of my wife’s friends, some of whom may visit these sites and may find enough clues to connect the dots and identify me. Also, I didn’t have explicit consent from people who may not be comfortable appearing on public crossdressing sites. While I don’t think it would have been a problem, I felt I should take the safer path. This raises the unfortunate underlying issue of shame and embarrassment. While I look forward to the day when this is no longer an issue for anybody, I suspect that this taboo will remain in many cultures for many more decades (or longer).

Finally, regarding the girls’ night out. While I was very much made to feel like “one of the girls,” I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t presuming explicitly to identify as a woman. Being a non-transitioning, crossdressing man, who hasn’t lived the life experience of a woman, I sometimes question my right to present as a woman. Although I justify my crossdressing knowing that it is something I genuinely identify with, something that brings me a sense of wellbeing, and I am not a threat in women-only spaces (like bathrooms). Also, I don’t claim to be a woman. I just want to celebrate the feminine side of me that could have been, and that I wish I had celebrated much earlier in my life.

Philosophical/sociological questions aside, my take-home message for you from my Irish trip is that if you get the chance to “get out and about” when on an interstate or international holiday… Go for it!

Geraldine, Australia

En Femme Style

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Angela Booth
Member
Trusted Member
1 year ago

What a lovely adventure for you Geraldine. I admire your respect for your parents and those who may have views about crossdressing as even though Ireland has a liberal outlook there are still those that have convictions and beliefs that would be in conflict with crossdressing. That said, the family are family and those that have embraced Geraldine love the person for who they are and not how they present, you are the same person and they accept you without question. As for wanting to have a conversation about your crossdressing well I have had that experience many a time.… Read more »

Leonara
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Geraldine Mac

Geraldine, I want to thank you for your detailed well written article… your personal thoughts are very appreciated and I admire your respect toward your parents… ( I am silent to my family about my CD, especially to my 100 yo conservative father-in-law) Both you and Angela are an inspiration with your chosen “coming out” experience with friends..what I am surprised is: Angela’s and your observation “a bit disconcerting at times expecting a lot of questions that don’t come”.. ..I guess it would give me comfort that people would not be quizzical about my feminine persona but be prepared to… Read more »

Amandah Opal
Lady
Active Member
1 year ago

Lovely read Geraldine and wonderful news on the family support and acceptance, mums and dads lovingly pardoned. I suspect the time for conversations about our crossdressing may be dwindling in light of the recent global publicity on LGBTQIA+, Pride, transgender activism and prominent gay sport people coming out. This is all good news IMO. Interestingly, when I came out to my threes daughter and my son, they asked the following: Was i gay?Were they going to call me Amandah or dad?Could they see my wardrobe?When could we go shopping?Was it ok if they followed me on Instagram and share it… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Amandah Opal
Sarah Kanter
Lady
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your experience, and also your nuanced thoughts about cross dressing in general. I don’t know how it is for all, but so much of what you wrote resonates so much with my own experiences. I remember the first time I came to work dressed up, I was expecting a lot of conversation and discussion, and was surprised at how little I got.

Alli Katz
Lady
Active Member
1 year ago

A very thoughtfully written article Geraldine. It raises all sorts of questions about who we are and where we belong. Like you, I don’t identify as a woman. I enjoy cross-dressing and being in the company of women but I don’t assert that I am one. I’d just be happy to be in the company of men and women who understand my preferences and we could have a good chat about them. It’s why I’m here I suppose. Whereas I believe there should be society-wide tolerance and acceptance of us and certainly no violence or spitefulness directed at us, I… Read more »

carol seck
carol seck
1 year ago

Querida Geraldine, te agradezco el que me haya abierto los ojos sobre esta etapa de mi transición en la que me encuentro.
A veces no encontraba la forma de procesar todo lo que estaba sintiendo y viviendo; creo que después de leerte, ciertas dudas y dificultades toman otra perspectiva.
Es interesante pensar en unas vacaciones fuera de Chile (Argentina, por ejemplo, país que amo), las que podrían darme la libertad y seguridad que aquí tal vez no podría tener.
Sinceras gracias.
Un beso y un abrazo grande.

carol seck
carol seck
1 year ago
Reply to  Geraldine Mac

Hola Geraldine, cómo estás? Qué sorpresas te da la vida, conocer recién a alguien y conectarse con ella de inmediato. Entiendo completamente lo que me dices. Somos extranjeras además en nuestro propio cuerpo. El travestismo y el sueño de la transición es un sentimiento misterioso y excitante, y más cuando sabes que existe otra persona en este mundo que a miles de kilómetros de distancia siente algo parecido. Santiago es una ciudad interesante, a mí, por lo menos, me gusta mucho; así que serías bien venida, amiga. Allí está mi familia, pero también hay otras ciudades muy lindas. Yo he… Read more »

Ger Hayden
Lady
Member
1 year ago

Hi Geraldine. Really like your Irish Eyes contribution. Thank you.
Tried to find you on Flickr.
What’s your Flickr handle?
Ger in Ireland.

Patie Kay
Lady
Member
1 year ago

Geraldine, I too question myself at times, “my right to present as a women." However, I totally enjoy the time I get to spend in their world and also wish I had started earlier in my life. It’s a thrill when clubing getting asked to dance, and when I tell the gentleman that I love to dance, but am not a genetic girl and see the look on their face. Often they will still dance with me and say they would not have known if I didn’t tell them. But not telling them could lead to a bad experience. Hugs… Read more »

Kirra W
Lady
Member
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing your story. As the first one, this second part of your trip is full of adventures!! Girls night, photo shoot, and most important self acceptance of your feminine side!  
I guess that it was not some really relaxing holiday, emotionally speaking! But what a trip.
I hope one day I will be able to open to my family as you had.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  

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