Sunday, May 31, 2020

Transer

Over the years there have been several very questionable dating sites which claimed to be for transgender and/or cross dressers to contact others who may be interested. I can't remember even during my "active" dating site days I ever really spent much time trying any of the trans sites. Instead, I tried the other mostly free sites under different titles. On one I would be a woman looking for a woman, on another I would be a man looking for a woman. From there, in my profile, I would point out I was transgender. During this time I was desperately lonely and was fortunate to have a person such as my partner Liz respond to one of my postings on a dating site called Zoosk.. I was very impressed when we started to correspond even after she found out I was transgender. Instead of my "come hither" look which Connie always mentions in my pictures of that era, Liz said I had "sad eyes." Sad eyes or not, we are still together nearly nine years later although I had to go through tons of idiots to arrive at where I am.

All these years later, I do feel we as a transgender population are making strides even with the disaster in Washington so maybe this new trans dating site may be an improvement:

"Transer is a true dating service that allows everyone to showcase their true colors and be accepted and loved for who they are. Designed as a platform for transgender dating, Transer connects men and women around the world looking for romance or love and addresses the many modern challenges of real-world or online dating. To learn more, please visit GoTranser.com."


Friday, May 29, 2020

Making Space

Out of the clear blue (and hot) sky today came a call from my endocrinologist's office. As you may, or may not remember, last week I had my blood labs taken which included my testosterone and estradiol levels. The nurse said my levels had came back this time showing my testosterone was still at a very low level and surprisingly, my "E" levels were just up slightly after increasing the dosage the last time it was checked. So, she suggested we add a third dosage twice a week. Since I am on patches, it means I am going to have to figure out where to add another sizable patch to my abdomen area. I am sure though I will figure it out! After seeing and hearing from a few others who are not satisfied with how the patches are sticking to their skin, I have found somehow I don't have or never have a problem with the patches sticking. I hope I am not jinxing myself since I am excited about being able to increase my dosage slightly. 

We also went back to the mechanic's today to finish our oil change procedure. I say procedure because they couldn't finish the job because of a lack of two filters. Interestingly, Sara Michelle wrote in with this comment:

Hello Cyrsti! Darling I think you might be taken advantage of? As a former mechanic, the filter is always changed with the oil! Leaving a dirty filter on with fresh oil is a waste of money! They should have made sure they had everything in stock before doing the job! My guess is they will rock you for another oil change when you go back for the filter. Good luck with that bar mitzvah, hope you have fun!"

I always have thought I could be taken advantage of at a mechanic's as a man or a woman! I never had known much about cars. This time though, the two filters were an air filter and a cabin filter recommended by Toyota. Thanks for the heads up and yes I plan on having a good time at the bar mitzfah! 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Mechanic

The trip to get the oil changed at the mechanic was predictably uneventful. First of all, social distancing was being practiced so there weren't very many customers in the place to start with. Plus the rest of the customers and a few of the employees were all wearing masks. The guys actually doing all of the work weren't so I hope they were not Covid positive. 

All paranoia aside. since we are regulars in the store, no one paid us much mind. They are always happy to see our money. Of course, with our luck, something as easy as an oil change couldn't go over without a hitch. It was filter change time too, and the place didn't have the filters they needed to finish the job. So now we have to go back when the filters get there. 

Now, at the least, we have another excuse to go out somewhere. In other areas too, life is looking as if it may return to a sense of normalcy for us. Liz received a text from her boss today saying she possibly may be going back to work (from home) next week. 

I am looking forward to going out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants one of these weeks. Most places are reopening with guidelines in place. I guess I am fortunate in my self esteem is not connected with how I dress everyday. I know when I wake up who I am. I am unfortunate in that my depression stems from being bi-polar. I have been under it's influence for so long, after a few relapses (such as yesterday) I know what to expect. 

On occasion though, I do feel guilty about not being able to write about the frilly feminine aspects for me being transgender. Reality tells me the next time I will possibly get dressed up will be for my youngest grandson's bar mitzfah which will be coming up on a very limited scale later in June. 

In the meantime, I will have to do with what I have!  

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Depression

It's a good thing I had Liz around to talk to yesterday. For some reason, I began to feel the walls close in from our forced quarantine from the world. Along the way too, I have begun to think of what we are going to do as the world begins to open back up. Since summer has finally arrived, I was able to pull out one of my favorite outfits I barely remembered I had. Essentially it's a sleeveless tank top with a satin bow which keeps it fitted together so it can be worn in public. I paired it with a pair of lose fitting culottes. Even the outfit couldn't get me out of my depression. I even fantasized about wearing my semi revealing summer outfit to one of our local lesbian bars. 

Reality soon set in and it was back to thinking ahead to the week ahead after Memorial Day. The only exiting happenings revolve around our cars. I need to take our newer car into the mechanic for an oil change. The older car is much more of a challenge. It has been sitting for quite a while now and needs a new battery (I hope). Assuming we can get the hood open, we have a portable battery jumper we can try out. How's that for excitement? 

Since I am bi-polar, I am used to bouts of depression and how to handle them. Since I have waited this long for things to open back up, it looks like I still have a ways to go to at least get out and about...just a little. 

In the meantime. it seems like at the least boredom is my way of life.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mommies' Little Girl

This is actually from 2010 and was reposted in 2012 and has always been received well, so here we go again. It was actually called, "What Kind of Daughter Did Your Mom Want?"

This picture was from the end of
my "blond period" about 5 years ago
and was only taken as a response to
those "who wanted to see more of me
"
As you can see the quality is terrible.
"Yes girlfriends, I'm talking about us. Some Mom's really wanted a daughter and dressed some of us as girls. Some Mom's may have found it interesting to relate to us on some level as a girl and let us in on a little makeup or clothes. Other Mom's may have shut us out all together.

All of the mother/son interaction intrigues me because of a couple of reasons. The first would be the simple question of why me? Did my Mom set me up for all of this? (My brother believes she did). The second would be is how much I look like her. How many of you believe your Mom knowingly or even unknowingly opened your door into a female world? I remember vividly the way my Mom blotted her lipstick and made sure the rest of her outfit was together before she went out. I would bet you my brother doesn't!

 The age old question-environment or genetics? Was I predisposed to be trans? Most likely it's a question I will never know. (Update! Perhaps the DES drug my Mom very well could have taken during her pregnancy could been the answer.) Maybe the whole "daughter" question explains my total lack of respect for women who do not take care of themselves. This girl was raised believing that appearance was part of the female gender.

My Mom passed away years ago and I believe in two sure facts. She would like the fact I try to keep up a good appearance. She would hate the fact I'm a lot like some of the girls I brought home she didn't like and live a very wide open lifestyle. Neither Mom or me or even my daughter are shy women."

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

As you Cyrsti Condo regulars know, Memorial Day is special to me for a number of reasons including the fact I am a transgender veteran of the Vietnam War era. In itself none of my service entitles me to be any more patriotic. But then I was forced into service and honorably served my time...the best I was able. Unfortunately,  many of you too know someone who served and paid the ultimate price. It should be for them we celebrate the holiday. 

I celebrate my service too because of what I gained. Most importantly I gained a relationship which actually thrives to this day and provided me with a daughter I cherish. I found the hard way that life is but a circle, the least of which is proven by me finally getting to live as my chosen gender. Other ways though include the Veteran's Administration health care I take advantage of, all the way to my nine year relationship I currently enjoy with my partner Liz. 

Perhaps now, more than ever before our country faces more challenges. On Memorial Day it's time to pause and examine how we got here and how to improve where we are going.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Cyrsti's Condo Quote of the Day

" Life is but a circle if you let it turn!"

Jessie Hart

A Decade

It turns out I have been writing Cyrsti's Condo for a decade now. On certain days, it seems like yesterday when Connie encouraged to start writing a blog on others it seems as if it was a century ago. At any rate, after I figured out what a blog really was I am nearing six thousand posts today. 

After extensive searching, I found a post from 2010:

"Saturday, May 29, 2010

You make a better looking woman!

You've probably heard the comment.
Unless you are like the recent "Tyra Show"guests. I'm referring to the 7 and 8 year old transgender kids who are living in their preferred gender. You've likely agonized over the duality within you. .When I played defensive end, I wanted to be the cheerleader...you know the story.
My experimentation with the opposite gender didn't really start until I was about 12. The magic elixir of seeing a girl in the mirror was powerful.  I've often wondered if some chemical endorphin in my brain is the catalyst for the creature I am today.
And what about the comments that I made a" better looking woman than man"?  (Halloween party gossip) Comments such as those used to destroy me! How could I even consider stopping this shameful "hobby"? Where was my "get out of jail free" card to end this madness?
Obviously, I didn't stop. In my mind there is nothing more powerful than a beautiful woman so I listened to the comments and obsessed to get better.  Better I did become.

The world knew me as one gender or the other and for the most part I went out of my way to create two existences.  Chance encounters with people who knew the male side of me never produced any recognition. Life was balanced.
Until New Years day this year.

Symbolically, I started the year and decade as Cyrsti for the first time ever. Checked into the hotel as a girl, went to the clubs with friends and left the next morning in girl clothes. On the way home, I changed into my favorite teams jersey (filled it out a little different!) and stopped and watched the first of the bowl  games.
On the way home, I was totally into girl mode when impulsively I stopped at my regular grocery store to pick up a couple things. On New Years Day I figured none of the regular cashiers would be working.  If they were, they wouldn't know me anyhow.  Wrong, wrong and WRONG! Both of the regular cashiers were working.
Of course one of them picked me out of the crowd immediately. I knew it and she knew it...she thought. I bought my groceries and took off.

I went back the next day to see if I was right.  It took her about ten seconds to start asking questions since I was alone in line.
She said "I know how you will answer" but "do you have an alter ego" or did I lose a bet.
I was naturally evasive as I considered "outing" myself and just said I was at my brothers watching football.
I did not out myself to her so she got bored and  wrapped it all up with "Who ever it was was very attractive and really looked like you".
Nearly three days later I ended up in the other cashier's line. Following a similar Q & A, she just said "if you ever had to go that way, you would have no problems, she was beautiful."
Not my ideal way to go fishing for compliments.

Fortunately, my gender balance wasn't too difficult to restore.  Many around me know of my duality and I don't care.
I did spend some time considering the old questions about how challenging it is to live life this way.
But you know I wouldn't miss another shot of that "magical elixir." Life would be soooo much more boring!"

There you go. Obviously I was better looking a decade ago! I even found pictures from 2010.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Real Transgender Hero

I know from a few of the comments I receive there are several Nicole Maines fans who visit the Cyrsti's Condo blog. For all of you (and more), here is an interview I found on one of my news feeds you may be interested in.

This comes from an interview on the Collider site:  As Nia Nal, a.k.a. Dreamer, on The CW series Supergirl, actress Nicole Maines plays the first transgender superhero on television. Before her time on Supergirl, Maines had already spent years as something of a superhero in real life, fighting for trans rights, equality, and visibility from a very young age. With two Supergirl seasons under her belt, Maines has had the opportunity to highlight both the strides made toward acceptance and how far there is still to go.

For more, go here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Back in the Saddle...

Well almost that is. I have actually had an active week for a change, even though some of it has been done virtually.

Monday, I had a therapist appointment  by phone. I am so fortunate in that my moods have been stable for awhile now, so the session only went about half the scheduled hour. Hopefully I gave up the rest of my time to a veteran who needed the time worse than I. 

Tuesday was what I call "vampire day". I actually had to travel up to Dayton, Ohio to have my blood labs taken to see if I needed to have a pint taken if I had too much iron in my blood. Also, it was my second try to find out what my hormone levels were. The last time they were taken, the labs disappeared in the system. In a day or so, I will be able to check myself on my veterans health on line site. I am still three months away from my next endocrinologist visit so hopefully all will be fine as it was with my iron. This time I didn't have to have any blood taken.

Tuesday also happened to be the day for the "question of the week." The Dayton VA hospital I go to is now cordoned off so they can control who comes and goes. When I arrived at the guard station, the woman asked me if I was there for an appointment. I so wanted to say, no, this place is so exciting I just come to hang out here. But I didn't. 

Thursday was my virtual meeting with the Rainbow Elder Alliance up in Dayton. The group was screening me to see if they wanted me on their board of directors. My goal is to get to a point where I can speak to elderly housing groups concerning treatment of transgender and LGB persons they treat. If I can get to a point where I can help at least one other person, the whole effort can be worthwhile. 

One other surprise I took from the virtual meeting was how much the other board members didn't know about transgender people. In fact, one of the women said just that. I told them, there haven't been many questions I haven't been asked over the years, so fire away!

Thursday was also the day for our trip to the market. I don't know how you feel about wearing a mask in public. I feel if I want to protect someone else, I should have the right and I expect others to respect me too by wearing a mask. Yes it is uncomfortable and it makes it hard for me to breathe with my breathing problems but I do it and so should they. It's a good thing some of them couldn't hear what I was calling them, under my mask. So much for my rant of the week. 

By Thursday night I was "socialized" out and decided not to attend the first virtual social of the cross dresser-transgender group I am a part of. As snarky as I was feeling, it was probably a good move. As I am back to whatever "passes" for normal for me now!


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Suicide With a Cat's Perspective

Over the years, I have read and seen all too many posts concerning suicide brought on by transgender gender dysphoria. The title of the post is the same as the title of this post and can be found in it's entirety here.  Many of you regulars here in Cyrsti's Condo know I led a very self destructive life which led to my own suicide attempt, These days I have a very sound support system with my partner Liz, my daughter and two mental health professionals provided by the Veteran's Administration because I am Bi-Polar. Through it all, I realize how fortunate I am. I know there are many of you who live in despair. Here is an very small excerpt from the mentioned post to maybe help you:

"You are not a failure.

Just because you are transgender, does not make you broken- you do not need fixing.  There is nothing wrong with you.  You are a human in the wrong physical body, but with the strongest, most precious soul and I see you and you are beautiful.

You are not your thoughts and you are not other people’s thoughts.  They can tell you that you are crazy; they can tell you that you are wrong.  You can tell yourself that this is too hard or that you are not worthy of being the person you desire to be.  Or, you can practice watching these thoughts come in and go out and let yourself be worthy of life. 

Be impeccable with the words you speak about yourself and others because those words become the general consciousness of society; every time you define, judge, criticize and belittle yourself, you are contributing to the creation of the same world that hurts you so much."

This was taken from the final blog post of a transgender woman in Scotland. Aside from being on the brink of suicide myself, I don't consider myself a trained professional expert on the subject. My advice to all of you is perhaps you can reach out to a local LGBT group for help resources. 

Always remember too, what is true today, doesn't have to be true tomorrow. Take my life as an example. Everything and everybody around me who were dear to me died off (literally) in a three year period and deep down inside I believed somehow I deserved it. All of a sudden my life started to change and I found myself where I am today.

Life is a series of rebuilding projects and believe in yourself to make it.

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Trinity

Spoiler alert, this is a very shallow post and it reality it has nothing to do with being transgender. It's actually about being on hormone replacement therapy. (HRT) It's my belief you don't have to rely on drugs and/or surgery to calm your trans feelings. For that matter, you can look like a man with a full beard walking around who feels between her ears she is a woman. The tricky part comes when a person tries to "sync" up  what's going on inside with what they are projecting to the outside world. Since I am not planning on any surgeries, HRT was my only path to helping my feminine presentation with the public.

By now, perhaps you are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post.  Another of my not so guilty pleasures I have is watching any and all of the PBS television networks' cooking shows but Vivian Howard's Somewhere South is my current favorite. She is a Southern Chef who also does quite a bit of work with other feminine chefs and features the bond between women. Which of course I am always quite interested in, since I am not much of a cook. Fortunately, my partner Liz is. If you know anything about cooking, the "trinity" is normally made up of onions, peppers and celery (if you are cooking Cajun style).

My own personal HRT trinity is hair, skin and breasts. It's what I rely heavily on when I wake up in the morning. It ties in with my brain and tells me I am a feminine person. Like so many of you, I spent most of my life wondering where I fit on the gender spectrum. I am well aware of the trinity could well be temporary since I have to rely on continued good health to stay on the regimen. 

So I try to be thankful everyday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Not Good Enough

Perhaps you have read somewhere by now, the Navy has given a waiver to serve for a stellar transgender active duty person. As you probably remember, for no good reason (except pleasing his red neck base) the liar in chief banned all transgender troops from serving. Since I am a transgender veteran myself, this story really hits home.

Now. “The acting Secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Brittany Stephens told CNN. 

Here is more from the LGBTQ Nation: “This service member requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender, to include obtaining a gender marker change in (the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming.”

The unnamed officer came out after the ban went into effect in June 2019. They were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights(NCLR)  and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

“The ban has been in place for over a year and this is the first waiver to be granted,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “While we are relieved that our client, a highly qualified Naval officer, will be able to continue her service, there are other equally qualified transgender service members who have sought waivers and are still in limbo, despite being perfectly fit to serve. Dedicated military service members shouldn’t have to bring a lawsuit to be able to continue doing their job.”

“There is no basis for treating transgender service members differently by requiring them to seek a waiver that no one else has to obtain in order to continue to serve,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director." “While we are relieved for our client, requiring transgender service members to jump through this discriminatory hoop makes no sense and only underscores the irrationality of the ban. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s fitness to serve, and transgender individuals should be held to the same standards as other service members.”

Hopefully, in November, the people will speak and the crook in chief be be voted out!



Monday, May 18, 2020

Validation II

I have received several comments here in Cyrsti's Condo concerning transgender public acceptance I wanted to share with you.

The first comes from Gracie:

I had a similar validating experience at the 5/3 office on Fountain Square. I had euros left over from a trip that I wanted to convert to dollars. I was chatting with the teller and the adjacent teller (I was the only customer at the time).

Everything was going fine until the teller asked for my ID. Not sure why the needed it, but their process wanted to link the transaction to someone in their records. So I reached in my purse and handed her my male drivers license. She started typing from the license, then got a confused look. She looked at me and then looked at the license and started fumbling for words. In my male voice, I said, " I wasn't dressed as nicely for the license photo." She smiled and continued on with the process. When I left she said that it was really a pleasure to meet me. The guard held the door on my way out and said, " Good morning Ma'am" . Great validation. I was on cloud nine.

Thanks Gracie! So exciting!!

The second comes from Connie and her unique personality:

The other day, I did my weekly grocery shopping (the only thing I'm doing in public these days). I was trying to ignore the dysphoria that lingered from what I saw in the bathroom mirror at home. It's always been the lipstick that adds the finishing feminine touch to my appearance - to me, anyway. Wearing a mask over made-up lips seems ridiculous, if not downright messy, so I left the house feeling somewhat undone.

While the checker was running my items through, I made some smartass remark (who, me?), and it suddenly dawned on me that my facial expression may not have been detectable because of the mask. Also, I couldn't tell if the young man behind the counter knew I was joking because he was wearing a mask, too. I immediately followed up with saying, "I just realized that no one can see my smile behind the mask. I was just joking...really!" The woman in line behind me, who was not wearing a mask, had heard me, and she bust out laughing. Aside from the probability that her robust laughing was sending airborne particles far beyond the six foot safe zone, the incident completely distracted me from my dysphoria at that moment.

Even though, after I'd loaded the car with my purchases, I applied my lipstick in the rear-view mirror for the mask-less drive home, I did so out of a positive attitude, and not out of a desire to mask my dysphoria from myself. Hmmm, should I call it an "e-mask-ulating experience? :-)

Thanks Connie!


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Public Feedback

Michelle commented on the Cyrsti's Condo "Dysphoria" post:

"One of the things about Dysphoria is that we seem to have an over whelming need to have others confirm what we already know about who we are. If you really look at it, you already do have some public feedback through this site. I don't know if you have a counter on it but just the fact that you get comments from others shows that you are getting the confirmation. Hopefully soon this quarantine will be over and many of the places we have frequented in the past will be open for business. Also remember that what we see in the mirror is not always what others see. We tend to be harder on ourselves than what others perceive."

All great comments! I do on occasion get feedback from all three social media/blogging platforms I am on...it still doesn't seem to impact my "forever" curse of transgender dysphoria. I guess I am fortunate enough I don't have to get up everyday and get totally dressed for the mirror since the only other people who see me daily don't care. I am who I am to them. 

I guess, the past is just so hard to get rid of! Used to tell people I had more baggage than a freight train! Every now and then the train slows down enough I can rearrange the baggage.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Planets

If women are from Venus and Men are from Mars where are transgender women from? Without a whole lot of thought, I pulled up a group of pictures of the planets and came up with a quick one which called to me and it was Jupiter although I did like the look of the rings of Saturn. Saturn would represent the circles we trans humans go around and around in as we try to find our true selves. Jupiter I liked because of it's colors.
Jupiter

Returning to the original point, trans people are definitely the gender travelers of the human race. We are blessed (or cursed) with living portions of their lives as one gender or another with out ever having a choice. Many of us are left to view from afar life on the other binary gender planet such as Venus. Along the way too, we often think the grass is greener on the other planet until we live it. 

I am still of the opinion a man's life on Mars is less layered than a woman's life on Venus. Not that each gender doesn't have it's challenges. But, women do have more of an on hands job with the children they birth, the men they marry and the jobs they choose. When I lived a relatively successful life as a man, I came to understand early the benefit of bring part of teams. Be they part of sports, the military or work. When I made it to Venus from Jupiter, I found women don't operate in teams as much as they do in cliques. I also came to learn the power of the Alpha female on Venus versus the Alpha Male on Mars.

After spending time on both planets and coming from a third, I am surprised the genders are able to co exist as well as they do. It is a true tribute to the human race. I also learned how long a trip it is to Venus from Jupiter for a transgender woman. And then how difficult it is to be accepted on Venus once you get there. 

Best of wishes for the smoothest journey for all of you. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Damn Dysphoria

Yesterday we had a visitor to the house to finally fix our cable television. Turns out third time was a charm since the system seems to be working fine this morning. 

In advance of the technicians arrival, I had to decide how I was going to prepare. Since I was going to be wearing a mask for safety, I reasoned I could take the easy way out and just apply a touch of eye make up. Which turned out to be fine since the person who fixed the system didn't seem to look at me at all. I was the only one looking at me.

For some reason these days, I have been looking at myself longer it seems. Not so much out of vanity but more out of desiring to reassure myself of who I have become since I am not getting regular feedback in the world. By this time, my gender dysphoria was starting to really kick in. One time I looked in the mirror I saw myself as a barely feminized man and the second time I see a fully feminine trans woman. Deep down inside I know from long experience the mirror is just playing games with my dysphoria and I (in reality) land somewhere in between both images in my head. 

My surprise has been how much I need the public feedback which combats my dysphoria. I don't need to go through the contortions of getting all dressed up to help myself feel better. I just need to have a cute encounter with a young woman bank teller to accomplish it. Last week I finally did receive my stimulus check the old fashion way...by a paper check. I received it because since I am on Social Security for several years now, Internal Revenue doesn't have a electronic deposit number on file for me. Getting a check though, was the good news. The bad news was, it came with my dead name on it. So, since I happened to have a deposit slip too with my dead name on it (which ties in with my legal name also) I felt I was covered. 

The girl was a classic. She looked at the name and then at me a couple times before I went ahead and outed myself. Anything for twelve hundred bucks! Right?? The teller didn't miss a beat and said, there was no problem with me being trans, she was just concerned with the money finding it's way into my correct account. It was overall a  reassuring pleasurable experience.

Even though Ohio is beginning to slowly reopen businesses, I am fairly sure we will not be heading out very much anytime soon. Leaving me again to be alone with my transgender dysphoria.
Summer picture from 2015 overlooking the Ohio River

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Transgender Alice?

Transgender author Juno Dawson has come up with a book following in the footsteps of Japanese and Black "Alice's in Wonderland" by writing about a trans Alice.

Dawson herself didn't gender transition until her thirties after already becoming a successful author (James).  The new book itself has been described as being full of cocaine, cosmetics, taboos and tattoos

Be sure to check out this interesting interview from Claire Armistead here.
Check out the book cover too.
Juno Dawson

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Elephant

Connie came through with a comment which may help us all who struggle with how our Mothers viewed our coming out as transgender:

"I'm sure that my mom did not understand my behavior any more than I did. She was embarrassed of me, and probably figured I might have been gay - or some other kind of 'pervert.' Then there was the fact that she had to raise me alone, after my father died when I was eight-years-old. She must have felt as though she was a failure as a parent, and then, maybe, placed some of the blame on no male influence in the house. I'll never know all of this for sure, as we never discussed it - the proverbial elephant in the room."

I think too, women (Mother and/or spouse) do take it personally when we transition. Feeling somehow it was their fault. Unfortunately, many never come to the realization we (the trans person) never had a choice. In many cases, the choice was to transition or to die. 

I have always felt my spouse in particular who didn't mind me being a cross dresser but drew the line at any kind of transgender ideas was (rightfully so) more concerned about what friends and family would think than what she thought. Since she is deceased, I can't ask her. As far as Mother's are concerned, they are more concerned if they did something wrong.

My final point is, never underestimate the influence of a cis woman's ego.As with everything else in the gender spectrum, the feminine ego is as strong as a man's, just in a different direction.  Inheriting a transgender person later in life can't be easy. It is about as far removed as possible from the fairy tale romance a girl may have dreamed of in their youth.

It is just so sad any of us have to negotiate such a traumatic experience in our life. Either transgender women/men or their Mother's and spouses. The elephant is hard to move.

Monday, May 11, 2020

How to Identify a Trans Woman

Bobbie sent me a link on a very interesting post concerning a very proud view of how to identify another transgender woman, from a possible "admirer". The post is I think a couple of years old and is approximately a six minute read. It specifically goes into a few of the challenges we face as we try to make it in a feminine world. Here are a couple excerpts. The first considers height:

Height is perhaps the easiest thing to look at first. Trans women are generally much taller than their cisgender peers. The shortest trans woman is invariably of “average” to “above-average” height for a woman. So, a trans woman of “average” height compared to other trans women is downright statuesque when compared to her cisgender peers.Unlike high fashion models, whose height often accentuates their frail frames, the height of trans women speaks only of excellence, and fortitude. It is a height that comes from an unrelenting and undaunted pursuit of freedom and justice. Trans women shine out, like a beacon of this freedom and justice, over the forces that seek to see them bent or broken."

The second is legs: "Now, obviously, height alone won’t get you very far. After all, there are some — not many, but some — statuesque cis women. That’s why, after considering height, you need to move on to a more fine-grained analysis of the women around you. For example, you might take a moment to look at the legs of the women around you.

Trans women have incredibly long legs. In addition to their length, trans women’s legs are often firm and unyielding — particularly when it comes to their quadriceps and calves. Some say this is due to the effects of testosterone. However, those who have been around for a while know that this is not the case. The truth is trans women have powerful muscular legs because they carry with them a near immeasurable amount of self confidence every day. Self confidence that would weigh your average cis woman down. 

Laid over this raw power, there is also a softness — a downright sensualness —that amplifies the attractiveness of trans women’s thighs and calves. The legs of trans women are not all harsh angles and strength. They are supple, and smooth, and graceful.

Trans women have the sorts of legs that make you think, “She could snap someone in half with those!” And, if you really want to be certain that you’ve found a trans woman, look for the legs that, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, make you wonder if the woman in question might snap you in half, if you treated her well and asked nicely."

Thirdly there are shoulders: "But of course, these sorts of powerful, beautiful legs are not entirely unique to trans women. Some cis women have rockin’ legs. That’s why you should also look closely at the shoulders of the women around you.

Trans women have broad, elegant shoulders. You know those power-shoulders women often talk about wanting? You know, the kind that say, “If you screw with me, I will flip you over my head into the nearest trash bin?” Trans girls got ‘em in spades. You’ll notice these immaculate, commanding shoulders peeking out from workout tanks, stretching out below elegant necks, and mirroring the width of the owner’s hips."

And faces: "trans and cis chins are often different. The chins of trans women are usually slightly larger than those of cis women. This is no accident. When trans women raise their chins up slightly, they want to be sure that the gesture thoroughly conveys the sense of personal pride that they have. A smaller, more petite chin can convey pride, sure. However, such a diminutive chin often conveys pride of the aristocratic or elitist sort. On the contrary, the pride that trans women have is a wholesome, blue collar sort — the sort of pride earned through a hard day’s, or a hard life’s, work.

Trans women likewise often have a stronger jaw than most cis women. This comes from years of practice in being, and looking, determined. Through the countless occasions in which trans women have to set their jaw and push forward with composure and grace, it inevitably develops a certain width and breadth that says, “I know who and what I am, and what I am is unstoppable.” This sort of determination is hard won, and so trans women wear it for all to see."

Finally (for this post) the author puts it all together: "However, you can be relatively sure that you have found a trans woman when you have found a woman who stands head and shoulders above her peers; who is powerful and sensual; and who commands respect. You can be sure that you have found a trans woman when you have found a woman who is proud of herself; who is determined; and who is intelligent, brave and revolutionary."

This is not all there is to this post written by Galen Mitchell. You can read the whole post here. Thanks again Bobbie for sending along an interesting different look at transgender women!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day

Or should I say, "Happy parental unit day?" That's what my daughter calls me. 

This is my usual Mother's Day post. My mom was a 5'2" head strong dynamo of a person and not one I ever thought would be accepting of having a daughter instead of a son. My only "coming out" moment with her didn't come until I was well into my twenties and was just honorably discharged from the Army. One night when I was coming home after partying all night with my friends, I came home and found her waiting up for me. I was operating under the power of intoxication and somehow the topic came up (I don't remember how) and I told her I was a "transvestite." She didn't miss a beat and said she would pay for electrode shock therapy to help relieve myself of my "problem." I quickly told her, I didn't have a problem and no, she wasn't paying for anyone to hook me up to a wall socket. Ironically, that turned out to be the only time the subject was ever brought up again. She has since passed on many years ago. 

For years, I resented her reaction to my coming out declaration. Then, I began to consider her life as part of the "Greatest Generation." I realized her offer of help was just that. Help for a perceived problem she thought I had. No more and no less. 

When the time came to legally change my name, my daughter and I got together to come up with a name which would be easy for her three kids to respond to. At the same time, I began to think of family names which might work. Finally, I decided to honor my Mom by accepting her name as my middle name. 

Perhaps now, she would be more accepting of having a daughter instead of a son.

Happy "Parental Unit Day" to you all!

A Delicate Subject

From 2014 After My First Hair Salon Visit
As I am continuing to write different chapters in my book, one in particular has me slightly on edge. I have named the Chapter, "What is a Woman?" It's one of the chapters I literally started years ago and I was surprised how much my ideas have changed. For one, I have mellowed out in my overall ideas. Even though my basic ideas have not changed. I  don't believe biological females are born women. I also believe biological males are not born men. Both genders are socialized during their lives to hopefully become women and/or men. So where does that leave transgender women? If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck and look likes a duck...is it a duck? 

Naturally, we trans women find ourselves in a different place than biological women. We found our path to our own unique brand of womanhood a totally different way. Unfortunately, many of us were scarred by the process. Personally I knew women operated on a more layered existence than men. Although times do seem to be changing slightly, it is normally up to the women to raise a family (including taking care of a man) kids and a house while often having to hold down a job. I can't imagine the stress involved with living that kind of life. 

All of this takes me back to my cross dressing days when my wife accused me of just wanting to pick the "fun" aspects of being a woman and leaving the rest behind. I was guilty as charged. 

It's true also that cis women lead a rather intense hormonal driven life. At puberty they go through the intense changes which basically stick around (with monthly periods mixed in for good measure) until menopause. Even though the binary gender known as cis women live longer than cis men, they face an old age made of various illnesses such as brittle bones. I read somewhere that men live brief violent lives compared to long miserable lives for women. 

Regardless of all of that, I believe my journey on both sides of the gender fence has led me to quite a few unique perspectives. Plus, my addition of feminine hormones has given my emotions a feminine edge, or at the least more of a softer exterior to match an interior person who often longed for the feminine side of life. I don't think HRT has made me anymore of a trans woman but has helped me to feel more of the world along the way. 

Bottom line is, for either binary gender, it's not how you feel as much as how you interact with the world. It just so happened that everyday when I woke up in the morning, I questioned my gender and I forever will regret having to do that. Along the way, I had to find away to succeed in the male dominated world I was in and I did. Thus, I knew how I felt but was never sure how I was going to interact and maintain any of the life as I knew it. 

I am going to take the easy way out here and say a "female" knows what she is from birth and sometimes grows into a woman. A transgender woman is not sure of what she is at first. But once she does discover it, she has a much of a chance of growing into a woman too as the female.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Transphobia and the Trans Girl

This post is actually the second in a recent Internalized Transphobia post here in Cyrsti's Condo. Yesterday, we featured Calie's comment. Today, here is Connie's:

"Internalized transphobia is within the individual, but it can manifest itself within the transgender community, as well. Especially for those of us who started sensing our dysphorias during the social climate that existed over a half-century ago, there is a deep-seeded notion of guilt and shame associated with our gender identities. We may have started out thinking that we were the only one in the world who was trans (or whatever label we might have applied to ourselves at the time - for me, borderline insanity). No matter what measures we may have taken toward mitigation over the subsequent years, that notion never really goes away. We can change our appearances, our mannerisms, our voices, and/or our bodies, but we can't escape that notion of guilt and shame.

I can tamp down my guilt and shame through building my own confidence and self-esteem. I've even had a spiritual experience, wherein, I truly believe, it was God's voice that came to me - saying, "It's OK; You are OK." As much as I accept and believe that, however, I have, at times, asked God, "When are you going to let everyone else know it?"

Most cis people spend very little time thinking about their own genders, whereas a trans person can sometimes be obsessed by their own gender identity. I think that could be internalized transphobia, in itself. Through my own transition, I have become less aware of my gender identity. I am certainly more at peace with myself this way, but it is not without some effort that I can achieve it. My own vanity requires much of my effort, although I work on my appearance and presentation more as another vain woman would than I did when I cross dressed. Still, I am reminded in the shower every morning, and in the mirror when I get out, that there is more than just a trace of masculinity that needs to be made as less-evident as possible to others, as well as myself. That comes out of my internalized transphobia and dysphoria, I know, but it is usually easy enough to squelch through a well-developed denial - long enough for me to do the necessary cover-up. Doing so doesn't bring excitement, as it might have when I was switching gender presentations as the occasion demanded; it's the necessary evil of which I have come to expect.

When trans people interact, we often see ourselves in each other. Whether that is good or bad depends on many things, but a projection of internalized transphobia, or even the perception of it, can make things challenging. If nothing else, it is difficult to escape the idea of self-gender identity at all when one sees it in another. As much as I like to believe I am accepted as a woman - who happens to be trans - by society, in general, I can't get past the feeling of being no more than a trans woman when I am in the presence of another trans woman. The individuality and autonomy I have worked so hard to achieve seems to disappear, and I revert back to a time when my self-confidence was not-so-strong. I wind up comparing myself to her, and then have to remind myself that there is no right way to be trans. I'm no better, and I'm no worse - because we are all just individuals. I know that, but I allow those old feelings of guilt and shame to resurface (to one degree or another). It's just easier to avoid the problems by avoiding other trans women. Then, of course, there is the guilt-by-association factor, which may be real, but much more powerful through perception. I could tell many stories of how I wanted to make to make it clear that I was not the same as my trans friend, when we were out in public together. Sometimes, I actually did, and it may well be the reason I don't hear from them anymore."

I agree with the idea of seeing each other when we meet another transgender person. We are reminded of the journey we took and how the same journey affected the other person. Fairly or not, I am not judging another trans woman (or man) on their looks so much as their attitude. An example would be one of the two people I met years ago who went all the way through genital realignment surgery. One had a I'm better than you edge to her while the other was very nice to the point of not hanging out very much with the cool girl clique. In other words, she exuded a feminine class that some cis women just seem to have. My favorite point is all females don't necessarily transition into women. Cis or not. 

Thanks Connie for the comment.

Friday, May 8, 2020

More No

Calie's comment concerning the "No I Can't Help" post has generated several very in depth responses Today in part due to the length of the responses, I will present one from Michelle today:

."Unfortunately for some of us that, for whatever reason, stay in that limbo between a questioning crossdresser and getting the GRS, lose friends that get to fulfill the dream and desire. I can understand one friend's reasoning why she cut off all contact since her husband didn't want her to lose her ability to associate with cis-women they knew (those friends? knew nothing of her background). She was raised by a Mom that allowed her to be the girl she knew she was so her background was more or less that of a normal teenage girl growing up in a rural ranching area.I've known several others that have started living full time that have cut themselves off from the trans community out of fear of being "clocked". One I knew even went so far as to change her full name and moved away.

I sometimes think about these people and wonder how they are doing. I still hurts that they would cut themselves off from me when I was under the impression that we were very close friends. Maybe one day I will understand.." 

Thanks for the comment! Certainly, the issue is complex and I don't pretend to have many of the answers. I do think though too many of the transgender women who end up going deep stealth, simply "grow" away from their previous acquaintances. I was lucky in that I didn't have the chance to get too close to the two people I knew who went the distance and had GRS. One of which was so totally feminine I don't know how she ever existed as a man. But she did, and a successful one at that. She was some sort of an engineer and a accomplished snow skier. I was envious! But we only ended up meeting a couple times. It was the other person I knew better and wish I had a chance to ask her advice before I cut off all contact. I did have a cross dresser friend who didn't and according to her they had a rough go of it. 
The way I was back in those days, I don't know if I would have listened to any advice I may have received anyway! I was still in the appearance was everything mode as far as relating to the world as a transgender woman. I was paranoid the person wouldn't want to be seen with me for fear of being "clocked"also. So I backed out first.

Finally, I think I was too naive concerning what these other cross dressers and transgender people I was meeting had in common with me. Outside of the obvious, not much as I still had a fairly supportive wife who even came to most of the functions with me. I had my guards up per norm, so I couldn't get too hurt later. Like so many others though, I still wonder "what if?" but I was so worried about being told no to my questions. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Why Trans People Can't Have Nice Things

Trans people simply can't get along and this includes me. The goddess knows I have posted a number of crazy photos on social media for the world to see and laugh at. But recently I saw a post of a transgender woman in a form fitting silver lame' long dress. She was asking how she looked. Normally, I leave posts such as this alone thinking I don't want to be the one to throw stones in a glass house. But this time I couldn't help myself. I simply had to comment on the obviously huge belly sticking out in the picture. I commented something to the fact she may want to try some Spanx under garments before wearing the dress again. Of course all of the other ten comments were totally positive and were telling her how wonderful she looked. 

As I look back on it, no comment would have been better than my snarky, trans-naziish, statement I made. But I let it go. 

I was part of the transgender problem not the solution. Just another reason trans people can't have nice things when we snark at each other. Then again, I wonder what an outsider to the community would think about some of the posts I see. I understand. It takes most of us years to achieve even a modest attempt at a quality feminine presentation. 

An example is this five year old fuzzy tavern post of a very fuzzy intoxicated me during a Pride Pub Crawl. I wasn't quite crawling yet when this picture was taken!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

No I Can't Help

This comment comes from Calie and goes back to the recent post concerning internalized transphobia. It's a great comment and indirectly happened to me too:

"I assume we're talking transphobia within the trans community.

I helped a very close friend through her transition, from when she was a "he" to the completion of her many surgeries and well into her new life. Throughout her transition, she was very active in our local trans organization but all of that came to an end once she had fully transitioned and started a completely new life and job. She vowed to stay away from the trans community and has continued for many years now to have nothing to do with it. I sort of get that.

What just killed me and pretty much killed our friendship was a question I asked her when she had separated herself from the trans community. From my pre-teens, I have always felt I should transition. For many complicated reasons, I never did. There was a time, following her transition that I was very, very close to making the decision to go forward. I asked her if she would stand by me, as I did during her transition...going out with me, coaching me, helping me with mannerisms, voice, etc......all of the things I helped her with. With no hesitation at all, she said no. She felt that associating with someone who clearly would not pass, at least in the beginning, would result in her being clocked. OK, I get it, but I was deeply hurt and we now speak to each other perhaps once a year."

Thanks for the comment!  I imagine you were hurt! So sorry. 

I had a close acquaintance I saw on a fairly regular basis until she went through the genital realignment surgery. She was always very presentable as a cross dresser and/or a transvestite back in those days, so in many ways I considered her a muse. Even though she didn't indicate she wanted to break off all interaction with me after her operation, I assumed she would want too. After all I was a mere questioning cross dresser back in those days. Perhaps she would have had enough wisdom to tell me moving forward to GRS was not a matter of looks. It was a matter of how you felt. 

I am sorry now I assumed she never wanted to see me again. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Be Thankful...Dammit

I have never been one to be satisfied. I was always rushing around the next corner to see what was on the other side. Looking back at the majority of my life, I have very few regrets. The one major one I do have is how my gender dysphoria drove me on at often was a frenetic pace. I believe the dysphoria plus perhaps my bi-polar disorder led me to always be on the outlook for a new job and/or a new place to live. Once I achieved a certain level of cross dressing it was never enough which always seemed to get me into more trouble with my wife and lead to more self destructive behavior. For the most part though, I was always able to outrun my self. 

Through the years, I ended up living in many different places such as the NYC metro area all the way to Appalachia along the Ohio River near Kentucky and West Virginia. My self stress ended getting me fired from one job and led me to nearly losing another but I survived. Finally with my share of therapy and by coming out of the closet to live as my true self...a transgender woman.

These days of course, I am seventy years old and have been grounded by choice. My partner Liz has provided me more support than I could ever ask for and I do my best to return the favor whenever I can. I believe thanks to my age and the effects of using the HRT hormones I have mellowed to the point where I can finally appreciate the power of a relationship and not take it for granted. Which I am thankful for. It seems the biggest problem I have these days is waiting for my stimulus check to show up so I can be "stimulated" by getting a letter from our idiot in chief president thanking him for giving it to me. The IRS portal finally told me it was sent out recently. 

So, unlike so many people, we as a family are fortunate to have a roof over our head, food to eat and compatible people I get along with. There are only three of us and Liz has been unemployed now for over a month and her 22 year old son who also lost his job. All he does is eat and sleep and plays video games, so we barely see him,

Even with all these positives though, it's been tough for me. I feel so sad for what has happened to the restaurant business which I spent thirty plus years in and can't wait to safely go out to eat again.

Finally, I do believe my experience as a transgender woman has given me the wisdom and experience to hopefully make it through this challenge unscathed.   

Monday, May 4, 2020

Walton Goggins

From the 2016 television series Sons of Anarchy, here is Walton Goggins playing a prostitute:
 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

In these days of quarantine, I am always on the outlook for interesting transgender ideas and/or posts. Recently, I came across a post from a woman concerning a transgender woman she encountered when her trans daughter came out. At first I thought her "Wolf's" term was about her but it turned out it was more about her daughter's mentor being a totally "out, loud and proud" person. 

Then I thought of the deodorant commercial with the woman in the long sexy blue dress who was portrayed as being fierce and feminine. After seeing the commercial several times, I began to think of what ways the woman on the television related to me and other transgender women in the community. As it turned out, the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing comment fit perfectly. 

In order to survive in many settings, we trans women have to be as much of the wolf as the sexy woman on the commercial and the attractive mother of the trans child. A perfect example was my former hair dresser who was flat out gorgeous, was a fierce ally of the trans community and also was the mother of a trans child. Along the way, she inspired me to be more fierce in my own way. 

Since I am increasingly a stealth trans woman, it is increasingly difficult for me to be fierce. After all, I am not going to the market these days (the only place I am allowed to go) and stand up and shout "Hey! I'm trans...anybody have a problem with it???" These days to me, I feel much more of a need to be fierce when I encounter my regulars on social media or even here on the blog. Examples include, two friends I have, plus another acquaintance or two who operate on a self hurt spectrum. In other words, they border on suicide. Anytime I can, I try in my own limited way to offer any soothing words or thoughts I can.

Plus, when the world begins to open up again, I have committed myself to providing whatever knowledge I can to nursing home and/or assisted living senior centers in the area. I feel at my age, I can be very fierce when it comes to something which could influence me in the future. 

Being fierce, resides in your mind and can manifest every morning when you get up. Sometimes it can be very private and sometimes when you need it, a force to be encountered with.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Memories

At my age and during this quarantine, I find myself trying to remember more of the "back in the day" memories of when I was living through my first days of actually trying to live in a feminine world. Today, I am wondering what in the world some of the people I encountered thought of me. For this post, two small lesbian bars I used to frequent are coming to mind. 

I have written here in Cyrsti's Condo about both of the bars and how they were similar but yet different. One was more friendly and the other not so much since it was very much a lesbian biker style bar. I am sure the people I repeatedly saw in there went from a what the hell, to why does a person such as me even want to come in there to start with, to finally giving me a begrudging acceptance. In the end, I am sure they weren't sorry to see me move on to other challenges. And, a challenge is just what it was. 

The other bar was much more mellow and accepting. In fact, one of the bartenders knew me as my male self too. I enjoyed the time I spent being able to drink a few beers and chat with the bartender. It was in this bar, I was forced to sing karaoke with a very butch lesbian in boots with a cowboy hat. I am sure, in the dark bar, in my jeans, boots and long blond hair I looked like the perfect conquest for a super butch. As my bartender friend smirked, indeed I did sing the only song I knew. To put it mildly, I can't sing as a girl or a guy, so as soon as the song was over I bolted for the bar. Paid my tab and took off. I often wonder what "Cowboy" woman thought after I left and I never found out either. I never saw her again when I went back and nobody in the bar seemed to know who she was. Who knows? She may have changed my perspective on life :). As time and life moved on, both of the bars closed and I was forced to find other places to entertain myself. 

Other places were not so difficult to find I learned. As most of you condo regulars know, I spent way too much time in the larger commercial chain bar/restaurants. It was way too easy to find a spot and become a regular. After all, I was very different, tipped well and minded my own business. The only potential problems I ever ran into back in those days was using my rest room of choice and getting home before my wife did as she closed the big book store she managed. 

All in all, it was a crazy time in my life, mostly caused by my desire to chase my gender dysphoria. I learned quite a bit of positives and for the most part have forgotten most of the negatives. Isn't that what old age is all about?