Out of the Closet All Dressed Up And... Everywhere To Go! By Heather Lee
Most transgendered people want to share themselves with the world. Why? Because, much of our self perception is derived from the communities with which we identify ourselves, the "community nature of self." Our desire to interact with the world, to be "out," is only natural and healthy. Being out, especially the first 100 times, can be simultaneously exhilarating and frightening. Some simple forethought and planning can make your experiences out, both fun and memorable. Here are some tips to consider, and questions to ask yourself, for enjoying a safe and lovely time out. Step One - Identify Your Goals? First ask yourself, "What do I want to accomplish by going out?" "What are my goals?" For example, your goal may be to integrate your transgendered personality into everyday life. It may be to enjoy the occasional evening out for dinner, or an afternoon shopping with a girlfriend. No matter, you need to understand why going out in public is important to you, and what you hope to accomplish by going out. Where you go, what you do, and how you conduct yourself will have everything to do with the answers to these questions. Step Two - Consider Safety Your goals should be evaluated in the context of two important issues: your personal safety, and your ability to "pass." The issues are separate, but related enough to consider together. In today's world, no matter who you are, safety should never be forgotten. Things have improved for our community; however, the general level of safety in our society has deteriorated, and you must always be vigilant, and keep yourself out of uncompromising situations. A general rule to remember, the less attention you draw to yourself, the less likely you will be the target of nefarious deeds. Related to safety is the business of passing. Really, this need not be a problem. Dressing in a style that blends in with the local fashion of women in your age group is probably one of the biggest steps in the right direction. Short skirts and extremely high heels draw a great deal of attention - no matter who is wearing them - overly risque clothing is one of the best ways to be read. Avoid clothing that draws a lot of attention; unless of course it is your desire to be "noticed." There are certainly situations where that might be appropriate. The really good news is that regardless of your ability to pass, the vast majority of people really don't care. Your feelings about yourself have as much to do with your ability to pass as just about anything else. The prevailing rule here is common sense. You are responsible for understanding the laws regarding your transgendered activity. In some cases, it is possible to obtain a picture id explaining your situation if you happen to be stopped by police. Regardless, if stopped by the authorities, make certain you cooperate, and explain in the clearest and most honest terms possible why you appear the way you do. Remember, if you act responsibly, with pride and dignity, you can enjoy your time out. Step Three - Where to Go All dressed up and where to go? Well, depending on your goals, and your confidence in going out, there are a very wide range of choices. The key to enjoying a wide variety of choices in public outings is largely a matter of personal confidence. As you gain confidence in your "new" gender role, you will discover a wider variety of public places open to you. If you have never gone out in public, or are an infrequent CD, a great place to meet people and start to gain confidence is a support group. If you're reading this, odds are you can find a local support group in your area via TGF. Also check for clubs that cater to transgendered people, they do exist. For the more adventuresome consider a quiet romantic restaurant. One thing to consider when going out, especially for dinner, is how comfortable you are with your voice. This may sound rather simple, but if you go out to a place that requires you to speak, you will have to speak . . . . be prepared if you put yourself in this situation. Bars and clubs can also be an alternative if you're into night life. In larger cities, many bars and clubs exist for transgendered people. Be careful about where, and what type of bars and clubs you visit. In most you will be very welcome. Finding out in advance the type of clientele that patronize an establishment is a good idea (just in case). During the day time shopping is always fun. This is usually a great activity dominated by highly tolerant people, women. But beware, we are talking about shopping! What's is really important is to do what you enjoy doing, what interests you. Engaging in activities you enjoy will help you relax, and focus on something beyond your appearance. Another option is to stay home and invite friends over. This may not be as exciting as going out, however, it is a great way to share yourself with others, and is an especially attractive option for those who don't want to go out (for whatever reasons). Step Four - Select a Partner Like many things in life, the experience of going out in public is more rewarding when shared with another. While not always possible, it is worth the effort to find a partner. Not only will you have more fun, but there is safety in numbers. Who to go out with? Simple. A significant other is the best place to start. If you don't have an SO, consider a support group member. For a great many people, the fear of going out in public can be overcome by having someone to share the experience with. If you haven't shared who you are with anybody you are close with, this would be a great opportunity to share with someone you can trust. It will help build your relationship, and your own personal confidence, as well as providing someone to enjoy being out with. Step Five - Get Things Prepared and Forget About It After finding a friend to go out with, and selecting a place to go, make whatever preparations necessary and forget about the whole affair, until the appointed time arrives. Thinking about things creates excitement, it also creates anxiety. Anxiety is one reason that keeps people from going out. Make your plans, get prepared, and DO NOT THINK about "it" until you are there. Step Six - Go Out and Have Fun Ultimately what's important about all of this is that you go out and have a good time. If you do a little thinking and planning ahead of time, you can go out and enjoy yourself completely. Really it's no different than everyday life. Some common sense precautions will ensure a good time is had by all. Conclusion Going out in your transgendered personality is really no different than going out in everyday life . . . . except . . . . we must always remember that we run the risk of being read. Most people in society won't notice, and don't care, for the few who do we must remain on guard but otherwise, HAVE FUN! Tips for Going Out ->1.Identify your goals. ->2.Consider safety. ->3.Select a place to go. ->4.Select a partner. ->5.Get prepared and forget it. ->6.Go out and have fun!
Copyright 1995 Transgender Forum & Heather Lee