At the suggestion of our late friend Pat (God rest her soul), I thought I’d go deeper on one of these valuable recent comments:
I have visited churches while dressed as a man in a skirt/dress (no make-up, etc.) on four occasions. Each time, it was to a different church. I was treated well in each experience. One of the churches was decidedly more conservative than the others. In every case, some people did not notice, some people were not very comfortable and kept their distance, and some people were more comfortable with me and engaged me in conversation and welcomed me. In that regard, church is like everywhere we crossdressers go. The difference is: I think we anticipate that [some] churches will have more people who disapprove of us and who will judge us. We encounter the same people everywhere we go, but in church, we are in their domain.
Each time I visited a church, I expected that I might be asked to leave. But, quite the opposite has occurred in every case, if I recall correctly. I have been invited back. The more conservative the church, the fewer people invite me back, perhaps.
I am an extrovert. I love to meet new people. Most of the outings that I have gone on, while crossdressed, were non-social. Eating out by myself, shopping by myself, etc. Those are not very good socializing opportunities, except with the employees. Book clubs, meetup.com events, and volunteering are examples of things where I was able to go out dressed, and actually interact with people. Going to church is a very interactive thing (at least for an extrovert). People come up and introduce themselves to you. Some churches have a time set aside for shaking hands with each other. Definitely, going to church pushes my “extrovert button” firmly. So, I enjoyed it.jjjjohanne
I am myself, a church-goer. This is done for many reasons. Habit certainly is one of them. A belief in a greater being, that we all have to be here for some good reason. A sense of belonging. A place where I am generally as calm as I can be. My wife and I attend weekly Mass as long as schedules allow. I am a firm believer in faith, but a huge skeptic of “the church”.
As Kandi I have been a part of two different congregations, attended many other church services. All many different denominations. Why?
Look, as a crossdresser (now admittedly transgendered), I love to get dressed. I love to get dressed nicely. You can do that, being completely appropriate, in a church. (Be appropriate.)
I am a faithful person. So I get that there.
Hey, I’m human, I have an ego. The love I get when I go to church is incredible. The complements, plentiful. (Be confident). Numerous people every week make a point of walking up to me and either offering a hug, handshake or a face-to-face hello. Women who I really don’t know have often come up and told me they admire my fashion sense. Me being what I am is never an issue, discussion point or addressed. Acceptance is understood, complete and absolute.
It’s a safe space (outside of some nut, which is a random occurrence, possible anywhere). (Be smart).
I have stated frequently, the best outings are the ones I get in front of as many “mainstream” people as possible. I get that at church. (Be visible).
From a practical standpoint, it’s a weekly, inexpensive means of getting out dressed.
Now for me, I am a part of the congregation and have developed and strengthened real friendships. Between churches, I went to various different churches, knowing no one and I really enjoyed that. But now this church feels like home and I hate to miss a Sunday.
jjjjohanne mentions above that many think churches will judge us negatively. Let’s go back to my core beliefs, being smart. I am sure there are churches that disdain those along the LGBTQ/CD spectrum. Those on the whole are rare and are not true places of God. Be smart, do your research.
If you gave me only a two hour weekly window to go out dressed, I’d select my church every single time. It goes beyond being dressed, I get “fed”, relaxed, loved, it meets all the rules, it costs little, it doesn’t involve any bad habits (drinking, over eating), feeds my ego, you get the point.
My dearest Faye, forgive me for sharing this, but it fills me with tremendous pride (an email I received yesterday):
My dear sister, you have no idea how I felt emotionally after reading your beautiful tribute to the wonderful ladies who have contributed to your inspirational blog, then there was my name, my dearest Kandi. My emotions got the better of me and tears did well up.
You have inspired this woman to heights I could only once have dreamed of. I would love to have my own thanksgiving moment, I wish to give thanks to a woman I have never met but has changed me in ways I could have never imagined, and in doing so has hopefully brightened the days of the lovely elderly ladies who reside in the care home where I work.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving day and can only thank you from my heart.Faye x
This is the best gift I could ever imagine!
Love you even though we are separated by circumstance and geography.