The Year of Stefani

20170217_092707

February 2017

Is it time for the 2017 retrospective yet? We still have a ways to go, but in the closing month of the year, I can’t help but look back a bit. I started the year afraid of going out anywhere, and I ended up going to my company Christmas party last week.

I have come out to many people, everyone I work with, essentially, and a couple of family members. I came out to a friend I met in college, a priest, someone who promised to remain at my side, to support me. I began meeting with a spiritual advisor. I went to Georgia, and I’m going again next week, this time all week as Stef.

I went from being scared to becoming bold. I went from remaining in the shadows, to coming out into the sun. I went from wanting to remain anonymous to wanting to be known for who I am. This is what 2017 has meant for me.

Going back three years, in 2014, I started dressing up again after more than ten years pretending to be someone I wasn’t. More than ten miserable years lost in anger and confusion, wanting to be a normal man. That didn’t work out.

2011 lost my wife and lost another relationship. 2012, lost my job. 2013 went back to college, got my current job, graduated with my bachelor’s degree, but it wasn’t until December 2014 that things started to come around.

It took time to find my style. I bought clothes, makeup, wigs. I built up a wardrobe, and for the first time ever, I didn’t purge a single thing. I came out to a friend in 2016, someone who accepted me, along with her mother. 2016 began the phase of accepting myself, and 2017 was the next phase,  of accepting that I could come out, that people could accept me. They have.

2017 has been my year, the year of Stefani. I have let myself be seen by so many. I started volunteering as Stefani, something that only lasted a couple of months, and something I wish I hadn’t let go of like I did. I made a few mistakes, as you can see, but I had something to give to the community. Something uniquely mine, and not my male alter ego’s.

I began my YouTube Channel, and though it doesn’t have many viewers, it helps me develop my thoughts as to who I am. I continue writing this blog, mostly as a personal journal as to my own journey, a way to look back and remember where I was, where I am, and where I want to be.

I’m looking forward to 2018 with renewed vigor. Where can I go from here? I have no plans to return into the shadows, or to remain a part time person. I would like to emerge more fully, though fully transitioning is still in question. Do I or don’t I? Some days I feel it so strongly that I must. Other days, I’m a little less certain.

This is what I do know. I am not an alter ego. I am not a character. I may refer to my male and female personas as two separate and individual people, but I have come to realize that I have integrated them into myself. I am both for both make up my singular personality. I may act a certain way depending on how I’m presenting myself, but I am essentially me.

If anything, that’s my biggest take away from 2017. I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year has in store.

Follow me on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter!

Advertisements

The Party

 

IMG_8rnoct.jpgMy store held our annual Christmas party this past Sunday, and though I really didn’t feel up to it, I went. Sunday was my day off, and I really didn’t want to leave the apartment and drive downtown to the Amarillo Civic Center. But I was hungry, and they were feeding us.

I had dressed up early in the day to go with a friend to see Murder on the Orient Express, a movie I highly recommend, and when I got back to my place, I was loath to go back to Joe mode. I relish the time I have to myself. To exist as my true self.

That’s when I began thinking about maybe just showing up as Stefani. The thought had been in my mind to show up at work, questions be damned, but I thought it inappropriate. That won’t happen until I begin to transition, should I decide that that’s what I should do.

Then the party came up. My day off is my day, the time I spend for me. I want to say I made up my mind to go as Stef, but the truth is I think I was resolved to go. I had no excuses not to.

So I changed into something a little more festive, made sure my makeup was still good. Then I put on my heels and made my way to the party. Only one coworker had any idea I was doing it.

I wasn’t too nervous about it. Most of my coworkers already knew by then, though they hadn’t seen me dressed up yet. I walked in and…

Nothing. Most people didn’t register that I had come in. Those few that did returned their attention to the fajitas on their plate, or the conversations they were having.

I ended up sitting with a couple of friends before getting up to get myself a plate. I was a little self-concious, but I had very little to be concerned about. Several waved excitedly at me, or said hi. Some said I looked pretty. One told me they admired the fact that I was brave enough to be myself, no irony in her voice, by the way.

I spent a lifetime afraid of this moment, and it came and went without any issues. Of course it’s a sign of our times. I don’t claim this as a personal victory. This was made possible by the thousands before me, those courageous souls who sacrificed so much, some even their lives, just so I could go to  party in peace.

So no, I don’t take this for granted. All I speak to is my personal journey, of loosening the reins to my my secret, of slowly coming into my own. I still have a ways to go, but for all the losses I have had, 2017 has been good for me. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

Being True

This whole duality has been confusing. I’ve been, for most if my life, content to remain hidden. It’s only within the past year that I’ve come out into the open, embracing this other side of me, the true side. I know that the time will come that I’ll.have to choose who is real and who […]

via Being true — Joe Hinojosa

Meeting people and volunteering

IMG_20170923_140146If you haven’t been following my videos, which I don’t blame you if you haven’t, I have started a couple of different things recently. Last month, I started seeing a spiritual advisor so as to get my spiritual life in order. Also, I started attending a transgender support group. This week, I will start volunteering with a homeless organization which seeks to place the homeless into housing.

The spiritual advisor came about after a talk with an old college friend who is now a priest. I told him about my struggles with being transgender, which came as a bit of a shock. Instead of condemning me, he accepted it and suggested I start talking with someone, which I have.

We’ve met twice now, and I feel a lot of it on my part has been expressing what it means to be trans, and the trouble it has cause me with my faith. Linda, my advisor, has been steering me towards a deeper understanding of my faith, of the fact that I should not view myself as damaged, that I should see who I am as a gift.

Meeting with Linda led me to the support group. I’ve only attending the group twice, but it has been illuminating. It has made me consider whether I may not actually be transgender as much as genderfluid. I’m equally comfortable as Joe as I am as Stefani. I have my male traits as well as some female traits. It’s helped me understand my hesitation with coming out and going forward with transitioning. It hasn’t completely eliminated the possibility that I may go forward with the transition.

I will say that I’m torn about that. All my life I’ve felt as though Stefani was a larger part of who I am, even when I was keeping that aspect of myself under wraps. Now that I’ve come to terms with it, it’s less of an weight that I carry but just another part of the totality of who I am. I am Joe and Stefani, or as one of my best friend calls me, Stefani Jo. It fits like a glove. Still, part of me wants to transition completely into a woman. We will see where this journey goes.

As for volunteering, it’s one of my best friends who led me to it. She started volunteering recently, and I wanted to take a look at the organization, Amarillo Housing First. I actually went dressed as Stefani to check it out, being told as I was getting close, that Chris, the founder and CEO of the organization wanted to meet with me.  That led to an invitation to volunteer, they wanting someone within the LGBTQ community to help with that part of the homeless. So that’ll be my advocacy within AHF.

I’m not sure what all that will entail, but I’m excited to lend my time to the group. I’m hoping that I can make a positive impact for the organization and the homeless community at large. I’m also nervous about it. I’ve never done anything like this. Whatever the outcome, it will be an eye-opening experience.

I will confess that I feel good about where my life is headed. I never once considered that I would ever come out to anyone, or that I would ever have a place as Stefani in the world. It isn’t always a happy experience, but it is authentic to who I am, to who I am becoming. I’m learning to love who I am, though I do experience setbacks. I suppose that’s just a part of life.

Please check out my YouTube channel and subscribe. Follow me here on my blog, and please don’t hesitate to give me some feedback. If there’s any questions I can answer, or even any advice, I would appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!