Almost daily, I hear accounts of transgender people having a difficult time in public, often being disparaged, laughed at, or otherwise treated poorly/different just for being trans. It used to be that way with me, too. It wasn’t long ago that I also experienced being laughed at and disparaged. Today however, it’s a pretty rare occurrence.
Christmas shopping is a pretty common activity. Most people do it, and their biggest complaint is finding a parking space. I’m happy to say that on this particular day, I had little trouble finding a good parking space at a local mall, packed as it was.
The reason I’m posting this is to draw attention to the very positive experiences I have out in public, and why I believe no one gives me a hard time anymore.
Passing isn’t everything
Within the very diverse transgender community, there is some debate as to whether or not it’s important, or even desirable to pass (ie: to look like a cisgender person; to not look trans). Some feel it is very important to pass, others don’t care, some don’t want to, and there are even those who look down upon trans people who do, want to, or go out of their way to pass.
Personally, I do want to pass. I want to look like an attractive cisgender woman to the rest of the world. There is no shame in being transgender. I’m rather proud to be trans and plan to continue speaking publicly to educate about trans realities. For me it’s a vanity thing, and I don’t care what anyone thinks of my desire to pass – good or bad.
Continue reading I’m Trans, I Don’t Pass, and Christmas Shopping at the Mall is a Breeze
The Empty Closet is New York State’s oldest “gay newspaper”. I prefer to think of it as an LGBTQ focused publication, which it very much is. It’s published monthly by the Gay Alliance in Rochester, NY. Don’t let the name “Gay Alliance” fool you, either. They’re tapped into the whole alphabet soup of the LGBTQIA… not just the “G”. In my opinion, it’s more about the “H” than anything. The H is for human being, which is what we ALL are, regardless of how many of the other letters apply (or don’t apply).
Editor and photographer Susan Jordan reached out and asked if I’d be interested in being featured in the “My Own Private Rochester” column for November, 2014. I was honored by the request and pushed the “let’s do this” button without hesitation.
Susan learned of me through my work with the Gay Alliance as an active member of their Speaker’s Bureau. To date (as of making this post), I’ve talked publicly about LGBTQ issues and realities on more than 30 occasions. This includes LGBTQ panels, SafeZone training, transgender-specific and general diversity presentations.
Continue reading An Interview with Yours Truly in “The Empty Closet” and Speaking Publicly About LGBTQ
On Saturday, I completed a 2-day SpeakOUT training workshop. SpeakOUT is a program offered by The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. Its purpose is to improve the skills of graduates so they may effectively educate about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies.
The need to “speak out” in outreach programs
The reason I chose to take this workshop is because I feel a calling to get out and educate people about the realities of being transgender. There are many complex issues to cover, but perhaps the most significant point is a very simple one – the fact that trans people are far more similar to cisgender (non-trans) people, than we are different.
The SpeakOUT workshop was just the first step in many training workshops and activities I will need to take part in before a final graduation of sorts. If/when I pass the requirements necessary, I may be deployed to various organizations, companies, medical training centers, schools, etc. to tell my personal story, educate about trans realities, and answer questions.
It’s hard to explain, but I almost have a need to get out there and educate about trans realities and issues. This has been brewing within me for quite some time – especially after certain personal realities were realized.
The desire to go full time
My life is very busy and often rather hectic. There are never enough hours in the day to manage everything I need to do, let alone things I want to do. Many interesting things have been playing out in my life that haven’t been shared here due to lack of time. One of which is the realization that I’m more of a trans-woman-in-progress, than a crossdresser. These days, I only feel like I’m “crossdressing” when I’m at work (or wherever) putting on my “man act” to appease a world that expects me to be “a man”. I posted a very brief update this past July, to one of my more rushed writing jobs, that offers a little insight: Crossdressing Myth #2. There’s much I could write about this, and why it took so long to figure out. If time allows, I will elaborate in future updates.
Continue reading Getting Out and Speaking Out
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!
Continue reading Being in Public and Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
Advancing technology opens up doors to new possibilities all the time. When it works, technology offers some powerful tools for productivity and artistic expression. Unfortunately, sometimes the very technology that is supposed to enable almost limitless potential, can instead stand in the way of accomplishment.
On Saturday I recorded what was supposed to be vlog entry #4. When it came time to edit the video into a more polished presentation, some serious road blocks got in the way. What should have required only a handful of hours to complete, quickly turned into a loosing battle against my glitchy video editing software. Attempting to salvage something usable from the failed project, I ended up with some new creative ideas – things that might not have come to mind had my stubborn video editing software cooperated with me.
Continue reading A Failed Video Project and the Silver Lining
It’s been about a month since my last update here. Much has been going on in my life during the break from actively publishing new content.
First off, many thanks to those of you who took the time to let me know how much you appreciate my efforts and hard work here. Also, thank you to those who have joined myCDlife via Google Friend Connect (upper-right column) and everyone who subscribes. It means so much to me and I send my love to each of you. :)
Break from writing, not from crossdressing
Based on input received, I think some people may have misunderstood my time off. I was (and will continue to some extent) taking a break from writing for this website. I was never taking a break from my crossdressing – far from it. More time has been devoted to exploration and growth in this aspect of my life.
Continue reading Personal Growth & myCDlife Status Update
For the past six months, I’ve been unwisely burning the candle at both ends, spreading myself dangerously thin, and have little to show for all of the blood, sweat, and tears poured into my efforts. For me, this website isn’t a hobby, but rather an important platform in which to educate, entertain, communicate, and bring about positive change.
Between long hours at my day job, commute times, a strict daily exercise regimen, household chores and other responsibilities, there is little time left for much else. In order to maintain a frequent publishing schedule of quality content, I’ve been putting my personal life aside: neglecting responsibilities, sacrificing personal happiness, testing the strength of my marriage, and literally loosing sleep to keep up with it.
Unfortunately things haven’t panned out. My approach is flawed, and energy reserves dangerously low. I need to take a break, regroup and reevaluate.
Continue reading Taking a Much Needed Break & Assessing the Future