Let me be real for a minute. I am nowhere near passing. I have only just started going outside dressed.
I wear what I consider is comfortable-nondescript women’s attire. Such as stretch leggings, a short sleeve tunic blouse, and flats (not women’s shoes, as if I could even find them in size 17W.) I have on a tiny bit of lipstick, smaller, but lovely gold loop earrings hidden under my long grey hair. It’s pulled down at the sides of my face. With the support of a padded bra, my man boobs actually appear feminine when I look in the mirror. I hide everything under a fairly generic jacket (can you tell I hate standing out! At 6’4” it’s difficult not to.)
I am in a steak house near the heart of New Orleans, and despite my best effort, I needed to use the restroom. I try to wait until I am at home and safely behind locked doors, but we had been to an evening movie, so now I am desperate.
and then it happened…
I went into the Men’s room. I obviously don’t feel anything near passable, and-I don’t think I look anything remotely approaching feminine in the dark. I’ve only just come out to myself in the last year. I was trying to avoid what happened, and yet it did, to my utter horror and shame.
“THAT’S THE MEN’S ROOM!” she repeated multiple times.
I don’t know who the woman was; I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but mumble, “I know” as I stumbled through the door praying to the merciful God I believe in that no one came in after me.
They were the only person to take note.
Up to that point, everyone had referred to me as sir…
But despite having lived in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the south Bronx, the two hitches in the Navy, or several other “events,” that amazes me to still be here today… I froze–so confused and scared to death.
It was not as if I was wearing anything remotely identifiable as feminine in my mind. I just wanted to be me in my little personal space. I just didn’t know what to do, so I stumbled in, took care of business, and fled back to my table to wait for the police to show up and arrest me.
Obviously, I had no clue what the laws were here-I grew up in New York City. But if I were arrested, it would be the end as I would lose my clearances, which would cost me my job. It is probably the one thing that keeps me from trying to be what I realize I am not.
I’m not dysphoric-for the most part. I’m just trying to manage my brain’s idea of a logical progression. And now this. I’m just so screwed up; it’s taken me months to get to this point where I can go outside properly dressed. I wanted to crawl under a rock.
Even the sub-vocalized remarks of mothers, along with the stares from their little girls, didn’t bother me (yes, sometimes these hearing aids are good.) This did and does. My friend tried to joke about it, saying congratulations on your first time not being misgendered. She means well and has been supportive from the onset once I admitted to what she said she had known for quite some time.”
I checked; there isn’t a Louisiana transgender rules guide, nor is there a dummies “Guide for the transgendered.”
I did not get arrested, but it upset me enough that I apparently lost my credit card in their parking lot and didn’t realize it until the following morning. I called the credit card only to have the restaurant call later to tell me someone turned in the card after previously telling me it hadn’t been.
I am grateful–that could have been worse; I understand that.
What I don’t understand is ME! This is not like the me I have known for the previous 60+ years. This version of me wants to crawl under a rock and die…
I know hormones can do weird things, but that’s not it either. I am still searching for a therapist I can trust to have those discussions (another long story.)
I just don’t get it. I worked in EMS for years; I could adapt and overcome just about any obstacle or find a way around it. Even my current occupation demands that I think and act in a positive and effective manner according to known rules and guidelines. It’s proceduralized, but then suddenly because I wear some nice clothes and dress for who I am meant to be, I fell apart- that is what I don’t get.
How do I move forward if I can see the navigational buoys? I feel as if I am dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t. I can keep hiding in my house; I need to grow, but I feel like I ran afoul of the “family”, and they put me in concrete shoes to lie with the fish.
Advice and information I desperately seek. I am serious, even as I’ve made “light” of it here. I need to move beyond this and feel safe enough to be outside. If not, then… well, I’m just not…
I am bothered enough that I posted this to a different support group elsewhere because I needed answers. I surely can’t be the only one to have been through this kind of self-imposed humiliation.
More Articles by Annah (Vincenza)
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- Confused and Uncertain - June 9, 2022
i love these and honestly – i want to venture forth but i often find myself mired down in self doubt and wanting companionable friends. Long story short I am working on it – but the pace is glacially slow even for me, near painful even.
“I’m not dysphoric-for the most part. I’m just trying to manage my brain’s idea of a logical progression.”
-This is exactly how I feel!
indeed – I work in an outdated but technologically complex industry, where public safety is paramount; and it certainly is an old boys club where any woman in the trenches is expected to be mr. macho and just one of the guys. I cannot afford the luxury of seeking hr protection and out myself; as the office will simply dismiss me for being “beyond discipline”.
– its technology that keeps me employed –
I enjoy the people but I know too well what coming out would do to my respect from the team as one of their supervisors
Hi Vincenza So sorry to hear about your sad story and the difficulties you have had to face. If you want some advice about transitioning and who to go to (if that’s what you intend to do), I would strongly suggest you go and see Dr. William Powers of The Powers Family Medicine Clinic just outside Detroit, Michigan. He uses cutting edge techniques. I am from the UK and I especially made the trip last month to see him. He already put me on a higher dose of oestrogen when I had an facetime consultation with his team last year… Read more »
i cannot thank you enough for offering this bit of insight. i have copied it as an aspect to study for a potential treatment plan that could address many of my fears and concerns for the potential side effects and risks in using pills. I have my first appointment towards the HRT plan I am under the impression everyone is fairly set on a “standard treatment plan” that along with the need to protect my transition from notice to ensure I can continue my employment. however I would love to exchange email that I might learn more of your experience… Read more »
Vincenza, I can imagine the horror and residual shame that came with that experience. Having moved into 24/7, I feel more prepared for such confrontations, but it never happens to me. The worst I got was an acquaintance at my spiritual center who knew I transitioned, but was surprised when she came out of a stall and saw me going in one. She said, “Oh! I didn’t know you were using the women’s restroom.” The advice from others here is valid for continuing to grow more comfortable with being seen, because motivation comes AFTER action, not vice versa. We change… Read more »
I feel for you so much. And, I promise it can and will get better over time.
I have had my moments that I wish never had happened.
Just never let them get the better of you and stop you.
Always keep looking forward.
We are all on a awesome journey of discovery, of a new life around us and a new life within us.
You will become a great woman and friend.
Peace and love
Thank You for the kindness.
i am doing baby steps they are forward for the most part.
self doubt is my biggest obstacle at the moment but I found a medical practice and have my first appointment with the goal of beginning HRT.
then I can breath i think
You can look back at your incident with confidence that you’ve taken a step forward in your journey. The next time you go out, you’ll feel that sense of confidence and find comfort in your progress. And keep going. Go places as your true self; shop, visit a museum, go for a walk, take in a concert or movie. Be your true Vincenza and enjoy being you.
Thank for sharing your story, just remember there’s folks out there that feel the same way you do and there’s people l8k me that is willing to listen
The greatest amount of fear I have when I’m all dolled-up is during my solitary adventures, and the only one keeping me company is that insecure voice in my head. It’s sounds as if you were alone in your adventures? I’ve had the good fortune recently to hang-out with a bunch of girls just like me, some of whom have transitioned surgically too. Nothing like safety in numbers to boost one’s confidence, especially when I constantly second-guess my passability. Sounds like we’re the same age. Only in the last few years have I explored the real me as Barb. And… Read more »
I’m so sorry for the traumatic experience. But know there are those who will smile at you and understand the rough waters you are trying to navigate. Having support in the form of people to get advice from is definitely a source to deal with fear. I have been blessed to have a life partner that understands and is supportive. I recently went out for the first time for an entire day dressed. Even there I wondered and felt uncomfortable at times. It was to a pride event which clearly was a safe protected environment. Perhaps seeking environs that you’d… Read more »