Meeting my family. 

So I wasn’t planning on meeting my parents or my sisters….yet. However fate has a way of sorting things out all by herself. 

Dad wasn’t in tip top shape. Just back from hospital for a few days after he had a fall. We were told to watch for warning signs when he was discharged. And then one night he started slurring. I rushed over to see him and make sure he was OK. 

He really needed to go to hospital. But being his stubborn self (so that’s where I get it from!) he refused to go, and said he’d see how he was feeling in the morning. I wasn’t going to make him go. I’ve had these discussions with him before and he knew the risks. 

However there was one risk he didn’t know about. And I thought that before I went home that I should attend to it. “So Dad one last thing. If tomorrow you need to rush off to hospital. And if I need to rush from work to visit you, then you’ll get to meet your fourth daughter. Because at work I’m a girl.” Both he and mum smiled a bit in disbelief and he thanked me for letting them know and that he would keep that in mind. I wished them both a good night and went home hoping that I was very wrong about my assessment of Dad’s health. 

The next day dawned and off to work I went. Black pencil skirt, with a salmon top with white horizontal stripes, and a black peplum jacket and black mid-heel pumps. I remember the outfit well as I call it my meet the parents outfit, only I had to substitute black flats for the pumps. 

I’m an early riser so I had gotten through half a day’s work when I got the call. “You have to come NOW!” It was my sister, Dad was in an ambulance and on his way to hospital. I let her know that I’m on the way and that she’d be meeting my girl side shortly. I think she was a bit worried given her response, but I think it was more about following the ambulance to the hospital, as they seemed a bit lost. 

I grab my handbag, change into my black flats and off I go. I make a call to my other sister to let her know she gets to meet dad’s fourth daughter today. This confuses her no end, until I tell her “Me. I mean me!”, and the penny drops. It’s going to be an interesting second half of the day. 

The best way to the hospital is actually by train so I’m heading to the station. Now by this stage, I had been a girl at work for a whole ten days. And was just getting comfortable in the office. But heading out to the train and the hospital was a whole new experience. 

The thoughts running through my head. “Is my wig on straight? Don’t walk like a boy! I hope Dad’s ok. Will I have to go home like this? Oh god, everyone can tell I’m a boy. Try to blend in. I hope my sis is OK following the ambulance. Oh I hope mum is coping. How do girls stand when they’re waiting for the train?” All of my senses are on hyper-alert. It’s a bit scary but nice at the same time. 

At this time of the day there’s lots of room on the train and I can pick a seat where I’m not in everyone’s view. I am very sure that someone is going to figure out that I’m a boy, and I try my best to blend in. My worry over dad overtakes any other thoughts now that I’m settled. And I will the train to go faster… It doesn’t help. 

I arrive at the station and I get up as gracefully as I can. I slip my crossbody handbag on and flick my hair out from under the strap. And I’m off again, very self-conscious and thinking “Blend! Blend!”. The walk to the hospital is uneventful, however I am very glad that I swapped to my black flats. I don’t think I would have made it halfway in my pumps. 

I now have to get into the emergency wards. Which means I have to talk to the nurses at the front desk. I manage to squeak out that I’m here to see my dad. She doesn’t bat an eyelid and lets me know where he is and then lets me in. Either she’s very good or maybe I can actually ‘pass’ as a girl. 

Once through the doors though I think “This is it!”. It’s not like I can’t believe I’m doing this because it’s exactly what I thought would happen last night. But I’m worried. Worried firstly that dad’s heart may not be strong enough for this. Worried that my family aren’t ready for this. Worried that this is the wrong place and the wrong time. And then I’m there.

I’m feeling very shy as I come around the corner. My family look tired and worried, but are very happy to see me and I immediately get hugs all around. I go to talk with dad and he has a bemused look on his face. I tell him “I did warn you that you that you might meet your fourth daughter today” And he chuckled as he squeezed my hand. And he was fine with it all even though he was lying there all hooked up to the medical equipment that goes beep. 

My mum looks very tired, I don’t think she slept much at all. She tells me that we should have come last night. And I tell her we’re here now and that’s all that matters. I ask if she’s ok with me here dressed like this. And she says that its ok. 

Later on, mum does discuss my clothing with me. She said that it’s too tight. Oh! She’s worried about me sending the wrong signals by wearing tight clothing. My sister did pick up very quickly that I had nipples (note to self: buy t-shirt bra). And my sister confirmed that they all had this ‘wrong signals’ conversation with mum in their teens. Oooh! That can only be good right?  

My sisters are also very accepting and my sister jokes about me being the tall skinny one. And as the three of us stand together mum remarks that we all look the same. I wonder what my sisters think of this. I mean, I am a boy you know. It’s not like we don’t all know this. I hope they’re not offended. 

With not much to do but wait, I got to reveal a bit of the life of Loretta. Starting of course with my name. Through the course of the evening I got to meet a brother-in-law, and 3 nephews. Everyone was cool with me. They all knew about my girl side because I had emailed them all a few months back to explain.  

The tests they do on dad are positive and they release him, thank goodness. And he’s itching to go home. Fate played her hand in my meeting the family. And it was such a positive experience, even given the circumstances. To be honest I don’t know when I would have met the family if this didn’t happen. Even now I don’t get to see them as Loretta unless there’s something urgent and I need to go from work. 

I thank my lucky stars that my whole family were so accepting. And that I was strong enough to let them all know about me in the months before. It made meeting the family all of a sudden like this so much easier.

But I still had more hurdles. Starting with a night trip on the train and a 10 minute walk through a park with no lights. As a boy not something that I would be worried about. As a girl I must say that I was looking over my shoulder. The bigger problem though was that my black flats were starting to rub my heel. And was enough to slow me down. I survived, just a small blister. 

#iamsolucky

Thank you so much family! 

Photo from unsplash.com 

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Catching up with the girls 

So I caught up with my group of girls again last night. It’s amazing how far some of them come….for one night only. One from Canberra, two from the Goldie. Am I the only local girl? The Tamworth girls, Lake Macquarie girls and the Brizzy girl weren’t there this time, and neither was the librarian. So it was like meeting a whole bunch of new people. 

I got to meet the president this time and she was lovely. She’s one of the few, as far as I can tell, that is a full time girl. Most of the others that I met really only have limited opportunities to dress up and go out. Hence why some travel so far. It’s really one of very few chances for them to embrace their feminine side. 

One of the girls actually did the whole getting ready thing there. She did get there very early though. And then had to de-girl again at the end. Sadly this was only the second time this year she’s been able to dress up. And you could tell that she loved it. 

I still find it strange though. The girls, for the most part, don’t sound like girls. I’d say only three of us would pass that test. And they don’t appear to want to do that. And most of us walk like boys. And some of us sit like boys (No! No! No! That’s so wrong! Don’t wear a short dress and sit like that!). I guess for most of them the interest stops at clothes, hair, makeup and shoes. Very few of us are actually trying to “pass”. And that’s fine, that’s what they do…but I guess I was expecting more of us to be trying to “pass”. 

So me trying to blend in here, means that I fail miserably. I stick out like a sore thumb. Girly voice, cute girl clothes rather than a dress, cute bag with flowers on the strap and pink mules. I saw lots of black shoes and boots, nude cagey sandals, thongs, tan pumps, white pumps. But no one else came close to my pink double strap mules. 

There were lots of dresses, many that seemed too short, but maybe I’m a prude, I don’t think I’m comfortable with that length. A few power suits, and an amazing pink hat. And there was lots of makeup, lots and lots of makeup. I don’t think I’ll ever master night time makeup. That must be why I’m a day girl.  

Did I tell you that I love my pink mules? Everything I’ve worn this week has been based around them! So I’ve worn them every day. They’ve become my signature shoe. Which is surprising because I almost didn’t buy them. I didn’t think that I had much that I could wear them with, but they were “to die for” so I got them. And now I find that I can actually wear them with a lot of outfits. And they’re such a fun colour. 

And who knew mules could be so comfortable? And the ability to be able to slide your feet up or down the shoe actually makes them more wearable. Then there’s the whole dangling the shoe from your toes thing when you’re sitting down. Oh my! Now boys certainly don’t do that! 

But I digress. The President did like my shoes though, although she admonished me for wearing them every day. I think I broke a fashion rule! I wonder if I break the rules next month when I wear them with my white skinny jeans, white and blue horizontal striped top with a pink belt and my black crane bomber. 

I got to chat to newbies and to old hands. I guess technically I’m the former. But practically I’m the latter. I haven’t found anyone like me yet. They seem to be full time girls, or casual girls. No regular part time girls like me. And by far the majority of them are casual girls. I still didn’t get around to speaking with all of them yet. Plenty more meetings I’m sure. 

The meetings actually seem a little time warped. An older community facility, with a bunch of mostly older women. You could probably imagine that it was the country womens’ association. But there’s no cakes! Just chips, dips, sausage rolls and party pies. With some soft drinks and tea and coffee. All in all not a raging Friday night out. But still good fun. 

I guess everyone has their agenda there. For most of them I think it’s the opportunity to get dressed up and go out in a safe environment. I think this is true for the older hands as well, but a lot of them seem to be, or have been on the committee and so are giving back to the group. 

I’m not sure what’s in it for the full time girls though. They might be at the stage where they’re giving back to the group. But they don’t need the opportunity to dress up. I must ask the president what she thinks as a full time girl. 

My agenda? Well I don’t need the opportunity to dress. It’s been good to meet others like me. Really I guess my agenda is to pick people’s brains and find out where they’re at with all of this stuff. And then perhaps that might give some more insight to myself. I suspect that I’m fairly unique. Caught in the middle, so to speak. No surprise there. I think that I get caught in the middle a lot in my life.  

Looking forward to catching up with the girls again next month. 

Photo from unsplash.com 

One of those weekends

It’s been one of those weekends. I’m not sure if it was the alignment of the stars or that black cat or whatever. It’s just been one of those weekends and I’m mentally exhausted.

So I’m driving home from the shops on Saturday. And all of a sudden I’m thinking of Dad. And I start to cry. Crying and driving are never a good  mix, but luckily I’m very close to home. I make it to the driveway before there are too many tears to see.

Dad passed away three months ago. And while I grieved then, I knew that I wasn’t finished. I’ve been very busy since that time and it’s really no surprise that I broke down all of a sudden for no reason at all. I miss you so much Dad! 

Then Sunday brought an aha! moment. Those disruptions to my routine that I’ve been having were actually cries for help. Duh! What’s wrong with you girl? What happened to your intuition? 

So most of Sunday has been spent trying to help and support people going through a tough time in their lives. I don’t know that I can do much except to be there to listen to them. Hopefully they can find a solution but it won’t be easy. It’s a hard trail ahead. 

And then my wonderful sister offered to have my birthday at her place. And I turned her down. I’m just not ready to celebrate my birthday without Dad. And I punctuated that thought with a flood of tears. I am so not ready. 

But as the wise man once said “Life is not bliss, life is just this. It’s living. You have to go on living. So one of us is living”. Oh wait that wasn’t a wise man that was Spike from Buffy. But yes life goes on. 

Photo by Josh Adamski 

Not enough girl time 

So it’s been a short working week. Add to this a day working from home so I could take my son to the optometrist. This has meant that I’ve only spent 2 days in the office this week.  Which means I haven’t had enough girl time. And I’m feeling a bit off and a bit sad, just like I’m missing something. 

Last night didn’t help either. Let’s just say I got knocked out of routine again on a work night. It’s happened too many times these school holidays. So I’m really looking forward to school starting again. Like so many mothers have said “It’s only been three days and I’m over it” except I was over it after one. 

Anyway I was severely depressed last night. Just felt numb. I knew it would pass, but just knowing that it was likely to happen again before school goes back just made me feel hopeless. There’s so much going on in my life at the moment that I really don’t need this extra disruption. 

When I feel this hopeless I crave my girl side. It’s probably because she generally has a lot of happy and fun times. This has changed a bit now because she’s the bread winner and has to deal with work stress. But still, girl time equals fun time. Not that boy time isn’t fun. It’s just that when there’s unpleasant things to do, it’s usually the boy side that has to do it. 

Usually I can just struggle through to the other side eventually. But this morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. And for me that’s very bad. I finally got through this bad patch by lunchtime but there was a cost. 

Cute floral barely there sandals, sky high taupe peep toe pumps, Regatta blue t-shirt, peach long sleeve rib top and a coral one too, sparkly, silver bomber jacket and a black velvet skater skirt. Oh my! I don’t think I had indulged in retail therapy before but there you go. 

Did it make me feel better? A little, but then I felt guilty for buying all of this. Well not so guilty for buying the cute floral barely there sandals. I had my eye on them for a while, and they were now the cheapest I had seen them. And as it turns out they were the last pair in my size 🙂 And I didn’t feel guilty about the velvet skater skirt either. Another something I’ve had my eye on. And once again it was the last one in my size. Now do I have the confidence to wear it? I’m feeling a bit like old mutton….but who cares right? 

While it wasn’t ideal that a bit of retail therapy got me through this rough patch, it’s not surprising that it happened. My girl side has this habit of picking me up when I’m down. Usually just thinking about fun girl times or adventures will be enough to pull me through. Sometimes putting on a frock helps too. Not that I’ve worn a frock since cup day. I guess she had to pull out the big guns this time though.  

So where does this leave me? There definitely seems to be two sides to me. The girl side seems to do happy and fun. The boy side can also do happy and fun but when there’s hard stuff to do it seems like that’s boy stuff. 

Am I a boy or girl? … I still think I’m both. 

And also not guilty for buying the sparkly bomber, it’s almost winter which is also why I need the long sleeve rib tops. And I needed that regatta blue t-shirt because I’ve been looking for something like that in that colour like forever. And those taupe sky high peep toe pumps were a bargain at $14. I rest my case….Girl…I’m definitely a girl! 😉 

Photo by Tamara Bellis

Cute floral barely there sandals from Nine West 

More moments of Yay!

I keep on thinking that I’m very lucky. All of my experiences as a transgender girl have been very positive. I have either found a circle of people who are amazing. Or perhaps there are more amazing people in this world than I ever thought there were.

From my wonderful family who have given me the freedom to be me. To the many people I’ve had contact with that don’t know me from a bar of soap but have seen my ID. Every one of them have been so wonderful and amazing.

Lots of people have been shocked. But not one of them has been anything but accepting and supportive. Family, friends, colleagues, work contacts, customers, service professionals, tradesmen, rangers, hospitality workers, it hasn’t mattered who they are, they’ve all accepted me with open arms.

I’ve had one incident where I shocked the pants off our mail delivery guy. “Wha?-hey-Waaaaaaa!!” He’s been fantastic ever since. In my defence it was the first day I came to work as Loretta, so I hadn’t quite planned how to handle letting people know. In fact I didn’t know if there was a tomorrow for Loretta. The first day was going to be a once off. But then one day rolled into two and then into three and now apart from a couple of lapses I’ve been Loretta at work for almost 6 months 🙂 Since then, my policy has been to try and give people I know fair warning. So much so that when the AGM rolled around last year I was emailing the regulars to see if they were coming so I could give them the heads up. 

I tried to give the heads up to one of my best friends but she said “surprise me”. So I did. She had to fan herself for a minute but that was it. Then it was like old times. 

Today at work I had a blast from the past. My old old boss showed up unannounced. He had dropped some friends off at the show and thought he’d drop by to say hello. He was silly enough to hire me all those years ago. Not once, not twice but three times! I know, I know even I question his sanity. 

My colleague met him at the front door and he asked if *boy name* was in. My colleague said yes and around the corner they came. I was sitting in my chair facing away. Give him a heads up? All I could do was blurt out “Hi Alex, I’ve changed!”. And with that I spun my chair around and stood up….in my cream crop top with the pink swan, white full circle floral skirt and my new hot pink double strap mules. 

And with eyes as big as saucers he gave me a big hug. “Well I was expecting changes around here, but never in my wildest dreams was I expecting this. I would never have recognised you! And you look so comfortable and at ease with yourself.” 

Oh it was wonderful. Such warm acceptance in the face of such a big change. With no forewarning he just accepted me, just like that. He wouldn’t have recognised me? Probably not, and we worked together for the best part of seven years. And then I got another big hug! 

#iamsolucky 

Favourite new mules from Nine West 

Telling my parents 

I didn’t think that my parents would be upset when I told them about my girl side. I didn’t think that they would disown me or anything like that. Our relationship was too good, so I wasn’t too worried when I told them. I also suspected that they already knew. 

They were very accepting, but they had no idea about my girl side. It was a complete surprise to them. So my thoughts about two incidents decades ago were completely wrong. Once again I had over thought things. 

I told them not to worry that I was going to get surgery or anything like that. I wasn’t going to change my body like that. I told them because I felt part boy and part girl that if I went all girl then I’d be just as far away from who I am as being all boy. So all girl was not an option. I also told them that I wasn’t planning to come see them dressed as a girl. I didn’t think that I, or they would be comfortable with that just yet. 

What happened next surprised me no end. Dad went off to find something and after searching around for a quite a while he returned with a gift for me. It was a family heirloom. His grandmother had given him her gold ring with a jade stone. And now he was giving it to me, as a token of their love and acceptance of me. 

It was overwhelming. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting this. I thought my coming out to them wouldn’t be a big problem. But I wasn’t expecting such complete acceptance so quickly. My parents are amazing.

I wear this ring a lot! Every time my girl side is out and about, no matter what else I’m wearing, no matter if it clashes, I just love to wear that ring. It also comes with me a lot when I’m a boy too 🙂 luckily enough it just fits my smallest finger. Phew! 

Very soon after, I had similar conversations with my sisters and brother-in-law. Everyone was so accepting it was amazing! And then I emailed all of my nieces and nephews on my side of the family. And once again the response was overwhelming! 

#iamsolucky

Photo by Joey Kyber

I love you! Always and forever! 

I talk about myself a lot but that’s to be expected given the objectives of my blog. The thing is though, that while I’m out discovering myself, there’s a whole lot of people who are affected by my…change. But no one is affected by my change more than my wife, who I love with my heart, my soul, my everything. 

Sure, other people are affected. My son, my parents, my sisters, their families, my in-laws, my friends, my workmates. But no one else is affected anywhere near as much as my wonderful wife. 

You see, she chose me to be her husband. She chose me to be with her for ever after. Neither of us have ever taken our wedding vows for granted. We were deadly serious about them. And it shows in how long we’ve been married. 

The thing is I’ve changed. I haven’t changed my mind on our vows and our marriage, it’s just that my girl side is now out to the world. I did tell my wife about my girl side a few weeks after I met her, but neither of us expected Loretta to be around any more than a visit every now and then. We certainly weren’t expecting her to be the breadwinner, so things have changed a lot.  

Even though I’ve changed, I’m still madly in love with my wife no matter which side of me is around. It doesn’t matter if I’m boy or girl, there is still only one girl for me, and that’s my wife. That’s the way I’m wired. As a boy I’m heterosexual, as a girl I’m lesbian. But either way she’s the love of my life and the only one for me. 

From her side it must be a horrible mess. The boy she married and had a child with is a girl half of the time. She still loves the boy, but the girl? She’s not wired that way. She’s not into girls. And yet, here’s her husband…a girl half the time. 

It gets worse I think. From her perspective it must be like I’m the other woman. You know, like I’m cheating on her, except I’m cheating on her with myself. No really, I spend quality time with a girl that isn’t my wife. Even if that other girl is still me, it must feel like I’m the other woman to her. 

I’m so sorry! It wasn’t supposed to be like this. And I’m so so sorry if I’ve hurt or disappointed you. You are the love of my life. And I always want to be with you. I love you! Always and forever!

Photo by Sweet Ice-cream Photography 

So how did I go over Easter? 

I must say I wasn’t feeling too sure how I would go over the break. No Loretta for 5 days? Hoo boy! It didn’t help that the week leading up to Easter was exceedingly difficult. How difficult? Let’s just say that it was scared of going home difficult. It had nothing to do with my wife or son or any trouble, but I’ll just leave it at that. 

I made it to Easter Monday without any problems. All that worry for no reason. By late afternoon I was itching for some lipstick and maybe some nail polish. But I managed to keep busy enough so I didn’t get distracted. 

Keeping busy you say? So what did I do to distract myself? Ok ok so I put my laundry away and packed my bag for Wednesday. (extra day off tomorrow… It’s zoo day!) what kind of laundry and what did I pack? Oh all right. I put my lingerie away and I packed a black denim pencil skirt and salmon top with white stripes. But I did make it with no problems 🙂

Tuesday should be awesome. We’re off to the zoo. Going to check out the squirrel monkeys, lemurs and try to avoid getting splashed by the seals. Then we’re off to spice alley for dinner… I can smell someone ordering roti! I might get a ramen. I haven’t had one for a long time. But then we’re going to koi… You know Reynold’s place… For dessert mmm yummy! Tomorrow is going to be awesome! 

Easter is almost over and my wife handed me her phone for quiz time. Apparently choosing what colours you like can tell you what gender you are. Oh-oh. I just know what’s going to happen here. 

I try my best to be honest with my choices. No I don’t like the fuchsia or the hot pink, but that dark pink is a good match for my favourite coy lipstick…alarm bells ringing. I try to stop thinking like this and make my choices before I can think too much about it. Sky blue, light yellow, this pattern, that colour combination….. 

The result? 90% female. I just knew it! Incidentally my wife is also 90% female. 

Photo by Darius Soodmond

Things that make my heart sing! 

Passing. In the transgender world we tend to worry about whether or not we “pass” as the gender we are trying to be. For a lot of us this is very difficult to achieve, because our bodies instantly give us away. 
I’m one of the the luckier ones. I’m not much taller than the average girl and a little bit lighter than the average girl. And I have lucky genes. With a little bit of work I know I can “pass” in a crowd. 

However “passing” in a crowd and “passing” when you need to interact with people are worlds apart. I don’t have to “pass” to be the girl I am, but oh my goodness, it gives me such a sense of validation. That I am who I am. 

I think I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that in my professional life I’m a girl. I faltered a couple of times last year for what I thought were good reasons. But this year there is no going back. And I no longer consider last year’s reasons as being valid. I took the easy way out. I…Am…A…Girl…fullstop.

Anyway in my professional life, I get to do all kinds of admin type things. This time I had to sort out a bequest! Someone had left a portion of their estate to us, and I had to get the paperwork completed. Now one of the forms to be completed was to confirm that we were the organisation named in the will. And this form was a statutory declaration. 

Guess what the easy thing to do was? Ut-uh! Not this time. I…Am…A…Girl…Fullstop. So off I went to the JP with my completed form, my ID, my handbag, my favourite white riding skirt with peach and blue-grey print and lace edges. A fitted peach ribbed crop top and my tan pointy flats. 

Riding skirt? I don’t think I mentioned this in great detail before, but I love to ride my bicycle everywhere. Wearing a skirt and riding a bicycle is actually not a problem, with the right skirt. Minis and pencils are out. However my favourite skirts are absolutely perfect. Box pleat midis allow your legs enough room to get on a bicycle. And then enough coverage so that you don’t expose yourself, even when riding in the wind. Full circle skirts are also good unless it’s really really windy when exposure is possible. If it’s that windy, you probably wouldn’t want to go out anyway. Anyway back to the JP. 

I needed to explain the form to the JP in detail, because it wasn’t a standard stat dec. Once he understood he asked for my ID, so I gave him my license. Then he said “We’ve got a problem, because you’re not this person, are you?” I slowly nodded my head, not agreeing with him but to say… um yes I am. “I’m transgender” I tell him. 

He squints at me to see if he can see any resemblance between me and my photo. “This person doesn’t have glasses.” I take my glasses off, and pull back my hair on the left side and tell him quietly “You can see my sideburns under my wig here. And if you look closely at my neck you can see my Adam’s apple.” “That’s ok, I can see that your eyes are a match” he says. Phew! 

He apologises for having to be so thorough. And I tell him that it’s fine, and that I know that it’s very important that he’s convinced that I am who I say I am. We both sign the stat Dec and we’re done. I am elated. One, because I didn’t take the easy way out. Two, because we had a fair amount of interaction before he noticed the ‘license problem’ and until then he thought I was a girl. #thingsthaymakemyheartsing 

Work is never boring. We’re a small organisation so I get to cover a lot of bases. Accounts chick, Mail-girl, It-girl or geek girl. This time it’s geek girl stuff. Our internet really sucks. And when you get 10 people trying to connect to sucky internet the results are really crappy. So I’m out to find a solution to our useless adsl. 

The solution turns up with optus. A mobile broadband with the same cost as our adsl but with 8x speed. I’m sold, but it’s really only for home use or tiny tiny businesses. This means that I’ll have to register it in my name…..#nottakingtheeasywayout

So, it’s off to optus I go with my trusty handbag, my white, floral full-circle skirt, with yellow, blue and pink highlights and a yellow crop, with some nude mid heel court shoes. Its early so it’s just me and the consultant. She understands exactly what I want so we sit down at her pc so we can do the “paperwork”.

Read this, agree to that, acknowledge the limitations, fair play blah De blah De blah.”Can I get a copy of your license?” 

“Yes of course, but I don’t look anything like my photo… “. 

“That’s ok, nobody ever does. And I just need it for our records….Oh!” looks at license, looks at me, looks at license, looks at me. “Have you ever thought about changing your name officially?” 

I might be wrong, but in my mind it’s easier to get a boy to think you’re a girl. For most boys I think they see my hair, skirt and heels and that’s enough for me to pass as a girl provided there’s no interaction. 

However with girls, I think they’re a bit more cluey about “reading” me. Makeup not right. Accessories off, walks funny, mannerisms wrong. Any one of these could give me away. But the biggest give-away if I get it wrong is my voice. 

We spoke for quite a while to set up my new account and she didn’t realise at all until I gave her my license. And she was just as wonderful after she found out as she was before she found out. #thingsthatmakemyheartsing

I am who I am. 

Photo by Sylvain Reygaerts

So what makes me a girl – part 2

So what makes me a girl? Yes it’s time to have another think about this. To be honest I’m not sure where I’m going with this post so I might ramble on a bit. 

There’s so much about being a girl that takes so much more effort than being a boy. I think this is true for any girl, not just transgender girls. I think it goes back to societal expectations or maybe it’s the beauty myth. And I think I have those same expectations because as I’ve said before, when I go girl, I really go girl. 

It takes more effort? It sure does, it’s a real time suck. Let’s start with makeup, just the basics right? Eyes, lips and face. So that’s eyeliner and mascara to make your eyes pop. Foundation for your face to make your skin “flawless”, and then lipstick to give you “perfect, kissable, cupid bow lips.”

Boys will tell you that they have to shave everyday. And they sure do, but it doesn’t take as much time or effort. And they don’t have to touch up their shave every time they eat, unlike lipstick. Nor do they need to powder their nose, when they go to um?….powder their nose? 

Getting dressed is extra effort. At the very least we have an extra struggle with our bras. Some of us have the added struggle with chicken fillets as the boob fairy wasn’t quite as generous with us. 

Then there’s the coordination of the outfit. Boys generally go “Which pants? and which shirt?” Us girls have to figure out whether we should go for a dress, skirt and top or maybe pants and top. Then we have to choose high heels, flats or somewhere in between. Then there’s a handbag to choose because we have no pockets. I’ve actually worked this process backwards sometimes because I don’t have many handbags. 

Finally there’s which earring/necklace /bangle to wear and which perfume? Boys will think about a watch but go “Nah! I’ve got my phone in my back pocket. Why do I need a watch?” 

So lots of decisions to make, and lots of time needed to make it all happen so that we meet society’s expectations. More importantly, hopefully we meet our own expectations! 

Now I’m not saying that this is what every girl does. Everyone is different, but that’s what this girl does, and that’s my prerogative. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a gripe. It’s just pointing out the difference in expectations. And the thing is, I revel in this difference. It’s another thing that expresses my femininity and I love it. 

So am I saying that what makes me a girl is that I’ve fallen for the beauty myth? Oh that doesn’t sound good. But it’s most probably true. It certainly explains my cosmetic obsession. But I know that this is just one aspect of my being a girl. And if I have fallen for the beauty myth that doesn’t invalidate who I am. 

So am I a girl? I think I’m a girl when I go girl. But I don’t think I’m a girl all the time. There’s definitely times when there seems to be an absence of girl. I actually think that my default is boy. But there’s definitely a girl in here too, who needs to express herself. 

Are my boy side and girl side mutually exclusive? Certainly I have girl thoughts when I’m a boy. And I also have boy thoughts when I’m a girl. I guess that’s because it’s all me. But do I have girl and boy thoughts at the same time? Or do I flip from one side to the other? I’m not 100% sure but I think my thoughts are totally random. So I guess there is no mutual exclusivity. I must just be me. 

Society has gotten a lot better in allowing my girl side to express herself. So much so that being out as a transgender girl has been nothing short of amazing! It’s also helped that I’ve grown enough to allow myself to be me. 

I am lucky though. I’m only 5cm taller than the average girl and about 5kg lighter. So I can blend in reasonably well. So while society has been good to me, part of it might be because I can fly beneath the radar a bit. However, that being said, every time I’ve needed to show my identification, (I’ve had to do this a lot recently) I’ve only been met with acceptance, kindness and occasionally disbelief 🙂 And that is when you might hear my inner girl sing! 

Photo by Noah Silliman

Finding my voice

Probably the hardest part of being a transgender girl is finding my voice. It is so tricky! There’s other things that are difficult, like mannerisms and walk that will give you away in an instant, but the single most difficult thing for me to do as a transgender girl is to find my voice….and keep it! 

Other things are solvable. Too hairy? Shave, wax or laser hair removal. Boy hair? Wig time. Boy features? Makeup. Boy legs? Pantyhose and heels. Monobrow? Eyebrow shaping. No shape? Padding. Boy walk? Practice with heels. Boy voice….. Um? 

I can be fairly good with my girl voice. I have practiced a lot. But I have a lot more to learn. It’s not just about pitch. That’s just the first place most of us go. 

I think I know enough about my vocal range so that I know where to pitch my voice. I like to sing….but I’m only good enough for the shower. If you can find the range just below your falsetto voice that’s probably the best place to start. Because a squeaky falsetto will never be a convincing girl voice.  

For me it means that I can sing “Let it go” from the movie Frozen without getting into falsetto. However something like “How far it goes” from the movie Moana takes me a couple of notes into falsetto range…so just a touch too high. 

So I’ve found my range….But! The first thing I’ve noticed is that it’s not easy to maintain this range. It’s one thing to sing it. But to speak it? Naturally? It’s challenging at the moment. Hopefully it becomes easier. 

In the morning I need to warm up my vocal chords to use that higher range. Otherwise a squeaky mess comes out. Then in the afternoon I find that my voice tires and I end up dropping my voice down unintentionally. I also find that staying hydrated plays a huge part in being able to maintain my voice. 

Eyebrows and smiling. Two tips that I came across on YouTube were surprisingly helpful in finding my voice. The first was raising your eyebrows when you speak because it raises your pitch. Well it works for me 🙂 The second was to speak with a smile because it makes you sound more like a girl. This worked for me as well. 

Volume. Oh I have trouble with volume. My girl voice is quite soft and quiet. So whenever I’m in a situation where I need to raise my voice, I’m in trouble. I just can’t get there…..yet. It’s something I need to work on, but there’s other pieces that I think are more important to work on like girlspeak. 

Girlspeak, I think I’ve learned some of this just by listening. The phrasing, the wording, the inflexions? The tricky part is using it in real life. And the trickier part is learning more, because like, I don’t exactly know what I don’t know, you know? And hopefully after all this I don’t sound like a caricature (is that even possible?), you know? 

So I spend a lot of time on this because practice makes perfect right? Seriously I spend more time on my voice than any other aspect of being a girl. Most of the other bits are either set and forget for the day (maybe a little maintenance) like clothes and makeup. 

Walking and mannerisms arent set and forget but I don’t use them as much as my voice. And I have more confidence in my walk than my voice. Mannerisms? I’m sure there are still boy things that I do but still I think voice is more important. 

So lots more practice and study for me on this complex subject. Hopefully one day I’ll see how far I’ll go.  

Photo by Ben White 

Stand up comedy – coming out at work

Ok I promised to tell this story back in my first post. It’s about coming out at work and it goes something like this…

So I told the boss one morning. We’re both early starters so we had plenty of private time. And I just straight out told him that I was transgender. He was very surprised, but felt very honoured that I had told him. 

I told him that things weren’t really going to change too much and that I wasn’t planning to come to work in a dress because I didn’t think I would be comfortable doing that. (And to be honest I’m still not comfortable at work in a dress. I like my separates). 

Our conversation was interrupted by our mail delivery. And there was a package for me. The boss asked what I got. And I had to answer, “Um…you know how I said I wasn’t planning to wear a dress to work? Well these are dresses…”. He just laughed as I turned red. What were the odds on that happening? Talk about timing! 

Timing. Timing is everything for a comedian. Without good timing even the funniest thing falls flat on its face. I like to think that I have understated humour… Unless I’m doing a dad joke. 

I’m generally a quiet person. At work I’ll speak up if I’ve got something really important to say. Or if I need to lighten the situation with something funny. Actually that’s probably me all the time.

It’s Tuesday. We always have a staff meeting on a Tuesday. No boss today though, as he has a government meeting. He knows that I’m telling everyone today and wishes me luck. 

So one of the things that we do at the meeting is to let everyone how we’re feeling… You know like “I’m a 3. Things are going wrong and I have deadlines today” or “I’m a 9. Everything is going to plan and I had a great weekend.”. The mood of the meeting is a little down around a 5-6 average. Me, work’s been good, I’ve told my family and the boss that I’m transgender and it’s all been good so I’m way up the scale. 

It’s my turn to rate myself. “Well, I’m a 10. I told my parents on the weekend that I’m transgender…” my workmates, all girls by the way, are killing themselves laughing, figuring that it’s just me trying to lighten the mood. I dig the hole a bit deeper,”…and they were so accepting that it was better than I could have ever dreamed.” I don’t think most of them heard most of this part because they were rolling in the aisles with laughter. 

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The girl in me was like, “Well that didn’t go according to plan!”. The comedian in me was just lapping it up. “Could I have gotten a bigger laugh?” I knew however that there was no point in trying to correct them now. They were too far gone. Needless to say the meeting was in a much better mood now. 

I resolved to telling them in the coming days in ones or twos. And I also resolved that I would never tell a group of people in one hit again. Even if the comedian in me loved getting those laughs. I eventually told them all and they were so accepting and apologetic for laughing at me. I really can’t blame them given the timing, my delivery and my reputation. 

Thank you so much Sue Ann for opening everyone’s eyes to the possibility that I wasn’t joking. 
 

Photo by Hailey Kean