Monday, March 16, 2015

Joanna's Favorite Photo (of Joanna!)

Dear Stana,

I do enjoy reading your blog and have been working up the courage to share a photo as it has been so affirming seeing others do the same! 

The photo I have attached was taken aaages ago in 2006, during the summer. A friend of mine had made a 'bet' publicly that she could get me to dress up in a dress. This was from a conversation with her where I came out as a crossdresser. This friend, married, was wonderfully supportive and even made the offer that I could borrow her dresses at any point in the future. We shall call my friend "Catherine."

She was the one who took the photo and said that I looked better than she ever had in the dress. When I introduced my future wife to Catherine, Catherine showed her this photo and took my future wife aside to explain how lucky she was that I liked to crossdress. It was also when she sent the photo to me. Unfortunately my wife did not respond positively and denies to this day that she was ever shown the photograph, having blocked the above conversation from her memory.

So it is that this photo stands as testament to a time when there was much more hope about my crossdressing, than something that I did not exactly embrace and had been struggling with since being a teenager and at least since University. 

It also represents the opportunity that could have been seized to live differently. But, for all of that, it is not a melancholy photo, it is a happy one. And it's perhaps the only photograph of my face that I can actually stand to look at  in male or female garb. As for the experience at the time, it was wonderful and all too short-lived, as these things often are.

In sharing it I hope that I can offer even a small fraction of the inspiration and power that others have shown in sharing theirs. Thank you for the opportunity to share and keeping it going long enough for me to actually muster the courage to join in!

God bless,


Source: HauteLook

Wearing BB Dakota.

Hansi Sturm, German professional emulator, circa 1930


  1. Dear Joanna,

    Thank You for sharing your photo and a little bit of history. It took courage to send a photo of yourself with facial hair and no makeup for Stana to post. I'm guessing that you were not in the position to shave your facial hair for the photo. Or, it may be that as a crossdresser (and not necessarily a transsexual), you are perfectly comfortable with your male persona and female persona, and your male persona likes the facial hair. I don't have any facial hair, but like you, I am a crossdresser. I present as a guy 99% of the time, and am OK with that ... although I probably would be even happier at 90% guy presentation and 10% girl presentation.

    May I share a piece of advice? If you progress to the point of going out in public "dressed", I hope you would shave the facial hair. Although it's your right to present yourself anyway you wish, appearing in public with facial hair while wearing female clothing would probably lead to some very unpleasant encounters. Also, appearing that way could lead to ammunition for transphobic persons to use you as an example of why trans people are so "weird" or "disgusting" or whatever their hatred perceives.



    1. Sheila
      You and I are similar in age and our approach to our crossdressing and while I have never had facial hair and would not consider presenting without a close shave I am not sure that I share all that you have said.
      There is one TG/Cd that I have met and with whom I email on occasion who presents in form fitting ladies jeans, a nice feminine top, high heels with visable pantyhose. He has long neat gray hair and a neatly trimmed gray mustache and beard. He is often out and about in this fashion and has found a nice circle of friends and general acceptance. There is another fellow that I have met a few times at a local LGBT bar. He is about a decade or so younger than me. He wears a mans top, ladies jeans, visable pantyhose and wonderful high heel pumps. He also seems to have found peace and acceptance even though he seems to always have a beard shadow.
      I am not saying that it would be my way of doing things but I think that every expansion of the envelop is good for others. So I say bravo and good luck to Joanna

  2. Dear Pat,

    I enjoy reading your comments. Like me, you post often on Stana's wonderful blog. I agree that folks should present themselves anyway they wish. In retrospect, perhaps my wording ... "I hope you would shave the facial hair" ... was not the best, and a bit judgmental on my part.

    This exchange of ideas brings to mind the concept of one person "representing" an entire “community”. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that concept. Is there any “obligation” for a single transperson (whether transsexual, crossdresser, or other gender variant) to feel they have to dress or act in a certain way to “properly represent” the “trans community”? After all, that individual just happens to be trans, and signed no agreement to “represent” an entire community. The same idea is often floated about for gay people. Some gay people don't like persons who are on the “outer fringes” of behavior (leather lovers, explicit sexual outfits, drag queens, etc.) appearing in gay pride events because they don't “properly represent” the “gay community”. As I said, I don't know how I feel about this. I am very liberal, and (I hope) very open-minded, tolerant, and non-judgmental, so folks appearing or acting in a “very different” way doesn't personally offend me, even if I have no inclination to appear or act similarly.

    I'd like to read comments from other Stananistas ** on whether they think any trans (or gay person) has an obligation to dress or act in certain ways to “represent” the entire “trans community” or “gay community”.

    ** “ Stananistas”: loyal followers of our beloved Stana.



  3. An interesting conversation, to be sure!

    I was not expecting my story to post just yet, so I'm late to the party. As yet I have only been out in public as CD twice, and in both cases went as far as I possibly could to 'pass' and, in both cases, I failed to actually 'pass'. I do not have the face, frame or, well, anything else to 'pass'.

    I find it fascinating that Conchita Wurst kept her beard and facial hair in Eurovision last year and seemed to go down well, without being mocked as a freak show. However, I am not sure I could ever go out in public. Mind you, sending an e-mail with this image for Stana to post here is pretty public, some people I know also know that this place exists. I shall soon discover if they have read this entry I suppose. For now, that's about as public as my cross-dressing goes. Many factors mean that it is highly unlikely that I shall ever cross-dress publicly.

    I am very mindful when representing any community of which I am part that, in that area where I am a minority, I am representative of the entire community. It is not a responsibility that I relish, but it is a responsibility that I have to recognise. I think you are right, Sheila, to suggest that the extra layer of beard and cross-dressing could make a difficult situation moreso and that, for many, I would confirm a great many negative stereotypes. Equally, this would not be beneficial if there were others who were waiting for an opportunity to be open about their own cross-dressing or trans-nature.

    My own, very private, cross-dressing allows me the freedom to dress without affecting anyone else's views. But it is also something of a prison in that I am not able to do it as often as I would like nor as fully as I would like nor for as long as I would like. But that is my lot in life. For the time around this photo I was among friends, in someone else's house, behind closed doors and it was for a limited time. I would have loved to drive home like that, but that's about as public as I would have taken it, and I would have driven home along country roads in the dark, and scurried inside at the other end under cover of darkness on a sleepy road in the UK. This is how I *avoid* having that rather huge responsibility.

    Oddly, it is not a responsibility I feel the same way being white, middle-class and male when people assume that I am straight (I am) and straight-laced (I am not) and prudish (I am not). That I feel it at all is unusual in the very white, middle-class and patriarchal areas of the UK in which I live.

    I would welcome any further discussion on this!


    PS Thank you, Pat!

    PPS Thank you, Stana, for posting this and hosting the discussion!

  4. I very much agree with Sheila.
    I suggest that we divide our CD communities in two; those who like to wear women's things with mustach and beard and those who like to present themselves as polished women as possible.

    And I suggest that each of the two groups has its own playground and does not mix with the other.
    I might be narrow or harsh. But I think I have my rigjt to express my honest feelings.

    1. There are two types of people in the world: those who divide everyone into two groups of people, and those who don't.

      Me, I'm in the latter. I don't feel a need to pigeonhole or divide people. I don't, for instance, have a loyalty to a particular political party, because none of them believe everything I do.

      In re the matter at hand, sometimes I am a very polished lady, sometimes an androgyne, and at other times, a grubby bearded dude.

      And no matter what, I'm living life to the fullest, without the constraints of whatever little box you'd like to put me in. Enjoy your box; it's not for me.

      Now, for you and ***everyone else who criticized the subject for facial hair***, the explanation was clearly made in the story. I'm going to say your lack of reading comprehension is worse than the arrogant presumption that everyone must follow the same set of imagined rules.