About a dozen years ago, a girl-child finally set foot outside the house for the first time. Literally. After midnight on a black moonless night. Because NO ONE MUST KNOW. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.
Of course, she really wasn’t a girl, she’d been sharing the same body as her male protector for decades. Some of her sisters knew clearly from an early age, who they really were, and what they needed to become. Not this girl, growing up she just knew she was “different” but not exactly sure how — and in the pre-internet days, she assumed she was the only one in the world who felt this way.
Over the decades, she was able to come out every so often to express herself, but mostly sat, as if in a high tower, watching the world outside, waiting. Until that day came when the need to be out in the world became overwhelming.
Like many of her sisters, it began with tentative steps. The light-night drive en femme. Once she became a little braver, the late night walk. Venturing out to meet a similar group of peers who went out for dinners — safety in numbers. She he connected with others like her online, she quickly gained the confidence to start going out in public alone.
I’m talking of course about myself. You’ve come a long way, baby. And now I’m facing that feeling that’s both exhilarating and terrifying, as I take the final step to living full-time as a woman tomorrow.
It’s journey I could’ve have made alone. There are so, so many people who’ve helped me on this journey, I can’t possibly thank them all. But there’s some I do want to highlight.
To my namesake, Marla, a fierce femme who adopted me and other of my sisters, when I was just starting get out in the world. We’ve lost touch over the years, but wherever you are, thank you.
Thank you to all the other fierce femmes who have supported and inspired me.
To Helen Boyd, and her wife, Rachel Crowl, who’s been a staunch advocate for trans people and their partners, whose amazing writings helped provide much needed perspective, and whose online forum provides both support and tough love when needed. To the other members of the My Husband Betty forum, whose wisdom and generosity continues to impress me.
To my good friend Erica, and my spirit animal, Darya. To Pearl E.. for always being there when I needed someone to lend an ear, and Arcadia her incredible generosity.
To the burlesque community near and far treating me as just another woman.
And to all those here on Facebook, who’ve supported me on this journey.
Once again, thank you.