I am honored to feature the beautiful Alicia in T-Girl Spotlight!
Interested in being spotlighted? Send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line ‘T-Girl Spotlight’!
Hello beautiful ladies, wives/partners, allies, and others! My name is Alicia (pronounced Ah-Lee-See-Ah, not Ah-Lee-SHA), and I’m a proud, semi-full time transwoman who is happily married. I’m honored that Hannah would be interested in featuring me in her T-Girl Spotlight, and I hope that my story can resonate with at least someone out there.
I was trying to think about what to say in this little spot, and I thought I’d start off by briefly touching on what Hannah and her work has meant to me, and how it has impacted my (I know you hate this word Hannah, but I’m going to use it anyway) journey. I’ve been following Hannah since 2012 (yes, ten whole years!!) all the way back when she was doing daily drawings with a few photos mixed in here and there.
When I first found her, I felt like I identified exactly with her: a crossdresser who just loved making space to feel pretty and living life. As time as gone on, my (um) journey has certainly evolved, but I still find so much of what she says as relevant and impactful in my life. With the hopes of not being overbearing, I consider Hannah a role model and hero to me… she has worked so hard to advocate, educate, calm the nerves of many anxious spouses (I think even my wife has asked a question or two), and provide context into the kind of ladies we all are. I’ve loved seeing her arrangement and management of the MN T-Girls (wish I could regularly attend, but I live in California), her activism, sharing of resources, and thoughtful comments.
One area that Hannah has helped me with (and a great transition into who I am) is coming to terms with my transness… If you haven’t read any of her articles about the issue you probably know that Hannah has a very wide and open definition of what being
Transgender is. For many years, I avoided using that word because I thought it meant that you wanted to transition (some still hold that view, but I vehemently disagree with them!), but now I see that it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. And it helped me to come to terms with being trans myself.
While I can remember some signs that I was trans from a very young age (like wanting to buy a MySize Barbie so I could wear the dress), I usually pinpoint the first time I thought of dressing as a woman to August of 1997, when I was twelve years ago. Like many children, I was experiencing puberty and was noticing a lot of the girls… but something was just different about it… I wasn’t thinking of physical attraction, but more of a love of what they were wearing. I loved the cute dresses, vests, jumpers, skirts and jewelry… and I didn’t just like seeing it on them, I wanted to wear it too. Finally, I just realized that it
was something I wanted to do, but for some reason, felt like I wasn’t supposed to (I’d hear the jokes about wearing dresses, being a “girly man,” and really only seeing anything trans related relegated to Jerry Springer and a few awful sitcoms). While I never followed through (until I met my first girlfriend), the desire to dress up was always there. Finally, I met my first girlfriend, and she was clearly the more dominant of the two of us… but she also let me wear some of her clothes, which was exhilarating!
Unfortunately, I was very immature (and so was she), and that relationship never worked out, but it was my first taste at being girly. The year after she dumped me was my senior year of high school, and a few major seeds were planted that year… the first was my name; I didn’t know of a female name to go by (though I had always jokingly feminized my first or middle name), but that year I met a girl who, while there was no romance there (she was like a sister), she welcomed me into her group of mostly ladies…her name was Alicia (I didn’t actually choose that name until several years later when I was finally
coming up with a name, and I decided to look at a list of names of people who most influenced me… it just sounded like the best one).
She invited me to go to prom with her group (three guys, myself included, and 11 ladies… I honestly felt like I fit in very well). This was the first time I felt like “one of the
girls” even though I was wearing an icky tuxedo (yuck!) Eventually, we all graduated and went our separate ways (but still kept in touch… when I came out a few years ago, Alicia responded to my coming out post with “I love the name!”).
Just a few months later, I got really involved in an Evangelical church, which is where I met the person who would eventually become my wife. I was head over heels for her from the first time we met. What’s crazy is that, just a few months after meeting her, I told her about wanting to crossdress and asked her what her thoughts were about it… she mentioned that she only knew of one bible verse that spoke out against it (I won’t get into that here… but it’s a verse from a long book of laws, many of which are actively disobeyed by evangelicals to this day), but didn’t seem spooked by it. I believe now that the conversation we had was destiny.
Okay, fast forward a bunch of years, we started dating, got serious, I crossdressed off-and-on that whole time (oftentimes around her), and then I moved away for Graduate School. Within six months of moving away, I knew she was the one I wanted to marry, and so we started working in that direction. Upon finishing my degree (and right around the time I started reading Hannah’s original blog), we got married and moved in together. At first, my response to being married was a desire to be that big manly husband, and that I didn’t have time to dress up or pursue being Alicia… obviously anyone who has any experience with being trans knows how well that works out, haha!
Things finally came to a head when, albiet tipsy after a party I had thrown, I blurted out to my wife that “I want to be Alicia! I’m sorry! But I still love and want to be with you.” Surprisingly, her response wasn’t to run for the door or to blow me up… I can’t say it was necessarily the warmest response (coming out as transgender is traumatic for everyone
involved, especially partners), but there was a little crack of light in the door to it. And in the foolishness of the pink fog, I took advantage of that crack, and pushed it way further than I should have (one exciting thing at this stage was getting my first full makeover and finally getting to “meet Alicia”).
Afterwards, we entered a cycle of me moving forward, reaching a point of resistance, and me overreacting. It caused arguments, tears, and lots of pulling away. Those days were hard. The thought of hurting her was heavy, but the thought of pretending that this would magically go away was equally heavy. I realized that I couldn’t lie to her and pretend that I could put it all away and give up being Alicia (if you think it’s that simple, it’s not… I tried for over 20 years!), but I also realized that if were going to have a chance, we needed to walk down this road together, find healthy boundaries, and that I needed
to let her lead with what she was comfortable with.
Between that and getting some coaching from an amazing transition coach, we slowly worked on it and found what was comfortable for both of us. As time went on, I started dressing at home more, we started having fun with it together, and she got increasingly more comfortable with it.
Then the pandemic happened, and like many of you, we were trapped at home. What’s crazy is that rather than pull us apart, the pandemic brought us closer together. We regularly checked in on each other, made sure to make space for some fun time at home, and with her encouragement, I made some time for Alicia. When everything started reopening, we were eager to get out, and much to my surprise, my wife communicated a willingness to actually go out with me presenting as Alicia. That date finally came in late June of 2020, and while I didn’t get out of the car (other than to fill up our car), it was a
milestone. A week later, we did it again, and about halfway through the drive, my wife suggested that we stop somewhere for dinner… and just like that, I went out to a restaurant en femme for the first time ever… and I’m honored that my wife was with me.
Over the next few months, outings became more and more common, and then before I knew it, I had a full day out as Alicia planned (my wife had something else going on that day, so I planned a makeover/shopping trip/dinner/drinks at my favorite brewery all
lined up)… but then something I noticed that night was that it was incredibly difficult to “de-Alicia.” I was almost in tears having to take off my wig/makeup/dress, and I just felt very depressed… in fact, I had been noticing that for a while… it was becoming harder going back into guy mode.
About a week later, after a Halloween party we had gone to (I was a mess with my makeup that night, but still felt cute), I broke down at home and just said “I want to transition.” My wife’s response: “I know… I still love you and still want to be with you. We’ll work through it together.” Wow! I was blown away by her love and encouragement. We decided to take it slow and figure out what this all meant.
One of the hardest realities was that it meant having to come out to everyone in our lives. We decided to be safe and have me come out in phases (first only to people who I knew wouldn’t have a problem with it, or who would actively support it… then to those who I knew might struggle with it, but would stick with us, then to those who we thought would likely have a problem with it, and then finally, I came out fully in June of 2021).
While I understand the many reasons for not coming out (for some it’s a safety concern, for others it’s being dependent on someone you’re not out to, and to others, it’s not feeling like you need to be out to a particular person… regardless of which reason you have, it’s totally valid!), I have to say that it’s been the biggest weight off my shoulders to finally be fully out and free!
But it’s also come with some consequences: My oldest brother wants nothing to do with me anymore (and until he can respect me as Alicia, the feeling is mutual), we can’t go to our old church anymore (gender is a “closed handed issue” there), we’ve lost many friends (three of my five groomsmen are no longer in my lives because I had to withdraw from them over this), and I experienced the scary situation of being doxed (basically having someone find out and post all of my personal information) by an anti-trans hate group.
But I’ve also experienced so much joy… when I came out at work, I was quickly given opportunities to serve and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community… I’ve been able to use my identity to serve and encourage the many students (I’m a college professor) I work with. What a joy! I also got to push hard for an improved “preferred name” process at my college.
Finally, with the gentle push of a few major supporters, I finally got to hear my heels click down the hallway as I walked into a classroom for the first time as my true self! Now, I’m pretty much full time (there’s very little I still do in guy mode, and usually only because I
don’t want to spend so much time getting ready… though that’s changing too!). I hope to begin medically transitioning at some point in the next couple of years, but want to continue taking it at a pace that my wife is comfortable with.
I’m not big on advice, but there are several suggestions I could make based on my journey:
- Don’t regret the past: I’ve honestly known I was trans for almost 25 years now, but I resisted for many valid reasons. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t lived the life I’ve lived, so I’m thankful for it more than sad about it. I also don’t “hate him…” to be honest, I’m so thankful for my male self. He gave me a great life, an amazing partner, some awesome experiences, and a great head start… but he’s tired… all I’m doing now is taking his torch and running with it!
- Slowly build up a support system: NONE OF THIS would be possible if I didn’t have the many friends, co-workers, students, heroes (Hannah’s one of them, but I also consider my transition coach Aejaie Franciscus of Carla’s Social Club in California to be another, and a few others like Faith DaBrooke, Suddenly Samantha, Mika Tosca, just to name a few), and my amazing wife in my corner. I owe them everything for helping me embrace my true self!
- Watch out for the Pink Fog. It’s so easy to jump in head first, but if you have anyone in your life who will be significantly impacted (such as a spouse, child, parent, etc.), remember to go at a pace that is at least doable for them, and remember to check in.
- As Hannah often says, make it worth it! I’m not sure my wife would say I make it worth it or not, but she continues to squeeze my hand, embrace me, kiss me, and often communicates that she still feels protected and cared for by me… so I guess that counts as something.
- Be patient! You’ll be surprised by how fast transitioning happens (I’ve seen people go from stepping out in a dress for the very first time to being full time, on HRT, and planning surgeries in less than a year). If someone had told me when I first stepped out en femme two years ago that I’d be almost full time now, I would have laughed. If someone told me a year ago that I’d be out at work and teaching en femme full time, I would have really laughed! Yet, one thing led to another, led to another, and before you knew it, it was happening. But this took years to get to, and likely still has many years to go before I “complete my transition” to a woman or possibly land somewhere else on the gender spectrum. Don’t force anything before you are ready, and take your time. If something transition related is meant to happen, it will happen.
- Finally, be safe! I carry both a taser and pepper spray with me when I go out, and I almost never go out alone unless someone knows where I’m at, and what I’m doing. There are still places I wouldn’t go to en femme, and maybe others I’ll have to give up entirely. That’s okay. Also, I mentioned being doxed… there is a LOT of hate for us out there, but much of it comes from losers who sit behind a screen (possibly from their parent’s basements), and while I wouldn’t suggest going down that rabbit hole, be vigilant as to what you post online, privacy settings, and what you may need to do should a cyberbullying group comes after you. Hopefully, you’ll never
need to have a contingency plan in place, but it’s good if its there just in case.
If you all got to this point in my post, congrats! I normally tell my students to “put your initials on top of the paper for extra credit,” but unfortunately there’s no grade for reading this, haha! But I still hope you found something meaningful or useful in this. If you ever want to say hi to me, you can message me on Instagram at always.alicia.t (please message me before sending a friend request… I always verify before I add someone). Just remember that your (sorry, Hannah) journey is going to be unique, but remember that it is valid and meaningful… just like you!