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Today I went out to lunch at a French restaurant with a transgender man friend of man.

After the delightful meal–I had a small slice of spinach quiche, a lovely cranberry-and-almond green salad, and warm, creamy, and tummy-filling French country potato soup–I took a moment to repair my lipstick while my friend applied a clear lip balm to his as protection against the very cold and dry air.

We looked at each other and started laughing!

I suspect that chemically the two products are almost indistinguishable except that mine turns my lips a shade of pink while his is invisible.

As a signal of a feminine gender identity, lipstick is a mile-high neon sign!

Girls and only girls are “supposed” to wear what I put on my lips. Guys can wear what he applied.

Both of us are utterly comfortable in our own skin now. That was true for neither of us before. In a sense, we have swapped places. Gratitude doesn’t begin to convey how I feel about being able to cross to the other side of that divide.

I can tell you that my life now is not free of problems. Like any woman, I occasionally have days when I feel sad or frightened or lonely. But even with all the challenges I specifically face as a transgender woman and the problems I share with cisgender women in such a sexist society, I am often so happy that sometimes I can’t help dancing!

This is what happiness feels like. I had some good, even joyous moments before I transitioned, but never anything like this!

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