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By Baby Rivera

Living authentically is a blessing that not every transwoman is afforded in life. The lucky ones can live freely as the women they are meant to be. Others live proudly out and just ‘boy mode’ whenever necessary. However, some transwomen are never quite able to make it out of the closet. 

If feeling closeted speaks to you, your circumstances don’t dictate your transness. Being closeted makes you no less trans. You’re still worthy of self-love. You deserve to feel good in your body and comfortable with your identity. 

Whatever your reason may be for being in the closet, there are ways to make you feel good about yourself and to make you feel feminine, without putting your circumstances at risk.

Just because we, as transwomen, don’t always get to live as authentically femininely as we’d like to, doesn’t mean we have to abstain from feeling the joys of our gender expression. Your time spent in the closet doesn’t have to be riddled with gender dysphoria. 

Whatever your reason may be for being in the closet, there are ways to make you feel good about yourself and to make you feel feminine, without putting your circumstances at risk. From living with my parents, a balding frat boy, and a foreign exchange student who only referred to me as “the ladyboy in the other room,” here are seven ways that have brought me gender euphoria even when living out and proud wasn’t the safest option. 

1.     Self-Care is Sexy

Developing a self-care routine can do more than help you feel beautiful on the outside, it can also help you feel more at home and grateful for your body. Shaving your legs (or body hair), lotioning your body, and caring after your nails are all small ways of giving yourself a healthy dose of gender euphoria. You can even try filing and shaping your nails and painting them with a clear base coat for that extra flair of subtle femininity. 

2.     Ouchie! But Really, Consider Piercings 

Piercings are a great, safe way of adding jewelry to your personal aesthetic. Baby AFABs get their ears pierced straight out of the womb. Now, it’s your time. Pierce your ears and explore the wonderful world of earrings. Depending on your situation, you may also be able to pierce your nose (or lips). Whatever your choice of piercings may be, these can be outer visual cues to remind you of your womanhood when the dysphoria has you in a chokehold. 

If you can’t get any piercings on your face, consider piercing the true windows into your soul, the nipples. So chic and highly feminine, nipple piercings will have you feeling like a bad bitch when you need them and are easy to hide when you don’t. There are also belly buttons!

3.     Expand Your Hobby Horizon

Certain hobbies can help us feel better about ourselves because they help bring us closer to becoming our authentic selves. For example, if one day you dream of being the type of woman who makes her own clothing, now can be the perfect time to hone that skill for when you are living out of the closet. While learning to sew won’t necessarily make you feel more like a woman, expanding your skillsets helps you take steps towards becoming the person you were meant to be. Choose hobbies that interest you and watch how your self-assurance grows. 

4.     Sculpt Your Body through Exercise

Our physical appearance can often be blatant reminders of everything we’d like to change about ourselves. Through exercise, we can fight these feelings of discomfort and replace them with healthy habits. Targeted exercises, like a Pilates routine for a bigger butt, act as baby steps we take towards feeling comfortable in our bodies. Over time, a personal workout routine can help offset feelings of gender dysphoria as you are actively working towards feminizing your body. 

It is important to note that exercise doesn’t always need to be about changing your body. It can also be about unlearning any repression and learning to freely express your body again. Consider taking dance classes to help you feel comfortable in your femininity while simultaneously exercising your body in beneficial ways. 

5.     Escapism is Your Friend

The easiest way to feel good about yourself when you can’t feel good about your body is to take an adventure into another world. The beauty of the 21st century is that there is content somewhere out there that will speak directly to you and your situation. Don’t be afraid to escape into some female-driven content and live your true fantasy. Books, TV shows, movies, and video games are all guaranteed to distract you from even the worst gender dysphoria. Just make it female-driven, add a protagonist you can relate to, and watch as gender euphoria joins you every step of the way. 

6.     Join Your Trans Sisters and Siblings on Twitter 

It doesn’t take a lifetime of hormones and surgeries to become the woman of your dreams. Becoming your authentic self can be as easy as accepting Twitter’s Terms and Agreement. You can stay as anonymous as you’d like or create a profile for the real you. Regardless of your choice, you can surround yourself with transgender people, make new transgender friends, and expresses yourself queerly and freely on Twitter. Make a profile and spiral down the rabbit hole that is #TransTwitter. 

7.     Coffee Runs with Your Name of Choice

Nothing helps make you feel more like yourself than someone calling you by your chosen name. If you ever find yourself at a coffee shop alone, or with a supportive friend, then leave your deadname at the door. It’s time to try out that name you’ve always wanted to be called. You’ll be amazed by the wonders of hearing your true name called out and seeing it written on a coffee cup will do for your self-esteem. The real beauty is that this trick never loses its touch. If you’re a daily coffee drinker, this can easily become a daily affirmation. 

Baby Rivera is a transfeminine writer currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, and they have the valley-girl accent to prove it. They hope to publish novels that focus on transgender characters, and until then they’re working on submitting their short stories to literary magazines. During their free time, Baby likes to re-read books for the hundredth time and perform comedy around LA. You can follow Baby on Instagram and Twitter.