During the winter of 2003/2004 I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Kaitlin Acres and Barbara at their house. I had travelled there by car, a journey of about four hours, counting a stop for fuel and a bite to eat. Although I had male outer garments in the trunk of the car, I intended that they stay there. I travelled en femme.
It was a bright, sunny Friday afternoon that I left the house, and new-fallen snow had given the countryside a clean, crisp look. It was cold, and the late afternoon breeze added to my discomfort as I stood at the gas pump, filling the tank, at the half way point of my journey. At least my wig kept my head warm. It was so good to be out. I felt so alive — so free!
The trip, itself, was quite uneventful, and I arrived at my destination to a very warm welcome. I was instantly made to feel 'at home.' After unpacking and getting things set up in the guest bedroom, we settled into comfortable chairs in front of the living room fireplace to catching up on the latest happenings. The evening was spent touring the nearby town to view the extensive Christmas decorations and lights. It was quite cold, and a steady breeze added to the chill as we walked along the brightly lit canal. It didn't take long before we turned back, seeking the comfort and shelter of the warm car.
Kait's Saturday morning breakfast was fabulous, to say the least. The day was spent relaxing, reading and discussing matters which we considered important. By the time the evening meal had finished I was certain that I had put on five pounds. And, of course, by bed time, we had solved all the world's problems.
On Sunday morning I awakened to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the promise of something delicious cooking on the stove. Kait was busy preparing yet another of her famous breakfasts. And, as I sat there, at the table, in my housecoat and slippers, sipping my coffee and waiting for Kait's fare, I reflected on how good life was. I knew it was going to be another great day. But knowing what was to come next I felt a little uneasy; excited, but uneasy.
We had planned to go to church.
And, we did!
En route I tried to keep my mind on other things, but it didn't work. Could I really pull this off? Horror of horrors, would I be read? If I was, what could I expect? Perhaps this was a foolish idea. What was I thinking? But in my heart of hearts I knew I had to do this. Every book I had read on being transgender had added to my belief that, as a child of God, I was accepted. This was going to be the true test, I thought.
All too soon we were there. My heart was racing as we approached the door. I did my best to appear calm and poised. Oh God! Kait opened the door, and in we went… to a very warm greeting by a woman who turned out to be the church organist. Handed a worship program and an announcement sheet, I was ushered to a pew. Because we were early there were not too many people there, and for the longest while I sat very much by myself. That gave me time to compose myself and to relax a little. But within minutes a very senior gentleman a few rows ahead of me noticed that I was by myself, and that I was not one of the 'regulars'. Immediately he rose from his seat and came back towards me, hand extended in welcome. His friendly smile led me to believe that everything was going to be just fine. But I wondered about the women.
During the service of worship there came a time to greet those around us. I was surrounded by women! I was petrified. "How could I do this?", I wondered. But in God's hands all things are possible, and I passed without incident. As uplifting as the experience was, it wasn't until I knelt at the communion rail that my emotions overwhelmed me. And, as I accepted the bread and wine, tears ran down my cheeks. They came in a flood, and there was nothing I could do to stop them. It's one thing to think about the theory of acceptance and another to know, and feel, that acceptance. Then and there, at that communion rail, I knew I was acceptable, and accepted, in God's sight. I returned to my seat refreshed and at peace. Never again would I doubt God's love for me, a transgender person.
After the service of worship there was a time of coffee and fellowship. There I met and shook hands with many who welcomed me to their community. I was made to feel quite 'at home.' And, as we departed for a restaurant for lunch I felt so uplifted I almost floated to the car. The rest of the day was spent in quiet reflection, reading, and more delightful conversation with my most gracious hosts. I seemed surrounded by warmth and love.
So it was with great reluctance that I returned home the following Monday. It had been quite an experience. I had spent four complete days en femme — four rich, wonderful, fulfilling days — days that have had a profound influence on my self-perception. I have never looked back.
Kaitlin and Barbara, how can I possibly thank you for such a wonderful, uplifting, soul-satisfying weekend? Words alone seem so inadequate. My life has changed as a result of the time spent with you in your home. I am forever in your debt.