But at age 38, she decided to grow out her beard for the first time. "I had been considering growing my beard for about a year and got to the point where my skin really could not take shaving another day," She said. "I was emotionally drained from trying to hide it every day and feeling like I was failing miserably."
"I definitely feel feminine since I've grown my beard," Geil said, "and it has very little to do with physical appearance. It's all about my attitude, giving myself the freedom to be exactly who I am. Because of that, I definitely feel womanly. I feel sexy and sensuous."
Geil's mother has noticed the positive effect the beard has had on her daughter. "Socially she seems to be more comfortable going out in public with a full beard than she was with a shaven face with a stubble," her mother said. "It was like carrying a secret that wasn't really a secret."
"I think the beard is really awesome," said Megan MacCullen, one of Rose's friends. "It's way better than my husband's beard. She just seems so much more free. She seems less oppressed to me. She seems to celebrate her femininity. I just see a lot of...confidence."
"I think it takes a lot of courage to be who you really are and do what makes you really happy," said Matt Fehn, another friend. "Being able to...look past judgment and look past stares. I think that's the most courageous thing that anybody can do."
Geil said she helped find self-acceptance with the aid of others like her that she met online. "They were very welcoming as soon as I put myself out there," she said. "To see these women living their lives as normal as they want to be, it was a great inspiration."