My outings as Joanna have become far less lonely over time. For one thing I speak to everyone without fear and for another I have made a little stable of acquaintances that I can meet for coffee from time to time.
Most of them don't know that I am trans but going forward I may begin coming out to them. Its not that I haven't told the truth about everything else but at the time I was testing my ability to "pass" (yes a loathsome term I know) and things took on a life of their own. Once there I became afraid of rejection if I disclosed the truth.
The merchants and baristas who know me can be counted on for some friendly banter and to compare what I do now with my fledgling attempts at going out in public in my early 20's is like stacking up a tricycle against a Harley.
The catch is that it only took about 30 years to get here.
This is why I am so glad for the young generation of transgender people and the world they get to grow up in. It may look bad sometimes from their perspective but those of you under 30 reading this can take it from me when I say that our world was a prison by comparison.