Passing in public

  • September 17, 2009 3:46 PM BST
    Caution & awareness a tv's vulnerability kept me from going out much for awhile. However, living in a town with throngs of tourists (Charleston, SC), I decided to take tiny steps and evaluate each afterward. I started off with a loose top, ladies shorts & sandals after work in the spring. This gave me exposure from near sunset to the onset of street lights after darkness settled in. I wore light makeup, my short wig & carried a shoulder bag. I found there was absolutely next to nothing to make me stand out from any of those I passed on the street. I looked ahead or to the opposite side when people were nearby, often stopping to window shop at the store fronts. My goodness, what a thrill! It was a comfort to know I was at least relatively safe with hundreds of people milling about.

    The next step was to change the shorts to women's slacks. No problems. Then, I replaced the sandals with a pair of short heels and the loose shirt with a pretty blouse & found, at that point, I got more looks than previously. In time, I gathered up enough confidence to sashay out in a skirt or dress & 3 inch heels and the looks rally came. Not a single confrontation! Just men reacting to a reasonably attractive woman(-like figure) in passing. As the days lengthened, I added a pair of sunglasses and a pretty straw hat with a ribbon on it. These 2 items did wonders & added to my comfort level immensely.

    In time, these excursions built my confidence to the point I could sit on a park bench and enjoy a drink or sandwich without the fear of earlier days. If I was read, I never knew it.
    • 1912 posts
    September 17, 2009 4:23 PM BST
    Jennifer, that is great you have been able to build up your confidence and comfort level to get out with no problems. We have talked recently here about what it takes to get along in society and both confidence and comfort are key factors. You did mention fear and that is definitely something we all face and at some point need to overcome. Passing is one of those funny issues, do you really pass and does it really matter? Chances are you were read plenty but simply put, nobody really cares. Unless you are going to go out wearing some gawd awful embarrassing outfit, nobody is likely to bother you in the settings you have described. People tend to be too busy with their own lives to even notice what is going on with someone they will likely never see again. You are just another face in the crowd and that is a good thing. So be careful and have fun, avoid the biker clubs and teen hangouts, then you should be ok.
    • 746 posts
    September 17, 2009 8:31 PM BST
    As I'm "going thru it" now, I have taken the advice of others and dress to blend in rather than to stand out. Being a tall girl at 5'11" is enough of a challenge, but nothing will draw more attention to you than to look "tarty" or "flamboyant". That said, maybe that's what you want to do...not me...a good day for me is one where nobody points, laughs, or treats you rudely. Must be working because they are getting far, far fewer. Oh, and don't wear heels until you really know how to walk in them and can stand to wear them for extended them for the bed room! LOL

    • 871 posts
    September 18, 2009 2:32 AM BST
    Hiya - Great Stuff!!! I'm so happy for you!

    BTW Marsha, I'm a biker and I regularily go down my local biker rock pub. All my biker friends who I have known for years bar 1 or 2 are really great with my transitioning. I think that non biker people just find biker people generally scarey lol. but theres prolly good reason for that! lol Bikers like their freedom and dont like being interfered with.

    As with teenagers and adults under 25, I would say that is the section of society that I have had the most disrespect from. I guess it is because they are still developing as human beings and still believe that what other people think is ultimately important.

    I was sitting on the tube the other day next to a young girl, she asked me the time and then said to her friend that she asked a man the time. Im sure that if I had the opportunity to say to someone that a niger asked me the time that that would of had an adverse reaction. Of course, I would never say such a thing, why should I lower myself to the same level? (Rhetorical question)

    Living full time is not for the faint hearted but the rewards are unquantifiable! (for me anyway)

    cya for now

    • 1912 posts
    September 18, 2009 3:30 AM BST
    That is a good point about the bikers Penny. Obviously being one of them you are very comfortable being around them, therefore it points out go where you are most comfortable. Trying to fit in where you don't belong will likely be the most testing.
    • 871 posts
    September 18, 2009 10:54 PM BST
    Thats quite right Nikki, I think its all about familiar surroundings. I only go to my local biker rock pub because that is where all my friends hang out. I wouldnt go to a biker pub say 20 miles away without good company! Having said that, I have gone to biker rallies with a couple of friends in amungst say 500 other bikers and I never received any confrontation. I supose, if you look as if you belong then you dont stick out!

  • November 1, 2009 12:18 PM GMT
    Hi Jennifer,

    I think you did a good job my taking a step by step approach in going out.
  • November 10, 2009 1:08 AM GMT
    Hey Jennifer,

    I'm also new on these boards and I think its great that you had enough strength to go out in public dressing in women's cloths without worrying about what people would think. For me at the moment I am too muscline to even try that since I'm just starting my transition and it will be a while before I can a least look like a decent woman but a least I have short height of 5 foot 4 inches. If any one can help me reduce my muscline look that bothers me every day, I would really be greatful for any advice.

    • 434 posts
    November 10, 2009 1:50 AM GMT
    Go girl Go!!!
    It is a marvelous feeling to know that your femininity is at last "seeing the light of day" - and being accepted.
    • 2627 posts
    September 17, 2009 6:52 PM BST
    I like the fact that you warned about teen hang outs. As teens can realy cause trouble when they see someone that looks different.
    I was thinking about a list of do's & don'ts for girls going out. But at best I would be a minor contributer. I'd trust it better if it was made by girls that have been thru it.
    I think it would help those new to going out to feel safer.
    Any ideas?
    • 2017 posts
    September 18, 2009 3:13 PM BST
    Good for you Jennifer, most of us here would recommend baby steps are the way to go in gaining confidence. (Not the way I went but that's another story, lol).

    The importance, as Marsha has already said, is getting your look right first, that means make up and clothing etc, and then you really shouldn't have any issues at all. One other thing, clothes don't make the lady, presentation and how you project yourself carry a lot of weight and is something you just learn as you get out more, and observe other women. Take their lead.

    It sounds like you are doing fine though, enjoy it and keep us posted.


    PS Thinking of Marsha and Penny's comments regardging bikers............As a biker/rock chick myself, I have to say that those places aren't an issue............for me. However, there are differences between British, German and US bikers so I can't comment as I only know those I have been around, i.e. europeans, so I wouldn't condone going near a place where they hang out unless you know you can do so safely.
    • 2017 posts
    September 22, 2009 12:54 PM BST
    I went to one in the UK this summer Penny, and had absolutely no issues at all. I think you're right, if you fit in there and look like you belong, you will be fine. That goes for any environment really.

    • 2573 posts
    September 22, 2009 4:03 PM BST
    Welcome to TW, Jennifer. Was in Richmond last Christmastime and may be back again this year. If you find any good local spots to go out, please post them on the USA Forum. Thank you.

    I am still processing my first time Out in Public and your post has given me much to think about.