It's getting more real...
Sometimes I wear Shirley's jeans when I'm otherwise not dressed; they're just so much fun to wear because of the way they hug my body. One night that got, er, interesting...; I was cuddling with my girlfriend and she touched my thigh and it felt really good... and she kind of went with that. It turned into heavy petting, then her reaching inside the waistband, and eventually peeling off my jeans... so I got to be her teenage dream in my skintight jeans!
But that's just all lead-up to the past weekend. At Transcriptions I found out that HRC was running a seminar for transgender job seekers, right here in Boston; aside from the trans things I can certainly use help with the job search (and it was free, and a short bus ride from home, and they even fed us lunch both days -- with enough leftovers, as it happens, that it was also dinner) so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. First I went out to Dyke Night, for fun and to get back into the Shirley groove; it was a fun evening out, I talked to some nice people, I ran into a woman who asked why I hadn't been at Queeraoke the previous night (I had been thinking of going, but I twisted an ankle a bit at morris practice on Tuesday and it still needed a bit more rest) and had another first experience, a guy buying a drink for me! (People have picked up rounds at the bar before but that's not the same at all.) Yes, men are allowed at Dyke Night; he was there with his girlfriend and I suspect they were checking me out as a possible partner for after-hours play, but who knows? Anyway, I might be the new girl in town but in other ways I wasn't born yesterday so I know the importance of safety. (To my girlfriend if you read this: I'll assure you that I wasn't looking to play that night, but it was flattering that somebody might have been thinking about it.)
Way too early the next morning I was up to get ready for the seminar. (Burning the candle at both ends, dangerous but sometimes fun.) I had set out an outfit the night before (a white blouse and black slacks) but when I put them on it all seemed a bit too stark, so I layered the gray cardigan from Forever 21 over it to soften the look a bit -- yay, I'm getting better at figuring out what looks good on me! (And it turned out that the additional layer was a good idea; parts of the AAC building were cold!) After a short bus ride over to the AIDS Action Committee headquarters, I arrived, checked in (sadly they didn't have a fancy printed badge for me as I was a late registrant), and soon it all began. Allyson Robinson from HRC was up first to greet us; she's a stunning transgender woman in a highly visible outreach post, and thus an inspiration. The actual training was done by Sharon Skipper, a no-nonsense woman who was once a combat pilot in Vietnam. 95% of the content applies to all job seekers, with only a few things that were specific to transgendered people (dealing with having a job history that doesn't match your current identity, how to dress, what to tell employers and when) and I expect all 100% to be valuable.
Saturday night was one of the weeks that the Jamaica Plain contra dance was on, so I headed over there. I had packed the amazing dance skirt that I got as Birka, and was looking forward to the opportunity to show it off on the dance floor again, and also the opportunity to meet the people from the dance as Shirley. There were lots of new dancers; Vickie (a second-generation contra dancer who has been coming to that dance from an early age) had brought a phalanx of her college age friends. After the dance was over I was one of the first to JP Licks and grabbed a table; Vickie decided to join me and I was then surrounded by her friends, who (being new) had no history with my male identity. A lively conversation ensued, I was included as much as anybody could be when thrust among a bunch of people who had shared history, and it felt good.
Sunday, back for more job search advice. It was an occasional struggle to fight off the yawns after a couple of too-short nights of sleep but mostly I won the fight. Afterward, home for a good talk and snuggle with my girlfriend (still dressed as Shirley until it was time to undress for bed; spending time with her as a woman is another important thing for me to do) and a welcome early night of sleep.
The most enduring lesson for me: before you can make this job search work you have to decide "who the hell are you?" That's what I'm busy figuring out, and attending a workshop for transgender job seekers was another step on that path. Living as Shirley really does make me happier, and the weekend convinced me that (although it won't be easy at times) it actually WILL be possible for me to make a living as a transgendered person, which was one of my big doubts. (The affect on my network of friends and acquaintances was another but that has already been answered with an emphatic "you go, girl!") So it looks like I AM going to "go girl", to twist the phrase a bit by changing the punctuation; time to push harder about getting counselling started. (That's one of the things you have to do if you want to get hormone treatment or legally change your gender.)
Maybe I won't QUITE be a full time woman; I'm thinking that my SCA persona might remain male. (Or maybe I'll have two.) If it's good enough for the Baron of Carolingia and his consort, both of whom are biological women, I can do it also.