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Guest AllisonD

Don't Out Yourself

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Guest AllisonD

Don't out yourself

Judging by how many trans people there are I must have run into at least several during my lifetime. But I never recognized any of them except for the ones that have approached me at work to introduce themselves. Until today.

I was shopping in the grocery store today, casually wandering the aisles doing my thing. I had had casual remarks with at least four other women when I entered the baking and spices aisle. I was immediately struck by a woman examining the instant cake mixes.

She was roughly my height, my weight, at least 20 years younger. Dressed pretty much like me, jeans, tennis shoes, cotton print top. Nice hair, minor makeup. It is raining and chilly here today so I was wearing black jeans, white tennis shoes, white surplice wrap top, black fleece zip jacket, unzipped. Earrings, lipstick, hair done. Not so different from what she was wearing. But I fit in. I passed. She didn't.

As I approached, wandering down the aisle, I saw right away what it was that marked her; what made her stand out. It was how she was standing. She took up space. Weight firmly distributed on her feet, feet separated side to side in a wide stance; solid. Getting closer, she looked hard, not soft. I noticed the beard area of her face looked funny and it turned out to be foundation. Alerted now, I noticed the other signs. The same signs that I have: feet, hands, height, facial structure. It wasn't her dress, or her makeup. It was more attitude, as if attitude was a physical attribute.

She was looking at an inexpensive cake mix line, and I mentioned that I preferred this other cake mix to the one she was looking at. Now I had talked to at least four other women already in the store that very day. No big deal, we exchanged a pleasantry, a remark on prices, asked where they've moved the shredded cheese to this week. Normal stuff, a remark, a smile, possibly a greeting. Just being women going about a normal activity.

But when I mentioned about the cake mix to this woman she turned to me in total surprise that a stranger would have spoken. I told her that I thought this other brand had a much nicer texture and better flavor, and wanting some interaction I asked her is this cake for an event?

She said, "a birthday." No smile. No welcome look. Almost hostile, like I was intruding.

Of course, I was intruding. But that is not how a woman reacts. Sure of myself now, having had the opportunity to inspect her closely, I mentioned that I had had considerable success with this other package and pointed it out to her. She warmed slightly, taking the package from the shelf and looking it over. I said it is surprising how chilly it is today and the rain makes it even colder. "Everybody else is wearing a jacket, aren't you cold?"

"No," she said, "Cold doesn't affect me much."

Encouraged, as if I needed her voice and speaking style for a final clue (but I didn't), I used a technique that has been used on me. I said, "you may have no idea what I am talking about, but I think you are a sister."

It took a moment, but then I saw her eyes open wide and then relax. She quickly checked me out the same way I had checked her out. She clearly read me, finally, after I suggested she might be a sister. For the first time she smiled. She didn't say a word, but her features warmed considerably and she visibly relaxed. I introduced myself, telling her my name is Allison. She hesitated, stumbled a bit, and then said her name, "Veronica."

"So nice to meet you, and I hope I did not startle or offend you."

"No. What tipped you off?"

"Not what you think," and then I explained she actually did very well but that the way she was standing made her stand out. She is clearly new and learning how to pass and she took my gentle suggestions in the manner they were offered, as helpful hints from a sister traveling the same path.

As I left the store I felt really good about the encounter. I had seen a sister, successfully introduced myself, helped her, and no hard feelings. We did not exchange contact information but I feel sure that the next time I see her in the grocery store we will exchange smiles and maybe even a hello. A banner day, in my book.

I did not say it of course, but it is clear to me that she is pre-op and had too much between her legs to stand comfortably, properly, as if there was nothing there. And women, even strangers, are far more friendly in a safe environment like the grocery store, particularly when there is no sense of competition. And any woman would be far more sure of her name and not glance to the side when asked to come up with one.

But when I think back on it, it seems to me that only one thing marked her as special and drew my attention: it was attitude. She definitely had male attitude. So my suggestion is, check that attitude. It will out you.

Allison

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Guest mia 1

Thanks for the insight into your encounter....well stated and looking forward to meeting more women at the supermarket.....Mia

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Guest AshleyRF

I wish I could run into "sisters" from time to time here, but alas there are very few of us willing to stay in this wonderful state.

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Guest Lizzie McTrucker

That's been my mantra for about a year now. Attitude makes all the difference. :)

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Guest nymphblossom

Thank you for sharing, AllisonD!

Like working on my voice, this is something I spend a HUGE amount of time on. How I eat, drink, wave, scratch an itch, tuck my hair behind my ear, adjust my bra strap, handle my purse, put my hands on the steering wheel, hold things in my arms, the way I move, walk, sit, get into a car, slide into a booth at McDonalds, stand in line, brush against another woman or a man. I think about these things constantly when I am in public.

I am a sponge whenever I have a chance to watch other women. There are so many different styles that go with age, social position, geography, cultural background. It's hard to pick and chose things to incorporate for your own without ending up with a miss-matched eclectic set of behaviors. But I realize studying and immitating can only get me so far. There finally comes a point where you must learn to pass when actually interacting with people- casual chitchat with the cashier, body language, an easy smile, how we hold our eyes, things we say or don't say, assuming a passive demeanor around men. It is good to be aware of all of these, but I think the only way to master this is trial by fire and experience.

Blossom

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Guest bronx

Yes it is all about attitude, even for us guys. I've been living full time for awhile now and I wouldn't change it for the world. I do see some of my sisters around sometimes, I don't say anything just smile.

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Guest skyy

i wish i could actually meet a "sister" or "brother". there is one other in knoxville that i know about, but i've never met her, nor any others. cool encounter though, thats really awesome that you could help. i bet she isnt exactly hostile, just paranoid about getting caught, as i'm sure anyone here can relate to. hopefully she will be able to grow from the encounter, like you did. :)

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Guest Adrian

I'm always suprised to find quite how useful it actually is to read what MTFs have to say about their experiences. From this post, I learned that many women find it much easier to chat to strangers in shops, that men stand differently... And, something else I've forgotten, because I'm silly, but anyway. I can apply that and turn in on it's head. I should maybe stand like I've got something between my legs. Maybe I should get round to buying something to simulate that?

Also, I feel much better about the fact that I speak very briefly and monotonously in response to the pleasentries of strangers! Not to be unfriendly, but just because I tend to go about my linear busniess privately and draw my focus into the task at hand. Food shopping in particular could never be a social event like it always seemed to be for my mum. How can you stand to walk round and round the cake isle for that long? ;) Don't get me started on the toiletries isle. :rolleyes: It bears no interest for me. :P

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Guest Joanna Phipps
I'm always suprised to find quite how useful it actually is to read what MTFs have to say about their experiences. From this post, I learned that many women find it much easier to chat to strangers in shops, that men stand differently... And, something else I've forgotten, because I'm silly, but anyway. I can apply that and turn in on it's head. I should maybe stand like I've got something between my legs. Maybe I should get round to buying something to simulate that?

Also, I feel much better about the fact that I speak very briefly and monotonously in response to the pleasentries of strangers! Not to be unfriendly, but just because I tend to go about my linear busniess privately and draw my focus into the task at hand. Food shopping in particular could never be a social event like it always seemed to be for my mum. How can you stand to walk round and round the cake isle for that long? ;) Don't get me started on the toiletries isle. :rolleyes: It bears no interest for me. :P

For some of us  it is a social event, even when I'm out with my wife(after 9 years of being together) we have now found that we actually like talking about what deals there are to be had, what looks good, what mixes we have had success with in the past. Women are just more talkative and social creatures. I guess its because we dont tend to compete the way men do; it is an art as a pre-op to stand like you have nothing between your legs but as HRT takes hold and the unwanted bits shrink it becomes much easier.

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Guest Donna Jean

AHhhhh yes.......

"ATTITUDE!"

The all purpose Hormone.....use it liberally....use it often!

Works on "ALL" sexes!

HUGGS!

Donna Jean

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Guest Joanna Phipps

as they say in pool put some english on it, well dont forget the body language as was well pointed out by Allison. The wrong foot position when standing or the wrong body position walking will blow you cover faster than a counter terrorism expert.

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Guest viv

Hi Allison,

Putting that into my diary shortly. Thank you so much, Luv, Viv.

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Guest Fransisca

I know exactly what you mean I have had soooo many times when out and about that just feeling confidant has made it easier to pass. :D

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Guest DésiréeG

behavior, i.e. attitude, will out you more than appearance, clothes or even voice ever will. (OK, 5 o'clock stubble might be worse, but only by a little)

People believe what they see. If they see a person dressed like a woman, then first impression is "that's a woman." It might be "That's an ugly/tall/fat/funny looking woman" but hey, the operative word is "woman"

people believe what they hear. If you say in your deep voice "Hi I'm Nancy" it may catch them of course, but most people will accept that because people don't except to be lied to.

But if some one watches how you move, how you walk, how you sit, how you hold yourself, how you interact with other people, they will also draw conclusions, and how you are dressed won't matter.

It's easy to get caught up in appearance when it comes to passing, but without the right attitude, it just doesn't matter.

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Guest Donna Jean

It's easy to get caught up in appearance when it comes to passing, but without the right attitude, it just doesn't matter.

Absolutely...,

Donna Jean

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Guest Leeny

It's easy to get caught up in appearance when it comes to passing, but without the right attitude, it just doesn't matter.

While i have almost no experiences on that matter, i do see the wisdom in your words. ;)

This little story made me feel better somehow. ^^

I realized that in some ways I am already myself and some "mistakes" made by this lady, are things that I wouldn't do. But i guess you never can be really sure, until you face such a situation yourself. If you are nervous and not really your natural self, i guess you can make mistakes by acting instead of feeling.

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kyennamo

Attitude and Voice. The 2 things that truely worry me. Will i be able to pull this off? and will I be able to sound good? Hrt and plactic surgery can fix the looks. i hope. but these 2 are gonna be tough

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Guest GettingThere

Very true. Attitude makes a huge difference to and for everyone. Examples:

How I've perceived people: I went to a trans meeting about two years ago at my school and there were 4 other transguys, two transwomen, and one cross-dresser. Now, one of the transwomen passed 100% of the time and yet, she triggered my "male = competition for dominance" caveman-like reaction because of her ATTITUDE. She was overly confident seeming and almost had a sort of bravado about her. In short, she acted like a man. Now, the other transwoman there did not pass well because she hadn't yet started electrolosis, had only been on hormones for a couple of months, and had a visible adam's apple. However, she had the attitude of a woman (a less than confident one, unfortunately, but still definitely female). Therefore, she triggered a different paleolithic response in me, the "female = not a threat, not competition" reaction. I felt bad for her, though, because this loud-mouth woman basically acted like the nice lady wasn't "owning" who she was or something by not being so in your face. I ended up leaving early because I could not stand the one woman but I wish I had gotten to talk with the other woman more; she was old enough to be my mom and super nice!

How I've been perceived: I have been dressed in such a way that my chest was totally concealed and had very short hair but because I'm not a confident person and I'm not good at "taking up space," I've been read as female. On the other hand, when I've been totally relaxed and in pajamas when I've opened the door or something, I've been read as male and there was no way my chest was concealed. It's very much about attitude. Of course, at the heart of the matter, it's all about stereotypes. In reality, it wasn't gender that made me not like that woman or like the other, it was what society says represents gender and so what qualities in people I like or dislike.

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Guest eliza.d

very true indeed. attitude is everything. my posture and body language is very girly, but not overly girly. it was easier for me to act correctly as i had years of practice trying to hide those things and adopt male posture, body language.

what outs me is my bad wig and im not confident enough to use me female voice. im practicing, but im usually so tired when i stop on the road, im a trucker for those that didnt know. i haul produce and never get enough sleep, but the hrt is helping me immensely and i know the day will come when i pass, and pass all the time.

i know about the competitive nature of natal females so thats instinct for me. i am however, not a compwtitive girl, so im usually always friendly and disarming. now that im on hrt, the people that do make me, and their insults and giggles do not affect me as much. however, when im doing business at a commercial establishment....like mcdonalds, and am treated with disrespect, i make it know to the manager in a very polite and professional manner. i usually give them a quick bio on why i look, and act the way i do, stating some basic facts about being transgender and having gender dysphoria...in an attempt to educate others so that it may be a more respectful and pleasant world for the next of us, tgs, that encounter these people.

again, i do not engage disrespectful people in passing...or even give them a reaction at all.

furthermore, be very, very careful of teenagers, especially in groups. dont let your age difference give you a false sense of security. teenagers do stupid things, as we all have when young... because they think they can get away with it or are seeking to impress their peers by showing off.

in this, they can be of the most dangerous threats to us.

i am not confrontational, or a pugilist, but in the event that i am attacked, i can and will defend myself. army training can be a useful skill, but must be used with restraint. if not, the outcome could be tragic. and that is not something you want to have to live with.

be polite, be professional, be aware. attitude IS everything.

love and hugs to all my sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers here and everywhere withing the transgender community.

Eliza D

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Guest SaleneAlexis

I can agree with that. Attitude is EVERYTHING!!!! It goes a long way toward passing.

Stephanie

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Guest Rowan19

Coming back to this post actually reminds me of someone I've seen around this past year. And while attitude makes all the difference, there are somethings that people can't always hide.

At the end of last year I stated spotting this guy around town, he acted like a guy in everyway! And looked like one in almost everyway... Heck he even had a full on beard!

But unfortunately he had one dead give away! His boobs. Now don't get me wrong, I know men can moobs but these were boobs. I know the difference, trust me. Plus, he was too skinny for moobs in the first place. Much like myself. He wore baggy tops and all that, but it was still obvious. The odd thing though is that no one else seemed to notice, his attitude had them all fooled!

I have seen him around since though, which makes me feel kind of guilty. He probably left because of me staring at him. I didn't have any idea how to react since I've never met a brother before, to be honest I think I was in shock. But now thank to my brain cells having frozen on the spot, I'll probably never get the chance to meet another. And that really sucks.

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Guest Kelly92

If they see a person dressed like a woman, then first impression is "that's a woman." It might be "That's an ugly/tall/fat/funny looking woman" but hey, the operative word is "woman"

so true. you can see a woman and think she looks like a manly women, but you still think of her as female.

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Guest Deenah

lots of good reading here. There is surly no better place to test out how your doing than at the market. Some times on a Saturday morning i will go to the farmers market downtown. There are lots of people from many different backgrounds so there is no worries about looking out of place. Places like this are filled with hard working farming women and men so they don't see you any more different then the next women. It's a good place to work on your look,also conversing with other women. I have many Saturdays on the books going there and just chatting with various vendors(mostly women)about anything and everything,and believe me when i say; once you get them talking you could be there for a wile.Anyway what I'm saying is places like this are great opportunities to learn from other women without them caring who you are or catching on to what your doing. And who knows,you mite make a few friends out of it and get invited to join for breakfast or a coffee.

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Guest Zabyys

I never thought of attitude as a sure way to out yourself. Every time I go out in public I just act like myself.. I do things that feel natural (walk, stand, react exc..) I have had a problem with attitude and my voice though. It sure does help reading the posts here and finding out the little tips to help pass. The one thing I have learned from my own experiences is that other women are easier to talk to then men when out shopping.

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Kyla666

I would have to disagree on the attitude, Yes attitude can help in setting your appearance But to much attitude and that to will out you.

I have been studying the Female behavior close to 15 years now and found that 90% of the behavior is from just being national... Females don't need to think about how there feet is set or how they walk etc etc it just happens, Mostly from there bone structure and body parts.

Sadly for us MtFs we may not have the bone structure but if we are lucky the body parts will grow. And that will help with a good 50% or more as your body will want to flow with the new added parts from a more Womanly look. But it's the Bone structure that's the key and outing most people.

sure you can try and study the walk,talk,and how a woman stands etc etc and you may just get it down.. But it does not change the harsh yet real truth..

Don't worry about not passing... because most likely "Your not" Just be Fashionable,Friendly and Kind, work with what you got and not against it. Wear things that are reasonable and not outrages, Place light make-up on and never go over board. And if anyone outs you be "proud" not ashamed Love who you are.

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