by Melanie Yarborough
Newcomers are pretty easy to spot. They stand nervously by themselves, almost frozen. Being in a roomful of strangers is difficult enough; add to that the fear of being "en femme" in front of a roomful of strangers. Taking a secret shame out of the safety of the closet to a public place. Hell, who wouldn't be nervewracked? I sure was, at the time.
Many of us are veterans of countless en femme meetings or shopping trips, and seem to have forgotten that initial terror. We've also come to disregard the difficult situation of new sisters.
But it's so easy to approach them. A compliment on their outfit, an inquiry to where they got a piece of jewelry, even just going up and introducing yourself. A joke, an ironic comment, anything would be so easy. But so many of us just don't do it. We stick to the familiar faces we already know. Or, we snicker to ourselves about their beard showing through inadequate makeup, a dissheveled wig, an ill-fitting dress. They're the unattractive stepsister at the ball: why should we go up and talk to them?
If everyone thought this way, there probably wouldn't be any support groups at all. Fortunately, many of us know that somewhere out there is a pre-teen transsexual fighting with feelings they can't understand. Or, a pre-teen crossdresser furtively sneaking into his mother or sister's closet during an all-to-seldom moment home alone. And we know they shouldn't have to go through what we went through; we have to make it easier for the next sister coming along.
When you see a new sister, go up and talk to her. Who knows? She could be your group's next president.
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