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Public Passing Pleasure: Gathering Your Nerve to Step Out for the First Time

crossdressing in publicAs a crossdresser at the start of your exploration into how it all works, there is one thing that seems like an overwhelming endeavor: going out en femme in public.

You crave to be out on the streets, but it feels like a jungle where danger lurks around every corner. It’s biblically awesome. That is, unapproachably daunting. But, if you sincerely wish to go out in public as a woman, know this: you can. It’s allowed.

Gearing up for the outing is a cocktail of feelings – excitement and doubt, anticipation and trepidation. But, stay positive and be like a butterfly taking that first flight: nervous, yet eager to learn. You will blossom and find your courage…

Life is a choose-your-own-adventure sandbox game. You can play it any way you like. You can choose the rules to play it by. You can change the rules you play it by. You can do this whenever you like. And one of the main tests on whether a new rule is viable is whether you “get away” with it. Step outside in a skirt and you will “get away” with it. (Unless you live in some sort of conservative suck hole of which there are thankfully few in the Western World).

The point is, if you play LifeTM in femme mode, then most people simply won’t care. There are something like FOUR BILLION women in the world. Being a woman is not a special thing.

Angst over your gender identity might matter to you to a soul-crushing degree, but it is irrelevant to everyone else.

Here’s another way to think about it. If you walk down a busy street dressed as a respectable and self-possessed woman, here’s what’ll happen:
Mostly everyone will be too preoccupied to notice you at all … but a few will.
Most of those who notice you will not pay enough … but a few will.
Most of those who pay attention to you won’t clock you … but a few will.
Most of those who clock you, won’t care … but a few will.
Most of those who care will react positively … but a few won’t.
Most of those who react negatively will keep it to themselves … but a few won’t.

Yes, there is a tiny group of people who will rant about their grievances in broad daylight, but they might be as little as 1 person in 10,000. And they are not picking on you because they have recognized you as a crossdresser, they will pick on anyone different and you, in your cute dress and heels, just happened to cross paths with them.

Understand that I am speaking from experience. I live femme and I do it openly and in broad daylight. I get heckled sometimes. And it is always from utter losers. These people have no social standing and will try to attack anyone to get some. Think of aggressive beggars, loutish teenage dropouts, boorish construction workers breaking their backs for minimum wage. They go for anyone who they think they can intimidate.

Being a woman of any kind means you’re more prone to others intruding into your repose. It’s the downside of being seen as non-threatening. Female distress is the counterpoint of male chivalry. (And most men are civil and good).

If you are crossdressing in public, it is best to adhere to the same social standards that cis women adhere to. Presentation is key: look well-presented for your age, act like an adult with purpose, walk with your head up. Do normal things and normal people will treat you normally.

This often feels like an impossibility though. It feels easier to go out alone at night, somewhere quiet and deserted. However, you are MUCH more vulnerable when you dress a woman but don’t do things a cis woman would normally do. As a rule, cis women do not dress sexy and walk around alone after dark in seemingly deserted places.

So, simply know this. When you present and comport yourself as a respectable woman, nearly all men will extend chivalrous behavior towards you and nearly all women will extend to you a provisional membership in The Sisterhood.

When this happens, you can safely let the world be new to you. A world experienced in the feminine way. You will find that while it’s genuinely scary to STEP OUT, it’s not scary to STAY OUT. When you realize this, being femme in public stops being biblically awesome and becomes awesome in the more usual sense!

I believe in you.

Written by Martini Martaine.

Martini MartaineMartini Martaine is an Australian transwoman. As a writer (and occasional model) she spends a lot of time talking to other transwomen, cross-dressers and gender-curious people about the philosophy and values of gender, identity and self-acceptance.

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  1. Hi Martini
    Just read your thoughts on going out dressed en femme and I think that you have told it exactly how it is
    Once you have had enough to hiding in your home or a lonely motel room, it gets boring and stale. You keep thinking about going out among people, but aren’t sure what will happen, if you do
    I was that person. It wasn’t until one day I decided that today was the day, I was going to leave the security of a motel room and venture out
    I spent the entire morning on getting ready. I did everything I needed to do, but I did it as slowly as I could, because I wanted everything to be just perfect on the way that I looked.
    Eventually I was fully dressed and it was time to leave.
    I must have tried the lock on the door at least 10 times, making sure that I wouldn’t be locked out of my room
    Once I was satisfied that I could leave and not get locked out, I put the strap of my purse on my shoulder and put my sunglasses on, then took a deep breath to calm my nerves and opened the door and walked outside, closing the door behind me.
    When I heard the click of the door closing ,I realized that I was outside of my safe zone.
    I began walking and could hear the click of my high heels on the sidewalk and feel the slight breeze blowing through my hair and under my skirt
    Wow, I thought to myself
    So this is what girls feel like when they are outside, wearing a skirt. I never imagined that I’d feel a breeze blowing under my skirt, but evidently, thus is what happens when you wear a skirt or dress
    It sure made me feel feminine and girly.
    I went to a outside shopping center and walked around, window shopping, but mostly looked at myself in the windows of the stores, seeing how I looked.
    You are right.
    Hardly anyone was paying attention to me. I was just another girl out shopping.
    After that first time, I went out quite often, without anyone clocking me
    Once I was in a mall and walking towards the hallway that led to the ladies room and I saw a woman standing there looking at me and she had three young children with her. I could see that she was stressed by the way that she was yelling at her children.
    When I got close to her she said to me
    Your not a female, you can’t go into the bathroom.
    I stopped walking and said to her
    I’m just as much a woman as you are. I need to use the bathroom and I’m going to.
    I walking past her and went into the ladies room and releaved myself and wondered if when I left the bathroom, if I was going to have to deal with security?
    Thankfully when I left the bathroom, she was gone and there wasn’t any security or police waiting for me.
    I continued shopping and brushed it off as a unfortunate thing.
    That was the only time I had ever been questioned and I kept my composure when she approached me..
    After I told her that I was just as much of a woman as she was, she didn’t answer me, so I guess that she believed that I was.a woman.
    Thanks for your wonderful article and your perception on going out for the first time
    You really nailed it

    1. Hi Janine,
      Thank you for the lengthy response. It all rings so true. And I too have the bathroom nerves: I really just don’t want to make people uncomfortable. Parents with kids often have their hackles up and overreact to anything unusual in the environment. We are unusual, so we trigger the protective instinct.
      Anyway, one thing you hinted at is the hyper-awareness of self that comes with stepping out for the first few times: “When I heard the click of the door closing ,I realized that I was outside of my safe zone.
      I began walking and could hear the click of my high heels on the sidewalk and feel the slight breeze blowing through my hair and under my skirt.”
      Too, when living as a woman becomes mundane, this tendency also evaporates and you can just “forget” about the whole gender question and just live your life in a way that is self-validating. Which really is all any of us wants.

  2. It is very gratifying for me that you are able to go out transformed into the street, I am not capable since my body is too masculine and it is very difficult for me to hide it even after shaving, it is impossible to hide the chin area. Thank you.

  3. Ja,ja ja ¡que horror! Casi me desmayo, senti vértigo. Una amiga me maquillo discreto me peino, un vestido bien señorero, veletas, sali con ella (ella si abierta, y desparpajada) caminanos me temblaban las piernas entramos a una cafeteria pedimos café y me fijo que tenia que ir al baño y quede solo completamente solo, la espere unos minutos , las personas que estaban ahi ni siquiera se fijaron, pasaron quince o mas minutos queria morirme, pedi la cuenta, pague, miraba a ver si venia o que pasaba, fui al baño de hombres un sujeto me dijo señora es el otro, tenia panico y say sali a la plaza, mire para todos los lados, el dueño de la cafetería me llamo y me entrego el bolso, -señora lo dejo en la mesa y sus devueltos, me iba a desmayar: recibi el bolso y el dinero atravese la plaza(creo que corrí a zancadas) una, dos tres… diez cuadras llegue al salon de mi amigo y estaba cerrado y mi ropa la había dejado ahi, ¿que hago madre mia? Estaba mojado en sudor, esperar, pasaban muchas personas, ya no tenia miedo, tenia rabia, me castigue mentalmente tenia ira. Escuché una voz conocida -¿-Blanquita estás bien? -pobrecita la señora. , me abrazo – perdiste la compostura nena, corrias como loca, entramos me cambie y sali. En el transporte todos me miraban, llegué a la casa mi hermana me preguntó -¿que viene de fiesta? No dije entre a mi habitacion me vi en el espejo. Se me habia olvidado quitarme el maquillaje.

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