By Stephanie Julianna
I would like to address Emily’s thoughts about Society’s acceptance of our desire to experience life as a female, if only on a part-time basis. Since I have been closely watching and then participating in this activity for over 65 years I have probably experienced most examples along the entire spectrum.
I have been very fortunate as a crossdresser to be of the size of the average woman. At 5’5″ I have been able to literally stay below the radar when out and about, even in heels. LOL
I have experienced complete acceptance without raising an eyebrow in my early days. However, I also had some of my worst experiences during that same time back in the ’80’s.
One of these events sticks out in my mind. I was on a date with a friend and crossdresser admirer. We decided to go to The Top Of the World restaurant at the World Trade Center. I was dressed in a pretty satin dress and thought I had nailed my look that night. We got on the elevator and were joined by a group of teen couples, also dressed to the nines. It turned out that some posh school was having their prom that night as well. The teens spotted me and read me as quickly as if I had forgotten to put my wig on. They started laughing and pointing and it became the longest elevator ride of my life. By the time we reached the top I was in tears and we quickly took the next elevator down.
The good thing about this story is that the same age kids today would never do that. They are so sensitive to the transgendered community that I can not imagine a repeat of that experience. However, I have mostly had very positive experiences that sometimes even surprised me.
Another time, out with that same friend, Sam, we decided to go to a new club for “Queens” as we were called back then. It was close to the Holidays and I bought a pretty outfit that included a chiffon white blouse, black velvet straight skirt with a wide red satin belt with spike heels (see above). As we approached the door, we were stopped by the guy holding the rope and politely told us that the club was not for mixed couples. When we realized the issue, I used my deepest voice to thank him for the compliment and his smile grew as he welcomed us in.
Sales associates and restaurant staff have also been wonderful over the years, and like Emily has related to me, even seem to like chatting us up making us feel like just one of the girls. It actually took me a while to get used to this when I stopped doing the drag scene 20 years ago and went out in “straight” public only.
I remember a time during those early public days shopping at Nordstrom’s Closet in the winter. I was wearing over the calf leather 4″ heel boots with a skirt and short Winter coat. As I passed a SA she smiled at me and said, “I love your boots.”. I shyly thanked her and continued shopping. This happened over and over at different times in those first few years before I stopped questioning their motives and started to confidently thank them and even answer questions like, “Where did you buy that?” or some other question. I now will even ask a SA in a changing room what she thinks of a dress I am trying on.
Sadly, I will never be able to ask my wife of 49 years these questions since we are in a “I don’t want to see it.” relationship even though she has known about it since ’68. It has been like this for so long that I would now feel uncomfortable if she did see me dressed. Yet I have no issue with strangers seeing me. It all comes back to that magical word, ACCEPTANCE.
What I do know more than ever is that I am now happy for the most important reason of all, I accept who I am and love how I turned out.
Pictures show times when acceptance was the experience savored. One was taken the night we hit that club I spoke of above. The other was just before a dinner out with a friend last July.