Monday, June 25, 2018


The friends and acquaintances I know fall into two categories (and four subcategories).

Category 1

There are the people who know me only as a woman. They never encountered the male me. Some of them may be aware that there was a male me and some of them are unaware and believe that I am a cisgender woman.

The latter subcategory is a small set of people. Most of them are people I encountered so briefly that they did not have the time to figure me out. For example, the female shopper who approached me one day in Macy's, complimented me on how fashionably I was dressed and asked me for my opinion on the clothing she was about to purchase.

Then there are people who do figure me out eventually like the two transwoman I befriended at Fantasia Fair. They initially thought I was the cisgender female spouse of another Fantasia Fair attendee.

Category 2

There are people who knew the male me first and the female me later. They fall into two subcategories: people who are ok with the female me and people who are not. Luckily, those who are not ok with the female me are a very tiny minority. (There may be people in the first subcategory who pretend to be ok with the female me face-to-face, but behind my back, may not be ok with the female me.)

The board members and officers of my ham radio group comes to mind. When I came out as transgender to the board and officers, it was composed of people who had known the male me in person for 15 to 20 years and even longer if they were familiar with the hundreds of articles I had written about ham radio as far back as the late 1970s.

No one was as surprised as I was on how well they accepted the female me. There was some tripping over pronouns initially, but they got over that hurdle quickly and I have never detected any inclination that they were only ok with the female me face-to-face.

Then there are board members and officers who came along later. Some of them might have been familiar with my writing, but none of them had ever met the male me and only know me in person as a female. They accept me as a woman because that is the only option I afford them. Whether they like me or not is another matter, but that is there reaction to me as a person, not me as a woman. In that regard, the folks who knew the male me probably are ok with the female me because they are ok with me as a person no matter my gender.

Put the Shoe on the Other Foot

By the way, I try to put the shoe on the other foot and think about how I would react if a longtime friend or acquaintance suddenly came out as trans and presented as a woman. My first thought is that I would be perfectly fine with it, but that is not fair because I am trans and presupposed to being very sympathetic to other trans folks. (In fact, a ham radio acquaintance of about 10 years came out as trans to me last year and of course, I had no problem with it even though I was very surprised.)

And so it goes.

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Bill Bain
Bill Bain femulates Carmen Miranda in a 1950 Kiwi Concert Party production.


  1. Many of my musician friends knew me both before and after my transition, even though some may occasional slip up over a pronoun the vast majority are all accepting, understanding and affirming. Often those who have only known me as a woman, only find out when I speak about my past or an old band photo comes up showing me as obviously male.

    How we react to others can be difficult, I will always try to be supportive, knowing what it took for me to come out, but I did on one occasion find myself think "What a shame he was such a lovely man" I was of course a little disappointed at myself for the thought, but at the same time I realised it was a very female one.

  2. Coming out as trans is kinda unique. You can (or not) come out as gay. You can't hid other traits so you come out. No-one can "come out" as a different race, or place of birth. Not really. But you can't go to work in a dress, makeup, heels and say "no, nothing's new here."