Friday, July 23, 2021

Gabi Interviewed, Part 2

By Paula Gaikowski

While scanning the transgender subs on Reddit, Femulate contributor Paula Gaikowski became intrigued by a girl named Gabi, who worked at a bank presenting as a woman a few days a week. 

One of my dreams was to work while presenting as a woman. My company and bosses supported my dream, but except for regular Halloween and Christmas party appearances en femme, I did not follow my dream. So I was fascinated by Gabi’s success working as a woman. And lucky for us, Gabi has kindly agreed to an interview about her working life, which was conducted by Paula. 

Part 2 of the interview follows (Part 1 appeared here on Wednesday).

Femulate: I believe you spent as long as a week working as Gabi. How did you feel at the end of that week?

Gabi: I think working one day as a woman and the next as a man kept me grounded in the sense of making it not that difficult to be in boy mode. But I definitely thought of transitioning often and I still do. At the time, going back and forth didn’t have any negative consequences on my psyche because it was all so new and exciting. 

It was also the most I had ever been able to express my femininity outwardly. Over time, I do wonder if going back and forth maybe stunted my possibilities of transitioning. I wonder if maybe it gave me just enough femininity to ease those urges and still enough male privilege to keep that attractive enough. Being away from a job where I dress since then, has been difficult. It was hard going back to more exclusively boy mode.

Femulate: How did family and friends react to you working as a woman?

Gabi: My family never really discusses much in the first place and they have never brought up my dressing. I do live very far away from them and I didn’t really advertise my dressing on the social media that they use. I will say that I did make a second, Gabi only, Instagram account. My long-time domestic partner has always had mixed feelings about my dressing and I do understand that it can be confusing and difficult for those around us. A lot of my friends, mainly female, embraced Gabi. Others have never really brought her up

Femulate: Your employer and colleagues were amazingly positive and supportive. Did you experience any trans-phobic comments or actions? A follow-on question would be did you experience any misogyny?

Gabi: I never received anything but support from my coworkers, which was absolutely amazing. I did have a customer speak to the guy version of me about Gabi where he described her as a man in a dress or something along those lines. I was very lucky to not have to face any of that while I was Gabi at work. 

I was in a store one time and my friends told me that some guys were mocking me behind my back while I was shopping. 

But honestly, I have been incredibly lucky with how safe I have been in my work environment, when shopping, eating and enjoying nights out. In many ways, I have always tried to be extra safe. I have stayed in public places and been alert. Some nights spent in Italy could be a bit worrisome as it got darker later, but I always did my best to be as safe as possible.

On the issue of misogyny, I will say that women are often treated much differently. I have had men tell me to smile. Here is a good word of advice to any men – don't do that. It is annoying and patronizing. I had male customers treat me like I didn’t know anything or how to do my job. Some of those guys were assholes to my male side, but in a more aggressive way, I suppose. 

When in Italy, while I was looking at my phone outside of a lingerie shop, I had a guy creepily ask me, “Voi (do you want)?’ while pointing at a lingerie set in the window. I have been followed by men on the streets asking to hang out with them. I had a man try to invite himself to my hotel room and follow me late at night. Men in Italy are much more aggressive in some respects. That isn’t to say some haven’t politely asked me to dinner, but I never agreed to go since I was in a relationship and I also did not wanting them to figure out I wasn’t born a woman. You never know what could happen with some people, so I am extra cautious.

Luckily, in the professional setting, so many people are women and that was as very true at the bank branch I worked at that, so I felt no workplace misogyny.

Femulate: What did you learn about living as a woman and yourself?

Gabi: I think I learned more about how deeply my feminine side runs. How it is a center of joy and light. How even during the worst times, it still feels right and comfortable in some ways. And I gained even more empathy for others doing so. I always say that everyone should crossdress at least once.

Femulate: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try working as a woman?

Gabi: Number one: Make sure you are comfortable with your co-workers and the environment. If it is a potentially hostile or unsafe work environment, it might not be the best place to try to reveal and try to live something that for so many is deeply personal and important.

Number two: Make sure you are comfortable with yourself and where you are along your journey. Confidence is the most important thing to being able to function while dressed as a woman in society when you weren't assigned as one at birth. Be happy with your skill level with makeup and make sure that you have enough appropriate clothes for the job you are going to be doing. Early on we think of “passing” as the be all and end all, but there are so many women out there in all shapes and sizes. There is no set parameters for passing. How you hold yourself, your poise, your confidence, your joy, your inner spark, that is what will make your choice of presentation acceptable to most people in the world. Honestly, most people see the clothes, hair and makeup to such an extent that it is easier for them to code you as a woman.

A final point that goes along with confidence is be ready for bumps in the road. Some days your makeup will feel off. Some days someone might clock you or say something that is hurtful. You have to be able to handle that just as well as you would if they did that to how you normally present yourself.

I am not exactly sure what the future holds for Gabi honestly. I am hoping to find a way to work as her again. And who knows, maybe I will transition. That always feels like an option honestly. Now I need to see if that is what feels right.

For more about Gabi, click here to visit her Reddit page. 

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Rue La La

Richard Gibson
Richard Gibson (left) femulating in British television's ’Allo ’Allo

1 comment:

  1. Another fantastic instalment! What an inspiring tale.

    And 'Allo 'Allo is a rich seam to mine for those kinds of pictures, and remarkably not your usual use of it as the butt of the joke (well, not all the time).