Author Topic: Getting recognized in public  (Read 807 times)

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Offline Iztaccihuatl

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Getting recognized in public
« on: February 18, 2019, 12:22:14 am »
I wanted to ask all the experts on this forum a question. Here is the situation:

As some might know I recently ventured out as a woman for the first time in public in a different city about 90-100 miles away. It was great and I would like to do it again, but I have concerns running into someone I know since I am not out of the closet, only my wife knows about my feelings, nobody else. Therefore going out in my home town, which is a small town is out of the picture since I constantly run into someone I know. The mentioned city has a decent size, probably in the 750,000 - 1,000,000 population range. However, I do know some 50-100 people there as well. Granted, the chances of running into someone are slimmer (like .01%), but it has happened before (while presenting male, therefore it wasn't an issue). I don't care too much about people I don't know, but the possibility of encountering people I do know while presenting female is leaving me a little bit on the edge. The last time en femme I felt the risk wasn't too high as the place I went was not a place where my friends and acquaintances would typically go, but I was still nervous about it.

Here are my questions:

Has this happened to any of you ladies before? If one runs into someone they know, how should the situation be handled to prevent further gossip and getting outed even more?

Thanks for your insights.

HM

Offline Cindy

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 12:34:57 am »
Well of course it will happen either before you go full time or after (if FT is your wish). Dealing with it is entirely up to you.

I think my first outside recognition (many years ago now) I said something like 'Hi' and kept going.

I did have my entire family, sisters and brothers in law arrive at the front door unexpectedly and that was fun. I said to the closed door. "I think you may be in for a shock" I then opened the door and said, 'If you have a problem with me you can leave now, otherwise lets have dinner'.

Overcoming this sort of thing is really about you overcoming the fear of yourself. I accepted that I was TG and that I was female and made the decision to live as me, yes I had excellent professional counselling and yes I thought about it for ..... a few seconds but I decided that I was me and deserved to be happy as me.

The opinion of other people was and is an utter irrelevance to me whether they be friends, acquaintances or work colleagues. Indeed when I 'came out' I gave a lecture to 300 students that the previous week I had given a lecture to as a guy.

The essence of transitioning, for me, is self acceptance. Once you can overcome your fears and accept yourself, then the opinions of others doesn't really matter and you deal with it very easily. It is after all their problem and not yours.

Offline V M

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 01:55:04 am »
You just haven't lived until you open your door expecting a friend and see a pair of police officers who wish to ask questions regarding an incident involving one of your neighbors of whom you try to avoid

They were actually rather polite and called me ma'am, gave me a card and said if *Male Name* had any information to call them
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Offline Cindy

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 02:15:41 am »
You just haven't lived until you open your door expecting a friend and see a pair of police officers who wish to ask questions regarding an incident involving one of your neighbors of whom you try to avoid

They were actually rather polite and called me ma'am, gave me a card and said if *Male Name* had any information to call them

Oh yes!

I better had not mention the firemen and the microwave stove and definitely not the police and the mop looking into the back window!

Offline Megan.

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 04:42:36 am »
It didn't (knowingly) happen to me, but several of my neighbours are also colleagues at my office, so I was very concious that it could happen when I started going out in public locally before I was out at work.

I decided to keep HR (confidentially) informed of the sittutation,  just in case the work rumor-mill got cranking, so that they could react quickly if needed.

My first full weekend out as Megan, I litterally drove to other side of the country to a city where I knew no one, to avoid such a situation.

I agree with Cindy's approach though, if you ever intend to go full-time, people will have to manage their own reactions,  all you can really control is the 'when', and even then not always that. X

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Offline Chloe

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 06:58:56 am »
. . . concerns running into someone I know since I am not out of the closet, only my wife knows about my feelings, nobody else.
         Socially transitioning (ie: dressing "en femme") is one thing but being "out" as transgender, with people you know, is quite another! I suggest stop hiding, running to strange cities and work on personal presenting "as female" 24/7 while maintaining "drag", male nominal dress instead! Never a big fan of shock treatment your family/work/friend acquaintances will eventually, gradually(?) need to know!

These days many women dress Just Like Males, with little or no variations, so "what's the beef" and why, if fearful, even put yourself out there unnecessarily when there are so many other ways to subtly express "femininity"?
"But it's no use now," thought poor Alice, "to pretend be two people!
"Why, there's hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!"

Offline pamelatransuk

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 07:50:49 am »
Hello Iztaccihuatl

I will be going fulltime public in 3 months time and hence am still in the closet.

I take your point about not wanting to meet someone yet that is not aware of your situation.

Instead of traveling to another town/city (and that is fine if you prefer that), I have several times gone for a walk in the local park or to the mall and had a coffee there. I can honestly say that although, I have witnessed the "long stare" often, on only one occasion have I actually been insulted.

I strongly suspect most of my neighbours know I am on the transition road and frankly I couldn't give a hoot what they may think.

I wish you success with future ventures whether near or far!

Hugs

Pamela



Offline Iztaccihuatl

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2019, 08:03:33 am »
Hello Iztaccihuatl

I will be going fulltime public in 3 months time and hence am still in the closet.

I take your point about not wanting to meet someone yet that is not aware of your situation.

Instead of traveling to another town/city (and that is fine if you prefer that), I have several times gone for a walk in the local park or to the mall and had a coffee there. I can honestly say that although, I have witnessed the "long stare" often, on only one occasion have I actually been insulted.

I strongly suspect most of my neighbors know I am on the transition road and frankly I couldn't give a hoot what they may think.
Thanks, Pamela.

I think the difference between you and me is that you have already made the decision to go full time and probably could care less what others think, because eventually the'll know anyway.

I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure out where on the crossdresser to transsexual spectrum I fit in. Part of that is experimenting by going out multiple times and see if that feels right. Obviously I don't want anybody to know until I come to a point to make a decision towards going full time.

Plus, I have to mention that I am quite visible (even when presenting male) as I literally stand out of any crowd. That also draws attention to me.

HM

Offline randim

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2019, 08:09:23 am »
It has happened to me a few times, although when it has happened I was dressed fairly androgynously, not full-blown femme.  It was embarrassing, but nothing too bad.  We just chatted for a bit while I internally cursed.  The worst was a friend of my mothers who had a big grin on her face while she was talking to me. At least she didn't complement me on my look.     

Offline Iztaccihuatl

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2019, 08:12:22 am »
You just haven't lived until you open your door expecting a friend and see a pair of police officers who wish to ask questions regarding an incident involving one of your neighbors of whom you try to avoid

They were actually rather polite and called me ma'am, gave me a card and said if *Male Name* had any information to call them
That's hilarious! That story made my day.

Offline AnneK

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2019, 08:15:54 am »
In my experience, you're unlikely to be recognized.  I have been at a party, where personal friends didn't recognize me and on one halloween, I went to my favourite pub and again was not spotted.  Just dress and put on makeup appropriately and you'll blend in.  I went for the "Plain Jane" look, as it would be easier to accomplish and wouldn't cause me to stand out.
I'm a 65 year old male who has been thinking about SRS for many years.  I also was a  full cross dresser for a few years.  I wear a bra, pantyhose and nail polish daily because it just feels right.

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Offline pamelatransuk

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2019, 08:36:58 am »
Thanks, Pamela.

I think the difference between you and me is that you have already made the decision to go full time and probably could care less what others think, because eventually the'll know anyway.

I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure out where on the crossdresser to transsexual spectrum I fit in. Part of that is experimenting by going out multiple times and see if that feels right. Obviously I don't want anybody to know until I come to a point to make a decision towards going full time.

HM

I agree and I understand your present position

Hugs

Pamela



Offline Lynne

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2019, 08:51:43 am »
There were a few close calls when I saw someone I know first and I quickly went in another direction. Also there is a possibility that some of my old classmates or co-workers have seen me but nobody said anything yet. There were subtle hints that some of them may know something, but I won't know until I come out to them and ask about it...

And while I'm quite afraid of meeting someone I know when I'm out en femme I sometimes put myself in situations where there is an increased chance of this happening, like shopping in the mall in office hours which is next to our office building. So it's clear that I would like to discuss this with someone but I am very afraid.

I imagined the situation hundreds of times and I think I would try to ask them for a quick chat about it and tell them to keep it to themselves for a while. Of course from that point on nothing is really preventing them from spreading the information so you may have to prepare for that.

Offline Linde

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2019, 09:40:14 am »
I was out to pretty much everybody I cared for, Only not to my neighbor, who lives across the street (we have only 4 houses around here), and who is a semi friend of mine.  I was really concerned, bcause they are Cubans, and I was concerned if the macho Latino attitude would blow up into my face.

When I arrived home from shopping trips, I always closed the garage door as fast as possible, so he would not see me as a female.

One day I was not fast enough, and he saw me and came across the street, probably to make sure that I was not an intruder.  When he was close enough, he seemed to recognize me, and I told him that I am in the process to be a woman.
He shrug his shoulders and said "so what, I hope we still can drink a beer together!"

That was it, we are still friends, and still have a brewski once in a while!

All that fear and concern for nothing!  I found that people are way more tolerant than I thought they would be!
And this makes me to love people more!
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Offline maybesoph

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2019, 10:01:47 am »
I was out to pretty much everybody I cared for, Only not to my neighbor, who lives across the street (we have only 4 houses around here), and who is a semi friend of mine.  I was really concerned, bcause they a Cubans, and I was concerned if the macho Latino attitude would blow up into my face.

When I arrived home from shopping trips, i always closed the garage door as fast as possible, so he would not see me as a female.

One day I was not fast enough, and he saw me and came across the street, probably to make sure that I was not an intruder.  when he was close enough, he seemed to recognize me, and I told him that I am in the process to be a woman.
He shrug his shoulders and said "so what, I hope we still can drink a beer together!"

That was it, we are still friends, and still have a brewski once in a while!

All that fear and concern for nothing!  I found that people are way more tolerant than I thought they would be!
And this makes me to love people more!
I love this post, gives me so much c9nfidence to face the future, and i also have been so so surprised by the lack of reaction I've recieved at the news.

There are a lot of good people put there and the rest don't matter.

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Offline BrianaJ

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2019, 10:53:53 am »
This has happened to me a few times...and both ways to boot.  A few years ago my wife and I were in Vegas for a long weekend.  Although we went for fun, it was also for me as we thought it was a place where I could be "me" full time to get some RLE.  We stayed in the old town area vs. the strip to avoid all the obnoxious drunk "high-fiving dudes and bros" and bachelorette parties. 

It started off just fine and things just cruised along.  We were going to split off for a few hours the first evening cause she wanted to play slots and I was going to try my shaky hand at some craps.  She actually kissed me as we parted which really threw me and it was the first time she'd ever kissed the real me in public.  It was very sweet.  I won a whole $25 at craps...which was $25 I didn't have before I started so I was happy.  LOL  I went to have a drink and as I was sitting there, minding my posture, how I reached for and held my glass etc., I glanced around and saw that pair of eyes locked on me.  It was an ex-girl friend from HS.  She recognized me.  OMG OMG!!!  That's all I could think.  After what seemed like an eternity she got up from her group and came over to talk to me. 

We had a nice chat and before I could even ask she said she'd keep it to herself since she realized I wasn't out yet.  We talked about old times and where everyone was now.  Or at least anyone we kept up with.  She also shared with me that she always wondered about me and that it would have been interesting to know back then.  ...I don't know about that.

The other time was when I was out and about after work when I was out of town.  The city I was in was about 70 miles north of where I lived so I figured it was "safe".  Low and behold, I run into a colleague I worked with in my home city who had moved up there for a new job.   We chatted for a few minutes about past work and what she was doing now.  At the end she did manage to get in that she thought it was weird and hoped I wasn't trying to be deceptive to anyone.  Her words...  Go figure.

The reverse happened to me twice the other way too.  One was a person that I knew through kid's school activities and coaching.  I had no idea.  She actually came up to me when she saw me at the store.  We had a nice pleasant long talk and walked away from each other with better understanding of each of us.  The other was a physician I worked with when I went to a new organization.  I knew them from a support group that I had been going to previously.  I had never seen them in male mode but when I first met them at work, I knew instantly.  We had some laughs and some great conversations and a good friendship.     
~~Be kind~~

Online KathyLauren

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2019, 10:56:08 am »
I found that people are way more tolerant than I thought they would be!
Great story, Linde! 

I didn't get recognized when I was part-time, but I did get 'outed'.  I figured that, as long as I was in the city anyway, I would pick up some items that I needed from an outdoor equipment cooperative.  Being a co-op, they ask for your member number at the checkout.  The computer brought up my dead name!  The cashier asked if I was <deadname> and I just smiled and said, "Yes.  I guess I'll have to get that changed now."  She smiled and carried on with the transaction.

That might not help Iztaccihuatl, since I had already made the decision to transition at that point.  But it does illustrate Linde's point in the quote, that people are much more accepting than we tend to fear.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS

Offline Tessa James

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2019, 11:36:17 am »
Great topic thread and my perspective comes from a place where we own our story and have the most influence over the narrative that is our lives as we know it best.

Coming out or being recognized may involve gossip opportunities and it seems too many of our friends and family will talk, often without our facts or best interests.  For some this may not be news and we may hear "oh big deal, I knew you were...."  For those hit with shock value there is often a salacious component and the tales of our exploits may become pernicious as is the nature of gossip.

I suggest we are the best equipped to tell our personal truth and own the narrative of our lives.  It can take some time to talk to our many family and friends one on one.  I found my story was "getting away from me" and chose to go way more public in stages.  I wrote an open letter to family and friends and eventually found myself interviewed with my story on the front page of our local small town newspaper.  Apprehensive at many points I found my way forward was considerably better after that.  Instead of questions about my "new look" people had a head start in digesting the news. 
I am an elected and reelected minor politician and community activist in a rural area and this worked well for me.  As an educator and public official much of my life is public and i view this as learning opportunities for all of us.

We can become quite practiced at our personal statements or explanations and that part of transition may start right here.  We write about our feelings, journey and sense of self with a mostly supportive and understanding audience.  It is handy to have a simple concept to share when these interesting moments occur and they most certainly will..... :D
 
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Offline Linde

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2019, 11:42:31 am »
Great story, Linde! 
  But it does illustrate Linde's point in the quote, that people are much more accepting than we tend to fear.
Thanks Kahy!
And yes, people are mostly nice!  I have ye to meet somebody who challenges me being a woman!

I had only one negative experience coming out, it was my oldest female friend, who I did lean on heavily when my marriage broke apart.  She was of the opinion that someone talked me into becoming a woman, and hat I just need the right medication to be the manly man again she knew!  She is very evangelical religious, and has not spoken a sigle word or text with me since!  I feel sad, because we had an almost 30 years lasting friendship, and it is hard to let that go!
But I have to go my path, or I have to run with my head against a wall!
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Offline Rachel

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Re: Getting recognized in public
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2019, 11:53:14 am »
Hello Iztaccihuatl,

I was in the gayborhood early in 2013 going to group and met a woman I knew very well many years ago. At the time I was dressed andro  but I was in the heart of the gayborhood. We chatted for 15 minutes and she kept asking why was I in the gayborhood. I kept saying I am on my way to meet friends. Then I would direct a question about her and her life. Eventually we went our own ways but it was very uncomfortable.

Next, I told a friend that I was going to transition socially a month before November 13, 2013, my coming out date,  and that I thought he should know as he was nominating me for a public volunteer position. I asked that he keep it to himself and to specifically not share it with my childhood friends. An hour later I received several calls and e-mails from childhood friends. So if someone finds out and they say they will keep your transition confidential you can not be sure.

I informed HR and later my boss and then select individuals and then everyone. I had a plan and when someone disclosed I knew it is just human nature. I also knew to expect people to tell others. I even thought to myself when someone disclosed they were doing me a favor. HR was going to distribute an informational e-mail to the department but did not. HR and my boss were going to be there the day I came out at work and had 8 meetings with department groups but did not show. I think I grew from the experience more being there by myself.

The reality is you are doing this for yourself and you become your own advocate. You can not expect anything from others and do not judge them, just let it go and be yourself. Do not come out until you are ready and have the correct frame of mind and do not let the comments in. Also, do not think you know what others are thinking. Just accept yourself for who you are. Make sure you have a therapist to help you during this period.

If you know 10 people out of 1,000,000 your probability of running into them is low. if you are in an area that they most likely will not be then your probability is even lower. An example is the LGBT section of the city. If you are there during the week during work hours then the probability is lower still. If you are expressing in clothing and hair that blend in then even if they are close to you they may not notice you.

So, if they see you and notice you and you converse you can explain to them your reason to be where you are and why you are expressing and ask they keep it in confidence. Jut know they most likely will not keep it in confidence and that is human nature.

Why do you say you are very noticeable?

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