Monday, October 10, 2011

No More Closets

I was in the closet for a very long time.

Although my interests in feminine things go back to my earliest memories, I did not take up crossdressing until I was 12-years-old. But once I began, I crossdressed at every opportunity, typically whenever I found myself alone at home.

When I was 19, I reached my tipping point and had to let Stana out of the closet. So I dressed en femme on Halloween despite the fact that I had nowhere to go.

Unlike today, where there is a Halloween event everywhere you turn, back in the late-1970s, there was not much Halloween-wise for a young adult. I had not been invited to any Halloween parties (I didn't even know of any Halloween parties) and I was too young to go to any bar that might be celebrating Halloween. So, Mom let her "daughter" borrow the car and I visited some friends and relatives to "trick 'n' treat." (How desperate is that?)

Post-Halloween, I was back in the closet honing my femulating skills while waiting for next year's Halloween party invitations. I never went out en femme to trick 'n' treat again, but I did get a few party invitations over the years.

I always attended the parties dressed as a woman, not as a woman wearing a woman's costume. Invariably, some party-goer would wonder why I wasn't wearing a costume and I would explain to their astonishment that I was in costume. Post-Halloween, I would be back in the closet again, but at least I realized that all the practice in the closet was not for naught.

Online (via Compuserve's Genderline), I discovered and joined a local support group in the early 1980s. Now, I was able to get out of the house en femme on days besides the last day of months beginning with the letter O. I attended meetings once or twice per month, always dressing at home and driving to the meeting place 25 miles away.

On occasion, the support group sponsored outings --- usually dinners at local restaurants, which sheltered us in a private room so we would not to mix with their "normal" clientele. I always attended, but being a rebel, I made a point of using the public ladies' restroom instead of the private restroom that had been assigned to us.

I wanted more and began attending trans conventions, which gave me the opportunity to have the run of a whole hotel for a long weekend en femme

But I realized that I was still in the closet. I just had more closet-space: in my home, in my support group's meeting places, and in trans convention hotels.

I still wanted more, so I became a little more adventurous. On my way to support group meetings, I would stop off to buy a refreshment at a convenience store or fast food joint. Amazingly, no one seemed to notice or care that I was en femme. I was passing or at least, I was accepted and that emboldened me to do more.

It took 55 years, but I finally summoned up enough courage to go out in public en femme. I decided to make that leap by going to the mall. I dressed en femme, drove to the mall, arrived just as it opened, and sat in my car for a half-hour trying to muster the courage to exit the car and walk across the parking lot to the mall entrance.

I finally pushed myself and did it and I spent the better part of day at the mall having the time of my life. Some people read me, but it was not the end of the world, and once I got a taste of the world en femme, I wanted more.

Subsequently, I picked my days and spent them en femme, shopping, dining, being entertained, enjoying the arts, etc., etc., and I loved it, doing what other women did when they were out.

It all felt so natural to me. I was always feminine. As I have written here before, I was not a female trapped in a male body, rather I was me trapped by society's expectations of what a male was supposed to be. The "problem" was that I preferred to fulfill society's expectations of what a woman was supposed to be.

Finally, I realized I was a woman, who happened to have a male body, but I was not going to let that little handicap hinder me from being the best woman I could be.

And so it goes.


  1. OK, three things....

    1. You're a better woman than a lot of the women I meet in everyday life.

    b. I remember genderline! It's possibly the first time I discover I wasn't the only person with this horrid problem (not!).

    III. How's the book going? :D

    With love,


  2. Meg ---

    Won - Thank you very much.

    Too - At 110 baud (yikes!)

    Tree - Actually, I am writing it.

  3. The beauty of what your wrote today and what permeates much of your writing is the acknowledgment that we are all entitled to affirmation that we are OK. That we are entitled to present ourselves as we wish to be and that we are each entitled to happiness with outselves.
    Thank you again for all that you do for so many of use. You have a wonderful ability to put our thoughts and many events of our lives into words.

  4. Stana , What you have written is Is the story of my life to!

  5. Jessica BrittonOctober 11, 2011

    Nicely said and Brava to you, sister!

    Jessica Britton
    Phoenix Transgender Support
    Asheville, NC

  6. As always , My heart felt thanks.
    Wouldn't miss a day at your page.

  7. Thanks, Stana. I was a co-founder of GenderLine on Compuserve (Was Chris(tine) Duval back then) ... and its so nice to see how things have come full circle. I read Femulate almost every day and admire (and somewhat envy) your adventures greatly. I'm still a homebody, but I do take a picture or two and post them on Flickr.

    It's nice to know that I played a little part in getting things going for you. Thanks for such an enjoyable blog!



  8. Stana,
    You provide for me a model of how to be and carry myself as femme... we have stuggled similar ways and paths, on differing time lines.... ridding ourselves of society's "internalized" expectations is often the hardest thing to do in the struggle with ourselves ... thank you for being here for us all... and for being you!

  9. I think your experience echo's that of a lot of us, if not in detail then in general thrust. I was going out before I joined a support group, but was getting frustrated by always being on my own. It is one thing to know that you are not the only one, to read blogs and join on line communities, it is another much bigger thing to KNOW you are not the only one, because you are sitting in the pub chating with them.
    Many of us are still in a closet of our own choosing so as to protect loved ones.

  10. Stana;

    Your story brings to mind a brilliant poem from Robert Frost that might well apply to a LOT of folks still trying to "get both feet bout of the closet".

    Acquainted with the Night

    I have been one acquainted with the night.
    I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
    I have outwalked the furthest city light.

    I have looked down the saddest city lane.
    I have passed by the watchman on his beat
    And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
    When far away an interrupted cry
    Came over houses from another street,

    But not to call me back or say good-bye;
    And further still at an unearthly height,
    A luminary clock against the sky

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
    I have been one acquainted with the night.

    Robert Frost

  11. I almost didn't comment on this post. The comments others have left cover my response to this post and your blog so well that adding my own note seems almost redundant.

    However, while it may echo what others have already said, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post and how appreciated your blog is. Thanks for helping articulate what so many of us have felt and experienced.