I participated with two civics groups working to advance the Equal Rights Amendment while I resided at Utah (early 1980s).
[See: Utah State Historical Society (‘heritage.utah.gov/apps/history/findaids/B00501/B0501.xml’)].
Our groups held regular meetings. We also sponsored semi-annual campaigns that attracted hundreds to thousands of supporters for one weekend twice each year.
I developed a falling out with one group – I gradually observed their anti-male and anti-transsexual sentiment. The last straw was when they held a post-campaign party ‘for women only’. That made me angry at them. I worked long hours during many months side-by-side with the women membership and now they were excluding me from the celebration because I was male (or so they perceived me). That was against what I expected of them and our stated goals of social and legal equity. I considered coming out to them at this party – either showing my drivers licence clearly marked ‘Female’ or maybe one step further by going home, changing to my Sharon / female mode, returning to the party, and demanding entrance. Nah! They were not worth any additional time. That evening marked my departure from that one group.
I still remained active with the other group.
Debbie was a friend I met through one of the civics groups while I lived at Utah. She seemed to have no mind of my outward changes; at least to say, she did not comment to me about them during the four years we knew each other (1982 – 1985). Instead, she saw me as the safe male to have at her home with her and her daughter. She gave to me a standing invitation ‘date’ to visit her home each weekend; we watched videos or talked politics.
Tim and his homosexual male and female friends welcomed me as the only heterosexual male in their group – at least that was how I presented myself to them (1983 – 1985); I am not certain how they perceived me. They probably saw something in me – whether physically or my personality – that indicated I was a safe male among them yet not quite as a heterosexual male.
Tim accurately suspected me. One day he reached for something while we sat together on his sofa watching TV at his home. He noticed my hands, put one of his hands palm-to-palm to mine, and commented how I have feminine hands – no hair on my arms and hands. I tried dismissing his observation. Another day we were ‘rasslin’ on his bed; his knee landed at a place where there should have been something. Tim instinctively apologised at first, then he realised there was nothing where there should have been that something. He next studied my face and recognised I had no hair on my face. He asked if I was female; as with Terry from work, I deflected his comment with a failed reply. I apologised to Tim when we talked on the telephone a few months later after I moved from Utah.
Oh, gawd, there were more crazy events of ‘What Was I Thinking?’ relief. Recall this part of my life – my friendships and socialising – was when I was still part-time male while transitioning to female depending upon the circumstance.
Clinton invited me to visit him during Christmas 1983 vacation break. He was living at a co-ed dorm at University of Arizona (Tucson) while I was still living at Utah. His residence was a former ‘Greek’ fraternity / sorority house converted to co-ed residence.
I retained my home state MVD licence as Sharon during the five years I worked at Utah. I refused to surrender my home licence on the chance Utah might not issue one to me as female in my name of Sharon while I was finishing my transition; I was not planning to live at Utah any longer than necessary. By late-1983, I already knew my time was running short since my supervisor began her retaliatory action to fire me as a sex change.
How could I explain getting stopt as a ‘male’ with my female licence? Actually, Salt Lake City city police did stop me a few times. None questioned my female licence when I presented as ‘male’ at those stops. I’m certain they were confused and wanted the least to do with me. One judge sentenced me to traffic school (1982). What was he thinking?
One officer stopt me on my way home from visiting Debbie (she resided at Bountiful and my home was at West Valley City). It was February 1985; there were few other cars late night / early morning. I drove around the black ice rather than driving on it. Uh-oh. Flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. Heart attack time. I presented my licence, registration, and insurance to the officer. He looked at my licence and gave a puzzled stare at me. What was he thinking? Was he thinking that I was a female transitioning to male? Or a male transitioning to female? No matter; I smiled in return. That was it; he let me go. He surely did not want to explain this traffic stop to anyone at his station.
Anyway, I drove as Sharon / female both directions – to Tucson and then to home at WVC. I needed to practise ‘passing’. It was more than enough when I had to stop to buy gasoline. Highway patrol stopt me somewhere in Southern Utah. It was one of those construction zones where one lane drives while the opposite direction waits. I was first in line waiting – the officer stood there at my car window chatting it up while we waited. I about had a heart attack! But I ‘passed’ – that officer accepted and acknowledged me as female.
But I was not thinking of the practicalities planning what I would do when I got to Clint’s residence. Sure, it was Christmas break and few people remained at his residence. I was eager to get out of town and leave my work harassment behind me if only for a week or so. Still I could not have been thinking.
This was to be more of the same manoeuvering as I did at work and the dance floor – still presenting to Clint as male. I had not told Clint – that would wait another 18 months.
Presenting as a ‘male’ visitor, I could hardly have used the ‘female’ facilities at Clint’s residence house, never mind that I was now anatomically and medically post-op female. I suppose that I expected private bathrooms for a co-ed dorm. Not quite. There was only one men’s room with a few stalls and urinals and barely private showers. The showers were moderately individualised with floor-to-ceiling plastic shower curtains between nozzles and to the outside.
I had to hold it to time my ‘visits’ so that the other men of the dorm would not notice I only used the stall. I also timed my daily shower when the pace was slow. I showered with my back to the outside direction and kept my towel ready for immediate use if someone ‘accidentally’ ruffled the shower curtain. I would have had to hide my ‘girls’ and ‘down under’ quickly. I obviously had to un-dress and dress within the shower – I had no male undies and had to wear extra T-shirts to cover my chest. You know the drill.
Then Clint hooked me up with his girlfriend’s friend as a blind date for New Years Eve partying at a disco. Here we go again – dodging that female’s gropes and her rubbings at me where there was nothing to arouse. Did this female dance partner have any idea she was dancing with another female? (She knows now.) Or maybe she figured it out and said nothing.
I can’t believe I managed to get away without being discovered during that week of my visit. Or maybe someone was suspicious but said nothing. I was age 27 that Christmas – still young, goofy, and susceptible to bad risks.
What was I thinking? Nope; I clearly was not thinking.
But I did ‘pass’ with that Utah Highway Patrol officer and I evaded discovery at Clint’s dorm.