These are questions that are often asked about the Carolina Transgender Society.
What is Carolina Transgender Society all about?
CTS is a group that exists to give you a place to get out of your closet, be safe and accepted, share, learn, grow, and generally be comfortable. We want you to become more comfortable with yourself and around others. While most of us are MTF, we do have a small number of FTM members, we welcome all types of transgender and cross-dressing individuals be they masculine, feminine or non-binary.
How can I connect with other members?
Aside from our monthly meetings, we also provide a private social networking site for all of our registered members. It’s a great way to reach out, connect, seek advice and share ideas!.
What can I expect at a meeting?
Rather than the stereotypes you may have seen on television, you will find that we’re a bunch of pretty normal people who dress pretty much like other men and women. We meet only to socialize and participate in various group functions. Our meetings are simply an opportunity to get dressed, perhaps go out, and be with our good friends. We range in age from our 20’s to our eighties and come from a wide range of professions. Many of us have life partners and many of us have kids. Often our partners attend the meetings with us.
What do you do at a meeting?
Our meetings are very informal. Our meetings are not structured like AA (“Hi, my name is Nancy; I’m a crossdresser. I haven’t worn men’s clothes in 2 weeks!” )
We meet at safe location in Charlotte. Members begin arriving on Friday evening, and some stay through to Sunday morning. Saturday activities range from socializing to shopping at local malls or consignment shops. We may have a guest speaker or a video; we always have sharing time. In the early evening, most dress for dinner after a brief business meeting. Some night owls go out to one of Charlotte’s night spots after dinner.
Will I be judged on how well I “Pass?”
No. We’re not running a beauty contest. Our members range from hardly convincing to completely passing, heavy to thin, tall to short. Some of us dress up, and some dress down. For your first meeting, you may want to wear something nice but not particularly sexy or dressy. When you first walk in, you will be warmly welcomed, because you’ll be among friends.
Do I have to come dressed as the gender I identify as?
No. We meet at a hotel where many members take a room for the weekend. We also have the use of a Hospitality Suite, where changing facilities are available. If you wish, you may bring a change of clothing and decide once you arrive and socialize whether you would feel more comfortable changing. New attendees are given considerable understanding, latitude, and assistance.
I have no experience with makeup, etc. Can you help?
We have members who are very experienced in both dressing and applying makeup. We will be happy to help you learn how. Sometimes we have makeover sessions with professional vendors.
In the meantime, you can always find TONS of help and advice online (especially on Youtube) for both MTF and FTM folks who are just starting out. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions at the meetings. This is a big part of why we’re hear.
I don’t own a wig. Can you help?
We can assist you with that also. We have several friendly vendors who can supply you with a beautiful wig, without embarrassing you. Some of our members also sell online through several venues and may be able to supply one that way as well. Again, don’t be afraid to ask at the meetings!
Is there a dress standard or code?
Not a dress code, per se. We do request that you dress in socially acceptable attire. We ask that you dress within the bounds of good taste. There are often partners and significant others present at our meetings and we do not want to offend them. Additionally, we prefer you don’t wear clothing which attracts undue attention. Most of our members dress in clothing appropriate for the time of day, occasion, and their age. If the cis-gendered folks around you are dressed like you, then you’re probably doing it right.
Fantasy clothing is best left in your closet or perhaps at the Halloween Party. For example, wearing a dress and a beard would not be appropriate. A 10 inch miniskirt with super high heels would draw the wrong kind of attention. And while it might be fun to look like Dolly Parton, that also would ordinarily draw too much attention. Please remember, we are a support group and not a dating or hookup group.
I’m not bothered by drawing attention. What does it matter?
Remember that the Carolina Transgender Society is a support group. At all times all members must keep the safety, security, and comfort of all other attendees in mind. You may feel quite comfortable as an exhibitionist, but if your activities cause other members to feel uncomfortable, you are not assisting our mission.
Will I have to reveal my name or other personal information?
No. You can be as open or as anonymous as you wish. We’ve all chosen to adopt preferred names and only rarely use last names. Most of our out-of-meeting communications are done though the online chat and messaging features of our web site. The we site does require an email address, but it can be an “anonymous” email, such as a Yahoo address or, better yet, a Proton Mail address. As a matter of fact, most members don’t want to know your “dead” name or your address. If you decide to share any personal information with the Info Lady, please know that this information is NEVER shared with anyone else, not even the other members (unless you specifically ask that it be shared).
Do you provide counseling?
Only Peer-to-Peer. Many of our members are very experienced. We have no professional counselors. Some of our members do go to professionals and will be happy to refer you.
Will I be accosted by someone looking for sex or interested in dating transgender people?
Absolutely not! Those interested in meeting/dating cross dresser or transgender individuals are unwelcome at our meetings, and nothing of a sexual nature is permitted at any meeting.
Do you charge for membership?
We have a very low membership fee which basically covers the basic costs of running the group and maintaining the web site. We also collect a meeting fee from attending members to defray the cost of our meeting room and other expenses.
Can you help me with my wife/partner/significant other?
Yes and no.
We do maintain an online forum for significant others. Partners and SOs are always welcome at our meetings. There are no extra fees or dues for partners.
We do not offer “counseling” other than peer-to-peer discussion.
If you can’t get your Partner or SO to a meeting, they may want to at least contact other Partners / SOs via the web site.
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