Friday, March 1, 2024

Meet the Civilians

This post recounts one of the first times I staffed a booth and interacted with civilians.

I attended True Colors Conference, a day long conference for school-aged GLBT youth at Central Connecticut State University. My support group had a table at the conference to distribute literature and to interact with the attendees. I volunteered to staff the booth from 9AM to 4 PM, which meant getting up at 5 AM to get dressed and drive to the university before the conference actually began.

I wore my new wig, black knot front dress and mid-heel pumps. I thought I looked rather lovely and felt wonderful especially since according to the morning weigh-in, I was down to my “playing weight.” I drove to the university and arrived at our table at 8:50 AM. I set up the table and had everything up and running as the on-rush of people began.

This was a potentially tough crowd – mostly high-school aged kids. There were also adults – teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, etc. The adults were very respectful. Many that passed our table without stopping smiled and some said “Hello.” Those who visited our table were pleasant and interacted with me without any issues. Some even complimented me.

The teenagers acted in a similar manner while I staffed the table, but when I walked around, I attracted more attention. I assume that while I was seated, attendees took me as just another middle-aged woman staffing a table, but when I stood up and walked around, my six-foot two-inch stature alerted some that I was not what I seemed to be while I was seated. Nobody did anything disrespectful (after all, this was a GLBT crowd), but I could not help noticing the extra attention.

I could try and convince myself that I am just so ravishing beautiful that people dropped everything to watch me pass by, but who would I be kidding. I was dressed more over the top than the average woman in attendance. Most of the women wore slacks, trousers or jeans. There was only a handful in skirts or dresses. So maybe my outfit was what attracted some of the attention.

I had a long talk with a 28-year-old woman, who was trying to convince me that I could wear women’s slacks and still crossdress. I don’t know if she was hinting that I might blend in better wearing slacks or whether she was just discussing women’s fashions. She could not understand why I had no interest in crossdressing in women’s slacks (my point being that I might as well dress in boy mode if I wear slacks). She also hinted that I was wearing too much jewelry.

At the table next to me were two 20-something women – recent college graduates named Jeanette and Jen, who were asking folks to sign a petition advocating the separation of church and state (where do I sign?). They were very friendly and we talked a lot during lulls in the crowd. Jeanette had some questions about crossdressing and I gave her a mini-education, while telling her my life story. She was very sympathetic. They were sad when they learned that I would not be staffing our table on Saturday.

I had lunch with two girls from my support group, and Namoli Brennet, a Tucson-based trans/genderqueer songwriter, who has been touring the country since 2002 when she released her first CD, “Boy in a Dress.” Namoli performed at the conference and also conducted a workshop. She is a very nice person in person! Funny thing is that I am familiar with the song Boy in a Dress, but I did not connect the song with her, the person with whom I was breaking bread. It was the first time I ever rubbed elbows with a rock star, so I guess I wasn’t used to associating a singer on my iPod with a real live person!

I received a lot of compliments at the conference, which just made the day so much nicer. Two were very memorable: One middle-aged woman, who I thought was one of the best looking attendees I saw all day, came by our table, smiled and said I looked very nice, I blushed. Later, a couple of high school girls came by our table and when I spoke (using my boy voice), they both were startled and looked up from the literature on our table. One of them then said, “Oh, my God, you’re beautiful!”

And so it goes.

Source: Paige
Wearing Paige

Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton femulating in the 1921 film The Playhouse.


  1. Stana: "I was dressed more over the top than the average woman in attendance. Most of the women wore slacks, trousers or jeans."
    My response: Yes, on Sunday mornings when I dress en femme which is most of the time, I do dress over the top compared to the average woman, with me wearing a dress, makeup, painted nails, heels, and hosiery.
    Stana:"I had a long talk with a 28-year-old woman, who was trying to convince me that I could wear women’s slacks and still crossdress."
    My response: When I wear slacks on Sunday mornings occasionally it will be part of a man's coat and tie outfit. I never wear slacks en femme.
    I rebel against "Trouser Tyranny" where so many people wear slacks.

    My point of dressing en femme is to get out of the deep rut of the coat and tie outfit being the only formal wear for men.


  2. I wonder if the Civilians would be more accepting if you wore slacks and not out dress them as a "booth babe"? I think there has been a general decline in women expressing their femininity. Is it dressing like a man to fit into a man's world or is it because they need too much time to get ready.? The 50s and 80s were all about being glamourous until women crisscrossed into men's clothes. I think we all can agree that choosing stockings or pantyhose, lacy black bra or pastel, which skirt, which blouse and which heels are decisions we all fret over. Maybe wearing sweats and crocs is better? Not to me and I hope we don't forget the fashion style. Just look at Freda Balmain

  3. "I think there has been a general decline in women expressing their femininity."
    In our society being masculine is regarded as being superior to being feminine. That is really stupid as there has to females around to reproduce the specie. Males exist so there is genetic diversity. There are animals where the only parent is female.
    I make it easy to dress en femme: I wear a dress so I don't worry about matching my top with a bottom. And all my dress shoes are black. My makeup consists of lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara, which are easy to apply. That is a lot easier than the wet shave I do to get a close shave.
    On a Sunday morning in January in the Dallas story Worth it went down to -9 degrees C/15 degrees F and I wore a dress. I was sitting at a table during coffee hour and I was the only person wearing a dress. I quipped, "It takes a man to wear a dress", and boy, did I get a reaction from the trouser wearing ladies.

  4. I wear slacks or Jeans a lot when I am crossed dressed. I tend to feel over dressed if I am just out at the mall or grocery store. The jeans are feminine jeans which I hope accentuate my butt and hips (padding) but as far as passing, blending, I think they help but it depends on location. Certainly a night out with us girls a dress or skirt is kind of required a nice casual skirt is nice always too. Passing and blending when out with the civilians is what I try to achieve. I was actually questioned once at a CD group meeting. The presenter thought I was some ones SO. I was thrilled I passed well that day. I had a skirt on Sallee