Zia Nuray (zianuray) wrote,
Zia Nuray

Help us help you

From the POV of a cisgendered female legally married to a M2F post-op.

Things to remember as you transition:

Yes, you are going through a lot. You have mood swings and roadblocks and people dissing you. Guess what? Your partner has her own shit to deal with AND the shit you are putting on her as well.

Yes, you need/want emotional support -- BUT she may be walking on eggshells and NOT KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR HOW TO SAY IT because anything she says gets taken out of context and stretched to fit what you think she should be feeling -- sometimes "Honey, a little less on the eye makeup, maybe?" means you look like you've lost a bar fight. It does NOT NECESSARILY mean "You're a hideous wretch and I do not want to be seen in public with you until you give up and dress like a man."

"You know we'll be walking a lot today, right?" means "I know 4-inch heels are not the best shoes for the walking tour of the Zoo -- I got blisters when I made that mistake and I'm trying to help you here." It does NOT mean "You suck for doing this to me." Believe me, if we think you suck, we're going to tell you -- or have a lawyer do it for us.

We're still here, right? So work with us and help us help you.

If you ask for an opinion on an outfit, know that you're likely to get an answer. You may not like that answer. It is not a rejection of you. It is not a rejection of your journey. If I don't like an outfit, I don't like an outfit. You want people to stare and laugh? Yeah, wear the hippie-holdout dress for a job interview. You won't get the job, but hey, you wore what you wanted to wear, and that's all that matters, right? Don't listen to me just because I suggested a sedate business suit when you applied for a job as a receptionist at a law office! I just want to hold you back!

Your boss doesn't want to know what's going on and is being a jerk? Yeah, our bosses don't want to know either. It weirds them out. Your counselling for your transition process may be covered by some insurance companies -- I'm hearing of some now that actually cover more and more of the costs of transition, YAY! -- but our counselling may NOT be, because "his transition is not your problem, it's his problem" in the eyes of the insurance company. Or the therapist may tell us to take the kids (if any) and leave you, if their agenda overtakes their ethics.

You're getting ready to go out in the big scary world dressed like a woman? Great! A couple of points to remember: Don't dress like the love child of Tammy Faye Bakker and a drag queen. Before you go "out", go to the mall and sit and people-watch. That skinny chick in jodhpurs and riding boots? Yeah, that's out of place unless you're in the dressage ring. You're 30 and a few pounds over Vogue-approved weight? You won't want to dress like the teenagers coming out of Hot Topic (even if you really do want to). Look at the businesswomen and the ladies-who-lunch that are close to your age and see what they wear. If they look at someone and shudder, look at that too. That's a look to steer away from. Look at how much makeup they wear -- the best application looks like you're not wearing any because you don't need it. I've seen people with the "sculpted/shadow/highlight" thing going on and in real life it just looks fake and clumsy. Eyeshadow? Yeah, have some fun with colors and patterns -- but if you look radioactive, save it for clubbing. Lipstick? Subtle in daytime -- again, keep the *WHAM* effects for the nightclub.

Jewelry? Same thing. Scale it to fit your frame. A huge chunky choker looks like crap on me because I'm short, fat, and have a very short neck. I wear 20 - 22" necklaces, generally just a chain and a pendant. I love big dangly earrings but they often brush my shoulders so I forego them and wear things that won't catch on my clothes and rip part of my ear off. Blood is not a fashion accessory. Emie can wear darn near anything as far as jewelry because she's tall and slender with a "swan's neck." Mr T gets away with lots of chains and bling because he's a big burly dude and well, he's MR T.

The idea is to not draw attention: if you get "Yes, Ma'am" from the clerk at StarBucks, you're doing it right. If you get "Yes, uh, ma'am?" take note.

Even if you're 6'8" and built like a linebacker but dress appropriately and with CLASS -- not following the latest fashion but with your own style and a modicum of modesty, and walk with confidence in the knowledge you are a LADY -- you'll be treated like the lady you are.

You don't need to push matters -- don't tell every store clerk "Oh, yes, I'm transitioning, I'm transgender, here's my life story" -- because you don't know who else is going to hear you and what their reaction might be. Yes, it's important to be recognized as "normal" and a productive, unexceptionable member of society, and it's easier to do that if you're not force-feeding it to all and sundry. Let people get to know you as YOU. Then when they hear scare-story op-ed pieces, they can tell their other friends "No, that's not the way it is. I KNOW better."

*From Emie: Yes, you will go in places where they'll talk about you and laugh about you after you leave. (They'll do that about anyone -- Z) Don't worry about it. It hasn't taken anything away from you, hasn't shortened your life or removed money from your wallet, and you brightened their dull boring lives a bit.*

Mostly, though, people are so wrapped up in their own world that they simply won't look close enough to see past the makeup and the dress to NOTICE. Yes, you feel as "stealth" as an elephant in a chicken coop. Yes, you feel like someone is getting ready to shriek "OMG! LOOK!!" when you walk by -- but it's more likely to be that they're shrieking about a sale at Macy's!

People tend to see what they expect to see. If you don't give them a reason to see anything save a lady, then that's who they'll see.
Tags: (un)common sense, dh/dw, trans
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