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Ask Beth: My friend just came out as transgender. How can I help?

My friend just confided in me that her college-age child just came out to her as transgender. How can I support my friend and her child?

Question: Beth, my good friend, Jane, just confided in me that her college-age son, “John” (that’s the name I know him by), just came out to her as being a trans-woman and planning to transition. I’m close to “John” as well. How I can I support my friend and her child?

-Ally-in-Training

(Question adapted from recent conversations with clients and friends)

Answer: Dear Ally-in-Training, I’m so excited that you are supporting your friend and her child. I don’t have all the answers by any means, but here are some things to think about to help you support both of your friends.

Chosen Name and Preferred Pronouns

First, I suggest talking to Jane and John (if you are friends with both) to find out what John’s preferred name and pronouns are. Your friend may not have realized to ask this question or may not have shared this level of detail with you yet.

Here are some possible scenarios:

  • John may be presenting as female and be going by a female name and pronouns like “she” and “her” full-time at college. John may wish to always be referred to by their chosen name and pronouns regardless of how John presents.
  • John may be in the process of socially transitioning and prefer to go by John and male pronouns like “he” and “him” when he is presenting in what many call “boy mode;” when presenting in “girl mode,” John may go by a chosen female name and female pronouns.
  • John may be early in exploring transition and not have chosen a female name or use female pronouns. Furthermore, John may want to come out to people as transgender when ready and not want you or Jane to spill the beans to others.

By asking John directly what is preferred, you can then use John’s preferred name and pronouns in context and thus show support. Also, you can avoid outing John unintentionally by finding out John’s preferences.

Resources for Family Members and Friends

Second, I suggest building your knowledge and your own support team as needed. Read up on the transgender experience so you can better understand what John may be going through. You can find a basic overview of transgender people at the Human Rights Campaign website including how to support them. PFLAG has an extensive primer called “Our Trans Loved Ones: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families, and Friends of People who are Transgender or Gender Expansive.” As you learn more from John and Jane, you can fine tune your research and reading.

You and Jane may benefit from a local support network for friends and family members of LGBTQ+ people. PFLAG has over 400 chapters across nearly all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. You can find a local chapter here. Read about why PFLAG exists and how society’s attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people have changed since 1973 when PFLAG began its work.

Ask John directly what kind of support is desired. Perhaps John wants to go shopping with you or Jane for gender-affirming clothes, hair, makeup, etc. or maybe John wants to this alone or with friends of college age. Each person is different in their journey and how they like to be supported.

Resources for Transgender People

Third, I suggest that you or Jane look into resources for John, who may already be well-connected or may have no clue about where to start. Or encourage John to do this kind of search. Your local LGBT Center and LGBT Medical/Health Center can be key to finding what you need.

  • Google “LGBT Center” and your local major city or cities. Most major cities have an LGBT Center that have a list of resources including medical, mental health, and support groups. Or search at CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers. For DC, The DC Center comes up.
  • Google “LGBT Medical Center” or “LGBT Health Center” and your local major city. For DC, the Whitman-Walker Health Clinic pops up with this search.
  • Look for LGBT Resource Groups on John’s college campus. Google is again your friend.
  • Search for a gender-affirming medical provider/primary care provider for John. The local LGBT Center/Medical Center will sometimes have its own medical clinic and often lists other medical providers in the region who are gender-affirming. Mental health providers will often have a list of local doctors who are gender-affirming.
  • Search for local transgender support groups. Your local LGBT Center often maintains lists of these. Some major cities have multiple support groups in different locations, nights of the week, or by gender identity (trans-feminine, trans-masculine, etc.).
  • Search for local transgender social groups. These are sometimes found on Meetup such as the DC Trans Ladies network in Washington, DC. Others may be on facebook. Often you will hear about these through word-of-mouth.
  • Consider searching for a local makeover artist and photographer who works with transgender women. Seeing oneself transformed by a professional can be incredibly gender-affirming. Search for “MTF Makeover” or “MTF Transformation” and the major city or region of interest. For DC, this includes my transformation services and you’re already at my website.
  • Identify online communities of support such as Transgender Heaven. One of my friends helps run the site, and I’ve heard regular updates about the success trans-women have connecting with each other there.

In conclusion, listen to John and how they want to be supported. Be affirming with your use of John’s preferred name(s)/pronouns. Learn about the transgender community on your own so you have a framework of understanding when John describes experiences and feelings to you. Learn about resources for Jane and John so you can point them in the right direction(s) when they are ready. Encourage Jane to work through these steps too. This is not an exhaustive list of resources on how to be a good ally, but it should get you started in a positive direction.

Good luck and much happiness to you all on the journey ahead!

Elizabeth Taylor (Beth)
Email: elizabeth.taylor.makeover@gmail.com
Phone: 202-803-3231 (voice only)
http://makeoverswithelizabethtaylor.com
http://makeoverswithelizabethtaylor.fullslate.com

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2018 in Advocacy

 

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Holiday Sushi Soiree Spectacular!

Join the DC Trans Ladies Meetup in a modern, dark, stylish room with full bar, a kick-ass sound system, and great food at Hanaro Restaurant and Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 8. From 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., women and their guests will enjoy awesome sushi and a pan-Asian menu. After dinner, we will mingle with the other patrons and gradually take over the bar, dancing if you wish.

Dinner: Fun atmosphere. Locally popular and highly regarded on Yelp, and deservedly so. Members of the DC Trans Ladies group and their guests only. Main event is open to all. Important to RSVP here so we have an accurate headcount for the restaurant.

Main Soiree: Starting 9ish, we mingle with the other patrons and gradually take over the bar. Dance. Or just inhale raw fish and Sapporo drafts. It’s all good. Due to the venue and format change, this event will be publicly listed and all are invited, including gentlemen. This change does not necessarily apply to future Soirees. View the main soiree event and RSVP here.

Dress: This is not the Ramada Inn and this is not a “gala,” so do not wear a sparkly floor-length gown. Wear either smart casual/neighborhood bar attire, or something just slightly dressier than that, such as a relatively plain cocktail dress. If uncertain, better to be more casual than formal.

Parking: The municipal garages are free on Saturdays; Hanaro is about 2 blocks from either the Woodmont Triangle garage (on Woodmont) and the St. Elmo/Cordell garage (you can enter from St. Elmo, just one long block west of Hanaro). Park on the street if you wish, but you will have to pay until 10 p.m. 12 minute walk from Bethesda Metro (Red Line).

Lodging: The Doubletree Bethesda is just 2 blocks away and welcomes us with open arms. Free parking is available at the city garage on weekends and is an easier fit for large vehicles (like SUVS, minivans, and pickup trucks) than the hotel parking garage, which has a daily fee.

Makeup Makeovers: Beth will be providing makeup makeovers at her home studio in Cabin John, Maryland.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2018 in Parties

 

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Beth’s Backroom Birthday Band Bash

Come celebrate my birthday with a fall-themed party at my home and studio!

Live Acoustic Americana Music by Swamppoodle featuring Steph, Steve, and Giselle. Band will play in our backroom.
Fire pit in the front circle garden with a s’mores station, weather permitting.
•Fall and Harvest-themed foods such as chili and cornbread
•Wine and beer

What to bring: Bring a beverage or healthy food item to share, preferably in the harvest/fall theme. (No birthday gifts, please.)
•I would love for us to taste test several chilis if you all feel up to the task. Come on, all you chili experts, cook up your best chili and bring it on over! This is not a competition, simply an exhibition!
•Please let us know what you plan to bring, especially if involves chili! This will really help out our menu planning.

What to wear: Fall and harvest-themed attire. Casual clothing is good as fire pits, s’mores, and chili aren’t kind to clothing.
•One example: jeans, boots, flannel shirt, cowgirl hat, big belt buckle. Another example: A-line dress, denim or leather jacket, tights, scarf, and booties.
•We are inviting the neighbors, family, and Giselle’s coworkers so no fetish attire, please.

Who: Friends, neighbors, clients, and coworkers of Beth and Giselle including members of the DC Trans Ladies Meetup group

When: Friday, November 9, 2018 from 7:30 – 11:30 pm

Where: Beth’s makeover studio and home in Cabin John, MD. Address provided to those who RSVP. Park on the street. Parking is free and unlimited though streets are narrow. Please do not block driveways or fire hydrants.

RSVP: Please RSVP on Meetup or to me directly at Elizabeth.taylor.makeover@gmail.com if you’re not on Meetup.

To being fabulous!

Elizabeth Taylor (the birthday girl!)

Elizabeth.Taylor.Makeover@gmail.com

Phone: 202-803-3231 (voice only)

Web: http://makeoverswithelizabethtaylor.com

Appointments: http://makeoverswithelizabethtaylor.fullslate.com

Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor specializes in total makeovers, makeup artistry, photography, and coaching for transgender women.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in Parties

 

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Join the DC Trans Ladies for our Prom Night Soiree!

Join the DC Trans Ladies for our Prom Night Soiree!

Hi ladies! We are so excited to invite you to our first “Prom Night” Soiree in bustling downtown Bethesda at the Doubletree hotel on November 3!

This is the first time we have hosted a Prom Night and we know that the theme resonates on many levels. Clearly, proms offer a fantastic fashion platform for all of us to explore and revel in. Rather than recycling old Halloween cliches (been there, done that), we wanted this season’s soiree to combine the best of 20th Century traditions and 21st Century sensibilities.

The restaurant at the Doubletree Bethesda

Prom Night lets us focus on our inherent femininity inside and out, the passions of youth, the desire for elegance, and dreams of romance. As adults we can and do fully appreciate such things but constraints may not have permitted us to enjoy our prom as we would have liked. Ah—but now we can create memories and do Prom Night the way it should have been—with all the joys of strutting your feminine side.

The full-service bar at Doubletree Bethesda

We are kicking off the evening with a hosted happy hour especially for new girls in Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor’s hotel room. Sip complimentary wine, ask any last-minute questions, get a final zip-up of that dress, and make sure you’re all set for your first soiree. We would love for experienced girls to join our happy hour and help our new girls feel confident.

We will enjoy our Prom Night Dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. followed by our Prom Soiree ’til the bar closes around midnight. Our own Monica Miller will be our in-house DJ, piping tunes through the bar’s sounds system.

Crash at the hotel to make your life easier. Be sure to book using our group rate of $99/night by calling Brittany (or Zak) directly at 240.235.1663. Tell her you are part of the “DC Regional Trans Ladies” and she will give you the rate. If the rate drops later, you’ll get the lower rate. If you are members of Hilton Honors, AAA, or AARP, you can get potentially get discounts for those if you choose to book online instead of using the group rate.

The Doubletree Hotel staff are eager to host us and build on our successes from our Summer in the City Soiree.

At our signature soirees, we invite trans-women, their partners, and friends socialize, network, and relax. We encourage new girls to come out to help boost their confidence and garner tips from those more experienced. And of course, we love having our regulars come out too!

If you’re not feeling ready for girl mode in public, you are still welcome to attend in guy mode. Upon arrival, introduce yourself as a member to the hosts, and we will welcome you warmly. Please consider joining us at the Pre-Soiree Prom Dinner in the hotel’s dining room. It is an opportunity to sit with your sisters and get to know them.

If you’re looking to get your Soiree makeup professionally applied, our very own Elizabeth Taylor (Beth) will be offering makeup makeovers at her room in the hotel (http://makeoverswithelizabethtaylor.fullslate.com). She is now booked for this event. Other makeover artists are listed on our Meetup’s discussion board.

Guest photographer Matt Anderson will be taking event photos during dinner and the Soiree. Matt will also be available for a limited number of private, 20-minute mini-shoots in Beth’s room for an additional fee. Check out his work at http://www.dvj.photography/ He can be reached at dvjphoto@yahoo.com and 301-661-2291. Or you can contact Beth to arrange/ask any questions.

We look forward to seeing you all at Prom Night: A Soiree to Remember!

Your organizers,

Michelle, Monica, Suzanne, and Beth

RSVP for each Prom Night Soiree event here:
Hosted happy hour especially for new girls in Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor’s hotel room
Pre-Soiree Prom Dinner
Prom Night: A Soiree to Remember

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Parties

 

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DC Trans Ladies Leadership Change & Upcoming Events

Greetings! The DC Trans Ladies’ Meetup group is alive and well, and we would like to introduce you to the new management team. Most of you know one or more of us. Lead Organizer is Michelle Boyle. Co-Organizers, in alphabetical order, are Suzanne Freed, Monica Miller, and Elizabeth Taylor.

First, we want to recognize the accomplishments of past leadership. This team has assumed direction of the Group following the retirement of Christine McLean, our Founder, who has been the Lead Organizer of the Group from its inception. We thank Christine for her considerable efforts in managing the Group for nearly seven years. She has done so much for the community and we are indebted to her!

Second, we want to talk about the future of Group activities. We are excited to announce our plans to take the Group’s marquee event, the Soiree, to new upscale locations and with new, more sophisticated or playful themes. Much of what you like about the Soiree will continue, but there will also be fresh, new elements that make it feel just a tad different every time out. Stay tuned for postings of our soon-to-be-announced upcoming Soirees and special events.

Third, we need to reaffirm our commitment to the principle of inclusion and rededicate ourselves to the philosophy of interaction—both within the community and externally with the mainstream.

Inclusion means being an umbrella group, catering to trans-women who dress only occasionally, to those who live full-time 24×7, and all of those in-between. Having more experienced trans-women and allies actively engaged in the community provides invaluable expertise and resources to those who are interested in improving their presentation and getting out in the world more often. This group is about not just socializing and having fun (although it is a primary goal)—but also enhancing the emotional health of this diverse community and affording opportunities for networking.

This leads to the theme of interaction. Interaction means going everywhere and sometimes leaving our usual comfort zones. We grow through stretching our boundaries—bit by bit. The Soiree will always be a place to enjoy camaraderie with, and draw support from, one’s peers. But it should also be a place to grow and not a place to stagnate. We are recommitting the Soiree to involve more mingling with mainstream society and not roping ourselves off. We are also recommitting to scheduling more small-group excursions to public venues that encourage members to step into new spaces and experiences such as new-to-us restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, and more.

Finally, our Group has an expanding membership—and that is a Good Thing. As a result, expect to see familiar faces at our events – but also be primed to meet fresh faces, visit new places, and build memories based on new experiences. Join now!

We are recharged and embracing an exciting future. We are the Same Community—Just Better.

Your Organizers,

Michelle, Monica, Suzanne, and Beth

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2018 in Parties

 

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Join the DC Trans Ladies for our Summer in the City Soiree!

Hi ladies! We are so excited to invite you to our “Summer in the City” Soiree in bustling downtown Bethesda on September 15!

The full-service bar at Doubletree Bethesda

We will be hanging out at the Doubletree Bethesda bar, lounge, and restaurant from 6 p.m. ’til the bar closes around midnight to 1 a.m. Our own Monica Miller will be our in-house DJ, piping tunes through the bar’s sounds system. Crash at the hotel, and be sure to book using our group rate.

Rooftop Deck Sunset

Sunset from the Bethesda Doubletree Rooftop Deck

Scope out the hotel and neighborhood ahead of time at our August 25th Girls’ Night Out on the rooftop deck of the Doubletree followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Here’s the scoop on our signature soirees. We invite trans-women, their partners, and friends to socialize, network, and relax. We encourage new girls to come out to help boost their confidence and garner tips from those more experienced. And of course, we love having our regulars join us too!

New to this soiree, we are kicking off the evening with a hosted happy hour especially for new girls in Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor’s hotel room. Sip complimentary wine, ask any last-minute questions, get a final zip-up of that dress, and make sure you’re all set for your first soiree. We would love for experienced girls to join our happy hour and help our new girls feel confident.

The restaurant at the Doubletree Bethesda

If you’re not feeling ready for girl mode in public, you are still welcome to attend in guy mode. When you arrive, introduce yourself as a member to one of the organizers, and we will welcome you warmly. Please consider joining us at the Pre-Soiree Dinner in the hotel’s dining room. It is an opportunity to sit with your sisters and get to know them.

We look forward to seeing you all at our Summer in the City Soiree!

Your organizers,

Michelle, Monica, Suzanne, and Beth

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2018 in Parties

 

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The Mermaid

The Mermaid

The Mermaid

Poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Model: Kimberly Moore
Photographer and Makeup Artist: Elizabeth Taylor
I

Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?

II

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb’d I would sing and say,
‘Who is it loves me? who loves not me?’
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

III

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss’d by all who would list
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea.
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea.
Then all the dry-pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in Images

 

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