Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Revisiting Stana's Closet

On Monday, I wrote about my closet. That writing included a photo of my closet with my female clothing hanging on the closet rods and my high heels in shoe boxes stacked on the floor.

Did you notice what was not in my closet?


I was in the closet for a very long time. From my early teens until I joined a support group in the late 1980s, all my femulations were in the confines of my home (except for a handful of Halloween femulations).

My girl was cooped up in that home closet for almost 20 years, so when I finally attended a support group meeting, it was a breath of fresh air in comparison.

By attending support group meetings, I was out in "public" for the first time. I dressed at home and drove 30 minutes to the support group meeting place. During the drive, I was really out in the public albeit within the enclosure of my automobile.

At the meetings, I will argue that I was also out in "public" because at first, all the other attendees were strangers to me. They were as "public" to me as anyone I might encounter on a city street. Also, the faces of the attendees changed constantly with new folks showing up, while others dropped out, so there was almost always a new public to face at the meetings.

The support group occasionally sponsored outings to local restaurants. The group planned those outings in advance; the restaurants prepared for our outings and usually stuck us in a private room so that the other clientele, the "public," would not disturb us!

I regularly attended support group meetings for about years and was very active in the group editing their newsletter, as well as organizing the group's annual banquet.

After attending support group meetings for five years or so, I realized that the support group meeting hall was just a bigger closet located 30 miles up the Interstate from my home closet, so my girl was itching to get out in public a little farther.

So, I attended my first transgender convention. Now, the closet was huge and encompassed a whole hotel. I had such a wonderful time in the expanded closet that I attended a different trangender convention every year for about five or six years. Then I crashed into a closet wall again and realized that although the trans convention closet was very big, it was still a closet and I was stuck in it.

I considered my situation. I was not getting any younger and if I did not make a real effort to get out of the closet, I would never get out. The only thing preventing me from getting out of the closet was me.

I had a great fear of being recognized by the public as a natal male and being ridiculed (or worse) as a result. And despite a lot of evidence to the contrary that I could pass on occasion, I was sure that as soon as I stuck my high-heeled foot out in public, every civilian who encountered me would know the "truth." But my girl so wanted to go public and finally I made up my mind to do something about it.

On a cool November day four years ago, I shaved, showered, did my makeup, dressed, and drove to the mall. I dressed appropriately to fit in (and not stand out) by wearing a long black tunic sweater, "heather-gray" leggings, and the pant boots, but I sat in my car trying to get up the courage to go inside. After 20 minutes, I made up mind that "it was now or never" and I got out of my car and went into the mall.

My day out had its ups and downs (you can read about it in detail here. Some people read me and reacted in such a way that I knew that they read me, but most of the time, people paid little or no attention to me. So I assumed that (1) most people who read me were polite and did not react or (2) most people who read me did not care and did not react or (3) I passed.

In any case, I was out of the closet and it felt wonderful. That alone would have made my day, but my visit to Sephora was icing on the cake.

I sought some makeup advice, so I went to Sephora for a consultation. The consultant could not have been nicer. While she was experimenting with my face, I mentioned that I had beard cover under my foundation and that the reason I was wearing beard cover was because I was crossdressing.

I probably did not have to tell her I was crossdressing because up close and personal, she probably detected that fact. No matter, she said to me, "You only have one life to live and you should live it like you want. If someone has a problem, then it is their problem, not yours."

Wow! That was an epiphany!

Throughout my life, I always worried about what other people would think of me and if someone had a problem with me, I thought it was my fault, that is, I had done something wrong. The Sephora consultant turned that philosophy on its head and I realized that as long as I am not hurting anyone, I should live my life as I want to live it.

I felt so free!

After that, whenever the opportunity arose, I went out in public en femme. Shopping, shows, dining, outreach, seminars, a four-day stay in Manhattan, etc., over the past four years, I have embraced every opportunity to go out en femme and in the process, I discovered some important things.

The more I went out in public en femme, the more I passed. I was no longer nervous about going out en femme. Instead, I was relaxed and acted more naturally and people who might have read me, ignored me because I was not drawing attention to myself.

The more I went out en femme, I realized that being en femme was the real me. I no longer had to concentrate on femulating. Just acting as myself was more than enough because there was no longer a need to act as a woman because I really was a woman all along, but it took a long time to realize it.

Closets are for clothing, not people, so I urge you all to get out of the closet and be the woman you want to be. Maybe you will discover that you are a plain vanilla crossdresser or maybe you will discover that you have really been a woman all along.

By the way, the photo above shows me standing outside of my closet.


  1. What a great story...thank you.
    And, a great pic! :)

  2. I just took a tiny step out of the closet by telling our best friends that I was a gender bender.

    They kind of said: no surprise and good for you to just be who you are.

    Love your story, it is inspiring


  3. I am so happy for you that you finally know who you are!

  4. Stana,
    Closet? What closet??
    You continue to inspire us to greater coming out, self-acceptance, and great make-up tips!
    thank you!

  5. I agree with everything everyone has
    said--you're an inspiration! And you look absolutely fabulous in that outfit! Wow! Why isn't this one of your favorite photos?

  6. Gwen Girl --- I added the photo to My Favorite Photos page.

  7. Stana, Im so glad I found your site. This story is inspiring and Im glad I read it. I really love all photos but especialy this one