There are many rites of passage along the complicated path of transitioning from one perceived gender to another. Some of these include, coming out to a friend, family, or to your work, beginning hormone replacement therapy, changing your name, and of course beginning to live full time as yourself. Living full time is one of the biggest rites of passage that a transgender person will go through. It is the point where they say goodbye to the trappings of the mismatched sex and embrace their gender fully. This rite of passage is pretty unique and different depending on the individual. This is my story.
The first time I went outside dressed as a girl was in a safe controlled environment. I had confessed to a gay co-worker that I was transgender and I think the fact that he was a drag queen gave me the courage to reveal my secret. It was still really scary and that part never gets easier. Anyway, this friend insisted that I go to the local gay club dressed as a girl and he volunteered to help. I accepted. Soon after, I found myself at his friend’s place. His friend, also a drag queen, did my hair and make-up. I was actually stunned at the girl looking back from my reflection. I am not sure what I expected though I don’t think I was expecting pretty.
The club was also interesting because I was passing. The gay men were ignoring me, which was fine by me, and the women were paying me some attention. I disappointed more than a few when I told them I was transgender. I began to see that some gay women did not like transgender women very much at least in that way. Despite that, it was one of the happiest moments in my life as it was the first time I saw a glimpse of Candace.
A few years later I made a small attempt at full time that I ended up retreating from because I let one girl tear me down. My best boy friend knew my secret and his wife suspected something. I decided to tell her and she thought it was awesome and wanted to help me transition. I was not sure if I was ready but I let her push me forward and soon enough I was living as a girl and working as her nanny. Things were about to come crashing down when this girl became jealous of the fact that her baby was starting to like me more than her. It was her own fault for never being around the baby.
Jealousy took a mean turn with this girl. She decided that I no longer was a ‘she’ and she didn’t want to disrespect me with the old pronoun. She decided she preferred to use ‘it.’ She went out of her way to call me ‘it’ as much as possible. She then outed me to old coworkers and would come home to report to me about how they wanted to vomit when she told them about me. I found out years later that she lied about their reactions. However, she continually stomped on my confidence and eventually beat me back into the closet and the first attempt at fulltime was a failure.
I felt terrible and I could feel the year of darkness that I had just come out of rumbling in the back of my mind. I was feeling hopeless again and the will to go on was faltering. I don’t know what I would have done if not for a strange intervention that changed everything. A weird coincidence set me on a new path and it started with a dream. I had a dream about my grandfather who may have looked a little like Captain Picard, but I knew it was Pops and not a Starfleet officer. In the dream he told me to leave and go west. He said that I could get my life back in Calgary. A dream is not enough to make me just up and leave my home but then the mail came an in it was a huge envelop of stuff from Calgary that a friend sent me to try and lure me out west. Fate was speaking to me and I heard the message.
Within a week I was on my way to Calgary and the final attempt at full time was in front of me. I thought about how I wanted to do it. The fact that no one, other than my friend, knew me meant I could just jump into the deep end and swim. I picked up some makeup and a few underthings then went to a half decent clothing store in a downtown mall. I decided to take the most direct approach to get it over with so I walked up to the sales girl and point blank told her that I was transitioning in her store and asked if she could help me. She was receptive and a hour later Candace left that store and the past was behind me forever.