Saturday, May 30, 2015

Trans Ohio Day Two

Headed off to day two of the Trans Ohio Symposium which is actually the day of my workshop. Attended one excellent workshop yesterday which I will pass along in a later post! Have to get going!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Trans Ohio Day One

The three day Trans Ohio Symposium is being held this year again at THE Ohio State University Union.

This year, Liz and I both cuddled up to the Buckeye Mascot "Brutus Buckeye" for a picture!

FYI Connie-Brutus is holding up one finger because we are-National Champions-still eating roast Duck.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the Road Again

Liz has this week off and we have taken the opportunity to take some day trips around Cincinnati before we finish up the week at the Trans Ohio Symposium. Yesterday we headed "upriver" towards Pittsburgh (but not nearly as far) and found ourselves in Ripley, Ohio. Ripley could be described these days as one of those "sleepy" old small river towns. Once upon a time though, Ripley was a huge station on the "Under Ground Railroad" As slaves made their way north to freedom, the Ohio River marked the boundary between a slave state (Kentucky) and a free state in Ohio.

Enough history except for the fact there is a place called the "Rankin House" with a breathtaking view across the Ohio River Valley and down into Ripley. The Rankin House is credited with being the real story behind "Eliza" the slave and Harriet Beecher Stowe's fictional Uncle Tom's Cabin.

On the way home we took a small river ferry across the Ohio. We stopped for lunch in the small town of Augusta, Kentucky.

My paranoia going into the day stemmed mainly from where we we where going. As some would point out (me) - not potentially the most liberal part of Ohio. But you know, the places we stopped and the place we ate-no one gave me much of a second look. Then again, I was just "passing" through?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"What Would June Say?"

Around here, some of the older television stations are carrying a network called MeTv. Prominent in the promo was the channel featured family programing from a simpler time. Those of us who lived through that time knew it was only a simpler time because we had to conform, Even if we were fortunate enough to be born into an "understanding" family-information on being gender dysphoric was nearly non existent.

Perhaps you have been following the comments Connie and I have been going back and forth with concerning the "Leave It To Beaver" television show after a recent Cyrsti's Condo post.

Kristina Hernandez
Thank the Goddess (or whichever deity you worship) times are changing.'

From the "The Las Vegas Review Journal" 

"Kristina Hernandez waited nearly a year before she could use the girl’s restroom at Harney Middle School.
A sixth-grader at the time, Kristina spent the summer after elementary school preparing to transition from male to female — something she had desired for years. She encountered no in­tolerance from other students and said no parent lodged a single complaint about their child sharing a restroom or locker room with her.
The administration at the campus on Hollywood Boulevard north of Sahara Avenue, how­ever, required Kristina to use the toilet in the school nurse’s office, often making her late for class.
“After a while I stopped eating and drinking at school to avoid having to go,” she said during a Clark County School Board meeting last month. “I had to beg, plead and fight for months just to be allowed to be called by my chosen name and pronouns in class.
“I had to be the one to explain myself and my situation to substitute teachers, lunch ladies and support staff because my school did not protect me,” Kristina, now 12, told school board members in April. “It is your responsibility to make sure that all students are safe in school. You are failing me.”
After transferring to another public middle school, Kristina stopped losing sleep at night. A name and gender change on legal documents also helped, since administrators at her new campus couldn’t challenge her gender.
Kristina and two other transgender students shared their experiences with the school board at an April 23 meeting, pleading with them to enact a policy that offers guaranteed protection and equal treatment for transitioning students across the Clark County School District, the fifth-largest system in the nation.
The students plan to continue pressing for change at Thursday’s board meeting, but many of their parents expect the calls for action to fall on deaf ears.
“We’re going to make it plainly clear that we’re serious, and we’re not going away,” said Kristina’s mother, Laura Hernandez. “I am going to be heard no matter how loudly I have to yell.
Isn't she wonderful? Go here for more!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Violet Vixen in Cincinnati

This weekend is the Trans Ohio Symposium up the road in Columbus and it was time to color the hair again. This year I was leaning towards something sort of age inappropriate that would stand out...just a little edgy. As Liz and I combed through (no pun intended) the seemingly millions of color combo's, I/we came up with a "Violet Vixen" color from Feria (Loreal). I have to say even I was a little scared when she kept playing with me having purple hair. Well, I don't and I love the color! It is one of those which changes colors when you see it from different angles. (I will try to get some more glitzy "selffies" as the week goes by-well at least selfies or Lizzy's cause she is taking them.)

Today we went out to Spring-Grove cemetery here in Cinci which is one of the most beautiful and historical in the country and just happens to be the final resting places of over 6000, Civil War Union troops. You can see all the flags where I am standing by what actually a canon standing on end and stretching out behind me. Below you can see one of the burial stones.

For some reason this year Memorial Day has meant more to me out here in dear old conservative Ohio. Yesterday we had a chance to stop by Liz's 90 (almost) year old Dad and thank him for his service in World War II. As you know, surviving WWII vets are getting rarer and rarer so Liz's Dad is a treasure.

 Of course as always I think how many of the fallen vets were actually our transgender sisters and brothers - and- they went from the closet to the grave. Hopefully the future will be brighter.

The true tragedy comes when some just don't seem to care at all and only see the weekend as a chance for a BBQ and extra day off.

Media Mania

First of all, you all know what I have thought about Bruce Jenner. However, I did see one of his coming out shows last night-his sit down conversation (tear jerker) with former wife Kris. And, I do know there are certain backstories which do or don't play in with me. But last night most did. Now, I did take what I saw last night at face value (no pun intended) and the story which played out between the two last night was ripped from the one which played out between my (deceased) wife and I.

Honesty, courage and communication ended up being our sticking points and I will admit I just couldn't "man up" and tell her how I really felt. I just didn't want to lose everything in life I held dear and wanted to have it both ways before I jumped off the gender cliff. I don't believe Jenner ever said it but the whole deal nearly killed me.

Also in the media recently has been the whole coming up story of the Duggar "19 and Counting Show" which has been cancelled on the TLC Network. In a classic "Bitch slap" Momma Karma beat up on Michelle Duggar who called transgender women child molesters and pedophiles in a recent anti LGBT campaign in her home state of Arkansas. Then, her son turns out to be the real deal pedophile with at least five underage girls including a couple sisters. Yes, the clan even knew of his molestations.

The whole story makes me sick from the 19 kids all the way to connections with Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. I went an immediately took a shower with lye soap after hearing all of this.

Finally,former Defense Secretary Robert Gates (now head of the Boy Scouts) said the Boy Scouts ban on Gay Adult Scout Leaders is "not sustainable" and needs to change from within. My daughters family is a huge scouting family (boy and girl) and of course support LGBTQ leaders and are very happy with this!!!!

Quite the week!

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Layered HRT Life

Here is perhaps another oft discussed topic for the upcoming Simmons College seminar on transgender issues in June we are participating in here in Cyrsti's Condo.

In a recent post, Connie mentioned all the "practice" she put in following all the feminine mannerisms she observed. Generics most certainly do too as they attempt the journey from female to becoming their own woman. I am not going to attempt a right or wrong way, as each of us is different.

I used to talk about certain of the Mtf transgender transition issues I had with my generic friends but more often than not, all I got back in return was "welcome to our world."

Not being the "sharpest tack in the box" it took me awhile to figure out, the women didn't have the slightest idea on certain occasions of what their world was. I quit bringing it up.

Any woman I have ever brought up the fact my HRT transition has added "layers" to my life, has looked at me blankly-HUH? Woman are just born into a layered existence. Men, aren't and I do believe now (more and more) how much the differences are hormonal driven AND a major source of transgender dysphoria.

Back to Simmons. One of the most asked questions I get is "what were the most dramatics changes during my HRT transition?" Everyone expects physical changes such as breasts, skin and hair changes. In reality though (it takes awhile) you begin to see the world in different ways and many times you have no one to explain it to.

As I wrote, generics take it for granted as a pro or con birthright. I compare the process to my nephew who could throw a 92 mile per hour fastball in high school. He took it for granted and now it's merely a "remember when" topic at family get togethers.

Adding the layers has been a fascinating experience and I am sure many would say I really didn't need the HRT to become the person I am today and they too are right. There is no wrong answer. Except to just cop out and say "welcome to my world."

I wouldn't do that to you if I could help it!

Mark Twain was What?

From Connie:  "They came to jeer, but remained to whitewash." (from 'Tom Sawyer') Not that Twain was necessarily speaking directly to gender roles here, but you have brought back memories of reading Twain's works many years ago. He had a few characters cross dressing in different books, and I took delight upon discovering them in my reading. I especially liked the Huck Finn cross dressing episode in which he inadvertently outed himself because, while threading a needle, he attempted to move the needle toward the thread (the way a man would do it), rather than thread to needle (the way every girl is taught). As a boy so confused about my gender identity, reading this made me really start to think about gender stereotyping, in as much as I knew that I'd have to be very careful to present myself properly if I were to ever to put myself into the "real world". I began studying the way teenage girls and young women acted (I never felt like I was a little girl so much), and I spent many hours practicing in front of the bathroom mirrors. Unfortunately, by the time I was really pretty good at it, the testosterone ruined everything.

I hadn't thought of it until I read your post, but I put so much effort into painting stereotypes in an effort to "justify" my gender identity. After being hit with the reality of male puberty, though, I ended up whitewashing my own identity. The lesson, I think, is that buying into stereotypes is not nearly as bad as whitewashing - which is just withdrawal and denial. Without stereotypes to define the binary opposites, like man/woman, love/hate, and war/peace, how would we ever figure out who we are? Besides, what could be more boring than a whitewashed world? 

Thanks Connie! I guess I shouldn't have taken a few of the book shortcuts I took with Cliff's Notes. I did however know of at least one of Twain's references to a cross dressing character. I positively loved your response. In my case I vividly remember a comic strip detective catching his "prey" by tossing "her" an item. She was wearing a long skirt and spread her legs to catch it-not squeeze them together like a man would do.

Then there was the Ian Fleming attributed short story about 007 James Bond in drag which happened to turn up as reading material in a high school history class I took with a very gay (much certainly not out in those days) teacher. I have never seen it since and wonder if Ian Fleming really penned it all. Surely though, to a gender conflicted teen ager it was fascinating as I secretly read it.

There is much more to Connie's comment which we will look at in a future Cyrsti's Condo post!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "OOOPPS!"

Ian! Get down here, dinner is ready and your grandparents are here to see you!

Soooo pretty!
Unidentified cross dresser-Pinterest

Put That Damn Brush Away!!!

I should be the last person to stereotype the world! I get so frustrated when I do. I  know it doesn't help I am reasonably opinionated. Here are a few:

I have opinions that a macho "jock" looking man is going to react negatively to me when in fact I have found it's just the opposite. For the most part, they are secure in themselves and don't give me much notice at all. I have opinions my lesbian friends won't get much male attention-but they do. I assume gay guys won't like me and that's changing (maybe even lesbians!)

I also assume  people think I live in this conservative "red neck" part of the country-when I don't.-and others don't either. Take Shelle lle for example:  "As you know Cyrsti,I live In Indiana which is likely among the most Anti LGBT states in the Midwest,However I live in a fairly liberal town ,thanks mostly to the fact that Purdue University Is located here, and they have a well organised LGBT program on campus,I'm able to go anywhere around town without fear of reprisal and have not had any bad experiences at all I'm lucky and thankful for that."

Thank you Shelle lles! I am always encouraged by the pockets of understanding around the larger educational institutions anywhere (many of which have gender studies programs.) And, as I told my grand kids, they are the future diversity which oils the future. They can make a difference. 

Now, as far as living in Ohio, Indiana or Texas where my BFF trans woman friend is headed - sure there are places you don't want to go, for any number of reasons. But there places you can. But only when you understand the basics of where you are and as a transgender woman or cross dresser-you follow the basics of being any generic woman knows.

I am a terrible painter anyway and I need to be a worst one when I paint stereotypes. 

Cyrsti's Condo "Memorial Day" Tribute

Every Memorial Day it seems this post never changes - except more have died from war and transgender military members are still fighting for rights they don't have.

To me, Memorial Day, means taking a moment to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I am sure most of you these days have a family member who served or are serving now-thank them for me!!!!!

If you are a transgender veteran or a currently serving trans military member-thanks to all of you for what you did - or have done.

Freedom isn't free.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Love My Family

As expected, my visit with my grand kids went well. The trip to their house took about an half hour and gave me time to think how I could screw this up. 

The clearest answer I could come up with was to take them for granted. I very much knew my daughter would be setting me up for success. I have written a number of times here in Cyrsti's Condo about the diverse household my daughter and son in law encourage. Plus, I knew the kids had been waiting for this since February.

So, after the initial change of my appearance-we dove right into the differences between a gay person and a transgender person. As it turns out all the kids knew a friend with two "Daddies or two Mommies." 

From there I went into a "why me?" conversation. Of course the only answer I could give was I have no idea. I also added in I would not wish being trans on my worst enemy. I only cried once today as I said waking up in the morning not knowing if I wanted to be a boy or girl destroyed me for most of my life.

About that time I was losing the attention span of the eight year old, and he bailed. I went into the basics of HRT and that there were transgender men too.

Finally, before we ate, I explained to the ten year old boy and 13 year old girl the basic differences between gender and sex.

I have also said a number of times, I am not sure what I have done to deserve the incredible nurturing group of family and friends I have. But, as I told the group today-I can count on two hands the people I really care what they think of me, ( or not. )

I would hope my grand kids came away from today with the deeper message to believe in themselves. What goes around-comes around and I loved what came around today!  

Cyrsti's Condo "Quote of the Day"

What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me a Total Badass #workout #fitness

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Dad?"

Role ReversalDad-Imagine meeting you with my girlfriends at a drag show?
Wait a minute-did you shave your legs?

"Fear and Loathing in Ohio?"

Several days ago Stana on the Femulate blog wrote a post essentially about part of her yearly trip to Hamvention here in Dayton, Ohio called "Fear and Loathing in Ohio." 

Immediately I thought Whoa!!! basically, she worried about Ohio being (and I paraphrase) less than liberal and somewhat worried about traveling through it. I will let you get your own take on it because after being slightly miffed immediately, I began to think-Stana is right.

Selfishly, I have had tons of fear and loathing here as I opened the cross dressing door and began my transition to woman. On a much larger scale though Ohio is a melting pot of ideas and sometimes they just don't melt. I can see how that would frighten some-after all- there is a reason we are always a presidential battle ground. 

Plus, "Fear and Loathing" for each and everyone of us is yet another highly personal situation. I can't begin to express the terror I felt the first night I journeyed into a TGIF Fridays. Could I - would I be able to for the first time in my life express my feminine self. As is turns out-the evening was successful and the first of many. And, in a Dr. Phil moment- I have many more examples of "fear and loathing" in my book "Stilettos on Thin Ice."

So, it has been suggested on occasion the hormones cause me to become a little more bitchy. So I have calmed down now and agree-there is "Fear and Loathing" in Ohio! But rest assured, there are more and more "freedom fighters" out here on the frontier getting organized to make life easier for all transgender women and transgender men. 

I certainly don't live in a cushy liberal neighborhood but acceptance is worth the battle!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lost in "Trans" Trendy?

In the midst of all the circus transgender hoopla around all of Bruce Jenner's "coming out", other stories fall to the side so to speak. 

One of those has been on going on a venerable American "soap opera" "The Bold and the Beautiful." I am going to take the easy way out and pick up the TransGriot Blog post:

"Rick and Trans Maya"
"Yesterday Maya Avant told her boyfriend Rick Forrester on the CBS soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful that she is trans.

Rick didn't take the news well initially, but when Maya was about to walk out of the door of that Big Bear cabin and out of his life forever with her heart breaking in the process, Rick once again declared his love for her."

Monica from TransGriot then takes a fascinating look into yet another key issue in the transgender community-the romantic attraction of cis-men to trans women.  Over the years, we have done multiple posts about it here in Cyrsti's Condo. If you don't know- Monica is never shy about her thoughts and words especially when trans women of color are involved!

Here is how she finished the post:

"We need to have an ongoing conversation about our relationships in which the baseline for having it is that our femininity as trans women is not erased and the cis men who prefer us as their partners are not demonized for doing so. 

The cis men who love us are going to have to step up and meet us trans women halfway.  They are going to have to come out of the shadows and say in no uncertain terms they love us, we are the women they want to marry, and to kiss their behinds if you don't like it.   

If a soap opera story line can lead to an enlightened conversation about a real world issue, then by all means lets get that conversation started."

Here is your link for more!

Breaking Bread with the Brats?

Finally!!!! The much awaited "coming out" meeting with my grand kids is coming up Friday. To refresh your memory, we tried to do it last winter a couple times but were shut out by bad weather. The kids are a 13 year old girl, and two boys-10 and 8. My daughter has predetermined the youngest wouldn't care unless I was transitioning into a cat. The daughter-we may never know.  The ten year old is incredibly diverse and is the one who had the out gay fourth grade teacher. 

By now, any potential intimidation I used to feel about talking to them have pretty much gone away. It's been replaced by what the ten year old is making for lunch! He is still on "house arrest" for getting kicked out of school for fighting.

Seriously, the main issue to the lunch will be what to call me and I have the answer (pre approved by daughter) my so called "final" gender marker name change will be Jessie Jeanne (Jean). Jessie was my paternal grandfather and Jeanne was my Mother. The kids can call me J.J. My only problem is I have been able over the years to build a life as Cyrsti. None of that will matter on Friday.

We have discussed this before on Cyrsti's Condo. Sure I'm biased about these three but they are sharp so it's important to me to not talk over their heads and just as important not to talk under them. Plus, all of the sudden it's trendy? to have a transgender relative.

All in all, it should be an interesting day and we will see how the kid does with lunch! 

Taking the Transition Out of Transgender?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "White Satin"

CDAll right Jim! You look great but what is your sister going to say about you wearing her wig and dress and your Dad missing his liquor? And-Oh by the way-I just heard the garage door open!

Transgender Time Line

Thanks to Bobbie for passing along this link to a wonderful New York Times article called Increasingly Visible, Transgender Americans Defy Stereotypes.

From the article:   "Transgender women and transgender men have gone from marginal to trendy,” according to Susan Stryker, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, of the study of gender identity. Earlier this year , Ms. Stryker started TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, the first publication of its kind."

Christine Jorgensen 

We all know though, the road has been long and hard. And- before you go out and spend big money on your new trendy wardrobe it's always good to take a look at where we have come from and never forget where we have to get to.

The last time I looked, most of us STILL don't enjoy the basic rights of all other American's. Hell, we still can't even serve in the military.

All in all though, I even have to give Bruce Jenner some credit here. After all, we know at the least he will have a trendy wardrobe. 

Cross Dressers and Wives

In many ways, this is an "equal time" post here in Cyrsti's Condo. It's for all of you who identify as cross dressers.   

Through Tasi Zuriak and an e-mail she passed along- I can pass along (no pun intended) news about a new feature in the Huffington Post. It's written by Terri Lee Ross and called How to Tell Your Wife you are a Cross dresser. Here is an excerpt:

"Conflicted over your cross-dressing habit, you try to make peace with it and quit attempting to figure out why you have this desire to wear woman's clothing. Your therapist says you are normal, so why can't you tell anyone about your desire to dress and let your femme self out for others to see? The one person you want to share your femme self with is your wife, the mother of your children, your best friend and partner in life.
Yet, you don't know how to tell her. You are afraid she will abandon you or look badly on your behavior, thinking it is a sexual fetish that she wants no part of, when dressing is something that you were born with and a part of you that is begging to be exposed.
According to Sister House, a popular site for cross-dressers, about 70% of their audience have expressed that they have told their wives. The other 30% are still hiding in the shadows wanting to come out and share their femme self."
Follow the link for the rest of a great post that I can certainly relate to. Of course my situation was different because I told my wife before we were married. Over the course of a 25 year marriage and before she departed this world-the problem with me was dishonesty.  As I began to come to grips with being transgender, I was dishonest with myself and her.  She always made it very clear if I wanted to live as a woman, that's cool but we would just part as friends. So I tried to have it both ways (or hide it) which didn't work.
Finally, I just have to be a little snarky and point out when you do talk to your spouse-very quickly into the conversation, add in "Relax dear, I'm not like Bruce Jenner."

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Thrill is Gone?

Since I am not allowed to call her "my co-blogger" Connie mentioned the passing of blues legend BB King :  " I've always thought that "The Thrill is Gone" could be an anthem for those of us who have given up the activity of cross dressing to become genuine in transition - 24/7. Being a transgender person certainly is accompanied by the blues, anyway." 

How true all of that is Connie!  I have written here in Cyrsti's Condo of the fireman I knew years ago who compared the thrill of cross dressing to going on a fire run. I of course don't know anything about that and need to mention she went on to complete SRS. So maybe the final thrill was on the operating table when she left to pursue a life as a woman? 

Seriously, the whole subject is one I struggled with for years. After all, it is much easier to get dolled up once or twice a week as a cross dresser than it is to go full time as a transgender woman. My only advice to those who are thinking they want to make the "jump" - get out there and try it on for size. It is the only way you can learn the true "nuances" of living in the feminine world. 

It worked for me and I never have looked back but as Connie said "being a transgender person certainly is accompanied by the blues!" R.I.P. BB King.

Bureaucratic B.S?

FINALLY- Yet another battle with the VA to get my bill for an outside provider (endocrinologist) paid was settled. My visit was in September of last year.

My problem was getting the VA to do the right thing.  By their own directives - they are supposed to provide me (pay for) an outside provider for a need they (VA) don't provide. As you can tell by the timing, I am relatively persistent. Also (and unfortunately) I am experienced in dealing with their (VA) system when they are dragging their heels about paying anything outside the system.

They did to me what I call "Ping Pong" . To get around it I went to my "ultimate weapon" called the "Patient Advocate", which I highly recommend if you are a trans vet and get caught in the system. (Do NOT get stuck in billing!!!) The woman in billing was quite satisfied telling me I was wrong and hell no they weren't paying. So, I had to keep going back to Advocate monthly to assure them my problem was not solved and I was not going away. Then, they bounced me from Dayton, Ohio to Omaha, Nebraska-who knew absolutely nothing about my case. Two months ago, I got a call from an unknown person who said my claim was to be paid-in 60 days. Really?

So yesterday, the long  unpaid doctors office wrote me a nice letter saying the VA finally paid. Plus, the other silver lining to all of this is (as I have written about here in Cyrsti's Condo) I now have an in house endocrinologist. The problem is, what is stable today could change tomorrow.

I will say though-everybody within the VA system to a person has been kind and caring to me. Plowing through the bureaucracy is the big problem.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk! Good morning and another Sunday Edition of the Cyrsti's Condo has hit your virtual front porch! Our weather here in O-H-I-O is slightly overcast and muggy so summer is definitely on the way -so last get started!

Page One.- The Week that Was - or Wasn't:  During the past seven days or so, again we seem to be slowing down a bit from the barrage of publicity stemming from Bruce Jenner. My opinion has always been Jenner, Zoey Tur and the rest of the Hollywood crowd which show up on my doorstep on television are just a little too slippery for my liking. I have been surprised though how many civilians I have interacted with who don't think that way. So, that is what is most important. As it turns out, most of my week came from surprise input from the outside.

Page Two.-Back to College? I was completely surprised last week when Megan from Simmons College contacted me concerning contributing to their Trans*forming the Dialogue initiative this summer. First and foremost this means all of you will have a chance to contribute to questions such as what is OK to ask a transgender person or not. It is supposed to go live sometime in June. Plus, a little about Simmons College. Simmons is ONLY the third US women’s college to accept students who identify as transgender. Each time the gender barrier is broken down for transgender women anywhere it is huge. In the recent past, certain "women only" colleges have led the discrimination charge to bar us. I'm sure another question to add to their dialogue would be "what constitutes a woman?" It should be very interesting and you all will be the first to know when I learn more!

Page Three.- My Sisters in? : Page Two Continued: What does constitute a "woman"? How close or how far away are we transgender women from our generic sisters? The easy answer is there isn't one. The easy answer used by radical feminists is if you weren't born with a vagina, then you will never ever be a woman. Then there are the ever present radical transsexuals who believe somehow if you haven't or can't buy your own vagina-you too are the outside looking in. Then again (as always) there is a huge middle ground. The problem is it is an emotionally charged issue to be sure. But last week I took three ideas from Ginger Burr's Total Image Consultant's site which to me spoke deeply to my life as a transgender woman. Here is the post very simply called "Good Questions."

Page Four.- The Back Page: Well kids, it's time to go. somehow my old dog knows she has time for a walk mixed into her busy day. Sadly, the week to come will mark the end of another icon of my generation-the retirement of "David Letterman." I'm sure I will end up blaming and cussing the effect of my HRT hormones as I view the last show.
On a positive note though-have a GREAT week and thanks for stopping by Cyrsti's Condo!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Cover Woman of the Day"

Francine GarciaOur feature cover today is Francine Garcia (Arnold Clavio)

Trans Ohio and More

As always time is slipping away and just around the corner is the Trans Ohio Symposium May 29-31st and then many LGBT Pride celebrations. This year, I'm interested to see what (if any changes) will occur in the transgender community. What I mean is, will I notice any more transgender women than I have in the past? In the past (unless a trans woman had tons of passing privilege to the point of not setting off my Trans-dar) I have noticed damn few. On the other hand, the various other sub cultures in the LGBT were highly represented. From "super butch" lesbians (many tough to separate from trans men) to androgynous youth of both genders; as always trans women are a small representation.

The problem to me has been being once again compared with various drag queens entertaining for the day.

This year perhaps, the trans women will be a little more emboldened to step out from the closet and into a Pride event?

It can be a fun and enlightening time if you can!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Big Three

First of all, I (Cyrsti) am participating in Trans*forming the Dialogue, Simmons College’s Online MSW Program’s campaign to promote an educational conversation about the transgender community. By participating in this campaign, I will be offering my perspective on what TO ask and what NOT to ask trans*people.

Unfortunately, these are all too easy to answer. Lets go into the NO questions:
Do Not ask a trans person about their sexual preference!!!! Number one sexulaty and gender are two different issues and
It's none of your business!!! As a point of reference, I have been asked about my gender preferences in a Doctor's office by male interns.
Do not ask me "how long have I been doing this" or "when did I know?"  As innocent as the question may seem,  Being transgender is not a choice. We were born this way.
Do Not Ask Me Have I had any surgeries? How could that possibly matter?
Do Not ask me how I became "so brave" to do this? Bravery is for first responders and military members, I am just doing what I had to do - to live
Do Not Ask Me: How it feels to be a woman. I only know how it feels to be me. It is you who are laying a gender "sticker" on me. Gender is only a mirror and I am showing you the reflection of the gender I want you to see.

Now- Do Ask Me:

What do I think of all the Transgender Dialogue these days?  I welcome any informal "educational" opportunities. Plus, people are seeing so much of us on television, they are curious to meet one of us "in person."

Is Society Changing? Yes, and it's always easy for me to explain why. 

About problems Transgender people of all types face in today's world as they transition. It's always amazing to me about how more people I meet who know or have a gender nonconforming person they know or in their family.

**Please note- this will be a continuing dialogue you all can participate in the very near future.  

Trans*forming the Dialogue!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot?

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will return to the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport for a show Sunday night, Sept. 30. Photo: Contributed PhotoRemember "Pat Benatar?" Well, she is still very much in the music business and I saw her yesterday on one of the morning news shows.  She rocked the music world in the 80's with hard hitting rock sounds such as "Hit Me with You Best Shot."  To the left is Benatar and her long time husband Neil Giraldo. 

After all these years of singing, she has one of those deep gravely feminine voices I love so much. And for some reason, I was able to "channel" her when I went to my VA Doc yesterday.

First of all, it's normally really tough to judge the overall effects of HRT on your own body. I had not seen her (the Doc) for six months, so she was (happily) properly impressed with my changes. She also was quick to comment how much happier I seemed to be- which is true. 

Her next comment though extremely flattered and frustrated me at the same time. She said "My God! Have you been working with your voice?" Actually, no-I was just channeling Pat Benatar at the moment.  My voice just felt low, loose, feminine and all so sexy.  But!!!  Just as quickly when I try too hard with Pat-she deserts me-with that throaty laugh!

I'm working hard  Pat and will give it my best shot!


Recently I mentioned the difficulty you all are having getting comments into Cyrsti's Condo.  I twerked (er) tweaked several things. Well, at least one seemed to be working because I was flattered when I received this comment from Ginger Burr:

"Thanks so much, Cyrsti, for this wonderful message (and for enjoying my blog posts!). You hit the nail on the head. You are so right about having to "jump" age brackets. It makes the process more challenging for those who are in their 40's when they fully embrace their feminine selves (I hear this from my trans clients all the time, but they are also so thankful to be expressing themselves authentically that the experience is wonderful even with the jump). The world is changing for the better (I have seen such forward movement over the past 30 years) and I hope the 20 something generation will read your comments and take the plunge with no looking back! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and thoughtfulness.""

Thanks to you Ginger! Years ago, someone I admired very deeply tried to tell me simply putting on a dress and heels made me a princess - not a woman-and I was clueless. (She was right.) It's the reason I always try to be in tune with the multi layered worlds "generic" woman grew up and live in day to day.

If you missed the post, briefly, we discussed three subjects from Ginger which deeply spoke to all transgender women. Here is a link again to her site .

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eat More Chicken?

Today was appointment day at one of my medical team. Sounds impressive-right??

Well, it is and keep in mind the only way I can afford it is my Veterans Administration co-payment health care along with my yet to be tested Medicare.

At the VA I am assigned to a "primary care provider" - not unlike your family doc, if you still have one of those. Then, I have my endocrinologist and finally the person I call my "pusher."  She actually is a psychiatrist who monitors/prescribes my moods because I am bi-polar. If you didn't know, mixing an estrogen "supplement" with a mood stabilizer can cause problems.  I of course have been dealing with this for years and am ready every time a well meaning person on my medical team and raises the red flag. They are right and I don't want to sound as if I take any of this lightly. Fortunately, it is easier to explain these days to professionals being transgender is not a choice.

I always seem to have the most fun after the "work" part of my appointments. The example today was when Kelly asked me what I thought about Leelah Alcorn, Bruce Jenner AND...did I think all the hormones in processed foods were dropping the testosterone levels as a whole in men. Well, as most of you long term Cyrsti's Condo readers know-I do think that.  Having said that, I'm not saying society as a whole will be experiencing a complete boom in the numbers of cross dressers and transgender women, but the stereotypical John Wayne virile guys are not as numerous.

Try having that conversation with the person who essentially is my therapist. So I guess I could cut back on my regular HRT estrogen dosage if I gave up my boycott on a certain chicken chain which is well known for it's bigotry?

Cyrsti's Condo "Library"

Recently I found this site which may be of interest to many of you from Transgress Press.
Image of Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge & Resilience

So far though, I did not see any of their publications directed towards senior transgender or the "baby booming"  transitioning folk. However, this one caught my eye! Transgender partners (be they male or female) get no love either!

Follow the link above for a closer look!


I understand from a couple of you that you are having difficulties publishing comments to Cyrsti's Condo. Rest assured I don't think I did anything to cause that to happen. I don't block anyone, but I do have the option to not publish an inappropriate or spamish comment.

I am going to continue to work on the problem. In the meantime, you can always e mail me at or comment on my Google+ account.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Humor-Nobility-Connie and Bruce

For some unknown reason a couple nights ago, I did see the humor in all of this MtF gender transition and remembered that Connie had commented some time ago on the same subject and her buddy Bruce Jenner. 

"One of the most important things Bruce said was at the outset of the interview, asking that we keep a sense of humor about all of this. Humor can go a long way in easing the suffering of slings and arrows, as well as in keeping our own nobility."

For sure humor does go a long way when you are transgender. At least with me, every so often I have to stop-crawl down off my pedestal and think damn I have been taking myself all too seriously AND have a sense of humor.

During these times I wished I did live closer to Connie and be heckled or be the heckler at one of her performances. The problem being (other than distance) - what she could say to me would be totally different than the rest of the world. I know we share the same pathway and humor is good!

Personally, I have never been good enough to ease my public suffering with humor. Deep down I know how well I'm able to navigate the world as a trans woman in the present and future- I will still have to suffer the idiots who nearly fall out of their chairs when I walk by. Or worse yet, glare after I use the rest room. Then again, I feel the same way when I see all the slobs walking down the street close to where I live.

Nobility? Only when Connie does't see me fall off my pedestal.