Early on a Sunday morning, the neighbours are all still sleeping, I start for a ten-hour-ride from Frankfurt in Germany to Vienna, the capital of Austria.

Without a stirring of astonishment or an odd look the receptionist at the hotel check in counter accepted my male data and my male signature. I handed him my VISA-card with my male name. Again no reaction of astonishment nor any questions, as if it was the most natural thing on earth. By the way, now, ten years later, I always book a hotel and check in with my femme name.

A self-assured appearance and manner and a good passing are unalterable requirements for a crossdresser to be accepted, be it while shopping or standing in the queue of the checkout in the supermarket or the theatre box office or when paying with your credit card or when travelling on the underground, train or bus or when ordering a meal in a restaurant.

In the magnificent Café Central with live piano music I am being treated with overwhelming friendliness. Of course the customer is king, but this is not to be taken for granted. I give the waitress a smile and she smiles back. A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear and it will open the hearts of people. Finally I ask her to take a picture of me. “Of course” she answers and I give her my camera. Everything seems to be so easy going. At the end I thank her for the friendly service. She smiles: “That goes without saying and come back soon.”

I am not a Catholic, but I like attending the service in the big cathedrals. I like the organ music and the echo of the heavenly sounds in the vast cathedral. Sometimes a shiver runs through me. A nice gesture in which I am always included quite naturally is the request of the priest: “Reach out your hands for peace.” Believers around me stretch out their hands, take my hand and I reply: “Peace be with you”. I am included in this ceremony without questioning. As if it is the most natural thing in the world.

As I have lunch in a pizzeria near the cathedral, the waiter serves me in a cool and reserved manner without a smile. Has he got a problem with me as a man in women’s clothing? I observe him quite a time and realize that he treats the other guests in the same objective manner. This is probably one of his characteristics. At the table next to me there are two gentlemen from Vienna with whom the waiter laughs and talks a lot. Evidently they are regular guests. The waiter knows them personally.

The next day I visit the castle of Schoenbrunn: 1400 rooms, among them 40 state rooms, the lively guide and the vividly presented stories of Maria Theresia and Sissi are real highlights. The guide and the other tourists accept me as one of them and I even dare to ask some questions. I feel really at home right from the beginning. The big mirrors in each room tempt me to look into them and the mirrors tell me: “You look good, your makeup and hairdo are perfect”. Isn’t that typical for a crossdresser to always look into a mirror whenever there is an opportunity? Isn’t that an expression of our narcissism?

With the beautiful sunshine all the seats in the garden restaurant are taken. There, an empty table. I hurry to get a free seat. Later a lady asks me: “Do you mind me taking a seat at your table?” For me this request is a sign of acceptance. I am no outsider.

Before the concert in the evening I again go to the pizzeria with the reserved waiter. He recognizes me, smiles at me, leads me to a free table and asks me if I again want a glass of apple juice. The ice has been broken.

The concert was unique: Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and a modern composer. Next to me sits a gentleman with a grim face when I realize that his wife has a separate seat a bit farther away. I offer the gloomily looking man to exchange seats so that he and his wife can sit together. The man’s face brightens and a broad smile appears on his face. He thanks me profusely, while I move to the single seat of his wife.

The trip to Vienna was an experience for me that furthermore strengthened my self-confidence. During these five days I have learnt an important lesson: When you cast off your male macho behaviour or your shyness and timidity and move around with your head up and with self-confidence, when you are dressed decently with decent makeup according to the respective occasion and surroundings (that is why I always observe the ladies how they dress and move around), there will be no odd looks. On the contrary, you will fully be accepted as a ‘real’ lady. Even a small talk will be no problem and will break down barriers. And do not forget to smile. Women smile more often than men.

This encouraging trip now lies ten years back. Up to now I have never had a negative experience when moving around in public.

Have courage and step out of the dark, confining closet into the bright light of freedom. The reward will be an overwhelming experience.

 

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Stella Friedrich

I am Stella from Frankfurt in Germany. I am married to an understanding wife, who has known about Stella for about 20 years now. She is not really delighted about my crossdressing and wishes it were different. Which wives say: "Hurrah, my husband is a crossdresser!" So far I have met none.

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  1. Margie 9 months ago

    Great article Stella and I envy you. I have only been out, dressed with a wig, twice and that was with my wife. I would never go out without her. I believe what you say about blending in but it sure is hard and must take a lot of experience. My wife would say “relax!”. She passed away recently and maybe I can be lucky and find someone to share some confidence with. I loved the two times going out but it was sure scary!

  2. Terrim 9 months ago

    I have been going out enfemme almost 40 yrs. I probably can count on one hand the negative incidents I have had during that period. I still get excited going out as Terri. Recently a friend and i went shopping for a coat for her. This was a relatively new experience for her. We had no problems. My advice is dress for the occasion. Enjoy, life is short.

  3. Wilhelmina 9 months ago

    Stella, you are absolutly right I travel enfemme mainly in Vienna and had always the same experince. Vienna is a fantastic city, they are very touristic friendly at all, but we are also well accepted enfemme. I also had never problem in Hotel or with the police with my mans driver licence. For me from Budapest it is the best place to go enfemme.
    Wilhelmina

  4. Dani Grand 9 months ago

    Beautiful story Stella. Western Europe seems much more accepting. What you’ve demonstrated here is called ‘owning it’. Well done sister!

  5. Janine 9 months ago

    Hello Stella
    I was infatuated reading about your experience and found it fascinating
    it go’s to show that if you have the confidence in yourself to look and act like a lady that you can and will be accepted as one
    Your experience proves it
    .Thank you for telling us about your incredible experience.

  6. Philippa Johns 9 months ago

    Stella your experience is a good guide for those who are hesitant to go out in public. Of course an accepting partner is a great bonus and in that I’m fortunate. My wife and I travel as two women regularly and as long as you are natural and confident most people are accepting because very few people really look hard at you. People see what is before them and if, as you say, you dress and makeup to blend not stand out no one is likely to think you are other than presented. Again I agree that in the word of the song you are never fully dressed without a smile.

    Love Philippa

  7. Stella – your experience mirrors my own so much it is eerie. I have been accepted everywhere I go with a smile and friendship. I always take care to look good and to walk and talk with confidence. I’m not ashamed of me, so the people around me just accept me for who I am. I have never been en femme out of the Seattle area, but I would love to go elsewhere and express this side of me.

    More power to you hon!

    Hugs,
    April

  8. Bronwyn 9 months ago

    Confidence, that is something i will never have, i have not had it in the past and i know it will elude in the future, [and present]. Some have, some don’t but i am always envious and in awe of those that do.I am, by nature a loner, always have been and still am. i am always impressed to other braver CD’s.

  9. Sallysim 9 months ago

    Hi Stella, thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences with us all, I’m sure you will inspire increased confidence in many. Although I have been dressing since very young it’s only the last 2 years that I have blossomed in to Sally and publicly are very proud of her. I love going out in public and have only had a couple of derogatory remarks, but as you say confidence is the key to being accepted. I say come on girls be confident and be yourself, now let’s get out there and show the world who we really are.
    Hugs Sally xxx

  10. Sylvia 9 months ago

    Hi Stella, Always nice to see that more people from Europe present themselves on this forum. I also like to spend my ‘en femme’ time in public and like you so far I’ve never encountered any negativity. The people in Amsterdam might be very progressive and tolerant but like you I believe that good manners, decent clothes and a smile will get you far.
    Love, Sylvia

  11. skippy1965(Cynthia) 9 months ago

    Stella,
    You give me confidence ju reading about your outing! I have been working on my confidence as I try to get Cyn out into the world more. I am still exploring where I fall on the CD/TS spectrum,and don’t know where I will land, but am enjoying the journey. Thank you for this inspiring article!

    Cyn

  12. JaneS 9 months ago

    What you say is so very true Stella. It’s amazing what a pleasant smile can do. You only have to look at the photos here at CDH to see that when people smile they look far more natural.

    As someone very close to me said, “If crossdressing makes you all happy why do so few of you smile?”

    Thank you for your example of how things can be in what really isn’t a ‘big, bad world’.

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