The road so far.
If are are transgender, a lot of this will be familiar. We are all as different as snowflakes, but even they share many traits.
I started nursery school at the age of 4, followed by kindergarten at 5, 1st grade at 6, and so on. My first memories of wanting to dress like a girl were before this so I was probably 3. I remember a particular dress of my mothers that I adored. That was really the thing, I loved female clothes, boy clothes were just blah. I would go into my mothers room whenever possible and put on the dress. It was a tent on me, but I did not care. I knew if I was seen, I would have to take it off. Eventually my Mom had enough of this ‘Nonsense’ and started locking her bedroom door. With access to my desired things cut off I moved on to other attractions.
Around the age of 12, one summer day I can home to find a pile of fresh laundry on the dining table. Right on top was a clean white bra. It stopped me in my tracks. A feeling that I thought long gone returned. I grabbed the bra, locked myself in the bathroom, and just sat there for quite a while wearing it. I kept the bra and slowly acquired more of my moms underwear. I would wear them at night, under my PJ’s. This lasted about 6 months. I made two mistakes, one: I hid them in a YMCA gym bag in my closet, and two: I took too many things. My Moms diminished supply of underwear set her on a quest that did not take long to resolve.
This whole thing got me sent to a psychiatrist. When he asked me why I wanted to wear my mothers underwear, I chickened out and said I was researching a halloween costume. Probably the lamest excuse he had ever heard. Transgender was a little understood thing at the time and still considered a mental illness, so things did not go well. I put the thoughts back in a box and moved on.
In college, I discovered ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. One evening my university showed it in the student center and there I met my future wife. I experimented with dressing some with her, and she did not mind. It was fun, but resources were limited, with no internet it was impossible to find shoes to fit. Soon our relationship moved to marriage and the two of us concentrated on making a life for ourselves. Jobs begat responsibility, then better jobs. The time to explore my trans feelings became few and far in-between.
When I was 30, our first daughter was born, the second daughter came 18 months later. Life became all about those two beautiful little creatures. I became convinced that all the femininity in me had passed on to them. And it really was like therapy, I got to dress them when little, pick out their clothes later and eventually advise on their makeup.
I have been in computers since the original home computer kits so I was early on the net. But it had not occurred to me to look for transgender references, not until the kids were late teens and beginning to live their own lives. When I did finally look, it was an avalanche of knowledge. I became aware of not only the terminology, but the fact that there were many, many more people like me out there.
This knowledge resurrected the feeling in me and I began to long to dress. Now with resources, I was able to obtain proper clothing, wigs and shoes. I really want to do a convincing job, more importantly, I wanted my kids to know this aspect of me. I started with my oldest, not sure how she would react. I got an entirely unexpected enthusiasm. She and I spend many hours with her as my teacher. When I got things in a working order, we broke the news to my youngest. Initially she was upset, change of any kind were never her favorite. But she quickly accepted it and has become one of my biggest supporters, and supporter for all LGBT issues. She takes pride in telling people that her father is trans. My future son-in-law came next, again I got nothing but support. I went on to tell my brothers, their kids and eventually my friends. Reactions are mixed, but they ranged from complete support to some ‘OK, but I don’t want to see it’. No one was outwardly opposed.
I started looking for links to local people like me, and eventually found a meetup group (MeetUp.com). I had to fill out a form for membership approval, and this held me back for a while. I was not quite ready to put these thoughts out on the internet. Eventually I invented the character Jess Haust, and filled out the form. By the way, Jess is my chosen name and Haust is a variation of my real last name, so I never think of it as a deceit, more of a code. (The pseudonym 'Haust' is no longer used)
Once accepted by the meetup group I could see that there were several hundred members in the local area, and there were things happening every week, sometimes several. I started attending these and quickly made many friends. Eventually I became one of the organizers of the group.
I looked forward to these events, and attended regularly for a couple of years. But it began to feel like a role-playing game, get dressed and spend a few hours playing a girl. My satisfaction declined. I gave it up again for a while.
The feelings never really go away, My friend always says ‘it’s not a cold, you don’t get over it’. I knew what I wanted, so I had a long discussion with my wife and she agreed to try some changes. We both went to my appointment with an endocrinologist. I told him I was transgender, and asked to be put on HRT.
That was around a year ago and thing have progressed nicely. Being Jess is totally integrated into my everyday life. I have overcome my fear and apprehension, able to do anything in my daily life as Jess that I can do as Jeff. I can live my life as Jess, or Jeff and be perfectly happy. It’s no longer a dirty secret, in fact it has become something of a bonus. I get better reactions in public as Jess than I do as Jeff.
(Update January 2017)
The last year has seen less and less Jeff. By early Summer 2016 Jeff was an appearance for work only. Late Summer I began coming out with my various employers( I am self employed and work for many different entities), and working as Jess. Before the new year rang in, Jess was open knowledge to everyone in my life and I have abandoned appearing as Jeff.
The new Year promises quite a challenge. Please stay tuned.