I met Kathy Q and Virginia during my nights socialising and dancing at disco clubs (1979 – 1980).
Kathy Q began as a light relationship, yet became important. It was early during my transition. I was uncertain of my life’s future as well as any extended future with her or anyone else for that matter. We were dance partners with no attachment so I came out to her as a test. She expressed curiosity. She agreed to me to try her birth control pills to help me determine how I may or may not decide to change. Hey, we were not sexual so there was no concern of an un-planned pregnancy (she had no idea of my true inter-sexed female anatomy any more than I at that time).
Virginia was different. We also soclialised at the disco dancing clubs (1980). We mutually foresaw a prospect of a serious friendship; she seemingly wanted more than our platonic friendship. We had a few quiet dates that I refused to allow to go far. She frequently invited me to her home but I would not allow anything to happen. Our holding hands and talking satisfied Virginia. I suppose in some ways she appreciated my friendship because I was not that groping male as she surely had experienced with other males.
I also danced with other women at the disco clubs. None knew my medical situation. I must have been an odd male dance partner. Dancing close became a matter of me out-manoeuvering the groping hands of my female dance partners. I could not allow them to feel my female chest. They would rub their leg attempting to arouse me between my legs; there was nothing male to arouse. Did they perceive themselves failing to attract a male (me)?
Yes, as you now know, as your estrogen transitions your body to female, your body transitions to the female scent. It’s part of the entirety of your change. Your partner will smell your female scent and will taste your female taste. So it seemed puzzling to me that neither Kathy Q, Virginia, nor any dance partner smelled my female scent or tasted my female taste; or at least none commented to me about it, perhaps their fear of what they did not comprehend.
I had one major fear during my dancing days – fear of being discovered if a female dance partner ever felt my blossoming girls (a large ‘B’ or small ‘C’ by then) that were at least as much as hers.
That era ended when I moved to Utah (October 1980).
Baby steps helpt me seamlessly continue along my transition. I could not believe how easy that went. Or was I so naive?
Social Security Administration accepted my file change to my new name as Sharon and as female (September 1978); my state affirmed me female under my new name (Spring 1980). The euphoria of those paper legal changes was amazing!
I was employed as a male by the U.S. federal government (1977 – 1985). I continued using my old name (Nick) at my December 1978 appointment to the USDA Forest Service (where I remained employed until May 1985). I was not ready to present and work as Sharon, my female self – physically, emotionally.
My Forest Service employing agency learned of my legal sex change on paper when my name appeared on Social Security’s discrepancy list. I learned that they learned when I was returning early from lunch break, passed by my supervisor’s office, and over-heard my supervisor talking about me to another supervisor one day (January 1979):
- ‘He’s a she!’ said one.
- ‘No, she’s a he!’ said the other.
My employing agency made no issue of this directly to me. I prepared a letter to submit to my supervisor for just-in-case purposes. That letter would not be necessary; the agency selected me for promotion and transfer to the Forest Service’s new Utah office (October 1980). Was it because my current supervisor wanted to pass my presence to another office? Or did I truly earn it?
Never mind whatever the reason, more opportunities came into my future.
Steve was friendly toward me during our time as co-workers (1978 – 1980). He invited me to his home for a visit one last evening before my departure to Utah. His home was a curious scene that evening. We initially sat separate from each other – he motioned me to his sofa and he took his easy chair across from me. Steve later moved from his seat to the sofa, then gradually moved closer to me on the sofa – eventually touching close. I made no responce. Steve apologised to me. He told me that he is gay and that gossip at work is that I am gay; Steve said that he wanted to share this last evening with me. I told Steve that I am not a male homosexual. I could not tell Steve the whole truth – that I am a female transsexual (M-F), that I do not have the body parts that would please him (breasts up top and rudimentary female anatomy below), nor is he part of my sexual attraction (I am not attracted to male homosexuals). I assured Steve that our evening would remain private.
My transition progressed at my new assignment and location; this continued my ‘Victor / Victoria’ circumstance – a female pretending to be a male, a woman living as a man. Employment security diminished through the course at least for one of two supervisors and other agency management; they, too, saw my female identification on the SSA discrepancy list and would act differently.
Bob, the first supervisor, disguised a ‘date’ as an invitation to me for dinner and an evening at his home (December 1980) similar as Steve’s invitation. Who did he think I was: female (according to my SSA file) or male (as I presented myself)? Did he think I was Lesbian living as a male? Or Gay (did that false gossip follow me)? What were his true expectations and intentions? These questions remain un-answered unless and until Bob sees this site and adds his comment.
Blanche, the second supervisor, proved dangerous to my livelihood. She called me to her office one day (1983); she assuredly told me that she knows that I am a female working there as a male and she ‘will not have that’. She directly threatened to fire me because I am a sex change. She exposed my personal information throughout the office. I began hearing those familiar ‘She’s a he’ whispers from several people; I heard far worse words from many others though no one ever had the indecency to actually speak them to my face.
Look at my pictures (1981 and 1985). You see me changing from male (1981) to female (1985). Yet Blanche and Forest Service management were firing me as a female-to-male transsexual. They had no perspective of direction. They certainly saw me as female in their midst, no longer ‘male’ as I once was. Did they somehow expect that I would change back to ‘male’? Sorry for this cliche’. Did they not have a clue? Okay, this was 1983, not 2015. I was the only transsexual in Utah at that time (insofar as that was what my counsellor told me in 1983).
(Up-date – April 2016: I met with a counsellor three times here at home – Phoenix – during 2015. He mentioned to me that he recalled hearing about a M-F transsexual at Utah during 1983 to 1985. I told him that perhaps the other person and I should find each other and create a fan club. I have had months to think this through, do my own table-tapping, and now it seems quite likely that I was that one – that only. Is there anyone in cyberland who can substantiate that you are that other? Let’s find a way to meet and share notes.)
I look back at Blanche’s confrontation. Blanche said to me something such as, ‘I know you are a female. We can’t have you working here as a male.’. I feared her and her threat. It was real; my responce failed to match her threat. Instead, I should have arrived at work the next day as Sharon, walked directly to her at her office, and told her, ‘Here I am. I will be from now on working as who I am – as Sharon – as female. You lost your reason to fire me. Now what are you going to do?’ My full change was valid: SSA recorded me as female (1978), my state legally affirmed me female (1980), and my operations finalised my female anatomy (1982, 1983). People at work already suspected my female status through cruel gossip; working there as Sharon would have changed that gossip in short order. Why was I waiting?
Yes, I can fairly write now that in my present mind that is the opportunity that I should have taken in 1983. But I was afraid in 1983. Fear. Regret as well; regret nowadays that I could have done transition better. That is a lesson learned.
Terry was my co-worker at Utah (1981 – 1985) – about 20 years older than me. I was her dutifull ‘male’ friend: helping her move from one apartment to another, setting up her washer and dryer connections, re-arranging her furniture when she asked. Even when she had a serious boyfriend, she asked me for help first. She also confided personal information to me that no woman ever had done before and only since presenting as female. Did my feminised presence allow her subconscious to perceive me as another female?
Terry saw my devolving physical changes every day for four years yet apparently did not fully perceive them until we chatted at her home one evening after work (1985). It was just another visit. We sat at her kitchen table talking and drinking coffee same as dozens of previous times. She suddenly stopt mid-sentence and asked why I had no facial hair, then looked at my arms and hands and asked why I had no body hair. I fumbled for words that failed her because I had not prepared myself to provide an answer to such questions. She was angry, hurt, frustrated with my denying her very accurate observation considering Terry confided her many intimate thoughts to me.
I owed my honesty to Terry in return. I’m sorry, Terry, that I could not tell you because I feared you might let it slip at work though that hardly mattered considering that Blanche already initiated firing me.
Betty was among the few other supporters at work as my employer was taking action to fire me as a sex change in retaliation for my whistle-blower action (1983); Betty did not know the full truth. Thank you, Betty. I have your framed gift placed prominently at my home.
The administrative process persisted two years; I eventually resigned (1985). I filed as Sharon / female through the Un-employment Insurance process; UI agreed that my employer conducted six years of an ‘intolerable work environment’ against me.
I hope others reading this who have not yet begun their transition learn that they need to determine their own time to begin. Do not fear it and do not allow others to intimidate you from it. Each element of your life will be different. My transition was piecemeal – that’s what worked for me. I transitioned elements of my life at different times – work, school, second jobs, volunteering, social life, etc. Good counselling will support your effort to help you make good decisions while minimising your regrets.
I completed my transitioning life toward female by 1985 yet I could not out myself during my residence at Utah. I lived with the fear that my life would become more complicated if anyone was less than supportive.
I began learning that presentation was part of my transition. I could wear the exact same uni-sex female attire and present myself differently – some people perceived me as male while others perceived me as female. A simple change of hair style and mannerisms took me from male to female; a touch of make-up added to my female presence.
My primary personal fear came to be whether I passed well as female. I made small steps at this endeavour as I gradually transitioned my life from male to female.
I considered that ‘Passing My ‘Passing’ Test’ would be when I otherwise made no extra effort presenting myself (even a male self) and others naturally perceived me as female. I clearly ‘Passed My ‘Passing’ Test’ by early 1985, yet my self-confidence was lacking; it would all finally come together by June 1985.
The location where I was co-employed by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest during my last year while presenting as a male was at a large, multi-story commercial building. Same as my prior locations, I again made myself known to my new co-workers to walk up and down the stairs as exercise during break and lunch so that my departure from my immediate work area and floor appeared routine. I feared raising suspicions with my new male co-workers if they observed me using only the stalls at the facilities near our area.
It happened when I was at a distant men’s restroom on another floor. I finished my business and was washing my hands. A man entered, gazed at me, made a puzzled look, and asked if he had the men’s room or not. I dug down deep for the best possible male falsetto I could muster and confirmed that, ‘Yes, this is the men’s room’.
The lesson to me that day at that time was that there I was doing my best to appear and present as a male at work and this stranger saw me as female without me trying to present as female. He saw what I was wearing though he may not have comprehended my attire was female jeans, sweater vest, and shoes. He saw that I had no facial or arm hair. Hiding my ‘C’ girls under extra T-shirts under my over-sized male office shirt was getting difficult. It’s no wonder that man at the men’s room that day perceived me as female and not as male.
That rest room confrontation brought me to ponder how others at my office also truly perceived of my appearance as not quite male, and persisted their whispers of ‘He’s a she’ and ‘She’s a he’.
I truly did live an actual ‘Victor / Victoria’ existence. There I was – a female presenting as a male who was living as a woman pretending to be a man – in a manner expressed in that popular Julie Andrews / Robert Preston / James Garner / Lesley Anne Warren movie of that time.
Sharon / female is my real me while ‘He’s a phony’ was what I presented at work. I submit to you, Dear Reader, that my real life was far more interesting – obviously true to life – than their fictional story.
(Up-date: 29 Apr 17)
Danke! Thank you, Cristina S., for the ‘Viktor und Viktori’ poster.