xF – my new short way of writing expressing female. Same goes for xM, expressing male. It’s just more efficient or I’m lazy, lol.
So, with the start of a new year, I had decided to see how it would be to xF at work. Of the 30 working days this year, I’ve xF for 28 of them. The 2 days I didn’t was because I just didn’t feel F one day and the other was the last day away on course and I wanted to show my male self. More on xF/xM later.
Some more firsts
I’ve always wanted to skate as a girl. We’ll ever since my teens. I finally got the chance early February. I’ve owned women’s figure skates for years just never got them sharpened, but when I saw that our local base rink has adult skating from 1000-1100 on Tuesday and Thursday I knew I had to try them out. It’s been a couple years since I was last on skates (ice) so took me a while to get comfortable. This was of course the first time ever in figure skates but I knew enough to watch out for the toe picks. There was only two other women on the ice for the hour who too where also not that sure footed. I had a blast! Need to get on again soon.
My annual fitness test was over due, last November in fact, but COVID had halted testing. now that it’s back on and I needed to get it done for Reserve contract requirements. And as I was feeling good about myself and wanting to be visible, I did it while xF. During the hour at the gym, I didn’t notice any strange looks from the 7 guys who where also participating or from the fitness staff. I didn’t give a thought on how I looked, I just did what I had to. One of the guys I did know, but in masks it’s hard to tell. We did chat at the end about the testing and my new position. Nothing else.
Due to being not that active over the last 4 months, my fitness level had dropped and I was a bit slower on 3 of the tasks and significantly slower on one. Oh well, still got to the Bronze level. Not bad for a 59 year old.
“I’m sorry, we don’t cut women’s hair”
That was how I was greeted when I showed up for my 1000 appointment.
“That’s ok, it’s not this hair”, pointing at my wig, “but what’s under it”. Hair dresser “but I hope you understand we can’t wash or styling. You should have let us know you needed more time”. She was still under the assumption I was a woman. “I’m bigender, this is my female expression but it’s my male short hair that needs some clipper attention”. “Oh”. I enter the area, wash my hands, head to the chair and go from short straight blond to my mop of dark and grey. A brief chat on gender identity then moved on to other topics. After #4 clippers on the side and 1/2 inch off the top, I get out of the chair, brush off my sleeves, and put my blond wig back on. What an interesting experience but nothing I had any anxiety about doing.
Oh yeh, I also got my ID renewed with the photo showing me while xF. No other info has changed, so despite some back and forth with the Commissionaires at the ID centre, nothing special was required as this is how I now express for the majority of the time at work. Which leads into…
So, back to that xF and xM thing
I almost lost track of time in the shower the other evening as my mind was wandering around in a bit of a pink fog.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to have a definite end goal, but that’s not me. I’m like one of those dolphin trainers standing on two dolphins (xF, xM), one foot on each. Having to maintain balance as they swim in parallel but no particular place to go. I don’t want to fall and have to hang onto only one or the other, I need both to get me through. These last few weeks have been an eye opener for my feminine expression; almost everyday at work, fitness test, a new ID with female looking picture. I’m not hiding (at work). I’ve got zero inhibitions of doing anything as Michelle. But then I think “am I somehow letting my male side down, at work?” After all, I’ve made it known I’m bigender, so shouldn’t I also be xM at work? The thing is, I xF typically only between the hours of 0800 and 1600, arrive and leave in male form. I xM everyday at home, evenings and weekends, so not letting that part down really. But then I think “I’ve xM all my career, hidden this part of me for all those years. I’ve earned this. I’ve struggle with this. Now I can show this part of me!” I’ve only got a few more years in the CAF and I want to show I’m proud to serve and proud of who I am. So yes, I’ll xF as much as I can and/or want to. I enjoy being ME!
So yes, it would appear it is possible.
Of the last 40 working days, I’ve expressed female for 32 of them. I would leave and return home in male mode and change in my office.Those day I expressed male, I’d gotten to work and didn’t “feel like it”, to put on makeup and change. But that was ok.
It has become a regular routine and I have no guilt or regrets of not being male all those days. It’s comfortable. It’s me.
That was a question I was asked by a Facebook friend after I had posted about this weeks course attendance; first three days expressing female and the last as male. Here is how the post and responses went.
ORIGINAL POST – So today I only once caught myself walking in the direction of the wrong bathroom…lol. But the rest of the day was just me being my male self…except at the end of lunch when the dining room staff (the mess hall was empty except of me) said “ just leave your tray, we’ll get that” to which I replied “ok, thank you” but in my feminine voice, which I only realized as I started walking out…lol.
FROM FRIEND – Which side is stronger?
ME – I had to think. It really depends on the moment I am in. Right at this moment (male) I’m good with being and expressing male. Yesterday, I wasn’t thinking of my male(ness) at anytime, I was just being me; female. It’s an interesting place/feeling that I never thought I’d be in or feel. I like this balance of expression.
ME AGAIN – Upon further reflection, while on the bus crossing town to my daughter apartment, I got to thinking deeper about this. Expressing male, its as if there is almost always a Siren’s song off in the distance, beckoning me to come over to the other side. While expressing female, there is no equivalent. No thought or anything trying to pull me in a male direction. So…with that in mind, it would appear that indeed, the female has a slightly stronger tug at my expression. Humm 🤔
So…so, so, so. Interesting. I’d never contemplated my expressions that way. I’m surly repeating myself somewhat here, but, I’m still happy being male; a dad, a husband. There is an ever present interest in wanting to express my female self but I don’t pine over not always be able to. And as I mentioned in the response, I’d never considered the fact that I didn’t think of my male self while expressing female, though the fact I was AMAB never disappears completely (reminded every time I have to pee, but I now treat that just as a lady issue I have to take care of).
So some may ask; which expression makes you happier? I can’t put a general quantitative figure on that. Yes, I indeed enjoy my female self and have been told I “seem” happier and more confident. But I don’t lack any self confidence in male expression either. So where does that leave me?
Pretty much where I was at the beginning of this post, contemplating a simple question: which side IS stronger?
The following is based upon my experiences and may differ from others I’m sure.
I don’t say “I dress as a woman” as that implies it’s about the cloths. I don’t “present as a woman” as that makes it sound like a show. I “express myself” and clothing is only one way of doing that. I don’t use the term “pass as a woman” as that to me implies there is a standard to be met or exceeded in order to be perceived as a woman. “Blending” is my preferred term.
It’s been just over a year since I embraced the notion of being bigender and since then I’ve come to fully embrace who I am. In recent months, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to express and be accepted as my female self at work. It has been very enlightening.
I’ve stated in the past, that after examining my life, there has always been these two genders resident within me. One thing that reinforces the idea that I’m not just a cross dresser and that it’s not about the clothes, is the fact that for the last couple of weeks I’ve either worn a flight suit or combats during my work day. Neither is feminine, in fact very gender neutral. They have not though made me feel any less feminine in my expression. Sure I don a wig and makeup, use forms and tuck (my new bra is so comfortable I forget I’m wearing one), but all that just melts away moments after getting ready. I don’t spend time gazing at myself in the mirror but just go about my day as I would if I was expressing male. I’m me, just happen to be a woman.
I don’t know how long this “double gender living”, male expression at home, female, sometimes male at work, will last. I’m comfortable with it. This past Thursday, after have expressed female for the past 8 working days, I didn’t“feel” like it and just stayed male, with no second thoughts about it.
Next week I’m on course (Unit Harassment Advisor) dress is civvies. I plan on expressing female for all but the last day, for both personal reasons (wife is picking me up after class) and as a chance to educate others on bigender matters.
While the ruffles and lace, silk and nylons may be all nice, they are not something I lust for or dream of wearing on the weekend or whenever. It’s so not just about the clothes. Clothing is part of my expression, weather that be male or female and makes me happy to be me.
“Enjoy who you are, however you can”
2020 is almost behind us and destined for the history books, mostly for the wrong reasons. It was a very bad year for many reasons; in my home province of Nova Scotia we suffered a mass murder and the loss of a deployed RCAF helicopter and all its crew, and along with the rest of the world learned to cope with COVID-19 sickness and lives lost.
Putting aside the devastating losses, on a personal level this past 12 months has proven to be a massive breakout year for my expression. If you’ve cast an eye to my Flickr pictures, you will have seen a number of examples.
Year in review.
The beginning of the year brought with it the realization that “bigender” was the best descriptor for my gender identity. The following months allowed some expression at work and an article or two published in the local paper. With the prolonged closure of barber shops, I got to see my hair grow longer than it’s been in a while and raise a couple of questions reference military dress regulations.
In June I organized the second annual raising of the Rainbow Pride flag at the Wings main gate and the first ever Transgender flag to close out the month. That event, covered by the local paper and published on Facebook, lead to my big “outing” the next day on the CBC regional afternoon show Mainstreet. The Wing Commander and myself where interviewed where we talked about the flag, what it symbolized and inclusion, oh and the fact I identify under the transgender umbrella, more specifically that I’m bigender. No hiding anymore for sure!
While social activities where curtailed during the summer, I was still able to express both at work and at a couple of work related events. In the fall, I was able to instruct a number of Positive Space Ambassador courses and a couple of info sessions.
I also started a new position in November, moving from Wing Operations to the Deputy Wing Commanders Branch, assuming the duties for Ethics and Harassment coordinator.
December was the penultimate experience of the year. For the month, for a $25 donation to the Wings Combined Charities, one could wear civvies instead of uniform and for those members “who identify as women” we could paint our nails! For 13 of the 14 days I worked, I enjoyed being able to express that female self of me, which also included attending the sections Christmas Luncheon. I knew a few members in attendance, but the majority saw me only as a woman. Lady Luck must have been in my side that day as I walked out at the end with three draw prizes!
Christmas break has been all about family and not much thought about gender identities. I say “not much thought”, but it’s still there. Upon return to work in the new year, I foresee the continued opportunity to be me, though i think I’ll change up to wearing combats vis flightsuit with hopefully maybe once a month a casual Friday.
As the title says, where to next will be the theme for 2021. In the meantime I will continue with my new found mantra of “be the change“ and to “lead by example”.
I may not be writing as much as I did in the past as ack then I found it was the best outlet for my expression and a self therapy of sorts. Now that I can express myself physically more often, I’m comfortable with who I am and find I don’t need to use writing as often. That being said, I’ll try to keep my blog fresh with updates, but probably the best way to stay up to date is via my Flickr page.
Until next entry, please, observe medical advise, stay safe and healthy!
I thought I was dipping my toes into the shallow end of the pool, but somehow I had managed to make it to the highest diving board and before I knew it, I’d jumped (or stumbled) off the edge right into the deep end.
Since COVID-19 had put a damper on almost all activities during Junes Pride month, I thought it might be a bit of a bust. I’d been hoping for so much this year; attending functions, doing presentations etc. Oh well, I’d settle for the approval to have the Pride Rainbow flag raised for a second year (asked for a week, the Wing Commander said “it’s Pride month. Leave it up for the month.”) and maybe the Transgender Flag for the last couple day. We ended up having it fly for the last week of June. That last request and action, the raising of Transgender flag for the very first time, led to an interesting week.
I was working the night shift, but expressed female on the morning of Tuesday 23 June. Headed over to the main gate at 0730 to meet up with a few folks and the Wing Commander (WComd). After a few words from myself and the boss, up went the flag with notes and pictures being taken by the base newspaper, The Aurora. Those pictures appeared later that day on the papers Facebook page along with a write-up. I hadn’t said too much as what was important had appeared the day before in an article I had submitted for the weekly printed version of the paper. I was amazed to see the response and number of shares of that small Facebook post.
The next day, Wednesday 24 June, I got home at 0830 from my last light. At 1230 I got a text from my wife saying that the Wings Public Affairs Officer (WPAO) wanted to know if I was available for a radio interview with the WComd and CBC Radio Halifax. Oh! Umm, I hadn’t told her about doing the flag raising…(by the way nothing has been said…).
So anyway, I call him and its’ short notice; can I be in the WComd office in 60 mins? “Yes” I said with not much thought or angst. I got there at 1315 and we talk about a few things and I learned he had canceled another scheduled teleconference call in favor of this interview as he flelt it was an important message to get out. At 1330 we both got calls on our cellphones and the interview commenced. I was more nervous listening to the show later that afternoon than I was doing the actual interview, but it all went very well. This was though, me, outing myself regionally, Nova Scotia, as a bigender military member under the transgender umbrella. We talked about the flag, support from the Wing, Positive Space ambassadors and yep, I’m transgender!
A printed version was posted on the CBC news site and on the CBC Halifax’s Facebook, which also got great responses. As is typically, there are some negative comments, but one could also tell that some people hadn’t read or listened to the whole article.
The next afternoon I received a text from the WPAO saying “you’re valley famous”. “What now?” I reply. Turns out one of the local valley radio stations picked up the news item and reported on it too. WOW. I quickly texted the kids to let them know in case they had any friends that might have heard and had questions. Again, only positive responses had been seen by a couple of them.
At work too, those who had heard it only had praise and I’ve received notes of appreciation from complete strangers on FB. As a good friend, Nata, and I took down the flag at the end of the day on the 30th, we were joined again by the WComd. It is absolutely fantastic to have the Colonels full support for those like myself and all Defence team members who work on the Wing. He also passed on a greeting and message of support from a Brigadier General who had been my Squadron CO and also a Greenwood WComd in the past.
Thinking back on last week now it seems like a dream. All this time, I’ve slowly allowed my female expression to trickle out and was never one for the spotlight. The newspaper editor and I had a good working relationship; my male name might appear in the text because of what I had said, but it never appeared alongside a picture of me while expressing female. Well, don’t have to worry about that anymore…lol. And I found myself fully illuminated by that spotlight I had avoided.
All is good at home. Nothing said. I’m glad I didn’t say no. It was/is an important message of support and inclusion that needed to be shown.
I am proud to serve, proud of who I am.
I’m usually an impulsive publisher, meaning I usually come up with my ideas in my head while doing some mundane task, then put fingers to keyboard later that day and hit publish right away. The following though has been sitting for over a week and had a couple going overs. Humm.
The wording in the title may seem redundant. Being bigender, it’s with me all the time already, right?
Due to the COVID-19 issue, there are no places to get my hair cut and we don’t own any clippers. For that reason, my hair is getting quite long. It’s been 10 years since I had it this long, that was after my first retirement from the RCAF and lasted for about four or five months. That was by choice. Not now. Even though the regulations for men’s hair has been relaxed, I feel somewhat uneasy about my full head of hair when expressing male at work in uniform.
Back in my teens and early 20’s, all I had was my natural hair, no wigs. I wondered now what I could do with the mop that I’m currently blessed with. So I played around with it a bit the other day with some interesting results. It felt quit nice to sport my own hair and the resulting pictures got me to wondering “do I now need to match my gender expression to my hair?”
Living a double life?
Which then got me to wondering; as a bigender individual, I enjoy my manhood just as much as I enjoy being able to express that female part of me. While others in the similar situations as mine may be able to express female at home and male at work only, I find myself in the reverse situation. The CAF is an open and accepting employer. If I want, I could express as Michelle at work all the time, not so at home. I respect my wife’s request not to be (currently) involved with Michelle, but my “need” to be me is always present. So could I express male at home and female at work for extended periods? Like living some sort of double life?
I’ve worked my shifts while expressing female, getting ready at home and “sneaking” out before my wife got up, or changing on the way to/from work. On my 40 minute cycle into work for a night shift, just hours after playing with my hair, I conjured up the idea of leaving some female cloths in my locker at work, plan on arriving 10-15 mins early to change and throw on a quick face, ok, so maybe 20 mins early to spray down and style hair a bit too. I already have a flightsuit there, could add a skirt (I have two) and blouse, and would just need a few other items. Makeup I’d bring in my backpack and for now, no wig required. I’d arrange to reserve the single stall women’s bathroom for the time it takes to change. I’d probably not express female during my night shifts or just go makeup-less.
Now I have a hair dilemma. There are currently only regulations for men’s hair and women’s hair (unlike some European countries militaries). There is the CF Mil Pers Instr 01/19 – TRANSGENDER GUIDANCE, which is great for members who are transitioning. Bigender and gender non-conforming members are still in the grey area. In male mode, my hair can’t be touching my ears. If I was transitioning, no issue growing it out. But right now I’m required to select which Dress Reg (male of female) I’m going to follow. Yes wigs are easy, but could I be the one to challenge the establishment. I’ve done a bit of digging and found that it would more than likely be at the local (Unit or Wing) level, where approval might be considered as part of an individuals gender expression. I’m not sure if I should go there. Maybe I’ll just enjoy what I can for now and go back to my wig when the time comes.
My last two day shifts I expressed female. First day with natural hair, second with wig. I received compliments on both. I have to admit though I do prefer the short blond wig as I think it makes me look younger.
I’ve re-established contact with my local mental health folks to try and sort things out, both with my desire to express more and communications with my dear, lovely wife.
The question posed in the title is still open. Hopefully, to be answered sooner than later.
I didn’t. It chose me.
Note: if I repeat something I’ve already mentioned in earlier posts, its to reinforce a point or for new readers to understand something. If I contradict something from earlier, it’s because I’ve learned more about myself since then. Also, I know everyone is different. Everyone has their own lives to live and their lived experiences are different from everyone else’s. This is my take on my life
26 April 2020. It was an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning in the Annapolis Valley NS and as the weather forecast had the following three days looking cold with snow and rain, I got out early into the vegetable garden to get as much prep work done as I could.
It was 4c, no wind but full sun. Very quickly it warmed up to 14c and I soon had my sweater off. As I continued to dig over the dirt, I could feel by biceps working hard. The sun beat down on my bare arms and neck and what was I thinking? “Well that’s not going to be much help if I want to wear a sleeveless dress or top. A farmers tan and large muscles.” Such is my conflict between expressions.
Working alone doing a mundane, yet somehow enjoyable task like working over the garden, my mind had plenty of time to consider many thoughts. Not only planning on what I was going to plant where, but also how life might have been different. Questions that popped up were like; should I somehow have stopped myself at “just being a crossdresser”? Could I have lived with that? How about calling it a hobby or seeing it as an art form; in praise of women? I was born male, raised male, enjoy my male life and everything I do as a male so why can’t I just be happy being a straight crossdressing male? There is more to me than just that male portion of my life that until quite recently wasn’t seen by many. Have I now made my life more difficult?
What if I hadn’t got up the nerve to talk to my CO? If I’d been somehow able to quash the thoughts of being more visible? Just have been, or gone back to being an at home alone crossdresser? I think you might suspect the answer…I would not have been all right in the head! There has always been more to me than just wanting to wear the clothes of the opposite gender. That female expression has been a part of me for ever. I just never really understood it.
So at 58 years of age, I find myself trying to balance my two expressions. Sure I love to work outdoors, in the garden etc but that sometimes conflicts with how I want to improve my female expression. Sure I keep my body hair free and toenails painted, what guy doesn’t? Oh, never mind. I usually cover my arms in guy mode to avoid getting too much sun, or go shirtless to avoid the dreaded farmers tan. I try to keep my fingernails as long as I can and coated with clear polish. I tweezed my eyebrows decades ago and they remain fine. I believe these are all parts of my female expression bleeding through into everyday male life.
The previous day after getting home from my night shift and my wife leaving to take groceries to her mother, I had a chance to go through some bags of used clothing my youngest daughter had set aside. Due to boredom, she had actually cleaned out her room…lol. Now I’ve stated in the past that I don’t do part ‘dressing’, but on this occasion I only donned my wig and did the “tuck and stuff” to achieve the correct body shape. And I felt completely fine with my image, even without makeup. I’m not turned off or revolted by what I see. I just see me and I’m now comfortable with that.
So back to the clothes. I found a few items and put then aside. I went into the family room where my daughter was watching something and said “you don’t mind?” as I was wearing leggings, tshirt and cardigan (all saved items), and she answered, “no. Why should I?” but then ran out of the room. That surprised me until she returned with a tube of foundation and a grey eyeshadow pallet. “I don’t use these, thought you could”. “Oh, and there are some bags of clothes in the garage you might find something in them”. “All ready gone through, haha” I replied. We talked about what I had found as well as about what I use for makeup. Love my daughter. I then put the clothes away, changed back to drab gardening clothes and went to dig. It was again, in the garden, that I thought about how I can switch between expressions without regret of losing or having to “put away” an expression.
Being bigender for me is a balance and it’s not always easy, between living up to whom I have been or perceived to have been by others until this point in my life, and who I truly am; which includes that part of me that has been kept under wraps for so long.
I have thought about what I would be like to “live” for a time as a woman, but I have no desire to transition. I believe I would miss the male me. I have thought about what it would be like to be able to modify my body somewhat, ie grow some breasts, get curvier hips, but that’s not happening. Would love to get rid of my damn beard though (but I’m lucky it’s not very dark or heavy), that might be doable.
And in the middle of all these questions and racing mind, I recall the one time I did see a specialist and she said something along the lines of “there is this woman that needs out”. Ok, so she knew her stuff. She saw it in me, I hadn’t clued in yet. Time, self-reflection and learning eventually made the lightbulb come on.
I didn’t choose to be bigender.
What I did choose was to accept who I am. I choose to be the best person I can be. I choose to learn more about myself and others like me. I chose to put myself out there as an example so others know they are not alone and they too can express themselves freely.
Yes, at times it can be very difficult being bigender. Would I choose to be any different? Nope!
2020 so far.
It is indeed the tail of two situations (I have a vague recollection of reading something decades ago about best and worst times…yes I know it’s from the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, the only thing I remember…lol). Ok, back to this year so far.
2020 started off with so much hope and excitement. For me in January there was the revelation that I’m bigender! I was also eagerly looking forward to the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg at the end of March. Then COVID 19 came along and cancelled things. Ok, so I would be home for the 31st of March, Transgender Day Of Visibility, “I’ll see about arranging a flag raising at my Bases main gate”, I thought. Well that went bye-bye too. I did however write a small article for the local Base paper that got published on the 30th, with the article also appearing on the papers Facebook feed on the morning of the 31st. It was really nice to see a dozen or so “likes” and “loves” along with a couple shares.
I didn’t let the disappointment of losing the flag raising, or no chance to be visible on TDOV, or attend my first ever Transgender conference get me down. Rather it energized me to do something else for the first time.
While the majority of folks are having to stay home (or should be), I’m one of those essential personnel required to keep my RCAF Wing running. While some of those at home take advantage of this time to practice make-up and putting together outfits, or just hang about all day in pajamas, I did the opposite. I actually had to get dressed and head into my shift cycle (2 x 10 hr days, then 2 x 14 hr nights) which started on the 1st of April. Now, there aren’t many people around at work, again essential only with some coming in for an hour or two, but I committed myself to be visible all the same after not having had the chance on the 31st.
I’ve expressed a few times at work, but never in uniform while in the position of working the “Duty Desk” (there was the casual Friday event). I was able to get ready at home for the two day shifts and leave before my wife got up. At the end of those shift, I changed before coming home. I had initially planned on a one day of visibility, but I thought, why not a couple days? That turned into “at least one night”, which ended in a complete shift cycle. For the night shifts I’d dress under my flightsuit and do my makeup in the car on the drive in, reversing the process on the way home in the morning.
Except for one instance (on the last night) of questioning my ID at the main gate, “You’ve got the wrong ID there ma’am”, followed by my well-rehearsed/used story and “well now I know. Thank you”, there was never any issues. I also got to explain things to one of the members who has known me for many years but not this part of me. We had a good chat, with his closing remarks being, “wow, that is really interesting and congratulations. You look great by the way. Good job.”
“Why are you in DEU’s?” (Distinctive Environment Uniform – referring to the uniform blouse and skirt) was asked by a Major friend and one of my Positive Space ambassadors. My answer was a paraphrase of what Maj (Ret) Foss told me once; “I wear the skirt all the time “she said. “When you’ve been told you can’t do something all your life and now you can, you do.”
I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be able to express myself freely as a bigender member of the CAF. That last shift cycle was liberating. I was so comfortable. I did my job and didn’t really think about how I was dressed or expressing. I was being me. Next shift is Easter weekend, more than likely male me. Following that it’s a Tue/Wed day, Thu/Fri night shift. Who knows? I’ll see how I feel, but it’s nice to know I can.
Yes, so far 2020 has been a mix of the best and worst of times. We’ll get through the worst, and enjoy the best! Stay safe and healthy!
So, for those who have visited recently, or even those who have just tuning in and read my last entry, and via pictures on my Flickr account, You will have noticed I have now come to the conclusion I’m bigender and I’m very comfortable with that fact.
It was with this knowledge that I decided it was time to express myself at work, for a full shift. Not in uniform this time, but take advantage of a full day on a Friday; Dress with a difference day, aka Casual Friday, with a Toonie ($2 Cdn) going towards charity . I’ve done short days in uniform (DEU’s or flightsuit) and a couple classroom sessions in civvies, but never while working as the Duty Ops Officer.
I am proud of where I work and those I work with. “Dignity and inclusivity for all” is a major hallmark of the Canadian Armed Forces and Friday proved that.
“Oh, its Michelle on the desk today”, “Good morning Michelle” was how I was met entering the office and throughout the day. Later in the afternoon, when a flight crew from the other coast came in to pick up their kit left from the night before, the Master Corporal had no hesitation addressing me as ma’am multiple times (even though I’m in civvies, he recognized the position I’m in as that of an officers), and it feels completely natural. During my shift, I received may phone calls. I find now that while expressing my female self, I have an automatic tendency (I don’t need to think about it) to shift my voice to a more feminine one. A number of callers have only ever known me as male so automatically refer to me as “Sir” when I answer the phone with rank and name. I did notice though that a number of times the caller may have been caught off guard (and not sure?), as they just addressed me as “Capt” or “Hello Ops”, which has never happened before.
The day also presented opportunities to inform/educate a couple of members who didn’t know about this part of me. The CO’s Executive Assistant and I compared our boots and outfits (we were both wearing tall boots, black leggings and oversized sweaters, “hey, we dressed the same” she says with a laugh). She also said I needed to give her some make-up lessons…lol. Again, it felt so great to be able to participate in this kind of talk.
I’m comfortable with who(what) I am. I will continue to balance my expressive opportunities as life allows. There may be a couple chances in the near future, but, guess what? I have a major event occurring at the end of March. My first ever attendance at a gender conference; Keystone! Getting very excited. There may be a write-up or two and a couple pictures from that. 😉