Saturday, 5 April 2014

First Time Out As Amy

I’m always going to remember last night.  Not because I hung out with my friends, not because I went to an awesome book launch and not because I saw an amazing film for the first time.  I’m going to remember last night because it was the first time out in public as the real me.  Last night I went out presenting as Amy, in public, for the best part of twelve hours.

Yesterday my friends and I attended the book launch for David Flint’s new book ‘Sheer Filth’, a book I m very much looking forward to cracking open.  The launch was held in Nottingham at the Broadway Cinema, where their would be a showing of the new Jake West documentary ‘Video Nasties 2: Draconian Days’, followed by a Q&A with the film makers and David Flint.  It was a great night, a brilliant film and interesting and different experience.

David Flint's book 'Sheer Flith!'
I’m not sure what it was that made me decide that last night was going to be ‘The Night’ but something in me said ‘now’s the time’.  So I got home from work early, spent the best part of two hours getting ready then started to panic.

As soon as I was done with my prep and was waiting to get picked up the fear kicked in.  I guess it’s because I had nothing to do to occupy my mind but I started to really freak out about the prospect of going outside, into the ‘real world’ as me for the first time.  I began to hyperventilate, my hands were shaking, I felt sick and the only thing stopping me from crying a little was the knowledge that it would fuck up my mascara.

Luckily for me I’ve got some awesome friends and they quickly rallied around me to calm me down, reassuring me that nothing was going to happen to me and that they were their for me.  So we all jumped into the car, me still thinking that this was going to be a terrible idea, but I was in the middle seat so it’s not like I could jump out and escape.

We reached Nottingham and then came the next hurdle, actually getting out of the safe confines of the car.  It seemed like every time I got over one irrational fear another would rear its head!  Walking through the city centre felt like a minefield, my eyes were constantly scanning the crowd.  Was anyone looking at me?  Why are those people over their laughing, is it me?  Is anyone saying anything?  Does anyone look like they want to hurt me?  I was also massively conscious of my body language the whole way, concentrating so hard on moving femininely it was giving me a fucking headache.

Nottingham City Centre Nightlife.
As we neared our destination though I began to relax a little.  No one was laughing or pointing or calling me names.  No one was even looking twice.  ‘Hey’, I thought, ‘maybe this isn’t so bad after all’.  As soon as we got to the cinema though I realised that their were a couple of little hurdles that I’d forgotten about and was suddenly getting worked up over once again.

The first was the fact that I needed to pee.  Now, normally I’m presenting as male, so I go into the male toilets, pee and leave, no problems whatsoever.  This night though I was going to have to use the women’s toilets.  What if other people were in their?  What if they could tell I’m trans when I walk in?  what if they start to freak out or make a fuss or get nasty?  If it wasn’t for the fact that I would have to hold it for another five hours and that my friend also needed to go I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have even gone in their.  But once again, I did it and their were no problems at all.

The second thing that threw me once I was in the cinema was ordering snacks and my drink.  ‘Fuck, my voice is going to give me away!’  I thought to myself.  I’ve only had one speech therapy session so far and my work schedule has made it hard for me to keep up my vocal practice so I’m going to get clocked for sure.  So I tried altering my pitch, kept my voice quiet and talked as little as possible.  I’m sure that some of the people I spoke to suspected but at least they didn’t say anything.

Later in the night, once the film had finished and we went up to the bar area to meet the author and get a copy of the book, I did notice a few people that seemed to be giving me longer than normal looks, and even had one guy squeeze past me and say ‘excuse me sir’.  Not the best thing to happen no, but it was far from the worst.

Yep, that's me....taking a damn 'selfie'.  God I hate myself for that.
Last night was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had, but I’m glad I did it.  Thanks to hormones I’m starting to be able to see a female when I look into the mirror rather than a ‘tranny in a bad wig’.  Last night helped me to reaffirm those thoughts, I mean maybe others were seeing me as female too.  Those people in the bar would have been looking over at me because of the fact that I’m quite tall.  It could have been because of any number of reasons that had nothing to do with figuring out what I am.  Maybe I even misheard the ‘sir’ comment as it was in a quite loud room.

With a lot of the horror stories I’d heard about bad experiences trans women have had in going out in public and my own irrational fears I was absolutely petrified of what I did last night.  But I’m damn glad I did it.  I’m not in a massive hurry to do it again and theirs no fucking way I’m doing it on my own but I’m glad its done and that it will be easier next time too.

The Broadway Cinema, my place of triumph :P
For anyone reading this that isn’t at that stage yet and is worried about their first time out, well yeah, be scared.  It is fucking scary.  But its also not as bad as your mind will tell you its going to be.  Surround yourself with people you love and people you trust and it will make it a whole lot easier too.

I owe my friends big time for last night.  They helped to keep me strong, stopped me from freaking out or just outright refusing to go.  Even if they didn’t realise they were doing it, just by being their with me, being themselves and treating me like nothing was wrong and it was an ordinary night was just what I needed.  Thank  you Hannah, Jake, Lehen and Mario.  I love you guys for what you did last night.