Sometimes I forget I am trans.
And that’s good!
Before I was ready to leave the house en femme I was certain that everyone I would see, and everyone that would see me, would be thinking “OMG that’s a man” or “look, it’s a trans-girl”. I knew that as someone as tall as I am would turn heads, especially in heels. I knew that someone who is (obviously) trans would draw attention. And when I say obviously trans what I mean is that I have a very masculine jawline (especially from the side), large man-ish hands, and other (traditionally) masculine features. I do need to remind us all (myself included) that there are no standards we must achieve to be femme. Women, cis and trans, all look different. Some of us have broad shoulders, some do not. Some are tall, some are petite.
That being said, all I could think about before I had my first adventure was that someone would see me, notice my features, and know that I am trans. Like that’s a bad thing. I love being trans. What I mean is that I was afraid that the wrong person would see a transwoman and bad things would happen. The wrong person could be an acquaintance. but the wrong people I was really worried about were the transphobic jerks who might harass, threaten, ridicule, or hurt a girl like me. Even a sideways glance or a suppressed smile could kill me, depending on the moment.
I used to obsess over where I would go when I was out en femme and not in a fun way. As much as I wanted to go to LGBTQ+ friendly places (such as a coffee shop owned by a queer person or a drag show), I wanted to do “normal” things, like go to Starbucks and pick out a new dress at Target. I wanted to do girl things, not just t-girl things, if you follow me. I used to believe that a t-girl would be, well, out of place at certain stores, especially when I considered the type of customer that would typically frequent the business. I know I am being overly generalizing here but if I wanted to buy a Bible Hannah would never go into a Christian bookstore. A lot of religious groups aren’t the biggest fans of the LGBTQ+ community (even though I feel that’s very hypocritical, but let’s not get into that now). I also tend to shop or eat at more liberal parts of the city. Downtown Minneapolis is a lot more accustomed to a t-girl than a Wal-Mart in the most rural county in the state, for example. And again, I know I am over generalizing.
Fast-forward to a few days ago. I had my monthly MN T-Girl event and I had planned on spending the afternoon out en femme. I scheduled a makeover and between my appointment and when I would meet up with the girls I would do a little shopping and relax in a cafe. Right before my makeover the fastener on my heels stopped cooperating and after trying to fix them I gave up the ghost and accepted I would need to get a new pair for the day. Were I in male mode I could visit any shoe store and pick up a new pair of shoes. But Hannah doesn’t have that luxury. Sure, most shoe stores carry shoes in her size, but I can normally find flats or sandals in her size at most chain stores. I wanted/needed heels for the day and the evening.
So! Where does a girl like me go when she absolutely needs a pair of size 12 heels? There’s a few places in the Twin Cities I can go where I know they’ll carry heels in my size. Since I was limited on time I went to Fantasy Gifts, a small chain store that sells lingerie, videos, toys, and yes, heels in my size. So I went there. Unfortunately the only heel they had in my size was a pair of five inch stilettos, which, given the type of shop it is, makes perfect sense. So having little choice, I bought them. And I love them. They went with my dress, they fit like a dream, and although I was shopping for something a little more… understated for the day, they are a pair that I am thrilled I have in my shoe closet.
I still had some time to shop before I met up with the girls so I went to a thrift store where I usually have some luck in finding something cute. I headed over there (driving in five inch stilettos is a learning experience) and popped into the shop. I looked through the dresses and skirts but nothing caught my eye. The store has a giant mirror and I caught myself and looked back at my reflection. I was surprised (and delighted) that a tall girl like (who was now five inches taller than usual) actually fit in the mirror. But the reflection captured more than a girl in stilettos. The mirror showed a girl who wasn’t afraid or overthinking every little thing she did. Years ago I would have agonized whether a girl like me should go into the store. What would the other shoppers think? Would I make others uncomfortable? Would the cashiers laugh amongst themselves? All of those variables would have caused me to stay in my car, but these days I forget (in a way) that I am a girl like me.
When I am in male mode I never, EVER give what others might think of me a second thought. I just walk into the store, the restaurant, wherever, and I do what I can there to do. In the early days Hannah didn’t have that confidence, that perspective. But today she does. I forget that I am a tall girl in platform stilettos. I forget that I am a transgirl looking at heels and shoes. Ten years ago if someone looked at me in a funny or disapproving way, I would agonize that they were looking at me in an unfriendly way because I am a t-girl. These days if I get that same look I wonder if they are having a bad day. I forget that they are (likely) scowling at me because I am trans.
I look at this as an incredible amount of progress on my part. If only the rest of the world would forget, or at least stop caring, that I am trans.