My name is Savannah Hauk and I’m from Garden City, Michigan.
In my early twenties, I moved to New York and found Savannah. That was when, you know, the glitz and glamour of, like, the big city… so not midwest Detroit. So, you know, out there, living in the city, like, realizing how I can be this person. And so, like, in early nineties, I went ahead and proclaimed the title and moniker of a crossdresser. And Savannah became.
You know, a lot of people don’t understand what a crossdresser is. I mean, I am non-transitioning. I do this periodically but it is a very important aspect of what I do in my presentation, in wanting to express that. Even crossdressing crosses a huge spectrum. We’re not all fetishists, we’re not all weekend warriors. I mean some people do it do de-stress after work. Some people like myself just want to go out and be ourselves and this is truly a part of who I am.
It was really funny, it was in those years after that, it was really, like… not a fantasy but it was really something that you could really dig into. I mean, the nightlife was so amazing, friends were so amazing, and over a period of years between like ‘97 early 2000s, I mean, I grew with a set of friends that were crossdressers and we had private events that, you know, I could – I found my people, found my tribe, which was, like, amazing to be able to do that.
Unfortunately, come to – a couple years ago, I was priced out of the city altogether. I wasn’t even living in the city. I was living on Long Island but I couldn’t live there anymore. I had asked my company to relocate me down to a branch in South Carolina in the upstate, which was terrifying because I had to do the move. I didn’t want to actually lose my job or go looking for a new career. So I did it and then realized I’m going to some place where guns are plentiful and is super conservative.. Southern Baptists, traditional values, which was a terrifying prospect for me.
So I was giving up everything. All that confidence and the bravery and, like, the “I don’t give a damn” that I had in New York was gone. In just an instant. So, like, basically the trip down, the roadtrip down, took it all away from me.
Now all of a sudden, there’s now an uber desperation because I couldn’t find those people before I moved and now on down there, strictly in male mode because I’m terrified to just walk outside the door as Savannah. We were looking everywhere could on on social media to find a place or a group of people who were like me. So I’m sitting here in the house, my poor girlfriend is, like, trying to look up stuff online with me. We’re on the back porch, trying to find anything I can do to hang my hat on, to find my community, my people. We did look at FetLife and we looked at meetacrossdresser.com. And we were looking for that cross-section of people that I knew I could connect with, the other crossdressing cross-section. That’s why we couldn’t find it within 100 or 200 miles of our location in South Carolina, North Carolina. It just didn’t exist.
So after, like, a few months of being there, depression set in. I was morose, I was strictly in male mode with, like, no way to dress. I mean, I could dress in the house, which felt – would feel like a cheat. When you’re at home and you spend all this time getting ready and then you’re sitting at home on the couch, that is a validation that what you’ve done or are doing is shameful and I don’t want to feel shame. The whole point of being me is to be visible and out.
And it just – so my girlfriend and I were sitting. We finally found a meetup group. There was just the LG+ group they got together once a month, the, like, the third Friday of every month. And I texted the author and I’m like, “Hey, is it okay if I come?”
He’s like, “Sure, why not?”
I was like, “Well, because I’m a cross dresser. Like, you’re not my people per se. Is it okay? Will you accept me to come to these?”
He was like, “Yeah, absolutely. Come.” So that night I got ready and I walked out the door. Kind of twilight. So I’m in the parking lot. There’s a couple people standing around just talking and I’m now fearful that they may see me and say something. They didn’t. Got to the car. Made my way to the restaurant. And I’m also sitting in my car looking at people around me, worried that they’re gonna say something and accost me or give me a look. And I can finally get the nerve to go inside.
All of a sudden, I’m in a sea of older gay gentlemen, parents of trans kids, trans masculine thems, and just allies. And just all of a sudden, there’s this huge community that where – I’m still the only crossdresser, but all of a sudden, it’s like my world had exploded outward to something much bigger than just a bunch of crossdressers. It was actually – I am now telling my story to gay men who don’t know what a crossdresser is. And, you know, me learning about how it’s like to be a parent of a trans child. It was just really an amazing experience to probably get to realize I didn’t have to just be with my own kind but really be with the entire community and be accepted. And for me that was a revelation. So I – really, the irony is I had to move to South Carolina to realize that the group is so much bigger, so much more accepting that I even realized it was or what I needed. So it really was an eye-opener and kind of like transformative for me.
Broadening the search for the community for me ended up… again, I made friends that I never would have made, I made connections I never would’ve made. I heard stories I never would have heard had I not just been in the same room.
The importance of being that person, the importance of hearing stories, being an active listener, in just just taking it in… I mean, if you’re empathetic and sympathetic, you are gonna be enriched by what you hear in the story. And just because it’s not you, just because it’s not your brand or your label, I think that’s limiting. I think that you always have to try to look outside because you may find that one of those people that you don’t think you’re like – you’re exactly like.