Starting Out

Absolutely!  Fear is just our way of protecting ourselves from harm when we feel threatened, but it can also prevent us from doing things we may actually want to do. So the fear of coming out just needs a different perspective in how you look at things. Here at Xpressions, you will find that we really are a very welcoming group of people, each of whom are on their own very unique and personal journey just like you. Whatever the reason for your fear, the good news is that you’re not alone and we know how you feel because most of us have experienced the same fears at one time or another. At Xpressions, we’re here to help you every step of the way. You can either start by making contact with some of our members online until you feel more comfortable talking to people just like yourself, then perhaps later, attend one of our pub nights which has been a great success for first timers just starting out on their journey, You can check out our Pub Nights page for more information. Rest assured that once you make that decision to step out into the real world, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Everyone is welcome, and no, you don’t need an invitation. The beauty of our pub nights is the relaxed, casual pub atmosphere in our private room which isn’t open to the public to ensure our privacy, so you can come either dressed or in drab, however you’re most comfortable.

Not at all. However, once you feel comfortable, we hope you’ll want to become a member by joining Xpressions.

While the demographic of our group does include crossdressers, it is always subject to variation from year to year as people who may start out self-identifying as crossdressers, may find out later that they self-identify as something very different. Xpressions does have members across the gender continuum from crossdresser to those living in their preferred gender full time.

Yes we do. That said, our experience with transmen has so far been limited as there are a number of other resources out there that are geared to the specific needs of transmen. However, everyone is welcome, if only as a first step to coming out or being introduced to the trans community. We do provide links to resources specific to transmen which can be found on our Resources page.

Absolutely. We recognize your individual journey is unique to you and sometimes it does take a while to figure out where you fit in and whether Xpressions is right for you.

Joining Xpressions

That’s easy! Just go to our “Join Us” link at the top of this page and follow the instructions. Membership fees are a modest $25.00 per year and it will give you access to our Members Site and its content. This fee will also enable access for a member’s partner/significant other. These costs go exclusively toward the running of the group and our website.  If you would like to join Xpressions, but feel the membership fee would cause you hardship, please contact our Membership Chair.

We do not collect any meeting fees from attending members. However, our events do take place in pubs, or restaurants where most people have dinner. You will be expected to pay for your meal, any drinks you may have had during the course of the evening, and of course, gratuities to the wonderful staff that looks after us.

ALL are welcome! However, we are a member-funded group, so after you have joined us for one or two events, we will encourage you to join and pay the relatively nominal membership fee to acknowledge the work and effort that goes into making our events possible.

The only mandatory information we will ask for is your “preferred” name and an email address so that we can advise you of events, activities, etc, and so you can participate on our discussion forums if you wish. You will find other ‘optional’ fields you can fill out if you’re comfortable providing us some more information to help us get to know you better. If not, then just leave the fields blank. (Note: We will never ask for your legal name, phone number or address unless you’re comfortable providing them) Occasionally, we may ask you a generic question for the location of where you live. That’s only to get a general idea of where our members live so we can offer suggestions to you if you are looking for friendly service providers or retailers in your area. For example: Toronto Central, West GTA, North GTA, East GTA, or west, east, north or Golden Horseshoe.

No. The pictures you see posted on our web site are posted with the member’s permission and using only their preferred name. There are members who do not want their names or pictures posted and we respect that 100%.

The best answer is to see our Privacy Policy for comprehensive details on all that we do, as well as our recommendations of what you can do to ensure that your privacy and security are maintained and protected. That said, you will find that Xpressions is a very respectful group. We all have similar concerns and do our utmost to protect and respect the privacy of all our members.

Another common fear we all have as we begin; being “found out”. We all share that same fear in one way or another and as a group, can help each other overcome that fear. We make our meetings and outings as comfortable as possible for our members. You may be surprised to learn that the biggest comfort our members find when in their preferred gender presentation is that they are so different in appearance from their ‘other’ selves that it actually makes it more difficult to recognize them. Knowing this helps our members relax and enjoy their gender expression.

Most of our members are not completely out to their family and friends, so we understand your concern.  Only preferred names are used at Xpressions events, on our website and message forum and Xpressions will help maintain your anonymity.

If you are not comfortable attending your first few events dressed, we do understand, and you would be most welcome to come as you are most comfortable. Please contact our Membership Chair to discuss. Our key goal is to help people become comfortable with themselves, and we do encourage you to come dressed after your first few meetings. That’s the fun part! If you are new to dressing, you will not be judged on skill and presentation. We all have to start someplace and Xpressions offers a safe place for you to meet others who share the same feelings as you do. Indeed, all our members have varying styles and levels of skill. Attending our meetings is a great way to learn more about ourselves by learning from and talking openly with others.

Please note that we have especially organized our Pub Nights so that you can attend as you are most comfortable and find out so much more about how you can express yourself.

Absolutely!  What is important is that you are happy about yourself. Joining Xpressions is a wonderful way to learn from others, and build confidence and self-acceptance.  It’s like having a “Big Brother or Sister”, which will greatly help your confidence level.  And remember, even our most confident members had to build skills and confidence over time.

Only if you want to. Many of our events are held in public restaurants and pubs, sometimes in private rooms, but the venues are aware of the nature of Xpressions. They make us very welcome and their positive reactions to us can be amazing! We often use venues in the LGBT Village (Church and Wellesley), and that area is especially accepting. Other events such as our Christmas Gala are held in private rooms in hotels with accepting staff. In general, Toronto and Southern Ontario are blessed with a diverse and accepting population.
Many of our members are indeed comfortable going out in public anywhere; it is truly empowering. If you choose to do so, you too can build the skills and confidence to go wherever you want, and Xpressions can provide support and opportunities to help you.
Before joining Xpressions, many of our members were alone with no one to talk with, or trapped behind the confines of their computer screens. Being a member of the group gave them the opportunity to make friends and to do all the things they had only ever dreamed about.

While we support everyone’s individual gender expression and personal style, we do expect your presentation to be respectful and appropriate to the venue we’re at. So that means, no fetish clothing costumes or similar themed attire. Remember, you’re not just representing yourself and Xpressions, but also the Trans community as a whole. If we can make a good impression when out in public, it reflects well on all of us. That said, we make two exceptions to this rule every year, namely; Pride Week and Halloween, which are always so much fun.

Absolutely! Family and friends are always welcome and we encourage their participation as a way of showing their support for their partner.

Xpressions is expressly for Trans people, crossdressers, their partners, and families. “Admirers” looking for contacts or personal relations are not welcome at our events as we want it to remain a safe environment for everyone. Nothing of an overtly sexual nature is permitted at any of our events, which are always “family friendly.” Members do bring their older children to some of our events.
Please understand that many of our events are held in public locations, and in getting to and from the events, you may meet some interesting people. Use common sense. Ask yourself “What would a ‘genetic’ person do in these circumstances?”, and exercise your right to be free of any harassment.

Unfortunately, Xpressions is only open to members 18 years of age or older. However, a parent or guardian may join and bring you to our meetings as our membership does include parents of trans persons. If you are looking for resources for youth groups or youth oriented peer support, you can still contact us and we can help you find a group in your area or you check out our resources page for more information.

If you have ANY concerns about coming to a dinner or Pub Night, just contact us at [email protected] and we will contact you and answer any questions you may have.

General

No. We’re not professional counselors and can only provide peer-to-peer support in a social environment or one on one. However, we do list some Trans-friendly counselors in our Resources page, and some of our members do go to professionals and will be happy to refer you.

Definitions of labels notwithstanding, we are loving parents, spouses, fathers and sons.  We are everyday normal people: the neighbour next door, the golf partner in the afternoon, the fishing buddy on the weekends. We are teachers, managers, business owners, mechanics, truck drivers, police officers, security personnel, doctors, lawyers, city workers, politicians, military personnel, and the list goes on. Our members range in age from 20’s to 80’s, so there is always someone in your age-range. We simply share the need to express our felt gender by dressing, to understand ourselves and feel complete.

Absolutely! That is the best part of being a member of Xpressions. Learning from others, and having friends you can talk to. Plus, we know a wonderful group of supportive service providers across Southern Ontario that can help you find your individual style.

Not officially. However, many of our members are more than willing to help you take that first step, whether being a buddy at an event, escorting you from your car to a venue if you find yourself suddenly very nervous, or just being there to listen and/or share in some friendly conversation.

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