Relaxing poolside during a recent trip, I struck up a conversation with Candice Taylor, who, as it turned out, or luck would have it, was with a lovely lady who had transitioned about two years ago. Any stranger walking or sitting close by may have felt we had known each other for years. Candice was open and honest about her life’s changes. Always seeking a new subject to interview, I introduced myself and shared with her my alter lifestyle and as a contributing editor for TGForum.
Candice resides in the northeastern part of the U.S. and was taking part in a special trans event in the center of the country. We chatted, and some of my questions and her responses were like the eventual interview that I conducted after returning to my west coast abode. Her responses may hit home for many of you who have experienced similar reactions from family, friends, and co-workers.
I, like Candice, wish we lived in a different world. One with lots of love, rather than so much hate. A world that allows us to pursue who and what we want to be.
TGForum (TGF): Was transitioning to a female lifestyle something you thought about for a while?
Ms. Taylor: I thought about transitioning for a long while. I rediscovered my feminine side about 15 years ago and started crossdressing at home occasionally. That felt good so I continued it once a week or so for several years. I used to travel a lot for work, so I began bringing a few feminine things to wear while alone in my hotel room. I finally gained the courage to go out in public while traveling away from home. As nervous as I was, it felt good. Gradually I found crossdresser friends in the cities I visited often and had pals to go out with. About 10 years ago I gained the confidence to go out dressed femininely at home to clubs away from my house. As I spent more and more time as Candi and less time in male mode. I started thinking about what it would be like to live as a woman full time. Work was my last frontier, and we had the policies in place for transitioning since 2016, but I was still afraid of what the reaction would be from co-workers. My wife was the other big consideration as she had been supportive of my crossdressing all these years but how would she react when I transitioned full time. My mental health was the third factor. I was struggling and unhappy when I was in male mode, and happy and carefree as Candi.
TGF: What factored into your final decision to transition?
Ms. Taylor: My mental health was the deciding factor when I fully transitioned in 2021. I could no longer handle the back and forth from female to male. I shed a lot of tears Sunday nights when I knew I had to put my male face and clothes on for work on Monday morning, even if it was on Zoom during the pandemic. As for work, we had the policies in place, and I was close enough to retirement age that there would be little effect on the remainder of my career. So, I took the plunge and have never been happier.
TGF: How about acceptance from family members and friends?
Ms. Taylor: Family members are the most difficult to find acceptance from. My wife of many years simply cannot accept being married to a woman although she has no immediate desire to end our marriage and remains supportive in the background. We live as friendly roommates in a large house. My two adult children have accepted me although they don’t like what my transitioning has done to our traditional family unit as it negatively affected their mother. My parents and siblings have all passed long ago so I never had to cross the bridge of finding acceptance from them. I have lost some friends and kept others who see me as a much happier person living as my authentic self. Acceptance from co-workers has been better than I anticipated. I work in an office environment that is very accepting. I have made new close friends at the office and enjoy going to work more than I used to when I was pretending to be male and hiding Candice from everyone.
“Be confident and be strong. There is nothing easy about transitioning male to female.” –Candice Taylor
TGF: I think you said you serve as a mentor to others who are thinking about transitioning or have.
Ms. Taylor: Over the years I have provided support to many who are beginning to cross dress and want to go out in public for the first time. Everything from clothing advice, to teaching them how to apply their own makeup, to being with them for their first time out in public. I have given advice to crossdressers who are contemplating HRT on the correct path to take finding a gender affirmation therapist and a supportive endocrinologist to help them with their journey. I have provided moral support to those who begin questioning their journey through transition. Lately, I have taken on a new role at work to talk to individuals who are beginning the transitioning process. I am a perfect example of someone who has transitioned successfully within a business environment. I feel better as a person when I can help others.
TGF: What might you tell another person?
Ms. Taylor: I found my Zen living life as my authentic self. I assume you are dismayed by the response from political leaders regarding the entire transitioning process for adolescents and adults as it pertains to placing limitations on healthcare. What might you want to say to our government, given the opportunity?
Simply, just let us be. All the transgender community wants to do is live our lives in our authentic gender. Stop making uninformed political points at our expense by passing legislation that negatively affects us. We are a very small minority. We are not a threat to the public or their children.
TGF: Fashion wise, do you have a favorite brand? Designer?
Ms. Taylor: I wear many styles and brands of clothing. I am fortunate to be able to wear women’s clothes off the rack at most any store. While I occasionally buy clothes online, most of my purchases are at stores where I can try things on for fit and look. I have built a wide-ranging wardrobe, from casual to dressy. My go to stores is Nordstrom Rack, Kohls, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Old Navy. I am a bit size challenged for shoes, size 11-12, depending on the style and width. Most of my shoes are from DSW and Nine West. Fashion wise, my best advice is to build a wardrobe so that you have fashion and style for any occasion. For a woman, that means a lot of options each day.
Ms. Taylor: I have been blessed with a rather slender figure all my life. Weight was never a big problem for me. I cut my alcohol consumption way back 10 years ago dropping 30 pounds as a result. I try to have salad for lunch or dinner every day as my meal. As much as I like them, I avoid French fries as a side when eating out and opt for salad instead. Avoid sugary drinks. Fresh fruit is a part of my diet daily.
TGF: At the end of the day, any final words of wisdom you care to share with our community?
Ms. Taylor: Be confident and be strong. There is nothing easy about transitioning male to female. If someone gives you an unaccepting stare, always greet them with a smile.