I retired close to 7 years ago and have been essentially living as DeeAnn for that time. There are some rare circumstances where I present as Don, but that is no more than 2% or 3% of the time. In all 5 organizations where I hold office, and another 3 where I am a member but hold no office, DeeAnn is the person of record. The vast majority of people that I know here have never met Don and would have no reason to.
The 5 organizations are a city commission, a car club, an LGBT Democratic organization, an LGBT community center and our local Pride organization. The others are the Society of Automotive Historians, Your Women’s Circle (a local lesbian social and professional group) and OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change). These are all things in which I have a clear interest, whether it is personal or advocacy (which technically is also personal).
In terms of passing, probably not within 10 feet. However, I am ALWAYS nicely dressed in a stylish manner with makeup, jewelry, significant breast forms, hat and heels. Every now and then some decides that they have to address me as sir, but usually it is Ma’am or Ms. Hopings. I have several pieces of jewelry in the trans or non-binary colors and I wear them on occasion. I also sometimes use transgender related ZOOM backgrounds.
I believe that visibility is important and it is something that I can do. I am retired and I have the time and energy to be active in these organizations. Sadly, many trans people have nothing left over after just trying to live every day. The other thing is that trans people (speaking more of trans women) tend not to have a good reputation in society at large. Often we are seen as sex workers (which too many are forced into), air heads (Caitlyn Jenner), people who purposefully decieve straight cis males and worse. Many seem to remain ignorant of Janet Mock, the Wachowski sisters, Laverne Cox, Dr. Maggie Stump, Bryne Tannehill, Chaz Bono, Caroline Cossey, Ian Harvie, Dr. Lynn Conway, Charlie Martin (UK), Stephanie Battaglino and many others who have come to notoriety in recent times.
I think the only way to counter the BS narratives and outright false “information” put out by conservatives is that we have to be visible and functioning in society like anyone else. I don’t see any other alternative. When need be, it is important that we share our stories. Mine was in print about 5 years ago and the video of a speech from this past March. Sometimes I have been told that what I did was really brave, but I have never looked at it that way. To me, they are just things that I need to say…