Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LGBT News

Two articles of interest:

"The Boy Scouts of America has changed its policy to admit transgender youth who identify as male, marking the latest change in LGBT inclusion for the nearly 106-year-old institution.
Effie Delimarkos, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America, confirmed the change to the Washington Blade in a statement amid widespread media reports of the new policy.“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” Delimarkos said. “Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”      
 My Son in Law and Grandsons are very active in scouting and to my knowledge even wear some sort of an Equality Merit Badge. So, I wonder if the national organization will not "force" a local program to accept a transgender boy? Just (as they said) find an accepting unit.  
And:
"White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday declined to discuss an anti-LGBT executive order from President Trump amid reports such a directive is in the works.
In response to a question from the Washington Blade, Spicer said he wouldn’t get ahead of Trump on any potential executive order he may sign.
“I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue,” Spicer said. “There’s a lot of executive orders, a lot of things the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”
The potential executive order gained attention Monday after the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement acknowledging rumors it about and expressing concerns about executive actions that would rollback LGBT rights."
Both of these stories came from the Washington Blade...for more on "45" (Trump) go here.
No real surprise, right?
                                                   

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Left Handed Mail"

Two comments from my recent blog post "What Makes a Woman" from the "UK Huffington Post."
The first from Paula:

  1. The problem with the child bearing ability definition is that would include a lot of Trans Men!
  2. Good point! I wonder what the so called "purists" think about the trans men who keep all their reproductive organs to have a child or transgender women who have their sperm frozen for possible impregnation of a woman at a later date?
  3. I disagree with the article's insinuation that the "very real feeling" equates to "You just are." They are not the same thing, although attempting to make them so may be the only way to explain gender identity to the average person. The problem is that to assume they are the same diminishes the validity of the "just are" premise. Certainly, accepting that oneself is left-handed or dyslexic comes from no feeling, albeit there are very real feelings that can emerge as a result of those things.

    One of the most disturbing things people relate to me is that they accept (or reject) my choice to act on my feelings of being a woman. Oftentimes, I am even congratulated for my courage to act on my feelings - or to be as I feel myself to be. Yes, I have a feeling of being true to myself through this transition, but it is really more due to the release of the bad feelings I have had in the past than the good feelings I get from my feminine expression. Still, my gender identity is not a feeling anymore than a cis woman's female gender is to her. The difference is that I am forced to be conscious of the same thing she may take for granted. It is that fact that creates the "feelings".
Thanks Connie and Paula :)

Just What the Hell Was I Thinking???

As I think back on my "Life Turns on a Dime" series of blog posts,  I did briefly think What the hell..etc?

I know many of you here in Cyrsti's Condo have gone through or are going through what I have/did and it is a cup half full or empty experience.

The half empty/negative experiences were the tears we shed to get to the places we are today. The half full experiences were simply we made it. We are the survivors of life's toughest climb. Looking down from Mt. "Genderest" gives us a unique view of society that very few humans are allowed to experience. Who doesn't want to re-event themselves?

Still, the transgender experience continues to be shunned by the majority of a mis-understanding society. Often, simply because we can not blend as well as we would like. Until you reach the point of "forced stealth", or when one lives her trans life on her own terms and the hell with the world.

I will say though, life on my end is getting easier. Not so much from a presentation viewpoint but from the public viewing me with a pleasant surprise. Not a mocking or mean response.

We simply didn't have a choice but to embark on the climb we made, We just had to do it or join the extremely high suicide attempts in our tribe.

So what the hell was I thinking? Survival!!!

What Makes a Woman?

Good question right? Now I have seen in various circles the questions rise again on rather trans women are "allowed" to use the "woman" word alone anymore or ever.

The easiest answer and the one most completely wrong is "child bearing ability" alone makes a woman. The problem with the idea comes with all the cis women born without the ability or will power to have children. Does that make them any less a woman? No.

Transgender women have just had a different path to express their femininity. Our femininity lies in the same places a cis woman's does- between her ears and in her heart. Gender identity is not about your physical sex or the clothes you wear but an innate sense of who you are.

Sooner more than later (maybe) society is going to understand we (transgender women and men have been around since ancient times and allow us to go our own way without roadblocks and recently:

“The medical profession has tried - and failed - for over 100 years to change the brains of trans people, in a bid to make their gender identity congruent with their body. Most clinicians now agree that the best solution is to realign people’s bodies to more closely match their gender identity, not the other way around.”

The UK Huffington Post recently carried an article which I have quoted from ( here ) Of interest is the fact feminists are once again attempting to distance themselves from the trans woman community for mainly the scientific failures mentioned above.

What I also don't understand is why now with attacks rising on women of all types (physical and legal,) feminists don't want to add to strength in numbers, our numbers.

Finally from the "Huffington Post" : “Being transgender should not be seen as an attempt to invalidate or diminish womanhood (or indeed manhood) any more than being gay should be seen as an attempt to diminish heterosexuality - they are just different experiences deserving equal acceptance and respect.

“Science cannot fully explain the experience of being trans. The suggestion that seems most likely is a neurological difference in the same way as dyslexia or left-handedness. It is a very real feeling which has been known in every culture throughout history.

“One does not need to understand it to simply accept that it is. The fact is no trans people can explain why they feel as they do. How do you explain why you are left-handed? You just are.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book Photo

Tina Gutierrez: Women using their heads &emdash; This is one of three photos I had access to after the final showing Friday night.
The project was called "Women Using Their Heads" by Judith Serling-Sturm and photographer Tina Gutierrez.
This is not one of the pictures from Friday night and I am waiting for one of those to show up on FB!

When they do, I will pass one along :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cyrsti's Condo "Archive Post"

This one goes way back. The post is from 2013...before I had lost nearly 50 pounds.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Dragging Up the Past"

Every once in awhile I come across a very rare old picture here in Cyrsti's Condo.  I was able to scan this and show it to all of you.  I know it has to go back approximately 6 years and was taken at a local gay venue -by whom and for what reason I don't remember.  I do recall the blond in the picture is a blond named "Sherri".

Friday, January 27, 2017

Not So Little Black Dress

Well tonight the snow has held off and I can make it to the Art Show, at which my photograph is part of. The only thing I can tell you is my photograph is part of a larger work being presented to a competition in Chicago. Obviously, I would be honored if the whole book made it.

For the evening I have chosen a belted black dress with leggings and my boots. I will also wear one of the long scarves Liz has made me and my black short leather jacket. (She (Liz) can't go because of work.)

My new business cards did make it, so hopefully I can make some new contacts. Plus there still is an outside chance my new glasses could get here too, but that would be too much to ask!

I will let you know how it it goes.

Cross Dressing 101?

Or, "If life presents you with panty hose-do you wear them?"

Over the years here in Cyrsti's Condo, we have discussed what trigger mechanisms (if any) would lead a boy/man to cross dress at all and is cross dressing a manifestation of a larger transgender leaning.

While it is impossible to say, some of us have had an insight, this one from Connie:

"My niece had a boyfriend she was really serious about. I guess he finally decided that he should let her know about his cross dressing, so he just showed up at her place all dolled up to surprise her with it. Of course, she wanted my input, so I gave it to her straight.

 She was reluctant to continue with the relationship, anyway, but after I told her she would have to be prepared for the possibility that he may one day decide to transition, she went with her intuition and broke off the relationship. Just the fact that he used that tactic to come out to her should have been reason enough, however. 

She has always been supportive of me, but she's seen the turmoil my coming out has caused with the whole family. Accepting the fact that your uncle is really your aunt is so different from learning that your boyfriend wants to be your girlfriend - even if only occasionally."

First of all, I agree with the inadvisability of just "showing up" cross dressed without warning and secondly was his love of the clothes as far as his lust went? I feel being transgender takes you out of the clothing fetish all together- eventually. I know in my case, the clothes lost their pop fairly quickly but wanting to be a girl never did.

At the least I would have to tell a person who asked about a boyfriend/spouse who loved to cross dress, beware. What can start off as an innocent enough fetish experience can turn into the turmoil Connie spoke of. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Transgender Television

FYI...I recently mentioned National Geographic's show called the "Gender Revolution" in Australia and just saw they also are having a show on in this country called "What is Gender" with Katie Couric at 8:30 AEDT next Wednesday.

Katie Couric






Laverne Cox (right)
Also, CBS is beginning a new series called "Doubt" which includes transgender actress Laverne Cox.The role is widely regarded as the first major re-occurring role on a major U.S. television network for a trans actress! Plus, I think Laverne is playing a cis-woman. The show premiers Wednesday, February 15th.

With the respect of National Geographic and the number one ratings of CBS, both of these shows can go a long way to insure transgender gains will not disappear in the near future!

  •  of gender through the lens of science, society and culture in the ground-breaking new two-hour documentary.
     clear cut. Join us as we set out to explore this evolving concept of gender through the lens of science, society and culture in the ground-breaking new two-hour documentary.

He Might be a Cross Dresser If?

This post was actually written in 2014:

I was talking to Missy the other day (my deceased wife's sister) about one of her boy friends "just happening" to have a couple dresses and women's underwear stashed in the back of his closet. She was waiting for me to "anoint" him as a cross dresser, or something.

The whole conversation brings up and interesting point which we haven't steered clear of here on occasion in Cyrsti's Condo.  How good is our "trans-dar" and once we come out to a genetic woman, how much better does her's become?

I know Pat has commented about her wife many times as I have about my deceased wife and current partner Liz.  It's a pretty simple deal. Genetic women are simply going to have a heightened sense of who may have entered their girls sandbox.  They were born into it as females.  No contest!

Now, as more and more of us come out of the closet as Paula Goodwin commented:  "as we stop hiding one side of ourselves they (the sides) stop being separate to the rest of our lives. I see that Stana is now going to stamp shows as well as Radio Conventions, as we all do more and more the "Gender" bit just becomes part of who we are (just like everybody else)." It's much easier for a genetic woman to have that "aha" moment when their trans dar goes off.  Even if it is wrong.

When we do come out to a woman around us that we know,  they begin to see "shadows" on occasion. All of a sudden, that guy they dated way back when or the cousin who came to visit just may have been a cross dresser?  To be sure, those guys may have been.  We all know there are far more cross dressers buried deep in closets than anyone knows about.

Plus, as I told Missy, there are so many different levels to our community, it's hard for us to keep track.  One man's cross dressing may be as simple as wearing panties and bra under his suit to work, all the way to transforming himself into that attractive well dressed "woman" you pass at the mall.

These days, I am careful to mention two things. One, does it matter if the man has a simple attraction to feminine clothes or two, if he has more than an attraction be sure to keep an eye on him.  Most of us are
facing a highly emotional, difficult, up hill battle if we transition.  She will need all the help she can get!

Life Turns on a Dime - Part 14

You are right, I am superstitious to an extent and am skipping Part "13" and going straight (well maybe not so much) to Part 14. I suppose too having more parts seems more impressive unless you refer to the old "Parts is Parts" slogan.

Truthfully. I am almost up to the present day and am trying to come up with a fitting end to all of this which doesn't have an end.

At my age now, (67) the terms stealth, networking and nursing home come into play many times.  I finally have come to the conclusion that I'm stealth in every essence of the word and anti stealth on the blog. Which when you think about it has been the story of my life...yin and yang.

This Spring I am going to try to network myself out more as a possibly speaker and participant in other transgender support programs. Something I have wanted to do for ages and I do think most of the world is becoming more and more receptive to the "T's" of the LGBT community.

As far as senior transgender health care goes, I suppose my care is as much up in the air as any else's these days. My paranoia is being shoved back in a closet I have worked so hard to get out of in my final days. I know now there are still laws to protect me, but for how long, who knows.

Finally, the only proper way to finish this "epic" up is to say, the past has been quite the trip. I just hope I keep punching my ticket for a brighter future!

Thanks for being along!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Over and Above - Down Under

From National Geographic Australia:

Traditional gender roles are rapidly changing across the globe, and we no longer have clear-cut labels for ‘boy’ and ‘girl’. Is gender a spectrum? What does it mean to be transgender? These are amongst the many questions explored by award-winning journalist Katie Couric in the National Geographic documentary Gender Revolution.
Ahead of its Australian premiere tonight (  Australian time)on Nat Geo People, we spoke to just two of many young transgender and gender non-conforming people living in Australia today.
Go here for more.

I'm "Pretty" Excited

Well maybe a little pretty I hope but very excited. Just got official word my picture which was taken last Spring by a professional photographer to put into an exhibition last fall, is finally coming together and my picture is included!

She (the photographer) took at least 35 to 40 black and white pictures. So we will see the results Friday night! Doesn't everyone need their token transgender person?

I told her I would be there for autographs Lol.

Connie, still trying for that trip to Seattle one way or another :)

Life Turns on a Dime - Part 12

Another of the misconceptions some have of the HRT process is how fast the process happens. Of course the progress can vary depending how much estrogen your doctor prescribes but for me, the process of "settling" into the changes took around three years. Remember too, certain changes (such as breast size) are genetically controlled and can't be helped along by extra estrogen.

In the meantime, I went the legal route to get all my gender markers changed that I could in Ohio. Actually, except for birth certificate most of the documents were relatively easy to change. The State of Ohio still refuses to change genders on birth certificates.

I began my taking my maternal grandfather's very androgynous name and then adding my Mom's first name as my middle name. Even though she recommended "electro shock" therapy to me when I tried to come out to her, I still believe she would come around to my side the fastest. If not, she is now doing somersaults in her grave!

The name change itself was simple enough. Slap down about one hundred dollars for the courts to run a classified in the paper and for them to add on their court costs- and as easy as that the old me (name) was gone. From there I got my new name on my Social Security which wasn't much of a problem either because they operate on your number of course. Name was changed from there but the gender stayed the same.

As soon as I got my new Social Security Card in the mail, I took it to the Driver's License Bureau and received (paid for) a new license. Easy.

Then I took on the VA since I am/was transgender veteran receiving co-pay health benefits. As slow as the Veterans Administration is known to move, within a couple months  I had a bright shiny new I.D. Card with "F" written on it.

So (since I didn't really need a passport), I had taken care of all the basics I could to wipe out the old legal me and start a new transgender life as a woman under the eyes of the law.

A "labor of love?" - you "betcha!!!!"

Playing the Part?

Connie asked the question did I think I was "playing" the part of alpha male before I MtF gender transitioned and I relied (figuratively) very much so.

Kindergarten through ninth grade, I went to a very small semi rural school. Our class size was normally well under a hundred students. Along the way I needed to pick a group to try to fit in with since I was a slightly effeminate boy who happened to love sports. Since choices were so limited I tried and found myself fitting in with a group of junior "hell raisers." Which at the least protected me from bullying.

These were the days of desperately wanting to be a cute cheerleader rather than getting beat up (mostly) at defensive end. So I was sharpening my initial "macho man play skills!

Here's Connie's comment:

"Just wondering....Do you consider yourself to have been playing the part of an alpha male before deciding to transition? I ask because I never did, and we seem to have had different experiences in our respective transitions. For me, it was a deprogramming of the self-brainwashing I had done in order to fit the male persona I thought I needed to project - not the other way around. I have also never really seen any difference in the way I've been treated since, as you say, playing in the girl's sandbox. At least, there was no more back-stabbing after entering it than there was before - but most of it has always been good. 

I came to realize many years ago that the lessons my mother gave me on being a gentleman were really lessons on how women expect to be treated by a man (my father died when I was eight-years-old, so I never really got lessons from the male point of view). Growing up, I was often bullied by boys, for which I developed a sharp enough wit to counteract them. I had little trouble being included with the girls, however, when the opportunities were there for me to do so. I used sports to portray myself as a rough and tumble guy, and any success I had with the guys was as a "quiet leader", but certainly not as an alpha male. 

Later, my wife was the envy of all her women friends because I always did more than my share of the homemaking duties, doing all of the grocery shopping, cooking many of our meals, and even arranging my work schedule so that I could be a stay-at-home dad at least half of the time. Although I was deeply suppressing my true gender during those times, I believe I was allowing myself to express my feminine self as much as I could. I always felt right at home in the mom groups, and I would often have long chats on the phone with many of our lady friends. The women would feel free to gossip and tell me things in confidence that I imagine they never would to the average man. When my resistance finally broke down, and the need for me to let my feminine-self be seen (if only by myself in the mirror), it was because of the connection I had with other women so much more than it was from the "thrill" of cross dressing. I was never so happy then as when I could be free to look the part while having one of those phone conversations - even though the guilt was building because of my secret. My goodness, I was not only cheating on my wife and family, I was cheating on everyone (including myself, really).

As you say, people have to go through the socialization in their own way. I suppose I was lucky that I managed to create the illusion of being male while still expressing my feminine side in a socially acceptable manner. The social transition has been fairly easy, as a result. I must say, though, that whether you are cis or trans, it's still very unnerving to find that your mother-in-law is comfortable in telling you, in detail, about her sex life. Yikes! TMI!!! :-)"


Thanks Connie, to this day I carry with me the idea's my Mother had such as always walking on the outside of a woman on a street, the proper way to help with a coat, and yes housework too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime - Part 11

Many times I think some think HRT is some sort of an end to a journey when in fact, it is just the start of one of the biggest journeys of ones life. A Mtf Gender transition of course is one of the most difficult jobs one can take on.

One of the first hurdles I faced and still do to an extent, was what to do with this full head of glorious hair I had been blessed with. Very early, my daughter gave me a birthday present for a visit to her hair salon, something I truthfully still can't afford on my meager salary. I can tell you the experience was heavenly and I can see why cis women want to go as much as they do. Outside of looks of course.

And then, there was the whole matter of feminine socialization. I had to learn the hard way what it was like to live 24/7 as a woman with many of my problems coming from other women. Playing in the "girl's sandbox" taught me in a hurry not to let a smiling face hide a knife lurking behind a back.

Plus restrooms (as I have written) were a tender spot for me, having been "talked to" by the cops a couple times back in the days previous to all we read today, about restroom problems.

It's difficult to write much concerning socialization because everyone has to go through it their own way. Some has to do with whom you happen to be doing it with - if anyone, which was pretty much the case with me. Even to the point of brain washing myself into not believing I still had to play like I was still a boy or even macho man.

As much as you might think I am painting a pessimistic picture here, I'm not. The results for me were totally worth it to the point of wondering why I waited so long to transgender transition.  So HRT was just another beginning for me.

As it turns out, society was beginning to catch up with the LGBT community and make our lives so much easier.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Timing is Everything

Or lack of it.

I wrote a week or so ago about my new glasses I am awaiting. The glasses could come any day now-or any week now for the next couple.

The reason I am extra anxious to see them (no pun intended) is to try them with my new hair color. Having written that, my new color is just an updated version of my old color (without the gray) the color itself is a very dark auburn. I still plan on trying to update a couple of pictures with the "new look".

All of this really needs to happen by the end of the month when Liz and I are going to an artists show we were invited to and a "Writer in Residence" program I would like to attend at the Cincinnati Public Library.

For both occasions I have updated my business cards to plug my book "Stiletto's on Thin Ice."

I even have a new dress I have been saving back for the artist's show and Valentines Day I haven't worn yet.

Tomorrow is another trip to my Trans veteran therapist which usually is always interesting when a get to meet in person the receptionists who insist on mis-gendering me on the phone. You would thing after all this time they would get it right.

The folks who did get it right this weekend were my daughter's family and in laws who have always accepted me with open arms.

So all in all life is rolling by!

Life Turns on a Dime - Part Ten

This post could have been called "My life turned on a patch."...Or- when I began taking  HRT meds.

My meds were pretty straight forward, a dose of estrogen coupled with a dose of "Spiro" to cut back my testosterone. I am writing a separate post on the subject because of the far reaching effects it had on me.

First of all, I have never been a proponent of anyone taking the HRT route without a doctors supervision. I have seen a few transgender women who tried and got out of control and it hurt them...badly.

Also, HRT is not a cure all for what ails a trans person. What it did for me was round out and soften my skin, grew my hair and created a whole new view of the world. Results may vary, but somehow the colors and smells around me became sharper and of course I began to grow breasts.

Of course two powerful memories come back to me. The first time I sat and cried for no real reason and my first set of hot flashes. I thought I was going to internally combust and looked around to see if anyone else was on fire. The hot flashes passed on pretty quick, sort of how the many times I tear up for seemingly small things.

So, HRT proved to be as powerful an impact on me that I thought it would and being the drama queen I am, I opted to start on New Years Eve four years ago on a very minimum dosage. Knowing full well any health complications could get my meds taken away. Which did happen for about six months.

The whole HRT process is similar to the chicken and the egg story (which came first). Of course the hormones didn't come first. I was always transgender. The meds just gave me a better way to express it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cyrsti's Condo Weekend "Archive Post"


Thursday, September 25, 2014


It's All in the Eyes?


Another stunning image of a butch beauty, a blend of feminine and masculine like Desiree Boussard

Continuing on my last post about those pesky lesbians jamming my "trans-dar"- I brought up the question, "How does one know the difference when a lesbian does cross the border into transgender territory. Well, of course, one normally doesn't but of course I have formed a few opinions the hard way.

First of all, I am not the definitive resource on lesbians but have found out a number of factoids over the last few years. First of all, they are very possessive within their culture.  I have be invited to several lesbian "mixers" with friends over the years.  One of the first lessons I learned was, if my friend's perceived a woman they were interested in had a partner there-that was it. Look but don't touch.
Swag.  I think this person's swag is less about the clothes and more about the look of confidence.
Of course, after I calmed down about being there at all, I became interested about how I was perceived. I took for granted, that for the most part, all of the "mixers" knew I was transgender.  Truly, I never had to worry.  No one was mean, most ignored me but then again a few did approached me.  Once I was even asked if "I belonged to my friend I as with."  So I never did really encounter the "Terf" hate from radical lesbians which is so prominently written about-there. 

Possibly, I did though on two other occasions from two butch's who jammed my "trans-dar."  One came from the eyes of the woman I told you about in the last post with her husband and the other, from a very, very, very, butch in a gay venue I go to. As I was talking to her partner one night.   If looks could kill, I would have been a goner-twice!So, I assume even though both looked as if they could be transitioning, they weren't.

Now, if you switch gears to the transgender men I know, and the few I have met-their eyes are softer.  So for some reason, I don't threaten them.  The ironic part is, if I hadn't been told ahead of time, I wouldn't have known at all they were trans men.

What's happening here? Has the introduction of mean old testosterone into the Ftm men's lives helped to mold a kinder, multi layered man?  After all, we are so quick to toot our own horns about being some sort of "hybrid" gender, perhaps the Ftm's are more so? Even the trans men at the symposium I went to said not being raised in similar strict rigid gender boxes the boys were subjected to, helped them later to transition.

At the least, interesting "theories", at the best, I'm just happy I'm still alive to write about it!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime - Part Nine

This post I could have called turned on a quarter because of what happened.

As I wrote before, I was pretty well freed up to finally choose a feminine transgender path if I wanted one.  As I was seemingly taking my good old sweet time, the sun, the moon and the stars parted and showed me the way.

It was about this time the Veterans Administration announced it would cover HRT treatment for transgender veterans if I was approved and I went for it by signing up for a round of therapy. Also around this time my group of friends was showing me down a feminine path, more than they ever realized and finally I was close enough to take early Social Security retirement at the age of 63. So I could be freed up not to try to transition on a job.

So one night I was sitting by myself and the blinding realization came to me this was a golden opportunity to fulfill basically was a lifelong dream-to be a girl. And, all of a sudden the weight of tons of guilt fell from my shoulders and a murky path was clear.

Besides just living the feminine experience as a trans woman instead of a cross dresser, hormones were to make a tremendous difference for me.

This is where my story gets a little tender, because I don't belittle crossdressers at all or even trans girls who are not on HRT. Because I know at my age, I know I am but one health condition away from going off my hormones.

But to me, estrogen was going to make an almost immediate positive impact on my life and one my friends would notice.

So much so, it deserves it's own post.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cyrsti's Condo "Archive Post"

I picked this old post because it fits in with our "Dime" posts: from 2013:

Monday, December 16, 2013


Problem?

Two ladies commented on the Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition Post".  "Billie" commented the evening must have been wonderful, but asked where was the "problem" I mentioned.
The "problem" was simply one of "habit".  As I struggled to learn more and more of what this feminine life is really all about, it was tough.  Of course, the whole process of dressing yourself, moving correctly and interacting with the public was tough enough.  As difficult though, was having to accomplish the task in "bits and pieces".  I resorted to one to three days a week living as much feminine life as I could.  Naturally, I would lose much of what I learned when I lived as a guy again then started all over.

My problem now is, I have flashbacks to those days.  The rare times from my past when everything seemed to be "working" and I felt good as a woman, I really began to relax, enjoy myself and invariably slip back into male habits.  I had to constantly remind myself of which gender role I was occupying at the time.

I found myself "reminding myself" of the same habits at the party.  The problem is the process really disrupts me being me.  I know I'm relatively outgoing and I enjoy the process more as a woman.  For the most part, men still don't migrate towards me but women do and I enjoy the interaction.  Women of course are naturally curious and want to learn more about what makes me tick so the process works well.

The "problem" becomes when I start "thinking" about the process. When and if any of my male past slips through to my personality, so what?  He has been part of me for so long.  The transgender mix which defines me makes me what I am.

The incredible process I'm going through now, of course is tipping my gender scales more to the feminine side.  I should worry less and less about who I was but ironically now HRT has made worrying about less a bigger force in my life so worrying needlessly about problems such as this comes with the territory?

On a lighter side, Wendy commented about buying a bra as a guy and the register person calling for a "Wonder Bra" price check!  The ultimate in making an embarrassing situation worse!  Another little hint I learned yesterday was a bra made by the same company doesn't necessarily means it will fit the same!

Thanks ladies for the comments!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime -Part Eight

I thought seriously about calling this post "The Slippery Slope." The time period covered is approximately 2007-2010 and is the time right after my wife passed away. Before we go any further, it is fair to note she somewhat supported my cross dressing desires but was dead set against any HRT or transgender moves.

Throughout my life I didn't have many male close friends and the three I did have about this time all passed away during the same time period. Plus I was coming ever closer to losing my business during the recession. So, I was left looking at a bleak social period in my life. To combat the abject loneliness I stepped up my visits to a couple of upscale sports bar/venues I was fast becoming a regular in.

During one of my visits, my regular bartender suggested I ought to meet her lesbian mother which turned out to be a friendship I have to this day. Then, on another night, another woman slid a note down the bar expressing her respect for me being me. I of course thanked her and another long term friendship was born.

Also during this time, I started to try several on line dating sites. Of which, most were dismal failures except the one I met Liz on around 2010-11. So slowly I was starting to rebuild my other life as a woman from the ashes of who I was. None of these people had ever seen or known me as a guy.

The slippery slope came as the three of them began to invite me to all their fun spots as the new me. Even a NFL Monday Night Football game! Finally I figured I had slid so far, these people had pushed me right off my gender cliff. Where is always where I wanted to go anyhow. I just didn't have the courage to do it.

Looking back now, the years were a whirlwind of learning. From learning the basics of using the women's room to dealing with men, almost all was new and exciting. There was one man in particular who treated me with respect and dignity (I enjoyed) among the rest who stood me up or expected me to dress them up. And then there was the experiences of going to lesbian mixers and being accepted (for the most part.) I went from being a "wing person" for one of my friends to being subjected to a giant/mean gender slur by a lesbian at another.

Undoubtedly, the most important part of falling off the cliff was the soft landing. Some of the padding was provided by my friends and other by my tough skin and willingness to learn. That is why I get so amused at those who think this transgender MtF transition process is so much fun or a walk in the park.

Coming up next, the doors open wide.



Thanks "Nat Geo"!

And thanks to all of you who have pointed out it's issue on gender which features a nine year old transgender girl on the cover.

The magazine has come along way and we need it as a respected counter balance to Brucelynn Jenner among others.

I think those of us of a "more mature" age still don't understand all the positive ramifications of a younger generation who see less gender in their world!

Regardless of what happens in the years ahead in Washington, some basics will never change such as when I went to Liz's company party the other night. Following the normal looks I get, everyone settled down and I had a great time and even met the wife of a fellow fledgling transgender person who is trying to find her way.

My only problems came when I was on the road all day and forgot to pack my backup makeup in my purse. I thought I could have presented better but then I always think that.

I would also like to thank Stana from Femulate who was kind enough to plug my book today. Stilettos on Thin Ice made it up to the top 6% of non fiction books on Amazon last week. And yes, book number two is still in the works.

Life Turns on a Dime - Part Seven

Time moved on and I found myself in the mid 1990's beginning one of the most difficult decades of my life for several different reasons.

To make many long stories short, during this time I was taking every possible opportunity to live my life as close to a woman as I could. Plus during this decade I was going to purge a year or so before my wife passed away. I grew a beard and ballooned to 275 pounds. Also, my Dad and three of my dearest friends were going to pass away and I was going to lose almost everything I worked so hard for during the recession.

Since I have jumped so far ahead, now let me back tract to a couple key events I have written about here in the blog during the past which gave me the courage to move on in the feminine world.

Since I became relatively secure in my abilities to negotiate the world in certain "safe" spots such as clothing and book stores, I felt it was time to spend an evening as close to being a woman as I could. Could I go stealth?

I chose an upscale restaurant bar for my trial because running a similar operation was what I did for a living. I knew once I made it past the hostesses, I would have a fairly easy trip to the bar where a group of professional women gathered after work for a drink most nights. I hoped if I dressed the part I could fit right in...sort of. That is if I could breathe because I was sooooo scared.

The five minutes or so I spent in the parking lot gathering my confidence seemed like five hours before I pulled up my big girl panties and went in. As suspected the hostess gave me the once over and asked if I needed a table and I said no "I was only there for a cocktail" and she directed me to the bar which had a couple big wooden posts on each end. Fortunately, there was a seat open near one, so I could do my "wood" impression blended in,  swept back my long blonde hair and ordered a drink. If indeed the bartender knew anything was amiss I don't know to this day but I was served, ordered another, tipped well and left. As I finally began to breathe again, I knew the night was something I wanted to do again and again.

The evening emboldened me to try to go to other similar places. Some of which I was successful and others not so much, mainly because of having to use the women's restroom. Along the way, I got kicked out of one place, had the cops called on me twice and got screamed at once. Through it all though I knew I had to keep on trying.

The biggest lesson I learned was I needed to adopt one similar style and stick with it. Or, quit being a blonde one night, redhead a couple nights later and a curly brunette a couple nights after that. In essence I was building an exterior image to fit my evolving interior.

Unfortunately, my extra curricular activities brought me more and more into possible contact with my wife.  One night after she caught me out again, we had yet another giant fight which led to me taking a whole bottle of one of my meds which luckily didn't kill me. I knew then the only way to stop the lying and sneaking around (which I considered cheating) was to grow a beard.

I'm proud at least I did because a year and half later she would be gone. Passing away from an unexpected heart attack after 25 years of marriage.

Coming up in the next series of "Dime" posts...what's next...or getting pushed down the slope.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Transgender Veterans

Thanks to Michelle Hart (no relation) for sending along a couple of VA LGBT related links and to Lynn for checking in via the Email route! As it turns out, Lynn and I share treatment close by and she actually hails from somewhat close to Shelle's neck of the woods. ( and both are trans vets.)

Here is the first link  and the second.

Thanks to all three of you for your service!

UpDateable

An estimated 0.7 percent of youth ages 13 to 17, or 150,000 youth, identify as transgender in the United States, according to a new study released by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This study is the first to provide population estimates for youth who identify as transgender in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
"
By now you have probably heard outgoing President OBama commuted the sentence of transgender veteran Chelsea Manning  allowing the convicted Army leaker to go free nearly three decades early as part of a sweeping move to offer clemency in the final days of his administration.




And a couple comments from our on going "Dime" posts:
Connie... the last post takes us into the mid to late 1990's!

And Pat:

"I think that if I have read you correctly it was a long slow process over the years that led to your epiphany that you are transgender. I would surmise that if you are transgender then getting out and about while dressed for shopping, restaurants, etc. was not a slippery slope but an affirmation of your core essence. 

Is the slippery slope analogy related to the concept of sneaking out on you wife to seek your feminine affirmation. If so that is a difficult issue. A real strong part of you (us) wants and needs to get out and about presenting in the female gender. At the same time we know that our wives may not like that idea. They may resist all gender issues or they may simply fear that people will find out and that there will be the issues that go with that. In any event I know that my wife fears disclosure and she fears, rationally or otherwise, all the bad things that can happen if I were out in a dress. This presents a bit of a hard choice. We need to go out but our going out upsets the person we love. Is the compromise to simply not tell her we are going out while dressed? Is this your slippery slope?"


Yes Pat, perhaps to put it more succinctly, deep down inside I knew I was transgender. The "slippery slope" reference came as I kept making excuses not to follow my heart until I was pushed into it by others as you will read in an upcoming post. 

My wife was a critical part of all of this of course, until she passed away.

And finally again from Connie:

"OOOOO...Hot in Cleveland! Did you ever apply to be a member of the Vanity Club sorority? They consider themselves to be "A" listers, I'm sure, but the fact that they do is enough to keep me far away from them (I was urged relentlessly by one of them to submit my photo(s) and profile).

 I never found posting a ton of pics to be validating, nor did I find "making the scene" with a gaggle of cross dressers validating. I'll always be grateful that they were there to get me jump-started, but the quick lesson I got was that I was not like them. I think we sometimes need to experience things just to find what we ARE NOT in our journeys to find who we are."

No. I was never a member (or applied to the Vanity Club. As you said I was busy experiencing things on my path to transgender self discovery!






Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime - Part Six

Very simply, German Village is an upscale restored historical neighborhood just South of downtown Columbus, Ohio. One of the "A" listers I mentioned in a previous post bought a burnt out old brick there and restored it to a beautiful home. Before I go any further, the owner was not a "trans-nazi" so my wife and I were invited to small parties there. I will refer to the owner as "she" because she went on to have SRS.

The parties were fascinating. Anyone from cross dressers not in drag to the most down to earth transgender women in the world were there. Sometimes in tow with an admirer or even a lesbian. I learned tons in a short period of time. Often I learned all the hormones or operations in the world couldn't "make" a reasonable facsimile of a cis woman.

I also learned how a woman can be physically trapped by a larger man when a very big admirer cornered and trapped me in a narrow hallway- until I could be rescued by my wife.

At the same time, I was getting out and about more in Columbus shopping during the day. Fashions during the day included lite jackets, short skirts and opaque hose, perfect items from my wardrobe.

You may ask, where was my wife during all of this? When she was working, I was going out and hiding the fact I did and hoping to get all the makeup off my face. Again and again I was not happy about the lying and hiding behind my skirts and wigs but the more I learned about a feminine life, the more I loved it.

Along the way too, I was learning much more than ever before because I found people wanted to talk to me and took it I was a bitch if I didn't respond. Especially in restaurants where I began to stop and eat.

So before I knew it, a feminine part of me was emerging I wasn't sure I even had and I knew I was on a real slippery slope. However, the ripping and tearing of trying to live two lives was a terrible experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. My drinking continued and nothing seemed to work as I continued to ignore the obvious. I was transgender.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime Part Five

 Image result for virginia princeFor me these were the days shortly after Virginia Prince and her Transvestia publication burst upon the scene. I was still amazed others in the world felt the same way I did. So, I ordered several issues of Transvestia and discovered a group of hetero sexual transvestites who held mixers through out the country. The closest to me was a very drive able Cleveland, Ohio so I paid my dues and headed to my first of several mixers.  


From those mixers I learned several important lessons including a much closer chapter forming in much closer Columbus, Ohio. 
Other lessons learned were some there were hetero questioning or as I called them "admirers in drag" cross dressers, and even a few who were on their way to perhaps a stealth (SRS) transsexual full time existence as a woman.
What Virginia never wrote about though was the difference internally was between a male who could pass as a female and one who had a feminine soul. So I know Virginia and others considered her a transgender pioneer but I am one of those who is not so sure.
I also discovered a very distinct social system as distinct as the one high school girls had. Very quickly I called them the "A" listers  because of their "mean girl" style social clique. You definitely had to look a certain way to be invited into the group. Which of course I didn't. However, these also were the ones who left the motel/hotel to go party elsewhere later in the evening. Later on I would attach the "trans-nazi" label to them but still tagged along-invited or not.
Other notable exceptions to the norm were the guys in their fancy dresses and smoking cigars as if to not let too much of their male self go.
Two dimes were dropped on me during these mixers in Cleveland. One, was an invite to join the group in Columbus and the other thanks to a free makeover at a mixer.
I pulled up my big girl panties and let a makeup artist take all my war paint off and start over. The results were startling. I was even invited to go along with the "A" listers without having to invite myself. Most importantly though as the night was beginning to wind down (right in front of all of them, a guy who seemed real nice invited me to stay over for a drink. I often wondered what would have happened had I said yes?
As promised though, I discovered an even smaller incredibly diverse group to learn from in Columbus as time marched ever forward.
Coming up next, German Village.

A Taste of Ivory

Ivory Aquino never thought there would be roles for a transgender girl from the Philippines, so she was prepared to give up on her childhood dream of being an actor.
“I didn’t feel at that time that there were any roles I could do,” Aquino tells PEOPLE exclusively about her despair.
So, with acting seemingly out of the question, Aquino decided to try her hand at becoming a singer.
“With androgynous figures like David Bowie, I thought I could do music without thinking about gender,” she says in the upcoming issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
But after moving to the U.S. in her teens, and undergoing her gender confirmation surgery out of the country at age 26, Aquino had a revelation.
“My outsides finally felt like my insides,” she says. “The first thought that came to mind was, ‘I can act again!’ ”
Aquino, who stars as the trans activist Cecilia Chung in the ABC mini series, is still in the beginning of her acting career.
For more, go here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime, Part Four

I call this time in the mid 1980's my validation time.

I was still struggling with the fact that dressing trashy versus classy was not the way to  go and teasing truckers on the interstate with a hiked up skirt was not going to work.  Plus I still couldn't get it through my thick noggin why it wouldn't.

Very basically a cross dresser dresses for what a man wants to see and a transgender woman (in order to survive in the world) must take into consideration what women want to see too.

After yet another viscous fight between my wife and I, she said "You make a terrible woman." Of course I was devastated!  All  the work shaving my legs and mirror worship just couldn't be wrong. Then she said, "I'm not referring to the way you look. I am referring to the way you act and think."

You would have thought even I would begin to get through my thick noggin what she was talking about and for once I was getting a glimmer of hope. On my trips out cross dressed, I was beginning to notice more of the world around me. About this time too, my wife would even go out with me to dinner in Columbus. So if I didn't "dress like a slut" (as she put it) I would have even more chances to live as a woman. The more I lived it-the more I loved it.

About this time was when transgender began to creep into the public's vocabulary replacing the all encompassing transvestites or transsexuals on either end of the spectrum. I began to think-could transgender be me?

Shortly we moved back up towards Columbus, Ohio and I became involved with one of the most diverse groups within a group I had ever seen or been involved with.

I was about to find another dime and have a real idea what validation really meant.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Don't Blame me Dammit!!

Who had the brilliant idea for me to write a blog approximately five years ago????

CONNIE that's who. As Stana or Paula or Shelle or Mandy can tell you, keeping up on a blog takes a tremendous amount of time for almost no monetary return.

Ironically, even though we may live oceans apart (Paula) or shared a different transgender veteran  (Shelle) experience, threads run thru each blog which ultimately make us trans sisters. Keep up the good work ladies!

FYI, Connie and I met on another LGBT message board type format when she was bashing a group of "trans-nazi's" My lesson learned was a pretty trans picture for the most part did not equate out to a pretty/warm interior. Somehow, many of them neglected to finish that part of their MtF gender transition.

Imagine that.

They Call Me the Breeze

Yesterday I was trusted to make one of my rare solo trips to the grocery store.

In the morning I took a shower and washed my hair (hey it was Friday :) ) I have naturally wavy hair and normally I just mousse it out a little while it is still wet. I call it my "mousse is loose look."

As it turned out, Friday afternoon was really windy with all the wild weather we have been having. Freezing rain last night all the way to a high in the 60's by Monday/Tuesday. So the mousse was really rocking!

Either I am gaining weight again in my hips/butt region, or my fave jeans are beginning to fill out better and look good with my calf high boots. A big fluffy sweater and it was off to the store for me...wind and all.

After all this time I still relish the freedom of going anywhere without caring what anyone else thinks. The grocery store ranks near the top and restaurants near the bottom because of the possibility of still being busted by some little (or not so little kid).

If for no other reason, my size can create attention. But not yesterday.

No attention from anyone except a blond haired woman wearing sunglasses on a very cloudy day. We exchanged curious glances before I wondered was I "glowing" that much? :)

Life Turns on a Dime Part Three

As I settled back into my home town (approx 80,000 peeps then) I was able to scratch out a living on one of the local radio stations as a DJ and pocket a few more dimes from the bar I co-owned. My Dad described it best when he said "Well at least the flies didn't have to stop when they flew through one of the two doors."

As always, I was drinking heavily and making early plans for Halloween around July.Well, a girl can dream, right?  My first year back party was notable in that I thought I looked damn good in my black dress, heels and beret until a guy in a mask came up and said "I know who you are." Finally he said I looked like my Mom and I knew who he was. Over the years that followed, he turned out to be quite the homo/transphobe, so his comment that night was probably the nicest thing he ever had to say about me. (Like I cared.)

Time went by, my daughter was growing and the recession of the early 1980's claimed the bar as one of it's victims as my town was dead center in the infamous "Rust Belt". Times were rough and I ended up taking a job in a fast food chain and taking over a store in Yonkers, New York-which was quite the shock.

As luck would have it though, here I was in a part of the country more liberal towards a growing LGBT community and I still couldn't take much advantage of it. One notable exception was when my new wife stayed home and I went to a "transvestite mixer" on Long Island. This evening turned out to be a real eye opener for me, for a number of reasons.

First of all, the mixer was being held in a motel bar with several "admirers" in attendance. And, I was flattered by the women at the door who weren't going to let me in because I was "real." To make a long story short, I was hit on a couple of times before I packed my inflated ego and went home.

The evening caused so much pain between my wife and I she finally said "That's it, be man enough to be a woman." One of the most profound things I have ever been told-and ignored until after her death decades later.

In the meantime, we moved back to Ohio and set up special times when I would go get a motel room,dress and mainly go shopping, Which was good and bad. It was good of course because I could really learn the ropes as a woman and bad because I started to cheat on her and go out when I thought she wouldn't know.

All of that worked well enough until one day she got off early and caught me driving past her in the other family car or the time I accidentally ended up walking right past her boss in a parking lot. Later he would mention the "Big redhead" he saw, and she knew.

What really hurt me was lying to her and the ripping and tearing I was going through as a person. It was about that time in the 1990's after one of my "adventures" I set up gender marriage counseling appointments in nearby Columbus, Ohio. The counselor came right to the point and said I had and will always have gender dysphoria but did I know I was bi-polar?   Well, that made sense too-but what the hell? Something else wrong with me? Since that time it seems like half the world is bi something so it was nice to be on the cutting edge.

About that time too, I was getting much better at my overall feminine presentation and started to volunteer to go grocery shopping when she was at work etc. The problem became too we moved to a much smaller town and getting recognized was an even bigger risk. So. I began to wonder was the "thrill factor" of dressing like a woman was drawing me to it?

Coming up next "validation versus reality."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime- Part Two

After I was discharged from the Army in 1975, I essentially loaded all my possessions (including my ever present gender dysphoria) into the back of a VW Beetle I had bought in Germany, spent some time at home in Ohio and headed for Texas. I had a real close friend who was being discharged about the same time in El Paso. (Ft. Bliss)

I had packed my stash of women's clothes and almost was brave enough to try my hand at walking around outside my room at a motel I stayed at on the way down to Texas. The mirror was busily lying to me and telling me I was the best looking blond ever when I came to my senses, became scared and spent the rest of the trip feeling guilty about at least trying a short trip to the motel's restaurant/bar.

Of course I didn't have too long to ponder my insecurities when my car broke down outside of El Paso in the dessert. I don't even remember now what I did to get a hold of my friend in the dark ages before cell phones, so I waited until the morning and flagged down another motorist to get me to the nearest garage. Fortunately, all I had was a destroyed distributor cap (remember those?) so relatively quickly I was back on the road with too much time to think about my future.

My friend was married so I slept in the guest room and both of them worked during the days so I could cross dress to my heart's content. Unfortunately I was becoming increasingly frustrated with simply staying inside.  Looking back, I should have started to realize then I was so much more than a cross dresser but I would continue to try to outrun or out drink my feelings.

After a couple months I moved back to Ohio if for no other reason than I knew the territory better and what I would have to do to try to finally try to get out the door as a woman. I can use the "woman" word now because back in those days, transgender wasn't even used as a word and quite frankly I didn't know what I was.

The defining moment I do remember was the first time I saw my reflection in the window of a store on another night I yet almost went into another.

The huge defining moment of my life though, came in 1975 when my first wife was discharged from the Army and came to live with me in Ohio and about the time I was about to run back to Texas, we found out she was pregnant. (Even with birth control.) My daughter beat the odds and forced me to settle down.(Kind of.) I went back to school, bought a small bar with my friend and tried to out drink who I really was.

The revelation was still decades away.