Although my interests in feminine things go back to my earliest memories, I did not take up crossdressing until I was 12-years-old. But once I began, I crossdressed at every opportunity, typically whenever I found myself alone at home.
When I was 19, I reached my tipping point and had to let Stana out of the closet. So I dressed en femme on Halloween despite the fact that I had nowhere to go.
Unlike today, where there is a Halloween event everywhere you turn, back in the late-1970s, there was not much Halloween-wise for a young adult. I had not been invited to any Halloween parties (I didn't even know of any Halloween parties) and I was too young to go to any bar that might be celebrating Halloween. So, Mom let her "daughter" borrow the car and I visited some friends and relatives to "trick 'n' treat." (How desperate is that?)
Post-Halloween, I was back in the closet honing my femulating skills while waiting for next year's Halloween party invitations. I never went out en femme to trick 'n' treat again, but I did get a few party invitations over the years.
I always attended the parties dressed as a woman, not as a woman wearing a woman's costume. Invariably, some party-goer would wonder why I wasn't wearing a costume and I would explain to their astonishment that I was in costume. Post-Halloween, I would be back in the closet again, but at least I realized that all the practice in the closet was not for naught.
Online (via Compuserve's Genderline), I discovered and joined a local support group in the early 1980s. Now, I was able to get out of the house en femme on days besides the last day of months beginning with the letter O. I attended meetings once or twice per month, always dressing at home and driving to the meeting place 25 miles away.
On occasion, the support group sponsored outings --- usually dinners at local restaurants, which sheltered us in a private room so we would not to mix with their "normal" clientele. I always attended, but being a rebel, I made a point of using the public ladies' restroom instead of the private restroom that had been assigned to us.
I wanted more and began attending trans conventions, which gave me the opportunity to have the run of a whole hotel for a long weekend en femme.
But I realized that I was still in the closet. I just had more closet-space: in my home, in my support group's meeting places, and in trans convention hotels.
I still wanted more, so I became a little more adventurous. On my way to support group meetings, I would stop off to buy a refreshment at a convenience store or fast food joint. Amazingly, no one seemed to notice or care that I was en femme. I was passing or at least, I was accepted and that emboldened me to do more.
It took 55 years, but I finally summoned up enough courage to go out in public en femme. I decided to make that leap by going to the mall. I dressed en femme, drove to the mall, arrived just as it opened, and sat in my car for a half-hour trying to muster the courage to exit the car and walk across the parking lot to the mall entrance.
I finally pushed myself and did it and I spent the better part of day at the mall having the time of my life. Some people read me, but it was not the end of the world, and once I got a taste of the world en femme, I wanted more.
Subsequently, I picked my days and spent them en femme, shopping, dining, being entertained, enjoying the arts, etc., etc., and I loved it, doing what other women did when they were out.
It all felt so natural to me. I was always feminine. As I have written here before, I was not a female trapped in a male body, rather I was me trapped by society's expectations of what a male was supposed to be. The "problem" was that I preferred to fulfill society's expectations of what a woman was supposed to be.
Finally, I realized I was a woman, who happened to have a male body, but I was not going to let that little handicap hinder me from being the best woman I could be.
|Julie Shaw's all-time fave Halloween costume|