Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Presidential Library En Femme

By Paula Gaikowski

Paula - Rena - Kris - Air Force One While traveling around the country on business I have started visiting presidential libraries. No matter what your politics are, those libraries are typically beautiful sites that offer a historical walk through a president’s term. Just be prepared for a favorable view of their legacy.

This day’s plan was to visit the Reagan Presidential Library with Kris and Rene.

I got up early as I had a long ride thru LA traffic to get there. Before leaving I stopped at the morning buffet at the hotel. I always wanted to go en femme to one of these breakfasts. How many times while on business I would envy the business women getting ready for their day.

Today I would be one of them. Then a really cool thing happened. When I came in, an older woman who was running the breakfast greeted me with a pleasant “Good morning!” When I left, I bumped into her outside. She smiled again and said, “Hello” and asked, “You are so beautiful --- what kind of makeup do you use?”

First, I was like pinch me? Is this a joke? I smiled back and said “MAC, thank you very much.” Poor woman probably needs glasses.

Two hours thru LA traffic got me to the Library just in time. I recognized Kris from her photo and we both quickly met up with Rene. I was a bit nervous, but thankfully the girls seemed very composed and relaxed. I had visions of Secret Service agents following us around the Library speaking into their wrist bands. And like all of my fears about going out dressed, these too were unfounded. The people in the Library treated us like any other women. The place was busy with busloads of school kids. But as we made our way thru the exhibits nobody paid us any mind. Understandable since both Kris and Rene are cute, and are super passable.

I do regret passing up photo opportunities in the recreated Oval Office and the recreated White House press room. How cool that would have been having photos of myself in those settings!

One of the more enjoyable events was touring Air Force One. As we made our way up the steps of the aircraft, we noticed there was a Library photographer taking souvenir photos. Once done with your tour, the pictures were available for purchase at the finish. Okay --- this was too good to be true --- three transgender women and someone coaxing us for photos!

As we made our way up the jet-way, the photographer prompted us, “Ladies, forward, ladies to the left, perfect!”

As I walked through Air Force One, I was taken back to my days in the Air Force when I saw this airplane on a regular basis. I would always watch in awe as it flew overhead. Now to be walking thru this historical craft as a woman was gratifying and affirming in a come full circle view of my life.

The campus was delightful and we wandered the grounds taking in the picturesque view of the Simi Valley, stopping off in the gift shop and of course taking photos. We chatted with a several people, nobody seemed to take notice anything but three women.

This was my first time out to a museum en femme and also my first time out with a group of transgender women. It was a great way to get out into the world as a woman. Don’t be afraid to go from chrysalis to butterfly, you have nothing to fear. If I can do it you can too!

Our last stop was a visit to Ronald Reagan’s grave. It was a serene and tranquil spot. Politics aside, it made me reflect about Reagan’s amazing journey from Dixon, Illinois, to this very spot. In turn, I too considered my passage of time, in some ways just as amazing when I think back to a time when I thought I’d never experience any part of my life as a woman. Guilt, shame and self-loathing now replaced with positive feminine energy.

As we parted I believe I could hear Ronald spinning in his grave.






Wearing Cameo.






One female (center) and two male high school students participating
in Geschlechtertausch (Gender Swap Day) in Germany, 2014.


  1. My Observation: In your photo above (Geschlechtertausch) you point out the female. At one glance I could have told you which was the female -- the only one in pants!

  2. Paula,
    I have virtually the same photo sitting on my desk at work with me, in guy mode, coming out of the door of Reagan's old Air Force 1. This plane is small compared to the 747 that now serves as Air Force 1.
    Like you I found the peace and serenity of Reagan's grave to be quite moving. It was simple and decent and it does speak to the lift of the child from Dixon, Ill.
    You and the other ladies look lovely and I am glad that you had a good day out at the Reagan Library. I wish I could have joined you since I would love the opportunity to visit again. I found the setting and the view across the canyon to be moving.

  3. Paula,
    Museums are great for going out en femme. It isn't considered too abnormal to see a woman in a skirt or dress at an art, presidential, or other cultural museum. One of, if not the first, museums that I visited en femme was the Ford museum. I have also visited the JFK museum several times en femme. Art museums are also on the list having visited including MOMA, several Yale museums and the Worcester Art museum to name a few. Yes it can be a bit unnerving because the guards are watching all of the time but they do that to everyone!

  4. Pat--- Thanks for your comments, yes thus spot is inspirational and I think that's why Reagan picked.

    Leann-- The Worcester art museum, I live a few miles away!!! I didn't know were a Mass girl.
    I have to put the JFK museum on my list, sounds like fun!