Friday, August 7, 2009

Just In From My 1st TG Suport Group Meeting

Change is good, so it's said, so after nearly 61 years of procrastinating, I finally joined a transgender support group. I just got back from my first meeting about an hour ago. This is definitely going to take some getting used to. Not that I have anything against any of the other girls in the group, they are all very nice people, it's just that I've been such a loner most of my life, and especially for the last twenty years. The extent of my socializing was going to work and occsionally seeing extended family members. Now I've put myself in a position, where I not only have to socialize with total strangers, but I have to do it as my female self, and or the first time in my life, I feel awkward as Melissa.

I used to go out presenting as a female occasionally, when I was in my late twenties and early thirtes, but it was under entirely different circumstances. I used to book appointments at salons, and go spend a couple of hours, getting a facial and havng my hair, makeup, and nails done. That was a much more intimate setting, where I was always interacting directly with a genetic female. I loved those little outings, because I've always wanted to be more than just a girl; I wanted to be one of the girls. When I was in those salons, the girls working there saw me as a girl, and consequently they treated like one. I would walk in full of self doubts, but by the time I had spent fifteen minutes being treated like one of the girls, all of those doubts would vanish from my mind, and I would begin to feel like I truly was one of the girls.

I don't know how many of you have ever eperienced presenting yourself as a female around genetic females, when there are no males present, but I can tell you, it is the most wonderful thing in the world. Women act differently when men are not around. They are much less guarded in what they do and the things they say. They also display a wondeful female hierarchy, that is rarely ever noticable when men are around. In that setting, totally devoid of masculine influence, they are truly magnificent beings, and I always wanted to be a part of that.

I don't get that same sort of vibe from my trans group. This is a totally different animal. Although the goal of everyone seems to be the same; to be the females we've always felt we were inside, the feeling is entirely different. The members run the gamut from very feminine, to totally masculine, and that is regardless of whether or not they are on hormones or have had SRS. What struck me as most surprising, was the near total absense of any convincing female voices. I learned to affect convincing feminine voice, while still in my teens. I always used it when booking my salon appointments over the phone, and again while I was in the salons. I think that went a along way in helping the women in the salons feel comfortabel with me, and accept me as a girl. My female voice has become quite rusty from years of neglect, and I was looking forward to giving it some much needed exercise, when I decided to associated myself with this trans group. I have tried to use it on a couple of occasions now, but as soon as I hear the pesron I'm talking to repond in a fairly masculine tone, I drop my pitch as well. Why was it so easy for me to talk like a girl, when I was surrounded by genetic females, but doing so around these transwomen, seems so intimidating? I can see I have much confidence building to do.



Leslie Ann said...

I think we don't bother as much with the femme voice because we aren't fighting to be accepted or to pass in the support group. It's not a bad place to practice, I suppose, but there's much to be said for just kicking back and feeling comfortable in your clothes AND your skin.

Joining a support group was likely the smartest thing I've done to aid my comfort level. There's a lot of lovable flakes there, but, hell, I'm one too. Just relax, and you'll wind up with some of the best friends you've ever had.

So happy for you!

caroline said...

My solitary life is regularly broken up with gatherings where I am the only "boy"! It is great being away from all male influence even if they still see the person with the only nail polish, the longest hair and sometimes the most feminine clothes as the "boy"and organise household repairs!

A group of people in transition is bound to be an interesting mix, but it sounds like a place to return to.

Sore throat for months has ruined my sweeter voice, this is tragic, the voice is the hardest thing to deal with. Going to have to start talking to yourself like a crazy person!

Big Hug, Caroline XX

Cassidy Brynn said...

Love it! Go! I wish there was one for me to attend...I bet it was an eye-opener. I find that attending a meeting, any meeting, makes one self-conscious (looking about to see what the others are doing, etc.Sounds like an adventure.

As for the alll depends on the purpose doesn't it? If you are to transition completely then it is a must, but if one is only dressing for meetings and casual home wear, then it isn't a priority? IDK...I'm shutting up now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Leslie. The femme voice is one of the hardest things for most of us to should consider yourself very blessed if yours is there.

Melissa, I just can't imagine anyone as pretty as you being a When you go to your meetings, try to be a source of help for the other ladies. If there is an obvious need you detect, most TG ladies are dying to know what it is...especially those that have more masculine bodies and faces than others. If you're over 60 and still pass for 40''re a gold mine of information to some ladies. I'm sure your experience and expertise would be much appreciated. You go girl!...I mean You're needed. :)Suzi

Reagan said...

First of all I have to tell ya I LOVE that top! It looks great on you! It's so girly:)

Okies, now down to the real important stuff:) Change IS good and I can totally understand why it is also so hard. I know I struggle very much with change. Who doesn't really? I think it is fantastic that you are forcing yourself to socialize with total strangers as your REAL self. That can't be easy...but you're doing it anyway(which I think I said in the comment before this one). And you are SO right in that women act totally different when men aren't around. I think it's b/c we feel as though we can be our true selves and can just be who we are. Men and women are such different creatures, aren't they? I have yet to understand men. At all, lol. And I don't mean that as a bust or a put down; I just can't relate in most cases; and they can't to us.

I truly hope that in time, your confidence will build in all areas as presenting in yourself. This is a great place to start, meeting with these other gals, since you're all in the same boat:)

Sophie said...

Hi Melissa, me again!

This is a bit of the blind leading the blind, but here is my take on support groups. Remember that we are not really in a hotbed of Trans activity here in SE Virgina so our options for getting out and meeting other transgirls are somewhat limited. I attend three different support groups and each is very different from the others.

The group who's meeting you went to (I was there too) seems to me to be pretty much a "how to transition" group and that is the nuts and bolts of it, not how to be a woman. As a group they are not really an "out and about" and in your face bunch as far as their transsexual identity is concerned. But they are a very eclectic group of woman. Since I do a couple hours of electrolysis every Saturday if I was at that particular meeting I doubt I was looking (or feeling) very girly.

Another group I go to is more of a group therapy type bunch. There are only a couple girls who have gone all the way through SRS but quite a few of us who are on hormones (at various stages). And some who are still really gender confused. That bunch of woman has a few very activist transwomen who are very out regarding their transsexuality.

And the last group I do meetings with is pretty much for heterosexual crossdressing males (with homophobic wives). That bunch is strictly social and provides a chance for people who are deeply in the closet to get out once a month. But they do have guests come in and talk about/demonstrate makeup, wigs, voice, etc.

Each of these groups have a very different purpose for their organization and a different niche that they fill. I've seen very little cross connections between the three, there are three or four of us that attend two of the groups, I am the only one I know of that goes to all three. And there is a certain amount of animosity and disdain between some of the individual members and other groups. But there are things to be learned from each of them. For instance, several of Dr. McGinn's earliest patients attend that group you went to. There is quite a bit of experience there to tap into.