Monday, April 30, 2018

Vocal Feminization Ideas

During the Trans Ohio Symposium I was able to hear the workshop presented by the lead transgender veteran liaison  person for the Veterans Administration Hospital I go to in Dayton, Ohio.

What did I learn? The VA in some situations will provide one wig and one set of breast forms a year. And more importantly, I should have no problems being referred to a qualified vocal feminiization coach in the near future.

I also sat in on another informative workshop called "Finding Your Feminine Voice."

During the workshop, the presenter mentioned a couple options she used to dramatically improve her voice. She mentioned You Tube videos as a possibility but couldn't remember who she used. So, as with most things on You Tube, usage comes with a built in warning but could be worth exploring. Other options included various tonal apps on your phone. Plus, someone mentioned access to your local educational institutions. Many of them have student intern programs which can be relatively inexpensive.

With any improvement worth working on, practice is very important with voice training. Options mentioned included leaving yourself messages on your email, or answering machine and/or practicing on your laptop so you can see your self as you talk.

Without getting too technical, the presenter said your new voice should originate somewhere in your upper neck area. Using the chest area is what men use and getting too far up into the nasal area will result in a falsetto tone. She (the presenter) also said though, since women vary their vocal patterns more than men, an occasional falsetto type tone isn't all that bad.

Hopefully, a few of these ideas may help you down your own vocal path. When I finally get a vocal therapist appointment, I will keep passing along more ideas.

Impresive

By far, the most impressive transgender key note speech and workshop I have ever attended, happened Saturday at The Trans Ohio Symposium. I was fortunate enough to hear Mara Keisling from the "National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Here is her background:

"Mara Keisling is the founder and executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Since 2003, she has led organizational and coalition efforts that have won significant advances in transgender equality. As one of the nation’s leading voices for transgender equality, Mara is regularly quoted in major media outlets. A proud Pennsylvanian, Mara received her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and did graduate work in American Government at Harvard University."

Why was I impressed? Because Mara, has been working (along with others) tirelessly to protect and further trans rights. She is razor sharp and with her background in Washington, she can speak factually to what we face now and what we will face in the future as transgender citizens in the United States. Under a decidedly hostile administration.  

She was surprisingly positive. Pointing out how far we have come and explaining what has to happen to go even further. Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, you know, mid term elections are rapidly approaching and many key governor positions, as well as Senate and House of Representatives seats are up for grabs. Which (of course) points out the need to get out the vote!

It was comforting for me to see and hear in person such a qualified leader on our side in Washington! Find out more about Mara and the NCTE's work, follow the link above.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Back Home

Well, our "mini" weekend get away to the Trans Ohio Symposium is over.

A good time was had by all and I learned quite a bit from the presentations which I will be passing along in future Cyrsti's Condo blog posts.

I basically looked at the whole weekend as a transgender overload.

An example was one trans woman who described her time in the closet as a life in a movable prison.

I decided to go ahead and show all of you one of my rare selfies I took Friday night after several "cocktails".

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Day Off

Today, (hopefully) I will be presenting a workshop at the Trans Ohio Symposium and enjoying a mini vacation at a couple of Liz and I's fave venues in Columbus, Ohio.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I hope to show you a couple pictures and let you know how it went!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Parting Shots

Well, my packing is done, including a couple important items I tried to forget...like the tickets of course.

Amazingly enough, Liz and I were able to make it to the Nail Salon early enough this morning to avoid the rush and get our nails done. I opted for the much simpler (and cost effective) basic manicure and color. Liz went with a much fancier acrylic two tone set of nails. All went well within the salon and I was referred to as "Mam" my my manicurist. Only one other cis woman (I assume) gave me much of a side glance, not that I care. But seemingly I do.

Referring to the trip and the resulting workshop presentation at the Trans Ohio Symposium, we received these comments:



  1. "So, you have left the closet, but you don't know how much of it you needed to take with you? Remember that the group on the Minnow went for a three hour tour, but the ladies had enough outfits to last for years on that island!"
  2. For three years, I would have filled the Minnow by myself!
  3. I use a spreadsheet to organize what I have to pack!"
  4. Lol, I'm sure you do :)
  5. Yes, the usual 'fun' of packing luggage for attending an Event.
    I know that 'fun' only too well. It takes me about half an hour to pack for a trip down to my mother's, but for flying to an Event, about an hour."
  6. I am probably on the same schedule, not including "quiet time" to try to figure out ahead of time what I will forget! Like the tickets and reservation information! Thanks to all for the comments!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Packing

If there ever is a time when changing genders becomes a little more intense, it's when you start to pack for even a short time away as a transgender woman.

My upcoming trip is only encompassing three days but it seems like much more. I have to dress for a couple travel days, then have outfits for a Friday night mixer and a long day on Saturday. Which includes teaching a workshop and going out to eat on Saturday night at a venue we go to every year.

Ironically, having too many choices to chose from is also causing me anxiety. Plus now, on Friday before we make the two hour drive to the Trans Ohio Symposium, I just found out we have to take one of the cars to the mechanic. So Friday I have to dress causal for the day and pick up the pace some for the evening.

Then, of course, there are the essentials to consider, such as make-up, under garments, shoes, medicines and the like.

It's definitely the polar opposite from my days as a guy and packing was a half hour deal.

I will let you know what I forget :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Trans Ohio Symposium

Nothing really earth shattering happening this week as we approach the Trans Ohio Symposium  and my workshop.

As I have related to several times here in Cyrsti's Condo,  I am going to be speaking on "Wall's, Fifty Years" in the closet. My therapist was ultra interested in how I was going to approach it this week during our session. I joked, I was going to wing it but finally told her I had printed former blog posts to refer back to. Much of course is predicated on how many peeps show up, their age mix and how they fall under the transgender - cross dresser umbrella. One of the more difficult things to do too, is to figure how much time should be left for questions and answers.

All I know for sure is, the hour goes ultra fast.

I also found out the lead transgender care person at my Dayton, Ohio Veteran's Administration Campus is going to be doing a lecture also. I am planning on attending to make sure I catch up on any information I didn't know and to just meet her. I think I have but am not positive.

Outside of those two places I know I want to be, the rest of the weekend is set up to be one of fun for Liz and I. She is taking Friday off from her job, so we can get our nails done and hopefully get an early start on what usually is a two hour trip one way.

Finally, I am going to try to archive a couple blog posts for the weekend if I have enough material to attempt to write about!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Helping Others Erases Gender

Today, as I was attempting to meet my therapist on time,  I was going through the parking lot. As I hurried along, an elderly gentleman walking towards me happened to have his plastic bag rip open and his medicine spill out all over the ground.

Throwing caution and time into a brisk wind, I stopped to help him. Besides losing his medicines, he was losing some paperwork too. Fortunately, with the help of another person, we were able to retrieve all his items and get him on his way.

He was so embarrassed but he still managed to utter two thank you's before assuring me he was fine.

Between the feel good part of helping someone in need and having a man hold the elevator door for me, the fact wasn't lost on me that being a good person always outshines just being lost in my transgender self as I try to put my best feminine foot forward.

Life is good.

Monday, April 23, 2018

"C" is for What?

The Cyrsti's Condo post about being called "sir" at the clothing store, garnered quite a bit of reaction in the comment department:


  1. "Well, you could have said C, as in cross dresser. Or, after being called "sir", you might have thought of another "C" word in reply to her. :-)

    After living so much of our lives as men, it's not surprising that we refer to our past knowledge and experiences almost automatically. I catch myself making a football analogy or something else more "manly" than I might have wanted to say quite often. However, I try to consider the other person when making references, and I say things that will (hopefully) be understood and add to the conversation. So, I think that my conversations and interactions don't necessarily need to be much different than they've always been.

    The hardest thing is not what we say, but how we say it. Having a more-female voice is of great help, or course, but changing our speech patterns from male to female can make more of a difference. The proper accompanying mannerisms may be just as important.
    As a child (and still, as an adult), I would watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon that included Minnie, and observe the differences between them. Mostly, Minnie was created as a feminized version of Mickey. Beyond putting Mickey in a dress, though, the cartoonists made a few subtle changes that made a big difference. While it is easy to conclude that Mickey and Minnie are male and female, recognizing and implementing the subtleties in ourselves can be quite challenging. The last thing we want to do, though, is to end up appearing cartoonish in our presentations."
    I think this would have been one of the times to have a more feminine sounding voice to "tip" the gender balance. Also, she wasn't being negative, as much as boring.
Ithinfg
  1. "Looking forward to the pix!

    On occasion I get the dreaded "S" word...and kind of ignore it. Enough folks do things right, that a few "misgenderings" aren't a big deal for me. But you're right...try to eliminate the characteristics that might cause people to say "Sir."

    It would be nice to do voice therapy. I'm a bit envious. But at this point, without being full time, I don't have a burning desire to proceed with it. And then there's always the wife to consider. That would not go well with her...she tolerates, even as I push the envelope. But I fear going down that road would be a step too far...

    Cheers,

    Mandy"
  2. "My suggestion would be: C as in Crown
    After all every woman IS a Queen.
    :)"
  3.              I must be doing something wrong. I have been called a "Princess", but never a "Queen"...which would be  worse than being called Sir! So maybe I am doing something right after all. Thanks to all of you for your  comments :)
  4.             

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Good Question

I love it when I read another idea about the transgender identity which I have never considered. Probably because in my egotistical mind, I have considered any and all possibilities. As I think about it, seeing other ideas is one of the reasons I am still addicted to Facebook.

An example is one of the peeps I follow is a transgender woman who refuses to acknowledge the trans label, except to say she is transsexual. Plus, in her latest rant, she says the entire transgender community is just in it for the sex. Which is far from the truth in my recent history. Maybe I am just being naive.

An even better example was sent in by Connie:

"A theoretical question I've considered over the years is: Would I pursue my transition if I should lose my eyesight? My answer has changed as I've navigated through the different phases, but that original vanity never really goes away. I know that I do a credible job of presenting, on the outside, my womanly self. It takes a mirror, and the ability to see myself in it, to be able to accomplish this (although, I've made myself up so many times now that I could probably do a half-decent job without a mirror). Yes, my vanity would take a hit if I couldn't see my outward appearance, but I've become comfortable enough with how I see myself as a woman in heart and spirit that even blindness could not change who I am now. I'd still miss seeing myself in a mirror occasionally, however."

A great question!  Somehow I think I would have to continue my transition and hope the effects of HRT would help me to continue to present well enough in public.

I am so vane now, in most situations I try not to wear my glasses...even though they are women's. So, I don't know how I would approach it!

"C" is for Charles?

Yesterday, I finally grabbed my partner Liz for a girls out shopping trip. We did really well at a store called "Gabes" which features overstocks of name brand fashion clothes. I ended up buying four different tops and one long summer dress. I am sure I will wear one or two of the tops next week at the Trans Ohio Symposium so I should have a couple pictures to pass along.

All went very well, including the changing room attendant directing Liz and I to the women's changing rooms. After we made our decisions, she said you Ladies have a good day. From there, we proceeded to the front registers to check out. As I was paying for my treasures, the clerk asked if I had a rewards card and I said no.  After deciding I needed one, she asked for my email address. It's still under my old name "Cyrsti" so I had to spell it for her. She said did it start with a "C" or a "K" so I said "C" as in Charles.  I wonder if I set off some sort of gender reaction in her, because, out of the clear blue sky, she called me "sir".

After getting upset, I decided not to say anything because I don't hear so well and she sort of said it in passing (or not passing). I just took my purchases and took off.

Then I started to think, the next time someone asks me to spell my email address, to say "C" as in cat. To make sure I'm not sending anyone any subliminal signals.

As I thought about it further, I decided to include things like "Charles" in my next "wall."

In addition, my next "wall" goal will be to try to make the smallest detail of my feminine presentation a priority. As I have written about before here in Cyrsti's Condo, I plan on trying to get involved in feminine voice therapy of some sort and getting some new makeup techniques.

The whole idea has rejuvenated me!

Friday, April 20, 2018

You and Your Mother?

Perhaps I should save this post for closer to Mother's Day, but I received another comment from Connie concerning a Cyrsti's Condo post (Whose on First) about her Mom, so I decided to use it. It came from a comment I made which included the phrase "per Norm":


"Just to be clear, I never do anything per Norm. I do, however, do things per Norma, as that was my mother's name. I am reminded often by family members how much I resemble her, both in looks and in personality. That used to bother me a bit, but now I just accept it as an affirmation of my destiny to live life as the woman I was born to be.

Come to think of it, being compared to my mother is a label that has been put on me. I guess some labels are just inescapable."

Like many other transgender women, I, like I am sure many of us have spent a considerable amount of time wondering about our relationship with our mothers. It's ironic how close we were to having a "mother-daughter" relationship and never knowing it.
My mother and I were much the same, including the resemblance factor. We both shared the same restless personalities and a complete need to try to dominate the other.
She (my mother) was the one who suggested electrode shock therapy for me, when I came out to her after I got out of the Army. And it was me who took her first name as my middle name, when I legally changed it. I did it partially as an honor and partially to know I got the last laugh with her about being transgender.
I honor her because she went through the hardships of WWII and the Great Depression, which I guess "battle" hardened her to face the challenges she was to face having child birth. I was the first to survive after several still births and miscarriages. In fact, I could be the result of a hormonal drug given to expectant mothers back then who were having problems with child birth. The word is now, the drug could have had something to do with gender dysphoria. 
If I had actually turned out to be her daughter from the beginning, I'm sure my life would have turned out about the same way,...because she had her way of doing things. It was her way or the highway.
Obviously,  I will never know but on occasion it is interesting to think about.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Life Through a Mirror?

Most of us start this journey as a transgender woman, trans man, or cross dresser the same way...with trips to the mirror.

For most of us as well, we begin to separate from the mirror and have a tendency to want to try our hand living out in a brave new world. One of the opposite gender. When we do, at least we think we are moving away from the mirror.

When you think about it, all of our lives revolve how we see the world, or how it sees us. Crossing the gender frontier becomes so difficult when we already have specific gender ideas ingrained within us and something is screaming, wait!, that's not right. As we begin to live in the proper gender, often, the first thing we do is to do our best to at least look the part of our chosen person.

From there, the mirror gets much more intricate. Not only should you do your best to present your gender properly, you have to learn how to read others. A keen observation of whom you are dealing with can take you a long way. Especially, if you think you may be finding yourself in an unpleasant situation.

I guess you can say, a trans life could become truly one of smoke and mirrors but then again it doesn't have to and I am sure you know a cis gender person or two about whom you could say the same thing. Or, your life could be entering an extraordinary phase. Even phases though must come and go...and the extraordinary becomes mundane, as Connie says:

" Finding the extraordinary to now be ordinary. Then, when you think about it, life can truly be extraordinary by that very shift. As we transition to womanhood, we move past living through experiences on to discovering that we are free to experience life."

So true. and when it happens, the freedom is wonderful.

Make Up?

My other transgender - cross dresser support group (here in Cincinnati) announced yesterday, the date of it's first make up assistance workshop in May.

Being the smart a-s person I am, I always say, how could I ever try to improve upon perfection. If the truth be known though, I have many questions about working with my eyes, foundation and contouring. I would love help with all of them.

So, on May 14th, I hope to garner some individual attention, all the way to the point of taking my skin wipes with me to take off all my current makeup to have her start over. If indeed I have the opportunity. I'm afraid she is only going to address the group as a whole.

For some reason, it seems my skin is responding again to the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and is going through another mini transition. Which I always heard was possible. I also switched to another slightly more expensive foundation. Which seems to be helping.

I do wish all of the makeup advice would have been available before the Trans Ohio Symposium at the end of April. I need all the immoral support I can get!

Diversity within Diversity

Tuesday was my transgender veteran support group meeting at the Dayton, Ohio Veterans campus.

For once, the meeting was well attended (twelve) people and wonderfully diverse. Two much younger new people attended who identified mainly as gender fluid as well as the on again- off again SRS person from Richmond, Indiana.

We also have several run of the mill transgender peeps, as well as a "card carrying" lesbian. The mix made for an interesting conversation on several topics.

We talked about having a VA presence at the Dayton, Ohio Pride celebration this year and one of the gender fluid persons said they didn't like Prides basically because of all of the blatant exhibitionists. Her only experiences were from Atlanta, Georgia and Berlin, Germany. Far from the still conservative ideas of Middle America. I told her also, it wasn't so long ago, I felt totally un-represented at Prides "overrun" by drag queens and garishly attired cross dressers. Fortunately, I haven't felt that way at the last couple of Prides I have went to.

The other gender fluid person (who I will refer to as she) said she didn't quite understand what all the fuss was about existing in the public's eye. Even though, she is a self professed six foot three inches and a former Army Ranger, she is still quite androgynous and has quite a bit of passing "privilege." So at her age (30 something) she has missed quite a bit of the public problems for transgender, or gender fluid, individuals that used to exist much stronger... back in the day. It was nice we "more mature" participants could explain the "good old days" were just old and not so good.

Finally, I also brought up the possibility of receiving voice help through the University of Cincinnati Medical School, in conjunction with the VA and I hoped to get more info soon!

 All in all, one of those support group meetings that for once provided support!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Whose on First?"

Several posts ago, I wrote here in Cyrsti's Condo concerning the use of labels. Basically I said, labels, like it or not are a part of human nature and probably will be around forever in one form of another. I even dropped pronoun usage (he and she) in the label category.

Per norm (you remember him!), Connie added a valued thought:

It seems to me that someone who is on facebook bitching about labels is not yet confident enough in her own gender identity to be able to give up the very label she wants to wish away. The truth is that very few of us who have suffered through a male puberty will ever be able to escape the "transgender" label. As you posted before, there's always something (or someone) there to remind me. The best we can do is live as authentically as we can, and try to ignore the labels anyone else may want to tag us with. Worrying about it all the time probably leads to more self-labeling than what others may do or think. An important step - or wall to climb, if you will - in transition is to just get over oneself. When we realize that what others may think of us is really none of our business, we are then free to become who we see ourselves to be. Whether that be a transgender woman or a woman, we each have our own identities, and only we can define our ourselves. Those who would insist upon placing the transgender label on us will continue to do so, but I'd prefer that adjective to "bitchy" or "bitter" - accompanied by the transgender label or not.

I think you'll agree that the most affirming thing is to hear from someone, while knowing you are a transgender woman, that they can't imagine you as anything but the woman you are. If you want to be seen as a woman, all you really have to do is act like one; a gracious and friendly one makes it all the better.
I agree! In fact I can use the two women from dinner Monday night as an example!

Girls Night Out

A small group of friends I have, every month has a dinner get together called a "meet-up."

Monday night, this month's meet-up was at a local Mexican restaurant. Out of seven people who said they were going to come, only three showed up. Including me. The other two were cis women I have known for awhile. To them I am just me and not transgender.

The dinner went along well with everyone sharing small talk about family and spouses. I didn't think much of it until I was on my way home, how nice it was.  Years ago, I considered a "girls night out" to be a rite of passage into a feminine life and now I was taking it for granted.

The picture is actually taken years ago at my first "girls night out." During it, the woman on the far right with the burgundy top never did seem to accept me being there. As I said, I have known the women I ate with for several years, so I did not have any problem with anything like that. Even the waiter was liberal with his use of the "lady" word. I have had problems with that in the past in a few Mexican restaurants.

Time flies when you are having fun!


Monday, April 16, 2018

When the Words Get in the Way

Again I find myself writing about a Facebook post I saw about labels.

The person in particular was again bitching about being called transgender and overall about labels being used at all. Ideally, she is right but then again the human animal needs labels to communicate. When you get right down to it, someone using the "she" pronoun with you is a label.

As far as being called trans at all is a matter of personal preference which I have written about here in Cyrsti's Condo many times. If I had my preference, I would like to be called a woman of transgender persuasion. However, all of that seems totally unwieldy.

I also think to be removed from the transgender woman umbrella creates one more void in the world. The more I am visible, the more I do to help create a better world for other trans girls. I guess my large frame is not built to go stealth and disappear.

Plus these days the community of all women needs all the help it can get.

Seeing as how I work with the written word, labels to me will be around for as long as there are humans.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's Been Forever?

Yesterday I went to my bank to deposit some money. Out of the three tellers, I just happened to get the male one. Either he thought I was a vision of loveliness (probably not) or having a real live transgender woman in the bank was a relief from his normal day to day activities.

At any rate, the questions came fast, furious and friendly. Did I do most of my banking on line, was my day going good and was I sure there was nothing else I could be helped with?  I was almost embarrassed. After all, how exciting is a trip to the grocery store anyway?  Plus, yes I did live this way and just didn't put on makeup and women's clothes to go to the bank and run errands. He didn't ask that, of course.

I'm sure though, I shouldn't complain. It wasn't so long ago I was filled full of angst with the thought of even going out in public, let alone communicating with anyone.

As much as I want to be recognized as simply an attractive woman, more than likely, the idea of another person seeing me as a trans girl sometimes is just as satisfying.

In fact on Facebook, I just commented on a person's post who has complained about not wanting to be called transgender at all. She hates the community and pretty much all it stands for. That's all well and good, everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is akin to throwing the baby out with the dish water. After all, one of the big reasons no one knows much about the trans community is because of all the so called transsexuals who transitioned years ago and disappeared. And, like any other community, not all the peeps are pleasant.

We all grew up being someone. Just because that someone happened to be male doesn't make you or him all bad. With all the suicide going on in the LGBT community (especially the 'T') we need visible survivors to prove to the world we can make it and prosper.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Different Ideas

I get soooo tired of hearing/seeing myself write about the same things here in Cyrsti's Condo, so when I get the chance, I embrace different ideas from you who write in.

In response to my "mini rant" about a couple "alpha" transgender women I know, Paula Goodwin wrote in and said:



Over the years I have learnt that just because we have one thing in common, that does not mean we will have anything else. Not all tuba players are close friends neither do we all share the same political or musical views, the same should be expected of Trans people. I consider myself lucky that I have met a couple of people through my local support group who I like to think I would have been friends with however we met. As for the others, I am more than happy to share a Saturday night with them and have some fun, but we won't be BFFs just because they happen to also be Trans."
Also, transitioning a gender doesn't mean you are transitioning a personality.
The second comment comes from another of my acquaintances from my cross dresser - transgender group. First of all, she is delightful and is in the early stages of hormone replacement therapy.
Slowly but surely, she is coming out at work and travels a lot. One lesbian woman she sees on occasion started quite the conversation the other day. It turns out, the woman thought my friend was a butch lesbian. Finally, after some prodding, she (my friend) said no, she was trans. Without skipping a beat, the lesbian said cool! When are you going to start testosterone shots? My acquaintance had to explain then, she was going from Mtf! Quite the conversation. 
Thanks to both of you for making blogging fun again.  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Transgender Model

Trans model Leyna Bloom eyes a Victoria Secret modeling gig!
From Yahoo:



"Bloom threw her hat in the ring because she’s always wanted to work with the company. “It’s always been a dream for me, like so many others, not just trans — POC, all women, and some men even,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “This is a platform that glorifies femininity. I always felt in my most natural state I am heavenly. For my trans sisters, regardless of color, this will be a moment for us all.”

Bloom has been modeling professionally since 2014, including walking in runway shows for Chromat and the Blonds. Last year, she made history as the first trans person of color featured in Vogue India. “Work has been steady. There’s definitely been a gamble with other bigger brands to take on a trans model of color,” she admits. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to want to give us a shot. Then again, nothing happens overnight.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Girl Talk

A couple nights ago at the cross dresser - transgender support group meeting, it seemed I was destined to answer routine questions about my Mtf gender transitions again. For the most part, I am fine with questions because, after all it is a support group.

Most of the questions came from the hairdresser (cis woman) with a transgender son. She wanted to know how long I had been out in the feminine world and how did I do it. Among other things. I told her I seriously transitioned about six years ago and have been on hormone replacement therapy for over four years. I did go on to tell her, no, I wasn't looking to have any bottom surgery as I am quite content to live the way I am. After all, I added, gender is between the ears anyway.

However, if I was much younger, my thoughts on surgery may be quite different.

The other "questions" came in the form of subtle conversations with others I just met. I was fortunate in everyone was quite respectful and not crass. Most came from very nervous early cross dressers, just finding their way.

So all in all, it was an interesting evening. Next week, I have my other support group meeting for transgender veterans up in Dayton and normally isn't so fun. although, since the weather is better (finally) perhaps some of the earlier "co combatants" in the group will return to stir the group up a bit. I'm really interested to hear from the "phantom" sex change person again. If you recall her, she is the one who would contradict herself on occasion about the process.

The Cincinnati veterans center is starting it's own support group, but I haven't decided as of yet to go or not. I am of the opinion not to. Enough is enough!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Another Shopping Weekend?

As the Trans Ohio Symposium grows ever closer, the last weekend in April, I still haven't done my shopping yet for the weekend.

I know what I would love to find, but finding it in my size is always the difficult part. A top which falls off of one shoulder is on my wish list but we will see. 

Fortunately, in my area, there are a multitude of places I can try to go with my partner Liz. Plus, I still have quite a bit left I need to spend off a gift certificate I received as a birthday gift from my daughter some time ago. I have been saving it back for a time such as this, so it is time to use it.

To make matters more interesting is the long "Boho" skirt Liz bought me Sunday. It is black, so any spring color ought to go with it, I would think. 

At least I have a couple pictures to remind me what I wore before to the Symposium. Which for the past several years has been held at The Ohio State University Union...thus the picture with mascot "Brutus" on the right.

Also, Liz and I have to factor in getting our nails done before we go!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

No One to Bitch About?

Last night I went half halfheartedly to my cross dresser - transgender support group meeting and was pleasantly surprised. No one of the "sand paper"persuasion was there. By "sand paper" I mean someone with an abrasive personality. A nice group showed up, and I don't think I have ever seen so many covered and uncovered silicone boobs (for swap) in my life :).

I did get the gossip on a couple of the members I have commented about here in Cyrstti's Condo in the past and did get a chance to meet a couple of new cross dressers I had never met before. In fact about five or six.

I also was brave and set up the groundwork to go to a hair stylist in the future. She was very nice and even has a transgender teen son. Maybe I scared her when she asked was all that hair mine.

While we are on the subject of meeting other trans women, here is Connie's take on the situation:

"Well, your trans group experiences just go to show that the saying is true: If you've met one trans woman....you've met one trans woman! I used to cringe at the thought of some trans women I know exhibiting "undesirable" behavior in public. That their behavior is not desirable to me, however, does not reflect on me so much as I once believed it did. We may have the commonality of gender identity, but we are all different individuals, and I wouldn't want it any other way. I can be taken by others for who I am, a unique individual who happens to be a transgender woman. I hate the idea of being seen as a stereotype, so the more variety the public sees, the less chance there will be that I am seen as "one of those."

Class is a matter of personal taste, ultimately. I consider my own taste to be quite refined (thanks, Mom), but I imagine that there are people - trans or not - who would poo-poo me just as I have doubts about others. We all tend to gravitate toward individuals and groups who are more like ourselves. Again, I like the fact that I can look beyond a trans individual or group in finding a satisfying place for myself in life. I don't think that makes me a total bitch, either (well, not total, anyway;-)"

Thanks Connie!

Monday, April 9, 2018

It's Monday

This Monday brings about another cross dresser - transgender support group meeting. Tonight's meeting should be more interesting, as well as better attended, due to the fact a clothing swap has been organized.

If you are not aware, a clothing swap event is when most all bring articles of clothing they don't wear anymore (or were fashion mistakes) and swap them out free for other articles. I have never been to one, so I am going to be interested in seeing what turns up. Plus, if I happen to find a stray piece, I will grab it. I know for sure one member is swapping out her purple fringed leather purse, which I am going to try to pick up for my partner Liz, as she is addicted to purple. Plus, speaking of Liz, I am hoping to run into the transgender person who asked Liz to fix her two necklaces, for further guidance.

In addition, the group is bringing in a hair/makeup adviser expert. I have been joking with them about how could I ever improve upon perfection :) but not so deep down, know I am in a hair/makeup rut. So, depending upon how busy she seems to be, I may talk to her about getting my hair shaped out among other ideas. Years ago, when I summoned the courage to sit with a makeup adviser, it was a great success.

Finally, tonight's meeting is a "come" or "go" as you please event. So if I get bored, I can take off.

Shopping

Sunday my partner Liz and I finished the weekend up by going to an event called the "Festival of Light" just north of Cincinnati, in one of the regional convention centers. It is a giant collection of vendors specializing in an eclectic blend of the boho chic attire and accessories  I so love.

My best angle! :)
Hand beading by "Liz T Designs"
Do to size limitations (on their part)...I have plenty of size, much of the clothing wouldn't fit me. I did do real well in the accessory department though. I ended up buying six new pair of earrings, a new necklace and a new purse I really love. Plus, Liz bought me a lovely long skirt which I will probably end up wearing to the Trans Ohio Symposium. I called the whole collection, old hippie girl.

The real fun though came from the fact no one paid me a second glance. In fact, the only time I did get any at all was when I used the women's room and when I was recognized by a cis woman Liz used to work with a couple years ago. She was neat and said she always respected and liked my "story."

We finished up the afternoon by stopping at one of our favorite upscale fast food places. Again, I didn't get any negative feedback...from anybody.

It was quite the weekend and made up for a lot of negative learning weekends in my transgend

er past.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday, Sunday

Yet another week has flown by and at least there were some positives around the country this week concerning the transgender community.

The head of the AMA (American Medical Association) chided "45" (tRump) again for his attempted exclusion of transgender troops. In Anchorage, Alaska, voters apparently turned down an anti LGBT trans law. In Tennessee, state legislators let a bill die which would have directed the state attorney general to assist individual jurisdictions with fighting anti transgender cases. Finally, Puerto Rico approved a measure to allow trans individuals to update their birth certificates. An issue which is near and dear to me because Ohio's antiquated birth certificate law is under attack in the courts. So, alot of positives happened!

Personally, Liz and I went out every day this weekend, including a rousing Friday night visit to dinner with one of my cross dresser-transgender support groups. Liz and I managed to enjoy a little too much margarita. She almost was loose enough to consider singing karaoke and I manged to drop my debit card and lose it, as I paid. Fortunately, our server found it and I got it back unscathed the next day.

Of course, the evening was not without incident as one of the other participants proceeded to try to pry her way into our server's good graces by telling her (of all things) her father worked with fascist VP's Mike Pence's father in nearby Indiana. The server was going to Washington for some sort of cause that our non illustrious prez wouldn't approve of. The cross dresser in chief totally missed the point the girl told her she wouldn't want to meet rump anyhow and pushed her on wanting to meet Pence. So much for ignorance.

The other alpha trans girl who has been "pregnant" hogged the conversation this time saying the doctors were checking her now for "embedded"  undiscovered female reproductive parts. I found the whole conversation to be interesting until she trashed my news about the VA (she is also a trans vet) having a new voice therapist coming to my VA hospital soon. I didn't expect her to do handstands but she could have said something other than she didn't care what anyone thought about her voice anymore. I was good and should have said, no one obviously cared if she wore the same two dresses all the time.

Before you think I am being a total bitch, I will say, I really enjoy the company of the six or eight other people who come on a regular basis. It's just I have never understood why some "alpha's" try to transition and never seem to make it with any class. Which isn't mostly all low.

As it turned out, the weekend had a ways to go!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Puerto Rico Steps Up!

From the Metro Weekly, DC, USA


"Court orders Puerto Rico to issue accurate birth certificates to transgender residents

Crder comes in response to a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit

By John Riley on April 4, 2018 


A federal court has struck down a policy that prohibits transgender people born in Puerto Rico from amending the gender marker on their birth certificates. The court also issued an order requiring officials to allow those corrections.

The order comes in response to a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit brought against the commonwealth challenging its categorical ban prohibiting people from correcting gender markers on birth certificates, even in the face of evidence that a person has undergone a gender transition.

“This is a tremendous victory for our clients and all transgender people born in Puerto Rico,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, said in a statement. “The Puerto Rican government must now allow transgender Puerto Ricans to change the gender markers on their birth certificates so that they accurately reflect and affirm their identities.

“The Commonwealth’s categorical ban was not only discriminatory; it also was a relic from the past reflecting archaic views about who we are as a people and a society,” Gonzalez-Pagan added. “A birth certificate is an essential identity document. It is vital for identity documents to accurately reflect who we are. We are pleased that the court recognized that the government cannot interfere with transgender people’s ability to live as their authentic selves and that attempts to do so are unconstitutional.”


Maybe Ohio will be next!

Again, 45 is Just Wrong

"There is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. "

Zack Ford | Apr 5, 2018, 10:50 am


The largest doctors’ association in the country is lambasting Defense Secretary James Mattis for signing off on a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

The CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA), James Madara, sent Mattis a letter this week — published by Politico — decrying the conclusion that a “history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” is disqualifying for military service. 

“We believe there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service,” Madara writes in the letter. He goes onto to say that the memo to President Trump laying out the justifications for the ban “mischaracterized and rejected the wide body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical care.” 

That breadth of research led the AMA to approve a resolution in 2015 supporting trans military service. "


For more, go here.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Updates

Voters in Anchorage, Alaska, appear to have defeated a ballot measure that would have required transgender people to use only those bathrooms, locker rooms, or other “intimate spaces” that match their biological sex at birth, rather than the gender by which they identify.

About 16,000 ballots have been received by officials but have not yet been counted in Anchorage’s first election using vote-by mail. Updated results are expected to be posted later Wednesday, according to the Anchorage Daily News



As of Wednesday morning, the “no” side — opposing the anti-transgender restrictions on public, shared facilities — was leading “yes” by about an eight-point margin, 53.9% to 46.1%, among the pool of votes that had been tabulated. Due to the mail-in ballots yet to be counted, the Fair Anchorage campaign, which is fighting against the measure known as Proposition 1, has said it does not expect to call the race until April 6
.

Plus:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee bill that would have required the state attorney general’s office to defend local school districts over their bathroom policies with transgender students appears dead.

The measure failed to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday amid concerns that it could prove costly. One of the provisions of the measure allowed school districts to use private attorneys if the state attorney general’s office didn’t want to take the case. Some lawmakers saw it as a gift to lawyers."


Finally! A couple small steps forward!




Another Take on Me

Connie wrote into Cyrsti's Condo with a slightly different take on our "Me" post:

"Always Something There to Remind Me"

I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me
And every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be
Well, how can I forget you, girl?
When there is always something there to remind me
Always something there to remind me.

As I've followed the path of my own transition, I have found myself, at times, at a place where I've felt totally myself. This is the place that has no label, other than ME; without the separation that the "T" causes. As in the lyrics of the song, I used to be so aware of my transgender status that I did feel as though I was walking next to myself. Over time, as my confidence and self-acceptance has increased, I have been able to meld who I was with what I was. In doing so, the "what" has almost disappeared from my mind, and the "who" has become much more clear to me.

How I'm perceived by others seems to require that they use a label for me, even if I've given up the label myself. Whether it's a face-to-face encounter, media report, or just a puzzled look from a passerby that I catch from the corner of my eye, there is always something there to remind me that the transgender label is still applied to me. The label serves to separate me, at best, into "used to be a man/now a woman." I imagine that there are many people who would refer to me, when talking to someone else, as "the transgender woman in the purple sweater" or, much worse, as "that t****y over there." A result of my increased self confidence, however, is that I now realize that what anyone else is thinking about me is really none of my business.

I see myself as an ambassador, rather than an advocate or activist, for the transgender community. With the awareness that I am being labelled "transgender" by others, it's my job (although it no longer feels like work to me) to just be the best ME I can be when interacting with the masses. My hope is that others will come to see me as the woman I am, and not how I came to be. As such, they may be more inclined to drop the label for others like me. Maybe I can change the lyrics to just "sometimes something there to remind me" one day, then."
Thanks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Drafted?

I often wonder about what would have happened if I showed up for my military draft physical dressed as I deeply wanted to be. Probably, I would have still be taken and forced into the Marines, not the Army.

Ironically, Thailand, one of the places I was sent still has an universal draft for it's military. In Thailand though, transgender women can present paperwork and still physically show up as their authentic selves, to not get drafted into the male military.

Here is a picture of three:

Can you imagine the experience?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I'm Just Me?

Ironically, sometimes ideas just seem to come together about the transgender life path I have chosen. On the way to Transgender Day of Visibility, my partner Liz took a moment to remind me how far I have come in the past several years in the quest to be my true self. She pointed out how much more confident and secure I am today.

Then, Shelle (long time friend) wrote into to Cyrsti's Condo and said she didn't even think of herself as a transgender woman at all, anymore...just a woman.

As I thought it out, I just think of myself as me and let the world sort out the rest. To be sure, male was always a struggle for me to do. Woman has/is been so much easier, after I climbed certain walls and made quite a few falls along the way.

Now, me is woman and always has been, so I guess I could lose the transgender part too but I don't. For one big reason:

Years ago, I watched as so many transsexuals climbed their ivory towers and proclaimed to the world they were women and then just disappeared. Fading into societies woodwork. In many senses that was all well and good. At the same time though, there were no "gate keepers" to show younger people who did consider transitioning the way. What exactly were the differences between cross dressers, transgender or transsexual women?

It turns out now, the younger generation is solving the issues for us anyhow. One of the main sub topics of the TDoV last weekend had to do with gender fluidity and why we all have to be judged from a strict gender binary basis anyhow. Somehow, someway, my generation missed the point totally.

What we didn't miss was, the chance to start breaking down gender discrimination barriers to begin with and to start the movement to truly bring the "T" into and under the LGBT umbrella as an equal partner for once.

So, there is pride for me. Pride in being a survivor. After all, I made it through all those nasty years in a closet without actually managing to kill myself. A part of me wanted to show that to the world and as a matter of fact, is one of the reasons I write this blog.

At the end of the day, I am just me, and I am proud to say I am transgender because I did cross the gender divide. However, if the truth be known, I was always just a woman anyhow. Just a another label.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Trans Day of Visibility Picture

Well, with a gentle nudge, I coerced Liz into posting a picture or two from the Transgender Day of Visibility venue.

Here I am at our table!

Giving Transgender a Voice

Well, another Transgender Day of Visibility as come and gone. As I have written about here in Cyrsti's Condo, my partner Liz and I helped "person" a table at our local event.

The whole day went well (except for an exceedingly long walk to get to the venue) and one person who commandeered the stage to tell us all, the transgender movement was a four letter word which rhymes with "duck".

Other than the sour bitch, the rest of the speakers were basically centered around the younger transgender and/or questioning  crowd. Of which, there were plenty, which numbered around two hundred and of course was very enthusiastic.

There were also eight to ten other tables (besides ours) who were giving out information. Almost immediately, one in particular caught my attention. It was a table full of information concerning voice therapy from the University of Cincinnati Health Center. I stopped and asked tentatively for some of the information. The person at the table asked what I was interested in and I said, anything I could find on voice therapy through the Veterans Administration.

I was fully expecting a blank look, instead she lit up like a light bulb and asked which VA I went to. Even more important, when I said Dayton, Ohio (not Cincinnati), she said they were starting a pilot program very soon in Dayton. Plus, they were very interested in working with transgender patients. I couldn't believe my good fortune as I have all the contact information.

Very quickly I knew the day couldn't get much better! As soon as I can press Liz into posting it, there may be a picture for the blog.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

It's Easter!

Admittedly, I am more of a spiritual person, than a religious one. I remember vividly as a youth the pain of wearing a restrictive tie with boring jacket and being made to go to church.  I think my Dad felt the same way, as he went to sleep during almost every sermon, but was just giving into Mom's demands.

Looking back though, my fascination with what the girls were wearing was one of the earliest indications of my gender dysphoria. I literally ached inside to be able to be able to have any of the pretty fashion choices the girls had.

As with everything else, time moved on and it was years later I was able to understand what was going on.

For those of you transgender women and or cross dressers who celebrate Easter for the Christian holiday it is, I hope you enjoy your day for what it is.

For those of you who happen to be out and proud, maybe you can enjoy a cute new outfit too1