Monday, February 28, 2022

No Body Cares

 In response to my Amish post about Liz and I's trip to one of the Amish centers of Southern Ohio,  I received several wonderful comments. 

The first comes from Paula over in the UK:

Photo Courtesy Paula Godwin

"In my experience here in Europe most people simply do not care a fig whether somebody is trans or not, inevitably on occasion some of us may get a little more attention than many cis women, simply because of our size. However this does remind me of a couple of things, like the occasion when in total exasperation my wife exclaimed "Not everything is about gender" ~ only now am I really beginning to believe this, as for several years pretty much everything in my life was about gender.


The other occasion was one of those "out of the mouths of babes" moments ~ back in the day when the world was experiencing me as a man, but y internal identity didn't match I was experimenting with androgyny, presenting, I thought, pretty much non binary. I was walking around one of my favorite gardens when I heard a little girl ask her mother (Mummy, why has that lady got a beard" I took this as a sign that I had to make some changes!"

Yes, Paula, a beard may not be a preferred fashion touch! Thanks for the comment! 

The second came from Angel Amore:

"Similar to the first time I went into a Cracker Barrel in rural Missouri dressed as my dollicious self. Anyway, the sky didn't fall and nobody cared. So I now go back every once in a while. Always overdressed compared to the natives, except on Sunday, when you can dress like a church lady."

Thanks Angel. I too have eaten in several rural Cracker Barrels with very little negative feedback. Perhaps the most interesting was when our tour bus stopped at one. Of course then they were so busy no one had a chance to notice me. Even when I had to use the woman's room. 


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Do the Amish Care?

Ohio has several areas dominated by the Amish culture and one happens to be within a day trip of our home in Cincinnati. 

Photo Credit: JJ Hart

Since the weather was actually becoming more hospitable, Liz and I decided to make the trip to one of the major Amish stores in the area. If it sounds like a contradiction in terms it isn't. After driving miles off the Appalachian Highway in the less than liberal rural Ohio, we reached our destination. Out of nowhere near "Dunkinsville" (true story) in a farm field was a layout of what amounted to an Amish Mall. It had three major shops plus a big workshop building where they built everything from furniture to chicken coups. 

By now I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Here I was in decidedly tRumpt country heading into an Amish store. I felt as if I was the only transgender woman within a hundred miles. As it normally does for me, time slowed to a crawl as we went in the front doors. Once I did, we found ourselves in a wonderful store with one side devoted to everyday housing needs and the other half to what we came for. All sorts of different delicious jellies, candies and too many pickled products to mention. 

As we browsed the shelves any thoughts I had of being mis-gendered went away. Everyone was too immersed in their own shopping to care about me. It was true. My deceased wife once told me "it's not always about you." Later on though it did become all about me. 

The store also had a mini deli where you could buy bulk meat and cheeses or a place where you could order a sandwich and various sides. As Liz and I chose of of the few remaining seats, we ended up sitting next to a rather rough looking family with several teen boys who couldn't stop glancing at me. About that time I braced myself for the comments to follow since I was sitting close enough to them to hear everything they said. 

Finally, I survived and heard no ugly gender comments and was able to enjoy one of favorite treats, a garlic bologna sandwiches on big slices of sourdough bread. The family finally left ahead of us. leaving my last interaction with the Amish themselves at the checkout counter. 

The Amish man at the check out register didn't give me a second glance but his daughter did. I approximated her age to be around seven or eight and she paid me quite a bit of attention. When she looked at me it brought back memories of an encounter I had in a clothing store when I was shopping. As I was checking the blouses, I abruptly came across a young girl. She promptly announced to her Mother look at the big woman. I thought at the least she perceived me as feminine and then she said a big mean woman. From then on, I resolved to change the old male scowl on my face and I did the same thing with the young Amish girl. I looked at her and smiled. When I did, she turned away and went back to whatever she was doing.

Looking back at the day, of course the Amish wouldn't care if I was transgender or stare. After all , I would imagine they go through the same problem if they journey outside of their home base. Plus, we were spending money with them. 

We paid and headed back to civilization.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Crossing the Cross Dresser

 Recently I think it was Mark who was confused by a few of my comments about me transitioning from a cross dresser all the way to a full time out (and proud) transgender woman.  Finally, I got it through my thick noggin not all people understand what I am writing about.

Over the years too, I have tried not to be condescending to all cross dressers by appearing to take a "transer than thou" attitude. Most of the time I tried to add a sentence alluding to the fact, in many ways I spent nearly a half a century trying to decide or gather the courage to face head on my reality...I was always destined to live in a feminine world. Completely. 

Finally I came to the conclusion my life was a series of gender transitions. From innocent explorer into my Mom's clothes to a full fledged exploration of girl's fashion all the way to hormone replacement therapy and living full time as my authentic self. All of them sandwiched in between life's normal transitions as we age.

If I had been true to myself I would have understood years ago I was more into being a girl than I was looking like one.

As I wrote in a recent post, there are very few people who knew me at all in my cross dressing days and Connie was one. Here is her comment:

Cross Dressing Photo
JJ Hart

"I guess, technically, I met you (online) when you were still considering yourself to be a cross dresser. I remember expressing my doubt to you when you told me you were content balancing your male and female lives. Of course, I never knew the "before you," even if you were showing that to others. It didn't feel to me as though your transition was anything other than inevitable - even as hard as you were trying to make a cross dresser's life work. I knew it because I had realized it of myself. I think that I even asked you if you thought you were cross dressing as a female or a male. ;-)"

Thanks for the insightful comment. Again it wasn't until I started to live as my authentic gender self, did I realize I was viewing life the entirely wrong way. All those years I was pretending  to be a macho man, all I was doing was cross dressing as a man.

So, as you can tell, I believe there are many levels of cross dressing to consider and the bottom line is if you feel good doing it you should.

Life is too short to go at it any other way.  Only you can determine how supposedly selfish it is to involve your gender pursuits with others. I have been amazed over the years how some cross dressers either are able to stay in the closet. In many ways they could be a better person than I. Straddling both sides of the binary gender spectrum nearly killed me.

Crossing the cross dresser was the only way I could go.

Friday, February 25, 2022

A Clean Transgender Slate?

 As I sat here this morning it was one the few days I didn't have any clear idea of what I was going to write about. It also helped that neither my problem knees or back weren't really bothering me for a change. I was ready to face the world...or the computer.

Photo Credit : Jessie Hart

Of course as it usually does, my mind started to work overtime and I started to wonder if any transgender person really does ever have a clean slate when it comes to their lives. It seems to me the baggage we carry from our youth and/or the continuing gender dysphoria we experience stays with us in various forms for our entire life. 

On occasion I find my writing to be a source of personal therapy and any response I receive between here and the Medium writers format is a form of icing on the cake,  Take for example the response I received from Lsjaffee on my recent post "Whose Fault was It?" Which made a reference to the pregnancy drug DES:

"The irony is that my mom took DES because she was conditioned in the 1950s to think that women at 30 couldn’t get pregnant. Like you, I wonder what impact it had on how I turned out. But in her case, she was homophobic and transphobic (the latter I discovered late in her life when dementia ate away what little brain cells she had yet). Yet I had sympathy for her when she, in a rare moment of clarity, described being groped on the subway when she was a teenager, or how her father mentally abused her mother. It was in a letter from my mother to my grandmother that I found 10 years ago cleaning out a drawer that revealed she took DES. I tucked that revelation away until 2 years ago when I tried making sense of why I am. It’s definitely clearer now."


That comment alone helped me to take another look back at my past and showed me one of my posts could be therapeutic to others. How all of that relates to a "clean transgender slate" remains to be seen. In fact, now my devious mind is stuck on being paranoiac about landing in a transphobic nursing home in my final years of life. Finally, I am working my way out of all the needless anxiety which it fosters.

Along the way also, a "transgender clean slate" has meant to me being able to ignore the people in my life who decided not to accept my transition to my authentic feminine self. My prime example is my brother and his in laws. After my wife passed away, who took it upon herself to cook for the entire family on Thanksgiving, my sister in law inherited the task. It just so happened it was just before the holiday when I decided to come out of the closet and tell what was left of my world I was a transgender woman. Before I came unannounced to the family gathering as my new authentic self, I decided to give my brother the benefit of the doubt to see if my invitation still stood.  It turned out I wasn't and we went our separate ways. Sad but true. 

Through it all, I knew I wouldn't be able to come through my transition unscathed but more or less I did.

It's the only reason I was able to reestablish myself in the world as the person I was always meant to be and set up a new :Clean Transgender Slate." 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Always a Surprise

 This  happens to me very rarely, in fact about once every  two years and a half. Yesterday I received a friend request on Facebook from a person I ultimately decided I knew from my old male cross dressing days.  Recently I have been accepting requests from those acquaintances I have met or people who live close to me.  This person actually lives in a town I used to run a restaurant in just before I retired. So I accepted.

Almost immediately she messaged me about how much I had changed for the better. Which of course was nice. From there we exchanged niceties and remembrances concerning the places we happened to hang out  together with mutual friends. Ironically one of the friends was one I was thinking of fondly a couple days ago. He ran a neighborhood tavern I used to go to quite frequently. From his clientele which ranged into a few gay and lesbian types, I often wondered how I would have been accepted as my authentic self. Sadly I was never able to find out because I never had enough courage to try and he ended up passing away shortly after all of that. I fondly remember him as a kind man who accepted most all types in his tavern as long as they weren't trouble makers.

It only makes three people (all cis women) who I "imprinted" as my false male self now who have tracked me down over the past decade. On occasion it is fun to ponder the "what if's". What if I had thrown caution to the wind and transitioned? Even though the three women who accept me now  gladly do it, would they have done it then when the world was different as far as transgender women and men were concerned. Actually, even back in those days, I was exploring the feminine world in my own way to answer my questions about transitioning. I have written before how I had very few male friends to start with and they all died.


Even though I still knew several cis women, more importantly I was forming new friend bonds with other women so my transition was made so much easier. The photo is me with Nikki and Kim to the right. They quite possibly helped me to save my life and made my Mtf gender transition so much easier. 

Along with Kathy and Mim who invited to my first girls night outs, my gender confidence soared.

All of them including my partner Liz of course helped me to pry the transgender closet door open and allow me to finally escape. 

So. it is always a surprise when I happen upon a person who knew the "before me:" Almost to a person, no one ever guessed my "secret." Which only meant I was very successful at hiding my authentic feminine self. 

The biggest surprise was on me when I discovered how natural it all felt after I transitioned.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

 A friend of mine is working to complete his doctorial thesis and is looking for survey participants who can answer yes to the following  questions: 

1.- Do you identify as LGBTQ or Ally?

2.-Have experienced self identified spiritual religious or spiritual trauma. 

3,- Have experienced self identified growth after said trauma.

4.-Do you currently live in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky or Tennessee

5.- Are you 18 years or older.

The 15 minute anonymous survey is being conducted by Ryan Joseph Allen  at Xavier University.

The hope is the study will yield understanding and spotlight areas of future research and service to those who have experienced religious trauma and PTSD spiritual growth within the LGBTQ Plus Community.

The survey can be accessed directly from this link:

https://xavier.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6QHkickaCjCQOtw

Thanks! For further info, feel free to contact me.

Parental Guidance?

 A couple days ago I wrote a post which spotlighted parental fixation from transgender women and men. Or the how's or whys  of our lives as we grow into our adult selves. 

Connie responded with this comment:

Photo Source: Connie
Malone

"The last words my mother uttered, as she lay in her hospice bed, were, “It’s nobody’s fault.” I think that was her way of making a final confession in general, but I’ve chosen to embrace it as a sign of forgiveness for me, her oldest son, even though I longed so to be seen as her only daughter. I doubt, though, that she would have been any less critical of me, but I still know that I’d have been a much happier daughter than the son I was forced to be. There was no need for me to come out to her, as I’d been caught more than once in my trans expressions. Although we never discussed the subject, I was chastised and humiliated on a number of occasions – even beaten with a stick – during my childhood for being (unacceptably) different.


The beating incident took place when I was 13, after I’d put a small dent in her car during one of my middle-of-the-night jaunts out as my feminine-self. Despite the beating, though, I remember the whole thing with some humor. Her main concern was not that I’d dented the car, nor was it that I’d snuck the car out – never mind that I was only 13. No, it was her fear that someone might have identified me as her, being out at 3:00 AM! The optimistic way for me to remember this is that she thought I looked convincing enough for people to mistake me for my mother, and that it was a back-handed compliment for my ability to pass. Back-handed compliments were the only kind she ever gave me, anyway, but I was driving her car, wearing her clothes and wig, and I have always resembled her facially. Unfortunately, I also resembled her in temperament and sarcastic wit. I have learned to forgive myself for that, though, and I’m a much nicer person than I used to be; she never really got there.

Gender identity is not a fault, but much fault can be attributed to how one deals with it – whether that be the person dealing with the dysphoria directly or others that are affected by it. So much more is known about it now than was known 60 years ago. I don’t blame my mother for how she handled who she thought was a sick and disgusting son. I do place some blame on both of us for never having had a frank discussion about my gender identity, however. Sorry, Mom, you were wrong to say that there was no fault. There was, but it was for what we didn’t do, and not anything that was done.

“IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” ― Lewis Carroll"

Thank you so much for the in-depth look at your life!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Following in Whose Footsteps?

 Perhaps you have seen the insurance company television commercial where the middle aged participants were becoming their parents.

Photo Credit: JJ Hart

We as transgender people, similar to most other aspects of our life look at the process differently. We for whatever reason, fixated on the parent of the opposite gender than us. In my case, my Mother. In my earliest years I do remember watching my Mom putting on her makeup and noticing certain other mannerisms. 

I also grew up being told and recognizing it was true how much I resembled my Mother, even though I outgrew her clothes very early in life. She was only a little over five foot in height so it didn't take much. She was also part of the WWII/depression generation which meant full make up and nice clothes most of the time when she went out. Plus she was a full time high school teacher which meant professional attire for her.

Ironically, not a whole lot of her "fashion" wore off on me. As I grew up, I was inspired by the Boho "Hippie" girls around me. I simply loved the fashion of that period all the way from mini skirts to bell bottomed jeans. I was able to secure a small amount of those clothing items for my little "stash" of feminine collectibles.  It wasn't until college when I was able to afford a long straight blond wig I loved dearly which went a long way to completing my outfit of the times.

By this time the military was knocking on my door and the writing was on the wall when I passed my physicals and was pronounced  fit to serve by Uncle Sam. One of the ways I had to stay away from actual combat was to enlist for three years. I happened to be working for a small radio station owned by a Congressman I used his influence in part by saying I will serve, just don't let them ruin my career in the broadcasting industry. When in fact I wanted to say don't let them ruin my time as a cross dresser. Which of course I couldn't. 

In the years following my time in the Army, I mostly followed in my Mother's footsteps in the make up department. For any number of reasons I obsessed into looking my best feminine self. I learned so well, my two wives along the way asked me for help with their makeup.  And no I wasn't marred to them at the same time. 

Through it all, I retained a love for wearing a Boho based fashion.  I say based because I wasn't totally into my old Hippie based world until it became back in fashion. But I did keep my fondness for wearing feminine pant suits and slacks. So much so I was called out for my fashion sense at a cross dresser mixer I went to. Someone asked me why would I want to dress feminine and not wear a dress. I responded that I see plenty of women not wearing a dress.  I should have finished the comment with now mind your own business.

If indeed I was following in my Mom's footsteps, I would have said exactly that. She was very outspoken and while I didn't retain much of her sense of fashion, I did retain her attitude. 

Fashion too is generational of course and if she was alive today, I'm sure Mom would not approve of my jeans, boots, and sweater wardrobe, While I watch tons of old movies from the 1940's I truly am fascinated with both gender's sense of fashion. I just can't see myself following in their high heeled footsteps. But, I certainly respect those that do.    

Monday, February 21, 2022

Whose Fault was It

 I often think about and sometimes write about what if I was never gender dysphoric and ultimately made it my life's goal to be a woman. In fact, if someone had asked me early in life (and I gave a honest answer) what I really wanted to do with my life, somewhere in the answer, being a girl would have made it into the conversation. Of course I never had the courage to answer like that.

Photo Courtesy
J,J, Hart

I have written before on the effects of the drug DES which was given to pregnant women who had a history of problem pregnancies'. What is DES? Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature labor, and related complications of pregnancy.  I fit the description as I was born in 1949 and my mother suffered from a string of cruel miscarriages and still births. So it's very possible I was a DES baby.

What did it mean to me? Most likely a lifetime of gender struggle. I wish I could reclaim just a small portion of the energy it took me to stay in the male gender lane. 

I wish too I could have had a chance to experience just a small lesson into what a girl went through growing up. I remember quite vividly the changes I went through when male puberty took over my body. I remember too how I didn't like it but thought I didn't really have much of a choice. I am happy for the young transgender youth of today who at the least have a possibility of being prescribed hormone blockers to help development  into their authentic selves. 

Looking back at the process now, I'm sure my Mom who was a very forceful individual would have forced her "daughter's" hand  into going to the same college as she did along with being in the same sorority. I can only imagine the pressure she put on me as a son would have increased dramatically

Most certainly there would have been other trade off's too. The primary one concerns my time in the military. Seeing as how I have to add in all the years the Vietnam War hung around for, caused me to have to worry about going and serving. All the worry led me to the ultimate prize of meeting my first wife and her birthing my daughter who I cherish as the greatest gift of my life.

For the most part, my gender condition was no one's fault. In the end I was given lipstick and learned to wear it and if it wasn't for DES I may not be around to experience the gender euphoria I feel on occasion. 

I wonder if DES had come with a transgender warning label if Mom would have decided to take it.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Living in the Moment

 How many times have you heard the advice "Live life in the moment?" I know my Mom always said it. She probably meant it but forgot to add, do it only if it didn't reflect badly on the family or her. After all, how would her friends and fellow teachers react if they discovered her oldest son wanted to be a girl, I actually came out to her once after I was discharged from the Army after serving my three years. She offered psychiatric care which was a normal response back in those days (1970's).

Photo Courtesy
J,J. Hart 

Regardless, I think transgender people have added pressure to try to live it the moment. Our problem is tomorrow looks so inviting. Not unlike the grass is always greener on the other side of the gender border. 

Take hormone replacement therapy for example. Just a couple more months and my breasts will be bigger and my overall feminine appearance will improve and free me from the guy staring at me in the morning every day.

With so many gender trigger objects in the world, it is no wonder living in the moment is so difficult. In addition to our own gender issues we have chosen to take on the specific issues of the gender we are seeking to live as our authentic selves. A prime example is involving ourselves as transgender women in the beauty industry. We have directly chosen to join  the overwhelmingly obsessive drive to find the newest  beauty trend guaranteed to help us achieve impossible levels of beauty.

I know all of this is true for me at least as I use a moisturizer every night after cleansing my skin to ward off the inevitable wrinkles which I know will happen at my age of 72. Then, let us not forget the all important eyeshadow and special new mascara . Guaranteed to send my eye lashes to new sexy lengths. 

Tomorrow, it's always been tomorrow for me. You would think all my experience with death in my life, I would have learned to take my time to enjoy life in the moment. Now the inevitable is happening, I am running out of time. 

Living in the moment is becoming so rare. Then again just realizing it is a step in the right direction.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Not Fooling Anyone

 Early in my days as a novice cross dresser, I was obsessed with "fooling" the public into thinking I was a cis woman. As proof, when I look back at my earliest blog posts, I see a trend. I am almost completely into my appearance and not much to do with the feeling associated with being out in the public eye as a woman at all.

While we are on the subject, Mark sent in a question asking why I separated my time as a cross dresser with my time as a transgender woman. In essence Mark my idea of being a cross dresser was the process of looking like a woman. Being transgender to me was the process of coming as close as I could to becoming a cis woman of different upbringing. I have always believed females are not born as women. It's a process of socialization they go through to claim the title. Of course men go through the same process. So transgender people can too.

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

 I guess I could say my time as a cross dresser enabled me to learn and see if I wanted to take the next step to being a transgender woman. The point of no return for me was when I started hormone replacement therapy. Which brings up the question of why it took me so long. The answer is very complex and varies from person to person. In many ways I am very envious of the young transgender girls and boys who are able to come out and live as their authentic self at a young age. In many ways, at my age, I see myself as sort of an unwilling pioneer because times were so different and difficult to come out in as I was growing up in the 1950's and 60's. 

So, who was I fooling? Sometimes quite a few people when I started to try my hand at going out into a feminine world. At the time I thought the world was primarily a masculine one with women being around to look good and to birth/raise children. I was completely wrong. Once I started to dress for the approval of or to blend in with the rest of women in society I started to be accepted for at the least a transgender woman. I found also, most of the people didn't really care. They were in their own little worlds. Stay out of their way and they would stay out of mine. 

All of a sudden I didn't care anymore if I was "fooling" anyone into thinking I was feminine. After I quit fooling myself, my gender puzzle came into focus. 

My entire life, I had been trying to fool myself into thinking I was male orientated at all and the process hurt me deeply. I was the biggest fool of all.

Friday, February 18, 2022

My Moral Compass

 As probably with  many transgender women and/or men of any age, our moral compasses have been tested. Of course I am no different. As I look back, there were so many chances I had to ignore my personal compass and set a vastly different course in my life. 

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash


I learned the hard way my compass had several different settings other than the North, South, East and West. I found I could easily add an N" for no and a "M" for maybe. Very early in my feminine development I learned also how many others were crossing the line as far as their compasses were concerned. My first example was from the so called hetero cross dresser mixers. It seemed odd to me the number of attendees would pair off in couples and disappear to one of their rooms. My evil mind considered the "hetero" part of attendance was  not mandatory after all.

As it happened, I had a chance at my own encounter with a guy after one of the mixers when I had begged my way along with the group I called the "A" listers.  To make a long story short, we all ended up in this local neighborhood tavern  and I was the only one who was approached by a stranger and asked tf he could buy me a drink. My moral compass wavered quickly in the second I had to react and said no thank you. Of course I was married at the time and as my compass wavered to "M" for maybe.

Over all years it turned out I had plenty of chances to use my compass. Most of them turned out positive. You notice I said most. 

My biggest problem came when I really started to explore my possible life in a feminine world when I was still married to my second wife who passed away. Very quickly  I started to break the agreements we had concerning ne going out in the world as a woman. She always knew I was a cross dresser but was completely against any suggestion of being transgender. So, I used any time that I could to get out of the house and learn if I could indeed cross the gender border. Fairly quickly I learned I could and the whole process felt so natural. 

The problem became my moral compass told me I was cheating on her with myself and I felt terrible. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt her and ruin our relationship but I had gone too far to turn back.

This was also the time I could have changed what the "S meant on my compass from South to Self Harm. The guilt I felt was so intense I felt the only way out was suicide. 

These days of course I have had plenty of time to reset my internal compass and live my authentic life as a transgender woman. It certainly wasn't easy.  

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Playing in the Girls Sandbox

Very early in my transition into a feminine world. I discovered all was not all it seemed behind the scenes, Or what I called playing in the girls sandbox. In the beginning all seemed rosy. Sales clerks eager for my money met me with a smile. Plus, the servers where I went to eat and drink were happy to see me because I was nice and tipped well.

The deeper I went into how the sandbox really worked, I found flaws in the system. For example, it was re-enforced with me how women work in cliques while on the other hand, men form teams. Taking the example a step further, I found how I dressed could help me to fit in with a certain group of women.

Before I drifted into the Boho fashion craze, I found I could present convincingly as a professional woman. In fact, one of the first nights out I ever had was when I dressed in a professional woman's attire and went to an upscale bar frequented by other similarly dressed women. Looking back, I consider the night as the tipping point on my journey from being a cross dresser all the way towards being a novice transgender woman. Also I should point out I was terrified and sat in the parking lot for nearly a half hour before going in. I guess something was telling me this was going to be a key moment in my life.

Photo by Marcus Spiske
On Unsplash.

As it turned out, it was only a civilized introduction to the sandbox. As I drifted away from the upscale bar, I drifted into sports bars where I was often the only single woman at the bar watching sports or participating in games such as trivia. All went fairly well until I met up with several couples I began to be on a first name basis with. I learned the hard way to reject even the smallest amounts of acceptance from the men. When I did the smiles were replaced by claws or worse yet, knives in my back. Very quickly I learned where my place in the sandbox was.

As I did all of this, I was drinking copious amounts of beer which led me of course to needing to use the women's room. Or should I say, the litter box. The amount of alcohol I was drinking had the effect of being a double edged sword. On one hand it emboldened me to try to explore living as my authentic self but on the other hand, forced me into using restrooms I wasn't welcomed in. 

Of course I have written before about some of the more unpleasant experiences I had in the restroom. Overall, I was amazed how I could be seemingly accepted and socialized with until I had to use the litter box.

I was fortunate in  that I survived my early days in the girl's sandbox relatively unclawed. Perhaps it was becuase the feminine clique I landed in was unthreatening to most women. I didn't fit in with the cheerleading types. I tried my best just to be social and it must have worked.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

From Both Sides

 Fairly recently I wrote yet another rest room post. This time though I sought out experiences from Transgender men. I often wondered if trans men felt the same anxiety as many transgender women when using the restroom which fits their authentic self. From several comments on my Medium writers format I found out they did. 

Here is the first comment from Jamison :

"I started at a new school, I'm a teacher, this past fall. Only 3 people knew I was a trans man. No one knew any different. In fact, there was this one teacher that was on my college softball team. Even with my same, rarely seen last name, had no clue I was AFAB!

Photo from Unsplash 

The first time I used a public restroom. I was terrified. I was so sure I was going to get clocked, because I had read where urinating sitting down from a vagina sounds different hitting the water than from a penis. Therefore, I would only pee when someone either flushed or washed their hands. When I would walk into the RR, I would take a quick look around to find the stalls. Once they were located, my line of sight went back down to about 6 foot in front of me while I made my way to the toilet. One of my worst fears was the possibility of my packer falling onto the floor. It actually happened once, at an airport. Luckily, the stalls next to me were empty!!"

And all this time I thought I was the only one paranoid about how my urine hit the water when I peed! Thanks for the comment. The second comes from Norm:

"On the whole, I would say that the transgender male experience is far less socially difficult than I thought (although my self-esteem loves to remind me otherwise), though I am also autistic and may not be picking up on negative nonverbal signals about how I move through the world. I don't perceive (so far) much change in how I am treated at work (I am a software engineer who came out and stayed at the same company), but I would be very interested in how I would be perceived as a stealth man elsewhere, should my career ever take me elsewhere. I theorize that right now, since most coworkers knew me as female for almost a year (and likewise know me as openly autistic, which opens the ableism can of worms), they just don't subconsciously read me as a 'real' man and hence don't subconsciously treat me like one."

Again, thanks to both of you for bringing another aspect of what should be a very simple aspect of our lives (the rest room) into focus.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Knock Knock

 Recently I read a post describing a person's battle with gender dysphoria in their younger years. I wish I could contribute it to a certain person but for the most part I can't remember details from last week. So I just can't.

What I do remember from the post really hit home to me when the author described the torment they went through growing up trying to figure out if they were a boy or a girl. Way before the term gender dysphoric was even used. Or knock knock was I a boy or a girl.

As many of you probably remember also, the pain and torment of the two binary genders was very real. I describe it as being the round peg being pounded into the square hole. I know I would wake up on more than a few mornings deeply disappointed I was still a boy. Especially after having a dream I was a girl. 

Another example was one of the vacation trips we went on to Canada from our native Ohio. Along the way there is a very boring stretch of highway between Detroit and Toronto. Normally about this time my younger brother and I were about ready to harm each other but on this particular trip I still remember the young girl who was probably close to my age that we kept passing on the four lane road.  Initially I was fascinated with her then completely jealous. Why couldn't it be me with all that hair and pretty face? Finally we passed their car for the final time and she was out of my life forever. I ended up putting my pillow over my head and tried to sleep my frustration away.

         
Photo from Unsplash


My "knock-knock" which gender am I didn't become obvious until many years later. Sadly, or even tragically, I spent years denying my authentic feminine self. One night when I went out to be alone, I sat and pondered my future. By this time, my wife of twenty five years plus three of my best friends had all passed away. As I sat there in my makeup, wig and clothes I felt so natural that I finally said to myself why not transition. What else is there to lose. So I did. 

I finally followed my instincts at the age of 61 and set out to discover the true me.

What I found was terrifying yet thrilling. Here I was with a chance to reinvent myself. Plus, have a chance to do it as my authentic self. The person I was destined to become all along. Deep down inside I knew it but was so afraid,

 Knock Knock! I'm home. A fully out and proud transgender woman. The wait was worth it. I didn't do it alone though. Thanks to all of you who helped!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Therapy Day

 As luck would have it, today was another of my twice a month therapy sessions at the Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration. 

I put it that way because in some ways I needed therapy after last night's Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl defeat. Oddly, outside of Connie and Paula here on the blog, the only long time acquaintances I heard from were Pittsburgh Steelers fans. One almost wished me good luck and the other was rooting for the Los Angeles Rams. Which I found odd after all those years of beatings the Steelers had laid on the Bengals. 

As far therapy went, I think my therapist "studies" up on certain sporting events because we will undoubtedly be discussing them. 

All went as expected as we talked about the usual suspects...mood swings etc. Today though was different in that I had time to take the usual infamous test/survey they give about your mental health. Questions include how is your concentration, how much sleep are you getting all the way to have you thought about self harm to yourself or others.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

For once, the question concerning self harm became specific. She asked if I ever tried to commit suicide. When I said yes, the overall tone of the session became much more serious. I told her the experience I had with a bottle of J├Ągermeister I used to wash down a whole months supply of anti depressants. Needless to say I am happy it didn't work. 

Sometimes I think self harm is just something which comes hand in hand with extreme gender dysphoria. When I think of all the crazy self destructive actions I did behind a wheel of a car, I feel I must have had some sort of guardian angel riding with me. I call those incidents passive attempts at self harm.

The ironic part of all this is, I grew up around suicide. My one uncle, my father in law and a couple other acquaintances committed suicide. You would think I would realize the loss to all of the others left behind. These days I do. On the brighter side also, years ago I tried to call the Veterans Suicide Hotline and got essentially nowhere. I hope today that is not the case and I don't think it is. Plus, my therapist and I have been together so long, I can quickly get ahold of her and use her as a resource.

Looking back at how this post started, I didn't mean to connect the dots between a football game and self harm but here we are. 

I am aware also of the exorbitant number of transgender women and men who try self harm as a coping mechanism. Back in my dark days before I developed a new group of supporting friends it seemed my only real friend was my dog. During my dark periods she would sense a problem and come up to me. 

I don't know if therapy helps to dredge up all of these dark moments but it does help me to see again life is but a circle. If you can live long enough to see it. 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Another First

Not that I really do much of it, this won't be a post revolving around frilly heels and hose, Today kids we will be writing a short post about sports and this transgender woman.  Probably many of you know I used to play football instead of being a cheerleader like I always envied. However, I was never very good and took solace in the fact I really wanted to be a girl anyhow. But, to the topic at hand...

 Today is Super Bowl Sunday, the pinnacle of American football. 


Being a long suffering Cincinnati, Ohio sports fan, I have been through more years than not following teams that do nothing but lose. The only exception was The Ohio State Buckeyes. For years the standing joke was, the Buckeyes were the best professional team in Ohio. Better than the Bengals or the Cleveland Browns. 

This year times have changed and Bengal fans everywhere are super excited to be playing in only the third Super Bowl in the team's history.  

By now you are probably thinking so what? 

The biggest difference is I am now a fully out transgender woman.  So, I count this as my first Super Bowl. Even though the power of estrogen has leveled out my competitive edge, I am sure I still have enough edge to me to more than interested in the game.

However my authentic self still wants a Super Bowl trophy in Cincinnati! 

Who Dey think gonna beat dem Bengals!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The "Capable" Transgender Woman

 I received several wonderful comments on a recent post concerning an ill advised attempt to clean an ice covered car. By doing it I subjected myself to several days of pain filled life including today. What I liked about the comments was both of them went into the influence of their Mothers on their lives.

The first comes from Georgette:

Photo Courtesy Georgette 

"

I think some of that gets to ones background and at what the times were like when one transitioned, 


In the 70s there was the new idea of TG instead of TS started to be used by some, Some used it to divide rather than unite us together. TG was used by some that wanted no part of the medical and surgical that most TS did,

So maybe it does give me a certain idea on that "transer" than others, But I am working on that,

When I transitioned at work I would get from the guys of why would I want to become a "2nd Class Person" as many women were treated.

I can't recall many that would want to hear about the physical part, Men get weird when I would describe what the surgical meant.I guess I was a "Feminist" that I learned from my mother that I refused the idea that a women was somehow less than a man.I have always been a very affirmative women, Maybe that is a little leftover "man" except I was never an affirmative "man".

As I never went completely "stealth", Also never used those image filters and such back than, I see no point in using them, As I have learned to accept myself as I am."

The second comes from Connie:

"One of the unspoken conditions of the new relationship my wife and I have had since the onset of my transition is that I continue to perform some of the more-manly chores around the house. I can still take some pride in the fact that I have managed to keep the house in working order, without ever having to call a professional (except for a total roof replacement). I can’t say that I ever really enjoyed being Mr. Fixit in the past, and I dislike, even more, being Mrs. Fixit. Nevertheless, I do it because we can’t afford to pay professionals, anyway. Rather than Mrs. Fixit, then, I prefer the monikers of either “Connie Can-do” or “Capable Woman.” I’ve found that, although I don’t feel overly feminine while doing these tasks, I certainly don’t feel manly, either.


Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

My father died of cancer when I was eight-years-old, and my mother learned how to do many of the maintenance jobs around the house. I suppose I learned from watching her that a woman can be feminine and capable at the same time. I also learned from her how to live comfortably on a limited budget, so why call a professional when one can do it herself? These days, though, it is not unusual to see women doing some things that were deemed to be a man’s job in the ‘50s and ‘60s.



I think that age has more to do with limiting activities than anything else. I know that I had beaten my body up quite a bit in the past, endeavoring to prove my physical and masculine prowess – so as to hide my underlying femininity. My feminine-self is much wiser than was my masculine-self, however, so I now know to pace myself. Old injuries seem to pop up just about every morning, whether I did anything the day before or not, so I don’t need the added residual pain from having overdone some chore the day before. I am “Capable Woman,” but I don’t want to end up being “Incapacitated Woman.” :-)"

My Mom was also very assertive and worked for years outside of the home as a high school teacher. I suppose I learned from her a woman could be strong and independent . Little did she know it but I learned the same lessons from my second wife. Even though we fought continually about the type of woman I was becoming. My Dad entered the picture when he built his own house in the 1950's. In my younger years I tried to measure up to him by restoring our vintage 1860's brick building. 

I suppose both of my parents contributed to me being a "capable" transgender woman when my brain catches up with my body...as Paula wrote.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Not the Man I used to Be

 Recently we had to endure a portion of the massive winter storm which blanketed the middle and eastern part of the country. We received over six inches of ice, sleet and snow. Following all of that temperatures plummeted courtesy of an Artic blast. Due to lack of planning we weren't part of the hoard hitting all the grocery stores, so we were quickly running out of something to eat. 

"Attitude" Photo
Courtesy JJ Hart

Not so long ago (it seemed) I would have had no problem scraping and cleaning the car. It seems forgetting all the years of aging combined with estrogen and testosterone reduction  has taken it's toll. Seemingly when I finished the task of cleaning the car, I was feeling good about the whole process. Even to the point of telling Liz who was against me doing it. She is fond of telling me my mind has not accepted the fact I am physically not the man I used to be. 

She was completely right in this case. After throwing caution to the wind and cleaning the car, I found and/or felt the pain in my back. In other words, I spent yesterday in pain and am not much better today. 

The whole deal proves once again how truly stubborn I really am. During the majority of my life, my perseverance has served me well. Of course the major example is my cross dressing past, building to me becoming a novice transgender woman. I have written many times of the error more than trial which went into my ever so slow progression into fulfilling my dream of being  able to live full time as a transgender woman. 

Then there was my time in the military. Since I was being drafted into the service, I chose the three year enlistment plan which helped me to be able to work in a job field of my choosing. No body told me how difficult the process would be and I went for it anyhow. I became one of just sixty persons in the entire Army doing my job as a radio broadcaster/DJ. That in turn led me to meeting and later marrying the mother of my only child. A very accepting daughter who I cherish more and more as time goes by. The military even provided me my first chance to "come out" to friends about being a transvestite. Through it all, no one tried to tell me any of what I accomplished was impossible. Not that I would have listened anyhow.

Coming full circle and having a hard time even moving with no pain, I at least wish I had listened to Liz and left the car alone. 

My back is telling me I am not the man I used to be.  Or then again, the man I never wanted to be anyhow. I just need to get past the remaining vestiges of what a much younger man is telling me to be. It's difficult because I dislike feeling worthless.  Whose to say also I have learned my lesson the next time a big snowfall hits. I feel like now I have.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Wednesday Hump Day

 Or should I say ""dey" in support of the Super Bowl bound Cincinnati Bengals whose rallying cry is "Who Dey think is going to beat those Bengals! More on the game for later this week.

In the meantime, hump day can mean a certain tipping point for any transgender women and men. Or how far do you go in your gender transition before there is no turning back. You have discovered how natural it feels to be your authentic self and want to live it full time.

I spent years researching my life to see if I could cross the gender frontier. In fact, if the truth be known, I spent too long trying to live as both binary genders. One week I would spend as much as three days experiencing life in a feminine world before I went back to my boring daily world doing my best to act like a macho man. 

I was stubborn and seemingly thought out every angle such as telling family and friends and of course


considered the all important financial aspect of transitioning, The entire process to me was similar to a  gender teeter-totter. Up and feminine one day, down and male the next.

I also considered the process as slipping down a slope which became increasingly steep and slippery. Finally what happened was I couldn't take the stress any longer and decided to make the jump, transition, and live as my more natural feminine self. 

What turned out to be one of the most momentous decisions in my life was not to be undertaken alone. Over a relatively short amount of time I developed a small group of women friends who helped to make my landing softer and tip the teeter totter permanently in the feminine direction. They all mean more to me than I can ever say. 

On this "Hump Dey" I hope all of you still locked in a dark gender closet find a light at the end of the tunnel which is not the train. Whatever seems permanent today, can change quickly tomorrow.  


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Romanticizing Hell

 It is rare I don't sleep and I used to sleep with the television on as a crutch of sorts.  Recently though I have made a deal with Liz to try sleeping with the television off.  Regardless of all the warnings I received over the years of how harmful it could be to my psyche, I persisted until last week. After a terse discussion with Liz, I gave in to trying not to wake her up with a television being on. 

Overall, the process has proven to be a success. Even though I can't say I sleep any better, I can say when I am up in the middle of the night like last night, I have a tendency to think of blog posts to write. Of course the problem is remembering all the ideas flowing through my head. Last night, I was up for an extended length of time and came up with several good experiences I have had in my past as I crossed the gender frontier. As I thought about them though I knew I had written about most of them previously.

Then I thought about the flip side of all the pleasant experiences I had. 

With me at least, time doesn't heal all wounds but time does tend to emphasize the positive over the negative. For example, here is one I thought about last night. The whole excursion happened one night when I was making yet another trip to a local mall to go shopping. I truthfully don't remember much about what I was wearing except the outfit did involve a dress, heels and hose. 

By this time in my transgender transition, I had settled in to the idea store sales clerks didn't care much about my gender. They cared so much more about the color of my money. In fact, my daughter worked for Victoria's Secrets years ago and she told me the story of the extra money she made when her fellow clerks wouldn't wait on an obvious cross dresser. The extra commission she made came in handy.

Photo NOT of me

Photo by rylan krupp on Unsplash


By now, you are probably thinking what does any of that have to do about romanticizing hell. On the night in question, everything got off to a terrible start when I entered the mall. As I did, a woman and her two teenaged daughters were coming out. To make a long story short, I could hear them loudly laugh and say something about a man in a dress. Just about the worse thing which could happen and my confidence was shattered. 

Instead of just turning around and leaving the mall, I decided to keep going and hope the experience would get better. Well, it didn't. As I tried to do my shopping in the usual stores I frequented, I picked up an unwanted escort service from a bored mall security cop. 

By this time I finally had enough and I calmly (as much as I could) walked my way out of the mall and back to my car. Fighting back tears all the way. 

When I arrived back at home and was  taking my makeup and clothes off before my wife arrived, I wondered why I did this cross dressing activity at all. Still in tears, with mascara running down my face I chose the more difficult path. I chose to dedicate myself to perfecting my outward appearance and to be a better judge of my own look. In other words, quit believing everything the mirror told me. 

As I began to dress to blend with the other women around me, my femininized life began to improve and I wouldn't have to romanticize hell much anymore. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Are You a Transphobe?

As I search through a few of my past archives from a couple years ago, every now and then a post jumps out to me as still being very relevant today. This post seems to be a contradiction in terms...except it is unfortunately not. 

First of all here is the post: 

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


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

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

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

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

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


I know I happen across feeling transphobic on social media quite a bit. Especially when I see a series of heavily filtered or doctored up pictures of a certain individual.  Then I step back and realize it was society's pressure on women as a whole to present a good a picture as possible.

Plus I was guilty of the same thing when I was a novice transgender woman.  The picture you see here was one of my earliest attempts at using filters. Even though my main "trick" was to take a picture of myself in a mirror with (as you can see) a lot of hair.

So, as you can tell, I have to look closely at my own feelings when it comes to internalizing my own transphobia.  If I am not careful, bits and pieces of my old male self can bleed through. Recently I have had to force myself into reestablishing my connections with the transgender - cross dresser group I am a member of as well as rejoining a veterans LGBTQ group I was once a part of.  By doing it I can re-engage myself to new people and ideas. In his later years, my Dad essentially became a hermit and I don't want any of that. 

Maybe also you can be a transphobe and not realize it. If you catch yourself thinking you are transer than another person, it's time to take a look at yourself and change. 


Trans Peaks and Valleys

Image from the Jessie Hart Archives. Lifetime as a whole presents us with many peaks and valleys to negotiate. Since I am transgender and al...