Monday, November 30, 2020

Geena Rocero

 From Wikipedia:

"Geena Rocero (below) (born 1983)[1] is a Filipino American supermodelTED speaker, and transgender advocate[2] based in New York City.[3] Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that tells stories of the transgender community worldwide to elevate justice and equality. Rocero has spoken about transgender rights at the United Nations Headquarters, the World Economic Forum, and the White House."



Where Were You Born?

 On occasion I become humored when I read of someone who says they were "born into the wrong body." 

I figure I didn't have a real choice. I had no choice on my parents, where I was born or the gender I was assigned. No matter what I thought, those three "facts" were non negotiable. Of course, as I grew, I learned while the "Big Three" were non negotiable, they could be questioned and even changed. 

Like them or not, my parents will always be my parents. Sure, they had their faults but who doesn't. As far as coming out to them, I tried to come out to my Mom. I was rejected and never tried again. I never tried to come out to my Dad. After all, I was doing my best to live a robust male life, so who cared?

I cared of course. As my gender dysphoria continued and began to take it's own peculiar shape, I learned to suffer silently. Even though I think I came up with every possible question I could over why my gender issues were so prevalent, at no time did I come up with the idea I was born into the wrong body.

What I did come up with was I had a overwhelming desire to change the body I had. The more I was able to feminize it the better I would feel. I was fortunate in that the body I had was healthy enough to undertake hormone replacement therapy at a later age in my sixties. Thanks to HRT, I was able to learn the body which I was given was fluid enough to provide me a male foundation to play football and survive Army basic training all the way to presenting as a woman in public. 

So, I guess I can say, I wasn't born in the wrong body. I took what I had and adapted. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cyrsti's Condo "Quote of the Day"

 


Shock and Awe?

 Naturally enough, there are many ways to "come out" to family and friends. I have known many transgender women who have decided to come out gradually. In other words, they decide to tell a few people at a time before they decide to tell more. 

Others rely on the "shock and awe" method which means just showing up as your authentic self  and let the fall out happen. I am far from an expert because I just waited for most of all the people around me to die, so I didn't have many people to tell. For obvious reasons, I don't recommend that method. 

Others (such as Connie) were fortunate to have another person to pave the way for them:

"I have to say that I don't know that I could have made my Thanksgiving "debut" had it not been for my wife's help. She paved the way for me by talking to my daughters well ahead of time, giving them the opportunity to prepare their kids and husbands. I never would have just shown up with a big surprise for everyone, and I would caution anyone who might consider coming out in that way, as well.

There's not a good way to come out - to family, or any other group of people. I would say, though, that there is one bad way to come out. Doing so with the attitude that it's "all about me" is bound to lead to disappointment. From the beginning, I have approached my transition as a responsibility. Every individual relationship from the past is going to change, and it is up to me to do my best to recognize and accept the feelings of each person. How I react to them is what will determine our "new" relationship. Above all, one needs to keep in mind that what has taken maybe years - even decades - for self-acceptance cannot possibly be absorbed instantaneously by another. Even if I've decided that "what you see is what you get," what I get back will always depend on the work I put into each relationship.

The way I've gone about things would probably not make for a great Hallmark production. Nothing can be tightly wrapped up in a two-hour episode; more like The Never Ending Story. "

A reminder, I tried a process similar to Connie's when it came to coming out to him and his extended family and he turned me down. We haven't spoken since. The whole process was and is nothing I am proud of. 

It turns out, the coming out process is as complex as being transgender itself.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Josie Totah Steps Up

 From "Teenvogue.com":

Josie Totah plays Lexi: a sharp-tongued cheerleader, the epitome of a Gen Z Valley Girl, and the fashionista queen bee of Bayside High, who is also transgender. In the show, Lexi’s gender identity is not her biggest plot point and is instead treated as a matter of fact, something that excited Josie when showrunner Tracy Wigfield approached her for the role. “Getting to play a role that’s dynamic and interesting and more than what people think about on the outside is such a gift as an actor,” Josie says. “[Lexi is] this mean, fun, aspirational, fantastical character that also happens to be transgender — but it [isn’t] everything about her. That was really important to me and the people that I talked to in the trans community because so much of the trans representation in [media] has to do with struggle ... and that's only when it's done in favor of trans people, [most] of the time [the media] perpetuates the negative stigmas and stereotypes that create the erasure of trans people in our world.”



Voicing Your Gender

Most transgender women and men obsess with the problem of outing themselves with their voice. It seems no matter how well we present as our preferred gender, a slip up with our voice can ruin our whole day. 

As with many other aspects of being transgender, there are many avenues coming along to help with our voices. As well as the many voice feminization services featured on line, more than a few hospitals offer voice therapy. In fact, even the Veteran's Administration does offer voice therapy too. 

There is always the concept of vocal surgery which I have heard has varying levels of success. I have only ever encountered one person who had went through it. To be truthful I wasn't impressed. 

Myself, I pursued the VA services offered to me with varied results. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised they were knowledgeable to what I was trying to achieve. I blame myself though for the results. Being essentially the lazy person I am, I gave up and have tried to improve my feminine voice through the very few lessons I ended up going through. 

Over the years, what I have tried to do is try to match my voice to the cis women I am talking to. I imagine with varying levels of success.

The only time I can truly "try" out my feminine voice on strangers is on the phone. Even then, I am not competing on a level field. The majority of my calls come from the Veteran's Administration setting up appointments and going over results of my tests. Since the overwhelming majority of the hospitals' clients are male, the odds are stacked against me. Sometimes I still get called sir on occasion, except for the nurses and receptionists who have dealt with me a number of times. The example is my endocrinologist nurse. She is always very correct with her pronouns and calls me the proper ones. 

With all the others who don't, I always gently remind them I am not a "sir" and go back to the drawing board. What am I doing wrong to trigger their response. Plus, as I said before, I am essentially a lazy person and since I so rarely encounter strangers anymore, it's only Liz I talk to. 

Finally, the majority of the attendees of my transgender - crossdresser group have managed to settle into a softer version of their male vocal selves. Again with varying success. I suppose too, results hinge on what voice you had to start with. Many times feminine men have feminine voices. 

Voicing their gender becomes increasingly easier. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Cyrsti's Condo "Quote of the Day"

 

Good News...Almost

This holiday season, for the first time ever, LGBTQ characters are beginning to show up in made for television movies on major networks such as the "Hallmark Channel." Overall, seven were mentioned in the post I read. The photo below comes from the "Christmas House." 



That's all well and good as the "G" is featured as a subplot in the show, the "T" in all the shows featured for their diversity, only one had a transgender character, Candis Cayne..  (below). It's called "I Hate New Years"


I suppose it is a start. Of more interest to the transgender community would be a story of how a trans character gathered her courage and came out to her family during a holiday family get together. My confession is I never had the courage to do it. When I told my brother and sister in law who inherited the annual dinner by default when my wife died about me being transgender, they basically told me not to come as my true self. That was it, I haven't seen them since. On the other hand, here is Connie's experience:

" It was a Thanksgiving Day, more than a few years ago, that I made my physical appearance as my true self to my family. My "secret" had long been let out by that time, but it was also past time that I should have normalized myself to those most dear to me. For myself, it had become abnormal to keep my female and male selves separate - because they had actually become melded into the person I am. As normal as I felt my womanhood was to me, it would never be normalized until it could be perceived as normal by others - especially by my family. While it is one of the regrets I have that I never made an attempt to normalize the relationship with my mother as her daughter, it was my desire to not have further regrets, after her death, that I felt the need to be completely open with the rest of my family."

Thanks for the comment! 

Maybe next year, The Hallmark Channel will feature a story like Connie and my story will be much different.  The "T" will be better represented in the LGBTQ community.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving

 In the United States at least it's time to formally begin the holiday season and celebrate Thanksgiving. In the pre-covid days it was a day to get together with family, over eat and watch sports.

In my pre-transition days, my deceased wife took great pride in inviting the whole family over and doing most of the cooking. Which meant to me a marathon cleaning effort to prepare for the big event. Even though I didn't really want to be too involved with the cooking, my experience in the restaurant business led me to being the one who carved the turkeys. Because we  needed more than one. So secretly I felt closer to the women who were clustered in the kitchen. Plus I admired what they were wearing of course. 

In my post transition, covid bubble days, my Thanksgiving family has shrunk to only three people in our bubble.  In the past we have been able to spend the holiday with my daughter's in laws and my grand-kids but not this year. It's too risky.

Every year at this time too, I think of all of those in the LGBTQ community whose families have deserted them. In fact, the "Gen Silent" documentary I just watched reminded me of the stark reality faced by many who grow old and alone. From out and proud to back in the closet. On the bright side (and there is one) more and more communities are organizing LGBTQ groups who are reaching out to those in need of attention. 

I myself am blessed with many things to be thankful for. Of course number one is the support group I have been able to build around me. The group includes my partner Liz, my daughter Andrea, my three grand kids and basically her entire family of in laws. Ironically, I am one of two transgender individuals in their extended family.

And, in a totally different direction, I am thankful for all of you who stop and visit Cyrsti's Condo. It means a lot...thank you!

Where ever you may be this year, have a safe Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Transgender First in Mexico

 

Victoria Volkova is the First Trans Woman on 'Playboy Mexico’ Cover





When the Norm Becomes the Norm

 As transgender women and/or crossdressers, we spend much of our lives wondering how we ended up being a person who has such non normal urges. Or so we feel. I know I lived so many years wondering how I was the only one I knew who had the peculiar habit of wanting to cross dress in clothes of the opposite sex (women). Then, first I learned through magazines such as "Transvestia" which was started by "Virginia Prince" in the 1960's and later through the internet, I was far from being alone.


However, the feelings of normalcy persisted. I finally learned no one was truly "normal" and I learned to embrace my true self. Last night, during another virtual meeting of the transgender/cross dresser support group I am part of, I found out once again how normal I wasn't. Out of the ten or so attendees last night, I was the only one who made it to the point where I live full time as a transgender woman. Many of the others were really bemoaning the fact their weekend trips out as a cross dresser had been seriously curtailed, or stopped all together by the virus. I too, don't like it but the fact remains I know what gender I am when I wake up in the morning. 

To look at the process from a different angle, let's bring in Connie:

"I was reminded of Transgender Week of Awareness last Friday, when a local newscast mentioned it. At first, I thought it was funny to start a week on a Friday, but then I realized it is so that it would culminate on the third Friday of November - which is Transgender Day of Remembrance. I actually joked to my wife that it was a good thing for the news to remind me that I was trans, and needed to be made aware of it. Really, though, I don't think there are any activities in Seattle until tomorrow - TDOR. That will be virtual this year.


By the way, about that joke I made to my wife: She said that she doesn't think of me as trans very often, anymore. I guess that maybe one can be so aware that it just becomes the norm. As I like to say: When the extraordinary becomes ordinary, that is truly an extraordinary thing!"

Indeed Connie, it is an extraordinary thing. I'm sure the two of us are not the norm in finding spouses who accept us so totally. The norm becoming the norm is truly an extraordinary thing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

One of my Favorite Transitions

 Melonee Malone (no relation to Connie) has been one of my Facebook faves for sometime now. I simply marvel at her transition!



Another Transgender Pioneer Gone

 At my age, transgender pioneers mean a lot. After all, they had the courage to come out and live an authentic life during a period of time when it was exceedingly rare to do so. 

Jan Morris (below) was one of those people. 

Here is what "Wikipedia" wrote about her:

"Jan Morris CBE FRSL (born James Humphry Morris, 2 October 1926 – 20 November 2020) was a Welsh historian, author and travel writer. She was known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy (1968–1978), a history of the British Empire, and for portraits of cities, including Oxford, Venice, Trieste, Hong Kong, and New York City. She published under her birth name, James, until 1972, when she had gender reassignment surgery after transitioning from male to female.

As James Morris, she was a member of the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition, which made the first ascent of the mountain.[3] She was the only journalist to accompany the expedition, climbing with the team to a camp at 22,000 feet on the mountain and famously having the successful ascent announced in The Times on 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation."



Monday, November 23, 2020

Inspiration

The Cyrsti's Condo quote of the day comes from Laleh Chini :

"Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw in later life what you have deposited along the way.”

A Message from the "Crazy Cat Lady"

 Recently I wrote a post here in Cyrsti's Condo concerning the issue of men being afraid of women...trans or cis. And, received this comment from Michelle "The Crazy Cat Lady." 

"OH NO IT'S the crazy lady again...LOL!!!!


You posed a question about trans women holding a position of supervision in any industry. The process would be almost impossible. Not only, would we have to fight against the males who look down at us as trying to steal their positions in life but cis-women that are fighting to climb that proverbial ladder to success.

Let's get real, men are just scared little boys that want to control the playgrounds. They sit back on their collective butts and let others, mostly women, do the work. Women on the other hand are fighting to keep their foothold on that ladder and can be really mean fighters. I've learned first hand, just how catty and underhanded women can be.

We have to battle both sides, male and female, as well as (as you put it) the effects of testosterone poisoning, and for some of us, learning to cope with the effects of estrogen that all cis-women learn from birth to live with. Add on the effects of the religious right and the "Failed Steak Salesman's" administration. It's no wonder we have hot flashes, mood swings and fear getting into confrontations.

Yes, I heard that comment about not being able to bear children. I've heard it from both males and females. To the men I say "Men can't handle pregnancy and all that comes with it". And to the women, I would point out that our gender has that option. Many don't want or can medically have children. Some that go through pregnancy are finding that like some of their male counterpoints, don't want the children they bring into this world. One woman pointed out that she became pregnant because she thought it was expected of her as a female.

Yes, you are so right that we of the trans nature have to fight hard to win our rightful place in the world. And on that merry note, I'll retire to my couch, with a big cup of tea and snuggle up with
my cats."

Thanks for the comment!
I live with a self described "cat whisperer" and my daughter has a "gaggle" of cats. Being a dog person most of my life, it's all still very new to have these spoiled cats hanging around :)

Getting back to the subject at hand, I don't believe we discussed the power of sexuality women have over men.
Naturally enough, a man's sex drive is basically a large part of his ego and a women's is tied to a deep desire to feel wanted. I know I am trying to over simplify a complex subject. What is not over simplified is women have to take on the responsibility of birthing and raising the children. 

Of course, since transgender women still are on the outside looking in as far as birthing children is concerned, couples are capable of adopting and trans men in relationships with trans women are having children too. 

When you look at all of this, it's no wonder men are afraid of losing the power systems they have maintained over the years. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Big Sky

 This fall, most of the major network television shows have delayed filming schedules. One of the few who didn't was the "Big Sky" new release on ABC. Locally here it's on Tuesday nights. 

Of significance, the show features Jesse James Keitel (below),  who is making LGBTQ history as the first non binary regular actor in a lead role on prime-time television.


Previously, Keitel appeared in Alex Strangelove, Younger, and the Student Academy Award-winning film Miller & Son. Big Sky, created by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies), centers on the hunt for an abductor of women in Montana. Jerrie, a transfeminine nonbinary artist and sex worker, is one of his targets.

Keitel, who uses they/them and she/her pronouns, said they hoped the story may “change some hearts and minds” among conservative viewers regarding nonbinary and transgender people. Television is “the most powerful medium we have right now,” Keitel said. “It’s accessible to so many people, people who normally wouldn’t get to experience a person like this.”

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Just My Imagination

A couple of days ago, my endocrinologist called me back with the results of my recent laboratory visit to have the vampires check my blood. 

To my surprise she told me my estradiol level had risen from the last time she prescribed me new patches from a low of "40" to "80" currently. 

Since I am very poor in asking relevant questions such as what should my levels be, I went to Google and received this answer:

"For transgender women, the Endocrine Society guidelines define the target range of estradiol as 100–200 pg/mL (367–734 pmol/L)1; as many providers in our practice do not titrate therapy when estradiol levels are above 90 pg/mL (330 pmol/L), the range of 90–200 pg/mL (330–734 pmol/L) was used to define effective"

So, I guess because of those levels, she prescribed me adding one more patch I add to my body twice a week. I am prescribed (by the VA) Alora 1 mg patches. Each of the patches contains 3.1 mg of estradiol which is released over a 3 to 4 day period. I am fortunate I guess in that I haven't had any problems with the patches staying on. Because the next step would be me giving myself injections. I definitely have a problem with needles. 

Actually all these facts and figures are a way for me to understand the advanced gender transition I am going through. If the last time I received permission to increase my dosage is any indication, I can expect more changes again.

Of course the first time I added the extra patch, I imagined I felt an added fullness in my breasts and hip area. Realistically I know changes do occur over a period of time and not the first days. 

Plus I do know the risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy at my age. So does my Endo Doc I guess since wants to check my blood hormone levels in a month.

In the meantime, I will have to try to keep my imagination in check.  

Finally, statistics are showing nearly one in ten transgender individuals are using "underground" or un regulated hormones to aid their transition. Please be careful!

Friday, November 20, 2020

TDOR

 If you didn't know, "TDOR" stands for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day set aside to remember all the tragic, senseless killings of transgender women and men around the world. 

Here is a statement from the day's founder:

"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."
- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

It's always important to note also the great majority of transgender deaths in the U.S. are trans women of color. 

It's also important to remember on this day, we all have to be careful and do the basics to protect ourselves. 



The Aging Summit

 Three days of this week I was involved in watching and learning from the LGBT Aging Summit which was held virtually this year.

After I finally received the proper link to sign in, I had missed the keynote speech from an acquaintance of mine...a transgender woman of color. I did however after a fair amount of prodding, made it in for the next webinar on the current state of LGBT elderly residents when they come to the point of needing assisted care living. I wish I could write something positive about the prognosis but I can't. At least, here in Ohio, the current laws do nothing to protect elderly LGBT women and men from possible abuse. 

Imagine for a second if you were in a nursing home and a "well meaning" subordinate begins to show up in your room with a bible and explains she or he is giving you time to repent before it is too late. Or when you begin to be ostracized by the other residents. 

As you can tell, nothing in the webinar gave me much hope for the future except for the people involved who were involved in positive changes. 

The second webinar I "attended" was actually a viewing of the documentary "Gen Silent." It's actually a decade old now and includes looks at the lives of a transgender woman slowly dying of lung cancer, an elderly lesbian couple who describe the early days of navigating life together in Boston, as well as a gay couple which features one in an assisted living situation with dementia. 

By now, you understand the documentary didn't provide much joy and happiness for the future. Especially for me because my Dad passed on from dementia. It was hell.

Perhaps the biggest problem is, things haven't changed that much for the LGBT community over the past decade when it comes to aging. We need all the advocates we can get!

After watching "Gen Silent" I felt extremely blessed to be in a relationship with my partner Liz. The transgender woman who was passing away was sadly dying alone after being shunned by most of her family. 

If you decide to follow the link and watch "Gen Silent" you may want to have some tissues handy.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

What Does Transgender Awareness Mean to You

 To many of us, this is largely a meaningless question. Since we consider ourselves to be transgender, often we are aware of it much of our waking hours. Plus some of our resting hours as we dream. 

If you are similar to me, you had to live through an all encompassing pressure to find a way to a lifestyle which led to a path to the authentic you.



Along the way, I led an existence which led to hiding, sneaking around and even a form of cheating on my wife which led me to attempt harm on myself. Ironically, the whole process led me to a public scorn on occasion which led all the way to laughter. 

Finally, I came to the conclusion the male lifestyle I was desperately was trying to hold on to just wasn't worth it any more.  

I guess you could say my transgender awareness had reached it's peak and I was able to begin my MtF gender transition. 

I might add too, I suffered from varying degrees of gender dysphoria which added to my transgender awareness. 

Possibly, with the continued influence of the internet and social media over the years, transgender awareness in the general public's eye has undergone a positive transformation.

I can use my home state of Ohio as an example. Our Republican conservative legislature is currently listening to testimony from both sides on an LGBT anti discrimination bill. After years and years, this is the farthest it has ever advanced. Hopefully it will make it this time.

Perhaps also, you can feel a bit of pride in knowing you have existed and made a life for yourself as a successful transgender woman.

If you are still in your closet, hopefully you can take your time, read how others did it and be able to slowly and successfully enter a feminine world. There are plenty of us out here who are great role models! Something else which has really changed over the years.

Finally, enjoy your awareness week!

Transgender Awareness Week

 From Indie Wire comes a look at what to watch during the Transgender Awareness Week:

"Start with Laverne Cox in "Disclosure" and work your way to Isabel Sandoval's "Lingua Franca" for an eclectic array of trans storytelling.


This year saw the release of several quality films and TV shows steeped in authenticity, joy, and a genuine grappling with the complexities of the trans experience. There’s no better time to visit these projects than during Transgender Awareness Week, a week of celebration that culminates with Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, which memorializes victims of transphobic violence."

This is quite the lengthy post and it can be viewed in it's entirety here.

Why Trans Women Try Harder

 Recently here in Cyrsti's Condo I wrote a post on why men are scared of women. This post is an extension of that idea. 

In society, in order to rise in the system in most any field, a cis woman has to prove she is better than her male counter parts. Much better in many fields. I know in the restaurant industry I worked in, women managers were common but they all had to bring a different skill set than men to succeed. An example would be how they dealt with kitchen crews which required extreme coercion on occasion all the way to toughness and team building. Over the years, I had a couple of women kitchen managers who were so tough no male crew member would challenge them.

During those years, as I watched them work, I wondered how much more difficult the same task would be for a transgender woman in the same occupation. The answer of course was the whole process would be difficult to the point of being impossible. As transgender women though, we are a tougher tribe than we give ourselves credit for. On a fairly regular basis we have to gather our big girl panties and stare down the bigoted public who refuses to give us credit for being women at all.  I remember years ago when I received a comment here I couldn't be a woman of any sorts because I couldn't give birth to a child. Of course that isn't true because of the number of cis women who can't have kids for whatever medical reason or women like my deceased wife who never wanted to have kids. 

Other obstacles we transgender women have to face as we attempt to succeed in society is the effect of testosterone poisoning on our exterior presentation. After puberty most of us face an uphill battle to overcome our size and proportions to look at all feminine. We have to become very adept at the art of makeup and fashion to succeed at all. In other words, we have to become better than the average cis woman to make it. Not to mention the commination/voice skills we have to acquire. 

That's why we have to try harder. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Truth

 


Scared or Petrified?

 In response to Why Men are Scared of Women post, "Micelle" wrote in and commented:

"I believe you hit the nail squarely on the proverbial head when it comes to men. I once had some guy define women, especially wives as chattel.


Back in the earlier years, before the 1900's, women were often treated as mere servants to the master of the house. They had no opinion nor were allowed to become educated. Their sole purpose in life was to have children, cook clean and tend to the fields/herds.

Spring forward to today's society and you find that men are still trying to maintain that dominance over women. But unfortunately after WWII, when women maned the manufacturing plants and kept the economy going, men started to lose that dominance. Women became more than just homebound workers. Yes, men regained their place in industry but women learned how to manipulate the industries. They still held the administrative sections. Men tried desperately to maintain the breadwinner position but found that they needed women's earnings, more to help move up to the better life.

Now in today's society, women have gained many footholds into the workplace because so many men decided to leave them behind for greener grasses so to speak. Women found that they needed to keep their families going without men. Since 1960, females have maintained a 50.5% ratio in the population and if all indications are correct the female population will become the dominant gender in the world. Also with intersexed births on the rise(at least the ones that are reported) and trans women coming out to the world, many men, who try to be dominate, will have to realize that they are no longer in the driver's seat. Women have become stronger, smarter and more diverse in their standings in life"

Well put! Thanks!

.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Why Are Men Scared of Women?

 It's easier to say why are men so scared of transgender women but it goes so far past all of that. 

To begin with, many men have a frail grasp on their sexuality. Trans women represent the idea to men they may be gay. Plus, since we have spent time on their side of the gender spectrum, we may know more of the so called "tricks" they pull. The farther I transitioned, the more I wondered if I was as transparent in my dealings with women as men were being with me. I found out quite early in my transition how to "dumb" myself down if I was talking about a sports topic with a man. 

Men have a much narrower social structure than women. While women are building their lives around children they have and a man they love, men are building their lives around power structures such as money, sports etc.  All too often, a woman is looked upon as an acquisition of sorts. She must look nice in a car or on the back of a motorcycle. Then in mid life, women can be cast aside for a "new model."

Rather if it evident or not, men know women ultimately hold all the cards. Women have the children and potentially have the ability to live longer. Recently, more and more "glass" ceilings have been shattered. Including in previously male dominated areas such as sports. 

In baseball, the Marlins announced Kim Ng would be the first woman to lead a professional baseball team and more and more in football you are seeing female officials on the field. Then several years ago there was Patti Dawn Swansson, below the Canadian sports writer who transitioned on the job in Winnipeg (Thanks Bobbi). 


Unfortunately, many men are violent humans as cis women learn early in life which effects transgender women as we transition. Shielding ourselves from violent men is a priority when it comes to losing a big part of your male privilege. It's tragic when you consider all the trans lives which are lost each year due to senseless murders. Deep down, the men are threatened by the sexual control women, cis or transgender, have on them.

Finally, men at all levels of society have had to adjust to the push of women to succeed. Sowing the seeds of insecurity. With insecurity comes fear.  

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Transgender First for New Zealand

 A transgender Filipino woman has made history after being the first to achieve the highly coveted title of Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020.

Arielle Keil, 26, who was born in Davao City, Philippines as a boy named Andrew, but grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, underwent gender reassignment surgery earlier this year. 

The glamorous trailblazer, who is the first post-operative transgender contestant to compete in the Miss New Zealand beauty pageant.



The Interview

 Friday I was interviewed by a "30 something" college student concerning my lifetime of transgender experiences. I was selected because I matched the age requirement which was presented to the transgender - cross dresser group I am part of. The college student wanted someone over the age of 65. Naturally, at 71, I made the age cut. 

Most of the questions were predictable. Examples were how did I get to where I am now and what advice would I have for younger transgender women and men. I explained the steps I took to finally make my way out of a very dark closet into a very terrifying yet exciting feminine world. I went into the visits I made years ago to transvestite mixers close to my home in Ohio. How I learned very early how there were many different layers to the community which was portrayed as a strictly hetero sexual male experience. In reality, the opposite was the truth. Ironically, I found once again I didn't fit in. I wasn't part of the "A" listers who I described as the impossibly feminine beautiful looking "women" or the cigar smoking, cowboy hat wearing crowd who were desperately trying to hold on to their masculinity even though they were wearing dresses and makeup. It was quite the experience.

Even though I didn't fit in with the "A" girls, I still went along with them as they went out of mostly gay venues after the regular mixers. Slowly I learned how much I wanted to continue living as a woman and more importantly, I found I could actually do it. I was breaking loose from the chains of being confined to a Halloween only experience into a life with others around me who had similar gender interests.

Other questions revolved around the differences between the years involving the advent of the internet and various social media platforms. It's not too much of a stretch to think both events have had the most effect on people being able to come out of the closet and live a transgender life. 

We basically ended the interview with the most predictable question of all, "What advice would I give to younger transgender people?" My answer was probably over simplistic. I said be aware if you can live long enough to experience it, life is but a circle. Right now with the hope of a new president on the horizon, the circle can get rolling again. 

Remember though, even if the going gets tough, sticking together always has the potential to move us forward. In other words, do not participate in ideas such as I am more transgender than you are. 

When you look back to the days when you could be arrested for even going out in public cross dressed as a woman, we have come a long way. But we still have such a long way to go.   

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Bambi Lake

 Bambi Lake, a songwriter, performer, San Francisco Tenderloin fixture, and former member of the legendary Cockettes — the gender-bending performance troupe that grew out of the queer spaces in the Haight of the late 1960s and deeply influenced modern San Francisco drag — has died after a brief battle with cancer. She was 70


Biden Gets Busy

From "The Blade"

 "The Biden transition team has named transgender veteran Shawn Skelly as a member of its agency review team as LGBTQ advocates are pushing the new administration to undo President Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously.

Skelly, who co-founded Out in National Security, an affinity group for LGBTQ national security professionals, and served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a naval flight officer, is named a member of the agency review team for the Defense Department in a news statement that went out Wednesday."


Great news!


Saturday, November 14, 2020

When Does Transition Cease to be a Verb?

 As with so many of my thoughts, I encountered this idea from Riley Black another blogger/writer from the "Medium" on line magazine. Riley brought up the idea of a gender transition ceasing to be a verb and then becoming a noun. If you are similar to me, I had to think back to my high school English classes to figure out what Riley meant. 

Finally my noggin started to understand the gender process we all go through as we gender transition. Is it always a verb as we progress. Or do we obtain a level when transition levels off and becomes a noun?

I have been in my transition for a long time.  In fact, if you consider all the years I cross dressed, I have been on a transition path for over sixty years. You can put it nicely and say I just took a little longer to discover my true self or...I was just a slow learner. 

These days, I have a tendency to think my transition has plateaued out and I know now what is around the next corner. On the other hand, life has taught me to never take anything for granted. Plus now, at the age of 71, I would be remiss if I didn't look ahead at the possible specter of spending time in an assisted living facility. 

It's looking more and more my transition will always be a verb.  

Friday, November 13, 2020

Attending the Summit

 Well, I am paid up, signed up and ready to attend the Aging Summit to be held next week. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the transgender women of color I know is going to take on the duties of keynote speaker on day one of the three day event. I also signed up for two of the seminars I saw on issues senior LGBT individual face as they are forced into senior living situations. 


On day one, the session I am signed up for is called "LGBT Aging" and the session will address how aging as an LGBTQ older adult is different than aging as a heterosexual, cisgender older adult, and how we can reflect and honor these differences. 

On day two, the session is called "Resilience Planning for the LGBT Community. " It really zero's in on some of my paranoias. Such as the barriers older individuals experience to health, social support and community resources.

This is a virtual summit and there are several other seminars I still may attend. If you by chance are interested in attending, drop me an email to Jessiehart751@yahoo,com and I will send you a link. It costs fifty dollars. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A Day Out with the Vampires

 Well, I finally made it out of the house for an extended period. Ironically, it was only to visit my Veteran's Administration hospital in Dayton, Ohio to have my blood labs taken. For those of you who don't know, I am a transgender veteran of the Army during the Vietnam War era.

The last several times I have made the journey to visit the "vampires" as I call them has been very much uneventful. This time though, they waiting room was nearly full and once I did take my turn, I had so many vials of blood (8) they needed that the tech who took my blood had to use both arms to get enough blood. He finally did and I was sent on the way past the "admiring public" in the waiting area. 

Liz (my partner) was off from her job and agreed to go with me. Also the day happened to be unreasonably warm and beautiful. I was able to wear an easy to access T-shirt for the vampires pus jeans and tennis shoes. The one thing I noticed was how old the other Vietnam veterans looked. They were all wearing their hats and stood out from the rest of the room,

From the looks I received, I must have stood out too! Of course I was wearing a mask, so all they could see of me was my eye make up and very long hair. Any way you cut it too, I am not a small person at 5'10" and have the thick torso I inherited from living a life of testosterone poisoning. 

Yesterday though, none of any of the blank stares I was receiving bothered me in the least. In my mind I was the most attractive woman in the room. As I walked past all of them I tried to straighten my shoulders, stick out my chest and at the least try to be happy I was out of the house.

Even if it was only for a trip to the vampires.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day 2020

 As I semi-frequently mention here in Cyrsti's Condo, I served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. I was fortunate in that I only was actually in Vietnam for a half hour twice. I served a year in Thailand supporting the troops who supported the fighter jets who escorted the B-52 bombers and did recognizance. At the time as I was trapped in my battles with gender dysphoria, serving time in the military was very close to the last place I wanted to be. I had no choice, I was drafted, passed my physical and then enlisted for three years to have a chance of working in my choice of jobs. In other words, I wasn't in the military to "make me a man" once and for all. 

It turned out the time I served was to come back and help me so many times times in my life. I have written many times of how being in the Army led me to meeting my first wife and the greatest gift I have ever received, my daughter. Along the way I was able to travel parts of the world I would have never seen and receive the health care I receive today at very little cost. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the veterans past and current and especially those of you like Michelle. She is another transgender veteran who reads and contributes to the blog. Thank you all for your service! 

Freedom is never free as referenced by the election we just went through.



Tuesday, November 10, 2020

We Are Just People Too!

 One of the more rewarding parts of being an "out" transgender woman also carries more than a small amount of responsibility. In many ways, we are "tasked" with proving to the general public we are just like anyone else they might meet...or are we?

Here is Michelle's take on the idea:

"The news about the LGBTQ candidates that have won their respective positions in the political world made me hopeful that the American public is starting to see us as just people. For too long, many so called open minded looked at many of us as freaks but now they are looking at the community as individuals that have more to offer than what they have been brought up to believe about LGBTQ. I hope to see more openly LGBTQ people come into the light and escape their closets."

I agree totally with the idea we need positive transgender role models. The more we have, the more chances we have to show ourselves to be similar to anyone else in the world. Assuming you want to that is. For one, I take pride in being transgender and at the same time I lived/live my life similar to so many others. My life certainly was shaped by my early years in the Army and by playing sports. Surely a surprise to many I have met who have somehow made their way past the personal walls I erected to protect myself. 

On the other hand, I have been little off center as far as the so called "normal" is concerned. In many ways, I used the process to protect myself. After all, my macho male personage was difficult to maintain. Plus, I was self destructive in nature and took too many needless chances. Some were successful, some not so much. 

In the end though, all the chances I took led me to being able to lead a successful life as a transgender woman and project to others I am mostly similar to them. Not a threat, not a freak. 

Just like everyone else, trying to get through this life alive.   


Monday, November 9, 2020

More Election

 Even with all the election angst in Washington which so effects the transgender experience, our representation under the LGBT umbrella in increasing. Even if it does have leaks.  An example was a link Michelle sent into the Cyrsti's Condo blog: 

"At least 843 LGBTQ people currently serve in elected offices across the United States, constituting a 21 percent increase since June 2019, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s “Out for America 2020” census of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer elected officials.

Particularly pronounced increases were seen in the number of LGBTQ mayors, with a 35 percent year-over-year jump; the number of bisexual and queer-identified people, with increases of 53 percent and 71 percent, respectively; and the number of transgender women serving in elected office, with a 40 percent year-over-year rise."

Locally, here in Cincinnati, Ohio an openly lesbian woman convincingly won the county's Sheriff election over a rump supported republican challenger, 

Even with the increases, there is still so far to go. Here is more information from the NBC News post:

"“While LGBTQ people are running for office in historic numbers, we remain severely underrepresented at every level of government — and that must change,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement.

According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults say they are LGBTQ. According to the Victory Institute, just 0.17 percent of roughly a half million elected officials are known to be LGBTQ. The Victory Institute says that in order for LGBTQ people to achieve “equitable representation,” there would need to be 22,544 more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in elected office."

Thanks for sharing Michelle!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Day in the Life

I often wonder why I struggle so hard to find subjects to write about in this blog. Perhaps it is because I have been doing it for so long, approximately ten years now. 

Then again, so much has changed during my decade of a serious Mtf transition.  Early in, I was obsessed with appearance. I felt how I looked more completely validated me as a feminine being. I compare the process with the very early days when I explored my Mom's clothes and makeup. The attraction was thrilling and very real but wore off quickly. Similarly, as I started to go to the same places as a cross dresser, all of the sudden I was shocked to learn other people viewed me as a real person. If not necessarily a full fledged woman, at the least a transgender woman. Of course, where I lived here in Ohio very few people even had any sort of an idea what a transgender person was. Including me. 

Once I learned the basics to fitting into the world, I discovered I had an easier time of presenting a feminine image and fitting in. I was done with the short mini skirts and the clown wigs. Replacing them with fashionable women's suits and jeans and a much more passable honey blond wig. Possibly, the most important lesson I learned was to dress for other women and blend in. Rather than trying to validate myself with men in clothes which were more trashy than sexy. 

Then. by pure accident, I found myself befriended by several lesbians who made me feel better about being an independent transgender woman, not needing a man for validation. 

By now, you are probably thinking why this post's title is what is was. Truthfully, I don't know except on many days I really don't have a good idea of what I am going to write about. For example, today I almost lifted an idea from a "Medium Magazine" post on what makes a real woman. For any number of reasons I couldn't go down that rabbit hole today.

Instead I meandered back deep into my past which partially explains how I got here today. I'm sure I will have more to add later. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Hope for the Future

 Among the record number of LGBTQ hopefuls running for election in 2020, one in particular stands out. 

In Delaware, Sarah McBride (below) has won her state Senate race, poising her to become the first and only openly transgender state senator in the U.S. and the country’s highest-ranking transgender official.


Ms. McBride, 30, a Democrat and an activist, handily defeated Steve Washington, a Republican, in the First State Senate District, which includes Wilmington and leans heavily left.

“I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride, 30, tweeted Tuesday night after the election was called. “As Delaware continues to face the Covid crisis, it’s time to get to work to invest in the policies that will make a difference for working families.”

Also, the House saw its largest, most diverse class of openly LGBTQ candidates win election and reelection to Congress this week, the LGBTQ Victory Fund said.

The group, a national organization that works to increase the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials in government, said on Wednesday afternoon that nine LGBTQ candidates running in House races have secured victories

Good news indeed!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Bigger than Four Walls

 Most closets are made up of four walls. The same could be said about the four walls we transgender and cross dressers build around ourselves during our lives.

Unless you have been in our shoes, it is difficult to explain to others what we have gone through. First of all, the main problem we have explaining is none of being transgender is a choice. I finally became tired of people asking me when did I know I wanted to be a woman. My answer became, I always knew I was a woman. I didn't have to fall back on the old compliment "You make a good looking woman". I was always waiting for the other shoe to fall and the person finishing their comment saying "For a man." 

Plus, anytime I received a compliment concerning my appearance, it made my closet I was in so much more unbearable. Looking back, I didn't understand every time my feminine self was reinforced, I tried to prove my male self so much more. The delicate gender balance I was trying to maintain was destroyed and I became a very difficult person to live with. Because it was tough to live with myself. The fact of the matter was my problems were created by trying to overcome my four walls I was creating. In fact, I had two closets, one feminine and one masculine. The masculine one on occasion was easier to exist in simply because it was the one I was born into. 

Finally though, I couldn't take it anymore and had the chance to tear down all of the closets I had carefully crafted over the years. Naturally the entire process was the most difficult process I had ever attempted in my life and I didn't start it until I was in my 60's. Fortunately the world was changing a decade ago and thanks to the internet and social media, I was able to see others similar to me who had attempted and achieved successful Mtf gender transitions. 

Hopefully, if you are stuck in a gender closet of your own, you can find a way to be bigger than your four walls and break out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Unrealistic Expectations?

 Over the past week or so we have been featuring a few of the gorgeous transgender models who have been successes in the fashion industry.  Regarding the posts, Paula from the UK sent in this comment:

"It's great seeing these girls do so well, in an industry that is hard enough for anyone to break into. I just hope that their high profiles don't give people unreal expectations of the great majority of us ~ especially the fat old ones like me!" 

I agree with your comment and I am sure it resonates with many other transgender women. In fact, I am sure it also does with cis women too. After all, society puts too much pressure on women (transgender or not) to look a certain way. Imagine the multi billion dollar appearance industry without the pressure. 

As far as the trans fashion models go, you have to take into consideration what they had to go through to take a magical picture. Plastic surgeries, breast augmentations, plus not to mention having access to highly skilled makeup artists and photographers all add up to a real success story. As close as I have ever been able to come was a photo shoot I was invited to years ago. They were doing a presentation book on the diversity of women. Even there, I was on my own as far as makeup and hair were concerned. As far as the results went, I wasn't satisfied of course. 

Look, I know I will never be another Andreja Pejic (below), the best I will ever be able to do is try to present the best feminine presentation I can on a daily basis. I have had no surgeries including facial hair removal, so basically I am what you see is what you get. The one powerful help in my feminization process I have used is the hormone replacement therapy I have been on for years. I have felt the results have been amazing.

Even though, as I said, I agree with Paula, I am one of the old fat trans girls too!

Before we go though here is another beautiful transgender model to be envious of:



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Finally Time to Vote

 Today is the all important election day, at the least, the most important one of my old life. 

I'm sure by now you all know how I was going to vote but in case you didn't...here you go!



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Another Top Transgender Model

 


Easily one of the most talked about models of 2019, Brazilian-born Valentina Sampaio made history as Victoria's Secret's first-ever transgender model. Victoria's Secret aside, the 23-year-old has quite the CV, having previously been a spokeswoman for L'OrĂ©al and appeared on the covers of ELLE U.S., Vanity Fair Italia and Vogue Brasil.



Cha-ch Changes

  Vote BLUE! After many years of keeping the blog title the same, I have decided to modernize it to reflect the name I adopted as my legal m...