Me, Writing To The Nevada Legislature

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A friend of mine is a kick-ass trans girl who has asked me to write a letter in favor of an upcoming Bill that will ban so-called “conversion therapy” — which, when you strip away the thin layer of patronizing sugar-coating in the name of the relevant deity, essentially consists of pressuring trans people to pretend we’re not trans people. So, yes, I have a problem with so-called “conversion therapy.” My friend gave me some more reason to dislike it:

“SB 201 goes to Assembly Committee on Wednesday, April 19th

This bill intends to eliminate Conversion Therapy from being performed on LGBTQ children in Nevada. The bill has been slightly modified since the last committee hearing, simplifying some of the language, and clarifying who is banned from engaging in this practice.

We need your help in submitting your stories and/or support of this bill. Remember Leelah Alcorn, Leelah wrote that when she told her mom about being transgender, her mother “reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes.” Leelah wrote that she was subsequently taken to Christian therapists, who reinforced the notion that being transgender was “wrong.” In an interview with CNN, Leelah’s parents claim they were loving parents, and that they just wanted to do the best for their child. Her mother Carla said that she took Leelah, who she referred to as Josh, to a psychiatrist, who prescribed medication, and that her child was depressed but only talked to her once about being transgender.

Unable to endure the effects of social isolation and the stress of conversion therapy, Leelah stepped in front of a Semi-Truck on an interstate highway, on December 28, 2015. Conversion therapy is unconscionable. It should rightfully be called what it is: child abuse. It is banned in California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., and legislation is pending in other states. It should be illegal in all states, and those who break the law should be locked up.”

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I’m now sufficiently motivated, so here’s my letter:

April 15th, 2017

From: Tanya Charbury
Fallon, NV 89406

To: The Honorable Michael Sprinkle, Chair
Assembly Health and Human Services Committee
Nevada Assembly
401 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701

Dear Chairman Sprinkle:

I’ve lived in Nevada since the 1990s. I happen to be one of your trans girl constituents so I’m writing to provide some intellectual ammunition in favor of SB 201, currently under debate, on the subject of so-called “conversion therapy” so that this irrational activity might be declared illegal once and for all.

You have probably received many letters describing the negative effects on trans people who are subjected to this sort of abuse, but my approach is different.

I’m a free-market girl but even so I recognize that there are a great many consumer protection laws, and I can understand why these have been passed. If a restaurant kept selling food that poisons its customers, or a shoe store kept selling shoes that mangle the feet of its customers, there’s a problem. Similarly, since so-called “conversion therapy” causes significant and demonstrable harm, there’s similarly a problem – yet worse since depression and suicide are far more severe than throwing up, having the runs or having mangled feet. On the basis of consistency to that principle alone, under consumer protection laws, so-called “conversion therapy” should be made illegal.

However, there’s a more fundamental-yet problem with it, and a stronger argument yet, for making it illegal. Its basic premise has been scientifically invalidated. Autopsies have shown that trans girls have the essential brain structure of a genetically integrated girl. In other words, while they were alive, trans girls thought and felt and lived as girls because as per their brain structure, they WERE girls — is what the autopsies showed. Having a female brain structure is not a defect requiring fixing by so-called “conversion therapy.” It’s simply a biological mutation, and no amount of bullying or intimidation can undo that, nor should it try. You might as well start bullying people who are born unusually tall with “slouch therapy” and consider that legitimate.

Imagine that, for example, your mother were subjected to so-called “conversion therapy” on the notion that she should think and behave like a man, and this would be a way to get her to do so. It’d be fundamentally silly since she is a woman and should simply be left in peace to live her life as the women she is. I emphasize: having a female brain structure is not a defect.

Similarly, trans women are women. Most of us grew up with a regrettable abundance of testosterone, so most of us do not look or sound as feminine as if we’d gone through puberty on estrogen, but our brain structure is nevertheless female. That’s what makes us female – our brain structure, not our imagination or delusions, which is the basic (and fundamentally flawed) premise of so-called “conversion therapy.”

Many trans girls initially tried to fit into guy culture during our most formative decades, because as children we were told we were male, so we learned male mannerisms. For that reason, we might not move as gracefully as most genetically integrated girls do, but yet again that doesn’t detract from the point that our brain structure is fundamentally female.

When judging the gender of a barnyard animal, it’s probably fine to turn it upside down, look at its plumbing and decide. For humans, that’s a flawed approach because by now it’s a matter of scientifically proven fact that some humans are born with “outie” plumbing yet a female brain structure.

What most fundamentally defines the essence of a human? The ability to write one’s name in the snow, or one’s brain: the center of thought, speech, decision, emotion, personality, character? So if someone has, like I do, a female brain structure, isn’t she fundamentally female? Isn’t her shape “down there” immaterial, in light of the scientific evidence, interpreted in the context of common sense?

Sending a trans girl to so-called “conversion therapy” will do about as much good as sending a genetically integrated woman there. However, it can do much harm. A genetically integrated woman, presented with the notion that so-called “conversion therapy” will make her think like a man, would immediate dismiss the notion as the nonsense it is.

However, trans girls tend to be more fragile. We have typically been bullied and pressured for decades on this subject, so it is a sore point for us. For some of us, so-called “conversion therapy” might just be the last straw, especially when we’re young. So even though so-called “conversion therapy” is nonsense, it’s harmful nonsense.

So, that’s my second basis for objection to so-called “conversion therapy”. It is a fundamentally nonsensical approach. It’d be like someone claiming to serve hygienic restaurant food that consists of raw sewage, or someone who claims they can get one’s feet to be comfortable and healthy by forcing them into shoes three sizes too small. There’s simply no logical way it could ever work. It can, and does, however, do harm. The examples of the restaurant and the shoes seem silly today; no reasonable person would tolerate that for one instant. Perhaps, with your help, in the future we’ll be able to look back at so-called “conversion therapy” and classify it similarly.

The existence of trans girls is a matter of biological fact. Even so, I understand only too well that the existence of trans girls does make some people uncomfortable. By typical standards, some of us are a peculiar mix to behold in a social setting. I’m an example of that. By typical-girl standards, I’m too tall, I have a jaw line too much like Rambo and my voice is too deep. In decades past, trans girls have too often hidden that we’re trans even if that meant living a lie, and hiding our true nature as a shameful secret. However, it’s not reasonable that trans people should hide the fact that we’re trans just because someone else doesn’t like seeing trans people around. You might as well expect white people in downtown Oakland to smear on blackface grease because some black people don’t like to see white faces. It’s not reasonable. However we’re born, that’s the hand we were dealt. We get to play it as best we can, and so-called “conversion therapy” weighs in on the side that trans people should hide who we are, for example: trans girls should pretend to be men. Such a notion is unreasonable, harmful and fundamentally flawed.

I’ve focused on trans girls, but as I understand the issues, the same principles apply to trans men, too, with the genders simply being inverted. Due to their brain structure, trans men are simply guys, albeit guys who can’t write their names in the snow.

Sincerely,

Tanya Charbury

Art as Inspiration

A few years ago, I felt supremely awkward as to functioning socially. I already knew that I am a cerebral shy person with all of the social challenges that this implied, plus then I found out that I’m a trans girl too. It was good news to me that I wasn’t crazy and that there was a simple, genetic-mutation explanation for all the girlish feelings and thoughts I’ve had all my life, but the challenge of living as a girl openly was very intimidating.

To figure out what to do, and to keep going, I read a lot and looked at many websites, including those with art. I love the work of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, but the painting that most spoke to me was one of the trans girl paintings by the very talented Russian artist Dmitrys.

I haven’t been able to afford much facial surgery, obviously, but what little I had done was preceded by me emailing to the surgeon a picture of the main painting on the Dmitrys website. It’s of a lean, muscular, confident girl standing sexily and radiating femininity while wearing a combination of black boots with purple laces, and a combination of blue tights and torn blue-jeans, and a black t-shirt. Her hair is blonde in a feminine style, and she had the tips of her hair dyed pink. I love that picture. I’d love to show it here in full but it’d violate copyright and also get my blog reclassified as R-rated. So here’s a cropped version such as I’d sent to the surgeon:

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If you’re 18 or older then feel free to go look at the DmitrysFuta dot com website. I love his work, but it’s not for everyone. Be advised it’s intensely sexy and sexual imagery.

Thanks to hormones and careful eating, I’ve gradually been changing my shape to be more and more feminine and more slender, yet still muscular. My hair is (still) blonde though I’ve had it lightened to the same shade it was when I was 2 years old (with a lock of hair from way back when, to prove it).  My hair also has a feminine style.

Yesterday, I realized that I still have some pink hair paint left over from Halloween so just for fun, I painted the tips of my hair pink. It’s still like that today. Today, I was planning to work on removing the automatic transmission from an Audi A6 Quattro — and so, big, heavy metal parts or the entire 300 pound transmission could possibly have fallen on, and crushed, my feet, so I wore my steel-toed black work boots that I’ve adorned with sparkly pink laces so that they look nice.  I like to wear black t-shirts for heavy-duty automotive work: they’re hard to stain black with grease because, well, they’re already black. It was also chilly today so I wore tights.  I have various sets, and today’s set happens to be a style that simulates torn blue denim jeans.

It was a busy day. Several hours of work on the car and car parts (profession A) were followed by several hours of work making custom database software (profession B) .

Then, within the last hour, I realized that I must today look more like that painting than I ever have.  So I looked, and indeed it was so. That inspired a quick, fun, impromptu photo session. I’m posting one of the pictures here.

My progress felt so gradual I hardly noticed, and yet viewed across the span of years, it’s been dramatic. It’s very much not just about the aesthetics. I have learned so much, including how mutually supportive girls of all types, shapes, colors, ages and sizes tend to be for each other. I’ve always been a girl but I didn’t look like one.  So now that I basically look like one and show it, it’s all come together.

I feel confident and comfortable in my own skin, so to speak, and it’s a wonderful feeling.  My work is thriving as a result, too. I’m happier and vastly more productive even though my stress level is super-low.

Perhaps most importantly, I’m radiantly healthy nowadays whereas a few short years ago I was well one my way to an early grave — and didn’t much care.

I used to focus on cerebral things while neglecting my health and looks.  Nowadays, I take a much more balanced approach. I still like understanding things deeply: complex software, complex cars, complex computers, complex ideas and the most complex entity of all: complex girls  —  whether as friends or more. However, my focus on my mind does no longer mean that my body is being neglected.

So,  nowadays, life is good.

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Supercharged Femininity in Trans Girls

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I’ve just advised a nice (and genetically integrated) lady on a forum. She found out that her boyfriend is secretly fascinated by trans girl porn and now she’s concerned that he’s gay.

Really, they should be talking to each other instead, and maybe he’s “bi” not gay, and there are many other things one can say that might be helpful.

However, the main issue to her is: if a guy is fascinated by trans girls, then does that provide insight into his sexuality so that she (and whomever else) can conclude he’s actually attracted to guys to some extent, sexually?

Superficially, the answer is “of course” because what makes a trans girl a trans girl (as opposed to a genetically integrated girl) is her ability to write her name in the snow. Certainly that’s a useful skill to have. But also, what makes a trans girl a trans girl (as opposed to a guy) is her brain. Isn’t that by far the organ that overwhelmingly most defines who and what a person is? To many people, “outie” as opposed to “innie” plumbing is the defining characteristic of being male. For barnyard animals, that’s probably a good standard. However, since scientists have shown that it’s a matter of hard, validated fact that some humans are born with “outie” plumbing yet female brain structure, so we would be prudent to consider the brain the more fundamentally defining organ since that’s what most makes someone who he or she is.

When I was trying to figure myself out, I saw a really wonderful counselor. Very quickly, she’d helped me reach the point where I could objectively conclude that, wow, indeed, I’m a girl brain-wise. Even so, I wanted to be super-extra-sure so I insisted on more yet, so I did the Stanford BEM gender brain test, whose test results showed that I wasn’t just female but in the 85th percentile, as in: if you put me in a line-up with 19 other girls arranged left to right from least to most feminine, brain-wise, then I’d be third from the right.

Was that a nice bonus for me? No. I should not have been surprised. A trans girl, I am brain-wise so intensely female that I overcame all the “you’re a guy” messages from my parents, my friends, and the square-jawline image in the mirror. In spite of all that, I knew who I was. It just took me a long time to stop denying and evading it. My femininity rose as an unsuppressable force.

For that reason, I consider myself and many of the trans girls I’ve met as hyperfeminine. Our feminity is so strong that we overcame the barrage of opposition we’ve faced on the subject of what gender we are. From our most sensitive years, the most influential people in our lives sent us “you’re a guy” messages and even so we managed to finally rise about that.

In addition, we have typically been immersed in guy culture so that’s all we know, and our bodies are awash in testosterone – and even so, our feminity is so strong that it overcame all of that. We overcame violence, ridicule and risk of ostracism — bottom line, we overcame.

If she’s like me, then by the time a trans girl comes out, she’s typically feeling inadequate and inferior. She tries to compensate by outwardly also being hyperfeminine in how she dresses, what make-up she wears, how she moves, etc. For example, it’s 6 a.m. and I’ve just had to move my car from one parking spot to another, and yet here I sit dressed in sexy 4” heels, a tight-fitting pink top that shows off my boobs, and a cute short skirt. I wore that for the maybe 3 minutes I was outside. Did I hope anyone would see that? No. I would prefer nobody did since I’d rather not raise eyebrows so close to where I live. I dressed this way for myself, to celebrate my femininity.

As to why guys are fascinated by trans girls, here is my opinion after growing up in guy culture: Many guys are intrigued in secret by male-shaped plumbing and anal sensuality. If that makes a guy gay then pretty much every guy on the planet is gay so that’s not a good standard.  Let’s dig deeper.

For a guy to be fascinated by these body parts is culturally generally considered a no-no so the guy feels guilty. As a result, we have the necessary raw ingredients for this becoming an obsession. That does not automatically mean that the man is “bi” or gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with him being so, were that the case, but liking trans girls is NOT a way of so deciding.

Trans girls are not male. We’re hyperfeminine at our core. Even so, many guys who date trans girls are ashamed of us and hide us from their friends and family for fear of being branded as a gay guy. It’s all really ironic.

While trying to understand myself, I initially thought that I might be a gay guy so I went to gay male sex clubs to try to figure myself out. I observed that the sexuality between two men is so peculiar that it was completely alien to me. I could not relate at all. Then again, I’ve been in bed with another trans girl and even though we both had “outie” as opposed to “innie” plumbing, the dynamic was 100% feminine. I was simply a girl in bed with a girl.

If a guy were gay then he would have been looking at guy porn, not trans girl porn. Hairy backs and male-shaped bodies would have been his turn-ons, not the smooth skin and feminine shapes of the trans girls in porn.

 

Two Trans Girls, a Too-Fast Audi and the Nevada Highway Patrol

A friend of mine is visiting me for a few days. She lives in a part of the country not exactly known for being ultra-friendly as to trans girls. She’s at the point in her transition where to me (and, I gather, not just to me) she generally looks more like a trans girl than a genetically integrated girl. She’s pretty but in a sort-of-androgynous way. As for me, I’m quite obviously a trans girl too; few genetically integrated girls are 6′ tall, very muscular and have a jawline like Rambo.

Today, the weather in northern Nevada was miserable due to a harsh winter storm. It was half-raining, half-snowing, and it was very windy. Even so, I thought it was a fine day for a fast blast in my Audi Quattro, so as to take my friend to Reno so that she can enjoy the local sights as a tourist.

Here’s the picture of the car, taken on a sunny day.

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“The “Quattro” in “Audi Quattro” means that the car has a peculiar type of all-wheel drive (as in 4-wheel drive) that’s extra effective in bad weather. I also own a Jeep Grand Wagonneer 4×4 but I gather the Audi can out-tech the Jeep in nasty weather, so I chose to drive the Audi today.

In these bad weather conditions, I figured that 75 miles per hour is a good speed in a 65 miles-per-hour zone. The Nevada Highway Patrol didn’t think so, and pulled me over to so inform me.

Two law-breaking girls, who are obviously trans girls, in a rural part of Nevada where both nearby towns are small towns, being pulled over by a very masculine officer on a day when you-know-who is President of the United States, and the Republicans are in charge of, well, pretty much everything … how will their story end? Life in prison? Being roughed up? Body cavity searches?

Nothing of the sort. The officer exuded the utmost professionalism. He was stern yet totally appropriate in every way. Then, after he’d seen that we were extremely well-behaved (aside from being speed demons) and after my paperwork was evidently in order, the officer was even commendably friendly yet without diluting his authority. This included expressing sympathy as to having delayed our journey, having reduced the ticket to a violation level that wouldn’t appear on my record, and the fine being a dollar amount that I can afford to pay without selling a kidney.

So, yes, there are horror stories elsewhere about trans girls being harassed unfairly. Those stories should be told. But, there are also stories of good people behaving appropriately, and those stories should also be told. So, yay for the Nevada Highway Patrol in Churchill County, Fallon, Nevada. They give me hope today, and it was also good that my friend saw how positive things can be.

Even though being “out” as a trans girl is generally a scary journey: in my experience, from my perspective, things are generally very positive.

 

 

Now What? Now You Live Your Life

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The opening scenario in the movie “Executive Decision” shows a newly trained civilian pilot who has just taken off, and he’s nervous. He asks his flight instructor what he’s forgotten. The answer is: “Nothing. Just fly the plane” — as in: relax and enjoy.

The story has much in common with a trans girl transitioning to living openly as who she is. The mode changes from a wild-and-crazy ride that’s complex and sometimes overwhelming and terrifying with dark and lonely times. Good advice is: “if you’re going through hell, keep going” — as in, it’s a tunnel, not a cave. I kept going, and here I am, just one more girl, living her life. I happen to be able to write my name precisely in the snow but wow is that an overrated skill. And really, that’s about it as to practical differences between me and a genetically integrated girl.

So, now what? Well, every day, I wake up, exercise, drink water, drink coffee, eat breakfast and go earn a living. I enjoy friendships and sunsets, and I’m happy.

Life is, quite simply, good.

Facial Electrolysis

Waxing, in my experience, is a good first step for those of us with more facial and body hair than we like. It turns a forest of hair into a few sparse but strong remaining strands, for which the next (and, I hope, final) step is electrolysis, which involves paying a VERY patient lady to stick a needle into each hair follicle and then destroying it by heating up the needle. One session doesn’t destroy a follicle, but it does weaken it, so gradually the hair becomes either so thin and light that it doesn’t matter, or it vanishes completely.

Does it work? Yes. A friend of mine is a trans girl who does escorting, and her revenue stream looks a lot better when she looks better — so she’s had electrolysis done to the point where she is devoid of all facial and body hair. I haven’t seen her with her clothes off but from what I could see, electrolysis worked spectacularly well for her.

I have a much more humble budget, so I’m focusing my funding on facial electrolysis. If I’d had dark facial hair, lasering would be an option too but, being blonde, that doesn’t work for me. Electrolysis is making a noticeable difference. The only drawback is pain.

I’ve experienced some bee stings in my life — as in, real-life mother-nature honey-makers injecting venom into me. It made quite and impression on me, and I remember the sensation and intensity well. Electrolysis is remarkably similar.

At the pace that the electrolysis practitioner lady was going, I was experiencing about one bee sting every four seconds – once per follicle when I was lucky, and sometimes two, and in stubborn cases, more yet. My upper lip had about 600 hair follicles when the project began, so I figure that’s about 800 bee stings to my upper lip every session, with things gradually diminishing as more and more of the 600 hair follicles die off. Last time I had electrolysis, I looked like a cartoon character afterwards, with my upper lip hugely swollen.

Today’s session was 5.5 hours minus an hour for chit-chat and eating lunch, so … 4.5 hours under the needle. So, that’s 270 minutes, or 16,200 seconds. Figure a bee sting every 4 seconds or so, that’s just over 4,000 today. That sounds about right as to the areas covered. Owee, yes.

On my face I can deal with the pain without making self-soothing noises, but I noticed that as my boobies are growing, they are also developing some hair in and around the, um, most sensitive parts. To my casual eye, I figured maybe twelve stray hairs per side. As it turned out, I was seeing only 10% or so … there were about 120 per side. Removing those was intensely painful. So, during that part of the session, I wasn’t quiet.

Moral of the story: if you should see a girl (trans or otherwise) looking good in any respect, then yes, part of that might well be good genes, but the rest might well be effort and investment.

A Tale of Three Auto Parts Stores

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[The above picture shows me, not at an auto parts store. It’s just a recent picture].

I live in a small town east of Reno, in the middle of the northern Nevada desert. On the surface, it’s very rednecky. You would not register surprise if you walk past a random business parking lot and every vehicle therein is a pickup truck. It happens often. A local poster advertised a gun show at the local convention center, with the extra enticement of “free beer!” That pretty much sums up the spirit here.

On the plus side, crime tends to be low, people tend to be honest, and government red-tape issues as to business tend to be low, so here I am.

After I came out as a trans girl, I figured it’s futile trying to live here, so I was already half-way packed up and with some of my stuff moved to Las Vegas, when it occurred to me that, rather than assuming the worst, I should give the locals here at least the opportunity to be nice to me.

As it turns out, most people here have been super-nice and supportive of me even though I am, obviously, a trans girl living openly as such.

Shortly after I came out, I would typically be wearing androgynous clothing but girly hair and some jewelry & make-up — not too much, but enough to culturally convey “I’m a girl” even while having a masculine facial structure — in other words, a trans girl, openly so. Yet, at the time, I also looked sexy to some guys. I know this because in that same general time-frame, I was doing escorting. I was sometimes making $100, $200 and once even more than $300 per hour — and this was literally selling time, not sexual services. Finding guys who thought I looked hot was not a problem. Not that I made this sort of money often, but every now and then, the extra money and appreciation were nice. My main revenue was from my software development business, so the escorting was more for fun than money (and yes, such revenue is taxable, regardless of how much fun it is to make it). Anyway: as it turns out, being sexy as a trans girl entails some problems.

The people who have been nice to me are vastly too numerous to track, so I gave up on that, and I just kept track of the people who were mean to me. There were few.

Two or three years ago, I had a bad experience, albeit non-violent. I walked into one of the three local auto parts stores in town. Two teenage boys, aged eighteen or so, were standing near the counter.

A social recipe that I used to employ is: give people a chance, and start with a sincere smile. So, I gave both of them a friendly smile. They each looked horrified.

This might be a good time to detour into a relevant concept: homophobia. It’s basically where someone feels an attraction to someone else and he thinks that makes him gay and it deeply bothers him — so he tries to be mean to whomever he is attracted to. It’s basically the asshole-adult version behavior of the little elementary-school boy who is mean to the little girl on whom he has a crush. So, if someone homophobic is attracted to me, then he goes into an internal meltdown and if his friends are around, he feels the need to act mean towards me to hide his embarrassment. That’s how many trans girls get beat up or killed. So, looking hot to a homophobe can be dangerous.

In this case, it wasn’t dangerous, but certainly unpleasant. The two boys started to make mean comments, and one of them loudly sympathized with the guy who worked behind the parts counter, since (they said) he was stuck there and had to deal with the freak show (meaning: me) whereas they were free to go. The parts counter guy just looked awkward, but a parts counter lady spoke up, to her immense credit, and basically made it clear to the boys that their rudeness wasn’t appreciated. That meant a lot to me.

Over the years, I’ve seen this pattern (of me trying to smile disarmingly at guys and getting a mean reaction) repeated so many times that I’m not willing to risk it any more. So, nowadays, I avoid eye contact with guys. I do hear what they say — in fact, I actively listen, in case there’s a cue that I should anticipate violence and get ready to defend myself. Even without making eye contact, I hear mean comments now and then, but it’s almost always when the guy is among his friends. Solo, guys tend to leave me alone. In my opinion, this fits the homophobia premise well.

I save my smiles for girls, and that typically has a great success ratio of smiles radiated vs. received. I’ve also graduated to wearing a more feminine style of clothing.

Yesterday, I showed up at another of the local auto parts stores. I was wearing elegant 4″ high black ankle boots, tight-fitting black slacks, a black t-shirt, and a purple top that would have been a sweatshirt top except that it had a more-elegant cut. My boobs are no longer indiscernible and I don’t need to wear a bra so I don’t. My hair had been done the day before, so I had a blonde mane of pretty hair surrounding my face. One rednecky customer pointedly looked me up and down. He didn’t say anything. I ignored him. The rest of the crew behind the counter were all young guys, mostly a new group whom I haven’t yet gradually won over by being nice and savvy. Inwardly, I groaned.

I’m fixing the fuel injection system on a 1998 Audi A8 car that I own. It’s a rare car, so the parts had had to be specially ordered. This had been done, and according to the computer, the parts were somewhere in the building, but nobody could find them. Minutes went by as the guys rummaged and became ever more embarrassed. I stood there, being patient. How much this was appreciated didn’t register on me until I glanced up at one of the counter guys walking past. I hadn’t planned to make eye contact but I did. He looked back at me and gave me a sincere, nice smile. As it turned out, he wasn’t the only guy with that attitude. Soon, all three guys were being exceptionally nice. Plus, they finally found my parts.  I made a little joke about how I’m supposed to be the blonde there, making the silly mistakes — not them. They smiled at that, too. As I left, I chose to look back benevolently, though I felt like a girl in a perfume ad, looking over her shoulder at someone.  The counter guy who’d smiled at me was just standing there, doing nothing but looking at me with a sort of dreamy smile as I was sashaying out the door. We made eye contact again, I smiled at him, and then I was gone. Good encounter.

Next, I needed parts for which the only option was the third auto parts store in town. In I walked. There were two counter workers. The lady noticed my unusual accent and struck up a friendly conversation. The guy was mostly quiet until the lady had left and then he became a little more chatty, though with the utmost professionalism. He looks like a younger version of Will Smith, the actor. He looked up my phone number for frequent-shopper benefits and found my previous name. I’d changed it as part of coming out as a trans girl. I explained how that used to be my name, but if he would please edit it into non-existence I’d appreciate it. This in turn led to a conversation about me being a trans girl in a rednecky town, which I gather has similar challenges as being a black guy in the same rednecky town. He said some benevolent, wise and encouraging things, and handed me my parts. This made it an even better visit than the one to the previous store.

All in all, as a trans girl, it’s a difficult journey at first, but it soon becomes much better. By now it’s downright nice, though I’m always socially on guard when I’m out and about. This has become second nature to me, and I’m okay with it.