Transitioning through Imagery: A Love Story

This is a little more intimate than usual.

Sometimes I get a little bummed out on interacting with a world that doesn’t quite make sense to me. Sometimes my transition brings this thought into sharp relief: like when I don’t quite know what kind of man I am socially, even if I look in the mirror and feel fantastic.

But I look in the mirror, I remind myself often, and feel fantastic. 

So style, for me, is a refuge. I have my influences:




but I feel the man I’m becoming, physically, is a culmination of years of imaginings; years of magazines and gentlemen’s guides; the sudden closing of the gap between my idea of myself and what I look like.

My clothes suddenly fit me as my shoulders broaden. Discipline and perseverance have given my wiry arms biceps, my chest real muscle. When I put on a shirt and it pulls a little against my arms, it is a religious experience. I have literally become who I dreamt in my mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about identity and fashion. People occasionally behave like style is a frivolous thing, but to me it’s been life saving. Put me in a room with a bunch of hardcore cis dudes, and I often go mute. I get insecure, I worry that I don’t fit in, that I never will. It’s, frankly, a lonely feeling. But then I get home and do what I’ve done for years: construct myself.

I look at this:


Brooklyn Circus.


And this:




And I relax. I remember that everything is a construct — social mores, gender, dreams.  You can’t control anyone else, but every day you have the opportunity to become what you think is beautiful. That’s ultimately my explanation of my gender, of my whole desire to transition.

I found beauty here.





Style isn’t frivolous unless you’re dressing like the guy down the street. It’s sad to me, how many people are rank-and-file throwing on a t-shirt and jeans.

Because sometimes getting dressed reminds me of who I am, and I take pride in that. If you’re not doing the same, you’re missing an opportunity, maybe even the chance of a lifetime.


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here:


  1. microwavejenny

    this is really lovely — thank you! it resonates with me though I’m coming from a really different place in terms of gender expression, but I certainly share your feelings about style as a refuge, as a place of deliberate coming into/reminder of a chosen identity. I catch myself dismissing my own style as frivolous for other folks, who frown on the impracticalities of my wardrobe, and then I remember that wearing fancy shoes isn’t silly or frivolous but a celebration of the adult I decided to grow up as.

  2. Absolutely, exactly. I love knowing how much of life is universal. Thanks for reading.

  3. This is beautiful and so are you. Also, when I dream I am a business man, I look like Paul Newman. 🙂

  4. Maria — that is perfect. Live the dream!

  5. Pingback: Sweating The Small Things: The Narrative’s in the Details «

  6. chris

    my mind’s been running along similar channels, thomas. i’m finding style to be an incredibly powerful means of setting out my identity – particularly in respect to my own identity as a femme trans woman. seeing myself clad in my own reflection fills me with a kind of strength and excitement rarely found in other pursuits. maybe that will change over time, who can tell. for now, i’ll just be building a lexicon with images like this:

IBC LOVES your brain, and we encourage thoughtful, lively discussion. We will, however, moderate comments that are abusive or disrespectful. Stay classy!

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