Going Out

This post is a bit more personal than my last few.

Going out is always a big deal to me. In a lot of older transgender women, going out to a club all dressed up is their only chance to really express themselves in a truly feminine way. For me though, as a 23 year old trans woman, going out is a bit different. I’d briefly describe it as a mix between a 18 year old just finally getting out, an average 23 year old woman finally coming to terms with her sexuality, and a mix of that trans desire to express yourself so femininely.

When I know I am going to the bar or out to see a bunch of friends (especially when I find said friends attractive), I take at least an hour to prepare. I make sure to carefully do my make up, my hair. I’m fairly meticulous about my appearance. My girlfriend always teases me for taking so long. At first I thought I was just being petty, but now that I have had a good amount of time to figure out things, I see a deeper meaning. For so many years, I was never able to express my femininity freely. Now part of me wants to make up for that, to ensure that I am seen as the woman I am. I am embarrassingly self-conscious about how people view me. Even now I wonder if the people around me see me as a normal woman.

It is odd to know that different people can perceive me so differently. I can be in the room with someone who views me as 100% female, someone who sees me as somewhere in between, and someone who sees me as 100% male. The knowledge that my gender is read so differently by people in the same room makes me second guess myself sometimes. I can dress and act however I want, but there is always the person staring as I walk into the woman’s room in confusion/disbelief.

I am also up against an unintentional opponent in my struggle for expression as a typical woman. Many of my friends do me a favor before bringing people to hang out with my girlfriend and I. They usually explain to the person that we are a very affectionate lesbian couple and if that will make the person uncomfortable, they can leave. This is very much appreciated, because there is nothing worse than being stared at, gawked at, or even insulted for being gay when you’re trying to go out and have fun. However, many of my friends will tell people, before they meet me, that I am transgender, that I was born a man. A year ago, that was sort of necessary; I did not completely pass for either gender completely then. However, now, I am struggling to achieve the feeling of expression as a normal woman. I love being out; I love answering questions and educating, but the bar isn’t where that conversation needs to happen. In fact, it’s a dangerous place, where there is alcohol and unattended drinks when I go up to sing at karaoke. This can be a dangerous place to start with, and introducing something that is so controversial can complicate things. I want to just be seen as a woman first, the transgender part is just one adjective used to describe me, just like saying I’m a bisexual woman, or saying I’m a white woman, or saying I’m a  geeky woman. These are just adjectives that a stranger can get to know. You don’t go explaining any mental or physical conditions to strangers if they aren’t an obvious flaw that the person needs to be worried about. While I appreciate my friends’ gestures to save me discomfort and help out, unless someone wants to get in my pants, they have no business knowing whats in them.

I know almost every woman at one point or another worries about going out. We’ve probably all gone through the experience of relentlessly fixing our hair, doing our makeup, finding the right clothes. Most girls go through that in their teenage years at some point. I kinda just feel like I’m making up for lost time.

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