Tuesday traffic was light and I arrived at the Southern Connecticut State University parking lot 20 minutes before the Human Sexuality classes started where I was doing outreach.
As usual, the parking lot guard stopped me as I drove onto the lot to see what I was up to. It was the same middle-aged guard I have encountered the last few times I visited Southern, so I think he recognized me when I told him I was speaking at a class.
He was very accommodating, called me “Miss,” and told me to park in any empty spot that was not reserved. I scored a spot right next to the classroom building, which was a good thing considering the poor weather. Then I slipped on my sweater coat, but was shivering nonetheless as I walked the short distance to the building.
Inside, Michelle, a post-op male-to-female transwoman was already waiting outside the classroom. I have done outreach with Michelle for years, but I just discovered that she reads my blog, so "Hi, Michelle!"
(Also, “Hi” to all the students from Professor Schildroth’s class who might have tuned in.)
Two other long-time fellow outreachers, Quinton, a post-op female-to-male transman, and Mary Ann, a non-op male-to-female transwoman soon joined us.
Then a young woman came up to me and asked if I was doing outreach. I said, "Yes" and she said she was also doing outreach.
I tried to figure out why she was doing outreach because I pegged her as cisgender female. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked why she was doing outreach. Turned out that Katie is the significant other (SO) of a female-to-male post-op transman.
That was a first for outreach. We had the cisgender female wife of Mary Ann do outreach with us in the past, but not the cisgender female SO of an FTM.
Professor Schildroth ushered us into the class and we started by giving brief versions of our biographies.
I know the biographies of Mary Ann, Michelle and Quinton by heart, so when they told them to the class, my mind wandered, but when Katie told her story, I listened to every word. Wow! What an emotional roller coaster she has been on as the love of her life, her girlfriend became a boy.
After our biographies, the students asked questions. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get them to ask, but on Tuesday, the students in both classes asked questions without any dental work.
There were a few questions I have never heard asked before. One student asked, "Was coming out scary?"
I answered that I was willing and often anxious to come out. The scary part was not knowing how people will react to your revelation. (In my case, I have been lucky. Most of my coming out reactions have been positive.)
Another student asked, "Do drag queens represent transgenders?"
We answered with a resounding, "No."
Finally one student asked me if I have a penis.
I explained that I do have a penis; I added that I have had no sex change surgery and have never taken hormones.
She followed up by asking about my female breasts.
I explained that I have small female-like breasts that might be the result of an over abundance of female hormones and/or Gynecomastia. I added that they have been augmented by Victoria's Secret. (That got a laugh.)
The photo with students from the class that I posted here on Wednesday was something I thought about doing some time ago. I had mentioned it to Professor Schildroth, but I was a little hesitant because I had doubts that any student would want to be photographed with me.
As the second class ended, the Professor reminded me about taking a photo, so we asked one of the students to pose with me. She was happy to do so and then other students wanted to be in the photo, too, and that happy group photo is the result.
In between classes, we repaired to the Student Center to eat and chat. I was hungry and gravitated to the Mexican food concession.
While I waited to order, two of the women behind the counter began discussing my dress and one admitted that she almost bought the same dress at Dress Barn, but it did not look good on her. On the other hand, she said it looked "gorgeous" on me.
At that point, the student next to me gave me the once over and then she said, "I love your dress!"
I thanked one and all and ordered a chicken quesadilla.
Despite the weather, I had a very good day. I scored some nice additions to my wardrobe and had one of the best outreach experiences I have had in awhile.
I was very loose and comfortable doing outreach (in the past, not so much). I think all the practice I had recently presenting at the youth conferences last month and last Saturday have improved my game. The lively Q&A with the students also helped make my day.
By the way, no one at the mall or the university treated me other than as the woman I am. I lost count how many woman smiled and said "Hello" to me as we passed like ships in the night. I also noticed a few guys checking me out.
It was all very affirming.
Actor John Lone femulating in the film M. Butterfly, 1993.
Wearing Diane von Furstenberg.