Friday, May 2, 2014

One Person's Journey to Womanhood – Part 4

By Monica M
A small detour before we get back to the history. One thing that one really needs when one embarks on the transgender journey is a good sense of humor. You really do need the ability to laugh at the situation and even sometimes at yourself.

I have recently come back from a trip to San Francisco and Denver.

Photo of me out and about in Denver!

I stayed in San Francisco for a couple of days to take in some culture and to do some shopping. This was the first time (and I have been many times) that I encountered rain in San Francisco and this required me to buy a mac, but more of that later.

During this shopping trip, I was occasionally asked for a photo ID if the cost of the purchase was over $50. As a part-time guy, my guy photo appears on my photo ID. I calmly handed it over when asked (my credit card only has my initials). Only a few years ago I would rather have rats eat out my eyes than give somebody a photo ID of me as a guy while I was dressed as a woman.

But I guess there is something in the air in San Francisco as nobody batted an eyelid. I don't think anybody even looked at my photo; they just compared names.

When I was in Boston in October, my wife and I hired a car. Again I handed over my photo ID and the lady behind the counter looked at it and said, “There must be some mistake. This is not the right ID.”
I assured her that it was. She looked again and was satisfied! Ah! We live for such moments of confirmation, but wait there is more!

Back to San Francisco where it is raining, I head off to Macy’s to buy a mac. I find a really nice London Fog mac at a sale price, just what I want and in my size. I take it to the cashier who asks me if I have a Macy’s card. I tell her I do not. She gives me 10% off anyway and asks for my photo ID. I hand it over quite calmly expecting the usual no comment.

“Oh!,” she says, “You are using your husband's card. That is no problem!”

If I was not already married, I would have married her on the spot!

Back to Boston in October --- I am walking around Lens Crafters looking for a rimless pair of glasses. The assistant comes up to me and asks, “Can I help you, sir?”

This is a picture of how I looked. I thought I did not look too bad. I took this photo in my hotel room immediately afterwards. Monica_4_2  

I felt that the only sensible answer was to say, “Thank you” and I walked out.

I could get all bitter and twisted about being “sir’d,” but I always try and look at these things as a learning situation. Either there was something about my presentation or voice which was not helping her to make the connection or while she recognised that I was transgender (it is difficult to pass in very close proximity), her brain had not supplied her with the correct gender marker.

Being charitable, it was probably a mixture of both. I now realise how drab that outfit looked on me and maybe I was not being as confident as I should have been. In general, people will meet you half way as long as they can see that you are really making a reasonable effort.

There is a saying I learned at Esprit (more of that later) in 2009. It goes like this: “If you think you are passing 100% of the time, the only person you are fooling is yourself!”

A positive response to a setback is the only way forward. For us transgenders, I keep reminding myself, there is no goal to be reached… the journey is the goal.

(Part 3 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here yesterday. Part 5 will appear here next week.)


Actor Marty Thomas femulating in the 2014 NYC stage production of Pageant: The Musical.



Source: Chictopia
Wearing Do & Be (dress) and BCBG (bag and belt).


  1. While for me dressing as a woman means many things on thing I keep formost is the fun aspect of being out and about while dressed. Humor is important for our own enjoyment of what we do and it is also helpful for those that we encounter. While we are achieving more and more acceptance and the concept of a man dressed as a woman is becoming less and less of an oddity I think a smile not only improves our face value but makes us all the more acceptable to those we encounter.
    I think that every encounter that a civilian has with any of us who present as pleasant, friendly folks is good for the rest of us. I appreciate what you have done and what you are continuing to do.
    I look forward to your additional postings.

    1. I agree, Pat, the more people get out there the more it become acceptable.

      Monica M

  2. Amazing advice Monica. You have discovered much of what I have and more about being transgender in the world. Keep your head up and your sense of humour about yourself and take things as they come. Thanks for sharing your great story!

    1. Thank you joannaS, I appreciate your comments.

      Monica M

  3. My sister got the "can I help you, sir" during chemotherapy, just after her hair started to grow back. She was wearing a feminine blouse and sweater, she was wearing makeup. I think some people are just woefully unobservant.

    I do think a sense of humor is the best way to keep moving forward. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. A sense of humor and hard work are what are required in this game. You have to take the risk and get outside your comfort zone....but, when you fail, and you will, we all do...the ability to laugh it off and try harder next time is what helps you succeed. Thank you for your comment.

      Monica M

  4. Macy's SF is a great store, personal service, great staff, and so friendly to us girls.
    (also there 65% off rack is awesome)
    Anyway a sense of humor is required, it lets us relax a bit if you are new to being out. Looking forward to my next trip there.

    1. I agree Mabe, Macy's is always one of my first shopping points (along with MAC who are also very T friendly) when I hit the streets of SF.Thank you for posting.

      Monica M