Tag Archive | LGBT

Authentic

20180108_232910-1.jpgMy life has been a series of small steps that led me to this point. I started this blog back in 2013 – check my first post here – and it’s been one small step after another for the past four years. I never thought I would be where I am now, living out in the open!

I’m not yet living full time. I’m not at that point in my life, and I can’t say with any certainty whether I will or I won’t. What I can say is that I’ve found some peace. I found that I can be happy. I discovered that I don’t need anyone to define who I am. Happiness isn’t dependant on anyone else.

So this is what my life is like at the moment. On most days I live my life as a man. I go to work, spend my time there as such. I’ve wondered what it would be like to go as Stef, to integrate that part of myself into my professional life, but it would be an unwanted distraction. Until I commit myself to transitioning, I will have to content myself to this duality.

When I get out of work, depending on the time, I may change clothes. I scrape off the masculine and put on the feminine. A lot of what I do is only exterior, but it’s a matter of matching what I wear to what I feel on the inside. The masks I wear have begun to blur. When I first started the journey, it felt as though Stef was the mask, but I’ve recently came to the conclusion that it’s not the case. It’s too simplistic an explanation.

The masculine and the feminine clothes I own and wear are costumes, extensions of societal expectations. What I feel is deeper than clothing, or jewelry, or makeup. I feel, I am, female at heart. Even when I was denying myself the experience of being Stef, I knew intrinsically that I was a woman. I was bitter about being male. I knew my life would have been better had I been a woman, because in my mind I was a woman, even if my biological body betrayed that fact.

So I live my everyday life in accordance to what my body tells me to live, even if I suffer a spiritual and emotional discordance from it. People know me as male, so I plod along as such, and I’ve grown adept at it. No one who I haven’t told has ever suspected that I harbor such a secret. Scandalous!

It’s after work, like I said before, or on my days off, that I can come out and shine. I no longer feel the need to do my makeup to feel feminine, though I’ll admit that it helps. I don’t have to put on skirts are dresses, or anything sexy. That’s not really my style. A pair of jeans and a comfy blouse is all I need.

I run errands this way now. I go shopping, go out for a drink at my local watering hole. I meet friends and live my personal life as my preferred gender, or maybe my actual gender. I spend more time onlife as Stef. I’ve grown comfortable as such. It’s a pleasant experience to be me.

I’ve gone from pretending I don’t exist, and being miserable, to allowing myself to be me and being happy. As my circle of confidants have grown, my has confidence has grown exponentially. I’ve discovered that I have more supporters in my friends than I could have ever imagined. My family has not abandoned me, which was my biggest worry.

As for my family, they haven’t met Stef, but I no longer fear it. It’s not time yet, but I can’t wait for them to see me for who I am. I know it will be a shock for them to actually see me this way. Though I have told them, I think there’s still a bit of disbelief in their minds.

So that’s where I am now, further along than I could have ever believed possible. Even though I say I can’t say with any certainty what I’m going to do, I feel as though I do what to proceed in my journey.

I dream of the day when I start to exhibit more feminine features. I dream of the day when I can live full time as myself. I want the experience of being a woman, both the good and the bad. I have no illusions that it will be all sunshine and rainbows. Even in my limited experience as Stef, I have witnessed some mild forms of misogyny. It’s unfortunate but expected. It’d be a small price to pay to live authentically.

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My new channel

20690050_1976279675940743_5806870085882549103_oHi everyone!

I posted my first video on my YouTube channel earlier in the week. Boy was I a nervous wreck! I think it shows in my mannerisms and the crazed look in my eyes. Do I always look like that? Now I’m self-conscious. I hope I’ll get better as I get used to being on camera.

So far all the feedback I’ve received has been positive, though I haven’t heard much. That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting anyone to take time out of their lives see the video, and I’ve almost amassed a whopping 100 views. I’m actually pleased!

I’m planning on continuing to put out videos on a regular basis. Maybe one a week, or every other week. I’m not sure if what I have to say will find an audience. After all, there are a ton of people out there who are more photogenic, who are well-spoken, and who are plain better than I am at connecting with people at large. I cannot compete.

Then again, they are not me. I’m on my own journey, and I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m partially doing it for me, to document this journey. It’s fun to do, and if I connect with anyone, then that’s a bonus. Maybe I can help someone whose own trajectory is similar to mine.

It’ll take me some time to create videos that are polished. I bought a tripod so I won’t have to try and balance my phone. I’m going to experiment with video editing software to clean up the video. I mean, I don’t have enough hobbies as it is! I’m already neglecting my writing and my painting, and my music. I really need to sit down and write. I miss creating my stories.

But this is an extension of my storytelling. Instead of creating fiction, I’m telling the story of Stefani, who am I and I came to be. I’ve written a lot of who I am, so I guess this is repackaging my narrative, but there’s also the path I’m about to walk down.

I would appreciate any support I can get. Like my videos, and if you can, please subscribe. If you are not already following me, please follow me here, too. I would love to hear from you as well. If you have any questions I can answer, please email me at tgstef@stefani.com or leave a comment on this post.

This is only the start of a new endeavor. I don’t know if I will succeed, but I am willing to try, and I’m excited about the challenge.

 

Getting comfortable in my skin

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Downtown Amarillo, The Burger Bar. 2017 ~Stef~

Freedom is a funny thing. Since making my move a little over two months ago, I’ve been able to be me more often. I can come and go as I please, and largely I have done so. About a month ago, I got dressed, picked up my friend, and we drove two hours to Lubbock, solely because I wanted to buy art supplies as Stefani. I wasn’t confident enough to do it here, so close to everyone I know.

That experience was awesome, to say the least. I bought some paints, went to Kohl’s and Walmart, and ate at the Rib Shack. Then we drove the two hours home. I was fun, amazing, blah, blah, blah. The more I’ve gone out, the less of a novelty it has become. On the one hand, isn’t that what I want? On the other, the thrill is kind of gone. I miss the adrenaline rush!

Last Friday, on my day off, I dressed up, once again, went to my friend’s apartment to work on my painting. While there, I decided that we needed to go eat. Usually I just order a pizza, but I was feeling daring, so we went downtown and ate at The Burger Bar. The apprehension was there, but it wasn’t paralyzing. I do recognize that I need some work interacting with others. My confidence isn’t there.

That notwithstanding, it’s a great feeling to be out an about. I do elicit some looks, but most don’t give me a second glance. I’m just another person, and they couldn’t be bothered to have anything to do with me. They’re so wrapped up in themselves that everyone else registers only slightly. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, lol.

Which brings me to what’s going on now. The Panhandle Pride Festival is coming up later this month, and I’m considering whether or not to go. I’m leaning towards going, but that brings into question whether to go as myself or in boy mode. I had wanted to go as me, but my employer will have a booth set up, attended by my coworkers, most who are unaware of my identity.

So, do I out myself further and go as me, or do I go incognito or not at all? Of course, I have no illusions that you can give me the answer. The decision is ultimately mine, but it’s one that I can’t help but contemplate. Be me or not? Embrace my identity or continue to hide?

At the moment, I have no desire to transition, though it is on my mind at times. I will admit that I have so much respect for those who have crossed that threshold and decided to transition. It takes so much courage to accept who you are, but also to come out, knowing that there may be some relationships irreparably damaged. I’m not to that point.

I’ll go it one day at a time, and I’ll made the final decision nearer to the day, and probably on the day.  Some of my friends are all into me going to Pride, and I’m sure they’d love to accompany me as Stef. If I do, of course I’ll let you know, and yes, I’ll post pictures. I kind of hope I do it. I love going out!

 

Feeling blue

20170415_215759This has been a good month, more or less. Since moving to Amarillo, I’ve been able to go out and about at my leisure, without having to be accountable to no one but myself. I have the ability to lounge around my place, dressed up or dressed down, usually shorts and a t-shirt, without worrying about who may catch me. I missed this freeing feeling!

On the downside, I have a lot less disposable income, very little to spend on make up and clothes, though I did buy some Clinique powder, having decided to upgrade the quality of my makeup, slowly. I would like to buy more clothes, though having moved the majority of it to my place, I do have a decent wardrobe built up already!

On the negative, I hit a rough patch last weekend, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. The weight of everything seemed to press upon me, pushing me under like a woman on the verge of drowning. I was at once exhausted and terrified. Tired of life and living, almost of the point of being unable to function. I was scared for a moment of being alone, that I might actually do harm to myself. I considered checking into , but I refrained. I worked for the company that owns that hospital, and I don’t like the way the conduct business.

Ultimately, I ended up messaging a friend I went to college with, who’s now a priest. He messaged me back to let me know he would be free after 7:30, and I met him at the parish offices to discuss what was bringing me down. After our perfunctory greeting, we sat down and I started to open up to an old friend.

There was no look of judgment in his eyes, though I may have detected a little bit of shock. He was as warm and friendly as ever, giving me pastoral advice, and listening to me both a a spiritual adviser and a friend. My fear of being rejected was alleviated, and he promised to walk with me where ever my path should lead, that he would love me even should the time come that I decide I must transition. That eased the burden weighing on my heart.

His first reaction was to say that he thought I bore the symptoms of clinical depression and suggested I find someone to deal with that, as he is not equipped and trained to deal with depression. He suggested a few resources for me to consider, offered someone he knew to act as a spiritual adviser, and offered to do so himself as I needed and his time allowed.

In the end, I came out feeling, if not well, at least better about my situation. I’m glad I opened up to him. I have felt better about myself in the past week, not feeling so hopeless and alone. I have another ally on my side. I guess I should feel fortunate, and I do, when the demons don’t push me to feel nothing at all.

Martin from Garland Texas from The Straight Up Gay Podcast


Episode 8 of the Straight Up Gay Podcast is up. If you haven’t checked it out, please do so. It is an informative podcast, dealing with issues surrounding the LGBT community. Hosted by Major, the father of a gay teen, he seeks to raise awareness.

Driving Miss Stefani

20170217_1236551I’m on vacation! It’s nice to get away from the hassle of everyday life. No work responsibilities, no familial ties to bind me into societal norms. I’m free to be me, to explore, to live. It’s an awesome experience.

I left work on Wednesday and drove to my friends house outside of the Dallas Metroplex, getting there around eleven at night. I didn’t change into Stef. I was more concerned about getting out of Dodge than anything else. Thursday was a no go as well. There were too many things to do. My friend, who runs a dog sitting business, had to travel to McKinney to pick up a dog, her cousin’s, and then I went to Commerce to visit my step-daughter.

Friday, however, was my day. I woke up at four in the morning to get ready. Once, done, I finished whatever last minute packing we needed to do, then we headed out at six, down U.S. Highway 69 to Tyler, where we jumped on I-20, and eventually Georgia. It was a looong drive!

The trip itself was uneventful. I sat in the passenger seat most of the way, relaxing and enjoying the scenery. I had never been in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia, so it really was a new experience. We stopped at all the rest areas to take pictures, except in Georgia. By then, it was dark and we were tired of being cooped up in the car.

The only stressful part of the drive was going to the bathroom. Damn conservatives! I myself consider myself right from center, but damn! The evangelicals in the right wing of the party are a bunch of busy body, judgmental assholes. So much for being for smaller government. It puts a great deal of pressure on us to conform into a mold in which we feel uncomfortable.

For the most part, I tried to find places I knew would have family or unisex bathrooms. Where I didn’t, I hurried into the women’s room, did my business, and left. I didn’t linger. I felt pressured and uncomfortable. I feel judged as it is, and I’m self-conscious about taking a pee. I never had any trouble, however I did get some jackass glaring at be as we gassed up in Mississippi. I wanted to beat up the old codger, but I refrained. I’m a very nice person.

I didn’t let that dampen the enthusiasm for the trip. I took over the drive in Alabama, stressing out over how busy the traffic was. My friend fell asleep, and I drove in silence, enjoying the beauty of the scenery. Wishing we had the time to stop more often to explore places I had never seen before.

I gave up the driver seat right before we entered Georgia. We stopped for gas, and once we left, I had to change back into Joe. I was bummed out, but a little relieved. My jeans were a little tight around the waist, and my men’s wear is a little looser. Taking off my makeup and fingernail polish was tricky in the dark, but I got it done.

The people we are staying with don’t know about Stef. I haven’t decided whether or not to tell them. They have a daughter who is a lesbian, so I don’t fear judgement. It’s more that it takes it out of me to revel myself. Opening myself up isn’t easy. We’ll see how it goes.

We plan to leave here Thursday, bound for New Orleans and Mardi Gras! I will spend those few days as Stef, once again stressing about restrooms and the like. I used to worry about it years ago when I took my first steps out as Stefani, but now there’s an increased focus on that, which I absolutely loath. I may end up having to become more political, but not just yet. I’m on vacation. I’m not ready for reality to ruin my fun.

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All I want for Christmas….

It’s about time to start getting ready for Midnight Mass, and of course I’ll be posing as “Steve.” I’ll be sitting there, looking at all the girls in their cute skirts and dresses, make-up and hair done up, and I’ll be schlepping along as the guy people think they know. If only…

I wish I could wear something cute to church, nothing overtly sexy, but definitely feminine. I wish I could be part of a family that could accept me for who I am, both religious and blood. There’s nothing but hatred for my kind from the family, and to many in my religion hates the LGBT crowd, unaware that we exist among them.

But I cannot deny neither family for belief. It’s also part of who I am. I have not acceptance as “Steve” or Stefani. I’m the perpetual outsider looking in. 

If there’s one thing I want for Christmas, it’s to be who I am, without fear, without rejection. I want to stand before God as the woman I should have been, instead of the accidental man I was born. Instead, I’ll sit their through the Mass, grimace as I wish others a Merry Christmas, and know that I will not get my holiday’s desire.

But it could be worse. I’m thankful for the blessings I do have. I just have to remember that.