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Gendered violence and hyper-sexual presentation

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Hi everyone. I hope this is the right forum for me to post this in -- if not please let me know. I am very new to transitioning, having only accepted in the past few months that it's something I want to do. I used to be out to a degree as a crossdresser in Darlinghurst, inner Sydney (Australia's biggest LGBTQ community) in 2012, so I know a little about what it's like to be my female self in public, but I am very scared of what it might be like to live as a female full-time, especially in a less tolerant community and given that I like to dress provocatively. In Sydney I used to go out late at nights on weekends to gay clubs (the places I felt most welcomed) in thigh-high boots and figure-hugging dresses, etc. Predictably, sometimes this would get me in trouble. Once I literally stopped traffic on a busy arterial road when a bunch of young 20-something men pounded their horn and wolf whistled and propositioned me loudly from a car stopped at traffic lights, refusing to move on when the lights turned green even when horns started beeping from the many cars banked up behind them. Another time on a darker side-street where (to avoid experiencing the same treatment again) I had gone in the hopes of hailing a cab as it turned off from the main street, a gym-toned hulking young man in a sports car pulled up close beside me and asked, or virtually demanded, that I get in and perform a sexual act on him in return for a lift. I bluntly told him no at least three times before a cab finally pulled in at just the moment I feared things might get ugly and I hailed it and got in. Another time, in the multi-storey apartment building where I temporarily lived, I was in the elevator going down when the doors opened a few floors down and a young man, smelling of weed and looking like a thug, did a double-take on seeing me and, saying "Whoa!" out loud in obvious shock and what I took to be disgust, backed away and let the doors close without getting in. Just before the lift descended I heard his shock turn to laughter as he walked away rapidly down the hall, as if he was eager to tell a friend about me and maybe return with reinforcements ready to face me after all. And so on. I don't want to make it seem worse than it was: 95% of the people I met -- and I met many people on those outings -- loved and encouraged me for what I was doing and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. (It reaffirmed my faith in humanity to a degree, actually.) But I never went out without fearing violence or playing out scenarios in my head and trying to imagine how I would react if I was attacked.


As I've said elsewhere, I was bullied a lot as a child, taunted and threatened for being girlish and supposedly gay. I was never actually bashed (and I am very grateful for that, and feel so so sorry for anyone who was), but I was made to feel afraid day after day for several years, especially as I and my classmates reached puberty and the differences between them and me became more obvious. So it is possible I am overly fearful because of those experiences. On the other hand, I really do like to dress provocatively. Sex was crucially important to me as a man and it is crucially important as a woman. I love looking like a sex siren and, I won't deny it, I love the responses I get from men because of it -- but only from some men. Some people might say "You play with matches, you get burned", that if I don't want to get threatened then I shouldn't provoke people in the first place, but I'll be damned if I'm going to censor myself for the sake of a few entitled hyper-masculine bullies who think that if a provocatively-dressed woman gets sexually harassed then it's her fault: "She was asking for it, it was the way she was dressed." Of course I'm sure that once I've lived in public as a woman for a while I'll be less inclined to dress hyper-sexually all the time -- for sure there'll be times when I just want to blend in and not cause trouble -- but I know there'll be other times when I want to get dressed up and flaunt it, because that is a big part of womanhood for me. It's who I am!


SO, my question is this: How afraid should I be? Has anyone here experienced gendered violence or the threat of it? And specifically, is anyone else here, like me, inclined to go out in public dressed like a sex siren, and if so what kind of reactions do you get?


Thank you all so much for your insight, advice and support. I've learned a lot here already and I hope to learn much more.


x Betty








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PS: I just wanted to say, for anyone Australian, no I'm not crazy enough to go out dressed sexy in Townsville. I'll be moving to Brisbane eventually and would hope to go out there. For now, in this army-and-mining-industry town, I'm undercover.

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  • Admin

I am in So. California and don't really know what it is like there in your cities, particularly the one you are moving to.  If you have an LGBTQ Community Center in an area you can get to, I would make them your base of operations for going out, since you can go out and be with a safe group of people.  Smaller areas will not have much that can be done in safety to the degree that you need.  I am sorry, but  as liberal and open as the Los Angeles / West Hollywood areas where I am often in do have their rough areas and even I have been hassled and threatened, which is why I keep with the people I have met and do have fun with in safety. 


I know it is an erotic thrill to invite danger for some people and I am personally angry about those who would do actual violence to them. That said, considering your background, I would recommend talking to a Gender Therapist about how and why the provocative clothing is so important to you.  If you understand it a bit better it may help your judgment on when and where to do it.


All I have learned in my nearly 20 years of being OUT and active is that while people SHOULD NOT treat us violently and while I hate it, I know they are going to do it if they think they can.

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1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

If you have an LGBTQ Community Center in an area you can get to, I would make them your base of operations for going out


That is great advice Vicki, thank you.


1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

I know it is an erotic thrill to invite danger for some people


I don't think that's me, but who knows. Generally I'm pretty careful, but I have had my phases, even as a man, of dressing pretty outrageously, possibly in rebellion. I just really love and admire women who dress sexy, and I want to be like them. They brighten up my life, and I feel like I brighten up other people's lives. And I like being desired, I guess. I like to look like someone I would desire.


1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

considering your background, I would recommend talking to a Gender Therapist about how and why the provocative clothing is so important to you.


That is another great idea. As to my judgement on where to do it, I'm one step ahead. I wrote up a little plan today for four categories of outfits I should buy:


1. sex siren -- nightwear -- I have that covered;

2. cuter, more girlish, but still sexy -- eveningwear -- it's in the mail;

3. sensible, pretty but more conservative -- daywear in a liberal area -- I'll have to work on it;

4. tomboyish, could pass for a man but not ugly -- daywear in the rest of the city -- ditto;


and I already have the last category covered: straight-up boring man's clothes for blending in in the country.


Pick your moments, my mother always said. I'm going to get sly.


1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

All I have learned in my nearly 20 years of being OUT and active is that while people SHOULD NOT treat us violently and while I hate it, I know they are going to do it if they think they can.


I'm so sorry to hear that Vicki. It confirms my worst fears. We need a trans revolution. We need to shower them with love. In my own way I feel I am harmlessly doing that when I go out dressed sexy, and that is certainly how 95% of people took it, at least in the gay clubs and on the sidewalks in Sydney. But I will learn to be careful. I am not young anymore, not quite as sure I could kick some man in the nuts before he knocked me down.


Thank you again for your wisdom x

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Well, I live in a conservative area, I don't think I could dress/be provocative if I tried, but I am still careful where I go and when.

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I'm afraid I could never go out a either in a provocative more or trying to look sexy.  I'm an old gray haired women and so I have no excuse to be out as anything other than what I am

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12 hours ago, Jandi said:

Well, I live in a conservative area, I don't think I could dress/be provocative if I tried, but I am still careful where I go and when.


Gosh, so I guess I'm naive in thinking if I just don't dress provocatively sometimes I'll be safe. Have you ever actually been threatened or insulted by a stranger, Jandi? I find it hard to believe that people could be so mean.


10 hours ago, LaurenA said:

I'm an old gray haired women


Hi Lauren! Nice to meet you. I have a fair few grey hairs too, but I just hide them under a siren wig. I have been thinking, though, that self-acceptance may involve taking the wig off sometimes

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Jackie C.

I think some of this is location. I've never been harassed. Neither has my wife. However, we both grew up in upper-class suburbs. I've known cis-woman who get harassed in the car or walking on the street, but not so much day-to-day. I know it happens, but I haven't seen it personally.

Around colleges it's a different story but I think a lot of it gets diffused by following basic safety precautions. Don't be alone after dark. Plenty of witnesses. Etc... The kinds of people who would do something like that are cowardly and wouldn't make a move unless they thought they could get away with it.



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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

Don't be alone after dark.


Hi Jackie. That is probably excellent advice but unfortunately it's going to be pretty hard for me to get used to. I have always been that lone guy who waits till the streets are empty to go for a walk. Same when I'm out in nature: I avoid crowds. Same when I used to go out en femme: a loner. So for me I think the big challenge will be socialising -- coming out of my shell, making friends. (I just read in another thread that you hang out with a superhero ex-cop; I need friends like that.) I'm hoping coming out will mean just that though, coming out of my shell.


Oh, and you're right: location is a huge part of it. Unfortunately in my darkest moments I feel like 90% of Australia may be off-limits, but I'm sure it's not as bad as that.

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Jackie C.
5 hours ago, Betty K said:

I have always been that lone guy


Not a guy sweetie. but OK. 🦊


I walk alone too, but first thing in the morning. I have yet to have my fox-sense ping, but this is a pretty quiet residential neighborhood with lots of witnesses and a police station. Then again my route is police station --> Buddhist temple --> Masonic temple --> Hindu temple --> Home. Not when it's this darn cold though. 


5 hours ago, Betty K said:

I feel like 90% of Australia may be off-limits,


While I've never been, I was under the impression that 90% of Australia is spiders. DEFINATELY off-limits.


In all seriousness though, women here will go out in groups after dark. The predators won't go after groups of 3-4 women. I found that as part of my transition, I've REALLY opened up. I used to be a total hermit. Now I'm out, about and I talk to people. I've made more friends since I transitioned than in the 48 years prior. It's crazy.


Also my ex-cop friend has been teaching me how to make a male attacker hate life. I'm pretty sure I'm strong enough to tear somebody's testicles off and show them to him at this point.



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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

Not a guy sweetie.


Well I could pass as a guy, and the fact that I believed myself a guy made it a hell of a lot less scary.


1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

The predators won't go after groups of 3-4 women.


Sounds like such a hassle to gather that many girlfriends for a walk! But the bit about opening up since your transition, that is reassuring. I feel like that's what may/will happen to me, presuming I follow this course...


As to the spiders, I've never really had much trouble with them. Snakes, sharks and crocodiles, on the other hand, scare the bejesus out of me.



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2 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

I've REALLY opened up. I used to be a total hermit. Now I'm out, about and I talk to people.

Funny this.  I think I am more open to conversations with strangers now myself.  Of course they have to be honest conversations, not a bunch of crap.

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I've never in my life felt threatened, even doing public health calls in Compton as a white boy RN in the 90s.  But that was all as a guy.  I now understand vulnerability and fear. It doesn't dictate my life but I've had crazy homeless people in parking lots start verbally/physically threatening me and using transphobic language.  That kinda thing NEVER happened to me presenting male.  I've had long discussions about traveling with my wife post covid and we have to have the discussion of safety for both of us.  Two women are much more vulnerable than an mixed sex couple.  My presence used to be a buffer for her, now I make her life less safe.  We were thinking of traveling to Africa and Indonesia but have changed our thoughts on that.  Flip side is we are looking at places like Malta which never crossed our radar but is known for its LGBT acceptance and protective laws.  Our day to day is pretty safe because we live in one of the top 5 safest places in the US for LGBT people.  That said, when I leave work now in the dark, I always leave with another staff member.  

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