Friday, May 25, 2012

Real RLE

Real-life experience (RLE) is a process where transsexual and transgender people live full-time in their preferred gender identity for a period of time, in order to demonstrate that they can function as a member of said gender. --- Wikipedia

Since I have returned home from Dayton, I was thinking about my RLE.

The longest I have lived full-time in my preferred gender identity was when I attended Fantasia Fair for 7 days in 2009, but I discount that experience because the people who live and work at the site of the Fair, that is, Provincetown, MA, are aware that the transgenders are in town for week. Every tall female stranger is a suspected tranny and nobody passes. How can you have a real life experience in your preferred gender identity if almost everyone you interact with knows your assigned at birth gender?

Discounting Fantasia Fair as an RLE for that reason also discounts the various three, four, and five-day transgender conferences and conventions I have attended in the past.

That leaves me with my four-day full-time experiences in New York City in 2009 and Dayton in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and my too numerous to count one-day outings. I consider those my real RLEs.

Admittedly, in some cases, some people knew what was going on because I came out to them, but the majority of people did not know. They may have suspected something was up with this Amazon, but I was just as clueless about what they thought as they were clueless about me.

I do think it is noteworthy that no one reacted negatively to me during my RLEs (a youth in New York City called me a "dyke," but I considered that a positive reaction).

So either (1)(a) I passed as a woman in other peoples' eyes, (2)(b) people suspected something, but were not confident enough in their suspicions to react to the tranny, (3)(c) people suspected something, but respected my desires to present as a woman, (4)(d) people suspected something, but did not care, or (5)(e) people suspected something, but were afraid to react to the crazy tranny.


In my opinion, my RLEs successfully demonstrated that I can function as a woman.


  1. If I could have a superpower, it would be to read the minds of people who are noticing me.

  2. As a very much part time CD, I find that the biggest confidence boosters regarding passability in RLE are the question "You're full time, aren't you?" from other trans people (often with a long enough pause to think that it was a full stop rather than a comma), and being able to walk into a shop that I frequent in boy mode and deal with the same staff with no more hint of recognition than a passing puzzled look ~ while not wearing a wig!

  3. AnonymousMay 25, 2012

    WoW! lucky you are. Good for you!

  4. AnonymousMay 26, 2012

    Stana, your always an inspiration. Your pride in your self is so humble and yet so bold. And your sharing this in the real world then with us, is what makes you a leader in our community. But most importantly not only may you have had one of those milestone moments, but you undoubtedly left an impression on those whom you've known for some time and those whom you've just met. You are a quality person I have no doubt that this way you have the experiences you have when you are out there interacting in real life.

    My only concern now is the dreaded post short time RLE blues! Those of us that go back and forth have to be strong in our foundations of just who and what we are, and why we do what we do.

    Thanks for all you do!

  5. Seems to me the real trick of the mind (that I would pay good money for) is to happily go 'back' to the male life after four days "being myself" as you do. To be content in a "part-time" real-life experience truly amazes me.
    We are all so different, not better or worse. Admittedly, I am jealous of you Stana, for I know the ending of those days you have just enjoyed would drive me nuts, and you seem to be ok with it.
    As "Unknown" says, Good for you!

  6. I also think people are more accepting everywhere - you are right the hamvention is a great testing ground, very masculine, mostly geek, lots of geekier engineer types, not the kind of folks you see at LGBT events or bars but they kind you see working on cars, outing things together...i hope this comes across OK.
    But it does not get any more blue collar and geekier then Hara Arena. I think the better educated people are the more accepting they are. Ham radio types I am guessing are, as a group, educated. I also in todays busy world , and the event you were at was that - busy - people really care more about them themselves than about you or me - and that is a plus too.

    I think you got an A+ if you looked like a DUDE someone would have said it and being the Midwest they would have been nice about it, but it would have been said.

    I think you are wonderful.

  7. Once again you lead the way into our future with your positive attitude and composure that give the tgirl movement its moment. You may have been the only one there yet everyone who took notice told many I am sure. You are shortening the path for inclusion to the general society to dress in what makes us comfortable. Your impeccable standard of dress makes me think "fashionista" as every one looked delightful and well planned. Very appropriate. Your confidence again is quite inspiring. Congratulations on a fun time.

  8. To begin, let me say “Thank you” for your sharing regarding the Hamvention outing, I’m sure you enjoyed it.

    Let me also say, I think you're a wonderful person. The topics you choose are filled with interest. Your writing reveals a deep intelligence and positiveness and your orientation is very understandable. You ARE simply a woman! You look great BTW!

    You mentioned in your list five points in regards to RLEs of your past; Either you passed (1 time) or they suspected something (4 times). I wondered about that ratio. As I’ve said, you’re a woman true enough, just a wee bit tall woman.

    It's just my opinion, and mine alone, that you may have simply intimidated those who saw you into accepting the fact you’re a woman. As you say, you’re an Amazon after all, LMFAO!

    As a fellow T-woman who lacks similar opportunities, I tip my hat to you, Stana. I look forward to reading more about even more.

  9. Hi,

    Coincidentally I just spent 11 days en femme in Las Vegas. I had a small, harmless negative reaction, but overall it was just as you described it.

    I want to add I found the inspiration to try by reading your blog, Stana. Thank you.

    I don't think I can pass nearly as well, and I'm sure my voice gave me away each time. Just the same people either addressed me as "ma'am," "miss," or simply avoided using any gender specific term.

    What I found more interesting was how many people complimented my clothes and accessories. In particular a blue dress I picked up at Ross. Oh, and some online friends from a gambling board I met over a weekend were all very respectful and accepting. The wife of one of them even engaged me in a footwear chat :)

  10. The part of the RLE that is hard, if your transitioning, is that you have to be gainfully employed. Getting that job in this economic environment is a b*tch.

  11. Alice --- Similar to "You're full time, aren't you?" as a confidence booster is "How long have you been on hormones?" (I have never taken hormones.)

  12. Joan and Halle --- I am so used to going back to boy mode that I don't get depressed about it any longer. I just start planning and looking forward to my next time out en femme.

  13. Billie --- Sorry about the 1 to 5 numbering. It was not a count of occurrences, it was just a list of five possibilities of how people may have interpreted me. I have changed the numbers to letters (a to e) so as to be less confusing.

  14. Stephanie --- My employer has told me that my current job is safe if I transition. I believe them because there is a female-to-male crossdresser on our staff, who has been dressing as a male for years and it has never been an issue.

  15. Stana,
    I have been reading about your adventure in Dayton. Great story as always and I really have to hand it to you for being so open and fearless as a woman at the hamfest.
    I remember my first hamvention trip in the early 70's. After walking the entire arena several times on Saturday I think I saw only a dozen women among the thousands of men.
    At one the exibitors was a hugh crowd 6 or 7 hams deep, so much that it blocked the entire isle. After wading through the crowd I could see why. They had two young girls wearing only bikini's and high heels. One ham after the other, mostly older ones were standing next to and getting their pictures taken with the girls. Actually pushing in front of each other. Someone in the back of the crowd asked what is this vendor selling that's so great. Another ham closer to the front said ,Who cares What they are selling.
    My point in all of this is I am glad that hams have evolved enough to accept women in radio as well as seeing many more at the hamfests nowadays. A much welcomed improvement.
    73's as they say ed slabe

  16. I find that being a CD really does combine the 'best of both worlds'. I have built a life as the guy that relates to my family, friends, co-workers and everyone that interacts with me that I find most satisfying and enjoyable. I like most people that I encounter and I think that most of them like me. I am certain that it is easiest for them to interact and relate to my male presentation. Some, but surely not all, may interact well with my femme presentation ~ but it would surely impact the dynamic of a relaltionship that may have existed for years.

    Getting out and about and blending is, in my humble opinion, an excellent way for more and more people to come to know and accept us so that in the future CDs can get out and about and not been deemed in any fashion aberrational.

    You continue to serve as an ambassador and leader in the growing acceptance of all of us.