Thursday, April 30, 2020

More Growth

As a few of you may know, I share the Cyrsti's Condo blog content over several different social media or blogging platforms. I have decided to share this well thought out and wonderful comment from Jen concerning the "There is no Growth without Change" post from one of the other platforms:

"What a hard time it had to be when you had these earlier experiences of your journey. I’m glad you had the courage and took the chances of making those first purchases. If not, by letting that fear hold you down, you probably would have struggled by not getting to live your life to its fullest and be who you are today. Also, that question probably would have always haunted you, “What if..”

Now days, I know its not completely 100% accepted by society to dress and live as we wish. However, this generation has help along the way with things such as support groups, internet tutorials, television and with the lifestyle starting to be more common. (though we still have a long road ahead) What I’m saying is the gratitude for you, my beautiful friend and others that have taken on the hard part to pave the road to our future generations. I know for a fact that suicide can be a factor in the torment that one suffers just to live as who they are. I lost a dear friend to this. My friend was humiliated and publicly found out of his lifestyle. It affected his job and when his mother found out, he couldnt take the pain of the disappointment that he felt he put on her. My heart still to this day breaks. It shouldn’t have been that way. He wasn’t hurting anyone yet the stones were cast until it finally took his life.

I am so very grateful for the road that is being paved for the generations to come. So hopefully people will not have to live secretly having the fear of rejection, cruelty, guilt and disappointment of this world come at them, trying and tear them down. This road is being paved by you and others that have opened up and share their stories that I hope will reach the one feeling alone and feeling as though they have no choice and have to live a miserable life in hiding or even implicating suicide. Thank you. By discussing these things and others being open minded, it may save the one who’s suffering by this world being able to accept and not discriminate.
That very person may come across this blog and find the support and encouragement they need to live and not only to live, but to live the life they want and know that they are not alone. Thank you for sharing. ❤🙏💕"

Thanks to you for commenting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Pictures

Very rarely do we learn the story behind any of the pictures we see on line. In fact, I stopped even looking at one site I used to be active on because I was beginning to doubt more than a few of the "glamorous" transgender women or cross dressers weren't actually cis women in reality. I tried to tell myself too, pictures can be photo shopped and are only moments in time. So much more goes into presenting as a woman than is represented in a picture. 

But, the neat thing is about pictures is, they often are all we have to pass along idea's and remember where we were at a time and place, Take this picture of me for example. First of all it was taken a couple of years ago when I had longer and a darker/auburn hair. Secondly, it was taken in one of those mirrors with special soft surround light, All of which contributed to making me look different than I normally did. Finally, it was taken during one of those rare moments in time i had my finger nails professionally done. All in all, the picture is still me...with an asterisk. I have to add though, nothing of what I did would be different than many cis women would do to enhance their appearance in a picture. 

In a recent Cyrsti's Condo post, I used one of a couple of Connie's pictures I happen to have on file to accent one of her comments. Here, is her return comment:

"So, the pic you chose was taken about eleven years ago. It was that very day that I came out, in person, to a woman friend. It was the first time anyone from my past life had met me as Connie (other than my wife). My friend had no idea of what she was about to see, when she stopped by my house on her way home from work. It went well, but I decided, afterward, that I would never surprise another like that again. I realized that it wasn't really fair to the other person, as it can put them on the spot. Then, it took another three years to come out to most everyone else - except most of my in-laws (about 100 of them, if you count cousins and such). The word had spread, though, so it was just a matter of making a gender reveal, of sorts, at a (very) large family gathering, in 2014. I don't remember exactly when we first met on that (pastel color) site, but, with all the back-and-forth yapping we did, I can't believe we waited so long to finally take action. I look at that pic of myself, and I see that I was beyond ready to transition at that time. I may not be as young, and less wrinkly and saggy as I was, but I'm still every bit the smartass. Sarcasm is not limited by gender! ;-) BTW, in my story, I was both of the people in the Thunderbird. I have had dreams, since my pre-teens, of being behind the wheel of a turquoise '57 T-Bird. I'm in a cute halter top that is tied at the midriff to show my skinny waist, my natural long blonde hair covered by a silk scarf, with big sunglasses and red lipstick on. Oh, and I can't forget the perfectly manicured and painted fingernails, as my lovely hands are resting on top of the steering wheel. Too late now; I can't get there from here, either."

Nice! Thanks for the memory!  Also as many of you who read the post comments know, Marcia also remembers our (witty???) give and take on the website I mentioned (not by name) because I believe it still exists. It's a small world in the trans community if we like it or not.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

No Growth without Change

I saw this quote this morning as I was going through a few of my Word Press contacts and discovered this quote from Almas who writes about his internal monologue. At that point I started to think about all the times during my gender transition when I have been so scared I thought I couldn't move. 

Possibly the first of which occurred when I was probably no older than twelve. During that time of my life, I augmented my meager allowance by delivering newspapers  in the rural area we lived. I was able to save enough money to attempt to buy my own cross dressing accessories such as makeup. As it turned out, my Grandma lived within walking distance of the medium sized town we lived close to. 

Once I accumulated enough money, I figured out a way I could visit Grandma and spend the night. With my plan in place, I proceeded to do it. As I was to find out, that was the easy part. Finally the time arrived to try out my plan and needless to say I was equally thrilled and scared to go shopping for makeup for the first time ever. The downtown had several of the old school variety stores before Wal-Mart and the mall wiped them all out. I carefully chose one and after circling it several times, I decided to go in. My Dad didn't work too far away and he was the last person I wanted to run into! After I was fairly certain I didn't know anyone in the store, I found the makeup counter. Then I was truly in a panic. I had no idea of what to buy, there were so many choices. 

Somehow, I calmed down enough to purchase a couple items and found the nerve to go pay for them. My worst fears were not founded as she barely checked out my treasures and sent me on my way.

I changed and grew dramatically on that day. I knew from then on I was capable of buying my own feminine items. Even tough countess times I bought the wrong thing, again I was changing and growing. As it turned out, my next big purchases were a pair of my own black tights and shoes. 

Little did I know, this would only be the first of many chances to expand my transition in the years ahead.

On a another subject, I decided to add an old picture of me from several years ago as a dark haired summer casual woman to combat all the recent blondes I have shared here in Cyrsti's Condo,  

Monday, April 27, 2020

Transition Can be Such a Bitch

As we have recently discussed around here in Cyrsti's Condo, often a gender transition is a peak and valley experience. In my case, the climb out of the valley of gender dysphoria was long and often painful. Quite possibly one of the top two or three people who have followed or been around me over the years has been Connie. I can't quite remember the transgender discussion site we met on so many years ago. I just remember Connie's sharp wit and sarcasm when she "discussed" a topic with one of the many "trans nazi's" who tried to rule the site. These were the days before being "transer than you" became fairly well known. Back in those days, many transgender women thought the amount of operations you had endured made them an entitled class of people within the community.

I remember well, engaging in many not so pleasant discussions with the ultimate...a transphobic trans woman. I remember also making a conscious effort  trying to mold my emerging new person in a different direction, away from being a bitch.  In a recent comment, Connie was kind enough to mention my efforts. And in a new comment mentions it again. Plus builds upon it:
Connie with her "realtor pose"

And, here, I was hoping you would have, first, picked up on my comment about how you could be such a bitch before transition. :-) I did say that I was willing" to give up my male privilege. I can't say that I totally lost it by transitioning, however. Nor will I ever be able to enjoy the totality of the privilege of being a woman. In a sense, we end up in No Man's/No Woman's Land. We bring with us all that our male privilege had gotten us before, and we try to immerse ourselves in womanhood with hopes that we will be granted some privilege that comes with that. Symbolically, a man can open a door to a world of privilege, while a woman may just wait for a man to open the door for her, so that she can enter one room. Of course, it's much more complicated than only that, but having lived with the privilege of a man's world gives us a unique perspective.

I've thought that the old joke about a man refusing to ask for directions kind of sums it all up. The picture that plays in my mind has a man and a woman in a '57 Thunderbird, top off, stopped at one of those old gas stations along a deserted highway. The man is in the driver's seat, of course, and it's probably out of dumb luck that he came across this gas station with only a mile's-worth of gas left in the tank. He's lost, but he won't admit it, and the woman is frantically studying a road map - which the man assumes she can't read. In fact, he's even annoyed that she opened the map, in the first place, because he thinks she won't be able to re-fold it properly when she's done with it. As the attendant is replacing the pump handle, the woman is saying, under her breath, "Ask him, just ask him!" The man hands the attendant a five dollar bill (more than enough to fill the tank of a '57 Thunderbird in those days) and, while the attendant is fumbling in his pocket for the change, the woman, pointing to a spot on the map, blurts out, "How do we get HERE?" As the man sits in silent embarrassment, the attendant takes a quick look at her map, and then drawls out, "Well, y'all can't get there from here." No Man's/No Woman's Land."

Excellent! You have come a long way too my friend!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Candis Cayne

Remember transgender actress Candis Cayne? I first saw her on the TV series "Dirty Sexy Money" She performed in drag in New York City nightclubs beginning in the 1990's. After coming out as transgender in 1996 she went on to play the trans mistress Carmelita on the ABC series on 2007.


 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Trans-Transphobia?

Even though it sounds like a contradiction in terms but in the transgender community you can definitely think transphobia is possible. It could come from two sources.

The first of which are left over male vestiges from a Mtf gender transition. Take Caitlynn Jenner for example. Knowing fair well the incoming Republican candidate was anti trans, she still supported him anyhow. She couldn't do away with all her previous male life, even if it meant protecting future transgender rights. Most certainly cis women support Republican ideas too but does their phobia's come from different places than men. Most people think women are the kinder and more gentle gender aren't always correct. I have known too many trans women who still can't leave their male past behind for any number of reasons. 

I think too, much of this relates to the "I'm more transer than thou" attitude, another reflection of latent transphobia. 

In our earliest cross dressing days, many of us (including me) fixate so totally on looking feminine, we do lose fact of what being feminine is all about. However, all the operations in the world, can't "teach" you how to be a cis woman. You have to live it, like they did. At this point, good old male competitiveness sets in. More operations and/or a nicer wardrobe make you more of a "woman" than the next trans woman.  Maybe the people who still advocate for going stealth to escape the community are right. 

Plus, it is exceedingly difficult to cross the gender frontier and it takes more than a little internal fortitude to do it. If you able to come through it unscathed as a human being, you have done well. As we all know too, there are so many different layers to being a cross dresser all the way to living full time as a transgender woman. I am one myself as I am relatively rare in the circles of people I know. I have been able to carve out a successful life living in a feminine world. Without the expense or pain of any operations. To each their own though, I have one dear friend who had her genital realignment surgery postponed at the last possible minute because of the Ohio Covid Virus restrictions on elective surgeries. Daily, I hope for the day she can finally realize her dream of have the gender confirming surgery. Like her, it is easy to get stuck in the complex layers of who we are. 

Before we know it, if we are not careful, we can become transphobic without even realizing it.  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Secrets

Connie sent in an interesting comment on the recent post in Cyrsti's Condo entitled "You Maybe Trans If." 

Parts of it reveal what I was thinking "back in the day." 

Read on: 

"Well, we've known each other (although never meeting in person) long enough that I can remember you telling me you were comfortable with living as both man and woman, switching as the opportunities and situations presented themselves. I also remember that I challenged you on that. While your late wife had questioned your being "man enough" to be a woman, my wife was telling me that it seemed all I wanted was to enjoy all the fun parts of being a girl. Although we've each accepted challenges in different ways, procrastination was not a friend for either of us. Not that we procrastinated purely for the sake of it. Our established relationships with our respective families, friends, and careers were of such importance to us, and the perceived risk of loss with either seemed daunting. 

At some point, though, we came to our own realizations that we needed to accept ourselves before we could expect that anyone else would accept us as our true selves. For me, any acceptance, of and for my feminine-self, was dependent on a total honesty with myself and others. One can no longer call their behavior cross dressing when doing so is the only time when they feel happy and at ease. I remember you telling me about your comfort in switching back and forth between your masculine and feminine lives so well because I had reached a point, at that time, where I could no longer tolerate switching away from my feminine self. For me to present as a man had become nothing less than a necessary evil, and I was engaging in a reluctant cross dressing activity when doing so. In fact, I dubbed this as "cross duress-ing." I had come to not only accept the not-so-fun parts of being a girl, but I was also willing to give up any male privilege I had in order to do so. It was the way I felt, then, that was cause for my challenge to you, as I knew you were so close to that same realization, yourself. 

It wasn't too long after that you began a new year with HRT! My old competitive male-self might have seen that as a challenge, but I really just couldn't have been happier for you. As time went on, I could see the effects of the HRT in you, and you became such a nice woman that it made me wonder how I ever could have liked you, at all, before! (only kidding, my dear). The truth is that we don't transition away from our male-selves, so much as we allow ourselves to integrate those parts of our pasts that fit our feminine-selves. As you said, it's a matter of perspective."

Thanks for all of the true perspective. I especially like the comment about giving up all of your male privilege when you transition from being a cross dresser to living as a transgender woman! 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Playing with Dolls

Perhaps you remember Roddy Alves who went through all the expensive and painful surgeries to resemble a human "Ken-Doll"? Well, he became tired of being Ken, and now wants to be Barbie:


You May Be Trans If...

My word goal for my book is a rather mundane 60,000 words. Supposedly, the average book contains 64,000 words. So, along the way, I am trying my best to remember every little nuance of my life and how it related to me ultimately deciding I was transgender. I easily remembered the Christmases with no doll as a gift and the envy I felt when my girl cousins appeared up in their velvet dresses, black patent shoes and white tights. 

I remembered too, the fishing trips we took to Canada as a family. On occasion, on the interstate we would encounter another car with a girl I could admire. One in particular stands out to me. She had long dark hair and was riding by herself in the back seat. My heart ached to be just like her. 

What has been harder to remember ironically are the years later in my life when I was still so envious of the feminine gender. The biggest envy was not so surprising. As the Vietnam War increasingly encroached on my life through high school and college, I really resented the fact women didn't have to worry about being drafted and killed too. 

Recently as I considered all of this I remembered vividly one of the conversations my second wife and I had one summer day when I was in one of my severe emotional downers. In fact, it was during one of the vacations we took to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During that period of my life, I had achieved quite a bit. I was a highly successful restaurant manager with a loving wife and daughter and a unique restored Civil War brick home. She finally sensed my mood and asked what the one thing I needed to allow myself to be happy. I never gave her the answer I quickly thought of. I wanted to be a woman. I would rather be making the trip as a girl. Instead I did the manly thing and hid my emotions. Sooner more than later, we would be back home and I could cover up my true emotions by cross dressing and relieving the strain for awhile. 

Looking back at just these three instances (there were more of course) I wonder now what took me so long to come out as trans and how I even made it at all. The only way I really did make it was maintaining a rather frenetic lifestyle, with a pressure packed job and self medication with too much alcohol. I was able to build a successful male life which was difficult to think about giving up totally. So again I did the guy thing and tried to "tough" my way through it. 

What  a relief it was when I finally decided I was transgender and had been all along.     

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Building a Dream

I am currently working on one of chapters of my book which focuses on the past decade or so of my life. I did it because it occurred to me a large majority of the book dealt entirely with my life before that time and nothing more current. 

One of the ideas which occurred to me was how long it actually took me to leave my male self/life behind.  I literally wasted decades seeking out an answer to my gender dysphoria which I had known all along and was afraid to confront. I only knew the time I was spending as a prospective transgender woman felt increasingly natural. The changes came because the time I was spending in a feminine world had changed because of my perspective. Suddenly I was approaching my life as a transgender woman as just that...not a cross dresser. There was a huge adjustment to face when I did it.

There was also the question of what I was going to do with the decades of male baggage I carried with me. I was fortunate in that I discovered I could go to and be accepted by others with similar "hobbies" such as drinking draft beer and watching sports. In fact, back in those days, it was just becoming fashionable for all women to enjoy a craft beer and watch a game on one of the many new giant televisions in the venue. 

I began to appreciate the male years which had did their best to deliver me to the spot I had finally arrived. After all, the body I inherited proved to be very resilient to health problems and provided me just enough background to not be bullied much at all. Plus, good or bad, my body had carried me through three years in the Army and provided my share of DNA to reproduce a very talented and intelligent accepting daughter. 

I'm not a big fan of "what if's" but if I had it all to do over again, I would have followed through on my wife's advice to be man enough to be a woman much earlier. I was just too stubborn to do it.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Another Transgender Success!

Variety reported in January transgender actress Josie Totah will be playing "Lexie" a beautiful cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High School in the reboot of the "Saved by the Bell" television series. Josie Totah is 18 years old. For more, go here.




Monday, April 20, 2020

Big day Out?

Anymore, Sunday has replaced Saturday as our "market" day. This morning though, Liz was feeling bad with a headache, so this Sunday morning changed around for me significantly. 

First of all, I went through my wardrobe and found a pair of distressed jeans I haven't worn for awhile. I tossed them in the laundry yesterday and surprisingly they fit me well. From there I found a matching lightweight soft sweater and decided it was time to put on some makeup and get ready. Getting ready for me still involves some shaving. Since I am blessed to have a light beard anyhow which is predominantly gray these days I don't have to seek out expensive painful electrologist sessions to look my best. From beginning to end on a normal day, getting ready to go takes approximately fifteen minutes to apply my makeup. This morning though, I took the extra step of wearing ear-rings. I felt I needed to, to insure the piercing holes in my ears are still open. Which they were.

After all this effort though, it was still unclear if Liz felt good enough to go at all. After a couple cups of coffee she felt good enough for a partial trip to our pharmacy. From there she decided she still had to go to the market for a few essentials. By this time, I was regretting not bringing my mask so I had to stay in the car  to be safe. 

For once, the wait wasn't very long, plus I was still enjoying being out, no pun intended! Finally, on the way home I offered to buy us lunch to go at our favorite local BBQ venue. I happened to see the owner this morning on the local news speaking on the difficulties the virus has caused local, home owned small businesses. I am especially sensitive to restaurants since I spent most of my career in them. So we headed to their store front and ordered lunch out of our meager funds and felt good about supporting them. 

Please make sure you are supporting your local small businesses too!

So much for my exciting day out.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Triple Transition?

I have written here in Cyrsti's Condo how I believe I have transitioned twice in my gender journey. The most likely transition was from cross dresser to transgender. It took me over a decade to finally decide I could make the decision to live a full time feminine existence. For me, starting hormone replacement therapy sealed the decision. In a relatively short period of time, it became impossible to hide the changes in my body. I know too, others who have not needed hormonal assistance to make the transition. 

Now I think there is a third gender transition on the journey, To be fair, like so many other ideas here in the Condo, I picked this up from a Tweet I read on one of my email feeds. The person was explaining how she had transitioned from what her previous male self had thought she would be all the way to what her feminine soul knew she was. 

I thought, Wow! That was me, When I first began going out and exploring the world as a transgender woman, I spent way more time on worrying about how I looked rather than how I felt. In fact, if you go back to the earliest days of this blog, you will notice a definite difference in an underlying theme. Again, it was appearance over feelings. 

Of course, living full time did have a lasting impact on me. Having to plan a wardrobe out of only feminine clothes for days, weeks, months and years has taught me what I needed to transition from what my former male self thought would be appropriate to what my inner woman told me what I really was. For what it is worth, my partner predicted the very same thing would happen years ago when she asked me what kind of a woman would emerge. 

Who emerged was a person who wouldn't normally leave the house without some sort of makeup but wasn't the extreme picky fashionista I used to be. In other words I could be described as a "lipstick lesbian" a little mixture of leftover butch with a touch of makeup. 

The interesting part of all of this speculation is the fact I am still evolving in my journey when I think it is nearly over.

Who knows, maybe there could be a fourth transition other than death. The ultimate one.  

Saturday, April 18, 2020

New Transgender Parents

From the ITV News:

"A transgender couple have said they "could not be happier or more grateful" to announce the birth of their daughter.

Cardiff-born mother Hannah Graf, who was the highest-ranking transgender officer in the British army, came out as a transgender woman in 2013.

Jake Graf, who is a television director and actor, transitioned in 2008.

The couple announced in December they were expecting a baby.

Jake said that the couple's "amazing surrogate" gave birth to their daughter on Tuesday morning."

Friday, April 17, 2020

More Rest Room Hints

Connie wrote in with more restroom hints:

"At our age, carrying a Tampon and offering it may be grounds for suspicion. Carrying and offering an incontinence pad may work, however. :-) Also, since - no matter how many surgeries we would get - we will still always have a prostate that is often affected by age. So, flow may vary. I had a cross dresser friend who used to describe what she heard in the ladies room as a "cow pissing on a flat rock." I could never duplicate that sound, especially when sitting. But then, I almost always squat, as I don't really like sitting on pubic toilet seats. When it's a unisex facility, I especially won't sit, since there are plenty of guys who won't lift the seat, just as there are guys who won't put it down.


Another thing to remember, especially when wearing pantyhose, is to always check to be sure you have not tucked the back of your dress. I did that once, in my fledgling days, and a woman ran to warn me just as I was going out the door into the crowded lobby of a theater. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also had a ribbon of toilet paper stuck to my high heel. Needless to say, any attempts I'd made to not be noticed while in the restroom were completely blown as I tried to leave!"

I neglected to say I carried the feminine hygiene products way back in the day when I was younger and could have been perceived as still needing one. Plus, I wanted to be ready for the first snarky cis woman who asked me for one. 

I also appreciate the dress in the pantyhose comment, as it has happened to me too. Also, the long skirts I own and specifically the two maxi dresses in my wardrobe totally intimidate me in the rest room. 

Even with all these ideas, I am sure there are a couple I am missing. Of course cis women have most likely lived through all of these "Girl Code" bathroom debacles too and could add their own... like what do you do when there are no paper towels after you wash your hands. 

If you have anything to add...please comment! Thanks as always for yours Connie.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What you See Is What you Get

Monday night I did participate in the on line cross dresser-transgender support group meeting. I was surprised it was less well attended than I expected. I wasn't so surprised in the number of new participants who were just coming out of their closets (at least with others) to explore their femininity. Remarkably to me, there was another person who checked in who was ten years older than even me. She is 80! I was interested to see also, what sort of effort the attendees put into their appearance. For the most part, those few who did "dress-up" mentioned it was to relieve the boredom of dressing in their old boring guy self as they are stuck at home. At that point I added I am a what you see is what you get person. In other words, I don't have any male clothes to be seen in. Even if I wanted to. 

On the other hand, I did (like I always do) put on a light application of makeup and brushed out my hair. I am fortunate in that my former hair dresser and I decided to let my hair revert back to it's natural shade. So I don't have to worry about going back to the old days of trying to color it at home. I went through more than a few adventures attempting to make my hair a different color and presentable. I found out the hard way how easy it was to color everything else other than my hair. 

So, with a touch of makeup and a quick brushing of my hair, I was ready to go and I hoped the camera on my lap-top would help me too. It turned out not to matter much anyhow. Predictably, the new people spoke at length about their coming out (as they should). All I really added was how my endocrinologist had approved another six months of my recently increased estradiol prescription. 

All in all, I found the meeting to be interesting but no substitute for the real thing.  

By the way, the picture is from last years' Cincinnati, Ohio pride. My hair is rapidly getting close to that length again.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Interview with Nicole Maines

From Queerty:

"Nicole Maines once offered lessons in becoming herself. Now, she becomes someone else for a living.

The Maine native first made headlines as an anonymous student who sued her school district in 2013 over bathroom discrimination. School officials had barred Maines, who is transgender, from using the women’s bathrooms. She won her case, and eventually went public to describe the experience in the family memoir Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.

Maines’ activism also led to on-camera appearances in television and film discussing her experience as a transgender American. Her natural charisma also led to acting opportunities, including appearing as the first transgender superhero on American television with her role as Dreamer/Nia Nal on The CW series Supergirl, produced by Greg Berlanti. Last year, she also earned acclaim (and a Queerty Nomination) for her work as a vampire in the indie horror film Bit.

With her star on the rise, Queerty snagged some time to chat with Maines about the unusual trajectory of her life, her newfound acting career, and her survival lessons for the COVID-19 lockdown. Supergirl airs Sundays on The CW."

To read the interview, go here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Rest Room Review

I have been spending quite a bit of my time these days working on my new book. Yesterday, I spent my Sunday afternoon working on a chapter about restroom manners and the average transgender woman. Fortunately, over the years I believe times have changed as far as the simple act of using the women's restroom. Unfortunately, we still hear on occasion, times when trans women have been harassed or even worse injured attempting to use a women's room. 

The basic problem still exists, many continue to struggle to present properly as a feminine woman. It is so difficult to fight years of testosterone poisoning. It is similar to so many other aspects of being a trans woman (or a cross dresser). We simply don't have the upbringing cis girls and women are able to take advantage of. We have to catch up quickly and even be better just to survive in the world. 

In order to get to a rest room survival place, it is essential to develop and follow a common sense approach to your "Girl Code". One of the most basic rules is to always sit down to pee. I mention this because years ago I encountered a couple cross dressers who didn't. When I first started to use the women's bathroom, I even listened closely to mimic as close as I could my flow into the bowl similar to the women next to me in a stall. Another point is to always check to see if you have enough toilet paper for you to use and to help out another woman in the next stall who needs it. I even carried a feminine hygiene product in my purse in case I was challenged by another woman who just wanted to find out what I would say.

Another a couple of small hints are, make sure you use a stall which locks and if at all possible has a hook to hang your purse from so you don't have to sit it on a potentially nasty floor. Speaking of nasty always check the toilet seat before you sit down!

On several other levels, learn to be efficient. Always wash your hands, adjust your hair and makeup and keep moving. It is always possible you could be waiting in line for your turn, so depending on the other women, you may be required to acknowledge them with a knowing smile, If you are afraid of outing yourself with your voice, use your cell phone as a prop.  Similar to so many people these days, you won't have to communicate with anyone and you will discover most other women won't notice you either.

Finally, if you run into any problems, ask to speak to the management. Unless you live in a very rural redneck region, more companies are coming around to supporting the transgender part of the LGBT population. And, the way it is looking, when/if the world ever returns to a new normal. Companies may need your business more than ever. 

It's been years since I have had any restroom problems but decades ago I was kicked out of one venue and had the police called on me in another. I still carry the scars with me and seek out an unisex bathroom where ever I can. After all if I wait too long, the results could be ugly!

 

Monday, April 13, 2020

It's a Waiting Game

This morning as I was thinking about what I was going to wear to the grocery store, I wondered if I should pick a quick outfit which would match the mask Liz made me. Then I wondered why bother? On the other hand I figured I could be a proper transgender woman and at the least focus on my making up my eyes. So I did. Leggings, cowl neck hip hugging sweater and tennis shoes completed my fancy once a week time to go shopping outfit. Predictably, the early Easter Sunday morning market was sparsely populated. Surprisingly, the shelves were still fairly well stocked so we found everything we went shopping for.  

As we returned home, I said a silent prayer to the Goddess asking for protection from the nasty virus. Then I began to think I need to be patient once again and stay in as much as possible, Looking back on my life, I should be used to it.

Aren't all trans women and men involved in a waiting game? From our earliest moments exploring the fantastic feminine clothing and makeup we found to the time we had to wait before we could find a safe time to explore again. Then, as our lives fast forwarded, many of us had to wait a year at a time for Halloween to cross dress, often for the first time in the public's eyes. For many of us too, the waiting was just beginning.

Perhaps the longest, most intense, waiting game of all involves beginning hormone replacement therapy. I remember vividly how quickly I wanted to progress with all the promised feminine changes. It seemed the stronger the desire for progress, the longer the process took. In other words, "a watched pot never boils." Well finally, the boiling began and I did begin to develop the feminine characteristics I so craved. Before I knew it, I was carefully trying to wear very loose fitting shirts to hide my budding breasts. Following seven years of being on the HRT regimen I can safely look back on it and realize nothing came easily or quickly.  

There are plenty of waiting games to consider too. Take for example the time it takes a transgender person to realize they were living a lie and desperately needs to come out. Or the time it takes many cross dressers to decide they may be more than a lover of feminine clothes and more of a woman. And, let's not forget the time it takes to either unravel old relationships and begin new ones. 

After all this waiting, what's another couple months (I hope) before life returns to a new normal. 

  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Boredom

Indirectly I have found an outlet to relieve some of my boredom. I decided for a change to respond (and accept) more friend requests from my Facebook Messenger app. 

In the past, I only basically accepted women (trans or cis) or someone who lived close geographically to me. Recently though, I have opened up my friends list a little. Even still, I have only 840 "friends" compared to the thousand plus others I know have. 

Results have been predictable. Several of my new "acquaintances" have massaged my vanity by telling me how good I looked and how much they liked transgender women. One in particular wondered how often I made it to New York City. I told her I worked for a couple years in the NYC metro area but hadn't been back for decades, Plus, right now with all the virus happening around there, I don't think it would be my fave place to visit anyhow. I found out too my attachment to younger lesbians continues. Or their fascination with me. I had one supposed 24 year old in Quebec wanting to send me sun bathing pictures. And another in Florida who wanted to see sexual pictures of my partner and I. I just immediately blocked her and laughingly mentioned it to my partner Liz. 

Then I have the ones who busily want to chat, start then rudely disappear without saying anything. I suppose they realized quickly how boring I really am. And, there was a guy named Joe who is my age who would try to chat later in the evening and then (I think) fall asleep in his chair. 

Probably the most interesting chats I have had came from a couple different sources.  One of which was a trans woman who supposedly lives only about 20 miles away. She started an active chat then abruptly ended it, never to be heard from again when I asked her if she had ever heard of the cross dresser-transgender support group I am part of. Maybe she was and that is why she ended the chat :). Then there was the 27 year old medical student in relatively close Lexington, Kentucky. She was attracted mainly to older lesbians. 

Finally, there was the middle aged bitter transgender woman from Ontario, Canada. She has suffered through many genitalia related problems through her life and I suppose if I had gone through it all, I would be bitter too. 

All in all, Messenger has shown me the world is indeed an interesting place, especially if you are like me and take nearly nothing I read with a grain of salt. Excuse me now, I have to go. My messenger just dinged on my phone. :)  

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Southern Style

Susan Lee was kind enough to send in this You Tube video on Girl Code "Southern Style." Thanks!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2020

More Such a Girl

In a recent Cyrsti's Condo post, we took a quick and all too simplistic look into what happens when a husband comes out to her spouse and family. Of course the path is a rocky one paved with all sorts of misplaced good intentions. Lets' check in with Connie concerning her long term relationship with her wife:

"While all relationships differ in an infinite number of ways, so do those in which one person is trans. Any combination of when, why, where, what, with, whom, and how will make a relationship unique. Also, no relationship is really perfect, and I have to imagine that a gender change by one party would not go toward making things closer to perfection.

In my case, I need to add coulda-woulda-shoulda to the list of variables. I met my wife at seventeen, just four months into a concerted effort to suppress my gender dysphoria. There was no need, I thought, to tell her of my perversity (what I believed it to be back then), because I thought it to be completely under control. I didn't tell her nearly four years later, when we married (still under control). I didn't tell her even after the births of our two daughters (Dad's in control!). When I did finally lose control, it was the end of a seventeen year suppression - but I still tried to keep control through compartmentalization - so, still no need to tell. Of course, the activity of cross dressing in secret eventually becomes no secret at all - even if not talked about. Our relationship had to hit rock-bottom before we could start to really deal with my gender identity together, which - keeping with a theme - occurred another seventeen years later. As I write this, another seventeen years have passed, and our forty-eighth anniversary is coming soon. Our marriage looks nothing like what it started out as (few marriages do, even without a gender conflict). I'm sure that it wouldn't have started at all, had I come out when we met 50+ years ago, nor would it have survived, had I come out to her at the same time I sort-of came out to myself, returning to the "shameful" behavior of my youth.

I could write a booklet on "How Not to Be a Happily Married Trans Woman." I was a husband who was this such a girl, then that such a girl, and many such iterations in-between. Consequently, my wife has had to make her own transitions throughout this whole process - to the point where she has given up having a husband at all, but she still has "such a girl."

Thanks for the comment! 

With my deceased wife, I became a woman she didn't like so well. She was a very natural woman, she rarely wore makeup and dresses. All of a sudden she had to put up with me being the "Pretty. pretty Princess." Back in those days, I was really into being a beginning fashionista...everything she wasn't. Plus, as she wasn't shy about telling me, I really knew nothing about being a woman. Of course with my male ego, I didn't believe her and was destined to never really understand until years later after her passing. I had to live full-time in a feminine world to understand. 

Finally, I came to understand I wasn't kidding myself all those years. I really was such a girl. Unfortunately when I interacted with my late wife, neither one of us knew the real me.  

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Girl Code

One of the first things I learned as I attempted to assume a feminine life was communication. I refer to it "Girl Code  The Art of Feminine Communication." As I learned the hard way with men, my intelligence level had decreased along with my opinions on current affairs, women played on a whole different field. 

For example, women operate on many more communication "channels" than men. Many of which are non verbal. Also it is no secret women are more passive aggressive than men. There were more than a few times when I discovered way too late I had a knife sticking out of my back after interacting with a woman I considered an ally. One of my favorite examples was all was good with socializing with several women until it was time to use the restroom. Or the well known "You make a good looking woman...for a man in a dress." 

I remember vividly the bartenders in the pubs I went to (all women) who would steer possible problems with men away from me, simply by giving me a look. 

I discovered girl code worked in wonderful ways too. Any number of small selected appearance compliments could open up a whole excellent 
 conversation with a stranger. I think, it was because they knew I was transgender and had some sort of "fashion sense." Also I was very lonely in those days and was seeking out any companionship I could. 

Girl Code to me also dictated I grow a thicker skin. Much more than the softer one I was developing with my Hormone Replacement Therapy regimen.  I became able to smile sweetly and pull the knives out of my back. 

These days I do believe in many areas. life is becoming somewhat easier for those of us transgender women who take the time to learn Girl Code.You just can't throw on a dress and make up and expect to cross the gender frontier. If you need to work on your skin, figure out how to do it. If you need to take off a few pounds do it. After all, Girl Code dictates you do it. And while I am on the subject, May's issue of Cosmopolitan, one of the ultimate Girl Code's publications features Madalynn a trans woman on page 62. She is part of a creative collaboration between  Dove and Cosmo. Unfortunately I have not been able to come up with a picture for you yet. I am sure one will surface sooner more than later. 

Finally, consider immersing yourself in Girl Code. It can be a very pleasurable part of your Mtf gender transition. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Historical Moment

I have been binging on the cable television show "Dispatches from Elsewhere" for quite some time now as many of you Cyrsti's Condo regulars know. It stars a real live transgender woman playing a very understated trans character. Meaning, the show itself never makes any sort of a big deal at all over her past. She is merely there playing a very real character. The actress playing the role is Eve Lindley. 

I don't normally write a post upon nearly the same subject and/or give up a spoiler alert here in the blog but this time I can't help it. 

On this weeks' show, the simmering sexuality between "Simone" (Lindley) and "Peter" (Jason Segal) finally boils over into a passionate long series of kisses. It's the first time I can remember a cis man has kissed a transgender woman so completely on national television. Even though it wasn't on one of the so-called major networks. 

Liz and I watch the show on Monday nights at 10:00PM on the AMC Network. We are on the Spectrum cable system. I heard from one reader she couldn't get it on her television provider but did on a Firestick. Or you could possibly try to stream it on the link to AMC provided above.

Finally, one last spoiler alert. Be prepared, it is a truly strange show! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My Husband is Such a Girl

The inspiration for this post comes from a new participant in my cross dresser- transgender support group. She recently posted for the first time of her experiences of going out with a very understanding wife. I am including the picture she shared on Facebook. I thought she looked very feminine and real. 

Then I began to wonder what her wife thought when she saw the transformation. Or what any woman thinks. 

When I have ever began to discuss this topic I always seem to get bogged down into my own version of being biased one way of another. The problem being, I know this whole transgender thing is NOT a choice or a fad. Normally, once you have had a chance to glimpse your true self, there is no going back. The process  leaves many relationships in the dust. Wrecked and broken. Also relationships will go through transitions too. 

Take the far from average accepting wife/spouse for example. Just how accepting will she continue to be as her husband/spouse begins more and more to accept and embrace her new wonderful self. What if she wants to begin a hormone replacement therapy regimen which will in most cases end a traditional sex life. The "what if's" go on and on to wanting to dress and become her feminine self full time. 

As much as people want to talk and write about loving the person on the inside not the out is the important piece of any relationship, changing your gender can strain a marriage to the core. After all, changes such as gender are not what the average woman signs up for when she marries the man of her dreams. Plus dressing him up and helping with his makeup is all kicks and giggles until the finished product looks very presentable and she can she the true self too. 

Again, there is s HUGE jump from a cross dressing husband wanting all of a sudden to take his new found femininity into the world to a full time HRT charged transgender woman. A jump many wives don't want to make and I don't blame them. I do blame them them though when they use the situation as a club to bang away at a trans woman's extended family. Betrayal is a powerful emotion but also is the drive to discover and live as your true self.

I just hope "Jayde" the person in the picture and her wife can make the transition as smooth as possible. She has daughters too which are also involved which is an idea for another post altogether. 

Finally, it is no secret cis women are multi layered humans. Much more than men. Sometimes it takes more than patience to see if they will ever accept a trans woman as a spouse. Sadly in many cases it is a no win situation...for both sides.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Keep Your Distance! Dammit

Here is Connie's latest experience at the grocery store:

"Gosh. Remember the old days, when nobody wanted to be within ten feet (let alone six) of a trans person*? *Transvestite, in those days.

I was at the grocery store this afternoon to pick up a few essential recipe items for next week's meals. I have always been an excellent shopper - excellent - excellent shopper. A Rainwoman shopper, if you will! :-) I know where everything is (supposed to be) in the stores where I shop, and I make out my lists so that all items are in the same order as the store isles are. I enjoy shopping, but I don't like to waste time wandering, back and forth, from one end of the store and back again. This has now become impossible to achieve, however - not if I'm to maintain social distancing, anyway.

I finally gave up waiting for a woman who was picking through the white mushrooms in the produce section. While I wanted some Criminis, they were right next to the white ones. I went ahead and picked up half-a-dozen other produce items, and, after I'd stood the mandatory six feet away from her, giving her the stink-eye for another few minutes, she finally had the five or six (I assume, best) white mushrooms in the whole bin. Of course, I wouldn't have waited at all, had she touched every one of the mushrooms I wanted. I don't know what the CDC has determined for the virus survival time on mushrooms, but I"m not about to take any chances these days.

So, with all my produce in the cart, I proceeded to the next isle. Who should I see at the far end of it, but the same woman. She was handling jars of pasta sauce this time. I'm not sure what she needed it for, because the shelves were empty of pasta. Perhaps she'd already horded enough pasta, though, but she just didn't think things through on that trip. Well, I suppose I could make my own pasta, but there wasn't any flour on the shelves, either. Fortunately, there was nobody behind me, so I turned around and made a hasty retreat to the next isle over. That's where I confronted the next crazy woman shopper.

I'm usually happy to see another woman who is taller than am I. I also appreciate a shopper who does not linger like the first woman. This woman's technique, however, was to park her cart in the middle of the aisle, and then run around, grabbing as much as she could hold in her big hands (her hands were as big as mine, too!), and dump everything in her parked cart...then back for more. Again, impossible to keep social distancing.

So, no trans woman should be concerned about being read, clocked, of judged for being trans in the grocery store these days. Everybody else in the store is too much into whatever it is that they're doing these days. I may give you the stink-eye if you don't know how to shop, though! 8-)"

You won't have to worry about me! I stay out of everyone's way. I am not so sure of Liz though :)


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sean Hayes Playing a Woman

In another twist to the gender spectrum, Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame is playing a woman. Not a drag act but playing a woman called "Lazy Susan"  In fact, this month Hayes will star in the film he co-wrote as the title character. The character (Susan) is a middle aged woman stuck in a teenage mentality. She constantly mooches money from her family. She shops at K-Mart and lives on blended ice cream drinks. Susan's life suddenly changes and she finds a renewed purpose when she meets a new handsome man.  The plot evolves further when her mother cuts off her fiances and Susan has to find a way to survive adulthood on her own.

The true gender twist to this movie comes from the fact Hayes never plays Susan as a man impersonating a woman such as what happened in Tootsie. Unfortunately, don't look for the movie soon in an independent theater near you. If everything comes back to normal soon, the production will premier on Broadway next winter and be released as a film next summer.
  


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Shopping

No! Not that type of shop till you drop! No combing the thrift stores for every little and/or major bargain. The only shopping I am writing about is getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make it early to our favorite grocery store before the stock was all gone thanks to a bunch of crazy people still hoarding. As it was, we arrived a hour after the place opened and all the toilet paper and pasta was already gone. 

Of course we were all practicing social distancing even to the point of one third of the people in the store wearing masks of some sort. It seemed people were so intent on maintaining the correct social distancing, no one even took the effort to even side glance at me. So much for the painstaking time I took to apply a light makeup designed to look as if I wasn't trying at all.

Actually though, all the distancing was just fine by me. At my age and with my previous breathing issues, I definitely qualify as an "at risk" person. Also this morning was the first time in nearly two weeks I have ventured out at all.

On another level the pandemic has affected us as a family. Yesterday my partner Liz learned she was being furloughed from her job indefinitely. Now she has to try to navigate the bureaucratic mess which is the Unemployment System here in Ohio which of course is being terrifically strained from all the people suffering job losses. 

The moral to the story (or this post) is stay in, stay safe and do the best you can during these difficult times.  

Friday, April 3, 2020

Transgender in the Comics

I found an interview with Nicole Maines you may be interested in. You may recall, Nicole is the transgender actress who portrays a character on television's Supergirl.

On March 15, 2020, an episode of Supergirl titled “Reality Bytes” aired on The CW, focused on the harrowing topic of violence against trans women. Actress Nicole Maines, a trans woman who portrays Nia Nal (aka Dreamer) on the series, led the way in the episode with an emotional and raw performance and with contributions in the writer’s room. On March 31st’s Trans Day of Visibility, 

The interview comes from Beat Magazine: 

First Nicole was asked what the Transgender Day of Visibility meant to her: 

"Well it kinda feels like a double-edged sword for me. I feel like, on the one hand, it’s a victory lap for all of us because we’ve made so much progress. You know, we have reached all these milestones but then at the same time you know we have to take a moment and recognize, why our visibility is so radical and you have to remember everyone else who we’ve lost along the way and you have to keep in mind all the new legislation that’s being introduced amidst all this so there’s a lot of emotions, but I think it should first and foremost, be a happy day for us to celebrate that we can even be visible."

There is so much more to this interview. Here is your link to read it.



Thursday, April 2, 2020

Social Distancing

As the new reality continues and even becomes more ingrained in our lives, social distancing has become one of the words of the day. Plus more and more of us who are fortunate enough to have our own hair, are beginning to think seeing our hair dresser is an essential activity. Especially for those who have to have their hair colored. Thanks to the insight years ago from my former stylist, we decided to let my hair revert back to it's natural soft grey tones. So really, all I have to worry about is getting it trimmed and shaped once things get back to normal.

These days too, I notice the number of cis women commenting on their lack of hair maintenance and I understand. Following the first trip to an upscale hair salon my daughter gifted me when I first came out to her, I was hooked on going to a hair salon to be pampered and "touched up." 

Unfortunately, over the years I tried hair shortcuts such as trying to color my own very long and thick hair. I managed to get in trouble by getting color all over the bathroom walls and towels as I learned the hard way how hard it was to remove the stains. Plus, I also became very adept at missing parts of my hair when I was coloring it. 

These days, the only thing I worry about with my hair is it becoming too long and unmanageable. However, with people maintaining a safe distance from me I will automatically look better. Perhaps like when they turn the lights down in a pub for happy hour. And I am not the only one! Let's check in with Connie in Seattle:

"OK, the social distancing is already improving my looks. Ten feet might be even better, but viewing me from six feet away is much easier on others' eyes than from two feet! :-)

The countless hours I spent working on and improving my looks during my self-induced isolation, over years of closeted cross dressing, should have been more than enough. The trouble is, though, it wasn't until my fifties that I finally showed myself to the public. I am, by nature, a perfectionist, so I always have seen room for self-improvement. If I had the means to "turn back time," as does Cher, maybe I could improve on what age has taken from my looks. Sitting in front of the mirror now, during this Covid-19 isolation, primping and adoring myself, is not going to cut it like it did those years ago. In fact, these days, doing so seems a rather silly thing for me to do. Unless I had a special occasion that warranted a glam look, I now just spend as little effort and time in order to make myself less-than-perfect - but still acceptable.

So far, I'm still allowed to work. In normal times, I work outside with hundreds of tourists all around me. This morning, I didn't get any closer than twenty feet from one person, and only noticed a few others further away. I still put on some makeup, though, along with a do-rag scarf on my head and old jeans. It's my Rosie the Riveter look - all the rage this Spring! :-)"

Sounds like fun :). Stay safe everyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dispatches from Elsewhere

If you haven't seen the television show Dispatches from Elsewhere starring (among others) transgender actress Eve Lindley, now is a great time to see it or even binge watch it if you can. 

Without giving away any major secrets or spoiler alerts, the show deftly gives plenty of screen time to Lindley and dances around the fact she is transgender without ever coming out and saying it...so far. I can also tell you the show is very different. But, as far as the trans angle goes it doesn't shy away from issues we face such as violence and acceptance.

To find the show, search your provider for the AMC Television Network, it is shown on Monday nights at 10 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
 where I live here in Ohio.  Also, you can check out a picture of Eve Lindley below.