I’m Not Ashamed

Transgender Shame No More - Proud to be me


It’s the ephemeral spirit that haunts the transgender experience from the first moment our minds consider the path.

“It’s wrong,” thinks the four year old trying on his mother’s clothes for the first time, “I had better not tell anyone.”
“God please!” exhorts the nine year old, praying once more to wake up a girl, “change me so that noone ever knew.”
“I’m wrong,” thinks the teenager buying his first pair of pantyhose, “But maybe this is just a phase.”


“I can’t possibly go out like that,” pines the young adult stuck between his deepest need and society’s desires, “What if I see someone I know?”
“Maybe this will cure me,” hopes the groom to be, “Then I can finally put this secret to rest.”
“I have to tell her,”Β  laments the husband, “The secret she knows are five years stale and losing the luster of truth. My heart is breaking.”

“What will they think?” ponders the agitated transgender woman as she contemplates telling her friends and family, “I’ll lose everything and everyone I love.”
“I’m not going to pass,” fears the newly minted women on her first day full time, “What if I never pass? How can I live with myself?”
“I don’t know how to tell him,” frets the post op transsexual about her first boyfriend, “There is no way he’ll accept me.”


Through my transgender journey I’ve battled with it. On each victory it gave some ground, only to find more insidious ways to strike back. Shame went from something faced head on in the heat of battle, to an underground guerrilla movement stealthily sabotaging the infrastructure of my emotions.

I felt trapped by a force I couldn’t see. Paralyzed by a poison I never remembered taking. I feared getting close to people because I would eventually have to tell them. I stayed quite in a room so that my fledgling voice didn’t expose the deeper truth of my darkest secret.

I thought I had conquered my fears – what could be more daunting than telling all those you know and love? What could possibly come close to telling your coworkers and transitioning on the job? Then I started going out with a sweet and kind man. I had planned to tell him early on, but once I started liking him the fear set in. I delayed my truth for so long, that when I finally uttered the words it had become a lie.

I’m not going to be ashamed anymore!

As I utter these words I can already see shame retreating, scheming for new ways to thwart the happiness of my existence. This time it doesn’t bother me. I have tapped into the core of who I am, and no skulking and cowardly emotional demon is going to sap the joy from my life.

I say these words not in arrogance, but in recognition of the journey I have taken. With deep respect for who I am.

I am a wonderful person and a strong woman. I have overcome challenges in my life that most cannot even fathom. I have climbed over obstacles others never see and embraced great uncertainty with courage. I have plumbed the depths of my soul, and where others would look away, I have stared deeply into the truth of who I am.

Becoming myself is a magnificent accomplishment that noone can take away from me. I am proud to be me.

Be proud of yourself. No matter where on the journey you are, you have already defeated powerful enemies.

En Femme Style

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I’m passionate about creating a safe space for everyone in the transgender community to find laughter and friendship on their journey. I completed my physical transition in 2011 and through it I lost everything, and gained everything. I am blessed that I was forced to gaze inward and embark on the journey to discover and live my authentic self. My deepest wish is that all who wander here may find peace, happiness and freedom.
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Shivani Mastrantorio
5 years ago

“I have plumbed the depths of my soul, and where others would look away, I have stared deeply into the truth of who I am."

Vanessa, these words resonate deeply with me. You are a special woman. I don’t know you personally but your sharing your truth has made me feel so much love and respect for you.

Wendy Girl
Wendy Girl
6 years ago

Totally fantastic article… I feel the same way…I have to break this cycle, too.

6 years ago

So many great comments to read, I don’t know what to say that someone else hasn’t. I can say thank you again for everything you have done for me. Your Journey and your vision has taken me to new highs in life that I may have never experience if it hadn’t been for a newsletter that invited me to join your quest. Your story explains everything I am feeling, and setting me up for whats next. Knowing you did it, is the inspiration I and maybe many others need to just keep moving forward. With hope of a future that… Read more Β»

6 years ago

I am who I am , so I am not ashamed , my name is Edwina when i'm dressed , and I love Edwina , that is when I am most at ease with myself, relaxed and fulfilled.

Danielle A. Flannery
10 years ago

Vanessa, this post just rocks ! It so resonated with me, except for the last stages. As I told my ex-wife before we married, and we split over other issues, I have yet to start hormones, and so far am definitely a lesbian, but as most women are comfortably bi, I'n not ruling anything out after going full-time and GRS. From 4 years onwards, I've been wanting, but fighting, needing for my physical life to be in harmony with the the inner Danielle, but guilty and ashamed. But no longer aand your post put it so perfectly in perspective. So… Read more Β»

Melody Jane
11 years ago

Wow, This is all so new to me and yet I feel so confident about this for the very first time. I've only completely accepted the person that I know I am just a couple months ago. I've only told my girlfriend, who is nothing but proud of me for being brave enough to talk about it, and my mom, who seems to be nothing but worried… I'm still far too terrified to talk to anyone else, but for the fist time… I actually feel proud to be a woman… I felt like I was going crazy but… as strange… Read more Β»

12 years ago

Ugh… Stopping the Shame and the Lying have been my biggest motivators for change. Oh, and let's not forget their nasty little stepdaughter, Guilt. As I work to discover my authentic place in this whacky world every comforting step has been one that takes me away from the shame. It's still back there pretty close, but at least the direction I'm moving is better! Thanks Vanessa.

12 years ago

I thank you soo much for publishing your thoughts! I have been running in shame for years now. I have finally committed to telling people up front who I am not even bothering for them to ask. Sometimes I think that I might lose them at that point but. . .
Well I never had them to start with so to speak. Thanks again and I'm really proud of your site. It has proven a goddess send for me.

12 years ago
Reply to  Rhonda97208

Nice writing, Vanessa. I've not seen all the 'stages' put together in one place–from 4 year old to meeting potential partner. That was good.

I understood about the "secret" that one tells the wife having changed, from crossdressing as as secret to identification as a woman being the new "secret," making the old one outdated and somewhat of a lie.

But I don't understand how delay about telling the potential partner changes the fact of being a post-op trans woman. Delay doesn't make the information a lie, there. Can you clear up my confusion?

12 years ago

Vanessa I know your shame I had mine in the very beginning of my journey my family and friends and the collage I am attending are so supportive of me I live and work as a female just about full time now and this summer I am starting my hrt. Ps I am so glad you are sharing with your news letter. Love Vicky

12 years ago

Good morning ladies. I'm in my 2nd year of my (what seems very slow) transition. I have had good support from my wife,my parents and my youngest daughter. (I have 4 children… all grown youngest is 18) I moved to very open glbt community in Ft. Lauderdale. Outside of work I live as a woman, I have made friends. I know I do not pass, but the happiness I feel and the closeness that it has brought my wife and I over rides the feeling of shame,fear and some of my insecurities. Work is the only place that I have… Read more Β»

12 years ago

Distilled to its essence… Then we look back at all the energy and time wasted in fears we overcame.

I have been thinking about this problem of coming out to a new partner. They need to somehow be introduced to the concept of the transitioned woman in print, movie or real life and if they do not react in a positive way then you know that they are not the one for you…

12 years ago
Reply to  Caroline

Dear Vanessa, U have taken correct dicision,may b its delayed because of fear,its not ur mistake,DOD has put u in such situation,go ahead and live ur life as u WISH. BEST OF LUCK.

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