As 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).
WOMAN IN A BILLION
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.
THE LOSER MINORITY
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.
BE RESPECTABLE, BE ACCEPTABLE
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 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.