| Mar 13, 2023
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As a child, when I thought of goals, I was immediately inclined to think of those on the field of sport. Whether it was international soccer stars like Pelé, or perhaps legendary NHL players like Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky, the goals they scored were the result of intensive athletic training, followed by successful performance and execution during game time. They were exciting moments that directly contributed to a team victory.

Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup winning goal (1970)

Goals are also featured in military plans. During the Second World War, as the U.S. Army crossed the Rhine River and began its advance across Germany, the 2nd Armored Division had a series of phase lines (including, among others, “Silk” and “Satin”) moving further eastward to mark its planned progress, culminating in a final line named “Goal” — the western city limit of Berlin itself. [1] (Although our highly motivated Russian allies reached the city before us, our two armies famously linked hands in nearby Torgau, completing a successful partnership.)

American and Russian troops celebrating their common victory (1945)

In our present-day adult lives, there are numerous goals — financial, educational, professional, physical, etc. — for which we strive. We allocate strenuous effort to plan and achieve the desired outcomes, and rightly so; nothing comes easy in this world. As the saying goes: “If you fail to plan, then you may as well plan to fail.”

So, considering that everything meaningful in life is worth planning for, my question for fellow TGForum readers would be this: What are your transgender goals? Are you looking for opportunities to go out occasionally, or are you thinking about making this a full-time way of life? Do you seek social outlets and genuine friendships? Is there a dressy event you would like to attend? Are you just getting started and need assistance with your appearance? Are you getting comfortable in this life, and feel that family members finally need to know?

Whatever it may be, once you have identified goals for yourself, it will be necessary to come up with a basic plan for how to achieve this successfully. Even non-transgender individuals have to consider what they want in life — both short-term and long-term — and figure out how to get there. We are no different. Stepping onto a soccer field or a hockey rink as a novice and expecting to score goals immediately is unrealistic, to say the least. Acting with a sense of entitlement is also not likely to help matters.

Long before I was completely out, one of my early goals was to make an overnight trip en femme. I receive a free hotel night stay as an annual credit card membership perk. In 2015, I planned an early summer weekend getaway to West Point, in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley, deciding that this would be my first-ever extended public transgender experience. This required plenty of preparation: packing, traveling, lodging, dining and sightseeing were all going to be involved. I was truly going to have to fly without a net.

The trip proved to be a wonderful experience in every way. The scenic drive to West Point included some tollgate stops, checking into a hotel in broad daylight, clearing campus security to enter and tour the United States Military Academy grounds, a subsequent visit to a local vineyard (it’s wine country up there), dining solo at an old school tavern, attending church on Sunday morning, then checking out of my hotel and driving safely home that afternoon. The sights were beautiful — the Hudson is majestic, the Academy architecture is predominantly English Gothic, and the vineyard was relaxed and peaceful, with green grapes starting to grow on the vines.

Gulfport, Florida (2019)

More importantly, I learned that I could confidently travel as I was, and expect to be treated courteously, even in quite rural and traditional settings. The lesson was not lost on me. I have traveled this way ever since, including visits to the Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis, as well as to Montana and Florida’s Gulf Coast (the latter of which was five days entirely en femme, including airport security coming and going).

Do you wish to be out at work, and be able to share this fact of your life with colleagues with whom you spend so much of your day? If so, then you would need to account for your company’s work policies, your professional industry, the personnel with whom you will work with directly, among other factors. Simply arriving for work one day with no advance hints and saying, in effect, “How do you like me now?” will probably not be a recipe for success.

In my case, it was something of a sensation when I came out at the office in late 2019. I was the first openly transgender employee at my privately-held, family-run company. However, I had been a conscientious employee there for over a decade, and had given some subtle indications (e.g. through prior tasteful performances at Halloween) that this might be a factor in my life.

So when I finally did come out, my goal was to faithfully adhere to all company policies — including, obviously, the dress code — and otherwise continued to be a quality colleague, without being a distraction. The initial plan was deceptively simple; it was a regular Casual Friday outlet, which made things more comfortable for everyone, myself included. There were ultimately no issues of any kind.

After transitioning full-time while working remotely, I have been a daily fixture since my office reopened in September 2021, even while some colleagues were still infrequent onsite visitors. From a style perspective, it was a slight disappointment to me when our dress code became more casual under the prevailing situation; however, I’ve adapted happily, much to the delight of numerous female colleagues. (Casual certainly doesn’t have to mean effortless or sloppy.) Some of them are now quite sociable with me, and increasingly willing to take me into personal confidence.

Or perhaps your goal is to make new and meaningful friendships with people who will know you as you are. We all need friends in life, and building genuine friendships takes time and effort. In spring of 2019, I communicated with one of the brides getting married at my church, to assist in coordinating the floral display for her wedding. I missed the chance to attend the ceremony, as I was traveling out of state at the time; and since we had communicated exclusively by email, we ultimately did not have the occasion to meet. Personal and national factors subsequently disrupted any such opportunities for a couple of years.

But in spring 2022, we both happened to encounter one another at a church social, where we finally introduced ourselves and had a chance to talk in person. Since then, we have met occasionally for happy hours and other outings. At Christmastime, I was an invited guest to her home for a holiday party with her husband and a few dozen friends and neighbors. Most recently, we celebrated her birthday together during a dinner outing at a wonderful little Greek restaurant. The obvious subject has never come up in conversation, despite many opportunities, and I certainly have not raised it. It would seem that as far as she is concerned, we are simply two girlfriends socializing together. What a wonderful turn of events.

If I had any goal in coming out, finding such outlets in life would certainly have been it. It took a lot of practice and occasional failures, which served as learning experiences for later. As in sport, one does not win on the opening play — there’s a full game clock to count down. It’s not possible to go from goal line to goal line in one move. Set goals for yourself in this endeavor, plan for the near future, and give yourself and others time to adjust. As in the fable, slow but steady wins the race!

[1] Ryan, Cornelius, The Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin, New York, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1966, pp. 284-287.

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Category: Transgender How To


About the Author ()

I am a project management professional in the greater Philadelphia area. I enjoy travel, domestic arts, reading and gardening. I am an active member of several ladies groups. I am a fan of 1970s & 80s hard rock, do not own a cell phone, and still have my high school football varsity letterman's jacket in my closet.

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