Posting My First Photo En Femme

On January 1, 2009, I ventured online as Gabrielle for the first time. In preparation to begin interacting with others, I created a flickr account and uploaded my first femme-photo. Prior, only my wife had seen me this way.

Posting that first photo was a bit strange at the time. I felt exposed to some extent. It’s kind of funny to me now – how it seemed like such a big deal to publish my photo as Gabrielle online for the world to see. This is simply who I am and I don’t think twice about sharing photos and stories about my life now. That first step out of complete privacy and into the public eye felt like a big one at the time, but I quickly became comfortable with it and posted another photo just days later.

To celebrate the anniversary, I thought it would be fun to recreate my first publicly shared photo, one year later. Although (originally) posted on January 1, 2009, the photo was taken in December of 2008. The new one was taken exactly one year and one day later.

Gabrielle #4 Pretending to be surprised (Dec. 2008) Surprised Redux (+1 Year) This photo was taken in late December 2009, exactly 1 year and 1 day after my original "Gabrielle #4" photo was taken. Gabrielle #4 was my first (ever) photo as Gabrielle published online.On the left you see my first published photo and on the right is the one-year anniversary recreation, taken a couple of weeks ago (click to enlarge either). The background was removed in the photo on the left because the bathroom I was standing in at the time didn’t make for a very attractive composition.

There you have it – the same outfit, same pose, thicker eye-liner, darker lipstick, and weighing in 10 pounds lighter. One year later, and I’m just as “surprised” as ever.

The original “surprised” pose was not inteded as such, but it almost seems to illustrate the emotion associated with taking that first photographic step online: excitement and surprise to finally be sharing this aspect of my life with others.

A question to my trans-sisters
Have you posted photos of yourself (en femme) online? How did you feel about it that first time? If you have chosen not to share your femme-appearance or removed photos, what were the deciding factors?

If you have an online album of your femme photos to share, feel free to post a link to it in your comment or include the URL in the “website” field if you like. If you do so, please be sure to leave a comment and not just a link. Please DO NOT include a link to photos that expose too much, are sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate. They will not be published.

22 thoughts on “Posting My First Photo En Femme”

  1. Hmmm it seems the first en femme picture of my face was the campy witch costume I did one Halloween, for my Google thing to post here. I really don’t have a lot of en femme pictures period.

    1. Was that also your only publicly shared photo to date, Erin P.? I understand not having many. That was my problem for a while and for all the times I’ve dressed up and been in makeup, I still have a low photo count in comparison.

  2. Yes I think it is. I am not big on pictures of myself. I use a mirror which you can look at through rose colored glasses. With pictures I see the flaws more than anything else.

    1. @ Erin P. – I can relate to the mirror vs. picture thing. In the mirror, all we need do is to make ever so slight adjustments to how we stand or our facial expression to look just right. In a photo, you’re stuck with that one split second and can’t adjust much after the fact.

      @ Lynn – I don’t have any “early years” photos. :( I took a couple of short videos here and there but erased them quickly after. Wasn’t looking fery femme, anyway, without any makeup.

      I’ve checked out some of your flickr photos. :) Happy to be among your trusted friends there. Very lovely, too, btw.

      For the most part, I don’t care who might recognize me from my photos. It is unlikely many will, anyay, because I look so very different. I even uploded a close up to my man-side facebook account. Only a handful of fb friends who saw me at the class reunion have said anything about it. My family and in-laws have not said a word online or in person. In person, I might get recognized (as in if I am en femme), but not so likely in my photos – not even the close-ups. That caked on makeup does wonders under just the right lighting. It is not in my best interest for everyone to know about this aspect of my life, but I will face it without a shread of embarrassment should anyone figure it out. If I get laughed at, I’ll laugh right back! lol

  3. I think the lack of a decent camera meant I didn’t capture many of the ‘early days’ shots. That may not be a bad thing though! :D

    Nowadays, I do post a few, but mainly on sites where you have to register. There are one or two on my blog, but they tend to be quite small. I’ve got some on FlicR – as you know :) – but that’s friends only.

    I guess I’m still a bit cagey about showing my face. Even after all these years on-line, I still worry that one day someone I know will find the images. Oh well! :D

    PS: Congrats on the weight loss. ;)

  4. Lynn I think I have that fear as well. Someone I know will see it and then who knows me. My major issue with that is that it is not just me that would be effected.

  5. I think you looked pretty darned good in the first pic, and really great in the second.

    I’ll be brave and post my flickr page. I know, there’s a lot of cleavage pics, especially at the beginning (sorry about that), and the pics are in reverse chronological order (and the recent ones are not all that recent). The earliest pics are of the “no-face” variety and are at the end…I probably need to re-order the pics and definitely need to add the more recent ones.

    I’m not “too” worried about being recognized, but I’m not planning on telling everyone either…all the people who really matter already know anyway.

    Thank you for this post G.

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Erin K.! :)

      And thank you for sharing your flickr photos. Yes – you do have several cleavage shots. :o I prefer the images in which we get to see more of you, but for what it’s worth, you do a convincing job in that department. You’ve got some lovely photos in your collection and really should work on getting some more posted. :) I LOVE those boots, btw!!

      I’m glad that you can share your whole self with the people who “really matter” in your life. I think that’s so important – mainly, just allowing those closest to you to truly know you. There are more people in my life who I plan to share my whole self with in the future. It’s kind of sad, but sharing this kind of thing has to be done tactfully and with proper timing… though I’m often feeling tempted to just jump into the pool head first and just enjoy the waves, so to say. lol That is a topic for exploration another time though. ;)

  6. It’s like the difference in my first versus my latest:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnindenver/1494955624

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnindenver/4181197777

    Better makeup, better makeup application, pierced ears, and a lot more public with myself over the course of two years.

    I’ve been enjoying some of the waves lately in terms of the outlying people that I’m still telling, but I’ve gotten all my core groups of friends clued in. The only place that I haven’t officially outed myself is my workplace, and even them I’m pretty sure they’ve pieced it together. :)

    1. Thanks for sharing your early vs. recent photos with us, Lynn. :) You look lovely, and I must say that smile of confidence is great! A show of confidence can make or brake the look, not to mention work wonders in how well one is accepted by others when sharing this aspect of life with friends/family.

      I’m glad to hear that the “waves” are good ones in your life. The workplace is a tricky environment. People often discover many things about their co-workers (regardless of gender expression). It’s part of interacting with others on a daily basis – people pick up on subtle things over time. I take it no one treats you poorly at work, and that is all that matters. A little respect and professional courtesy go a long way.

      Wishing you continued waves of success! :)

  7. G, Thank You! (blush!) As to the boots, it took quite a while to find a pair that fit properly on the calf. I noticed you have a nice pair yourself ;)

    Lynn, thank you for sharing. You commented on the “early” pic, but I like it as much as your “current” ones.

    As to “those who know”…it comes down to my GF, and my oldest friends. I revealed to my GF very early on (and many thanks to her for being who she is). I revealed to my oldest friends about a year ago and it went about like I had predicted, flawlessly.

    Thank you again G. I think you have a wonderful thing going here and I appreciate the opportunity to listen, to learn from you, and to share.

    1. You’re welcome, Erin K. :) I’m kind of a boot-junkie and have several pair. I hear you on finding the right size – not always easy.

      Your girlfriend sounds like a keeper in my book. :) I have high respect and admiration for women who are accepting and supportive of their trans-partners. Please send my love and best wishes to yours.

      I’m so happy you enjoy my offerings here, Erin. :) Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it going for a long time to come. It’s important to show the world we’re good people and live our lives without shame about who we are. Thank you for your continued participation and for having the courage to be yourself. I have much respect for my trans-sisters who accept this aspect of their lives and put forth a positive show.

  8. For being recognized; I have come to a place in my life where I don’t care so much for myself. In fact part of me wants to live as both. If it was just me and my wife I think I would be more open about it. But my other considerations are not only my children but the socialization issues that they one or more are having. Oh well. Funny that when I am ready to leave the closet behind circumstance isn’t.

    Erin: Never be ashamed of cleavage;)

    1. It always comes down to those with whom we are connected to, doesn’t it, Erin P.? Even when we can accept and deal with the idiotic social stigma that accompanies being publicly-trans, it can be a heavy burden to ask our loved ones to bear the same… especially when it comes to children. That need not limit how one lives one’s life, although it does carry with it an additional set of complications – especially on the parenting front.

  9. I would like to add my compliments on your fabulous site (and I have just written you a message on flickr to that effect as well).

    I don’t have any childhood CD experiences, so I’m going through an accelerated adult process, I guess. Posting my first photos was as much liberating as it was scary, but I was wearing a wig and a lot of makeup, and I carefully disguised any background that might be familiar. Trouble was, there was also a part of me that looked at those photos and didn’t see myself either. In fact, I would scour the photos and eliminate those where I looked too much like myself.

    This didn’t really sit well with the gurl inside, though.

    Over time – not that long, actually – I have made changes to my physical self (nothing artifical, though) so that I appear more feminine and don’t need a disguise. So, I dropped the wig, cut back on the makeup and can now feel that the photos have more truth in them, if you know what I mean.

    Of course, now if anyone I know sees my photos, I will be instantly recognized, which is a brand new fear. As awful as that prospect is, sometimes I wonder if I am purposely tempting fate.

    My photos are at http://www.flickr.com/cdjanie

    1. Thanks for sharing your story and photo link, Claire. You look lovely, btw. :)

      Perhaps a part of you wants to be recognized in your photos in an effort to test whether or not you will find acceptance in whoever discovers your photos. I think people inherently have a need or desire to know how others think of us (as in those we see day to day). In keeping secret such a significant aspect of one’s being, one can never really know how others feel about them.

      I’ve been slowly coming out to people I know and it has been mostly positive and very liberating. Perhaps in time, you will find what you are looking for on that fate-tempting level in doing the same. If/when it is right for you.

    1. Thanks, Phoenix. :) When I was young and still living with my parents, I did something similar. It’s not easy at such a young age. The good news is that eventually you’ll grow up, find a job, take control of your own life, and a lot more freedom. Hang in there. It gets better! :)

  10. I remember posting my first full on CD pics on Flickr. It was part of an experimental try at the concept. I thought the results were ok, but, I like my androgynous look more.

    But It did seemed strange seeing me in clothing I do wear as a male, but for the pics done is a Very feminine manner. I have to admit, going all the way opposed to the androgynous look I usually do was quite fun. It is almost an art form.

    My honest feeling is, if more guys tried it, they would also like it.

    I have since gotten many compliments, with some from guys who thought I was female (?). My transgendered friend said I had an exotic look to myself, which I find appealing, to hear.

    I also got one negative statement from some guy calling himself Fireman…something. He said “WTF? Yuck”. Such a nice thing to say.

    But all the others have been nice.

    I guess I should post the link.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29482148@N05/

    It may be gone soon though, due to some bigotry taking place at Flickr.

    What I really want to do is get some shots with me posing by my plane, now that would be fun.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Pythos. :) I know your preferred look is androgyny, but for what it’s worth, I think you pull off the full-femme look well and would encourage you to continue to explore it. That is, if you find it interesting or enjoyable enough to do on your own.

      I think more guys would enjoy it as well, if they gave it a try. Of course, that would only work if they were not so cowardly about what “others might think” and afraid of being ridiculed themselves. No one wants the social stigma that comes along for the ride in this “macho rules” society. In their defense, I can’t say I blame them for that feeling, but I will blame them for behaving poorly about the topic when they do.

      In terms of your “negative statement”… you should see the terrible things people say to me, and with greater frequency. I get called names, told I will burn in hell, death wished upon me, and just plain lashed out at (sometimes by other transgender folk) in aggressive and belligerent ways. I do not publish hate comments, nor comments in which people lash out senselessly. For the record, I do feed off the energy they offer me so freely. It doesn’t get me down, but rather let me know I’m doing something right. ;)

      I hope you will choose to keep your photos on flickr… at least until you find another online home for them. :)

      NOTE: For those curious as to why Phythos’s flickr photos require you to log into flicker to view, trust me – they’re quite safe and not vulgar or sexually explicit. I think a couple of them may have fallen in a gray area of violating flickr’s (unpublished) guidelines and that is probably why they are categorized as they are. I’d encourage you to at least give them a quick browse and make up your own mind in that regard.

  11. Thanks for the note there about the restriction.

    I will definitely work on my appearance, including the CD aspect. It is fun.

  12. I am very definitely a non passable crossdresser, so other than one July 4th at a drag show, I’ve only ventured out on Halloween, and not even every Halloween..

    So far I have only received a few comments, almost all positive.

    Gabrielle, you look lovely btw. I hope to see more pics of you soon!

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