Sunday, July 31, 2022

And the Process Begins

 

Liz on left and I. Photo courtesy Jessie 
Hart

After nearly eleven years, my partner Liz and I have decided to "tie the knot" and get married. No need to hurry, right? 

This morning I was able to fill out the necessary paperwork forms on line here in Cincinnati. 

Overall, we are looking to have a very small wedding in October with Josh our "officiant" my daughter and anyone who wants to come from her family plus her son AJ.

This will actually be my  third marriage and none of the others were really fancy affairs. On the other hand, it is Liz's first marriage so I am leaving the planning up to her. At this time I don't anticipate donning a fancy white wedding dress for a number of reasons. For one white should be out because I am far from a virgin. Secondly I can't see spending the money on a dress I would only wear once and finally none of my other weddings were "dress up" affairs so there is no reason for this one to be either. 

There are several other decisions we have had to make ahead of time. One of which was one of us who would naturally migrate towards the wife's role and that would be me. So you could say Liz put a ring on it after eleven years. The second major decision was who was going to change names (if either). To make things easier on me, Liz has agreed to take on my last name. 

I am sure as we grow closer to the actual marriage date there will be other hurdles to jump. In the meantime I am going to try to enjoy this latest chapter to my life. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Broadband Gender

 

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

"Wikipedia" defines broadband as "In telecommunications, broadband is wide bandwidth data transmission which transports multiple signals at a wide range of frequencies and Internet traffic types, that enables messages to be sent simultaneously, used in fast internet connections."

For this post I am attempting to equate a transgender person with having a broadband look at gender. Even though we have our peaks and valleys of transitioning, the end result is we still have the chance to live as one gender or another during your life. 

Going back to the definition, the ability to transport multiple signals also describes many transgender women and men. Rather if we like it or not, along the way in our life we learn the hard way (in my case) to live as a male cross dresser. It took me years to finally come to the conclusion that all along I wasn't cross dressing as a woman but doing the exact opposite. 

When I transitioned into a feminine world and started to try to date men, I found I was left out in several areas. I was biased but I felt a transgender woman had a lot to offer a man in a relationship. After all I had spent enough years on the other side of the gender border to have an idea of what a man would want. My only drawback was I was woefully unprepared sexually. I was prepared to learn though. As my life would direct me, I would meet and stay with other women mostly so I never had to explore further being with a man.

For the longest time, I couldn't understand why more women were interested in me as I was transitioning than before. Maybe it had to do with the fact I was obviously not living a lie and sexually women weren't as uptight as men. So they were not so shy to be seen with me. Through it all I was able to become the "broadband gender." All the time I was spending with women allowed me to learn, communicate and live my way into a life I only ever dreamed of living. 

Sometimes I think much of society which is against the transgender population is jealous of us. We are the select few who somehow negotiate the often perilous journey to finding our true gender selves. How many of the gender bigots secretly wish they could live just a portion of our lives. Then there are the cis women who will always refuse to accept transgender woman just because at sometime in our lives they think we were men. 

Either way, it is a steep path to where we can take advantage of being a part of the broadband gender. In many ways it can be described as reaching a sort of gender euphoria. Was it singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell who wrote the song "Both Sides Now".  The song itself is about love but has a couple verses which can lend themselves to a transgender life:

"I've looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all"

Maybe being the broadband gender we do have an idea of life from both sides of the gender spectrum. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

More Gender Euohoria

Gender Euphoria: Courtesy 
Jessie Hart

 For most of us, gender euphoria is difficult if not impossible to achieve. When it does happen it is normally a memorial experience. 

Gracie Rose wrote in and commented on her recent experience with gender euphoria:

"I take immeasurable pleasure when referred to as ma'am, she etc. I not only feel like I'm accepted, but it reflect how I have felt inside for over 50 years." Similar to you Gracie, I am also gratified beyond measure when someone calls Liz and I ladies. Thanks for the comment!

I believe my first and perhaps most important case of gender euphoria came when I went to the well documented visit to Fridays venue. For those of you who may not know, Fridays was the original restaurant/bar venue to accept single women. They spread quickly from their original locations in New York City and Dallas then opened one close to me in Dayton, Ohio. After "scouting" the venue many times as my male self, I decided to see if I could visit and be successful as my authentic feminine self. Even though I was terrified, I made it through and gender euphoria filled my soul. I knew from then on I could never go back to being just an everyday cross dresser (even though there is nothing wrong with that) again. 

We are fortunate when gender euphoria comes along to rescue our gender journey. I remember many times after I was reduced to tears following a particularly unpleasant experience with the public, I then found acceptance and/or kindness with others in the world. All the resultant euphoria helped me to keep going down my gender journey. 

During my journey also I was fortunate to be able to find gender euphoria in a many unlikely places. One of which was the NFL Monday Night Football game I was invited to by a very close friend. Of course I was terrified but managed to make it through a major new experience as a transgender woman. From lesbian mixers to just hanging out at the bar, good times were had by all. And perhaps most importantly I was learning how to play in the girl's sandbox. 

As I experience the world as a fulltime transgender woman, gender euphoria is more difficult to come by. I suppose it is because we don't get out as much as we used to, so we don't encounter many strangers. We are going to a picnic this Sunday but it is with the transgender - cross dresser group I am a  member of.  No strangers, no euphoria, I just hope to enjoy seeing some of them again plus it's supposed to be beautiful weather day. 

In the grand scope of life we deserve our share of gender euphoria. We earned it.  

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Digging a Hole

Photo from Karin Klosterman
on Unspash

 As I entered my second gender transition from cross dresser to transgender woman I considered it as sliding down a very slippery gender slope. For years I was paranoid about how I would negotiate a landing. Or, how would the world and people close to me accept the reality of my gender transition. 

Little did I know my paranoia would be wasted because of friends and most of my family accepted me with no problems. 

The hole I dug happened before all of that. As I attempted more and more to explore the world as a transgender woman, I became increasingly brave in how I was attempting to accomplish my goal. An example was how I was able to leave the house cross dressed so many times. Seemingly without exposure. I did most of it from an 1860's vintage brick house we were restoring. Since at one time in it's past it was a boarding house, it had several doors I could use to sneak out. Many times in the very beginning I was able to go out and walk around the block. Before I moved up to being brave enough to take the car and drive around  knowing full well I was risking a huge fight or even a divorce if my wife ever found out.

Still I worked hard to dig my gender hole deeper. I went as far as saving all the spare change I could find to augment my ever growing stash of clothing and makeup which I was able to hide in a spot she (my wife) never went. At one point of time I needed so much room I needed to expand to another rarely used closet in the house. If my wife who already knew I was a cross dresser ever caught on to my extra buying habits, she never let me know.

As I went deeper, it was increasingly difficult for me to turn back and try to find my way out. The problem was too, I felt so natural, I did not want to turn back. It was around this time I decided to bring out the big digging equipment and seek out more life as a transgender woman. Mainly to see if I could. The short answer was I found I could and positively loved it. The problem I still had at the time was my wife was dead set against it and I couldn't live as a woman and stay with her. 

In a fairly short period of time the issue resolved itself when she unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 50. I was heartbroken but I saw my gender door open wide. With just a little more digging I could start hormone replacement therapy and seriously further along my feminine transition. I thought the whole hormonal process would be mainly a physical one but I was very mistaken when the internal changes occurred too. Which I will save for another blog post on HRT.

As I look back at the entire process of digging a gender hole, I know now I wasn't sliding down a slippery slope to living as my authentic self,  in reality I was climbing up a hill I never asked for to a life I always wanted.

















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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Mirror Mirror

 

Mirror Image Courtesy 
Jessie Hart

Yesterday in my post I briefly mentioned my life in the mirror as a cross dresser. As I remember I wasn't giving the mirror enough credit for running my life.  Then ss I concentrated more and more on my feminine appearance, the mirror began to take on an increasingly  important role. So much so my mirror worship began to extend itself into the public eye. 

What happened was as I began to explore the world as a girl, I sought out the nearest mirror to critique my appearance and reinforce the idea I was finally escaping my gender closet. I found and located all sorts of mirrors to occupy my interests. Examples included numerous mirrors in clothing stores all the way to mirrors in craft or warehouse improvement stores. If there was a mirror, I found it. 

My all time favorite as I remember was a mirror in a coat warehouse store I used to frequent. Somehow I picked out a light blue wool beautiful winter coat I could never afford. The closest I could come was to admire how good I looked with that coat on in the mirror. I am surprised I wasn't kicked out of the store for never buying it. 

The huge problem with using mirrors as feedback is, it is only one way feedback and highly biased. I can't begin to tell you how many times I thought I looked fabulous only to be immediately laughed at when I went out. It took so many years for me to realize my strengths and weaknesses I had a problem too of trying to validate myself as a woman with men simply by pushing the standards of classy dress into the trashy category. It all led to the mirror leading me into more than a few screenful situations when I went out. 

Finally I made it to the point where I could trust the mirror to tell me the truth. I backed it up with how other women treated me, Finally I learned to cross dress to blend. My feedback became from how I was treated as a person as my closet door began to open more and more. As it did, society became my mirror and I was able to afford clothes which better highlighted who I was trying to become as a woman in society. The clown wigs went away and were replaced by more realistic wigs which better reflected who I was. 

Even now though I still fight the mirror. Most mornings when I wake up I always fight the temptation to look at myself in the mirror. Most of the time I think who is the old hag staring back. Then I think well at least I am a 73 year old feminine old hag nd maybe with a touch of makeup I can improve my image, 

At any rate, by now I should know to never trust the mirror anyhow. Take the best you may feel you look and combine it with the worst and believe you are seeing your truth.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

One Little Word

 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

Often I wonder how one little word gained such power in my life. That one word of course is "she." 

From my youngest days I also wondered how magical it would be to be called the she word. It never happened. As life went on and I became a little more advanced in looking feminine, I dreamed of getting out of the mirror and into the world as a feminine person. Many, many times the mirror would lie to me and not let on to me how much farther I would have to go to achieve my goal. Plus the only time I was sneaking out of the house as a girl was when I snuck out a few times to walk down our longish driveway to the mailbox. 

Time went on and I stubbornly kept working on my craft...applying makeup and finally in my college days I gathered my courage to leave the house at night and drive to a local shopping center to see if I could see my reflection in the windows of the stores. A few I could and I was thrilled and encouraged at the sight. Still though, it was a lonely experience and there was no one to call me "she". I would have to wait many more years for it to happen. 

Next up were my Army days and it wasn't in the drill sergeants' vocabulary to call me she. Even my rather successful Halloween appearances as a woman weren't good enough to earn me the title. 

It wasn't until I began to become very serious about my appearance and experimenting with going out in public more and more did the she word become tantalizing close. What happened was the public I was increasingly interacting with indirectly was demanding I be more feminine. 

The tipping point came when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I always considered HRT was the dividing point between my first and second gender transition. The first was when I was a cross dresser and the second was when I went down the transgender path. Finally the changes I was experiencing under HRT demanded she would enter the vocal format when it came to me. In no way shape or form I was a "he" anymore. 

Approximately during this same time period HRT made it much easier to transition my main pronouns from he to she. Relatively quickly I became so androgynous the public was becoming confused when they met me. 

It may have taken me fifty years to do it but people started to finally call me she. My authentic pronoun. I did discover also I was correct when I was young it would be a wonderful magical experience to be called "she". 

Monday, July 25, 2022

A Strong Woman

Female Body Builder. 
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

 Recently I have noticed a rebirth of the posts asking what is a woman. As always I see the entire subject as essentially unanswerable. A woman to me is a highly personal subject which depends on the socialization of the person. I believe no one is born a woman, or a man. In both cases, life socializes both genders into whatever life they end up living. 

Currently, especially with the latest Supreme Court decision there are different pressures on women. Perhaps now, more than ever it is more difficult to be a strong woman. And, as always being a transgender woman becomes even more tougher. 

In some circles, we transgender women are rejected by cis-women as somehow being bogus. Surely our route to womanhood is very different than theirs but who is to say it is a wrong one, or even a dead end. Reading all the experiences on Medium has helped me to reinforce my belief in following the transgender pathway as a true gender journey to becoming a woman. Often a stronger woman due to all of the life experiences we have faced. Following a path we have no real choice but to follow, we have to fight the effects of testosterone and the loss of male privilege. 

I met an example a couple nights ago I met in person a Facebook acquaintance who is also a part of the transgender-crossdresser group I am part of. She works in the healthcare industry and carries herself as a confident young (to me) woman. I couldn't help but be confident our transgender future is in better hands with people such as her in existence. 

It's easy to point out a woman is the stereotypical gentle mother figure. The glue who holds the family together. The truth as we all discover, a woman is so much more. It took me a while to learn what my wife was trying to tell me when she said I had no idea what being a woman was really all about. In fact it was just a couple days after I was mistaken for a cis-woman at a transvestite mixer I went to. I was on a cross dresser ego trip when she brought me down saying I made a terrible woman. I replied how could that be when I was almost denied admission to a mixer I went to without her. She immediately said she wasn't talking about how I looked, it was how I acted. It wasn't until much later when I really began to live a feminine life did I know what she meant.

I learned the hard way women live a much more complex life overall than a man. Everything from raising children to communicating a different way within their own gender. A strong woman has a lot to learn and keep up with. 

I have been fortunate to have known, loved and even learned from some of the best.    

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Bi-Personality?



Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

Along the way, of course I have read extensively on being Bi-Polar which I am and Bi-Sexual which I am not. 

Looking back, yet another of the "Bi's" I considered I was that I was Bi-Personality. Finally I determined all of it was just another phase I was going through to justify my gender issues. Along the way I had gone through a number of other "phases" or so I thought. One of the main ones was I cross dressed in feminine clothes temporarily to relieve the pressures of life. As I grew older and faced such pressures as college and the military, I would grow out of my need to cross dress. Wow! Was I wrong. The older I got the more I grew into my feminine self. Even to the point of coming out as transgender.  

One of the more extreme "phases" I went through was thinking I simply had two personalities, one male and one female. The more I considered it, the less simple it all became. What I refused to do was listen to my authentic feminine self causing great stress. Finally I could take the stress no longer and decided to begin hormone replacement therapy to start gender transitioning seriously. 

At this point I was interested to learn if my transition would have any serious positive effect of my Bi-Polar status. The short story was it didn't. I still suffered the same anxiety and depression I did before. So I could take that "Bi" off my list. Or one didn't explain the other. As it turned out, transitioning was going to solve another "Bi" in my life. Was I indeed suddenly sexuality attracted to men? Fairly quickly I learned I wasn't into men except in the rarest cases. Even though I felt a man's attention validated me as a woman, the final sexual result was not worth it. 

With the other two "Bi's" out of the way, the final one to be determined was I truly "Bi-Personality" or was one of the binary genders (male or female) more dominate. I am sure it is no surprise to all of you what the final answer turned out to be. The feminine side of me finally earned her chance to take over and run my life and essentially restored it from a very dark place. I have forever wondered just what I could have made of myself if I had taken the steps much earlier to live as my authentic feminine self. 

Perhaps of all the "Bi's" the personality one has been the most important. Of course the "Bi-Polar" made me miserable until I came to a place where understanding and medication helped to control it. Finally "Bi" Sexual was the easiest to solve.

In other ways also, the "Bi's" fit together in my life similar to a puzzle. I needed a therapist (which I found) who was willing to accept my "Bi Polar and Gender Dysphoria" were two aspects of my personality which didn't necessarily effect the other. And, my sexuality was left to me to determine. 

To finish off this post, should I say "Bi-Bi"?  

Friday, July 22, 2022

Bucket List

 

Jimmy Buffett Courtesy Sony Pictures

It's Jimmy Buffett day here in Cincinnati. Jimmy's concert has been an entertainment mainstay for years with people camping out a day early along the Ohio River venue to insure a good seat or view of the festivities. 

Every year the concert was one of the must do activities for my deceased wife and I to do. No matter what the cost I purchased tickets as close to the stage as I could. Plus we would gladly make the hour trip (one way) to get there. Of course all of these trips I made were as my old male self. I remember vividly being distracted at the concert by the other cis women and their clothes which sometimes bordered on the skimpy. My heart broke when I couldn't join them.

Ironically, in the present, since I moved to Cincinnati with Liz we only live approximately twenty miles from the venue where Jimmy is entertaining. Also the fact remains I have transitioned into a full time transgender woman so the opportunity to cross a Jimmy Buffett concert off my transgender bucket list should be one I could mark off my list...if I had one.

That's right, I don't have a bucket list. Throughout my life I have been able to finally find a way to do most everything I wanted to do. Most of it is to do with my major goal of becoming a full time functioning feminine person. My example is when I was growing up and someone asked me what I wanted to be later in life, my secret answer was always a girl. My thoughts continued all the way through adult hood till my deceased wife and I went on a vacation and it wasn't long until she started to ask me why I was miserable. Being the man I always tried to be, I apologized and didn't tell her the truth, I wanted to be on vacation with her as a woman. Very quickly my so called bucket list was history. Mainly because I knew I couldn't move forward and transition to a woman and preserve my marriage, job and many other aspects of my life. 

In many ways I felt I was swimming with sharks not unlike the central figure in Jimmy's Fin's song. If I varied my path one way or another, the sharks were waiting for me. 

Regardless, I still don't have much of a bucket list as I approach 73 years of age. Most I have are involved with staying healthy later in life. Long gone are the ideas of going to Kathmandu as we had a chance to do when I was in the Army in Thailand. Sadly, I know for certain my friends I was trying to go with have passed on. 

Perhaps you could also say my bucket has just rusted out. I keep thinking next year maybe the one I magically become healthy enough to brave the crowds and see Jimmy Buffett performing in Cincinnati before he retires. 

  

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mardi Gras

 

Photo by Ugur Arpaci on Unsplash


Several years ago, pre Covid, my partner Liz and I decided to take a bus tour down from our native Ohio to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We had done a couple other bus trips in the past so I was ready for the rest room challenges I would face...I thought.  

Very early on I learned  the toilet on the bus would be off limits to all except those in dire need. Which meant the bus would make scheduled stops at certain rest areas. My first learning experience came when I stood in line with approximately twenty other women waiting to use the bathroom. At the time I thought I never signed up for this but the first couple places we stopped were in rural areas, so everything went fine. So, at that time I started to gain confidence that no one on the bus would complain a transgender woman was using the wrong rest room.

On the way down to New Orleans, things began to change. The rest stops turned into truck stops and other stops along state lines in deep southern states. The worst by far came when we stopped on the Mississippi/Alabama line. I was petrified but had to go so I had no choice to join the waiting line of women. Even then, all went fairly well until I was coming out of the stall I used and came face to face with two obviously disapproving women. I tried to speed up the process and get my hands washed and leave the bathroom before I happened to run into those women again. I was so scared I was worried about a state patrolman or local sheriff pulling the bus over for a check. Fortunately nothing like that happened  and the bus rolled on without incident. 

Ironically, the only push back I received from anyone on the bus was when we arrived in New Orleans and stopped to eat at an upscale seafood restaurant. After dinner I excused myself  to use the Ladies Room and when I stepped in the door, one of the other passengers was washing her hands. She looked at me and said with a little surprise "Oh you use the same bathroom we do." She did not refer to the experience again and life on the bus went on until we arrived at our destination. A beautiful restored hotel within walking distance of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. 

We then took full advantage of the two unplanned days we had to take advantage of the "Big Easy". Also most ot the pressure of using the rest room was  taken away. Until the night of Mardi Gras itself. Since rest rooms were at a premium, venues were requiring a purchase to use theirs. We did make our way through the madness of Bourbon Street to finally learn a couple of the venues we could eat and use the facilities at were just a block off the strip. One turned out to be the oldest gay venue in the city which we stopped at and the other a tavern which served food which had a patio style courtyard  where we could eat. 

Before it was time to turn around and go back, I decided to use what could only be described as an out house with a flush toilet. It reeked of sewer gas, so I hurriedly took care of business and started to leave. Of course when I opened the door, a line of women had formed on the other side. I felt bad if they thought I had caused the odor, but it was time to face the long walk back to the hotel. 

As far as the entire Mardi Gras experience went, I wouldn't trade it for the world but it is certainly designed for a younger person than me. It's definitely the party to go to if you are worried about presenting as an out transgender woman. Obviously nearly anything goes. 

Restroom availability and usage are a different story. At some point you are going to have to pull down those big girl panties and go for it. You haven't lived until you have waited in a line of women at a rest room. Mardi Gras or not it is a rite of transgender passage.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

I "Doesn't Know It'

Photo by Simone Secci on Unsplash

The phrase "I doesn't know it" was often used by the Cincinnati Reds baseball Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brenneman.

I have borrowed it for this post to explain how I feel when someone feels like we had a choice to be transgender .For the life of me I can't understand why someone would think anyone would just pick  such a gender path because the whole journey would be so much fun. Maybe the person thinks we transgender folk are just trying to sneak behind the gender curtain to see how the other half lives.  

Somehow, they don't realize the danger we sometimes face as we just go about our daily lives. In fact locally to me a transgender man was just beaten up severely for just using his chosen restroom in a state park. I am fairly certain he didn't choose for that to happen just because he was having fun. 

Unfortunately, rest room abuse is not the only problem transgender women and men face during their lives. Personally, back in the day, I encountered everything from snickers and stares to strangers wanting to take my picture while I was minding my own business shopping. Plus I have documented my own issues using the rest room (ladies) of my choice. 

So, I doesn't know it when confronted by someone who considers being transgender is a choice. Maybe I could show them some sort of a measurement of the valleys of gender dysphoria don't come close to equaling the peaks of gender euphoria. Plus it is very difficult to explain the extreme problem of  just waking up in the morning trying to figure out what gender you (I) will want to be that day. 

All in all I am puzzled why anyone would even approach the subject of why I "chose" to be transgender and it has been years since I have been approached about the subject. As I think about it, being asked why I had the choice to be transgender is better than being threatened with physical harm. There are too many violent people in this country as evidenced by what happened to the trans man in the restroom.

I am biased but there seems to be more important concerns in society than bullying or terrifying transgender women or men. I doesn't know it how the issue will ultimately be settled. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Monday, July 18, 2022

Growing up Dysphoric

I may be biased but I can't think of anything worse than growing up with a massive case of gender dysphoria. Of course the problem was compounded by growing up in the pre-internet, pre social media era. Unless you were fortunate enough to discover and subscribe to Virginia Princes' Transvestia magazine, you were basically cut off from the rest of the gender dysphoric world. In other words, the dark ages of locating any gender support at all. Dark times indeed for those of us stuck in our closets wondering if we were the only one anywhere who wanted to express themselves as the other binary gender.

Through it all, I felt I wouldn't wish my gender dysphoric impulses on anyone. There were so many times in my life I wished I could go back to being a man full time. After all I had spent so much time and effort to survive as something I wasn't, it seemed so unfair I couldn't enjoy any of the fun aspects of being a man. As time went on, the more time I tried existing as a man I was suffering from a severe case of impostor syndrome. The more time I spent discovering my authentic feminine self, the more natural and detached I felt from the masculine self I had tried so hard to become a part of. Try as I might I just couldn't feel natural around a group of men doing stereotypical men things.

I tried along the way to live with a foot in each of the binary genders or how I could exist and live equal time as a man and a woman. Naturally it didn't work as I encountered all sorts of problems remembering which gender I was operating as. Plus another problem arose when I began to feel much more natural as a woman, which led to me having an extra amount of resentment towards having to try to be a man at all. To make a long story short the whole ugly process led me to attempt a self harm attempt (suicide). It obviously wasn't successful and ultimately forced me down the path of least resistance...a path to being a full time transgender woman.

Even though I eventually reached my feminine dream I still have to live with the scars of growing up with gender dysphoria. I still wake up every morning seeking the reassurance of having my own long hair and breasts. Every little bit helps to remind me I am finally living my dream. Even still, I still wonder what it would have been like to grow up as a guy who didn't want to become a woman. 

It will be a secret I won't know until I make the final transition to the other side. Maybe then I will find out why I was chosen to learn how both genders live and exist. Maybe I was blessed or cursed.    

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Lessons Learned





"Club" Photo Courtesy Cyrsti Hart 

Years ago there used to be a venue in Dayton, Ohio called "Celebrity". It was a huge converted super club which I happened to patronize a couple of times when I took a date to a prom. 

Years passed by and I advanced my feminine technique far enough I couldn't wait to make the short trip to return. When I did make it, I was fascinated with all the opportunities.  The club featured a wide variety of gay men to drag queens to cross dressers and the occasional sprinkling in of "admirers" or those men who desired men dressed as women. 

Perhaps the earliest lesson I learned was how different I was from the drag queens who frequented the venue. While many were totally attractive there were just as many who came off as caricatures of cis-women. 

Through it all, I was intrigued by the attention I received from the occasional admirer. Mostly they wanted me to shoot pool with them. Probably so they could watch me navigate the table in my short tight mini skirt I was fond of wearing. Back in those days I felt trashy or so called sexy clothing was the way to validate myself as a woman. Plus everyone told me I had great legs, why not take advantage in the way I felt. The problem arose when I had to learn to wear the mini skirts. I found out one night first hand when a man insisted I watch their game when I refused to actually play. He pulled up what amounted to no more than a bar stool for me to perch on during the pool match. It only worked for a short time until I became uncomfortable and moved on. 

All in all the whole experience left me mostly confused. I was in the early stages of realizing I wasn't looking from attention from a man but loved it when it came from a woman. It was rare there were any other lesbians in the venue so I had very few opportunities to find any other women to attempt to interact with. 

Celebrity Signage

There were a few other cross dressers and/or transgender women who frequented the venue. Many of them were from a Dayton group who were decidedly unfriendly. So I left them alone. Another lesson learned. Just because others shared my desire to be feminine didn't mean their attitudes changed for the better. 

Most likely the highlight of going to the venue had to do with using the ladies room. When I did, I was fairly sure the d├ęcor hadn't changed since my prom date did years before. For whatever reason, the experience made up for my other resentments. after all  she was the one who was able to wear the beautiful dress and wear the fresh corsage. 

The whole experience helped me to grow past the initial steps of coming out in a feminine world. Little did I know then how many more there were to come.  

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Is the Other Grass Greener?

As we follow our journeys to our authentic transgender selves, often we mistake the gender grass for cis-gender women to be greener. By "cis-gender" I mean humans who were born biological females. 

As transgender women we automatically believe the amount of feedback our cis gendered sisters helped them grow into the women they became. The subject came up in our household last night as my

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

partner Liz tearfully recounted how the restrictions her Mother placed on her still effect her to this day. Examples include everything from not being allowed to wear makeup all the way to being discouraged from taking ballet lessons. The makeup effected her because her friends were allowed to wear it, the ballet because Liz was larger than many of the other dancers. All of this has influenced her life to this day. 

All of this happened when she read a post from a transgender woman friend of mine bemoaning the fact she never was able to experience the joys of girl hood. From makeup to frilly dresses. I know I feel the same way, specifically at Christmas when my girl cousins were so pretty and feminine in their dresses when I was stuck in a starched shirt and often a hated tie. Little did I know perhaps they didn't want to 

wear those dresses. 

Girls fighting with their Mom's I found was nothing new. In fact my daughter the other day pointed out how long she had to wait to have her ears pierced. She was blocked by my wife (her step Mother) at the time who was very conservative. Her views on makeup and clothes led to many fights between us and I don't think she ever approved of how I looked. Since she has since passed away, I will never find out. I can only say I did try my best to dress down on all the occasions I went out with her, except the parties in Columbus we went to when I knew I would be competing with other over dressed cross dressers or transgender women. Ironically, even she would tell me stories how she fought with her Mom on what she would be wearing to school.

As I look back, I am sure I could have benefited from makeup help from my peer group of girls if I had been fortunate enough to have gone through it. However I do know my Mom was very strong willed and would have fought me tooth and nail on my appearance. Little did she ever know in my youngest years, I did my best to copy her makeup habits and apply it to the clothes I managed to accumulate which matched what other girls my age were wearing. 

All these years later I still remember the shame I felt from just wanting so much to be a girl. It wasn't till much later when I began to live fulltime as a transgender woman did I discover the gender grass wasn't always greener. Surely I would have preferred a girl's childhood to the one I had but I am sure it all wouldn't have been sweetness and light. Plus I am certain as females grow into women they end up leading more complex and difficult lives than men.

Even though I feel the gender grass is not always greener, I wouldn't trade my journey into feminine pastures for the world. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

What Now?

 It's finally fully sinking in I have severed my final ties to my old male life by selling my property in my old home town. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The pressure is off meeting any strangers who may be curious about my transgender stature. Over the years I had grown so worry of so called proving my femininity again and again. I guess I will always will have to face it. To add insult to injury Monday Liz and I had the time to "tour" my old hometown. Even though many of the old physical memories had been torn down, many memories of my attempts to transition there in such a conservative atmosphere remained. Now it seems, I won't have to visit again.

All of this new found mental freedom brings up the question of what now?  Perhaps I have spent too many years of my life wondering what was beyond the next corner to simply give up the habit. Of course being transgender has given me many opportunities to wonder what was around the next corner as I strived to discover if I could actually live my dream as a full time transgender woman. Along the way I considered I actually survived two major gender transitions in my life. The first of which happened when I managed to get out of the mirror and discover the truth about myself. In other words, cross dressing wasn't just a fad which made me feel good, wasn't destructive and may be a phase or a fad I was going through. 

All of the discoveries I was going through on my gender journey finally led me to an unmistakable truth, cross dressing turned out to be little more than a gender pressure reliever and most certainly was much more than a phase I was going through. 

Finally I relieved myself of most all the pressure I was feeling because of my gender issues and decided to begin hormone replacement therapy. From that point forward I considered myself a transgender woman. Before I was fully ready to meet the world as my authentic self there were many "What Now" moments. Several of the most major included how to react when my male privileges were suddenly threatened or taken away all the way to communication issues between the genders as I struggled to fit in as a transgender woman.

Now as I face what only be called my senior years, what now revolves mainly around me being able to hang on to my relatively good health. Or try to maintain myself to the uninvertible a trip to an extended living facility. 

My next step is to erase all thoughts of what could happen in the future and try to be more present in my thinking.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Blast from the Past

Recently I was surprised to see a post on Facebook from one of my old transgender friends from the earliest days of us exploring the feminine world for the first time. Over the years we have moved far away from each other and she has undergone several surgeries to enhance her appearance as a transgender woman. Her name is Racquel (pictured below).


Interestingly her post concerned several early visits to "straight" venues when we went through unique musical harassments:

I’m eating a burger at Buffalo Wild Wings. And they just played Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith. And that’s fine. Because if I complained about it the staff would apologize profusely.

Six years ago the world was very different. I would hang out with Cyrsti and people would play Dude Looks Like a Lady on the jukebox just to intimidate us, and there was certainly nobody who cared if we complained."

All of Racquel's memories are unfortunately so true and even she didn't get to witness the night when a group of drunk rednecks kept on playing the mentioned hated song. It got so bad, instead of doing anything about it, the manager just told me to leave. Even though weeks later I was approached in a neighboring venue by a bartender in the banned place and asked to return. It seemed the person who kicked me out got fired for drug abuse. Revenge was mine but the hurt remains, even to this day.

I do agree with Racquel though the world has changed from the "mean" old days but we still have such a long way to go.

Racquel was also the one who said "I (me) passed out of sheer willpower." Which I guessed was a back handed compliment in that I was going to go public with my feminine life regardless of what anyone else thought. Which I still believe to this day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Such a Day

I have written numerous times on how I am retired and don't live a particularly active lifestyle. All of that changed yesterday. Seemingly the heavens ganged up on me and made sure everything came about on what would have been a lazy Monday. 

Photo Credit Jessie Hart

Everything started when I learned the closing paperwork on the final property I owned in my past was put off until later in the day. Four o clock to be precise. On the plus side, the timing gave my partner Liz and I a chance to stop in one of favorite villages on the way to the town my property was in. Plus, as luck would have it, yesterday was also the birthday (15) of my youngest grandson, so we could all meet for lunch. The village we were meeting in is known for it's liberal background and pro LGBTQ stances so I was looking forward to seeing my daughter and grandson while we enjoyed a light lunch. 

From there Liz and I had time to do a little shopping in a couple of the shops she has enjoyed going to over the years. Since the village is approximately an hour and a half drive from our house, it's not as if it is an easy trip to take. 

Another pleasant surprise was another small town along the way was having a real live gas war and we were able to refill our tank for nearly fifty cents a gallon less than we paid that same morning when we left. 

Even though we were taking our time, we still had plenty of time to waste once we arrived in my ex home town which over the years was ravaged by de-industrialization and has yet to recover. As we "toured" all the old places I remember were still there and nothing much had improved. Regardless of all of that, time seemed to be moving so slow as I approached a situation where I knew I would be forced to face my former life as a cross dressing man. I also knew it was past time to do something about it and cut my final ties to my past. 

As we walked into the title office where the paperwork was to be handled, I felt as if I was moving in slow motion. I did manage to pull my drivers license out of my purse without dropping it on the floor and not stutter. Having that success, it was time to be mis gendered and get on with the process of signing a ton of paper work. 

Fortunately I had my gender warrior with me and she forcefully corrected the buyer or the paperwork clerk when they tried to call me "sir". Ironically the major memories the clerk had of the building I used to own was the Christmas decorations my deceased wife used to obsess on every year. It was difficult for me to have to relive the memories of her and explain to the buyer why he has found so many garden articles in the building I used to own.  My wife also had a major love of gardening.

In seconds which seemed like hours it was all done and I finally had my check.

For some reason, Liz wanted to stop at Wendy's and try a strawberry Frosty so I had to brave a decidedly conservative public again plus use the ladies room. Which I was able to do relatively unscathed meaning I survived with just a few stares.

As we headed home, I decided to treat Liz to a dinner at our favorite restaurant. Exhausted, we finished a great dinner and a margarita and headed home. 

It was such a day, my past has finally been physically severed. Now it's even a better chance to build a better future.  

Sunday, July 10, 2022

All the Gender Boxes

 When we are born we are placed in a gender box. Most of us in a blue one for boy or a pink one for girls. From that point forward in our lives the problem begins. What if we don't fit neatly into one of 

Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

the main gender binary boxes? Most of us know our small restrictive box becomes an equally restrictive closet. We begin to refer to ourselves as cross dressers or transgender people. Plus, these days there are beginning to be an increasingly number of different gender boxes identified. An example would be non-binary individuals. 

As life goes on hopefully it becomes easier to escape your gender box and live as your authentic self. To accomplish your escape, often you have to live through several gender boxes. Taking me for example, I felt I was living as a relatively accomplished cross dresser for decades before I finally jumped into the transgender box. At the time I became extra serious about my feminine presentation and started hormone replacement therapy. Ironically, many changes from the feminine hormones resulted in internal changes also. So many it would take me another blog post to explain them all.

Even still, I found an amazing number of strangers didn't care exactly what gender box I was attempting to escape. Naturally, they all had their own lives to deal with and stayed out of mine, for the most part. The others provided interesting all the way to terrifying experiences which I remember to this day. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was to get out of my own personal gender prison box, I had to learn to blend and live in a cis-gender world as a transgender woman. There were many times I considered returning to my cross dresser gender box rather than give up on all of my male privileges I had worked long and hard to obtain. But my life in my new box as a transgender woman just felt too natural to let go. It was better to pursue the more difficult road and transition into a full time transgender woman. 

You could suggest too life itself is but a series of boxes such as school, marriage, parenthood etc. It just seems those of us who found ourselves in the wrong gender box from the very beginning of our lives were dealt a bad deck of cards.

Hopefully you can shuffle your gender boxes and be able to live your best life.


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Busting Out in "C-Bus"

I had a former boss who called Columbus, Ohio  "C-Bus". I used to attend regional management meetings at his office in Columbus. Ironically, I had a difficult time keeping my mind on the business subjects because I was so happy to be back to where I had so many experiences coming out as a novice transgender woman. 

Jessie Hart Columbus Photo

Very early I was able to attend what were referred to as transvestite mixers in "C-Bus". I learned the true value of the mixer label when I met a number of new acquaintances throughout the gender spectrum. Anywhere from crossdressers who were fighting the urge to dress as women to impossibly beautiful and feminine transgender women carefully considering their next step. In other words to explore surgery and live full time lives as an out transgender woman. Most importantly I needed to discover more and more about where I wanted or needed to go with my gender dysphoria. I was stuck in the middle of the two gender binaries.

As I have mentioned, about half of the time, I was able to attend these mixers alone. Either my wife had to work or just didn't want to go. Plus the mixers had decreased in size to exclusive parties at one of the transgender woman's houses. She owned and lived in a restored brick house in the "German Village" restoration district just south of the downtown business district. The nights I was alone allowed me to explore several of the "what if's" of my transition. 

Perhaps one of the biggest back then was the need to be validated as a woman through a feminine appearance. It was all well and good until one night I was cornered by a much bigger "admirer" who used to attend the parties to admire the other guests. By my own admission I was dressed more trashy than classy and he cornered me in a hallway. I found out very quickly how a woman can get into trouble. 

Other times I did tone down my appearance and was able to flirt my way into perhaps interesting situations. I say interesting because I knew deep down I would never cheat on my wife. (I never did). Another night with an interesting outcome came when I casually met up with one of the lesbians who were checking out the mixer with a friend. I flirted my way into taking off and going to a nearby predominately lesbian club with her. Predictably that was about as far as it went.

As I look back on all my experiences at the mixers, I see them all as a giant learning experience. Through it all I was desperately searching for my true gender identity. The early mixers in C-Bus were both frustrating and inspirational. Frustrating in that I knew I was light years away from coming to a gender decision but at the same time, my successes were propelling me forward into always seeking more

To this day when we can afford it, my partner Liz and I always still love to "Bust it Out in C-Bus." 

 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Sleepless in Cincinnati

Quite a few things happened yesterday which led to a sleepless evening. By "sleepless"  I mean my usual eight hours of slumber was reduced to an hour and a half. The main reason was we had strong storms in the Cincinnati metro area and our electric power was knocked out for nearly twenty four hours. No electric meant no fan in the evening heat and humidity. As I have mentioned before, we live in a non airconditioned house. Worse yet, I had no background noise at all to help me go to sleep. Normally leaving me alone with my thoughts leads me to face more than a few of my deepest anxieties head on. 

Before I get to a few of them, I heard from Connie recently and she is facing desperate health issues. So if you all can take a moment and wish her the best I am sure she would appreciate it. To make a long a very personal story much shorter Connie was subjected to the medical paranoia we non

Photo courtesy Connie Malone

operative transgender women fear the most, the total un-robing in the prep room in front of strangers, some of which who don't seem to be completely approving. Regardless of all of that, again I wish her the best trip back to being the sarcastic fun person she can be.

Plus there is Stana's wife who seems to be on the road to recovery. My best goes out to her also. As my father in law always said growing old isn't for sissies.  

Getting back to last night, for some reason my thoughts seem to basically zero in on my deceased wife and a few of the times we had as my desire to pursue a life as a transgender woman was not met with any acceptance from her. Ironically Liz who is my current ten year partner and Cindy (my deceased wife) are completely the opposite in how they approach my gender issues. Cindy fought it saying marrying another woman was not what she signed up for but Liz says all she ever saw in me was feminine. As I struggled with becoming my authentic self, I did make many self destructive decisions. Many of which happened due to my not so secret desire to have my feminine ways discovered. 

One of those was trying my best to "pass" as feminine woman and not as myself around people who knew me. It wasn't too long the word began to get around about what I was up to and certain DJ's would start playing "Dude Looks Like a Lady" when my wife and I went to parties. In other words, I was doing my best to burn every bridge I could to my old male life.

Slowly but surely I was successful and for some reason those burning bridges came back to haunt me last night when I couldn't sleep. 

Finally I became upset when my feelings began to gang up on me and I finally was able to fitfully fall asleep. It helped when I was able to wedge in a couple pleasant memories when we attended cross dressing - transgender mixers at a friends house in nearby Columbus, Ohio. On occasion Cindy would go along but just as often I was left on my own. Leading me to good times which I will write about in another post.

In the meantime, I hope the strong storms stay away long enough for me to catch up on my sleep. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Queenly.Com

 I received this email from Jamie  Coker Robertson concerning information about Queenly.com.

" I would like to introduce you to Queenly.com, one of the most inclusive online marketplaces in the world for trans women (and all those who identify as women). Owned by two AAPI women, the popular re-sale formalwear app is a staunch advocate for diversity and inclusion for the trans community in every vertical, including inventory, marketing and social media. 


Queenly regularly hires Trans models for their advertising campaigns and provides the ideal platform for trans women and drag performers to find the formalwear that works for them. 

Trisha Bantique

"We know that a lot of trans women and drag performers have a hard time finding dresses/gowns for their size and body shape, and so they have to usually make their own clothing. There's nowhere that they can buy off the rack or brand new where it'll fit them perfectly...until now. Queenly stepped in to make it easier to buy from one another in a more convenient and efficient way.” - Trisha Bantigue, CEO and founder of Queenly. 

Queenly has an exciting upcoming Pride Month partnership with Slay Models, the premier management company representing transgender fashion talent. As one of the main sponsors of their televised Model Search Competition on June 18th in L.A, Queenly aims to be a part of positive change and awareness for the trans community. "

They went on to write : "Whether it’s for a wedding, cocktail party, pageant, or drag ball, Queenly.com has over 90,000 “pre-loved” dresses to choose from, by over 40 different designers. Not only can you buy your dresses from Queenly, you can also sell them back on the app, recouping your investment."

Sounds like a wonderful place to virtually visit if you are looking for a formal gown. They even feature a selection of wedding dresses for the eager transgender bride to be, 

Follow this link for more and thanks to Jamie for thinking of us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Toxic Masculinity and the Trans Girl

Over the years when I was trying my best to exist in an ultra masculine world, I encountered too many men who would have been described as being toxic masculine. In essence they were the ones who tended to dismiss women as basically only emotional people who were only good for sex and/or having kids. 

I can truthfully say I wasn't an active part of their mentality but on the other hand was ashamed when I went along with their childish actions. I had two excuses. The first was in the business I was in I had to manage to the best of my ability a group of macho redneck cooks in a kitchen. I had to appear tough. The second was on the other hand I had to manage a group of mainly female servers, hostesses and bar tenders. Even then I was studying women intensely to learn how they really maintained in society so in many ways it was a labor of love. I learned my guys in the kitchen worked better when I could manage them as a team and the women worked better when I understood they were going to form their cliques anyhow, so adapt to them and hope for the best.

Further more I had to watch for frontal confrontations from the men and passive attacks from the women. Lessons which would serve me well later as I transitioned genders.  

Lessons I wish I had paid attention to didn't take long to happen. One night very early in my transition I found myself with a group of men discussing a topic I considered myself to be well versed in. Very early they shut me totally out as if I was never there at all. I thought it was one of my first opportunities to learn first hand what my life was going to be like as a transgender woman. I was right and on the other hand, my lessons learned from my work world worked well too. 

I also learned quickly the amount of  non verbal communication women use. It is no wonder most men say they can't understand women when they can't pick up non verbal cues. 

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Ironically I had to change my stereotype of what a toxic man even looked like. When I began to explore the world, I attempted to stay clear of any man who looked like the macho type. not unlike my former self. It got so bad I couldn't even try to buy tickets for a sports event from a street "scalper" because they thought I was a cop. Slowly but surely I learned many of the "macho" men didn't seem to care much about me at all and weren't going to verbally attack me. My theory was they were more secure in their sexuality than the normal man. 

Of course recent political activities have made it possible for toxic masculinity to come out of the shadows and even thrive in some areas. Unfortunately the trans community, women and men, has been potentially the hardest hit. The attacks aren't just coming from cis men, they are coming from cis women as well.    

The future is not a given for anybody. Especially not the trans girl.  As always we are going to have to be better and fight for what we have. 

Cha-ch Changes

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