"A Pillar and Part-Timer"
I’m here with my good friend Naomi G., who has been a long-time pillar in the L.A. trans community and, like me, a person who prefers to stay part time despite years of out-and-about experience—and very little denial.
Alice: Can you please tell us about your week-to-week lifestyle?
Naomi: I now live the majority of my social, recreational, and sexual lifestyle as a TG woman. I date men, and most of my best friends are TGs. I’m addicted to dancing en femme and go to TG clubs as well as straight clubs about twice a week. I love to go on dates and often go to restaurants, movies, dancing etc with men that I meet online or at TG clubs. I also go shopping en femme about once a week. In my male mode, I work a full time job, play golf, and spend most Sundays with my family as well as non-TG related friends. A: Have you been married? Do you have any kids?
N: I’ve been married—though divorced now for many years--and have a twenty-year-old son that I’m very proud of. He lived with me until he moved out to go to college two years ago. He knows about my TG lifestyle to a certain extent and accepts it, but we both prefer not to discuss it.
A: What are your size and features like? Do you think you pass most of the time?
N: I’m of Asian descent, 5’8”, 138 lbs. I used to weigh 170lbs but, through the right exercise, mostly aerobic, manage to maintain a slender profile. I don’t take hormones, but I’ve grown my hair long and have had my facial hair removed by laser. As far as passing goes, I think most TGs would have a much better chance of passing if they carefully study the appearance and behavior of genetic women who are in their size and age range, then emulate them accordingly. I know of many large TGs over 6 ft that pass well by following this rule and many slender 5’5” TGs that don’t pass because they want to look like the girl of their dreams. Do I pass? I really don’t know until there is an indication of some sort that I’m not passing, and believe me, I have had those indications from people many times when I first started venturing out in public. Over the last several years, though, after developing the art, I have been in public as a woman hundreds of times including ladies’ restrooms, without any indication that I was being read. I do think I pass almost all of the time now.
A: How do you feel about women? Men? Any serious relationships with men?
N: Many years ago, I only dated women and the crossdressing was a hobby that I pursued on occasion. However, as I started going to TG clubs and became more in tune with the TG community, especially our male admirers, I acquired an appreciation for male/female sexual dynamics and started dating men. Currently, I date mostly men, for I’ve discovered that it’s much more fun for me to date men as a woman than to date women as a man. The downside is that being a part time woman, it’s hard to establish any kind of a meaningful relationship with a man, as you well know, Alice. But in the past few years, I have had the good fortune of two boyfriends. They were great experiences and lasted over a year each. I am on the lookout for the next. Perhaps one of your male readers may be interested? Ha ha.
A: When you say you date men, I assume you get sexually involved with them. Can you explain your sexuality as a TG woman?
N: My sexual behavior had been as a heterosexual male most of my life. At puberty, I was excited by images of nude women, not men. However, several years ago, the woman in me discovered sexual feelings for men that are based not so much on physical attraction (as men are with women and gay men with men) but behavioral attraction. When I evaluate men, I naturally prefer the good-looking ones, but looks are not my top priority, perhaps like how genetic women see men. If a man acts like a man, takes me out, romances me, and shows interest in me as a (female) person before trying to get me into bed, then I would become more inclined to be sexually attracted to him and he wouldn’t have to try so hard – it becomes natural. Which means I don’t normally go to bed with a man right after meeting him in a club but may after a date or two.
A: What kind of work do you do? Ever gotten involved as a professional or a volunteer with the community?
N: I work in the healthcare industry in male mode. Despite my ponytail, I don’t think any of my colleagues suspect that I lead a second life as a woman. As a TG, I work as a club promoter and used to work part time in stores for crossdressers. It’s mostly for the fun of it, though, and not so much the pay. I wrote a column “Neon Nights with Naomi” for two years in GIRLTALK Magazine, where I reviewed TG-friendly clubs and restaurants. I’ve also been involved with (L.A) TransUnity, where I served on the planning committee, and still occasionally attend Tri-Ess meetings where I get to meet many TGs just coming out and share with them the joys of leading a TG lifestyle. Oh yes, and I occasionally perform as “Elvette the Femme Elvis,” singing femme versions of Elvis songs in sexy Elvis-like costume.
A: Why haven’t you transitioned? Is it family, partnership possibilities, work, finances, lack of interest, or something else?
N: Although I’ve often wondered about the possibilities of transitioning, at least for now, it’s not for me. I think it’s the need to maintain balance in my life. Transitioning would negatively affect the other important aspects of my life, mainly work and family. For example, I am a father and may be a grandfather some day. If I transition, I could get disconnected from such relationships as well as other personal and professional relationships I value. On a different note, by making balance a crucial aspect of my lifestyle, I can be a person who lives both sides of the gender spectrum and experiences firsthand the differences between being male and being female. I find that fascinating, and if I transitioned, I would not be able to continue that experience.
A: You have been the welcoming committee to countless waves of young transwomen. Is there anything you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to our readers?
N: We’ve all heard of the expression “We have to accept who we are.” In order to accept that we are TG--no matter what definition one may have of that--I think we have to be able to share and enjoy it with other people. I can honestly say that I came to terms with being TG only after I emerged from isolation and learned to enjoy being who I am with friends and lovers. I used to think that being TG was a curse. Now I think of it as a gift.
A: You, Naomi, are a gift. Thank you for sharing so candidly with us here today.
Life’s rich, complex, and full of possibilities. Be careful and enjoy!
Alice Novic, M.D.
To learn more about me than you’d ever dare ask, please see my smart, sexy memoir, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age