transition 101: phase four, part-time lover

12/07/2009

Please note that this is the fifth post in a series entitled Transition 101.

By now your appearance and manner should have significantly feminised to the point where you are getting double-takes and confusion about your gender on a fairly regular basis, no matter what you’re wearing. This is the point at which I started buying female clothes and gradually started coming out of the closet, dressing androgynously and telling some people. The nice thing about androgyny is that you can go either way with a bit of work, so you can still pass as a guy when you have to, but with a bit of make-up and the right clothing, you can pass for female, at least at first glance.

  1. Go Part Time. Maintain your male persona for work and such, but start going out as you. This is terrifying initially, but it’s a hurdle you do have to get across at some point. You’ll find though that it’s not nearly as bad as you think it is. Most people are too wrapped up in their own affairs to really take note of the people around them, and those that do will often not say anything for fear of appearing foolish if they turn out to be wrong. As long as you’re not attracting attention to yourself with unusual dress or over-the-top make-up, you’ll be surprised at how comfortably you breeze through.

    All that said, young kids and teenagers are the bane of many a trans-person. They are hyper-observant, as a rule, and usually don’t have (or choose not to) apply the same kind of social … etiquette that adults would. So avoid them if you can, but as long as you aren’t notable in any other way, you should be fine.

  2. Start coming out to the people you trust and rely on most. Their perceptions of you will have gradually shifted with the changes in your presentation and manner and with the physical changes brought about by HRT and hair-removal, so it won’t be quite as jarring and difficult to accept. If you have trusted friends at work, even better, because they can help to manage perceptions and attitudes in the workplace for when you do finally go full-time. Just be sure that the people you tell can be trusted to keep the secret. The last thing you need is to get outed at work before you are ready for it.

  3. Apply for your name change, and if you can, gender amendment. The process can take a while depending on where you live, so getting this out of the way now just means that you will be able to get your documentation in order that much more quickly when you go full-time.

  4. With name change (and perhaps even gender-change) in hand, get all of your documentation reissued and updated before you go FT. ID documentation and driver’s license, degrees, diplomas and certificates, bank accounts, tax stuff – all of it needs to get updated, so make a list.

Now, assuming you have managed to get your name changed, but they wouldn’t grant a gender amendment, (because your authority requires SRS, for example) I would suggest you still get at least basic identity documents amended, even though you’ll just be doing the same again later on. Believe me, there are few things as scary as getting pulled off the road by a cop when you’re not even passing as a guy any more, and your driver’s license has you sporting a beard or looking like Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Having picture ID that matches how you look just makes everything that much easier.

“Phase Five: Full-Time Friend”, is where everything comes together. Full-time or bust baby. See ya tomorrow.

Mina.

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