Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saved The Best For Last

I was dressed and out the door at 9:45 AM.

My main goal for the day was to attend two human sexuality classes at Southern Connecticut State University. Each semester, the class has a trans day and invites trans folks to tell their stories and then field questions from the students. The first class was at 12:20 PM, so I had some time to shop for shoes before meeting Diana to carpool to Southern.

First stop was DSW. They had many of the shoe styles I was looking for, but none in my size. So, I searched for anything in my size, but found nothing. I did find three pairs in the non-wide version of my size and tried them on. Sometimes the non-wides fit, but that was not the case at DSW yesterday.

Next stop was the mall. Online I saw some shoes at JCPenney that interested me, so that was where I intended to shop. I parked my car at the Nordstrom entrance, entered the mall through Nordstrom and lo and behold, their shoe department was in my way. I could not resist, so I looked around and found some shoes that I liked.

A saleman greeted me and I asked him what was the biggest size shoe that they stocked.

He replied that they had heels as high as six inches!

I laughed and explained that I was referring to shoe size, not heel height.

He laughed, then asked me what size I needed.

I told him the size and styles I was interested in and he went into the stock room to find what he could find.

Ten minutes passed and I was about to give up on him, but then he returned to the sales floor with a stack of ten shoeboxes; all in my size, but not in wide.

I went through his finds and eliminated about half of them on the basis of style. Then I tried on the remainder, but none of them fit. The salesman checked to see if any of them came in wide, but none of them did.

I thanked him for his help and walked through the mall to JCPenney. There I found the shoes that I saw online and asked the saleswoman if they had them in my size. She went into the stockroom, but came back empty-handed.

It was getting late, so I exited the mall, returned to my car, drove to Diana's house, got into her car, and she drove to Southern.

We arrived at the classroom and found 30 students and two other trans women, who we had done this with before. Usually, there are one or two female-to-males, but not this time, so it was just us four trans males-to-females to do the job.

The students in the two classes asked a lot of questions and in general, seemed comfortable interacting with us. I can recall only one question that I had not heard asked before, i.e., did I ever have an altercation with a male while I was en femme? My answer was "no."

Between classes, we had snacks at the student center with Professor Schildroth and talked about friends, acquaintances, and what is going on in the local trans community.

After classes, we read the students' evaluations of our presentations. Many of the students admit that we were the first trans people they have ever encountered. Just as many commented that the encounter left them with a very positive impression regarding trans people. The biggest revelation for a lot of them was that being trans does not mean being gay.

A few comments indicated that there was still some confusion, but in general, the evaluations indicated that we did a good job.

After the second class, three of us went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and then we went home.

I saved the best part of the day for last.

After the first class, a female student approached me. She said that when I entered the class, she thought I was a woman, not a trans woman, but a born woman.

Thank you, I thought to myself, but then she added that besides thinking I was a born woman, I was also the most beautiful older adult woman that she had ever seen in person!

I thanked her profusely aloud as she examined my presentation real up close now. She thought I was about 45 years old and she was very surprised when I revealed that I was 60 (even up close).

Then she told me something very personal that I will not repeat here. I thought I detected her eyes beginning to well up.

The encounter became so emotional for me that I cannot remember if I gave her hug or not. (If I didn't, I should have.)

Those few minutes with her were priceless to me and I will remember her forever.


  1. I think I left my new denim jacket in one of the classrooms. :(

    Do you remember if I had it at the restaurant?

  2. Diana --- I recall you wearing it as we left SCSU because I was shivering from the cool air and I noticed you had on a jacket. Maybe you left it at the restaurant.

  3. I just called them, and they have it at the restaurant. Thanks, I thought that I left at the school.

  4. I have a female cousin that goes to DSW for shoes. They don't have her size either (and she's not short.) She wears a size 9 NARROW.
    A NARROW? I don't get it.

  5. AnonymousMay 04, 2011

    "After the first class, a female student approached me. She said that when I entered the class, she thought I was a woman, not a trans woman, but a born woman."

    Congratulations. You passed!

    Now how far away is transition again?

  6. Stsna,

    You know I love your blog. In any of your outreach sessions have you directed the class to 'Femulate'?

    Have you provided your 'Stana' email to the students with an invitation that they contact you if they have any questions or observations about your presentation that they may have been reluctant to raise in an open classroom or that they only thought of after the class ended?

    Has the professor reported any post-class followup? Does the professor provide the students with a list of 'trans-informative websites?

    I am not saying this should be done...I am just curious. I think that the outreach sessions that you do are wonderful for many reasons and wish that some day I could either join you or do the same type of outreach to the civilian population.

    Regards and keep up the good work,

  7. Great story!

    And can I just ask - that's not a typo??? 60!?!?! Never...


  8. Pat --- The professor always reminds me to mention my blog in every class and I do. The professor reads the blog, but I don't know if any of the students read it because I've never received an e-mail or comment indicating that they do read it.

  9. Stace --- Sad, but true, it's not a typo... I am 60.

  10. MaryBethMay 06, 2011

    Hi Stana!

    I wanted to thank you for coming to talk to our human sexuality class on Tuesday. It was a wonderful experience to hear your stories and the stories of the other ladies. You have really inspired me to start to understand more about the trans community and to step up if I hear someone making off color comments. Thank you so much for sharing your stories and experiences with us. I can say that I and my other classmate, Megan, really enjoy reading your blog :D I would also like to thank you for putting me in your blog. When I read this post my eyes began to mist. I am so happy that I made you feel happy for even just a few minutes. You are an amazing person, and I will never forget meting you. Thank you so much and I hope I get the opportunity to hear you speak to another human sexuality class or an out reach program <3

    :) MaryBeth

  11. The professor should assign the class the task of sending guest speakers a short thank you note and tell them that the best way to thank you is through your blog.

    Another thought is that most college classrooms these days are tech equiped and you could have the professor running your blog behind you as you give your talk. Kids these days are comfortable multitasking.

  12. MaryBeth --- Thank you for your comments. You are the first student ever to comment on my blog after outreach, so I really appreciate your "thank you" and your very kind words. Say "Hi" to Megan for me and stay in touch.

  13. Pat --- Please see the comment from MaryBeth just preceding your comment.