glam party Tania Zimmer November 20, 2016 Imagine waking up every day for 47 years and never seeing the real you reflected in the mirror. One of my earliest memories was Christmas morning; my girl cousins were given beautiful nightgowns and the boys were given football-themed PJs. I felt there was a cosmic mistake. This was decades before the Internet and the only time I saw gender-nonconforming people in the media, it was typically men in drag playing it for laughs. Four decades of shame would pass before I found the courage to reveal myself to close friends; years later I would nervously tell family and now I am finally ready to share my story with the world. My first session with Tania captured a major moment in my journey: the first time I ever dressed up, in full wardrobe, wigs and makeup, and shared the experience with friends. It was the first time I would ever feel the joy of hanging out with women as a woman. My wife is so supportive of my gender exploration, but dresses and makeup and glamour are of little interest to her; she was hoping I would find some girlfriends who would enjoy a fun day of glamour – so I put the word out and the big day arrived. Long before the camera came out, Tania and I instantly clicked. Warmth, joy, compassion and love flow freely from her; her divine feminine spirit welcomed me, comforted me, made me feel at ease and at home in my own skin. I was in a padded bra and skirt without makeup when she arrived, and I never once felt self-conscious or nervous. While I prepared my makeup, Tania snapped pictures of our friends and I could not believe what exquisite portraits she was able to capture by finding the perfect light and place to shoot – in my kitchen! And then, my session began. When I typically dress for selfies I don’t really know how to pose, so all of my pictures to date feature some take on the same few Zoolander “Blue Steel” gazes. Tania helped me step out of my stock poses and into my comfort zone, finding new ways to be playful, comfortable and live truly in the moment. The lens disappeared and it was just the two of us. I have yet to see the final images, but I have full trust in her. Even if a cosmic mistake wiped out her memory card and all the pictures were lost, I would still treasure every moment of my time with her. I rarely looked in the mirror that day because in her trusting, compassionate and beautiful eyes, I finally saw myself.