Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back in the Saddle

 The first big holiday and the official kick off for summer has happened and moved on. It was also Memorial Day which I believe is not celebrated for the right reasons by too many people in the United States. They are more concerned with having a good time, rather than remembering all of those who lost their lives in any of the seemingly endless wars we as a country become involved in. None of that matters to all of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

 Putting all of that behind us, summer is finally here around where I live in Southwest Ohio, Cincinnati, USA. On cue, the temperatures have risen and it's time to pull out all of my tank tops and T shirts out of my wardrobe and wear them again. Seasonal changes around here to me allow me one of the fun things of being a transgender woman. Back in the day when I was a cross dresser before I transitioned, I couldn't wait for certain seasons to roll around. Specifically fall when I could wear my leggings and sweaters. Back then I had considerably more to cover up. Examples would be my hairy arms and legs.

These days of course hormone replacement therapy has reduced my body hair to a fraction of what is was and my breasts are large enough to notice in a tank top or tee shirt. I am so fortunate to finally be able to tie my hair back in a long pony tail wear no makeup and take the dog for a walk. All those years of being so envious of other women are nearly totally in my past. One of first things I noticed about HRT was when my body's thermostat had changed. All of a sudden I felt colder than I ever felt before. Quickly I understood all the women I secretly made fun for being cold weren't kidding. Most certainly my new thermostat does help in the warmer months of summer time.

Yesterday, it all seemingly came together when my partner Liz and I were invited to her son's new apartment for supper. On the way over, we stopped at a convenience store to pick up beverages and ice cream. It was fun and satisfying to be referred to as "ladies" twice when we were in the store. Of course the men who called us "ladies" had no way of knowing how long and hard I had worked to earn that title.


Other than that, the weekend was very uneventful for us. I am still trying to build up my endurance to see if I can attempt the "Cincinnati Pride" pub crawl which returns this year following it's Covid hiatus of two years, It's coming up in approximately three weeks, so I still have a little time to work on it. 

In the meantime, I am attempting to change my walks around to not having to face the hot/humid weather we have right now. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day

 Once again here in the United States, Memorial Day rolls around . Memorial Day is meant to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.


Most of you regulars know , I am a transgender veteran. A fortunate one in that I survived a very ugly, unpopular and destructive conflict known as the Vietnam War. I have friends who didn't survive  or returned with psychical/mental scars which never healed. 

I always try to mention too, the inordinate amount of transgender veterans  who served in their closets while attempting to reclaim their masculine gender status. When I see the number of graves and crosses spotlighted in media news shows on Memorial Day, I wonder how many of them took their gender secrets with them to their graves. 

What really upsets me too are the number of people who see Memorial Day as just another day off to BBQ and not spend just a minute to remember those who served and lost their lives. 

Without them, we would all be lost.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

When Nature Calls

 This was actually written in the summer of 2021:

"Amanda not so long ago wrote into my email describing a few of her experiences using the women's room when nature calls and she has to simply go to the bathroom.

She also asked for some of my experiences. First of all, I haven't used a man's restroom for over a decade now but my introduction into using the women's room wasn't an easy one. I have written before when I had the police called on me several times when all I was trying to do was relieve myself of excess beer. 

Looking back, realistically, I brought on most of the problems I had upon myself.  As I explored the feminine world in the early days, primarily I fell victim to ill fitting wigs which were poor fashion choices. Until I was able to grow my own hair, was I able to present more effectively as a woman. Which in turn enabled me to have my own female rest room "pass". No pun intended.

Other factors which helped me immensely were how I viewed and adapted myself to the new rest room etiquette I was being exposed to. I made sure I was neat and tidy as I took care of essential business even to the point of trying to duplicate the sound of women peeing in the toilet bowl as close as I could. Plus, just to make sure I was prepared years ago, I always carried a feminine hygiene product in my purse in case anyone asked to try me. 

The rest was relatively easy.  I had to learn to adjust my urges to the normally longer lines to the women's restrooms. Plus I had to learn to make eye contact and not be afraid to converse with other women in line. 

Finally, I had to make sure I quickly checked my hair and makeup as I always washed my hands and quickly (or efficiently) left and returned to my seat. To this day though, I still retain the scars of my early experiences in the rest rooms. I always check to see if anyone is going out of their way to stare at me or even glare. 

I must say though, along the way, similar to the rest of the transgender journey I have chosen, I have been exposed to a number of humorous or even surprising rest room experiences. The most interesting one was at a Cincinnati Pride

Picture from Pride
Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

event a couple summers ago when one of the few free standing restrooms available was half closed due to a hornet infestation.  All the men were forced to use the women's room and the response was comical and classic as toilet paper was passed along the line. The most surprising experience I ever had was when I was at a concert one night and was waiting in the woman's room line. Once I finally made it close enough to the room itself, I observed a woman swinging from one of the stalls trying to break the lock off the door. My ideas of women respecting their restroom more than men was forever shattered. 

Overall, I think attitudes over restroom usage have definitely lightened up. Plus the number of gender neutral restrooms have increased.

Thanks Amanda for the question. "


Nothing much has changed concerning my "TPTSD" (Transgender PTSD) as far as I am concerned. I still harbor the scars from early in my male to female gender transition. During the period of time I had the police called on me and was even referred to as a pervert. Perhaps I will always suffer from those restroom scars. After all I am only trying to answer nature's call.


Saturday, May 28, 2022

It's a Calling

 On Saturday mornings Liz and I normally watch the CBS morning news show. If you are not familiar, CBS wraps up the show with a musical act. This morning, I noticed the musician refer to her music as a calling of sorts. 

Of course very quickly my mind wondered to being transgender. When was I called to the transgender side of humanity.

My Gender was Calling
I wasn't Listening.
Photo Courtesy Jessie
Hart


Was it when I first heard the term in the late 1970's or early 80's, as I vaguely remember. Looking back I do know the terminology resonated with me. Maybe now I had found a label which described my gender dysphoria. I was discovering sadly once again I didn't fit once I began to explore the transvestite mixers I was beginning to attend. In other words, I knew I really didn't fit in with most of the cross dressers in the room and I wasn't ready to think of myself as a full fledged transsexual, as they were known in those days. These were the individuals who were prepared to change everything in their life to change their gender. It was recommended then people who went through a sex change undergo the surgery, then move away and start a completely new life. I was frustrated. I thought I was making huge strides towards understanding my 

gender issues but the end result was once again I was the round peg being pounded into a square hole. Ultimately, being transgender solved my label problem. 

Through all of the early years, the more I explored my gender roots, the more I knew I felt more natural in the feminine world as a transgender woman. More than ever I knew my gender calling was learning how to stop cross dressing as a man and live as my authentic self.

Of course if I was listening, there were plenty of other desperate calls from my authentic self. I can go all the way back when I was exploring my Mom's clothes and makeup as well as purchasing (then hiding) my own "collection." I did manage to learn my new, thrilling feminine image in the mirror was only a stop gap measure. My true calling was I was actually trying to be the girl. Not just wear the clothes which allowed me to look like one.

Over the many years, I tried to ignore my gender calling by pursuing  a frenetic life. Aided by moving all over, changing jobs and drinking way too much. Needless to say, none of my attempts worked. The more I tried to fight my urges to be a woman, the worse I felt. Even to the point of trying self harm several times.

These days I am selfish. I want all the time and energy returned to me that I wasted chasing a male existence which was foreign to me. 

Would of, should of, could of been listening to my true calling all those years. I was so stubborn, I just couldn't hear or face the truth of my true calling as a transgender woman. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Pedestal is Slippery

 A few days ago I wrote a post on the subject of transgender "de-transitioning." Shortly after I wrote it I began to worry if  I sounded too flippant about the subject. Even bordering on sounding if I was "being more transgender than you." Of course all of that would be the farthest from the truth.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

My point is everyone's gender transition is different and it is not up to me to decide the level of difficulty, especially when it comes to the drastic move of de-transitioning. 

It's no secret rejection from family and friends plays a huge role in a smooth transition. In my case my parents had long since passed away, so I didn't have to worry about coming out to them. That left me with my only brother and my daughter as the only blood family I had left to reveal my authentic self to. Not many people compared to others I know. 

As most of you may know, my daughter turned out to be one of my biggest fans. She even treated me to a visit to her upscale beauty salon for my birthday when I came out to her. At the same time, my brother and sister in law were totally the opposite. At the time, it was near Thanksgiving which was the only holiday we still celebrated as a family. Out of respect to my brother I gave him the choice of me attending the family get together as my authentic self. After discussion on their part, they told me they preferred I didn't attend. Since then I have not spoken to him. Sadly it has been nearly ten years now. The problem with him is (as I see it) , he chose not to support me because he was afraid of all the negative feedback he would face from all of his right wing Southern Baptist in laws. 

As I look down from my pedestal I have a tendency to forget how incredibly fortunate  I was when my daughter's in laws supported me as did my partner Liz's family. As in any transgender situation it could have gone either way. 

This is an another example of coming out into a larger family. It comes from Connie:

 When I decided I had to transition I had already been living a 90% out-existence. I had only been presenting as the father, grandfather, brother-in-law, and son-in-law at family get-togethers. My wife had come to accept me for who I was, and we each worked on our respective transitions. My mother and brother had passed away a year or so earlier, and then a beloved sister-in-law, to whom I had come out, died from a very painful bout with cancer. I put on the only suit and tie that I had, and I delivered the eulogy at her funeral Mass. The next day, I got rid of all of my men's clothing, and I proceeded to notify everyone in my family that I hereafter would be the woman that I was born to be. There was no way I was going to turn back at that point, and I've never even considered the possibility of doing so.


It was not easy transitioning with family. My wife is one of 13 children, and there are close to 150 extended family members. I think I've been seen by all of them by now, and I am accepted by most of them. After going through all of that, demonstrating my commitment to live as a woman, I would be more embarrassed and guilt-ridden should I detransition than I ever was about being a transgender woman in the first place.

Photo Compliments: Jessie Hart

Physically, I could detransition as fast as it would take me to get undressed and remove my wig to reveal my male pattern baldness. I have had no surgeries or HRT that would have caused changes to my body, so, given a few days to show a stubbly beard, I could easily pass as a man. I just wouldn't be one, though. I guess you could say I would be cross dressing as a man, but I would be doing it under duress (as opposed to when I used to cross dress under a dress).


As is a fear for you, I can't see how I would make it in a care facility. I would be completely exposed, shaving would not be as frequent or thorough as would be necessary, and wigs just don't hold up well when one is bedridden. Still, I would not detransition. I'm pretty sure I would find a way to end it, though. Until then, this girl is going to live it up!"

Speaking of  age, I think my pedestal  was easier to climb because I was older. I was to the point of my life (in my early sixties) when I was tired of  worrying about others thought of me. I can't forget also the world was slowly being educated to what a transgender woman or man was, 

One way or another, we all have our transgender pedestals to climb. The farther up we go the better we can see our futures as our authentic selves. I can only hope your climb is worth it. Mine was!

Connie, maybe we can get adjoining rooms.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

She's a Doll! Literally

 The Laverne Cox Barbie is the fourth in the Tribute Collection that "celebrate visionaries for their incredible contributions, impact, and legacy as trailblazers." Cox is a four-time Emmy nominated actress, Emmy winning producer, and the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a scripted TV show.

Laverne Cox with her Barbie


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

De-Transition?

 This morning on a couple of my social media accounts, I noticed two transgender women thinking about reversing all the time and effort they had put into transitioning into the feminine world. To coin an old term, I was in "shock and awe" they would even consider such a move. 

Looking back I began to think of why I moved forward through the dark days of my own MtF gender transition. All the days I was stared at, laughed at and even singled out for pictures. I have written many times concerning the times I returned to the safety of my own home and collapsed on the bed in shame. Somehow, each time I was able to pull myself together and try to improve my feminine presentation.

Transition Picture
Jessie Hart

Through it all, I searched deeply internally for signs I was doing the right thing. The stakes were high. The possibility of losing family, friends and a great job was a huge burden. Surely, many times, the thought of going back to living exclusively as a male was a wonderful proposition. No matter how many times I tried to "purge" myself of my feminine clothes and makeup, in a short period of time I couldn't help replacing my "supply" and starting again. My over-riding thought was I would find the magical clothes and become so good at makeup I would become the beautiful, attractive feminine being I dreamed of being. Of course it never happened the way I dreamed it would be. The best I hoped for was I did become better at choosing better clothes and I did become proficient at applying my makeup. Even though I did receive help on occasion by being courageous and subjecting myself to a makeover at a transvestite mixer I attended. The makeover led to a magical evening on the town.

It was evenings such as the makeover night which led me through quite a few really dark times during my transition to the full time feminine world. Deep down I knew I could accomplish the easy part which was perfecting my appearance as a transgender woman. Later on, I was to discover the harder part was to learn all the layers to exist in the world. Life in the girl's sandbox for me provided several miserable outcomes until I learned how to play the game. 

During this time, as I was doing all my gender "soul searching" one thing kept me going towards my transition during the dark days. When all else failed, the fact remained I just felt more natural in the feminine world as a transgender woman. At the same time I was able to establish a fun, tight knit group of new friends who accepted me as my autunitic self. In a comparatively short period of time I was able to put any thoughts of cross dressing as a man behind me for good.

Unless you are the rare person who has tried a gender transition and found for whatever reason the whole exceedingly difficult process wasn't for you, I can't imagine going back. Life can't be much fun on a gender roller coaster like that.     

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Bad Morning or a Karen?

 I have been taking the dog out for a walk every day, weather permitting. On the plus side, our walks seem to be helping my health immensely. During the times we walk, normally there are very few people we

"Un Karen" Photo
Courtesy Jessie Hart

encounter. I have to be careful to clean up after the dog because every morning he has to take a constitutional in someone's yard. I always I careful to bring a bag along to clean up so I don't aggravate any neighbors. 

This morning I encountered a middle aged woman who lives a couple houses down the street from Liz and I. She was talking to another neighbor as the dog and I approached and by the time we reached them, they moved apart and the woman in question approached us on the sidewalk. 

I always make it a point to try to be the first to speak to a neighbor and I did this morning to her. When I did, she looked right through me and said nothing. 

Of course I immediately thought of two things. Maybe she is a "Karen" who resents anything different existing in  "her" neighborhood. If I am nothing else, I am different. If she knows I am transgender, maybe she will have to try to explain it to the two daughters she has. Along the way recently the girl has stopped Liz and I to pet our dog. 

Yet another factor I always have to consider when or if we encounter a bigoted "Karen" is Liz and I have never been shy about holding hands in public. Maybe "Karen" doesn't like lesbians holding hands in public either. 

Who knows? Maybe I am just over reacting and she was just having a bad day. When I always run into situations such as this, one of the things I have to tell myself is it is not all about me. Maybe some other dog poohed  in her yard or world. Maybe she is concerned also that a family of color has moved into her comfortable white privileged world. 

One of these mornings I am just going to ask her. Until that time, I will make sure I am the first to speak. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Power of being Impatient

 I don't see myself as a patient person, even though I am mellowing with age and understand many things happen if you are patient enough to wait. An example I can use is the time I spent in the Army. Looking back on the entire experience, it only took three years out of my life and in return I was able to see three continents. Most importantly I can thank my Army contacts for my beloved daughter. Who is my only child. 

Looking back I can remember how I counted the days until I "served" my time and was honorably discharged. Through it all in the back of my mind were my noticeable (to me) gender issues. I can safely say my issues dominated my thinking. The problem back in those days in the 1970's there was precious little information concerning transgender issues at all. Even the term "transgender" was new. According to Wikipedia transgender became a umbrella term in the mid 1970's.  Regardless, I was desperate to learn more about my gender issues. My impatience caused me to try to outrun my issues. Leading to moving my wife and I several times along me changing jobs numerous times. Due to self destructive behavior impatience caused me to flirt with alcoholism. 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

During the years I was able to redirect my gender frustrations into being able to carve a nice career in the commercial food management business. On the other hand I wish I could reclaim the energy I lost to wanting to become a transgender woman and manage to do it on a full time basis. No such luck and along the way again I overcompensated as a macho male. Heavily into sports and drinking. It worked too well. Except on a few occasions when I was cross dressed as a man and someone would refer to me as a "she" I passed as a guy well. Testosterone over the years had served me well...against my deepest wishes.

I found for me, the most effective way to overcome the effects of testosterone on my body was to begin hormone replacement therapy when I was in my early sixties. As I began the therapy, I was aware a few of the changes would occur over a short term of time but overall, I would have to be patient and wait for other changes. Also age and health was a factor in my medical decision to begin HRT. Fortunately I was cleared medically and I was able (as I saw it) to begin my gender transition from cross dresser to transgender woman. Later on I came to realize switching my hormone balance to the feminine side would aid in my exterior presentation to the world but no matter what I still was transgender. No amount of patience or hormones could change that. In other words, I was correct in assuming mentally I was a girl. 

Having written all of that, I am still extremely impatient when it comes to my hormone replacement therapy. I finally was able to find out my estradiol levels this week, so it is possible I may be in for a slight increase in dosage. On the other hand, I am aware breast size is determined not so much by the amount of hormones but by hereditary history. Also, since all of the sudden I am experiencing growth in my hips, I probably will stay on the Estradiol dosage I am on and not risk any negative health situations.

For once I am going to have to put my impatience behind me.       

Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Musical Expert

 When I asked for more input on other transgender or cross dresser related music, I forgot to think about Connie who in many ways is our musical expert around here. 

Here are her additions to our trans musical list:

"Not counting the 50+ trans-themed parodies I've written and performed, there are two Beatles songs

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

that come to mind. There is speculation whether or not either of them was purposely trans related, but their lyrics certainly grabbed the ear of this trans girl. The song, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," has that mixed-up verse where Desmond does his pretty face, and at night she is a singer with the band (instead of it being Molly, as in an earlier verse). Did John really just mess up the lyrics there, or was he saying that Desmond was trans or a female impersonator? Since I have done just exactly that many times, it's the only way I picture it, myself. In "Get Back" there is that talk of Sweet Loretta, who was a man who thought she was a woman. There are all sorts of theories about that song, but, of course, my interpretation has always been influenced by my own gender identity.


I've also been subjected to the "cleverness" of an idiot who laughed with his buddies after putting "Dude Looks Like a Lady" on the jukebox. I don't get it, cuz I've never been anything like a "dude." :-) Then, there was the a-hole at karaoke who arranged, privately, to sing "Lola" and then asked me to go up with him for "support." People often ask me to help them, so it didn't bother me until I was on the stage and the intro to the song started playing. I walked right off the stage, and later gave the karaoke host the what-for - to which she replied that it hadn't even occurred to her that it might have been a joke at my expense. We can't help but be sensitive to these things, but they are usually not worthy of anything more than an eye-roll. As Amy Schneider, the recent Jeopardy! champion, said of the negative comments she was receiving, nobody could ever come up with anything she hadn't thought about herself countless times over her lifetime"

Thanks for the extra input! Amy Schneider was certainly correct in that no one could say anything more negative about ourselves than we have ever thought. I know with me, "Dude Looks Like a Lady" still resonates when I look in the mirror on certain mornings. On those occasions anymore, I remember the number of times in the past when the mirror has lied to me and simply move on with my life. 

I just wish I was musically inclined enough to write my own retort to "Dude". 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Soundtrack of my Life

 Recently I saw a post which asked which song the readers liked better, specifically Lola by the Kinks or Take a Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed. Those for the most part were main stream tunes and of course there were others. Such as in 2006 when Jayne Country sang Man Enough to be a Woman. I don't know if my

Jane County

wife's musical tastes went farther than I thought but she told me nearly the same thing one day when we were having a huge fight caused by my cross dressing when I was rapidly thinking of if I could make it as a full time transgender woman. She (my wife) accepted me as a cross dresser but never accepted any thoughts of being a transgender woman. 

Before I ended up in the commercial food service business, I was a disk jockey in college and in the Army. I also pursued it for awhile following my stint in the military until my daughter came along and I ended up buying my own pub/pizza parlor with a friend. Lola was actually released in 1970, two years before I was drafted. During the one radio show I was running at night while I was still in college, I had a guy who positively loved the Kinks.

One night he called me up in a panic and asked if Lola was really about what he had heard and thought it was. In other words was Lola  really a man. I couldn't hold back and told him yes, in reality Lola was really a man. He hung up in a panic and I never heard back if his beloved Kinks maintained their spot as his number one group.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side was released by Lou Reed in 1972. as a tribute to Andy Warhol's glamorous transgender ladies from his famous Factory days. In those days, I was taking my own walk on the wild side by taking on Army basic training. 

As I said, due primarily financial reasons, I left the radio business and stayed in the food service business after my pub closed. Perhaps I am missing other strong transgender and/or cross dressing music but the next I remember was Dude Looks Like a Lady which was released in 1987. Ironically the song was about Vince Neil of Motley Crue when it was released by Aerosmith.  It turned out the song wasn't meant to describe actual cross dressers or transgender women at all. Even though, it was the music which caused me the most amount of pain.

The more I began to sneak out in my medium sized town as a novice transgender woman, the more I would encounter the occasional person who would recognize me. I will never forget the night my wife and I attended a party of my store employee's and as soon as I got there the DJ played "Dude Looks Like a Lady."  I just ignored it and my wife didn't seem to notice it, so all turned out without a problem.

The problems with the Aerosmith music came a couple years later when I was out trying to live my new life in a feminine world. As I was sitting at the bar enjoying a drink with a transgender woman friend of mine, these guys decided it was cute to play the "Dude" song five times in a row. It got so bad we were asked to leave by a spineless manager. 

It all turned out in my favor nearly a month later when the manager was fired and the crew found me in a close neighboring venue where I was welcome. They invited me back, which I took advantage of. 

I'm sure you all my be aware of other cross dressing or transgender music I possibly missed. If so, please let me know. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

A Rare Event

 For me, gender euphoria is a very rare happening. Of course it is the opposite of the gender dysphoria I have lived with most if not all of my life. Just a guess but I think I can trace the beginnings of my gender issues to the days when as a youth, I made exploratory searches into my Mom's clothing and makeup. Somehow someway I realized just clothes didn't make the girl. The urge came from much deeper inside. So I pursued my urges. 

Jessie and Liz

Over the next half century I met with much more gender distress than euphoria. The days of being stared at, laughed at and made fun of felt as if it would never end. Following a steep learning curve of gender knowledge it finally did and I was able to assume a life as a full time transgender woman when I was in my sixties. Which gives you some sort of an idea how slow a gender learner I was. 

The amount of time and effort expended makes it all more worthwhile. Last night was an example.  

Liz and I attended the only transgender - cross dresser monthly social we ever go to anymore. It is fairly close and is held in a venue where we enjoy their food and service. Overall sound levels were low so we could easily hear each other speak. 

Perhaps the best part was the other attendees were respectful and entertaining. I was able to enjoy my time.

By enjoying my time, it was nice to be able to converse with other transgender woman (mostly, except for Liz) and to learn more about their lives. As the evening progressed I felt even more comfortable in my role as a transgender woman. Perhaps this rush of gender euphoria is just coming from being able to get out into the world as my authentic self. Being able to just walk in and out of the venue without being stared at was a gender victory of sorts. It was also vindication of all the years I worked to get to this point was worth it after all. 

Unfortunately, financial considerations tied in with the ever increasing effects of rising inflation are making our public trips less frequent. Actually one per month. 

Perhaps the rare occasions of being able to be out in the public's eye is one reason my gender euphoria is so powerful and wonderful. Also I suppose you can't have one end of the gender spectrum without the other. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Is It Time for Pride?

 With all the negative publicity and legislation regarding all transgender women and men, it may be no better time for all the Pride celebrations to take place. Several days ago, I wrote a post on the various Pride events around me and received a couple well thought out comments in return. 

Two of which I thought I would share with you. The first comes from the UK and Paula:

" With the situation we find ourselves in, both here in the UK and on your side of "the Pond" it feels to me that it is time for Pride to go back to being a protest! I am Chair of Croydon Pride, we expect around 10,000 attendees this year, I want them all to now about the attempts to limit the rights of first Trans people, and if "they" get away with that then LGB as well.


Photo courtesy Paula Godwin
Of course putting on an event for that number of people costs money, sometimes our budget frightens me! We couldn't do it without the money from sponsors and the stall holders, but we have to make sure
that those same sponsors have no influence over the program, the speeches, or and campaigning. It's not always easy, and not all Prides manage it. We have fully commercial Prides in Manchester and Brighton, London is a political mess ~ the essence of Pride these days seems to be with the smaller ones like my own Croydon event. I'll admit I do feel uncomfortable with some of our attendees ~ drag, bondage, puppies play etc. but if I'm going to campaign for inclusion then I too need to be inclusive!"

Great point Paula! I also believe it is time to be "out", loud and PROUD!

The second comes from Connie:

"Pride without dignity seems to be the bugaboo that keeps me away from Pride celebrations. Sure, I'm proud of who I am (finally), but I have also learned that being overly prideful about it is not in my best interest - nor would it be in the best interest of the whole lgbtq+ community. I am just not an in-your-face kind of person, and I don't
Photo courtesy Connie Malone

enjoy experiencing things or people all up in my face, either."

Thanks to you Connie. I agree with the "Pride without dignity" phrase. I assume so many have been oppressed with their lives for so long, they go overboard when they have the chance to express themselves. 

"Here in Seattle, we have a separate Trans Pride parade and event a couple of days before the main Pride Parade that takes place on the last Sunday of June. If I were to attend any event, it would be the trans one. I would probably consider, for a minute, wearing a tight dress and high heels if I did, too. ;-)"

Thank you Connie and I am sure many of us wish we could take advantage of having our own separate Transgender Pride event. 

Here in Ohio with the heavily leaning republican presence attempting to pass anti Anti LGBTQ legislation, I feel it is time for the democrats to step up their Pride presence. I am sure too that too many would be against politicalizing the process. The time is now to step up and out if you are out of the closet and can do it. If not, take the opportunity to consider your future and vote the right way to support it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

While My Blog Gently Weeps

 As I was opening my email and Facebook accounts this morning I was shocked to see one of my favorite


Condo cover girls, Melonee Malone had passed away recently from a massive stroke in her sleep. 

Her wife Lisa wanted us all to remember Melonee by the words she repeated every morning. "I will be a better woman than I was the day before." Both her and Lisa helped to do just that by aiding novice transgender women in their native Wisconsin. 

Even though I never had a chance to meet Melonee or Lisa in person, they are the kind of good people I would have wanted to,

Rest in Woman Power! My best hopes for rapid healing powers go out to Lisa.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pride Beckons

 LGBTQ Pride Month is June. Which according to my precise calculations is coming up in a couple of weeks. Yesterday, the transgender - cross dresser local support group I am part of has started to search for help with "manning" tables at several different local Prides. Even I am amazed at the number of Prides which have established themselves in recent years. In the Cincinnati metro area alone there are four separate events. It will be interesting to me to see how well (hopefully) trans persons or cross dressers turn out to help. Hopefully it will be better than the Transgender Day of Visibility event earlier this year. The group struggled to locate volunteers for their table.

The difference being, was the "TDOV" was during the week and the Prides are during the weekend. Potentially freeing up more people to help. By now you are probably thinking what does all this have to do with me. Actually nothing unless you choose it to. 

Pre Covid Pride 
Jessie Hart Collection

I know  this whole idea of Pride is under review. More than a few view Pride as a chance for big corporations to buy their way into the LGBTQ community for a couple days a year only to disappear when their help is really needed on key issues. While I recognize the truth in all of that, my concerns around Pride is the influence of drag queens. I can't begin to tell you the number of Prides I see around here publicizing the drag show they will have. Even though as a transgender woman I prefer to blend in with the crowd, even seeing a cross dresser in a ultra tight dress trying to make her way through with ultra high heels makes me cringe. Then I have to pull back and understand the cross dresser is using Pride to release her fantasies and may never again try to punish her feet and body like that again. If she is having a good time, who cares!

Cincinnati Pride, as has been the case as long as I can remember has a liberal sprinkling of the drag queen culture all the way to a baseball Reds Pride night plus their stage presentations this year will begin with an exotic women's burlesque' troop  

At this point I am undecided on what Liz and I are going to try to do this year as Pride returns to an in person event. Volunteering to work at the group table may be difficult because of the walk involved to get there. Plus, we would also love to attempt the Pride Pub Crawl that night. My problem again is avoiding excess walking which is very hard on me while at the same time be able to do as much people watching as possible.  Affording the whole deal will be an issue also because we live a distance from downtown where Pride is happening. At this point since we won't drink and drive we are looking into taking a bus going and returning via Uber. 

Whatever happens with us, I hope the group is able to staff it's table well with volunteers. It is so important to be able to tell and/or show our side of the Pride LGBTQ experience. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Quiet Time

 This Monday morning Liz is off and since I am retired we took advantage of the cooler morning temperatures to take our walk. It was non eventful as always as we normally have to clean up after our dog who somehow needs to complete his morning "constitutional" in the neighbor's yard. The same neighbor who we saw this morning as she was leaving for work.

Photo by Hello Revival on Unsplash

We have lived beside her, her husband and daughter for years now and have never received a negative comment about a transgender neighbor. Whatever the occasion it is nice to be accepted. Following the walk, I returned to my morning coffee and to ponder what I could write about on such a quiet day.

Finally I decided to write about the rare pleasure (on my part) of having a quiet day. Given my mental makeup, I don't have many moments when I am able to set all my demons aside and just relax. I was fortunate when I found I was able to discuss my Bi-Polar anxieties with my therapist and not have them complicate further my life on the transgender interstate highway. I learned long ago my gender journey was far more than a path...it was more like an interstate. Always busy and rarely quiet. Much like I am. If I am relaxed I am sleeping. 

Throughout my life it has been difficult to separate my anxieties from my gender dysphoria. In fact for years I thought they were intertwined. I have read and/or heard from others when they completed their gender transition, they were able to discontinue using their anti depressant medications all together. No such luck with me. Even though I was able to begin a full time transgender experience in a feminine world, my depressions and anxiety stuck around with me.  Again I am fortunate in that I have been able tolerate my medications for years. Giving me a chance to appreciate the rare quiet morning.

It does give me the chance to thank all of you readers on my long time Google blog and my relatively much newer Medium writers format which is growing dramatically. I completely appreciate all of you who read all my experiences and especially those who take the time to comment. Your input makes my whole effort so worthwhile. 

Thanks to all of you again and I hope you can have your own "quiet" time away from all the pressures the world tries to burden us with. Adding gender to those pressures is similar to adding cruel and unusual punishment to your world.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Achieving a Transgender Goal

 Similar to other human beings, we transgender folk follow a long path to hopefully discovering our  true selves. 

Even though we face a difficult and often cruel journey to arrive where we are heading, others are not immune from going through similar yet different struggles. It is my belief that even though cis women and men are just born female or male they have the chance to hopefully grow in life to be quality women and men. I see the same struggle with transgender women and men as they grow into their authentic selves. 

Connie and I used to refer to them as "trans nazi's" back in the day. They were the ones who seemingly held the number of gender surgeries you had or didn't have against you. More than likely another version of "I am more Transgender than you" movement. How sad is it any of us have had to go through anything like it. 

Early Cross Dressing Picture
Jessie Hart Collection

My earliest remembrances go back to my first visits to "transvestites' mixers" in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Out of all the different types of cross dressers in the room, the ones who perhaps influenced me the most were the ones I called the "A" Listers. The attendees who were impossibly feminine and attractive. Unfortunately, they were the biggest bitches in the crowd. I didn't want to act like them, I just wanted to look like them. With the help of practice and a timely makeover, I finally earned my right to go out with them and party after the mixer was over. 

Slowly but surely, I was achieving a transgender goal I didn't really know I had. Ironically, I never did fit into a niche group there either. I wasn't one of the "A" listers, nor was I a so called run of the mill  cross dresser. Finally, the term transgender came along to save me. I found my niche. 

Overall though, goals are difficult to achieve for many transgender women and men. We have huge hurdles to overcome when we come out to friends and family. Many times, those same friends and families don't understand they have to transition also. Rarely do we stay the same as we make the journey across the gender frontier. Hormone replacement therapy alone takes awhile to fully set in so transitions are far from complete when a trans person comes out. 

Then there are the gender surgeries. All the way from breast enlargement, to facial feminization, to gender realignment it's often a difficult and painful path to take. It takes a special friend or family member to understand and follow one through such a drastic journey.

Perhaps the most cruel goal of all is the conscious desire to forsake any gender privilege you may have built up over the years living as your non authentic self. Depending upon your age, you had potentially accrued the so called right and knowledge to live a certain way. I was to the point in my life when I had earned the hated "Sir" word. If I was deserving or not. 

I'm fortunate in that I have been able to achieve my transgender goals but I have had plenty of help along the way. I can't forget any of them.   

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Not a Choice

 This morning I was watching the news and came across a story about the average everyday person and choice. What the reporter didn't really ever say was for most things in life, we don't really have a choice. If we like it or not, choices are increasingly being made for us. By now you are probably thinking here comes another rant concerning politicians coming after transgender and even women's rights as a whole. But you are wrong. You all know my positions on the anti LGBT legislation sweeping the country. I would have to be Caitlyn Jenner not to. 

Jessie Hart Collection

What I am referring to is our lack of choice we feel as we transition our gender. Male to female or female to male, it doesn't matter. Normally we go through stages of despair and denial which has led the best of us to "purge" and throw away all the items we have acquired from what would become our authentic selves. My example came from when a close acquaintance of mine decided to purge his "collection" of feminine items. I was gifted a whole box of makeup, wigs and breast forms. Ironically, it wasn't so far before that when I did the same thing. 

During my purges I was sure I still had a choice and could quit the pesky idea I wanted to  be a girl. The feeling was so enlightening, for a week or so. Not being the sharpest tack in the box, I finally learned  my feminine desires were not going to magically disappear simply by throwing away my "collection" of feminine articles. Through it all I was slowly learning my true gender was not a choice and it was not the gender I was trying so hard to live as.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on those who don't understand why are living our choice to be our authentic selves. Female or Male. After all they were fortunate to grow up not having to question which gender they were. I will forever remember the lonely mornings when I woke up questioning why I was still a boy following dreaming I was a girl. Resentment  ran deep during those days. Why couldn't I have a choice on the gender I wanted to be?

Of course, gender choices during the 1950's and 60's were even more rare in those days than they are now. In other words, they didn't exist for me. I needed to learn any other method I could to depress my gender dysphoria. I resorted to sports and cars to basically just get by and hide my true gender from family and friends. 

Somehow, I bided my time until I could finally fully transition to a full time transgender woman. During the decades I experienced the highs and lows while living my life in a perpetual gender flux. Through it all, I wish I could impart on all of those considering a gender transition it is not a choice. Although I know the biggest problem can be convincing family and friends why you need to make such a radical move. 

It was never a choice. We just didn't know it.   

Friday, May 13, 2022

Sing Like a Bird

 It has been awhile it seems since I have written on any of my past experiences which directly led to my coming out of my closet and into the world as a transgender woman. Several happened in small lesbian bars which seem to be disappearing these days. 

One of the bars was basically a hard core biker bar and they did not like me, To put it mildly but on the other hand they still took my money and served me. I was just stubborn enough to keep going back and even playing Shania Twains' I feel like a Woman on their jukebox, I found it humorous when they found no humor in my musical tastes. Through it all, I was never asked (or told) to go. So I kept going back until I found another venue.

The second place turned out to be a much more welcoming spot. Part of it was it turned out my male self knew one of the bartenders and to my knowledge she never shared my secret life with anyone. Even to a few of the other customers. I always assumed everyone knew I was a cross dresser but never volunteered the information. Along the way I had several very interesting encounters. 

For this post I have added a very old picture showing a little how I looked when all of this was going on. Normally I wore tight jeans, a nice top with heels or boots depending upon the weather. Topping it all off was my favorite blond wig. I guess I was trying my best to an "lipstick lesbian" look.

One night it worked when I was approached by a woman every bit as tall as I and she bought me a beer. Then she said she should take me home with her. I quickly panicked and thought what was I going to tell my wife who was still very much alive at that time. She was working a night shift that evening so I only had a certain amount of time to have my fun and head home. Then once I got home I had to try to remove any stray makeup so presumably she wouldn't know I was out again leading my double life as a novice transgender woman.  I figured she wouldn't buy the excuse I was kidnaped by a scary/ vicious lesbian. 

It turned out to be another night when  I seemingly could have been forced into doing something against my will. Before I get into what happened, here is my disclaimer. I am a terrible singer and don't subject myself or others to the torture of my singing. One night though when a very stout, butch lesbian in a cowboy hat came in the bar during karaoke night and picked me to sing with her. Of course I tried to politely decline but she wasn't really giving me a choice  Again I panicked and wondered what I had gotten myself into. The only saving grace I had was my new "cowboy" friend was giving me the choice of songs I wanted to try to sing. The only karaoke song I had ever tried was a David Allan Coe  tune called "You Never even Called me by my Name." If you are familiar, Coe can't sing well either. 

Having chosen my ballad, we did actually sing. Which is probably an insult to the sing word. Having finished she turned to me and said my voice was actually lower than hers. About that time, I saw my chance at freedom. She went for another beer and I paid for mine and vacated the venue quickly. As luck would have it, I never saw her again. I also never sang again.

The only other time I wished I could have stayed for was when the owners arranged for several exotic dancers to visit the bar. I waited as long as I could to check out the fun but had to leave before the dancers arrived.

Sadly, small lesbian venues seem to be disappearing everywhere leaving one less place to go and have a good time. Or, sing like a bird. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Now What? A Transgender Odyssey.

My life as a transgender woman has certainly produced it's share of peaks and valleys. As I look back on it, I remember so many times I seemingly hit a wall with my male to female gender transition. Along the way I became very good at either climbing the wall or finding a way to go around it. 

I have plenty of examples. Perhaps one of the bigger ones occurred when I was very young. Even though I didn't really understand at the time my gender problems really had very little to do with the clothes I was collecting to at least outwardly present myself as a girl. Very quickly the thrill of looking at myself in the mirror faded and I was left with the same old feelings of gender dysphoria. Of course then, I had no idea of what gender dysphoria even was. I simply went around the wall and kept dressing in my feminine clothes hoping to relieve the pressure I was living under.

Incredibly I lived with this pressure for years until I began to take my first tentative steps out of the closet in the late 1970's through the early 1980's. During this period of my life I felt as if I was in some sort of a gender maze. I would be successful during a few of my trips out as a feminine person. One day I would experience little or no problems in the world only to be confronted with laughs and giggles other times. It took me awhile to get to the point when I finally figured out I was building my own walls. Primarily from attempting to dress too trashy. Once I finally learned my lesson, my transgender odyssey began to calm down and be more productive. By productive I mean I was experiencing fewer stares and laughing and was beginning the very first stages of establishing a whole new life in a new gender. Gone were the days of just obsessing on my looks and mannerisms and all of a sudden needing to really consider what the new person i was becoming would be. 

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

By this time, the walls were coming fast and furious. Just when I thought I had a handle on my new feminine self, new challenges came along. As I developed a whole new set of friends, they expected me to come along when they did fun things. I found myself going to lesbian mixers all the way to a NFL football game. Even with all this new excitement going on in my life, I still had to keep one foot in the male world. Which led me to continually be in the gender maze. 

It wasn't until later on I finally was able to climb all the walls and escape with my life. Perhaps my biggest miscalculation was not understanding how much more complex feminine lives are over what a man experiences. When I transitioned I had to unlearn all the male privilege power structures and relearn what a women has to do to survive and even flourish. 

Ironically, even though I have negotiated the gender maze fairly well, larger challenges still await me. Yes I am afraid of the increasingly malevolent attacks on women of all types and I wonder what it will mean to me in the future. Primarily if I need to go to a nursing home. 

It looks as if my transgender odyssey is far from over,   

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Normal? Archive Post

 Today was therapy day so I have limited opportunities to post. So I decided to go back to the Fall of 2020 for this post:

 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, May 10, 2022

Cover Girl

I have chosen to feature another photo from one of my favorite Facebook transgender woman acquaintances. This is Melonee Malone before her and wife Lisa went to an upscale country club party. Not to be outdone, Melonee decided tp go all out to impress.

I'm sure you will agree, she probably did not disappoint!


 

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Dreaded "M" Word

 All was going relatively well during my visit to the local vampires to have my blood labs checked. When my name was called, no gender pronoun was attached to it. Such as the dreaded "Mister" word. The nurse simply came through the door and screamed my last name. In no way warm and fuzzy but effective which is all I really cared about. 

After they quickly took my blood samples I sat back down as directed and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I followed the instructions on a sign in the waiting room which said if you waited more than fifteen minutes, go up and check in with the receptionist. I should have known trouble was coming when I had to interrupt her being on her phone. She then rapid fired questions at me asking who set up my second visit with my new primary provider. Then grew frustrated when I told her I didn't know who I talked to. At that point I should have known to be prepared for the worst. It turned out just not being seen by my new doctor right then wasn't going to be the biggest complaint I had. It came when she used the dreaded "M" word with me. In other words she called me "Mister".

Photo by Javier Martínez on Unsplash

When I promptly corrected her through her thick glass window, either she chose to ignore me , didn't care  or was doing it all on purpose because she promptly turned to the woman next to her and called me "him". Again I corrected her. 

It all ended up as my appointment was shifted to a video visit a little later on that day. The whole affair just turned out to be a trigger object for my impostor syndrome. As a long time, full time transgender woman it seems I am always waiting for the other shoe to fall as far as someone  not viewing me as a feminine person. 

Basically the entire situation just hurt my feelings. After a while though, of thinking all the years of trying to prefect what the world sees my gender as has been a failure. I decided to move on and redirect myself to my feminine self. Maybe during the shut in time during the pandemic I just grew too lazy and neglected my appearance, 

Then again maybe I was over-reacting to a woman who rarely see's any other women come into the VA health facility where she works. Maybe she didn't really even look at me and my voice is not the most feminine. 

One way or another, I fortunately don't have to go there much, so I won't have the opportunity to test her "gender reflexes" again. If I do and she fails, I will be writing a formal protest to her bosses.   

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mom's Day

 I was going to be lazy today and simply reuse one of my former Mother's Day posts. Then I began to consider how my thoughts about my Mom have changed over the years. 


As I grew up, I did have a vague understanding of the difficult journey my Mom went through before she finally was successful in birthing me. She went through three still births that I know of before I came along. It turned out I was the first of two boys as my brother was born two years later.

As the years went by, it was increasingly obvious I not only resembled my Mom, we had the same personalities. 

None of this meant I was ever allowed to show any sort of a feminine side with her. I had to be a study from afar when it came to secretly watching her put make up on all the way to her mannerisms. 

It took me a long time to attempt to come out to my Mom. For some unknown reason I was able to successfully hide my stash of girls clothes and makeup I had acquired over the years from her. Or, as I have considered also she had decided to ignore my desire to dress as a girl simply as a phase. Of course we all know it all turned out to be much more than a phase, it turned out to be my life.

It took me until my Army days to begin to accept my authentic transgender self. In fact, way before there was even a term for it. In those days, I referred to myself as a transvestite and became brave enough to come out to a small group of very close friends following a Halloween party when I showed up as a woman. It was such an enlightening experience for me that I ignored the potential disaster which could have come to me if my superiors had found out. 

The whole process emboldened me to come out to my Mom once I was discharged from the military. One night after a hard evening of partying she was still up when I returned home. All too soon the topic somehow turned to my time in the service. Before long I told her the truth, I was a transvestite and I had felt so much better. The entire process was similar to a huge weight being taken off my shoulders. Somehow I was naïve and expected the same result from her.

What I received in return was she was in shock and disapproved to the point she offered to put me through therapy. Electro shock as I remember. Of course I not so politely refused and the topic was never brought up again the rest of her life.

I used to deeply resent her for her feelings but over the years I have mellowed after I considered the sacrifices she went through to bring me into the world. Age also helped me to understand many topics we clashed about were simply because we were so similar. Along the way she taught me important lessons such as determination and reliability. 

When I set out to legally change my name, I decided to adopt her name as my new middle name not so much to honor her but to show her in the end I had won my battle to live a feminine life as a full time transgender woman.  Now I feel even that idea has changed.

I'm glad I adopted her name now and view the whole process as honoring her. Thanks Mom! Of course she has long since passed on, so this is the best I can do. I hope your Mom is still with you and accepts your reality.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Friday's and the Transgender Woman

Many of you know I have a history degree and consider myself an amateur historian of sorts. Along the way I have developed a deep respect of the historical past being able to predict the future. Somewhat similar to building blocks.

Many of you also know I have written several times about what I consider to be my first night out or history as a transgender woman, rather than as a cross dresser. The difference to me was, it was the first time in my life I was getting the chance to see if I could actually exist in a feminine world. If I was successful I felt I could actually move forward with my dream of living full time. 

In order to try, first I needed a venue to try it in. I had unsuccessfully tried in a number of gay venues and discovered I was only being viewed as yet another drag queen. Far from my goal of being seen at the least as a transgender woman. During the same period of time, a chain of casual bar/restaurants was being invented in NYC and Texas. They were called Friday's and were nearly the first to welcome, attract and serve single women. Before Friday's all bars were essentially were for men only. 

I came up with this information from a television show on food service on the "History Channel". I was instantly attracted from two angles. The second being I built a thirty plus year as a manager in the commercial food business. I ended up working everything from fast food to large casual dining food


operations. The first (and most important) reason was a Fridays in the Dayton, Ohio area was where I first went to see if I could be successful in blending in with and living as a single woman. In this instance, blending in with other women just getting off work from a neighboring up scale mall.

By now, you may recognize how the rest of the experience played out that night. Even though I was scared to death, I did my best to dress in feminine professional attire to blend in with all the other cis-women I knew would be frequenting the venue a little later from when I arrived. To this day I remember the black pants suit, flats and shoulder length blond wig I wore for the evening.

From my experience working in similar concepts, I knew once I made it past the hostess stand and to the bar, I stood a fairly good chance of being served and hopefully accepted. 

To make a long post relatively shorter, I was accepted. I wasn't laughed at by anyone and even though as terrified as I was, I was able to drink two drinks before I made my escape. Most importantly I was still afraid because deep down I knew I had touched a nerve and could possibly live my ultimate dream...a life in a feminine world. I loved it!

Of course Fridays went on to spawn a whole genre of spin offs.  But I will forever be grateful to one of the originals which helped me on my way to a life as my authentic self.

The Gender Waltz

Image from Clarisse Meyer on UnSplash Since the beginning of time, the two binary genders have done a special dance with each other.  Being ...