Where can one find a safe, inviting environment to crossdress in public, enjoy a good dinner and be treated to some top notch entertainment all in one? At a Big Wigs show, of course!
My wife, and I attended a performance by the Big Wigs themselves, drag queens Aggy Dune and Kasha Davis. It was our first time out to a drag show. In a nutshell, we both became instant fans of Big Wigs Aggy and Kasha! Check out their website for upcoming performances. You won’t be disappointed!
What was it like being the only part time tgirl at the party house for dinner and during the show? Did I get read? How did people react to me? What was my wardrobe malfunction? Which bathroom did I use? Is it really safe to crossdress in public, even at a drag show?
The lone tgirl at the drag show
I’ve read countless online stories about transgender groups and/or solo crossdressers attending drag shows. Although I did not find any evidence online that there would be other tgirls at this particular show prior to going, it seemed likely there may be other (non-drag queen) crossdressers at the event. There were not. If there were, I missed them, or they were simply passable and I couldn’t identify them.
Truth be told, I didn’t mind being the only tgirl in the party house. I can’t say I was the truly only crossdresser in attendance, though. There were a number of very butch looking lesbians there, many of whom looked more manly than a lot of men. For the record, my use of the words “butch looking lesbains” is intended to be descriptive, and not in any way condescending or offensive. Words are clumsy and I try to choose mine carefully, and sometimes people still find offense in them. Very masculine looking lesbians don’t often get much attention or flack form people out in the wild these days. At least not to my knowledge, and I do happen across at least one or two whenever shopping. No one stares – they’re not generally considered to be “crossdressing”… because there really isn’t any such thing as a “crossdressing female” these days. Women (and trans-men) truly have made a lot of progress in regard to societal acceptance of individuality (on the whole).
Unfortunately I only ended up with a few quickly taken self-portraits that night, so I can’t offer any “this is how I looked” full-body photos. I wore a form-fitting long-sleeve black blouse, choker, a form-fitting, but not skin tight black miniskirt, and black knee-high, high-heel boots. The photo to the left (click it to enlarge) was taken a couple months ago and shows the same top, choker and boots that I wore. My skirt was a couple inches longer than what I was wearing in the photo, and all black. Unlike in the photo, I was not wearing my “gauntlets” (the silver-studded items on my forearms that cover part of my hands – they blend into the sleeves in the photo). On my left wrist I wore a black leather bracelet with 1/4 inch silver spikes all the way around. On my right, I wore a metal skull bracelet. As usual, my nails were painted black. Yeah – I really like black! :) Even my wife, the fabulous Mrs. H., dressed all in black on this evening. She looked mighty fine, too!
It’s for me, not them
I realize that my look may have been considered somewhat “sexy” and more likely to draw attention from others. However people were going to perceive (or judge) my appearance, I simply wanted to look good – really good. Looking “really good” is an opinion that differs greatly from one person to the next. If I think I look good in the mirror, then I look good, period. My appearance isn’t intended to please others – just myself. If others find it pleasing, too, that’s icing on the cake. For the record, there were plenty of very nicely dressed (as in wearing revealing, sexy outfits) genetic women present, my wife among them.
The eyes were upon me
As I’ve said before, contrary to my very carefully chosen, publicly shared photos, I do not pass in public. I look like a man in makeup, dressed like a woman… who happens to have amazing legs! :) The photo to the right (click to enlarge) was taken before dinner and offers an idea of how I look out and about, when I can’t control the lighting and my hair has gotten a little messy. It’s definitely not my most flattering self-portrait, but it is the best of the few I took that evening. It’s not always so apparent in a limited 2D photo, but in full 3D, there are things that give me away as genetically male. I’m easily read by anyone within about 10 meters who happens to look directly at me.
The walk from our car to the entrance was about 40 meters or so. The first group of people we passed offered the usual response. About 5 or 6 meters away, they all abruptly stopped talking, stared right at me, without blinking, and remained silent until a couple meters passed us. This kind of response isn’t a problem – not in the slightest. I get it. Seeing people like me isn’t a “regular thing” in this region. There was no sense of malice, and if they shared a laugh at my expense, I was unaware, and frankly didn’t care.
It pretty much went like that for most of the night, for those who were close enough to get a look at me. Most people looked away when I made eye contact. When my eyes meet with someone’s, I usually smile. Many people seemed to try not to look at me or acknowledge my presence at all. If I had to guess, this treatment is probably meant with “good intent” – not wanting to stare at the nearby “different person” so as not to be rude.
An opportunity missed
At the table next to ours sat the family of one of the drag performers. One of the women at the table made eye contact with me several times throughout the evening. I smiled back, or at least think I did. I felt as if she wanted to say something or initiate a conversation. It’s hard to say what’s on someone’s mind when all you have to go by is a look on their face, that may or may not have been interpreted with any accuracy. I can be pretty shy out in public (regardless of gender being expressed). If this woman did want to initiate a conversation with me, it is conceivable that she picked up on my “shy vibe”. Did my perceived shyness prevent her conversing with me? If so, what kind of conversation did I miss out on? In the unlikely event you (nearby frequent eye-contact woman) have found your way to my writing here, please make contact with me and share! You may identify yourself by describing who you were with, your appearance, and a general description of our tables (location, table numbers, whatever).
“Hey, look – there’s one of those…”
After the show, people formed a line from the main performance area to the building’s front entrance/exit. The line was moving very slow. A young woman (mid 20’s?) seated at the bar read me at a distance of about 3 or 4 meters. She started thumping on the arm of her female friend, sitting to her left (my right, facing them). “Hey, there’s one of those…”, she started to say, not so discretely, just as she glanced over to see that I was looking directly at her. She abruptly looked away and stopped thumping on her friend’s arm. I continued looking at her for a few moments. Her reaction wasn’t upsetting to me, nor did I look upon her with disgust or resentment for what she was about to do. If she was going to point me out like that, she was going to have to do it while I watched. Perhaps in that brief moment, she realized that I was human, too, which is all I wanted. If I was a little quicker thinking, I would have smiled and waved my finger back and forth, as if to say, “No, no.”, attempting to bring humor into it. A touch of humor can be a very effective way of winning people over.
My wife and I were both aware of the many eyes upon me. Nothing negative was spoken, or at least nothing that either of us could hear. Neither one of us caught anyone giving me a look of disgust or disapproval or anything of that sort. I was simply a unique presence, and not something most of these people has ever seen out in the wild before.
A slight wardrobe malfunction
As a precautionary measure, I was wearing black, skin-tight shorts under my skirt. During the drag show I was basically dancing while seated. My head, shoulders, upper-torso, arms, and legs were all in motion, but I remained seated (most of the time, anyway). When the show was over and I stood up to leave, I realized that my shorts had rolled up a little under my skirt as a result of all that motion-while-seated. A noticeable line/bump was visible just a few inches above my skirt’s hem. Without much thought, I raised my skirt enough to correct the problem and smoothed them out. Then it dawned on me – probably not a lot of women would do such a thing in public, especially in a crowd like that. Doh! My immediate thought was “I’m wearing shorts and nothing ‘indecent’ is showing.”, but who is to say how others may have viewed it. I kind of didn’t care what anyone thought, had they caught me fixing the issue. I’ll try to be more subtle if something similar happens in the future.
Mrs. H. had no such problem. She looked amazing from head to toe, and didn’t even have a hint of panty-lines! About half way through the show, she revealed her secret to not having any visible panty-lines. She told me she wasn’t wearing any. When I asked, “Seriously?”, she smiled and showed me behind the table. Nope. No underwear! lol There I was in multiple layers trying to play it safe, and there she was being… well, her fearless self. I love her so much! After almost 20 years of marriage, she still surprises me!
Which bathroom did I use?
This question gets asked in online transgender/crossdressing communities almost as frequently as new members join. There’s usually some debate over what is “appropriate” and why, along with plenty of people who express that they use whatever bathroom is gender-appropriate to “how they are dressed” at the time. So which bathroom did I use?
I certainly wasn’t about to use the men’s bathroom as Gabrielle. Not wanting to risk any potential friction for attempting to use the women’s bathroom at the party house, I planned for not being able to use any bathroom for the 4 hours we would be there. To accomplish this, I stopped consuming any liquids about two hours before we expected to arrive at the party house, emptying my bladder often as possible prior to leaving. To keep my mouth from getting dry, I chewed sugarless gum. Dinner was buffet style, and I chose foods that were less likely to dry out my mouth or require the consumption of liquid to wash down. I made it through the evening without a single sip of liquid, and without the need to go to the bathroom. With some planning and a little mental conditioning, it is possible to avoid the need to go to the bathroom, for a few hours at a time, without much discomfort. Before you go trying this yourself, be advised that it can be dangerous to prevent yourself from urinating for long durations. I’m sharing how I was able to get through the evening without the need for “choosing a bathroom”. I’m not recommending that anyone go trying to “hold your pee”. Use my method at your own risk, and understand that if not done very carefully, serious health complications may occur.
A very safe environment to crossdress in public
Everyone made reservations, and paid a premium for dinner and a drag show. It is unlikely that someone interested in seeing a live drag show is going to be too upset by, or have an issue seeing a crossdresser at such an event. Although many non-trans folk may not be entirely familiar with the differences between a drag queen and a crossdresser/tgirl, I think there is a general understanding that they are different. For the record, yes, a crossdresser can also be a drag queen, too. I had a pleasant email conversation with a crossdresser who performed as a drag queen. And no, I don’t want to get into a discussion about what the differences are – not in this post.
If you’re a crossdresser looking for a safe, trans-friendly place to be out en femme, attending a drag show is a good choice in my opinion. Did I mention I just happen to know of a great live drag show? Big Wigs! Can’t find any drag shows in your area to attend en femme? Ask yourself how far is too far. There was a group of people from New Mexico in attendance, just to see the Big Wigs show. That’s about 1800 miles away. You probably won’t need to travel as far – at least not for whatever drag performances may be available in your general location.
Please don’t ask me asking if I know of any good places to dress or where the nearest drag show in your area may be. You can find a drag show the same way I did – just ask your search engine of choice and do a little homework. :) People sometimes write to me asking for information about trans-friendly groups and locations in their region. As much as I’d like to offer some help, I don’t maintain, or know of any all-inclusive trans-friendly place by location database. If you know of such a resource (that is all-inclusive or listed by region), please let me know or just post it in a comment.
MAKE public crossdressing “normal”
Ever see a mixed couple out in public and think, “Wow – that’s strange. An inter-racial couple. Yes, very strange. Let me call attention to it so my friends are aware, too.” Probably not. Why? Because there are inter-racial couples everywhere and we’re all used to it. It’s “normal”. But it wasn’t that way 30 years ago. It was still kind of a big deal to see an inter-racial couple in public when I was a kid. The main reason is because it simply wasn’t something people were as used to. Additionally there was a greater naivety and distrust for “minority” races (among the majority white folk of the time).
What changed? Visibility and time. People got used to seeing mixed races out and about, including inter-racial couples. People (most of them) realized how very stupid it was to think poorly of a different race just for being a different race, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with inter-racial dating/marriage.
Getting out in public en femme increases transgender visibility. In some regions (NYC, for example), seeing trans folk in the wild is already something that people have become used to and consider “normal”. Change won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, and we can all help bring it about.
Countless people have written to me about their own public crossdressing experiences, which have been overwhelmingly very positive reports. There is often a mention of someone pointing and laughing and/or being stared at, but so what? There’s nothing dangerous about that and people point and laugh at other people for a variety of reasons all the time. Some people just love the false sense of superiority they derive from making fun of others. It’s a common ego boost tactic used by insecure people (in an effort to hide their insecurity from others). So be it. That’s their problem. Don’t let it become yours, too. Ignore it, and it passes right though you, allowing you to have a great time.
Jerks are like mirages – all show, no substance, and they just don’t matter
Jerks only have power over you if you give it up to them (if you believe they have power over you). If you happen across jerks while out and about (en femme, or not), just ignore their taunts & teases. They may laugh, etc., but you’ll maintain control by not giving them the desired reaction. It’s nothing personal – many jerks are not entirely conscious of the fact they’re being jerks. They’re just small, petty, insignificant, insecure jerks running on automatic, much like a car on cruise control, and just about as smart. The best way to gain the upper hand on a jerk who taunts you, is to ignore them. They may try to hide it on the outside, but it really bothers them when they fail to get a negative reaction and create drama. Their failure is your success. That’s the truth!
It’s better with friends
Don’t push yourself if you’re not ready. There’s safety in numbers, so crossdressing in public is going to be a lot less scary and a lot more enjoyable if you’re with a friend or group.
Where do you go when you’re all dressed up?
There are a number of transgender/crossdressing support group meet-ups, but I’m more interested in learning about simply being out “in the wild” en femme, not necessarily just to meet up with other trans folk as a trans-only thing. Please feel free to share whichever, though. Additionally, if you’ve been to a Big Wigs show, or another notable drag show (preferably en femme), leave a comment about your experience.