Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dear Stana: How Do You Use T-Dar?

Dear Stana,

What do you in the following situation: You're at Fantasia Fair and a trans-woman walks by, but her female presentation is poor. If there are no people around so as not to embarrass her, would you consider offering suggestions to her to improve her presentation?

I have often wondered what would you do.

A Reader

Dear Reader.

I have written about using trans-radar before, but it will do no harm (and maybe some good) if I write about it again.

Trans-radar, or T-Dar for short, is the ability to detect a trans-person when they are presenting in their non-birth gender. For example, you see a tall woman walking through the mall. Suddenly, your T-Dar kicks in and you begin looking for clues that the woman is actually a natal male presenting as a female.

No matter how good you think your T-Dar may be, you seldom have an opportunity to determine whether your T-Dar works correctly or not.

You can confront a suspected trans-person, but that can be disastrous, especially if you are wrong.

I recall reading about a trans-woman who encountered two tall women while shopping. Her T-Dar told her that the two women were trans and she confronted them by introducing herself as trans and saying something to the effect, "You're trans, too, aren't you?"

The two women reacted as if the trans-woman had just gotten off a spaceship from Neptune. They had no idea what she was talking about and when it became apparent to the trans-woman that she had erred, she wished that she was on Neptune.

And even if your T-Dar is correct confronting a suspected trans-person can be a sensitive matter.

Last time I attended the First Event trans convention, I arrived at the hotel in boy mode and took the elevator to the floor to register for the event. The elevator stopped before reaching my destination and a trans-woman got on. I was 101% positive that she was trans and without thinking, I asked her if she was enjoying First Event.

She was taken aback by my query and seemed very uncomfortable. I immediately realized the error of my ways and explained to her that I was trans too, but having just arrived at the hotel, had not changed into girl mode yet. She seemed a little relieved, but I learned a lesson and would think twice before doing that again.

It is probably best that using your T-Dar be a solitary thing. Keep your T-Dar findings to yourself unless, of course, you write a trans-blog, then you can publicize your T-Dar results. ("Yesterday, I saw a trans-woman in ladies' shoes at Macy's.")

On the other hand, I have had trans-women ask me for advice or to give them my opinion about their presentation on occasion. I am always honored when they ask me and I do my best to give them honest advice or a true opinion.

But I would never offer unsolicited advice or opinion to a trans-woman. First and foremost, she is a woman. Would you ever consider giving unsolicited advice or opinion to a non-trans-woman who you happen to encounter anywhere anytime? Of course not because it would be extremely rude. Just because the other woman may be trans is no reason to throw good manners out the window.

Enough said!

By the way, I believe that most trans-people have T-Dar. It almost comes naturally because trans-people look for affirmation that there are other trans-people out there. What better way to affirm that then to actually see another trans-person in person? Seeking that affirmation, trans-people check out potential suspects wherever they go.

Even when my T-Dar determines that the six-foot woman walking through the mall is, in fact, a genetic female, it provides a different kind of affirmation. It affirms that there are genuine tall women out there and as a six-foot-plus trans-woman, it gives me encouragement to go out en femme and join the other tall women out there because I am not alone.

Best Wishes,


Do you need advice concerning femulation or other crossdressing-related matters, then e-mail me and I will happily give you my opinion on the matter. My e-mail address is stana-stana at


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems to have T-Dar, or as I call it "Spidey Sense." ^_^;

    There have been times where I've been noticing others around me who may not be exactly who they are presenting as. I try not to call too much attention, or linger too long looking. (I wouldn't want anyone paying too much attention toward me. Though I've been assured by friends I know online, I'm still rather hard on myself.)

    I'm trying to break myself of the habit of trying to seek out others, especially when I'm in boy-mode, but I do agree with you, in a way, that it is an affirmation that we're not alone.

    I remember a couple months ago when I was at a Ross Dress For Less store, looking through the womens' shoes aisle, and I realized there was another guy there, actually checking out the footwear more closely than I was. I think we were both a bit self conscious.

    I haven't approached anyone, and I don't intend to. Again, I wouldn't be comfortable if someone did the same to me. It's funny to realize there is a term for what some of seem to have. ^_^;

    (By the way, I'm a "first time caller" on here. I've been following your blog for a few months, and link to it from my own blog. I do enjoy your writing. Keep it up!)

    -- Julie Anne

  2. I would definately leave it to her, it could bring attention to her if she is not being read, or even more attention to her if she is.

    Also many trans girls get upset if their own style is criticised by others, often makes them feel less self confident.