Thursday, June 30, 2022

Parental Guidance

Can you imagine your transgender life if years ago you had the benefit of positive feedback from your parents? 

Photo from Noah Busher
on Unslash, Not of the author.

Most certainly it didn't happen with me. My parents  of the "greatest generation" age group did not have the knowledge tools and/or the emotional background to handle a gender dysphoric child. You have to remember also I was born in 1949 which lends a reference to the time period I am referring to. I can't speculate on what my Dad may have thought since I never had the courage to tell him. As I have mentioned many times, the only time I told my Mom was when I was out of the Army and she told me they would help me with psychiatric care. I found the whole idea to be totally wrong and distasteful to me because not long ago I had come out to a few close friends as a transvestite. I found the experience to be totally liberating and the last thing I wanted to do was go back. In typical form, the night we talked was the last time Mom and I discussed my gender issues the rest of her life.

So I can't even imagine having the opportunity to have been "Daddy's little girl" Or being able to play in my Mom's makeup without the fear of being in trouble. What if I was allowed to receive the doll I wanted as a gift for Christmas instead of the hated BB Gun. Furthermore what if I had benefited from the guidance a mother can offer to a daughter growing up. Could I have separated the good from the intense pressure I am sure I would have encountered as Mom wanted me to conform. It was bad enough as a cross dressing  boy. I am sure the grass would not have been always greener on the other side of the binary gender pasture. 

The other day when my daughter and I were enjoying breakfast, she asked me if I had always known I was transgender. I told her, from all indications yes. The problem was the knowledge of the term or even the invention of the word itself was far from being a household term when I was growing up. The whole idea was so foreign to me it took years to figure out yes indeed I checked all the transgender boxes and finally I had found something which I felt as if it fit me. 

I don't really know why but even with her complete acceptance I still am slightly shy when she asked me questions concerning my gender issues. Possibly it is because a portion of me still doesn't pull back the macho man curtain to her and let her see the true me. One of the remnants of what my Dad taught me. 

These days I am so envious of the transgender youth who are fortunate enough to have understanding parents. Some to the point of even being willing to move to areas of the country which are more transgender friendly. This extends to all the sympathetic spouses who are willing to transition with their loved ones. 

Definitely positive parental guidance should be praised and cherished.     

    

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Friends

 What are friends for? Right? As far as transgender individuals are concerned, friends mean quite a bit. 

Many of us go through a portion of our lives when we desperately seek out "replacement" friends to help us with how we look or even how we move as we attempt to live as our authentic selves. I remember many times in the blog when others have mentioned how badly they needed a cis woman to do their makeup. Over the years I found I was mostly self taught which sometimes showed until I learned how to not look like a clown. I say mostly because on a couple of occasions I did take advantage of a free makeover. Even then with my ego, I had to "face" the makeup person with absolutely no make up and more importantly try to understand exactly what he was trying to tell me about applying makeup.

Years before I sought professional help, I did beg my fiancĂ© to help me totally cross dress as a woman. It turned out to be one of the most exciting times of my life yet one of the worst decisions I ever made. Later on I had to endure a very messy breakup with her before I went into the military. She told me to tell them I was gay and not be drafted or we were finished. It turns out she was holding my cross dressing desires against me. The wonderful end to the story is getting rid of her was one of the best decisions of my life. 

These days there are many ways to seek out help with cosmetics. Depending upon your finances, there are larger makeup chain stores to help you. I say finances because naturally, they will try to sell you many products. Some of which you may not need. 

Girls Night Out Photo. Courtesy Jessie Hart 
I am bottom row far left. 
Of course there are many other ways friends can help you down your path to living as your authentic self. I was fortunate to find several close cis women friends early in my transition when I was going out to be alone. In other words, I was desperately lonely so I still went out as my authentic self to enjoy what I had of life. Also I had recently gone through the loss (death) of my wife and several close friends, so I felt what else did I have to lose. 


My new found friends helped me to find life again and more importantly accepted me as my authentic self. As with most everything else in life, time moves everything in a circle if you live long enough. In my case I was able to finally replace the few long time friends I had acquired as a cross dressing man with equally as close friends I could socialize with. Being social again brought my life back to a place I could ever imagine.  

Transitioning certainly means more than coming out to family. No matter if you are able to find new friends through local LGBTQ groups or wherever, establishing a new world as your authentic self is often key to a healthy existence. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Crowning a Winner in Thailand

 

Following several years of holding no competitions due to Covid, Thailand is once again holding it's world famous transgender beauty queen contest. 

Check out the winners with runners up on either side of the winning contestant from the Philippines. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

For the Kids

 Another reason I write is my hope a few of my ideas might find their way to a stray transgender youth. At my age, youth includes twenty somethings or even younger. I do realize however to most of them I a

Photo Credit Jessie Hart
m a dinosaur. What I went through in my transformative transgender years is so different from theirs I understand it does not matter. For instance, the idea of  not having an internet or any social media is completely foreign to younger transgender women and men. What it meant was we had to contend with darker closets where we felt totally alone. 

Over the recent years I have had the opportunity to experience the feedback of younger trans individuals. Predictably most don't want or need my ideas and that is all good. 

Recently though, I was mildly surprised when a close family member who just turned 21 is attempting to come out as a transgender man. I say mildly surprised because they (preferred pronoun) have matured into a very androgynous individual. At first I was speechless when I was presented with the idea. Quickly I recovered and asked did they understand what all they were getting themselves into. I am fairly certain they do yet they don't. The power of youth allows us the luxury of making mistakes and then going back and correcting them. My example is another young local person I know who announced not long ago they wanted to be a boy.  She tried it and went back to being a girl. 

My problem with my relation is they are talking about pursuing gender realignment surgery. My thought is they need a chance to live as their preferred gender and then make the decision to go through such a major surgery. Plus there is the question of having insurance (which they do) and finding a skilled and reputable surgeon. 

Maybe I am over cautious because it took me so long to give up my cross dressing in a toxic male world and fully transition into a full time transgender woman. Many of you have read my excuses of why I didn't transition earlier and as a matter of fact I wish I had pulled the plug on my male life much earlier in my life. Most of my past just doesn't lend itself to current transgender individuals but then again a few key points still do.

The fact still remained deep down I knew I felt more natural as my feminine self. Advice is like a certain rear part of your body...everyone has one. I still ended up telling the person closest to this post's subject to put them in touch with me if they wanted to talk. I believe they will have a slightly easier chance of transitioning into a male world. Most of the trans men I know are completely passable as their authentic selves.   

As we all know, the transgender journey is never an easy one. Especially for those just starting down the path. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Transgender Bravery

 Some individuals call a transgender persons path to achieving living as their authentic self with terms such as bravery or even courage. Over the years I have been more likely to refer to me following my path as one of bravery rather than courage.


Courage I rather use to describe service members and/or first responders. It takes real courage to do what they do. On the other hand it takes bravery to take the first steps out of our tightly closed gender closets. For some, including me when the unbelievable pressure began to weigh on me, I just had to take steps to relieve the gender stress. If I didn't I would be nearly unbearable to be around. In fact my wife became quite adept at knowing what I was feeling and why. Most of the time all of it was a good thing except when I was suffering extreme gender dysphoria. She naturally became upset when everything she was doing was never enough. Sadly it never was. No matter what she did to give in to my cross dressing urges, she always drew the line at any suggestion of me being transgender. 

What happened was I increasingly pushed my gender boundary which led to possible discovery by family friends. When I was emboldened to do it, I guess you could say I became brave enough to leave the house and attempt to live a life as a transgender woman. An example was the night she was working and under the cover of darkness, I took off in my favorite oversize cuddly sweater, leggings and boots to take it a local Christmas light display which needed to be enjoyed on foot. The entire evening proved to be very successful as I even enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate I was brave enough to stop and order.

Then there were all times I gave up on the male gay bar venues I was being rejected in and started to explore going to larger straight venues. Sure I was scared but I wanted to see if I could be accepted as my new authentic self. As a began to go down this new path I needed to be very brave to have any success because I was scared to death. 

So, all in all I will accept the bravery comment. Mainly because I think it shows what I needed to go through to arrive at where I am today. There were so many times I thought living life as a full time transgender woman was definitely an impossible dream. During my brief time in the military during the Army drills we went through I learned what courage could be about. I learned to think courage was an intangible which showed up (or didn't) during times of great duress.  

Whatever you decide to describe yourself as, courageous or brave, basically we are dealing in semantics. Your transgender journey is yours alone and will never be described as an easy one.  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gender Puzzle

 As we follow our transgender journeys, we encounter many walls to climb over or run around. In my


case I have described my path as one of being similar to a mouse in a maze. When I would hit a wall, I just had to step back and try to overcome it...one way or another. Sometimes it seemed I was just hitting my head against a wall which would never move.

Normally I would usually discover I was just being stubborn about how I was approaching the matter. Another example would be when I finally decided the way to succeed in a feminine world was to dress for them and not men. Perhaps it's unfair to men but when I was dressing for them, I had a tendency to ending up more trashy than classy. Public doors really began to open for me when I quit trying so hard. 

Even still it seemed I was caught in the giant puzzle which was my gender. Once I began to succeed in presenting a positive feminine image, then I had to become very serious in building a feminine persona to go with it as I attempted to align my authentic self with my exterior image the world saw.

Problems came fast and furious at the beginning as I had to adjust losing my male privilege, During the rare occurrences I would be involved in conversations with men, I had to react quickly to becoming a second class citizen and basically wait to speak when I was spoken to. I will say now I am more self assured and confident in myself and will stand up for my point of view. I just rarely have the opportunity to do it.

The other main issue I had was picking up on and reacting to the different ways women communicate with each other. There were many evenings I went home thinking what that really what another woman meant when told me something basically with her eyes. An example was one night when I was approached by a guy at a bar where I was a regular. With only a glance I picked up on her visual warning to stay away. I also learned quickly not to necessarily take at face value what another woman was telling me. It was a good way to get a knife or claw marks down your back.

Once I had solved those pieces of the gender puzzle, then I was faced with perhaps the biggest challenge of all, what was this new feminine person I was discovering be like. After all, she had waited years for her turn in the world.  Since the stage was hers, what would she do with it. 

As it turned out, she was able to do more than she ever imagined. With the help of several other strong women, she was able to come out of her shell and seemingly fill in the last remaining pieces of her gender puzzle. Of course as I write that I realize my gender puzzle won't be complete until my final transition (death). All I can do is hope for the best.

Looking back, fulfilling my gender puzzle were equal portions of terror and excitement.  Terror at facing yet another wall and excitement at moving around it. Yes, there were plenty of tears shed along the way mixed in with smiles and laughter.

Neither ruined the puzzle.  


Friday, June 24, 2022

Catching Up

 

Picture taken at local military memorial 
pre Covid. Courtesy Jessie Hart

As predicted, my breakfast meetup with my daughter went well.  We connected well with not even the usual traffic jam taking place. As it turns out, she really has her hands full with two out of three of her children. I have always cherished all of them and as I always written, they have always accepted me. 

Plus, as I walked through the venue, no one gave me a second look. It's always beneficial when I can take it an amount of gender euphoria. 

I love her very much and can't wait for our next breakfast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Looking Forward

 I am now a day closer to my breakfast meetup with my daughter. Since she works a semi regular job as an education school secretary. it's exceedingly rare to find a time when we can get together. Making it even more special is the fact my partner Liz has made me a new pair of beaded ear-rings.

Past that, I am not planning on wearing anything special other than my jeans and a tank top. 

I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

It's Never Easy

Some days I think it is never easy being  transgender. Now I am involved in selling a property I have owned for years in my native town I grew up in. The problem being I will probably have to go through an attorney to do it. Most likely that means interacting with a whole new set of people who perhaps

have never seen another transgender person before. Fortunately I might be able to go back to the attorney I used years ago to probate the property into my name. This happened when I was first coming out and even then I didn't have any problems with the cis female attorney I went through. So, I guess it is just the point of having to do it again.

On the bright side, I am meeting my daughter for breakfast later this week. It's been awhile since we have been able to do our "parent/daughter"  meet up to just connect for a short time and enjoy each other's company. I have to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have such an accepting daughter and grand kids. It is so easy to take for granted. 

Going out with her and people such as my partner Liz helps me to regain any recent confidence I have lost, mainly since all of a sudden I am so vain about my appearance. It's ridiculous because it is now all age related . Since I am almost seventy three, there is little I can do now (except my regular skin routine) to randomly reverse the wrinkles I have earned.

All in all, it's just my internalized transphobia sneaking up on me. I had all those covid related years when I didn't have to worry about little if any interaction with the public. So now I have to hitch up my big girls panties and do it again, I have to regain my footing. 

Deep down I always knew my transgender journey wouldn't be easy. This should come as no surprise that you can run but you can't hide if you are transgender. As I am always fond of writing, crossing the gender binary is one of the most difficult tasks a human can undertake. In fact, from birth to the undertaker. our lives are so complex. 

So, as I read back over this post, I am just being a cry baby taking my frustrations out on all of you. As always, I appreciate all of you who read, subscribe and or comment on my posts!

Years ago, I knew what I signed up for and knew it wasn't going to be an easy path to take becoming a full time transgender woman. Every now and then I am human and it gets me down. But it's only temporary. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Dad's Day

 A little late with this post but in many ways it's  a relevant look at my past. Even though  I have never taken any sort of real survey. It seems to me from my many years following other transgender women or cross dressing blogs, our Mom's receive most of the credit and or blame for our gender issues. From makeup to fashion many of us followed our Mom's lead. 


Through it all what about Dad? In my case I still stand in awe of all he accomplished in his life. In addition to surviving the Depression and World War II, he took his high school education, built his own house and rose to being a Bank Vice President. It broke my heart when he developed dementia and slipped away. 

Sadly I was never able to talk to him concerning any of the important issues in my life. Especially my questions about gender. While he exceeded my expectations at being a provider, he was sadly very deficient in being emotionally available. 

It took me years to come to terms to my up bringing as a white privileged kid being raised in a semi-rural area in Ohio. I hit the ground running in 1968 during my first year of college when the Vietnam War was surging and I always thought my Dad was pro Nixon. I remember his disliking of when my hair started to creep over my ears and collar. His crew cuts and burr haircuts became a thing of the past to me. Even still, my Dad managed to not say much to me about his feelings.

During that time, my Mom had no problems filling the void, she was very vocal about "not wasting" the money they spent on my education if I was killed in Vietnam. True story. 

Sadly, my parent's relationship grew toxic as they reached fifty years of marriage. From the outside looking in I think my Mom grew restless about my Dad's increasingly sedentary lifestyle. There was only so much time she could sit around watching television. Even in their dream condo.

The older I become, the more I am curious to what I inherited from both of my parents. My Mom is the easier one to explain. I inherited her fire and ability to change which she had to do when she graduated from a fairly prestigious state university in Ohio and went against her family's blessings and married an high school grad with no real occupational direction. She wore her emotions on her sleeve so she was easy to figure out.

Dad was the exact opposite. It wasn't until much later in life did he let any of his feelings be known concerning his standing with Mom's family. Also sadly, I still have a very difficult time showing any emotion. In fact, I didn't begin to cry at all in my life until I began to feel the effects of hormone replacement therapy. 

Many of you know I made final peace with my Mom when I legally changed my name and chose her first name as my middle name and her father's name as my first. I did not forget my Dad by keeping my last name the same. 

It took me years after both of their passing for me to come to terms with how I was raised. Now I realize they did the best they could with what they had to work with. Times changed on them and they had a difficult time changing with them. A challenge I try to keep up with daily. 

In the meantime, thanks Dad and Happy Father's Day. I love you!   

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Impostor's Syndrome?

 Are you kidding me? Yet another transgender phrase I have to worry about? Just what does "impostor syndrome mean to you...if anything. 

To me it means when I am walking through a busy restaurant my partner Liz and I go to on a regular basis, will I be "exposed" as a transgender woman or all I am not seem to be. For Connie's benefit I used the "exposed" word sensing she is ready to pounce. 

Regardless of all of that, I do suffer from impostor's syndrome. I also wonder who was smarter or more creative than I and came up with the phrase. I used to refer to it as "transgender PTSD" or transgender post traumatic stress disorder. Mine was brought on early in my formative years when I was attempting to live as my authentic self. Of course most of my failures came as I was just learning the basics of gender presentation in public. All too often I tried to wear ill fitting clothes to match my clown wigs. In a sense I spent too much time being trashy rather than classy. All of my ill fated attempts led me to being laughed or snickered at and even having the police called on me when I used the bathroom. I suppose you have to be transgender or even a cross dresser to understand the mental trauma it causes.

I guess new phraseology and alphabet letters are the rule rather than the norm in todays LGBTQ society probably coming from all the new people discovering their new gender realities. Even locally in the small transgender - cross dresser support group I am a part of, there seems to be a rather sharp division between the younger and older members of the group. It's rather sad to me that so many get their "panties in a bunch" over situations we all should be united behind. Especially in today's society where so many people are attempting to erase us totally. 

So, when push comes to shove, I will have to accept yet another phrase as a part of my gender vocabulary. I believe also, resistance to change is often a sign of age. I am sad when I lose contact with several members of our group because they got their feelings hurt by someone else.

Virginia Prince

We need every person to be as united as possible to propel us into the future. Similar to me standing on the shoulder's of the Virginia Prince's of the cross dressing world, it would be wonderful if just one person could see me in the same light.

At that point I wouldn't have to worry about "impostors syndrome" again. Maybe I will have to wait to see what happens in my later years when or if I have to be admitted to an extended care facility. 

Perhaps I will never have to worry about it and the final transition will come peacefully. That's all anyone could ask.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Therapy

 My experiences with therapy started years ago. So long ago I barely remember when. However I do remember I built up the courage to tell my first therapist (a man) that I liked to cross dress as a woman. I remember too he basically glossed over my admission and began to write me prescriptions for such mind altering medications of the day such as Prozac and Lithium.  I don't remember much about the

Jessie with Brutus Buckeye

side effects of Prozac but I know I didn't like or tolerate Lithium well at all. Through it all, the medications didn't have an affect one way or another on my cross dressing. Plus, I felt the doctor must have felt worse talking about it than I did, because he never brought it up again.

Around that time was when I picked up my small family and began to move to various places around the country trying desperately to out run my gender problems. Following a year and a half stay in the NYC Metro area, we bounced back to our native Ohio, to a largely rural area along the Ohio River.  Near that time was when I began to seriously explore the world as a cross dressing woman. My wife knew of my cross dressing desires but never approved of me going out from our house which happened to be in a very rural area. Of course, the more I snuck out the more I wanted to. Which led me to being on a collision course with being caught by her. Every time it happened a huge fight between us took place. One time after a particular nasty altercation, I volunteered to schedule an appointment with a therapist who specialized in gender difficulties or dysphoria, I believe I discovered her information in an issue of "Transvestia" magazine. To do it at all was quite a task because of where she was located an hours drive north of us in Columbus, Ohio. 

Ironically she was a successful trip for all the wrong reasons. Fairly early in our visits, she told me there was no way she could help me with being a cross dresser or transvestite as it was known back in those days but she could help me with the vicious mood swings I was going through. In other words, she was the first therapist to diagnose my Bi-Polar disorder. Through it all, every visit I managed to take, I was prolonging the inevitable next fight with my wife. So all in all, my experience with this therapist was a success. At least the next time I was caught out and about cross dressed by my wife I could say I was trying to do something about it.

My next experience with a therapist came years later when I began my care under the Veterans Administration health care system. One of the main reasons I sought out their help was because I was severely financially challenged and unable to purchase my Bi-Polar medications on my own. Of course in order to be prescribed through the VA I had to be seen by a therapist. This was near the same time my wife had passed away and I was considering starting hormone replacement therapy, so in essence invisible doors were beginning to open for me since this was all in the early days of the VA accepting HRT work also. 

I was really fortunate. The therapist I was assigned is still with me today. A near impossibility in the VA system as I know it. More importantly too, she was willing to listen to me and accept the fact my transgender issues were completely separate from my Bi-Polar issues. She kept me on the medications which had been a success for me in the past and approved me for HRT meds. Fairly quickly she became one of the most important people in my life.

I am aware I could be the exception to the rule when it comes to therapy and many transgender persons resent the idea they need therapy before they can start HRT.  I know also several trans persons who either had a difficult time finding a therapist who deals with gender issues or being able to feel comfortable doing it. 

Hopefully if you have sought out therapy you have been successful finding one who helps you with your gender dysphoria or any other issue you may have,   

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Still Melting

I am so over this ultra hot weather! Here in southern Ohio we have been stuck under this power dome of hot weather. As I have mentioned several times, we don't have an air conditioned house so the weather is so much worse. I am sick and tired of seeing a heat advisory on the television. 

By now you are thinking what does this have to do with being a transgender woman. Mainly the post has to do with the effects of hormone replacement therapy on a male body. Previously I wrote of a thermostat change which occurred when I seriously started on the hormonal route. I was cold all the time. 

The problem I have is how my age reacted with my new feminine hormones for change, Since I actually started down the serious HRT path when I was in my sixties, I felt my natural testosterone levels were already in decline. Making it easier for feminine changes to occur. 

Less is more it seemed as the changes started to come fast and furious. Before I knew it I was presenting as a highly androgynous person. Along with the natural changes such as breast growth, were the less noticeable but still as important changes. All of a sudden I could smell better and along with that it seemed my body chemistry was changing also. I didn't perspire as much was the main change. I wonder now if less perspiration hurts me now in this very hot and humid weather. One way or another you take the bad with the good.

Coming up this weekend is Cincinnati LGBTQ Pride and the weather is supposed to break for a couple days before we go back to the extreme heat again. We are still deciding if we are going to go downtown and party. Standing in the way could be my partner Liz's work hours and finances. We are still going to wait to see what we are going to do.

Until that time, I am going to continue to hope for no more rolling blackouts. At least now I have my fan to make life less miserable. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Transgender to the Core

 When I was first beginning to open my cross dressing closet and see what the world had to offer, one of the main questions I was asked was when did I know I was transgender. Overall it seemed like a simple question that wasn't. 

Photo courtesy Jessie Hart 

First of all, the basic answer to the transgender question is I have been trans since birth. In fact though there are so many layers to this question. In order to answer it, I would have to attempt to explain the differences in being a cross dresser versus being transgender. To me, I spent the majority of my life cross dressing. Mostly as a man which totally confused most who bothered to care enough to inquire into my gender issues. It was difficult to explain why I was so sure I was never really a man, I was just going through the motions. Even though I attempted to balance all my gender issues for over fifty years, I became very adept at fooling the world. Sadly I was mainly only fooling myself. 

For some reason, in my mind something snapped and I decided when it was time to move on from being a cross dresser. To me, the major difference was doing my best to look like a woman versus exploring the world to see if I could follow my dream and live full time. 

As I went down this gender path, it became increasingly evident I could live full time as a transgender woman, Why? Because I sought out and found a small group of women friends who accepted me for who I was. Through the entire process, deep down I felt so natural. I have written a number of times of how a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. 

These days, I don't get asked questions concerning my gender much to not at all. I think it is because I have become so comfortable as my authentic self. I don't have anything to prove to anyone and if they don't accept me, so be it. I'm also fortunate to nearly always having my partner Liz by my side. In ways she doesn't understand she runs interference if I happen to encounter anyone negatively questioning my gender, 

As you can tell, I don't have any easy answers for anyone who wants to positively question my gender journey. It is confusing enough to try to explain my idea of why a cross dresser and a transgender person differ. In fact, there were many times when I started what I referred to as my second transition to a trans woman, I was wondering what I was doing. I had so much to lose such as family, friends and jobs. What kept me going through this difficult time was the transgender journey I was going through felt so natural. That alone kept me going.

So if you are thinking of transitioning and have major questions to answer, my only advice is to listen to your inner self. It will tell you if you are transgender to the core. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Missed Time

 One of the major portions of my life I missed out on were when  the parts of my gender dysphoria were  doing battle with each other. Many times my attempts to cross dress as a man totally disrupted my life. I became mean and nearly lost jobs because of my attitude. Ironically, I followed the same pattern over and over again. The internal pressures would build to express my authentic feminine self until I had to find a way to relieve it. I guess the definition of insanity being doing something over and over again while expecting different results applies to me here. 



Photo from Jessie Hart
Over the years also, I built up a strong resentment because I couldn't and didn't live the same lifestyle as the other cis women around me. A prime example was not being able to be given a doll at Christmas for a gift when I disliked the boy gifts I received. Plus at Christmas dinners, I wanted to be the girl in the black velvet dress with white tights and patent leather flats. Not the restrictive shirt and tie I was forced to wear. Not to mention my crew cut or burr haircut. 

Finally I learned there was nothing I could do about the gender pressure I was feeling but to give in. I had paid my dues trying to be a man and it was time to take my chances and establish my life as a transgender woman. From that point forward the pressure of trying to live in both binary genders was released and I felt a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. 

Even with all of the new found gender freedom, I still was resentful of all the girl time I missed growing up.  Take applying makeup for example. I suffered because I didn't have the input from my Mom or other girls my age when It came to the art of applying makeup. I struggled through until the times I was actually able to take advantage of a professional makeup artist who was able to produce magical results with what he had to work with. That's right he because I had the best results from a male. 

Then there was the whole dating ritual scene. I was very shy to the point of being afraid of girls and was totally envious of their lifestyle. It wasn't until years later, I found girls had it just as hard as boys, just in different ways. It turned out the gender grass was not always greener on the other side of the binary. Even still none of that helped me when I finally did start dating. Once again I was trapped admiring my dates appearance in all the places we went to. Especially the proms I went to when I was stuck in a restrictive tuxedo when my date was able to look so nice and colorful in her dress,

As we grow older and are fortunate to to be able to live our dreams, it's a total waste of time to dwell on the past unless you are learning from it.  As I wrote earlier in this post, neither primary gender has an easier life than the other. I am just greedy and would like back a portion of the energy I missed out on. How my life could have changed. 

On the other hand, I would have missed out on what turned out to a frenetic lifestyle when it turned out I was just passing through so many people, places and cultures. Finally I was able to shed myself of my former toxic male self. From then on, my missed time was not as important because I was building new ones as my authentic feminine self. 

It all felt so natural to me as I knew playing in the girl's sandbox was where I belonged all long.

Monday, June 13, 2022

It's Going to be Hot

This week where I live (in Southwest Ohio) we are trying to make a run at the extremely hot temperatures in the Southwestern part of the country. Tuesday thru Friday our heat index's will be over one hundred degree (F) with the usual local  oppressive humidity. We don't have an air conditioned house so a fan will be my best friend.

This morning I was feeling sorry for myself when I took the dog on his morning walk until I began to think of my life before I transitioned. Those were the days I couldn't even consider wearing a sleeveless top because of the hair on my arms. On the other hand, I could still shave my legs so cooler short skirts were still my favorite. 

Plus, one of my favorite parts of being a cross dresser was shifting my fashion to meet the changing seasons we live with around here. You have to take the good with the bad as far as the seasons are concerned. I believe overall Fall is my favorite season. The leaves change color, the days become cooler and it's time to go through the wardrobe and find items I can still wear such as leggings, boots and sweaters. It was fun being a cross dresser. 

When hormone replacement therapy came along, it basically changed everything. Fairly quickly one of the larger internal changes I noted was when my internal thermostat changed. All of a sudden, I was always cold when the weather changed. It became evident to me all the years I had doubted women when they complained about being cold were not making it up. I know I wondered at the time how HRT would work when the weather became hot and summer like.


This summer is not my first rodeo in the heat and I know now during the hot days I won't automatically feel cooler because of my years on HRT. The only thing it does do is drastically cut back on the body hair I have which helps me to wear comfortably summer feminine fashion. I have gone through my wardrobe  to find missing summer pieces to add to my wardrobe.   I have added a photo of one of those tank tops.

I would be remiss also if I didn't mention the power of HRT on how much make up I use. I vividly remember the bad old days of sweating the makeup off nearly as fast as I applied it, Once my skin began to soften due to the hormones' and my beard lightened with age, I found I could try to wear less makeup.  In fact now I only wear eye makeup, mascara and lipsticks. 

On the bright side we are supposed to get a short break from the heat this weekend. Which happens to coincide with our LGBTQ Pride event and the pub crawl Liz and I are considering going on.

To all of you who may live in the drought/heat stricken parts of country or world, I hope you can stay cool.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Out and Proud

 Next week for my partner Liz and I is LGBTQ Pride week, which at this point in time we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather. So far the forecast looks good for our try at going on the Cincinnati Pride Pub Crawl. Since we can't drink and drive the whole event will one way or another cause an extreme amount of effort and finances. So we want as much as possible, that all intangibles such as weather to be on our side. 


Last night though, we decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant which is conveniently located right around the corner from our house.  

Since we have been there several times, I didn't expect any pushback to my presence as a transgender woman in their venue and I didn't get any. 

In some senses I think the picture represents what I ordered the "Plato Loco." I believe in Spanish the translation is "crazy dish." but I flunked Spanish in college.

Actually I wasn't trying to look crazy with my smirk in the picture, Liz took it as I was eating a chip.

Regardless of any of this, I know I am very bad at sharing any pictures of my experiences. Hopefully I will have more to share this week after Pride.

As an aside this week the Veteran's Administration is celebrating the contributions of women veterans over the years. I am proud to say I have been invited to participate. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Why?

 Why I write I thought may deserve a post or at least a bit of attention.

I have been focused on writing a blog now for approximately ten years following being urged on from my

From my Early Blogging Years

friend Connie Malone, who I share posts with fairly regularity. At the time we were sharing experiences in our worlds which ironically were very close to mine. 

From there on, the whole challenge of writing a blog was having the time to do it and deciding how much I would post to it. Little did I know what I was getting into! Fortunately I am retired and the time to write was not and is not too big of a deal. I was also lucky that when I was in school, I had lessons in writing pounded into my thick noggin. Hopefully it all shows in my writing and allows the long deceased Mrs. Wright happy. She was my teacher in middle school.

Sometimes I think being a writer means you are some sort of a narcissist. After all, who really cares what you think. Especially when you deal with other transgender women or men. In my case, I initially started to write because I hoped my experiences could help others. Sadly, one of the many common issues we face as trans people is how we have to grow into our authentic selves which is often a painful journey. During my journey I have been able to grow my life into my authentic self and live long enough to write about it. 

One of the daily drawbacks of non fiction daily blogging is attempting to find topics to write about. For example have you seen the wonderful in-depth documentary on LGBTQ Pride on the National Geographic Channel? If you haven't and can stream it somehow, it would be worth your time to watch it. 

Now to the best part of writing a blog. The feedback I receive has normally always been positive except the well worn comment "Just another old guy on Hormones." Other than that, I really enjoy all your comments. They all make the days of working my way through massive writers block worthwhile. 

It's also interesting when I go back and read all the earliest posts, they seem to be mainly focused on how I looked and was received in relation to today when I am more focused on the moment. Which probably shows how I have grown in all the years now I have been able to live as my authentic self as a transgender woman.

Finally, thanks to all of you who follow, subscribe to or respond to my posts. You make the entire process so worth it.

     

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Gender versus Sexuality

My post yesterday barely touched on the idea of changing your sexuality when you change your gender.

My own over simplification of the process is sex comes from between the legs and gender comes from between the ears. Of course your idea maybe different.  Mine comes from the experiences I went through. In other words, once I went through the process of joining the world as a new transgender woman, all of a sudden I had to figure out what I was going to do about my sexuality. Was I going to attempt to continue to try to date women or try the brave new world of dating men. 

By the time all of this was occurring, I was in my early sixties and was aware (even prepared) to go through the rest of my life alone. However, I was not prepared to stay in my house and not go out and socialize again. Those were the days I was desperately alone and went out to be alone as I called it. These were also the time I went on line to explore the then new dating sites. Predictably I had to weed

On Line Dating 
Photo, Jessie Hart

out tons of crazies as I explored what was out there. "Out there" meant mostly guys who either wanted to wear my undies, treat me as a fetish object or just not show up at all where they were supposed to be. By now you are probably thinking trash in equals trash out. Ironically only most of that was true because I did find my long time partner Liz on line. 

Plus, there were other quality men I did encounter. Several I did manage to meet in the public venues I frequented and enjoyed my times with them. Including my first dinner date with a transgender man I knew. Mostly the dates went as far as good night kisses and a bit of fairly aggressive groping. Far enough I had to wonder what would come next. Or, would this be the time I would lose my "other virginity" to a man. For whatever reason nothing ever happened. To this day one of the men remains friends to me on social media to this day.

The guy I "would have/could have" gone much farther with never tried to do anything else with me but talk. You regulars who read my writings regularly will recognize him as the "motorcycle guy". He is the one I met in one of my regular venues. He came in with a small group of friends who came to accept me as one of their own. He was a big bearded guy who rode a beautiful classic motorcycle. I used to fanaticize about riding on the back of that bike with him. None of that ever happened as he went through a very quick (one week) marriage and often I was the only one who took the time to talk to him We got along very well until all of a sudden he found another job and moved from the area.

With him went the last chance ever, I would spend any real time with a guy. Early on, I was just looking for validation from being accepted as a woman but when the validation came from other women, I found I didn't need a man's approval anyway. Not that there aren't quality guys out there but as any cis woman will tell you they are often very difficult to find. 

As my life has progressed I found my sexuality never changed, but a good person is a good person regardless of their gender.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

What If?

 Why does it always seem there is a "what if" to every transgender question. Examples are many. Lets explore a few.

What if I had never went exploring in my Mom's underwear drawers and discovered the luxury of silky hose and panties. Would I have still had the same internal idea somehow I wanted to be a girl just because I wanted to wear feminine clothes. The answer was an easy one because very soon while I was still wearing the clothes of a girl I found the clothes were a stop-gap measure, I really was more interested in being the girl. Not just looking like one. In actuality proving to me I was a transgender woman not a cross dresser.

Then what if years later I had been completely recognized when I was surprised by my wife's boss in a store parking lot. Here was I dressed in a tight mini skirt, flats and wig feeling totally on my own in my chosen gender. I ended up throwing my shoulders back, standing up straight and walking past him without making any eye contact. I say I wasn't completely recognized because he made a point later of telling my wife of the large "red head" he saw in a store parking lot. Of course she made it a priority to tell me knowing full well I owned a redheaded wig and it was my favorite,

There was more "what if" to this experience. What if I had never decided to try to accomplish more day to day womanly tasks such as doing the grocery shopping. If I didn't I would have never

 
encountered a young grocery bagger who was totally flustered waiting on me. Of course it will be forever one of those endearing ego based mysteries. Was he flustered because of how I looked as a cross dresser or was it all because I was a cross dresser to start with. Either way, it was another lesson learned when a woman mentally over powers a man.

Perhaps my biggest "what if" has to with the night at the Fridays restaurant/bar when I decided enough was enough. What if I quit going out doing my best to "fool" the world into thinking I was a woman and see if I could actually exist as one in a feminine world. What if I had actually backed out of the idea after I had sat in my car positively panicked waiting for a half hour for just the right moment to go in. Of course now it is all ancient history what happened. I wasn't laughed out of the venue and ended up establishing myself as a regular for years to come. All as my authentic self.  

From there the dominoes began to fall as I began to explore the possibilities of living a feminine life I had barely dreamed of ever living. Leading me to a huge "what if" I had the determination and the perseverance to begin hormone replacement therapy. Again I made the commitment to "do the meds" and the rest is history as I love it.

In a transgender life there always seems to be more questions. I am nearly seventy three years of age and now it is time to look my final "what if" head on. My biggest fear continues to be what will happen to me if I ever have to go into an assisted living and/or nursing home situation. At this time in my life I keep telling myself not to worry about jumping off that bridge until I come to it. 

In the meantime I am setting my sights on being able to enjoy the up coming Cincinnati Pride Pub Crawl.   

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Path

 The transgender path is definitely a path less taken by most human beings. However as more and more is learned about the transgender population and the more prevalent social media has become, the easier it is to understand the whys and how's of  embarking down a lifetime journey or path .All of which can even become more dangerous to the person taking it. Plus all of the current publicity could be emboldening more and more trans people to open their closet doors and explore the world. 

Exploring  the terror of a dark path often is a major problem, especially when anticipated gender euphoria never materializes. Or doesn't meet your expectations. I remember vividly when my gender path came to a fork in the road and I had to (or thought I had to) accept I would all of the sudden be attracted

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

sexually to men or continue to seek out the attention of woman. Even though I did go on a few dates with guys, I still didn't feel any particular sexual energy. Plus it didn't help when a creepy guy I also knew as a guy kept trying to approach me. I knew he made a yearly trip to Thailand so he probably was very aware and was attracted to "Lady-Boys". It didn't take me long to ignore him, just like all of those men who supposedly wanted to meet up for a drink and then never showed when I insisted on meeting in very public places. Plus, to top it all off I had a guy who managed to meet me a couple times before I found out he was married. As I was building my new woman, I most certainly didn't want anything to do with any of those guys.

Ironically, at the same time, I was finding I was getting along better and better with other women. Perhaps a portion of my success came because I was "mirroring" the others whose gender I desperately wanted to be as my authentic self. As I learned I had to first learn how to communicate on a feminine level. I thought I already did a good job from all my days dealing with women in the work world. But little did I know what I was missing when I climbed into the girl's sandbox. Sadly I didn't come out unscathed but I did come out successful. 

Today I do feel (and hope) the world is a kinder and gentler path for all LGBTQ people to follow. Just beware of the number of different side detours you may have to take to achieve your goal of living as your authentic self. Many will make your trip more interesting.  

Sunday, June 5, 2022

We Got Mail

 Yesterday I wrote a post on what would have happened if I had never transitioned and received several interesting comments, one from Medium the other from Google. The first comes from Jas Martinez:

"Interesting thing about transitioning, like most life changing decisions we first have to get to a place where a change or decision needs to be made. We can look back and be sad we waited for whatever reason. But why be sad? We weren’t ready to transition if we were we would have done it. I should had gone to college, I should have moved west instead of the south, I should have not gotten married the last time and transitioned instead. Shoulda , coulda, woulda is a waste of time. Why we do these exercises of the mind is beyond me, maybe it’s to remind ourselves the fear we had back then was just that fear of uncertainty. We had to arrive in a place in time when the fear of not transitioning was greater than the fear of transitioning. Fear the greatest motivator to do or not do something." 


Thanks for the comment. Indeed, fear is a powerful motivator. I so remember all those days when the primal "fear or flight" idea ruled me during my earliest days of coming out. 

The second comment comes from Connie:

"What if I hadn’t made the move to transition? I’d still be the miserable man I was. No, actually, I’d still be the miserable excuse for a man that I was.How many times have we said that we wouldn’t wish this [gender dysphoria] on anyone? We can repress, suppress, even try to regress it; but it will forever be a part of us. It can be a vacuum, if we let it, sucking from us precious time and energy – a jealous mistress, if you will.


To the outsider, our transitioning may seem to be a giving-in to some sort of mental illness or salacious lifestyle. Some will say that God made man and woman, individually, and that he makes no mistakes. What these people don’t realize – and could never fully understand – is that we, as transgender people, do not need to be told those things, as we will have spent so much time and energy considering those “theories” before making the decision that transition is the right thing to do.

Doing the right thing for oneself does not have to be a selfish act. What can be more selfish is to allow the dysphoria to sap time and energy that could be directed toward loved ones and other positive life endeavors. The trick, I think, is to be as patient with others as we would hope they would be with us. We can never forget that the transition process is not ours alone. Everyone else in our lives must go through a transition along with us. We, of course, have the advantage of having had a lifetime to prepare for it. Not allowing others to adjust at their own pace would be quite selfish, indeed."


Great point! Often it is so difficult to not understand why others aren't so quick to adjust to a transgender person. Especially when adjustment is mistaken for rejection. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

What If?

 For some reason this morning I was thinking of what would have happened if I had never completed my gender transition from a mildly successful man to a full time transgender woman.

First of all I suffered from extreme gender dysphoria which essentially meant I went through much more dysphoria than I did feeling the gender euphoria which did happen on rare occasions and kept me going. Naturally, my life became increasingly miserable before I made the final decision to live as my authentic self. Much of the misery came from the almost daily mental gyrations I put into what I was going to do concerning my gender issues. 

Liz on right. Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

I found not only was I capable of over thinking nearly every problem I have, I could really overthink a gender transition. To the extent of attempting self harm when no solution seemed possible. Now I wonder how I ever could have ever been so blind. Even a poor transition to a feminine world just had to be better than the darkness of death.

One of the main problems I had with changing genders had to do with the perception I was being selfish. As my wife was fond of telling me, she didn't sign up in our relationship to be with another woman. In addition to her, I worried about what other family and friends would think about me. 

Finally, the whole burden was more than I could stand. In a bittersweet way I lost nearly everyone close to me and really only had my daughter and brother to come out to. I through caution to the wind and was accepted by my daughter but rejected by my brother. Suddenly I was aware I had to be selfish to survive. If someone such as my brother thought my whole gender transition was a choice, a phase or worse yet some sort of fetish he was wrong and that was his problem. 

As I thought back, I know now how much I would have missed in my life if I had never completed by trip across the gender frontier. Initially, the trip itself was exciting and terrifying. The farther I went the more I knew I made the right choice. Especially when I learned I could begin hormone replacement therapy. 

Then there were the people I met. I was helped along by more than a few women who showed me the way into their world. My daughter Andrea, my partner Liz and close friend Kim are but a few who come to mind.

In short I am so happy I finally made the jump from not so casual cross dresser to full time transgender woman. I am sad I waited so long and missed so much more life while I suffered. 

  

Friday, June 3, 2022

Peaks and Valleys

 I used to think crossing the gender frontier was similar to negotiating a maze when you have a series of walls to negotiate. Now I think the entire journey may be similar to climbing very steep hills and then completing the return trip down. The reason being is the severity of what we are attempting. After all, changing ones gender is one of the most difficult journeys a human being can undertake. 

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

As we climb our first hill or even mountain, many times we face the possibility of losing our family, friends and even jobs.  Many times it seems as if we are barely hanging on as we leave lives we were living in often comfortable yet non authentic lives to begin a whole new existence. 

In my case I can understand the idea of holding on to my birth gender for dear life. In fact I worked hard to achieve a quality male life. I had a very good job, fathered a daughter and was honorably discharged from the military. I did many of the guy things everyone did and effectively hid my desire to live a feminine life from everyone I met. So again, it was difficult to let it all go.

Another problem I had with being in the valley once I started my gender transition was being able to see where I was going. Many times I couldn't see the forest for the trees when I was learning a whole new way to live. I found all those years I spent being a cross dresser turned out to be a waste because the entire experience was so shallow. I found the hard way when I started to explore the world as a transgender woman there was so much more to the process than just looking the part. I learned quickly I needed to allow my inner feminine self. I found I had to work surprisingly hard to climb another mountain and establish a whole new feminine personality. Which turned out to be a labor of love. What happened was the more I was out exploring the world as a transgender woman, the more the world (primarily other women) wanted to interact with me. They didn't know it but many times I used them as examples of how I wanted myself to become. My partner Liz put it best when she told me very few people have a chance to re invent themselves totally. Don't screw it up. Which actually I added in to her original comment. 

Over the years I have been fortunate in the number of friends I have found who helped me establish gender base camps as I climbed the mountain peak I am on now. I have copied more than a few and have cherished knowing some of the others. I was so afraid of losing what was left of my male self until they helped me through. 

We all have our own peaks and valleys to negotiate when it comes to our gender journeys. I hope yours goes as smooth as possible,  

 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Looking Back

 This comment comes from Connie based on my recent "Memorial Day" post:

"Thank you for your service, and thank God you survived it.

At the time I entered college (1969), student deferments were in effect. So was my gender dysphoria deferred, through pure will power and suppression. When the government decided to drop the student deferments and institute a lottery, I became fearful of being drafted with a lottery number of 122. At
Photo Courtesy Connie
Malone

first, I thought I could go over to the ROTC building, register, and then complete my education. Talking with some vets in my dorm, though, I learned that doing so would make me a 
2nd lieutenant, and being one would put me in a higher casualty position than if I were just inducted as a private. OK, I thought to myself, maybe this would be a good time to come out (suppression doesn't work 24/7, but it adds an extra door or two to the closet your in). I figured that it would be the ace up my sleeve, anyway.

My number did come up, right at the end, but I was never "asked" to report for anything (and so was able to keep my suppression active). I don't know why I wasn't called, and I don't much care. For many years afterward, though, I wondered how many of those who had had my same lottery number never made it back home alive. It was a source of guilt for me, until I had a talk with my brother-in-law, who had been drafted, and then served in the infantry earlier in the war. He helped to relieve my guilt by letting me know how lucky I was to have missed out on the whole thing. Although relieved and happy to have made it back alive, he was haunted by things he had seen and had been forced to do. He passed away from cancer a few years ago, a cancer his doctor was sure had been caused by his earlier exposure to Agent Orange.

As I put the flag up for Memorial Day, I do so with a reverence and respect for all who have served and have died in protecting the rest of us. Even those who make it back alive surely have had something die within them, as a result of their experiences. My brother-in-law loved to barbeque, so I will add a little prayer for him when I fire up the grill later today."

Thanks for the comment. I was one of the few I knew who were able to make a potentially dangerous situation livable, I know regular reader Georgette was another. The fact remains though most were not so lucky. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Confidence and the Lack of It

 One of the easier subjects to write about is how confidence is one of the most important accessories a transgender woman or man can have. The problem we all face is the human animal is an apex predator and similar to a shark will sense out the weakness in another person. Often this leads to early bullying in our

"Attitude"
Photo Jessie Hart
lives, simply because we are different. 

As we attempt to gender transition into our authentic selves, often we are led down a path of appearance obsessions'. In other words we are so into trying to match our exterior images with our authentic selves we neglect to see and experience how the other gender really lives.  When we begin to actually have a chance to look another person in the eye a transgender person starts down the long and winding road to establish a place in the world. 

Even though I have been able to live full time as a transgender woman, I still have issues with confidence. For some reason though I find it easier to look another woman in the eye than I do with a man. Maybe it has something to do with a version of impostor syndrome. Through it all, deep down I still have a fear of gender rejection. 

Ironically, I have lived with the gender fear my entire life. When I was cross dressing ss a guy, I was always desperately afraid of my "girl side" being discovered. My male impostor syndrome was high and probably was to blame for my relative lack of male friends. The fewer I had the less I had to try to meet and maintain. 

It's so easy to say. Just carry yourself as your authentic self and  many of your gender struggles will be over. All it takes is one halfway negative life experience and it seems you have to pick up the pieces and start all over again.

Fortunately life moves so fast we are presented with more chances to prove ourselves in the world. When positives happen, we get the opportunity to rebuild what we lost and enjoy a new level of confidence. Before you know it you are feeling so strong about yourself the sharks stay away. 

After all, there is nothing wrong with you at all.

Workplace Issues

Image from Gabrielle Henderson  on UnSplash. Sadly, many transgender women and trans men still get discriminated against when they seek out ...