Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk another Sunday edition is hitting your virtual front porch. Here in Southwestern Ohio, we are back to what traditionally is called "Indian Summer" when much of our traditional summer heat and humidity returns for it's last "hurrah" before fall. Let's grab a cup 'o' joe (coffee) and get started!

Page One-The Week that Was or Wasn't: To me the biggest thing that has happened to me for awhile in the transgender world was the announcement from the Pentagon that an actual timetable has been set for allowing active duty transgender troops to serve openly for the first time in their military careers.

Also, along the way- the news of  Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, (left) a former policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, will serve as an outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Obviously, great news on both!
Page Two- Opinion.- Pronouns and the Trans Person: To me at least, they shouldn't but the use of gender pronouns people use with me define me. Often though, it's not fair to a public who is just getting familiar with trans women and transgender men at all. Plus, we are asking a person to make a split second gender decision on us. I had plenty of examples this weekend alone. There was the clerk girl at the shoe store yesterday who started to call me "sir" (at the check out) and to her I just said "No, thank you sir."  

Then there was the receptionist at the Veteran's Administration a couple weeks ago who changed  pronouns on me seemingly ten times a minute until she was totally frustrated. The list goes on endlessly of course. The woman taking tickets at the amateur boxing match we went to last night (Thanks Kim!) he/she'd me instantly when she took my ticket.
Of course, I'm not alone (with many of you) in the fact "passing privilege" will never be 100% ours, and pronouns may always be a problem or embarrassment of sorts for both parties.  

I do have a solution though. Most of the offenders I encounter aren't doing anything inherently evil. They are just confused and uneducated. I am thinking of printing up a very short list of alleviating the public's questions and when I do encounter a person, I will give them one.

Page Three .-The Back Page: Most of you know, I am not much of a "fashionista" but this weekend I grabbed Liz (she smiled) and we went shoe shopping. I did get "radical" and dipped into my limited funds and bought a pair of "short" boots that come just above my ankles and a pair of green/teal actual women's tennis shoes. (I know neither are very sexy-but both are very functional.) So looking ahead at the tons of fall festivals in the area and later into the winter weather-I m set up fairly well with my three pairs of boots.
Well kids, I have to get going and rustle up another cup o joe As always, thanks for stopping by!!!! 'Luv ya' all!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Shock and Awe II

As I mentioned in my last Cyrsti's Condo post, yesterday was a very long day. So let's pick up where we left off-arriving at Liz's sometime around 6 PM after navigating some rather aggressive Cincinnati rush hour Friday traffic.

After a short half hour break, we were on the road again, this time to head out to the middle of nowhere. Somewhere out near Connersville, Indiana to pick up her son for the weekend from a mostly surly Dad. Most assume Indiana (like Ohio) is this vast cornfield. It;s not and the part we drove through was very hilly and I assume less than LGBT diverse. In fact Liz and I play this little game of how long I would last in some of these little towns. If I am wrong and you live in one, let me know and I will apologize! 

We arrived to pick the son around dusk and headed back towards Cinci stopping to eat at an well known chain of highway family dining restaurants (the ones with general stores.)

Everything was cool, we ordered our food-got it when Liz started to growl about the women who sat down at the table on our left. Basically she was saying "I am going to have to kick her arse if she keeps staring." For once, I hadn't even noticed but said "to hell with the woman, I was ready to knaw off my arm." Instead of bitching to management about her or saying something, I was just too tired to worry about the bitch. 

As luck would have it for the woman, her life at the restaurant got progressively worse as a fairly big group of diners became fairly boisterous. I turned and watched her faced as she glared and rolled her eyes. What was going on? She was having a big night out with a kid who could have been a grandson and a man who looked to be a 60 something like her and all hell breaks loose.

First she is subjected to sitting at a table next to me and then all that noise? Really?

She was in "Shock and Awe" of the situation! As was I as we finally rolled back into Liz's around 10 PM and I took a look in the mirror. Wowza! No wonder the woman was scared! So was I. Maybe a little upkeep on the hair as well as a makeup touch up would have been nice.

Oh well, maybe the whole evening will provide her with more church gossip and condemnations on Sunday. After all, she had to sit close to and stare at one of those trans what? women. And, oh yeah, about all those black people making all that noise...

Shock and Awe!

Yesterday was one of those days which I knew was going to be long, but not so sure how long. 

First of all, the weather was tremendous and an ideal time to have yet another sidewalk sale at my old house in Springfield which I am continuing to clean out from literally 20 years or more of "collecting." I don't sell much but every little bit helps me to "get by" and augment my very meager Social Security. It's better than carrying a sign and standing on a corner asking for change. Can ya spare a dime brother for a poor trans vet? But...I didn't have to because...

I was successful in "moving a couple pieces" out as I grow ever closer to putting the place up for sale and went back to Sis-in-Law's to pack up and drive the hundred miles or so to Liz's. Decided to wear my best "Boho-Hippie" outfit".  A long flowing multi colored purple skirt, tank top and flip flops. It fits right in as, on the way to Liz's I go through Yellow Springs, Ohio which was (and is) a hot bed of hippie/liberal activity and  a place I have felt immensely connected to. I was dressing to blend in my mind for the past and present!

Let's "back track" a bit and mention too, the "mousse was loose" yesterday- as Liz and I call it. In my hair from when I washed it Thursday. I love to just shampoo, condition and mousse my already very wavy hair and basically just let it go. So, I went with the "460 Air Conditioning" in my Rolls Royce (4 windows down at 60 miles an hour) and headed for Cincinnati. I always love going through "The Springs" imagining I could go back and re-live just a few of those years I so admired the hippie girls with their long wavy hair. When I had my Army 'high and tight'.

Of course I can't so the closest I can come is to let my "freak flags fly"; turn up one of the Woodstock CD's I just found in my house and head on down the road. What could be any better?

I am sure my old dog in the back seat was thinking "here we go again!" And go we did-once I got to Liz's as "Shock and Awe" continues!!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

You Never Know Where You Are Going-Till You Get There

Liz is fond of taking much of the credit for "kicking me out of my transgender nest." From the beginning she only saw me as trans. She has been with me nearly five years now, including starting HRT, so I guess technically she knew me as a cross dresser.

It took a while, but either I began to shut up about my transition experiences, got used to them or whatever-because I began to hear less and less "welcome to my world" (I hate it!) Ideally, it's not her world, it's how I perceived it then and now.

But don't get me wrong, she did put her boot up my rear and kick me out of the nest. I began to grow my personality in the gender I learned I felt most comfortable in. (I always thought I would and I love it when I'm right!)

What is also fun is the number of so called "civilians" Liz and I have met in our travels. Of course I am considered anything from unique to "just one of the girls" who happens to be a little different. Most importantly I just want to be considered a quality human and every place we go (like the knitting group) I don't have to be a standard carrier for the LGBTQ culture. In fact, the wider I expand my circles, the more I find people do know more and more of us who are particularly transgender, gay or lesbian.

As Connie is fond of saying "It ain't over till it's over." (Wait-that wasn't her.)  But she does say transitioning does follow you to the grave.

Again the fun part is seeing the signs ahead, but never quite getting there!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Today I just had to get out and away-been up here with Sis in Law for about a week. Plus, I have been feeling really crummy the entire week. Since the day was another cool sunny day, I packed up the old dog and we headed North into some heavy rural/agricultural areas I used to travel with friends when I was younger.

There are nothing like miles of corn and soybeans on an empty highway to give me time to think. After considering I could see why the white man originally stole this rich heart land from the Shawnee and other Native American tribes-my mind turned to what the life of a young transgender person would be like these days where I was. 

Of course I don't know for sure but if you have ever heard of the 4-H  Club or the FFA (Future Farmers of America), I don't know if they even formally accept transgender girls and boys. As I passed on of the big 4-H symbols on a barn, I thought that maybe a trans kid could maybe gain a circle of friends. 

Then, I thought of the area high school I was driving through and all I thought of was how brutal an experience that could be. All of a sudden I realized I did have a point of LGBTQ reference of sorts on that very school. Years ago, one of the drag queens in the area was actually part of the the school's color guard/flag team. I never had a chance to talk to her about her experiences.

All too soon though, the dog was tired, I was tired (out of gas) so it was time to head back!

All You Need is Love!

With all respect to the Beatles, all you need is love- with a liberal dose of knowledge. As many of transgender women and trans men  have found as we have transitioned to the outside world, it is not such a scary place after all. BUT NOT SO FOR MANY. 

Unfortunately, we have a HUGE way to go in the LGBTQ world to pave the way to a better life-especially for our youth.

As it happened, I saw this event through Facebook and a Cincinnati Transgender Group site. And since Burlington, Kentucky is actually very close to Liz's house- I volunteered to help any way I could.

Happy to say, I received an nearly immediate positive response.

Indeed, "Love Must Win" and if I can get out from behind this computer and help more-I can't wait!

Thanks Ryan!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Transgender Barrier Shot Down?

Bobbie just sent this to me to pass along to all of you and it marks the end of one of the most hypocritical transgender episodes since the word was invented!

The Pentagon’s ban on transgender troops would end May 27 under a draft timeline on repeal of the policy that affects about 12,000 troops, according to a document obtained by USA TODAY.
The memo, circulated last week among top personnel and medical officials, lays out the road map for ending the policy and highlights some of the potential issues, including a pilot program that would provide leaves of absences for transgender troops being treated with hormones (HRT) or having surgery. (SRS)
I was beginning to think hell was freezing over when Obama appointed the first transgender employee to the White House recently.  Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a former policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, will serve as an outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.
Now I know why the late summer weather around here has been unseasonably cool!

Thanks Ladies

This morning my daughter and I got together for a quick coffee and pastry during a break from her insanely busy schedule. 

When we went up to the counter to order, the counter person said- "can I help you ladies?" Of course I never tire of hearing that, except this time it was the first time I heard it with my daughter. I do believe I saw a bit of a smile on her face! 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Passed By?"

Most certainly , the second thing we do after donning women's or girl's clothes for the first time is find a mirror to admire ourselves in. From that moment on, the mirror becomes our friend or enemy. I have always thought making the MtF gender transition from cross dresser to transgender woman in the world passes through the mirror.

Of course as we know, the mirror has a pesky level of fibbing to human beings as a whole-not just cross dressers or trans women. We look wonderful in the mirror only to be "clocked" at every turn in the real world.

These days though, the world seems to be changing in our direction-for the best. I'm going to let Connie tell her story which is so similar to mine:

" I began thinking this morning about "passing privilege" after visiting the doctor's office for yet another blood draw. The girl at the front desk was not the one I have been encountering thus far, but she was good about being careful to address me properly. I assume that she had me read before I even gave her my name (she only asked for my last name at first). So, I guess I wasn't passing, but I was recognized as a trans woman who was serious about it. 

As I sat in the waiting room, I revisited the notion of "passing" in my mind. In fact, that's where it lies in the first place - in MY mind; not anyone else's. Even if I don't actually "pass" as a woman, then, it is my attitude and self-confidence that relay the notion that I am, at least, "passable" (or a reasonable facsimile) to those with whom I engage. In other words, my "pass-ability" comes from within me (with a bit of help from cosmetics and clothing on the outside), while others see from that the "possibility" of my womanhood. As such. I am so much more often treated by others as they would treat any woman. As they say, the possibilities are endless, but we, as trans women, must open ourselves up to them. If we're constantly concerned with being "passable", we limit what is "possible". I see myself as having the "right" to be who I am; I see the "privilege" belonging to those who meet me!"

All I can add is, you will know all of this when it happens and it takes a lot of patience to get here!

The Right or Wrong Person for the Job?

I really don't know how many times I have sworn myself off the "allure" or lack of it from Caitlin Jenner. 

Kristin Beck 
Of course I know the non negotiables. Without a doubt she is the biggest public relation's splash ever in the transgender community. Now we have a former Olympic hero along with Navy Seal Kristin Beck as recent "coming out" stories. In fact, Kristin is running for US Congress.

I am sure Jenner's life will ever allow her to ever experience the everyday lives we live as transgender women. Can you imagine the paparazzi crowding into a women's restroom with her?

After watching her last show rater intently (and knowing it's a glossy over produced Kartrashian show) I couldn't see the emotion in Jenner. Again, I don't know all the facts about her, except she went out and bought the best plastic surgery money could buy. Again, maybe that's why I can't see any emotion in her face-she can't move it!!!!

Plus, I have no idea how long she has been back on HRT. It took me three years on hormones to begin to see the world in a different way. When I watch Jenner, I wonder if she has passed over (no pun intended) to the feminine side much at all. She tries to overtalk most people and doesn't want to listen for the real problems-typical male.

Then again, maybe I am just watching the true quandary of a Mtf gender transition play out with Jenner. I don't question the pure persistence and strength it takes to jump the gender fence. It will be interesting to see in the years to come what happens with Jenner. Will a "softer-gentler" Caitlin truly begin to enjoy a life in the girls sandbox? Or, will the ego trip of doing it still be more important? 

Where Did the Pool Sissy Go?

I don' really know, but if you are wondering where the picture of the cross dressed "sissy" went, Pinterest had a problem with me re-pinning it at all. It turns out unless I received permission to use our boy at the pool-I couldn't, he was copyrighted.  

Either that, he was recognized and caught?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A "Real" Queen of Hearts" in Cyrsti's Condo

I Care For Girly Boys
Unidentified cross dresser 
Remember- a "queen" not a princess!

A Beautiful Frock!

Frock Magazine PreviewKatie Glover from Frock Magazine just emailed this message: Hi Cyrsti, just a quick heads up to let you know that we have finally published the app version of Frock Magazine containing your column. 

You all can see it here!

If you didn't know, Frock is the world's fastest growing quality bi-monthly transgender and drag magazine. Voted 'Best Niche Magazine' in both 2013 and 2014, Frock is inspiring, entertaining and informative to transgender and drag people and their supporters all over the world.

Check it out!

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk! Another special virtual edition is hitting your front porch! It's a beautiful day around here, sunny and highs expected in the low 80's. The "Joe" (coffee) is brewing, so are the ideas. Let's get started!

Page One-the Week that Was-or Wasn't:  Around the Condo we evoked quite a bit of response from our discussion about transgender senior health care. The post was called "Headed for the Nursing Home Closet?"  I urge you to go back to the post and check out two comments by Paula and Connie. Paula's represents a very positive look at a friend's passing days. Connie's - not so much. Overall, I share a boatload of paranoia about reaching that point in my life. 

Along the way, we also covered (or tried to) the complex world of "gender markers" As all of you who are attempting or completed the process know, the problem is on the local level, each state often is different with certain requirements. An example is, I still can't get the gender changed on my birth certificate here in Ohio and I have the Veteran's Administration to factor in. Fortunately, there is a central information point from The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) where you can take a look at the process.  I have often said the legal gender transition is as difficult as the physical one.

Page Two-Stand Up and Be counted! The US Trans Survey is going on now. Of course I don't think I need to tell you how important this survey is. It's a chance to step up and tell the world how numerous we really are and so much more than all the glossy television media time transgender women and men are getting right now.

Page Three-Opinion-Privilege is What You Make it: I believe some of the first big "wars" on the internet I read when I began my "explorations" years ago were waged on "gender privilege." Of course I knew generics made less money, had certain promotional "glass ceilings" and were generally disrespected by men in certain area's of their life. However, I knew  the cost of "male privilege" also. It's a huge, complex and often an emotional issue I found-an easy one to stay the hell out of. I did, for the most part, think being trans was an ideal spot to sit back and watch the battles. 

Page Four-The Back Page: Well kids, it's time to get the old dog and I moving and get outside and enjoy the day. For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, I am sending positive vibes your way-put the fires out!!! And, for the rest of you, thanks for taking your time to stop by Cyrsti's Condo!

The Positives of a Bad Attitude?

Someone said "when you have lemons, make lemonade." Did anyone ever say "when you have a bad attitude-wear it well?" No probably not. Everyone is too busy trying to pound the round peg into a round hole. (Or the square one.) I too am guilty as charged of course. 

It's easy to blame everything on my Mom and most certainly I can toss her under the bus on this one too. After all, her mantra was "don't care what everyone else thinks." What she missed in the fine print was don't care until it effects her. 

So, as I continue to figure out the light at the end of the tunnel is not the train on my transgender journey-who the hell told me I couldn't do this?

Probably the same ones who told me I would never get into the American Forces Radio and Television Service when I was drafted. 

And, the same ones who told me cross dressers should never wear pants and always wear heels and hose.

Yes, all of them.

Don't panic though, just to even things out-I make sure I am doing enough stupid things to make sure the round hole I am in feels more comfortable. In fact, after all these years of staring down the tunnel looking for the train is getting a bit old.

Oh well, I am sure I can find another cause to resurrect another bad attitude rant.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo - Ooops???

Unidentified Pinterest Pix.
Dammit! Is this guy ever going to quit looking up my dress? 

Freebie and the Bean

Freebie and the Bean was a 1974 "action/comedy" film with Alan Arkin and James Caan. It was on last night on Turner Classic Movies who were doing a "collection" of Arkin's films.

If you have never seen it, the film features the best and worst of whatever you wanted to call the LGBT community during that era. The "worst" was the "hit man" was actually a cross dressing female impersonator played by Christopher Morley. (left)

Back "in the day" there was absolutely no "T" in the LGB and when we were seen in the media, it was normally in a very bad role.

The "best" part was that Morley presented incredibly well in the movie as a woman!

Fortunately today, most of that era seems to be a bad dream-like most of the cars in the movie!!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Brew Ha Ha

This whole weekend, Downtown Cincinnati hosts an event called "Brew Ha Ha." It's right along the Ohio River and this year the proceeds are going to finding a cure for childhood cancer. It's called "The Cure Starts Now"

As good fortune would have it, the weather was flat out beautiful, the 42 craft beers were great, the food was tasty and the comedy? - Well- I suppose you could almost call it that. A main stage showcased the "paid" comedians while several small ones all the rest. Very early in the evening it became evident how difficult comedy must really be. 

Of course as the beer and the evening progressed, Liz and I began to talk about transgender comedians. I said I had heard about a few like Julia Scotti   from New Jersey.

The problem with trans comedy as I see it is, we are light years away from laughing at ourselves. Let alone inviting others to do it. Then I put together an example or two. Would telling a crowd how unfunny getting smirked at in malls back in my cross dressing days be? Finally though,I did come up with a few ideas like dealing with guys who are intimidated when I actually know who The Ohio State quarterback was in 1968. Perhaps women would internally smile when I talk about falling in heels, and the men would smile about sports jokes-but is any of that comedy?

Personally, my problem is I am such a cynic and smart arse. (Surprise?) Plus I have little or no fear speaking to the public. My tendency would be to be as politically incorrect as the group I would be speaking to. 

What a thin line to walk! Turning such a very non humorous facet of my life into a different public forum.

All without getting beat up after the show and not because I am transgender! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wait? Another Transgender Woman?

I have written here in Cyrsti's Condo on how I am rarely in the present world. I exist in other dimensions quite well. It's one of the reasons I did so well in the restaurant management business-I was always working ahead.

At any rate, Thursday when Liz and I went to the Dayton, Ohio VA, I was hanging out in the main hallway when she used the Ladies "Potty". About ten minutes later she came out and excitedly said "Did you see the trans woman?" Well, I didn't and was not going to chase her into the rest room.

As it was, Liz said the transgender woman about knocked her down coming in. I said one of two things were happening. Either she (the trans woman) had to pee really bad or she was really scared. As it was, a janitor was working on cleaning the nearby men's room and had the hallway partially blocked.

Of course I do wish I would have had the chance to meet up face to face with another trans vet. I do know of one who used to work at the nearby Wright Patterson AFB. She always has claimed she harassed out of her civilian contractor job-which we all know was/is extremely possible.

In the meantime, it is comforting to know I am not alone. 

"Transgender" Markers Part 12?II

I suppose it doesn't really matter where I start with yesterday's "fun" at the VA with Liz (this time) to hold my hand. As I have mentioned too many times to count here in Cyrsti's Condo, again I need to  discuss gender markers with you. Often not a pleasant story as we hear from Shelle : 

"Over here in Hoosier land(Indiana) they really have my transition experience about as hosed up as it can be, my HRT is handled not by a transgender doctor but by an endocrinologist in Indianapolis, the rest of my treatment is handled here locally by a mental heath person, who's main thrust has been to see that any anxiety I have is treated by a pill 'Sertraline' otherwise known as Zoloft. Getting anyone to commit to my gender marker issues seems foreign to them" 

Thanks Shelle, I wish you the best! I have been fortunate in that my VA Center seems to be extremely sensitive to transgender needs to the point of being proud about it. Having said that though, I had to fight for nearly two years to get my endocrinologist care under the same "roof" so to speak. (I too have never had a 'transgender doctor')

Also, as I embark on the "gender marker" trip the people at the VA I will be dealing with have quite a bit of experience with me. In fact-one has three years and is the psychologist who initially approved my HRT.  The other is a therapist who gets along with me well too. Perhaps (and I hope I am not overly speculating on Shelle's comment) I am heavily "monitored" because I am "bi-polar" too. My struggle with them has been over the years has been to separate being trans from bi-polar. You can't necessarily connect the dots with me. I do understand though the connection between adding estrogen into the mix and extra depression.

Truthfully, it's a constant battle for me. I have always called my moods "battling my demons" and sometimes they were wearing dresses. Therapists seem to understand that. Plus, once I accepted they should be wearing dresses, my life was happier.

As far as going forward, it has been such a long time since I have had an appointment with the psychologist who can/maybe/will sign off on my gender marker request, I may have to start lower in the mental health VA system and work my way back to her. (Not a problem.) 

As I understand it, all the "shrinks" meet today for a "consult" and I will find out what's going on tomorrow (Thursday) I do know the key to my decision will probably be the tight knit ever growing group of family and friends who accept me as a transgender woman.

Bless them all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Too Damn Much - Too Damn Soon?

It's late, so I am going to write this before eating a late night salad and going to bed.

The big happenings today-before I forget (and I will) was the other transgender woman veteran Liz saw at the VA hospital today, and the LGBT Equality sticker I saw at the receptionist's window (Wow!)as I was setting up an appointment to start the gender marker process.

I was amused at how many times she did her best not to mis-pronoun me in the process AND act like she wasn't.'

And finally, going to Liz's Knitting Group tonight at a Panera's. No, I didn't knit-but I wrote.

More on all of this later!!!  

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Marking" the Future.

I am fairly sure I talk about gender markers, how the process works and how much I procrastinate about starting/completing the process more than the Republican prez candidates talk about hating all Obama does.

My latest "excuse" was waiting for some sort of a definitive answer on my health concerns which seem for the most part stem from a form of sun poisoning. The medical process literally was taking me at least once a week to my local or regional Veteran's Administration medical centers. So, to even consider going back to the VA to secure the therapist documents to begin the process was intimidating.

But Tuesday, when yet again I am back at the VA ( since I found out the psychologist who paved the way for my HRT is still there)-it's going to be appointment time again!

True "Transgender Privilege?"

Perhaps the greatest amount of "privilege" goes to transgender women and trans men. After all, in most cases we have walked the mile on either side of the gender fence. Of course I have written about it here in Cyrsti's Condo several times over the years. All well and good-until Paula came along and said it better!!!:

"Very true, nothing makes you understand privilege like giving it up. There are now places I will not go, certainly not when alone where as a couple of years ago I could go anywhere without worry.

It is also right that the companionship of women is so much more supportive than the fellowship of men."

Thanks Paula!

Headed for A Nursing Home Closet?

It is a very real fear to many transgender seniors: what will/could/maybe happen to us if we get in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong nursing home-and have nothing we can do about it. Not surprisingly, not much is written on the subject which I can pass along here in Cyrsti's Condo. It's from The Atlantic and is called "The Challenge of being Transgender in a Nursing Home." It goes on to say: Many elder-care facilities are ill-equipped to deal with the needs of transgender seniors, who fear that a move to assisted living may leave them vulnerable to discrimination and harassment.

 Plus (of course) it gets better: " In nursing homes, gender-segregated spaces like bedrooms and housing wings can be of particular concern to transgender seniors. As Alia Wong recently reported for The Atlantic, the U.S. Department of Education has affirmed that the protections of Title IX extend to transgender students; in July, citing Title IX, the Justice Department filed a statement in support of a transgender student suing a Virginia school district after being required to use an “alternative” restroom. But, Cook-Daniels said, there are currently no similar anti-discrimination regulations in place for nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities."

If you are of a more advanced age and are up for a less than uplifting read (scary) follow the link above.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Does't This Suck?

Unidentified Pinterest Photo-NOT Pat-no pearls!
From Pat, this experience which more than likely brings back stressful cross dressing memories to most of us:

"As you may know my ability to get out and about is somewhat dependent on when I am home alone.  Last night was one such opportunity and my plan was to eat, shower, shave, call my wife, dress and then head to the B Lounge, about 20 miles away.  They were doing their Enmoda Thursday with karaoke from 9-11 followed by a drag show.  I have been there on other Thursdays but since I get up at an ungodly early hour to go to work I always leave as the DQs (drag queens) are arriving and have never stayed for the drag show.   I do often do my part to try to clear the place out by singing a few songs.

Last night was proceeding as planned.  I had hoped to stay to see a part of the drag show or perhaps talk with one or two of the DQs before I left so I put a little extra effort into my dress and makeup.  I applied the foundation and blended on a top coat...a little extra blush, eye liner and shadow and I had a new tube of mascara so that went on extra thick, followed by lip-liner and lipstick.

I had on my black bra with breast forms, black slip, nude pantyhose and a silky nylon black and white print wrap dress with a light thin white jacket.  The blonde wig comb-out seemed to work well and with my 3" black pumps, the dangly clip on earrings, my double strand of pearls around my neck and small pearl strands on my wrist (costume jewelry)  I was ready to launch.

My typical M.O. is to open the garage door and wait the 3-5 minutes for the interior garage light to go out and then get into the car and drive away from the condo.  I figure that once in the car, even if the garage light goes back on when the car bumper breaks the electric eye at the garage entrance I will be out quickly enough to avoid detection.  The part of the condo development where I live are double units.  Each building has two units with adjoing garages facing the street.  Our adjoining neighbors are a nice Italian heritage couple in their 70s so I figure that they are in for the night when I head out dressed.

While waiting for the garage light to go out I loaded my purse, checked my hair and makeup, grabbed a large travel cup of coffee and a bag with my nicer 3.5" peep toe pumps for changing into when I got to my destination.

With the coffee in one hand, my purse over one arm, my bag with the spare shoes in the other hand and my car keys ready to go I opened the door to the garage, stepped down the two steps to the garage floor, heard my  heels clack on the garage floor for the 3-4 steps to the car door when the garage light came on as my neighbor entered the garage and broke the electic eye beam at the garage entrance.  To use the phrase "a deer caught in the headlights" comes close to describing my reaction.

I fled back into the condo and quickly stripped off the dress, wig and heels and stuck my head out the door when my neighbor said he wanted to show me something in the driveway.

Back into the house to throw on slacks, get rid of the bra, slip and breast forms and toss on a polo shirt and then splash some water on my face and wipe of as much makeup as I could.  I figured it was dark out and with my neighbor in his 70s perhaps his eyesight should not detect the traces of makeup, mostly my eyeliner and mascara.

With slip on shoes covering my stocking feet I went out to talk to the neighbor.  He had some rubberized squares that he was planning to bring to his summer house where he had built an arbor and he wanted to show me the squares as well as photos of the arbor trellis and the plans he had followed to build it.

Every encounter with this neighbor includes an update on his and his wife's current physical ailments, his exercise routine and the seasonal sports team.  He is a big Yankee fan and I had figured he would have been in his condo unit watching the Yankee game and this had been the case until he heard my garage door go up and he came out to show me the floor squares, arbor, etc.  After going through the current Yankee situation I quipped "how about those Mets" and that finally brought the conversation to an end. 

It was now an hour later than I had planned to get out and I just did not have the energy to redress and reapply my makeup so my plans for an evening out ended with a huge scare.

During our conversation in the driveways and our garages neither of us mentioned the way I was attired when the garage light went on and there were no comments about any makeup dregs on my face.  I have no clue as to what elements of my attire and presentation he may have seen or more importantly what may have registered in his mind.  This neighbor is a very nice guy, very friendly but a big time yenta.  I guess we just go forward living one day to the next now that my heartbeat is back closer to normal."

You have my sympathy Pat. Sometimes dealing with any 70 year old guy is a challenge. Then again he is a Yankee fan as sad as that may be.

Plus, maybe if he did see any vestiges of your makeup-he may want to compare products!

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk! Another special Sunday edition has hit your virtual front porch! Our Sunday here in Southwestern Ohio is a very typical 85 degree with medium humidity. Even still, we have a big 'ol' cup of hot 'Joe' (coffee). Let's get started!

Page One: The Week that Was-or Wasn't: Here in the Condo we actually recovered several topics we haven't visited for awhile. One of which was gender privilege. It's a tricky subject because essentially we should know we will lose it as we transition. The first couple of times you are talked down to or around to other guys, the process was sort of a right of passage. Depending upon how far you do transition, the longer the passage of course. As with many "passages" a transgender journey between the genders provides many unforeseen  circumstances. The main one is losing the personal inherent security men naturally have over women. I too found myself in a couple rather dangerous situations early in my life as a cross dresser. To be sure, women have their privilege too, but typically it's less obvious and I think-less organized. Finally, some of us come to the point of saying why do I have to be treated as a second class citizen?

Page Two: Opinion- Women as a Cohesive Group: First of all, I am grouping all women (including transgender) into one group to make my point. Plus, with national elections front and center already on the scene, out of all the male politicians bending our ear-there are two women. Why only two? First, perhaps the nature of human evolution enables men to be better team builders/leaders?.I have always said it is much easier to fit into a man's "power" system. You could be more athletic,stronger,faster and/or richer-that's it. Women form clique's and they are a tough group. Many more layers to work with. Take Hillary Clinton for example, regardless of all the controversy surrounding her, how much of the considerable female vote will she lose because she is a "cold fish" or her stance on abortion-to name a few. More than a few of those same cliques are the ones who want to reject any or all trans women from their circles of potential influence. If you really want to get something done as a woman, do you really want to exclude those of us not born with a vagina? Or-is the topic just another indicator of playing in the women's sandbox?

Page Three: The Back Page- Last week, we did write about HRT and it's health benefits. My disclaimer was HRT is one of my most asked about questions, but one should never put tossing your body into a gender hormone turmoil over life itself. Sometimes though, taking the chance on hormones does define the only choice one can make and survive-at any age.

You all have a great week and thanks so much as always for stopping by "the Condo."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Drafted to the Losing Team?

Here is a topic we haven't delved into in a long time here in Cyrsti's Condo- male privilege. Truthfully, I ran back across the subject from an unexpected source: In fact the site is running a whole transgender series called "Trans(form)". There is quite a bit of wonderful information in the post so I will pass along some of the highlights.  Including a book which hits home on the subject with the obvious and then goes farther, much farther:

Julia Serano
"A lot of trans women are aware that there is male privilege before we transition–that women are not treated with as much respect as men," says Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. "But there's a big difference between knowing privilege exists and the literal experience of losing it."  For Serano, the sexism hit her all at once. "All of a sudden, the world is, to a certain degree, a lot more dangerous or precarious," she says of discovering her new reality. 
The transgender women we (the author) spoke with cited a litany of new challenges on the other side of their transition, which will be painfully familiar to the cisgender women reading it: getting talked down to, getting talked over, getting catcalled in the street, getting dismissed in the workplace, and so on. "I would be talking about a patient, and a male medical student would be kind of glazed over, staring at my breasts," says Dr. Marci Bowers, the first transgender surgeon to ever perform a gender-reassignment procedure."

Dr Bowers though went on to say: "With their unique perspective of gender relations, some in the trans community actually find themselves sympathizing with men. "I think there's a lot of what I'd call female privilege, too," Dr. Bowers adds. "A man is never trusted like a woman is trusted: by strangers, children. When men deal with each other, there's a certain distance they keep. There's a sisterhood and a safety among women, and it's a very helpful feeling."

I always felt being admitted to the "girl's sandbox" was far from a "given" but once I was trusted and admitted, I did feel the strength of the"circle" as I had never did with men during my life.  I think I was drafted to the winning team!

Don't forget to follow your links for more!

HRT 201

We wrote here in Cyrsti's Condo yesterday about Connie's health problems. Just go back to the post and read her responses and see which treatment was started. The good news is she has not lost any of her humor or cynicism - at her age!

If she likes it or not, Connie is just my impetus to write about screwing around with your hormones at all IF you are "more mature." I believe the younger you do HRT the better -the older you are-the more you roll the dice on your health.

One of the main reasons I am so passionate about writing about writing on the subject is -it's one of the rare things I do know a lot about versus thinking I know about.

From the beginning. I knew HRT was a love/hate relationship for me. During my marriage, I knew starting hormones would be the end of life with her as I knew it. But when she passed on and several other things happened, amazingly the door to taking hormones totally opened. Which brought up a whole new set of problems.

First of course was my age and health. I was in my 60's and all vitals checked out-so I was fortunate. Even though I had to factor in HRT may actually take years off my life, I just had to do it. Had is the key term for me-had to.

I do have several warnings. First is, DO NOT do hormones without medical supervision. Blood clots, strokes and increased heart risks ARE potential risks.

So you may be asking why did I undertake HRT? To get a closer, up personal look at the feminine side of the gender fence and perhaps answer my age old question about my genderality. I did find out how natural the process was to me and how much more I was completed spiritually. Don't forget also, I am into three plus years on hormones, so the process for me was not overnight and of course is still evolving.

Sure, I gained some much needed "passing privilege" with my hair, skin and changing breasts etc. But my biggest changes were all internal and weren't achieved (or understood) overnight. Slowly but surely, my life became more layered, emotional and as I wrote spiritual. To me, an earth based faith which has become increasingly natural on HRT.

So these days I still get amused when the first comment I get from some is Wow! How does it feel to have your own breasts or hair. Naturally, great but if they had to go away tomorrow what would I do? Like any other strong woman-lose both and move on.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Get Well Connie

One of the very negative things which happen with a daily blog such as Cyrsti's Condo is when yet another of those of you I consider family fall ill. First there was Francine and now Connie. She messaged me last night when she had to go to the hospital for a swollen leg and intense pain:

I dealt with no fewer than four doctors, 8-10 nurses & techs, and a half-dozen front desk people. The few awkward moments relating to my gender may have bugged me a bit, but the fact that I have a big f*****g blood clot, some of which may have entered my lungs, is so much more disturbing to me. It seems my reluctance to go with HRT was the correct route for me, since this very condition is one of the big possible side effects. Now that it's part of my medical history, I doubt any doctor would prescribe estrogen for me. I'll have to live without it, but at least I will live. I'm saddened by the fact that the option of HRT is gone for me - maybe better to know outright than being on the fence, though."

First of all get well Connie!!! Second of all, HRT should not be put ahead of life itself. In fact, I believe hormones should not be the be all and end all to a transition. (Similar to rushing into SRS.) Your transition is in your head.

Now, having said that, HRT will feminize your body, I have loved the changes to the lower half of my body these days. Plus I continue to love my hair. But! If I had to go back to wigs, I would and fall back on the padding I used to wear-to be alive.

So Connie, please take care of yourself and yes knowing for sure HRT won't be an option could indeed be better. My example comes from the old Vietnam War draft lottery days. If your number came up in the middle, you didn't really know what to expect. My number was like 27, so I was gone-in the military. I knew what was going to happen.

The world should never be able to take away from us our gender. Passing privilege comes and goes, as does life itself. As transgender women and men, we have been tossed a different deck of cards to play with. The secret (especially as we age) is to keep playing! 

Classic Binges

I am a huge fan of classic movies-specifically from the 1930's and 40's. On certain days/nights I'm stuck on the Turner Classic Movie channel. I love the fashions!!!

In the last day or so, TCM ran almost an entire day of my fave ginger ever-Ann Margaret and before that Robert Mitchum. Both of them stand out in my mind for two very opposite and confusing reasons. (of course.)

Although, I knew I found Ann to be impossibly beautiful, I especially was drawn to her smooth nylon clad legs. Even though I could never expect to look like her, I could experience the thrill of freshly shaved nylon clad legs.

As far as Robert Mitchum goes, my true feelings about him surfaced years later. Similar to Ann Margaret, I knew I could never hope to look as good and be as smooth (in a rough way) as he could.

These days I put Mitchum on a very short list of men who I would have their baby. How short you ask? Anson Mount from AMC's "Hell on Wheels" series and Zack Cozart-the shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds. (See I told you it was short!)

Ironically, the farther I progress into my transgender life, I understand more and more the true meaning of my gender and sexual fluidity. But, I still don't know how much of the sexual side I missed. More than likely quite a bit because the extra amount of suppression I put into thinking there was no way I was gay in anyway shape or form.

However, none of that matters now- Mitchum was too old for me anyhow!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo Mirth And Glee

See, I told you two I would put our "selfie" from last night on the blog!!!
These are my two dear crazy friends Nikki (center) and Kim (right)!
Love you two!!!

The Pentagon's "Hippocratic Oath."

Capt. Peace in civilian clothes
Every so often we read of the "huge strides" the branches of the American military are making towards granting transgender active military members the basic freedoms they are on the front line fighting for. Then I run across yet another story like this from the Cronkite News:

"When Capt. Jennifer Peace looks in the mirror, she sees a woman who serves her country like more than 200,000 other women in the military.
She wears a uniform, goes to work and serves like all the others. But when the Army looks at Capt. Peace, it sees a man.
Peace, an intelligence officer who has served a little more than 10 years in the Army, is a transgender soldier who came out in January to her unit at Fort Lewis, Washington. While her fellow soldiers have been supportive, Peace said, they still have to live by Army rules and are concerned about stepping over the line. She said soldiers working for her were told, “We use male pronouns. No one will use female pronouns with Capt. Peace.”
Many consider the current state of affairs with trans troops a throw back to the "don't ask-don't tell days" with gay and lesbians. But, as we all know, gender is a much deeper issue to not "ask or tell about."
Plus once again we are in the midst of yet ANOTHER Pentagon study on the situation, which will take us close enough to election time to see nothing decided AGAIN. And, after listening to the Republican debates I see all hope is lost with the next prez for LGBT rights.
Follow the link above for the full story.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Cover Model" of the Day

Our feature model today is "Philly" born Hari Nef (who identifies as transgender!)

Obviously the person on the couch wasn't too excited!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trans Generational Gap

This morning was yet another re-visit to the VA (I am a transgender Army veteran). It was time for a check up on why my body seems to be in love with processing and storing all the iron it can. The doctor doing all the diagnosing is one of the few I have ran into who is close to my age. He is also the one I showed for the first time in "Boy Drag". So I guess I had it coming-being called "he" throughout the whole appointment. 

In this case I didn't give a "rat's arse" what he called me-as long as he told me a little good news-which he did.  I was really paranoid he would say "you need to get off HRT"-he didn't. 

Plus, what was really heartening was, his female assistant kept saying "she" and glancing at me everytime he mis-pronouned me. And to take it farther , all the nurses I encountered - so I could set up my next round of appointments-called me she-all 20 something and comfortable with a trans person.

So maybe Connie, my closet in the back of the nursing home may have high speed WiFi for my computer yet. Because,today (once again) the  younger generation continue to impress me with it's lack gender bigotry! 

A Tale of Three Blonds"

Saturday night (as I have written previously here in Cyrsti's Condo) Liz and I stopped for a late dinner at a place called "The Senate" known for it's "gourmet street food." (In Cincinnati) The venue itself is in a long straight room and everyone sits at tables along the wall-the bar is on the other side. Liz ended up sitting against the wall and I sat with my back facing the aisle. 

Where I sat, to my left was one (older?) blond in a little black dress - positively entranced with the man she was with. I think she was a 40 something girl, not small but well put together. What I found to be interesting was how positively uncomfortable she was in that dress.  Now, I believe every woman has a goal or an idea of what she is trying to achieve in an outfit. This woman's idea was good-she just got ambushed when she learned she couldn't cross her legs under the table easily (the dress was very short) and she became uncomfortable. She did make a couple rest room trips of course for "adjustments" and he hit his cell phone immediately.  I will leave the rest to your imagination!!!

The other two blondes were to the right of me and were with a guy who sat in the center. The three were most definitely 20 somethings out for a night on the town. I found the girl almost directly across from me to be interesting because she was going bra less, looked to be very athletic in her shorts and breasts about my size. Why? Because my breasts look about the same if I go bra-less. I would have killed for her legs though. As is the norm all the women were bare legged. The "older" girl you could see her leg veins were just starting. The younger ones of course were flawless.

I have always said it has been interesting living life as a transgender woman. Rarely did I ever have a physical attraction to a generic-mostly I had deep feelings of wanting to be them. One thing though, I doubt if very many other people on the earth study woman any closer.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Potty Break"

Taking a much needed trip to the women's room has always been a tough post for me to write. For several reasons. 

  1. Using the rest room of your chosen gender separates the casual "oh well" bystander into the not in my restroom you don't "separatist."
  2. There are no hard and fast rules on rest room usage. Every time in the past when I came up with five, someone would come up with five more. All just as good.
  3. Common sense is always a good way to start looking ahead for a potty. Obviously, using the rest room in an upscale bookstore is smarter than a redneck bar on a Friday night.
  4. Any idea which "demographic" could give you the biggest fits? Over the years, mine has changed. Except- women in the 45+ age bracket seem to be the most negative to me. (Then again, they may hate the length of my hair or what I'm wearing and they are from the generation who grew up with the idea with the restroom being a place to hide, fix make up/hair and gossip-let alone pee.)
  5. Don't panic and don't run. Remember in most establishments these days, staff and management may be trained to deal with a transgender person-in fact embrace us.
OK, I know those are very broad strokes but as I wrote, many of you have your own- based on where you go and how many times. I do believe though, I am seeing more and more unisex restrooms. After all, it makes economic sense for a new business or public building to build in unisex restrooms.

Ancient  Cross Dressing "ego" selfie from a woman's bathroom
And, oh yes, can't resist-I haven't seen Caitlin Jenner even discuss or consider the idea-then again too-she could build her. Or, take a "Porta Potty" behind her motor home.