One of my goals with the MN T-Girls was to show the world that transgirls and crossdressers do exist and we are normal, friendly people. Another goal was to help t-girls find the courage to get out of the house and to do all the things we ever dreamed of. Before I was ready, I longed to visit a museum or have a coffee at a cafe. Today these things are so normal to me that I can’t imagine ever going back. I thought if there was a support/social group more of us would be ready to take a chance and to see the world. Safety in numbers, perhaps. And I think on some levels the MN T-Girls succeeds with both of these goals.
I think the biggest success of the group is a member named Dani. In some ways, I consider her to be the first “graduate” of the MN T-Girls. When I first met her via email, she was nervous about going out but very excited. Like many of us, she thought going out in a group would make the experience a lot easier. She attended MN T-Girls outing in June of 2014 and has never looked back. We went to a museum on that particular outing. I never would’ve had the courage to visit a crowded museum on my first time out, but Dani did and had a wonderful time.
Since then, Dani has been out more times than I have and her life has completely changed. Not only has her life has changed in terms of confidence in going out, but also in terms of family support and her introducing Dani to her friends. Dani has gone from a very shy girl who never left the house to being out to almost everyone in her life in less than a year.
I asked Dani if she’d be willing to write a little something about herself and describe her coming out story to her family and she contributed an amazing feature.
I hope you enjoy reading about Dani!
My Life and My Experiences Being a Crossdresser
By: Dani (Formerly Stacy)
Helloooooo patrons and readers of Miss Hannah’s MN T-Girls blog! I hope you are all doing well and having a wonderful day and/or night depending upon the hour in which you read this! First of all, I’m going to address my name change. For those of you who have met me at previous outings, you may remember me as Stacy. I have recently decided to go by Dani while dressed as my given name is Daniel. There will be a bit more about this later on.
Alright, so! A while back Hannah and I were talking via email and she had asked me if I would be interested in writing about myself and my experiences for her blog. I felt very honored that she asked me to do that as I have a huge amount of respect for her and what she is doing to help people like us get out and find acceptance. I owe a lot to her as I honestly feel I may not be where I am today had I not reached out to her, and I thought that if my story could help anyone else out there, even just one person, I couldn’t say no.
So let’s begin with a bit of information about me. I am 29 years old, I will turn 30 (ewwww) in September (2015), and I have been crossdressing since about as far as I can remember. Throughout the years, especially my darkest ones, I have tried to pinpoint the exact moment I first felt the urge to wear my mom’s bra and dress in order to understand why I do what I do, but I have thus far not succeeded. My earliest memory, I believe I was right around 10 years old, perhaps a year or two younger, I had seen one of my mom’s bras left in the laundry hamper along with a dress and I really, really wanted to wear them. I did, and so began my life as a boy who liked to dress up as a girl. From what I have gathered from many other crossdressers and transgendered individuals I have spoken to, my story seems to be nearly identical to all of theirs. And every one I have spoken to has also been at a loss as to why they feel what they feel. When I was at my lowest, discovering this bit of information was a tremendous relief as I had learned that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a “freak.” Thus began my transformation into the person I am today.
But let’s talk about those darker years. Well, actually, let’s talk about right after that first time I wore my mom’s dress. After I wore them, I became intensely ashamed that I had enjoyed it. “You’re a boy,” I told myself, and dresses are for girls. I tucked the dress back into the hamper and put some of my clothes on top of it so it would look like there was a reason for things to be out of place (even at that age I had suspected there would be “hell to pay” if I had been caught). Though ashamed I was, it didn’t take long for that urge to wear something girly to come back. From the time of that first experiment to about when I was nineteen, crossdressing was something I did somewhat regularly, but only when the coast was clear. On days I had the house to myself, which didn’t become too frequent until I was about fourteen, I would sneak into my parents’ room and find bras, panties and any clothes that would fit me, which was a small selection as I’ve always been a big person and my mom has an average build. When I was younger, crossdressing had more of a sexual nature to it. I would often find myself aroused when doing it. Looking back, I don’t think it was arousal because of wearing the clothes, but more for the excitement of actually being able to give in to the urges I had been pushing back for days or even weeks at a time. As I said, this had gone on for a number of years. I struggled with the urges, but at the time I simply chalked it up to it being a sexual thing and didn’t feel it was a big deal, even though deep down I knew that wasn’t true. Between the ages of 19 and 24 my crossdressing had diminished greatly. The urges were still there but they were significantly less frequent and nowhere near as strong. I feel this was mostly due to me being in college and having a very active social life. During most of those years, I was either in class or spending time with my friends nearly every day. I spent nearly no time at home, so while the urges were there, I had no time to act on them so they kind of just went away little by little.
Enter Adulthood. I was twenty-four, recently laid off and unemployed. I spent nearly nine months without a job. This led to long days without anyone in the house but me. All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, I wanted to dress up like a girl again. And with very little to stop me, I started again. I had put on a fair amount of weight over the previous five years, so I had even less to work with within my mom’s wardrobe than previous years. I found this to be very frustrating. This is when I decided to actually go out and buy my own stuff. Now, this was in the era of the internet, but as I lived with my parents, I was paranoid that they would know what I ordered if the package had arrived when I wasn’t home. So, deciding that the internet wasn’t an option, I waited until 1 A.M. and went to Wal-Mart. Luckily, the lingerie was right across the aisle from the men’s clothing section, so I was able to scope out from a distance what I might want to buy. I estimated a band size based on how short my mom’s bras were on me. When the coast was clear I briskly walked through, grabbed a bra, went around the corner and snagged some panties without looking (turned out it was a thong, not exactly what I had wanted, but beggars can’t be choosers!) and made haste towards the checkouts. But, oh crap! Who do I see at the only open register? My friend *Bill (name changed for privacy) and another one of his friends. “Don’t see me, don’t see me, don’t see me,” I repeated in my head. But did they leave without seeing me? Of course not. Had I been there simply buying Mountain Dew for a late night session of World of Warcraft, my presence would have been completely unknown to them. But not this night. Not the night I’m holding an overly girly bra (it was bright pink, with the cutest purple polka dots you’ve ever seen in your life!) and a lacy purple thong. So I stand there in the men’s section, eye contact in full force with Bill, my secret almost blown. I happened to be standing next to a rack with shirts so I quickly stand practically inside the damn thing to conceal my lady goods. They walk over to me and in a last ditch effort to avoid being suspicious, I put on an act that would be worthy of an Oscar. I looked up to the ceiling, mumbling to myself and acted like I was high as a kite. I figured if they thought I was stoned out of my mind, it would explain why I was standing so close to the shirt rack. I’m happy to report that the ploy worked. Bill immediately asks if I’m high (sucker), to which I acted paranoid in response. “Of course not, man! I’m just really tired…” “Yeah, okay,” he responds. He and his friend have a good laugh, we say our goodbyes and they leave. I almost bailed on my quest for a bra of my own, but I had come this far. I quickly scanned the store and searched for any other acquaintances, and after seeing no one I go up to the cashier and plop my stuff on the conveyor. I complete the transaction without saying a word and without eye contact. I did it, and I couldn’t believe I had done it. It’s only a shame I don’t still have that bra.
After nine months of unemployment, I finally caught a break and landed a temp job at 3M and had favorable results for a full time interview, which got me into the hiring pool. Fast forward a year, I’ve been working full time at 3M for about five months, I’m twenty-five, and ready to get out on my own. I found an apartment, moved all my stuff in, and was enjoying life on my own finally. But this is where things began to get bad. The next four years are the hardest years I’ve ever had to endure, if only I was prepared back then.
Being on my own gave me so much freedom. So I’ll give you one guess what came a bigger part of my life. If you guessed crossdressing, then you win! I went crazy my first few months alone. I found a few sites that had plus sized lingerie and clothing, I bought several bras, panties, stockings, a skirt and a couple camis. It was exciting, but that excitement was soon followed by the shame spiral. I felt disgusted in what I did. I was a freak. A pervert. I was alone. Doubts about myself and who I was started to form. After being devastatingly led on and then rejected by a girl I was head over heels for, feelings of inadequacy arose. I felt like I wasn’t man enough for her, like that’s why she rejected me. Even though I did everything I could to hide my feminine side from the outside world, I still felt like I was a failure as a man, and that she saw that. I began to question my sexuality. “You like to dress in women’s clothing, you must be gay,” is a thought that frequently ran through my head. Thing was, I wasn’t attracted to men. I had zero desire to be intimate with one. But then again, why on earth would I want to dress in girl’s clothes? Only gay guys do that, right? I was lost and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. So I decided to stop crossdressing. I put the stuff in a box in my closet and elected to forget about it. But that didn’t do any good, I didn’t feel whole. And things only got worse when my friend Angie moved in with me for about a year (Angie has given me her permission to include her name and conversations we have had for this article). She had moved back to Minnesota from Missouri and needed a place to stay. I genuinely enjoyed having her at my place, her children were with her and they were a blast to have around as well. But what made things tough was having all of her clothes out in plain view. Her and our mutual friend Kristi (Kristi has also given me her permission to use her name and conversations we had for this piece) would frequently get together, do makeovers and have photo shoots while I was at work or otherwise away. I would come home to bras, cute clothes and makeup all over the place. It was like putting a recovering drug attic into a crack house and telling them to not pay attention. It was rough. This struggle went on for almost four years. Four years of struggling with my sexuality, with who I was as a person, and feeling like I was going to be alone for the rest of my life
Alright, it’s 2014, and I am nearing the end of my rope. The past couple years I had become smitten with this girl that I worked with. Super cute, funny, smart as hell, and just lots of fun to be around. But I never worked up the nerve to ask her out and she started dating someone else. The feelings of solitude and inadequacy I had already been feeling got worse. And I mean real bad. I was on the verge of doing something drastic, and looking back on it now, how close I actually was to killing myself, it scares me to death. To think I would have thrown away what ultimately became something wonderful breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I know that there are many people like me who have not yet seen the light at the end of the tunnel. And I can only hope that even just one of those people see my story, and see how great things turned out for me so that they can know that there is hope and that life is worth living even if things look dark right now.
So here’s where my story begins to become brighter. After becoming dangerously close to doing something irreversible, I decided it was time to seek help. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I knew and couldn’t afford a therapist (nor did I even know how to begin looking for one), so I turned to the internet. After a Google search I found http://www.crossdressers.com. I spent about a month just browsing the forums, reading about people like me, and slowly I began to accept that I wasn’t the only one who was dealing with this. Hope started to sprout inside me. It was actually going to that forum that made me want to take my crossdressing further. Up to this point, I had only ever just worn the clothes. I never wore makeup or anything. In fact, I had facial hair pretty much my entire life. I didn’t much care for facial hair, but being that I felt like less of a man, I felt I needed to be as manly as possible and have facial hair. So in my research I came across http://www.crossdresser.com. This site specializes in making clothes specifically for crossdressers, but what I was in search of was a good wig and makeup. I found a nice starting makeup kit and a cute wig and after a little hesitation, I clicked on “Submit Order” and set it in motion. After I received my items I quickly tried everything on and was amazed at how happy it had made me. I discovered that my makeup kit didn’t have everything I needed, so I made a trip to the grocery store with self checkout and grabbed what I was missing. And so then I joined the forum, made my introductions, and started to feel better about myself knowing that I had people to talk to.
Not long after I joined the forum I had come across a thread about local support groups. Someone had posted wondering how to find one and another had suggested a Google search. I did a search of my own and one of the first entries was Hanna’s blog. I read through it, saw the stories from past outings and looked at the photos, and I realized then how badly I wanted to get out into the world as Stacy (when I joined the forum I chose the name Stacy because I had always liked that name). It took me about a month but I finally summoned the courage to get in touch with her. We emailed back and forth a few times, getting acquainted and she added me to her mailing list. It wasn’t until June that I had actually went out “en femme” for the first time. The outing was to meet at a coffee shop then go to the Art Museum in Minneapolis. I was unable to make it to the coffee shop, but went to the Art Museum. I wore a blue dress (which I now find to be ugly and I can’t believe I wore it out!), denim jacket, tights and sandal wedges. It was a rainy, dreary day, so I thought that maybe, just maybe there wouldn’t be that many people at the museum. There were more than I expected, but overall not too many. The entire drive there (I live about an hour and fifteen minutes from Minneapolis) I considered turning back. I even came close to leaving and chickening out after I had arrived and parked. But I took a deep breath, brought up my courage, and went for it. The walk from the ramp to the museum was nerve-racking, I felt like everyone was staring even though nobody even noticed. I met Hannah outside, and she was so friendly and welcoming. We talked a bit going inside but I was scared half to death and nervous so I barely said anything. I was only in the museum for perhaps half an hour, but it was so liberating to be out and about as a girl for the first time and slowly I became more comfortable with it. When the group parted ways, I returned to my vehicle and started the trip back home. I was exploding with positive emotion for the first time in years. I smiled the whole way back, and it had been a long time since I smiled and meant it.
Okay, so things are getting better. But for a brief period, things got not-so-good again. I had gone on one more of Hannah’s group’s outings (the Ulta outing, for those of you who were there, you know how awesome this was), I had been active on the crossdressing forum as well as the crossdressing subreddit (www.reddit.com/r/crossdressing), and while I was becoming more at peace with who I was as a person, I still felt this gaping hole in my life. I was still lonely. By this time, I had moved in with my brother into our grandmother’s house to take care of it after she moved to a retirement apartment complex. So I was still under careful guard not to get caught dressing and due to that still had some difficulty coping with what I did. And so even though I had found a great system of support on the internet, I had felt like I was living a double life and that was getting harder and harder to deal with. So I started to entertain the thought of coming out. I had read a few coming out experiences from the forum, some good and some bad, and carefully read everyone’s advice on the subject. I had decided that Angie was going to be the first person I told. She was my best friend, and I knew she was open minded, I figured if anyone would be accepting of my feminine side, it would be her. Through texts we had talked, and I had eluded to me struggling with something personal, but then when I was about to tell her I chickened out and told her I wasn’t ready to talk about it. A couple weeks later I wanted to take another run at it. I texted her on break that I wanted to talk to her about something important when I got home. I almost didn’t go through with it again, but I told her. I was too scared to tell her over the phone so I sent her a massively long text. I told her much of what I have written here (albeit shorter). What she sent me made me burst into tears:
“Dude… Dan I am so proud of you!!! I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to come out and tell me all that. I don’t think it’s weird AT ALL. I actually think it’s awesome :)”
I was beyond relieved that she took it so well, and it was at this moment when I thought to myself that I was going to be okay after all. I was no longer alone. A couple weeks later she and I got together and I got dressed up in front of her, then a week later we went shopping together. Man, that was awesome! The whole time we were shopping I was in this state of euphoric disbelief, I was actually out shopping with a real person! And she made me feel so comfortable being out like that. With her help I eventually came out to Kristi as well. We told her we had a surprise for her and drove to the cities to meet her. When we arrived I popped out dolled up and she just looked at me kind of stunned.
“Did I miss something?”
“This is the surprise, sometimes I dress like this.”
“Oh, okay! Let’s go inside!”
And just like that, two of my best friends had been told my secret and accepted me with open arms without even the slightest hesitation. For a while, Angie and Kristi were the only two people I had confided in. Even though things had went so well, I was still afraid of what others would think. But with their love and support I eventually gathered the courage to tell more people. A few weeks after Christmas, I told my closest guy friend, my brother and my parents. All of them were very accepting and supportive. My friend told me that we were friends no matter what, and it didn’t make the slightest difference to him what clothes I liked to wear. My family all said they loved me and wanted me to be happy. It was a moment I had always wanted to experience and up to it I never thought I would get to. Telling my family was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was also the best thing I’ve ever done. I now live in complete freedom. Freedom to be who I want to be, when I want to be it. I don’t have to hide who I am from anyone and there is no feeling quite like it.
After experiencing all this freedom, the part of me that felt like I was two different people slowly started to fade away. At first, when I was Stacy, I acted somewhat differently. I had this… Persona. When I was Dan, I avoided letting my feminine side out. But now that nearly everyone knows about it, I haven’t felt the need to separate the two. If I’m in guy mode and I see a pretty dress, I’ll say it’s pretty, and if I’m in girl mode, I still talk about all the same things I enjoy while I’m Dan. Slowly but surely my two “halves” become a whole and I got rid of Stacy. I use Dani while out in public just for the sake of using a girl’s name, but my friends still call me Dan and it doesn’t bother me.
I’m going to close my piece with some advice to you. If you’re like the old me; alone, scared, or confused, please, please, PLEASE know that things can and WILL get better! No matter how you feel, remember that you are not alone. You are not a freak, you are not weird, and you most definitely do not deserve to be an outcast. I urge you to actively seek out support like I did. I realize it can be scary, and I know that not everyone will be as fortunate as I was, but you don’t have to live your life in hiding. You deserve to be who you want to be and nobody has the right to tell you otherwise. And if anyone reading this is thinking about coming out themselves, I will say to you to be completely honest and 100% open with whomever you are coming out to. Tell them how it makes you feel, tell them that it makes you happy. Because you deserve to be happy. We all do. If you ever need someone to talk to, whether it’s about concerns with coming out, or even to just talk about cute dresses and makeup, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me!
Take care and smile wide, because you’re beautiful!