Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Transgender Visibility versus Liberation

Image from Elyssa  Fahndrich
on UnSplash

 Recently I read a post from my statewide organization "Trans Ohio" which made the point Transgender Day of Visibility's  name should be changed to Day of Liberation. I thought what a great idea. Even though due to weather and mobility issues I did not attend the annual local TDOV event this past Saturday, I was there last year and several trans people are still stuck in my mind who were more liberated than just visible. 

Primarily, the one I remember the most was a young transgender girl. Probably around the age of fourteen who was there with her Mom. Seemingly she could not quite contain how proud she was to be in a safe space with many like minded individuals. I thought at the time how wonderful it must have been for her and her Mom to see all the supportive LGBTQA organizations who had set up there for the day. In the young girl's case, she was more liberated than just visible. The great thing was, she wasn't alone. There were many more in different age brackets attending too. 

The entire TDOV process took me back to the actual day when I decided to put away my male life for good and assume a feminine lifestyle. This included a personal pledge to myself to begin hormone replacement therapy to help me as much as possible femininize my exterior appearance to match my internal feelings. When I did it, I could not believe the amount of weight and stress which was lifted from my shoulders. In other words I was liberated and was coming home to an exciting and new transgender life. Not so different than the young trans girl I talked to at TDOV. From that point forward so many years ago, I started to wonder why I waited so long to do it. 

The main reason was my increasingly complex and pressurized male life kept getting into the way. Successes in my job, having a child and loving my wife all provided road blocks to me jumping off the gender transition cliff and liberating myself after living years in a dark closet. To make matters worse, once I thought I had liberated myself from my gender closet, I discovered I had only became visible in the world and the entire liberation process had a ways to go. Those were the terrifying yet exciting days of learning how to react to and communicate with the rest of the world. As this brand new person within me I thought I knew so well but didn't until I was able to liberate her. I guess you could say I was visible first and liberated second.

During the current wave of anti-LGBTQA and primarily transgender legislation from often crooked politicians it would be difficult to consider changing any of the regular annual trans events such as TDOV to Transgender Day of Liberation but it certainly does deserve a second thought.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Gender Enablers

From the Jessie Hart Collection
Jessie (left), Nikki (Center), Kim (Right)

 Perhaps you had a special person or persons who helped you to open your own gender closet and take tentative steps into the real world. Perhaps you did it all yourself. In my case, after a very rocky beginning, I was fortunate  to have had several enablers to help me along in my transgender journey. My rocky beginning started when I enlisted the help of my first fiancé. After much convincing and begging I somehow convinced her to help me dress head to toe as a woman. 

My initial introduction to having a cis-woman make me up and help me dress turned out to have mixed results. I learned my fiancé didn't really have that much more skill than I had when it came to the art of makeup. Most likely because by this time in my life I had literally years of practice on my own face. Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed by the entire experience. Again it was because I had been trying and trying any new fashion accessory I could afford to help my feminine presentation along. Outside of the temporary thrill of having another woman provide instant feedback to how I looked, the entire experience lacked much fun or relaxation for me. The big problem which came about was not so long after this, she would attempt to use my cross dressing desires against me. 

For some unknown reason, my fiancé had a real paranoia about me going away to serve my country in the military. All the way to telling me if I didn't get out of my draft status by telling the military I was gay, she would leave me. To make a long story short, I wouldn't compound one lie with another by telling the military I was gay. So just before I signed up for three years in the Army, I graduated college and we broke up. Even though the whole experience was very painful at the time, it turned out to be one of the best moves of my life and she certainly was not one of my gender enablers. 

From then on I resolved myself to telling any potential serious relationships I was involved with that I was a transvestite as cross dressers were known back in those days. The whole idea worked well with my first two wives. As it turned out, my first wife was so mellow with the whole idea I think she would have not been surprised if one day I told her I was going back to where I served in Thailand but this time for a sex change operation. I was very close to doing whatever I wanted gender wise until I met and fell madly in love with my second wife who I write about all the time because we were together twenty five years until she suddenly passed away. Ironically, she was a gender dis-abler because she became dead set against any idea of me being transgender and beginning hormone replacement therapy. Through it all, we managed to stay together and I tried to learn from all the "tough gender love" she gave me. If she knew it or not. For example, she was the first one to tell me being a woman was much more than just looking like one. After yet another huge fight we had.

Following her death when I was free to start HRT and begin to seriously explore the feminine world, I was so fortunate to have found several serious gender enablers who helped me find my way in the world as a transgender woman. I have mentioned several times in the past several cis women lesbian friends who taught me so much about finding myself as a transgender woman. To this day I don't think they ever realized what all they did for me as my gender enablers.

Around the same time, I met my current wife Liz. Without a doubt she became my best gender enabler when she told me eleven years ago she never saw me as being anything but a woman. More importantly she encouraged me to grow into the out and proud transgender woman I am today. Even though the journey was rough and filled with tough times, destiny showed me the way to what I should have always known was true. I was just cross dressing as a man and biding time until my true feminine self could emerge.    

Monday, March 27, 2023

Once I Started


From the Jessie Hart
Collection...The Ohio State
Student Union

I discovered quite early in life my gender identity was in flux. From the first time I felt the allure of feminine clothes to the first time I glanced at my girl self in the mirror, I knew I could never go back. In the classic feelings  of if I knew then what I knew now, I would have saved myself a ton of gender angst and unrest. Primarily I would have understood why the gender euphoria I experienced when I dressed as a girl was so fleeting. Before I knew it, I was back to my same old struggle to be everything male. I know now all of these feelings were the very beginnings of my desire to look more than like a girl. I wanted to be a girl. Long before the term was even invented I was transgender.

If I was wise enough to write down my deepest secret somewhere and hide it away, I am sure I would have told my future self to relax and enjoy the trip because in the end I would have no choice. No matter how hard he tried, my feminine self would in the end win and I would end up living full time as a transgender woman. Of course there was no possible way I could know all the twists and turns my gender journey would take me. My younger self would have known I would experience transitions in the middle of living in a major transition itself. My primary go to example is when I was living as a very serious cross dresser, I decided to transition again. This time to hormone replacement therapy and into a transgender life. There was no way my early self could predict what she was really asking for. She wanted me to uproot all the hard earned, unwanted gains I had achieved in the male world and finally realize they were all for not. Once I started I should have realized I should have fought harder to let my inner feminine self win and get on with living a better life. 

The major problem I would experience was all of the male gifts I experienced as I lived life as a guy. The biggest gift I experienced was the birth of my daughter who I love deeply to this day and she has been behind my transition since I told her tentatively years ago. I consider the whole experience as I said as the pinnacle of my life as most of the other so called accomplishments were rather shallow, such as success in my working world. 

My fondest hope I should have ever asked for was the wisdom of knowing my dominate gender was female in nature and even though trying to change it nearly killed me, I could never change who I truly was. The whole process was nearly miraculous in how a new wonderful feminine world was opened to me.  Once my she was given the chance, she quickly took over and established herself . Once I started my transition early in life it was a long project but one which was worth it in the long haul.