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Early Coming Out 

Click here to listenOnce upon a time, in the Indian summer of the year 2000, I was lucky enough to be able to rent a studio in the center of Rotterdam for a few months at an almost reasonable price. I was still very uncertain about where I wanted to go with my transgender issues and living alone for a while was a unique opportunity to find out more about myself.

I was still very inexperienced in presenting myself in female form to the outside world, but I had the feeling it didn't matter that much in the center of a metropolitan city. I just needed to walk out my front door a few steps and I was completely anonymous among the crowd. So I had the feeling I could do some experiments over there and so I did.

I wasn't living a double life; this was really a triple life. I still went to work in the posh leased car, dressed in suit, shirt and tie. I ventured out in 'girl-mode', dressed in a skirt, a girlish top and wearing a wig. And I relaxed in a sort of androgynous mode, looking like an in-betweeny, wearing trousers and sweaters and nail polish.

In 'girl-mode' I must have looked like a mess, dressing up in too sexy, too young clothes for my age. I was instantly spotted as a cross dresser all over the place. And I think there may have been some dangerous situations for me. But I was lucky and wasn't physically harassed in any way. I am not so sure I could have pulled this off in the USA!

As an in-betweeny I did look sort-of acceptable. That was the way I frequented the local pub, which was a bit of a redneck place, featuring an après-ski atmosphere every day and karaoke in the weekends. People must have seen me as sort of a faggot over there, but since I did sing karaoke every now and then and I did drink gallons of beer like the rest of the crowd, I was accepted.

I was also dressed as an in-betweeny when my sister and my brother-in-law came to visit me. This was coming-out time! As I said, I was not so sure what way I really wanted to go in my life, but I was convinced some gender issue was involved. I can't really remember how I explained this to them, but I do remember I was met with a heart warming acceptance. My brother-in-law expressed his acceptance in words, but my sister is not that much of a talker. She expressed it in another way: When they said goodbye she took her bracelet off her wrist and put it on mine! This was a very powerful way to show her feelings! It is one of the most precious gifts anyone ever gave me!!


Missed a Party 

Click here to listenI heard some people were a bit embarrassed about my last column, because it was about the operation I underwent for a medical problem people normally don’t speak about. Yes, that is a taboo to, just like transgenderism! Why not kill two taboos with one stone? But let’s just stick to one taboo this time…

After my operation it took me quite some time to recuperate. Two weeks later a very good friend of mine celebrated his birthday, but I couldn't come. I hadn't left the house yet.

Julia did go to the party and she had a great time. She met a former colleague of mine there.
Colleague? Yes, it was even more than that. At the time I was a project leader and he was one of the members in my team. So there you have it: Once upon a time I was somebody's 'boss' to! I don't expect that to happen so easily again...

But I was a different person at the time. Or so it seemed. I went to work wearing a neat suit and a tie every day. If you do that, you are trusted to take on a responsible job. Your knowledge and experience don't really matter that much, as long as you have a 'professional' appearance. That's the way it is in the World we live in...

This brought back a lot of memories to me. The period I am talking about now must have been around 1997. I was driving around in a posh leased car and stayed in a hotel on weeknights, all at the expense of the company. At the time I was making a real effort of being (or becoming) a Real Man. I also went for a 1500 meter swim every night in the hotel pool to become stronger and more masculine.

Of course I was living a lie. I am very good at that. But this life didn't make me happy. Maybe it was even partially in reaction to being 'sir-ed' all the time, that I started to wear women's clothing more and more often in the safe privacy of my hotel room during the same period...

So in those days the clothing I wore at work gave me an unfair advantage. But nowadays my clothing has an opposite affect. When I came out as transsexual woman, it didn’t seem a problem at all. It was accepted at work…
But I can feel clearly something has changed. And it hasn’t changed in the way I expected. I was hoping people would treat me as a lady from that day on. But they don’t! They are treating me as a woman alright, they are treating me like a maid!

So this is the discrimination women are facing in the workplace. If you have seen both sides, like I have, it is so clear! And it hurts! It looks like I will be missing many more parties in the future, just because I am who I am.

© 1985-2005 E.G. Snel

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