It’s been a while since my previous post, which also happened to be about venturing out into public. Much has been going on in my life, including a rather important self-realization (which I’ll write more about another time).
A brief update to now
Since August of this year (2013), I’ve been going out in public (as myself, “Gabrielle”) about once a week. This includes meeting up with other transgender people for formal group activities, and also spending time at transgender-friendly businesses/locations on my own or with some friends.
It’s been inmensiely gratifying – meeting other local transgender people, making friends, sharing experiences, getting to know each other, and just plain being out in the world as my true self. I’ve been mostly sticking to transgender-friendly locations, though – at least when I venture out alone. It felt time to grow and step outside my comfort zone again.
Time to take some important baby steps
This past Saturday, I went to a local liquor store to purchase some beverages. It’s part of a busy shopping plaza and I had been there before in guy-mode.
After making my selections, I headed to the front desk to check out. The cashier, Sam (not his real name), asked for ID. It’s been a long time since I’ve been asked for proof of age when purchasing alcoholic beverages. In fact, I believe the last time was last century!
My driver’s license was in my car. Even if I had it on me, the photo and info is of “Gabe”, not Gabrielle. I asked Sam if I really looked like I was under 30 (the age at which one must appear to look older than, so as not to be asked for proof of age). I’m over 40!
Lisa (not her real name), the manager on duty, was called over to make a judgement call on whether they could sell me liquor without an ID or not. Thankfully, I had enjoyed some conversation with Lisa before, in guy-mode, and reminded her of our previous conversation. She paused for a moment, then did a rather amusing double-take and remembered me.
Enjoying the moment
I told Lisa, “Well, I do look a little younger when I’m wearing makeup, don’t I?” I turned to Sam, and said, “Yes, makeup does wonders!” They were both very cool to me and we had a laugh together about it (the makeup joke).
After completing my purchase, I chatted with Lisa for a while. She complimented my appearance, and I returned the compliment (not to be polite, but because she is rather attractive). We spoke for a while, then other customers came and she had to get back to work.
Shopping is an activity I usually reserve for when I’m guy-mode, especially if I’m going to be alone. Until now, that is. I’ve been working on living and experiencing more (life) as Gabrielle. Although this was just a small thing, it was so beautiful to see how cool everyone was to me. I’ve had some very uncomfortable experiences out in public as Gabrielle before, but this one was rather cool and very positive.
Being treated like a human
So I don’t look 100% female and I get “read”. I don’t mind so much – especially when people are so cool and actually know how to treat other people (who are different than they are) like human beings!
It used to annoy me when I got proofed, but not this time. Sam thought I might just be under 30. Talk about an ego boost!!
Good impressions open minds
Perhaps even more important than my own personal growth is the fact that I left a good impression with Sam and Lisa. If I ended up being a “story” they told friends/family later that evening, I don’t think the story would have be about some “weird-o” or “freak”, but rather a trans-woman with a good sense of humor, who knows her way around conversation about psychology and how artificial intelligence is being used as a powerful diagnostic tool in health care, both of which I discussed with Lisa.
Positive change, one person at a time
Transgender issues are starting to be brought up more in political discussions. Demonstrations and the political process have a place in bringing about positive change in society, but I much prefer the subtle approach – opening minds, helping non-trans folk feel more comfortable around transgender people, making friends, and leaving a good impression.
If you’re reading this, what ever your flavor of “trans” is, I hope you’ll choose to do the same, if you’re not already. It is a little scary venturing out into public (as a transgender person who is easily “read” as such), but it gets easier the more I do it.
Looked at, but not laughed at
Interestingly, even though I still get looked at (I do feel the eyes upon me) as being a “different person”, I’m not getting laughed at anymore. I don’t think I’ve been laughed at a single time since I started venturing out weekly in August. I’m sure I will again at some point, but it’s not a big deal. My greatness comes from within. No one can add to, or take away from it. Having that knowledge is very helpful. Feeling it is life-changing.