By Cristy Garcia
Reflections after my eighth yearly event (written and posted on Cristy’s Flickr page in 2019, a great read nonetheless).
After spending a week as Cristy, having waited almost a year to wear a dress, I’d like to share my thoughts, and not the experiences, about why an event such as the VC Soiree in DC, means so much to me. I know that many girls out there live vicariously through the narratives of those of us who are fortunate to attend these types of gatherings and conferences and I hope that after reading this, they will feel motivated to find the means to attend a conference at least once in their lives.
This was the eighth time in ten years that I have sacrificed family time and budget to indulge in a pleasure that is meaningful to me alone. Each time, I have missed my wife and children and have felt somehow guilty about having to do something that I can’t share with everyone around me in my daily life. Having to lie to friends, some family members and my partners about the real purpose of my trip is something that I am not comfortable doing but must do, given the circumstances. However, what I get to experience as an individual and as a part of a group of kindred friends is worth every sacrifice and white lie. I spend a whole year, that seems like an eternity, patiently waiting for this week to happen and it all goes so fast that it appears as if it was just a brief dream. I have to go back to the photos and read the other girls postings to fully recall all the details of wonderful times shared.
Besides work and family, many of us have a few personal interests that we tend to share with other people without reserve. However, for a heterosexual CD like me, playing the role of a girl is something that I can only share with those who also need to practice and enjoy this particular treat of our beings. We all start doing this on our own and with shame. As we learn more about it and begin to understand and accept ourselves, the shame tends to go away but we still need to share this feminine persona with other people. In this time and age, the Internet has provided the means to (at least virtually) exchange ideas, advice, tips, feelings and images to give our feminine persona some kind of existence and validation. I recall how afraid I was to come out to some family members to seek acceptance and validation for Cristy in the real world. Since having an Internet presence, I was able to relate to other girls like me and several years later, when presented with the opportunity to meet with some of them in person, I informed my wife and made arrangements for a trip that I was not sure how it would turn out. Would there be people seeking other things besides socializing or tranny chasers? My questions were answered as soon as Cristy emerged that first morning in Atlanta. Birds of a feather flock together and those friends I had come to meet in person but knew well online, were just like me. Our interests were the same and if there were other activities going on among other attendees, they took place behind closed doors. Ten years later I can say that not once have I received an improper comment, advance or any kind of harassment or uncomfortable situation.
Meeting with “the girls” for that first time and then almost every year since, is the most gratifying sensation that I have experienced in my life, excluding only those that are related to my family. That first time, I had planned to make sure I would have plenty of outings on my own so that I could put my passing to the test. After spending two minutes with my friends, I knew that I did not want to spend any time on my own. Passing was not important; what mattered was to be in the company of honest, loving and caring people who had a very unusual treat in common with me. They had been awesome as online friends and they were even more exceptional in person. Why would I want to part from them to venture out on my own? With them I had all I was looking for. Cristy existed and was the person they had come to know and love and that was all I needed. Cristy was validated as the woman I intended her to be and who cared if we were clocked at restaurants or any other place we visited. I will admit that still after that first trip, passing was very important for me when I was on my own. However, after the second trip, I was the one letting people know that I was not what I appeared to be and to my surprise, they could not care less and were very happy for me. At the same time, they would ask valid and interesting questions that I would gladly respond in an attempt to educate people and expand their knowledge about our community.
Over these years, I have identified two main components that combine to make the experience unparalleled by any other personal interest that I might have. One is at the personal level and the other at the group level. Both are equally rewarding and can be enjoyed individually or simultaneously.
At the personal level I savor every little detail of my individual experience; from the moment I start applying makeup to the feel of the breeze gently flowing through my legs causing the fabric of my dress to caress my smooth skin! Yes, even though we can share the feeling with others and even agree on the effect it produces on us, these are sensations that are unique to us and that many genetic women take for granted since they are common occurrences for them. Even though we can enjoy this experiences within the confines of our private dressing cloister, they are enhanced and made more memorable and enticing when you are out there in the outside world while being just another of many individuals around.
At the group level, I get to interact in a role that I don’t get to play on a daily basis. Most of the time I do it with other TGirls and other times with the general public. In both cases I get to be Cristy and people treat me like Cristy, the woman they perceive in front of them. I get to exchange opinions on life and other personal interests with my friends while we see each other as a person who, depending on the status, presents permanently or sporadically as a woman but who also has other interests and goals in life. I have seen friends transition while others remain like me, a crossdresser and the essence of the person has not changed. I have witnessed how the divide that used to separate transsexuals from occasional crossdressers no longer exists, as our community and cause becomes one of seeking acceptance. Long gone are the days of being ashamed of who we are and more and more we become ambassadors of a group of individuals who show the rest of the world, by example, that we have goals and ambitions in life like everyone else and that we are above all, human beings with the same needs and rights.
In both cases, as an individual or as part of a group, I used to put a lot of effort in making the character believable but with each passing year the line that divided Cristy from my male and dominant persona has blurred. By this I don’t mean to say that I have become careless about my feminine presentation but rather that I no longer mind if the guy takes over under certain circumstances. As a matter of fact, more than passing for a woman I seek praise and acceptance for a job well done as a man presenting as a woman. In this regard, I do my best to present as any woman would do depending on the setting and situation. I put a lot of effort in showing proper mannerisms and behave according to the expectations of any person regardless of gender. I do prefer to use the women’s bathroom because that is who I am presenting as at the moment, knowing that if I do not cross the boundaries of decency, nobody will have the right to oppose to that.
Through all these years I have come across many people who have approached me individually or as part of a group in a friendly manner to inquire about why we need to present as women. Their questions are always valid and in good will and they are responded in the same manner. Every time they have left the conversation with a better understanding and more respect for us. It is our responsibility to show the positive side of being TG because there are other groups who are doing just the opposite and they are usually more visible.
This year in Washington DC I had a few opportunities to interact with people under different circumstances ranging from other tourists around The Capitol to patrons at an upscale bar. Every time I was shown deep respect and understanding and was treated as I would have been treated if I had been in boy mode. The difference being that perhaps the conversation would have not lasted as long and would have been more superficial. People will like and accept you if you are likable and acceptable like any other person regardless of gender identity. That has not come easy for us so let’s do our best to keep it that way.
Excuse me if I have rambled or digressed but I needed to get this out of my system. I will try to expand and explain in more detail in future postings, as time permits, but let me finish by saying that these are situations that every TG person needs to experience first hand and not through other people’s narratives. There are many conferences or groups meeting near you- get out there, loose the shame and enjoy being who you are. If you find it difficult for financial or any other reason to attend an event, try to meet with girls you know near where you live and in friendly environments. Girls with more experience than you will be happy to guide you through your first steps out there. These days there are many establishments that are TG friendly and love our business.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed and just be you!
Editorial comment: No one brings it like Cristy. She brings intellect, she brings tremendous pictures, she brings perspective. She is awesome and I am always amazed that we are friends.
Cristy, never stop being you! I love you my friend.