If I didn't hang out with some TS folks, where would I find the adorable trans men? They are my preferred gender.
But seriously, I found that finding the right set of trans friends to get to know and sometimes hang out with gives a level of support that's hard to find anywhere else. I found a wonderful network here in Utah.
It seems each person has a closet level that's right for what they can emotionally handle at a given stage of their transition. My closet progressively enlarged from cross-dressing support groups to LGBT support groups to cities in which gender identity is a protected attribute. There is a constant fear of the danger of not passing and not having the privilege that goes with it. A person's closet size is tied to how intrinsically deep that fear is.
But if someone fully transitions, they need to interact with the community at large, but they don't need to leave their support behind. That's one of the biggest mistakes that people who go stealth tend to make: they sever the two-way support that is provided by smaller community. In Kentucky, I found a wonderful group, but was shocked to find that anyone who had progressed as far as I did stopped coming. I was suddenly the big sister when I needed a big sister of my own.
The world can be a shit-hole to women, and to trans-women in particular. If bad things happen, you need someone who can provide emotional support, who can understand and whom you can trust. That's the world that Memoirs of a Transsexual: Welcome to Womanhood is going to open up to. It's not pretty. But it's real. At the same time, I value being there for people to guide them through what I rediscovered on my own with no guide available, except through what I read.
I guess what I am saying is that I move in multiple circles. There's Sophie the woman, Sophie the pan-sexual lesbian, Sophie the trans woman, Sophie the Unitarian Universalist and Sophie the programmer. Some of these areas intersect, and I can navigate those places by dealing with the intersections only.
When I am at work or about town, I am stealth--I am simply a woman. When I am on stage, in print, among transsexual support groups or campaigning for fairness, I am a transsexual woman.
I feel a passion when I am on the stage. I have a thirst for making something as real as possible, emoting and maybe educating at the same time. I feel really part of something to interact with a troupe. Doing any kind of presentation of what it means to be a trans woman, whether on stage, in front of a mic or in print lies at the intersection of my passion and something I can be really good at. It only needs the economic incentive to make it the perfect career for me.
Speaking of which, I just heard back from the director. My audition is going to be on the University of Utah Campus at 6:30 PM tomorrow, after hanging out with the Ladies from Development for a little while. I have the monologue memorized end-to-end and know exactly where I make mistakes in its recital without having to refer to the printed page. At this point, I know the mistakes will become fewer and I will learn how to graciously recover when I do slip up. I am so excited!
Hugs and God(dess) Bless,