Over the last month or so I have been gradually bringing my closet out of the closet. This has been going on for fits and starts over the past two years but is now very close to becoming a reality. The truth is that ever since I was small, I had at least one suitcase with clothes in it that were not comfortably out.
One of my deepest adult dreams was to have an apartment where I could have my clothes out and I could go and “work from home” or just be, and for a few moments, get to live my authentic self. This “space”, though entirely mental, was a happy place for me, and helped me cope with years of being in hiding. Just thinking it might be there. Figuring out how I might actually buy an apartment next door to where I lived and be able to go there.
And now, that period is coming to a close. And I think how easy it is to just come out, be out, and live out, and how bloody uplifting it is. Every cell of me wants to sing. And I get my apartment, only my apartment in this sense, is now my life.
As I was quite literally packing up, throwing out, or giving away all of my male wardrobe—excepting my work suits, what I call my “drag king” outfits, this weight just lifted from me. And I am so delighted to have some male children and nephews who like nice men’s clothes, and to whom I have been able to give. The rest has been put into cold storage—a kind of museum that I can see with detachment—elegant clothes for my children to assume the mantle of when the time comes. And for the first time in my life, my closet is a reflection of who I am.
As I was unpacking a suitcase of lingerie, I came across a garter belt that I bought when I was just 12/13 years old. Purple satin with black lace. I was struck by three things…one, that its still pretty to me, two, that it still fits, and three, how on earth did I know at that age even what a garter belt was?
Living our authentic selves
Some of my champions on this journey have told me repeatedly that the energy that I put out will come back to me in so many positive ways. As I barrelled across London recently on the underground in a race to meet a group of professional women I admire, I was putting on some of the jewellery that I hadn’t had time to put on in my hotel. I was rushing as I wanted to have time to get a new manicure before my meeting, as it was a career-work-oriented meeting and I wanted to look my best. And while I was doing it, the most beautiful trans girl came and sat next to me and chatted me up. She was gorgeous.
She was also nothing like any of the people I meet through the trans support groups I am member of…I actually wanted to hang out with her. A world of friendship with my trans sisters and brothers awaits.
Right around corner from where I was staying is a delightful LGBTQ+ bookstore, and I wandered in because of a book that caught my eye on display in the window, and the woman who owns it was super helpful and oh-so-beautiful. Boyish haircut, cowboy boots and jeans, tall and lean like me, I was so taken by her. And everywhere I go, I seem to be making friends. Is she a woman? I don’t know. Maybe she’s non-binary. Or something else. It’s a delicious conundrum—the beauty of humanity.
It is there for all of us when we allow it in.
Coming out professionally
I am fully out to friends and family. If one of them doesn’t know yet, it is because either I haven’t seen them, or the gossip mill doesn’t reach that far. And I am open to everyone of them to know. This is not a secret.
I have begun the more delicate process of coming out to people in my work circles. I’ve been meeting head-hunters I know, clients and former clients, talking to past colleagues and getting career advice. This has included meeting with professional women about how to dress at the office, how to dress professionally. I’ve got the hippy look down pat, but I’m thinking I am going to need help in creating and shaping a professional wardrobe. It was easy as a man to wear suits—so easy that I never joined the smart casual look that has taken over business circles and stuck to classical tailoring. I think that my approach as trans female will be the same—white shirts, sober skirts and trousers.
I had lunch with a group of former colleagues, two women and one man. We met at his London Club. Such clubs have been bastions of male power for centuries, and most of them have only reluctantly begun admitting women relatively recently. There are also many newer clubs which don’t have the same stuffy history, and it was in one of these that we met. One of the women at lunch already knew and had been out to dinner with me, but our host the other woman present did not. I have written about her previously, as an almost love interest, but I had not seen her in 25 years. [What transpired between the two of us that afternoon will be the subject of another post, and I hope is an opening to my professional future].
He was great. He insisted on getting a hug. He said, “what, I don’t get a hug?” and he was so enthusiastic and warm about how I was dressed. It was very welcoming and dear. At the end of the meal he said, “I’ve known you for a long time as someone who smiled, but I’ve never seen you so happy and filled with smiles as you are now.” He joked, “you’ve got me thinking, maybe I should be taking estrogen too!”
Gosh, friends can be so sweet.
I asked my therapist the other day whether she thought the trans euphoria that comes when we step into our authentic selves, and also begin GAHT (gender-affirming hormone therapy), comes because what is said in the trans community to be finally giving our cells the hormone that it has always craved. I know this is believed to be true in the community, but I don’t know if it is backed up by science yet. I mused to her whether she thought any cis man taking estrogen would experience the same intense joy that I am feeling (and I am feeling almost high from this stuff—like they are happy pills)…and she said, “well, I sure would love to the results of that study—but no, I am not advocating you conducting experiments on unsuspecting males.” Indeed, we will likely never know.
But boys, estrogen is that good. Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone took it for a while.
And as for me, one of my deepest desires in taking hormones has firmly taken root—my brain has been and is being rewired. I may not know what I am yet, but I know what I’m not anymore (even if I ever was)—a man. He is gone for good. Goodbye sweet boy.