Monday, October 11, 2021

Outreach of the Past

The following repost describes one of the last times I did outreach. 

I have not done outreach in a few years. The professor who taught the class I often did outreach for left the University and then there was the pandemic.

I almost did outreach yesterday, but I was late answering the call and they had enough volunteers by the time I volunteered. Outreach was in a church in the neighborhood where I grew up – right next door to my grammar school and a block away from my old home. It would have been so sweet to return as a woman, to a place where I suffered from the abuse of my peers because I refused to man up and turn my back on the woman I was intended to be.

Professor Schildroth has only one human sexuality class this semester rather than two, so  I only had one class for outreach. I was joined by four other transwomen: MaryAnn, another no-op, no-hormone woman like me and three post-op women, Amanda, Kailey and Michelle. I've done outreach with MaryAnn and Michelle many times; Amanda and Kailey were new to me.

As usual, there were a lot more women than men in the class... about 25 women and exactly three men.

Our outreach starts off with each of us telling our biographies in a nutshell – about five minutes each. Then the class is divided between the no-ops and the post-ops for the students can ask questions. Half way through the class time, the no-ops and post-ops switch sides so that each half of the class gets to question all of us.

I am not sure how effective this is as outreach because if the students don’t ask the right questions or if we don’t touch upon a particular point in our bios, then there will be holes in the students’ understanding of what it means to be a transgender person.

However, reading the students’ written comments after each session, I think we are making some progress. We usually are able to leave them with the knowledge that we are not freaks. Rather, that we are just like they are, that is, human beings just trying to get along in the world.

Most of the students’ questions asked of me were typical.

  • How did you choose your female name?
  • Do you present as a woman all the time?
  • Does your spouse support you? 
  • Etcetera.

Then there were a couple of atypical questions.

  • What was your favorite time growing up? (The late 1960s.)
  • What was the weirdest question you were ever asked at outreach? (You just asked it.)

Sometimes, I am a little nervous when I do outreach and come across as “sad” and/or “up tight,” but this time, I was very comfortable and as a result, I was humorous and very effusive.

One student commented that I was “cute” in the way I told my story. Another commented about my prowess for walking in heels – something she has yet to conquer. Still another came up to me after the class, gave me a big hug and said I was “very pretty.”

I did good.

Source: Madeleine
Wearing Madeleine

Virginia Prince, circa 1965
Femulator Extraordinaire Virginia Prince, circa 1965

1 comment:

  1. Our group used to do outreach for a professor at (then) Villa Julie College which subsequently grew into Stevenson University. When she retired her sexuality classes went away and we were not invited to return. The classes were great fun, and often brought out long-gone members who left Tri-Ess after becoming Transgender women.

    One of the most common questions was about our "breasts". One year I decided to do a bit of a comedy routine and went through a progression of "falsies" solutions for the class. I went from socks to birdseed in a stocking to foam inserts to silicone breasts -- and then displayed my gynecomastia- and Finasteride-aided breasts. That got a startled look from the class! The more people know about us, the less they'll have such negative thoughts about us. Wonderful what education can do!