Wednesday, November 30, 2022

When Did you Kniw

 
Not long ago my daughter asked me indirectly how long was it since I knew I was transgender. Then she corrected herself  by saying I probably had always known. To refresh your memory, my daughter has always been a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community and has a transgender child. Of course I said yes, I had always known. Which perhaps wasn't always true. Back in the dark ages before the internet, as I always refer to, there was a huge gender void filled only by the sparse offerings of Virginia Prince and her "Transvestia" publications or the news of an American G.I. (Christine Jorgensen) who changed their sex. I was having a difficult time figuring out all my gender issues. 

Photo Christine Jorgensen
Archives

It wasn't until social media  became popular along with the world wide web did I learn how others shared the same gender issues as I did. One example is Paula from across the pond in the UK  when she wrote in and said: 


"  Our generation growing up had no role models, no concept of transition, hey, we didn't even have the word transgender. Without the vocabulary it us difficult to understand the concept, or more importantly the feelings we were having."

 And she goes on to write:

"Younger generations growing up now have different issues, but at least they have the vocabulary to investigate them ~ I suspect this is the reason why so many of our generation transitioned later in life ~ long live the interweb!"  

Thank you Paula. I imagine similar to so many age related disparities most younger transgender women and men can not relate to not even having a word (transgender) to describe their condition growing up. 

Looking back also, I discovered many unresolved gender issues which would have led me to believe I was indeed transgender. A prime example of how envious I was of girls my age and the perception I had that they had life so much easier than me. Or how one Christmas I wanted a doll baby but was gifted a BB Gun instead, The list could go on on and on but the point which kept on proving the point indeed I had been transgender my entire life. 

While we are on the subject of generational transgender change, social media and the internet too have contributed to a more cohesive LGBTQ group for political action. I am proud to say the Ohio version of yet another anti transgender bill was rejected in committee yesterday. So at least for the time being the State of Ohio is not joining an increasing amount of states with crippling anti transgender legislation.  

When you come right down to it, young or old, transgender or not we spend a lifetime growing into ourselves. Sadly on occasion we can't see the life forests for the trees. It happened to me, I missed the reality of the fact I was transgender for too long. I should have always known. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Why Do I Write

 

Image Courtesy Aaron Burden
on UnSplash

As I took on the challenges years ago of writing a daily transgender non fiction based blog, many questions came about. During the years, often who my audience was began to change. Initially I thought my readers would be primarily transitioning gender women and men who may be able to benefit from the lessons I learned. I mentioned transgender men because I know of several who read the blog including one who was my first date with a guy. It was quite the experience. I added non fiction because I see so many fantasy based blogs with their filtered pictures, I felt along the way somehow without being over bearing I had to explain all of these experiences really happened to me and they were not stories. I couldn't make all this up if I wanted to. 

Because I had so many errors in my trial and error periods of my life, I  decided to write about them. When I did I  began to receive so many good comments. I kept it up again hoping I could help someone else. The old don't do what I did sermon which I never listened to anyhow. Like going out to public spaces dressed as a teenaged slutty girl in my oversized male body. It's no wonder my second wife didn't approve of the way I cross dressed most of the time. Luckily, it didn't take me very long to grow out of this phase of my transgender life.

 During this time I considered (and still do) my main reader audience to be transitioning transgender women. I had a real pleasant shock when I received comments from wives trying to understand their spouses gender issues. Then I considered adding more information which may be important to a wife. Until  I thought I wasn't or shouldn't be in a position to offer any advice because I did such a poor job communicating my gender challenges during my marriages. Finally, I thought if anyone learns from my past mistakes again it is a good thing. 

Currently I think transgender women and men of age are my primary audience as well as a small group of people who allowed me to join their circle of friends when I so desperately needed it. I could name a few names but I am afraid I would leave someone out. Also recently I have discovered a growing group of transgender veterans on both platforms I write for, Google and Medium who share similar experiences to me when they served in the military. It always has been amazing to me how the dark days before the internet and social media affected us all as we had little to no help when we battled our gender struggles. A battle we may have to have never fought if we had access to the transgender information which is available today.

Probably, the group I leave out for no particular reason are the crossdressers. Even though I can certainly write, I spent a half century as a crossdresser, I think I don't spend enough time including them in my writings. Or, worse yet end up sounding as if I am better than someone else because I started hormone replacement therapy and made the move to living full time as a transgender woman. Without the lessons I learned from my crossdressing days both as a man and woman I would have never made it to the life I live today. 

 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Stairstep Method

 Probably there are as many ways to complete a gender transition as there are transgender women and

Image Courtesy
Darius Cotoi on UnSplash

trans men. We are like snowflakes, no one is alike. Over time I have thought I was everything from a gender rat in a maze to someone climbing a steep set of stairs. As it turned out, many of the steps were steeper than others. 

Very early my first steps were basically quick and painless. I snuck around and acquired a small collection of women's clothes, added some of my Mom's makeup and I thought I looked just like a cute girl. My time on this stairstep didn't last long because fairly quickly the realization came to me I just didn't want to look like a girl, I wanted to be one. A huge difference I didn't realize was the earliest precursor to living a transgender life. From the point forward I decided my time on the step would be limited and I climbed to the next step. 

The next step involved me finding a paper route and doing odd jobs around the house and neighborhood to earn my own money which would go towards buying and expanding my small feminine stash of clothes, makeup and even a pair of shoes. During the process I was scared to death to do my own shopping and couldn't believe the bewildering selections of especially makeup there were. Undeterred though I still shopped and finally achieved a level of success. The success would just encourage me to climb another step. By this time I was frustrated by two main things, the first was the fact I had no way to afford a nice wig and the second was I couldn't do my shopping cross-dressed as a girl. What happened was I needed to spend years on this stairstep before I could advance to the next one. 

The years I waited mainly was because of about this time I was waiting to see what the Vietnam War military draft would mean to me and yes the wait was hell. The wait nearly went on as that god forsaken war did and finally I was drafted out of college and chose the Army due to their offer of the job I was interested in. Little did I know, the lessons I learned in the military would serve me well in my life and encourage me to climb another very steep step. An example was the day we were on a very long and hilly forced march in basic and I learned to never look back and look forward to the future if I just kept pushing forward. Many of you regular readers know also during my time in the Army was when I first came out as a transvestite to a few close friends.

After I had successfully completed my military service, the steps appeared to be less steep and easier to climb. Encouraged by several very successful Halloween parties when I appeared as a feminine person, I found I could possibly climb the ultimate step and transition to a full time transgender woman. The problem was I soon tried to climb too many steps way too quickly and even had to retreat back a time or two and refocus on exactly what I was trying to do. Major decisions on sexuality, friends, spouses were just a few problems I had to face.  Plus, once I had climbed this many steps fairly successfully I had to decide if I wanted to take another giant step and begin hormone replacement therapy. Once I finally took the step I found HRT was one of the best steps I have ever taken in my life. Finally my inner soul had another chance to sync up with my testosterone poisoned exterior. 

All I can hope for at this time of my life for a good as possible health and a chance to pass on with dignity as my chosen authentic self. The final stairstep.     

Sunday, November 27, 2022

More Conversation

Joanna S sent in this very relevant comment on yesterday's post concerning the conversation I had with my son in law on Thanksgiving. It primary revolved around his family's acceptance of me as an out transgender woman. I mentioned also this was somehow the first conversation I had initiated with him in over a decade. To this, Joanna replied:

"It is very difficult sometimes to have open conversations especially with people who knew us in different wrapping. Here we can be our own worst enemies and assume we know what they are thinking so we clam up. It's an ongoing process of being kind to ourselves as well as others."

Thanks for the comment! I know I have two of the issues Joanna S mentioned. The first is early in my days of coming out of my gender closet I automatically and sometimes completely unfairly formed ideas of what others were thinking of me. It wasn't until the confidence in my feminine self grew that I was doing the right thing transitioning that I began to not care as much or little ( if at all) care what others think of me. It worked because I literally learned not everything in the world revolved around me as a transgender woman. Most of the world just didn't care. Plus, being kind to myself was something else I carried with me from my previous male self. I was very self destructive and it took many years and my wife Liz to relearn how I could actually be kind to myself. 

On any level, obviously any conversation is good when it comes to the LGBTQ community and especially the transgender tribe. Can you imagine how beneficial it could be for all these politicians writing all these harmful anti transgender bills  for once  sit down and get to know a transgender person.  It goes too for all of us within the transgender community. Those who want to put themselves up on pedestals for so many reasons, Examples are being more transgender than you are because of the surgeries they have gone through or they are a better trans person because they transitioned earlier in life. It's difficult on occasion to even have a conversation between ourselves, let alone others who have no understanding at all. 

In fact, it was primarily an often terse discussion with people we called "Trans Nazi's" which led to essentially my conversations with Connie which then led to me to begin to write this blog. By "Trans Nazi's" I mean those who did battle with us on claiming we were transgender at all since we had not gone through any gender surgeries. Seemingly the Nazi's had carried over their old male ego's into their new feminine lives. At the time we all were enjoying the benefits of being able to hide behind our keyboards with our comments. Most likely if we were meeting face to face, our comments may have been more affable. Leading all of us to be kind to others. 

My pedestal is non existent for any of this. It took me years and most likely quite a bit of age and estrogen to mellow out. My partial proof is the fact it took me a decade to have any sort of a quality conversation with my son in law. In todays divided country conversation seems a far away possibility. Plus all sorts of issues such as gender privilege and mistrust get in the way. Not long ago I wrote a post

Photo Courtesy Paula

called why "Men Don't Trust Me" to which Paula replied:

Two thoughts come to mind, one is " I have nothing against masculinity, indeed I rather like, just not in me!" the other is a phrase that I find I keep using in all sorts of situations, "Nothing makes you understand privilege like giving up" Well said!

One of the reasons I so hurt myself was tied into Paula's comments. I still on occasion liked the male life I had worked so hard to maintain and didn't want to give up.  Trying to live my everyday life in both binary genders nearly tore me to pieces. I was fortunate in that I was able to establish conversations with cis women to learn from and then reestablish myself as a transgender woman. At that point my inner feminine soul took over and life became so much better.



Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Conversation

My daughter has been married many years to a man I always considered an acquired taste. She met him all the way back in her college days at the University of Toledo. (Ohio) Over the years we have never talked much about anything. For some reason, all of that changed on Thanksgiving. All of sudden he came out to the living room to join me as I rested my back on a soft surface. The conversation began the way it normally does with him being the know it all on how to try to tune in one of the pro football games on his Mom's television. I tried to tell him how to do it but was quickly ignored so I thought here we go again. About the time I was thinking we would have the usual silence between us, he surprised me by asking about my brother.

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

I said I haven't head anything from him since he turned me down on coming as my authentic self to his house for the Thanksgiving family dinner. In essence he chose his redneck religious in laws over me and that was it for our relationship. To keep the conversation going, I took the chance to tell him how much I appreciated his family accepting me Their support certainly softened the blow of losing any support I expected from my brother. 

Looking back at all the years we never had any sort of a conversation I felt somewhat ashamed it took so long to happen. On top of all of the vocal feedback he mentioned he raised his family as well as ran his scout troops to include diversity in everything they did. Which is all good since one of his three offspring turned out to be transgender. Before the conversation with him, I had basically given all the credit for their incredible family diversity to my daughter. 

Perhaps my entire problem on starting potentially difficult conversations goes back to the fact essentially I am a shy person. When I came out as transgender made it that much more difficult. Plus, the fact my son in law knew me many years as my male macho self made the whole conversation very difficult too. 

As I have written, the Thanksgiving experience was wonderful except for the dining room chairs which give my back fits. My transgender grandchild couldn't make it so I hated to miss them but they couldn't get off work as a novice fire ranger. 

At least now I can speak to my son in law in the future after we established some sort of bond following all of these years. The conversation was better than any of the wonderful desserts we were able to go home with. It's my fault I didn't press the issue sooner. I have with his parents but never with him. How could I miss he had to be a wonderful LGBTQ ally also? I don't know but I am certainly glad we had the conversation. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

My First Black Friday

Prior to finally getting out of the closet and beginning to explore the world as my true feminine self, I always considered The Black Friday estrogen filled shopping experience as one I would never be able to explore.

Image Courtesy Marcus Spiske
on UnSplash

As luck would have it, my time to make it out with the largely feminine masses who frequent the Black Friday shopping experience was about  to happen. For those of you who may be across the pond and not know, Black Friday comes on the day after Thanksgiving and normally offers all sorts of sales to entice shoppers to spend their money. My second wife was a big fan (until she found herself in a retail job) and rarely missed a chance to shop very early. Often with a couple of her best women friends. Leaving me to be quite envious.

Finally since my wife was working the day shift at the bookstore she managed,  I saw my opening to be free to explore my first Black Friday shopping experience with many other women. Back in those days it took me longer to get ready and femininize myself so I sat my alarm to go off approximately the time I knew my wife would be leaving. Following making sure she had safely departed I climbed out of bed, knocked down a cup of coffee and proceeded to shave my legs and face. New pamty hose followed  by my bra, false breasts and padded hips. The excitement was building as I carefully applied my makeup and reached for my fuzzy oversized warm sweater which I wore with a knee length skirt, flats for comfortable mall walking and my blond shoulder length wig. Once I was satisfied with the way I looked, off I went to meet the great unknown, as a woman. 

Predictably, parking spaces were at a premium but I was able to park fairly close to the side entrance I always used. Once I was inside the mall, I was used to where I should try to go to pick up an extra gift or two and I was not surprised to see the crowd was at least two thirds women. All of which made it easier for me to blend in. As the morning progressed, I made my way through the mall with no problems what so ever since everyone else was in their own worlds and on a shopping mission. Giving them very little time to notice a stray transgender woman in their midst. 

Back in those days also I had sort of a cross dressing "bucket list" of new feminine experiences I just had to try to see if I could accomplish them. Braving the crowds of Black Friday shopping was on the list to conquer. Once I did make it through the experience I wondered what all the fuss was about. Similar to my women's restroom experiences. So called "sacred spaces" reserved for cis women just weren't that special to me. 

On the plus side, I was able to buy several gifts for my shopping list which were much more fun to shop for as a woman rather than my old male self. Once I accomplished going through a real live Black Friday experience successfully. I was finished with the thrill and actually have never done it again. I replaced it with trips to antique malls to search for vintage gifts for my wife who was really into gardening. 

All in all, discovering the vintage garden gifts made for better gifts anyhow and was more fun to do. So I was able to accomplish two priorities at once  The problem was when I had to return home with my treasures and have to return to my male cross dressed life. I couldn't wait until I could shed my old male clothes and sneak out the door as my feminized self again. When I was able to buy my wife a gift at the same time, it made it all so worthwhile.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Pre Thanksgiving Thanks

 We actually have a fairly busy time ahead for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. On Thanksgiving Day we make the hour journey north to the Dayton, Ohio suburbs where we have an invitation to my daughter's Mother in Law's dinner. Which means a blog post for tomorrow will be an extremely difficult thing to accomplish.


Normally, the get together involves my first wife as well as many others. She also has another get together on Saturday which we can't attend because of a certain college football game between The Ohio State Buckeyes and the team up north (Michigan) the game has huge national football playoff considerations. So we decided to choose the Thursday meal to attend. 

Always before we leave and sometimes even during the dinner, I make sure I pass along my appreciation for being accepted into their family when my own rejected me after I came out as my authentic self...a transgender woman. It still feels different after all these years to need to pick out the proper outfit to wear. This year I have decided on a cream colored cable knit sweater paired with black leggings and my charcoal gray boots. Obviously I don't want to overdress the casual occasion but on the other hand don't want to go too casual. I don't go looking for compliments but it is always nice to be complemented by my first wife who was around for my early years as a cross dresser. Often with questionable results.  

I know how fortunate I am to have essentially two accepting families for the holidays. My daughter, her in laws and my wife Liz's family. I see so many LGBTQ and/or transgender women and men who have been totally rejected by their families when they broke out of their gender closets. I am also lucky in that even though I can cook, I prefer to leave the work to those you seemingly enjoy it such as Liz. 

Another extremely satisfying part of going also is the chance to see my transgender grandchild and their partner. I feel Liz and I are good role models. During a holiday season which was seemingly started by the tragic "Club Q" shootings, I feel blessed by the situation I am in. In other words, I am so thankful this time of year.

While we are on the subject of being thankful, it's time to repeat what I always say, how thankful I am for each and everyone of you who take the time to stop by and read my writings. I always try my best to answer any and all relevant comments. Plus this year, I have everyone on the writing platform "Medium" to thank also. It's not a contest but I thankfully have developed a nice small following on the platform. Again thanks to all who have subscribed to, commented on, or clapped to my writings.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Transgender Risk Management

Through life, transgender or not we face risks. Who do we marry, when do we have kids are just a couple of examples. We transgender women and men face many other risks other than the normal lifetime choices. 

Club Q Memorial


The major risks we face as we are beginning to emerge from our gender closets is to try to present well enough to blend in with the public and look like a clown which I often did. Unless we are one of the very few "naturals" who are very androgynous appearing to begin with, we face major hurdles as we attempt to grow into our authentic selves. In my case, once I learned to dress better and apply makeup more skillfully I was able to make it to the next level of risk. Which was trying to communicate with the world as a transgender woman. In a relatively short period of time I was able to master the artform of feminine communication. In other words I learned the subtleties of how to talk to another woman as a woman. The process was so fascinating and different. Once I had mastered this risk of  being able to comprehend what was really being said to me, I had to move on to the next level. Another example was being complemented on my appearance as a woman, when they were really saying I was a good looking woman for a man. 

Around this time was when I was extremely lonely and began to go out to venues I was familiar with as a single transgender woman. I called it going out to be alone. Again, in a short period of time I developed several venues which I considered low risk I go go to and be accepted. I didn't have many problems being a single transgender woman in those venues but when I started to expand my places to go was when I pushed too hard and tried new venues to see if I presented well enough to get by and hopefully add a new venue to add to my regular places to go. A few succeeded and others I had the police called on me, mainly when I tried to use the women's restroom. Needless to say, I never went back.

Another major risk I tried was when I began hormone replacement therapy. When I started HRT I was in my early sixties so I had my age to consider as well as possible health considerations. Would my body be able to accept the changes I was putting it through and benefit at the same time. Following a very slow exploratory time on hormones, my doctor determined it was fine to increase my dosage to a point where I could really see the changes. Even still, as dosages go, I am on a comparatively low dosage so as not to risk blood clots and other complications which could occur at my age of seventy three. In the words, I know I have been very fortunate to have been able to experience the deep feminizing wonders of HRT.

As I wrote this post, I decided to save the biggest risks for last. The risks we transgender women and trans men face when it comes to the high probability of losing jobs, friends and family when we gender transition. Especially as we approach the holidays, I see too many transgender folk in despair because they are alone when family has refused to accept them. Then, let's not forget the physical harm risks we all face which was tragically proven at the "Club Q" tragedy in Colorado. I believe two of the five killed were transgender.

With the future looking as if we LGBTQ individuals are going to have to struggle to overcome every risk we have to face, perhaps the most challenging opportunities for risk management are yet to come. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Why Men Don't Trust Me

 I left the men's club is the main reason. Men don't trust me. I knew how to play the game. On top of just playing a game I never wanted to play, I was able to play it fairly well. I had a loving wife and daughter, a good job, two college degrees and my own restaurant when I decided to leave the club. I was macho and tried desperately to hide any feminine tendencies I inadvertently would show a friend or stranger. Cigars, many beers and sports were my best friends.  As you can see by the image I worked hard at it. 

My before picture cross dressing as a man.


The problem was, I didn't want to play in the club at all and never did want to play. In fact years later I finally came to the conclusion I wasn't cross dressing as a woman, my inner feminine dominant self was cross dressing as a man. Even though I took my time transitioning to my authentic self, there were still surprises I was too naïve to realize they were going to happen.  

What I am referring to is all the male privileges I lost and relatively quickly. In fact, I was able to measure how well I presented by how I was treated by men. I can't say I was treated as a cis woman because I didn't know exactly what that was, I just know I was treated differently the better I presented as a woman. The first time I felt it was a night in a large sports bar venue when for some reason I ended up in a conversation with a group of men. Through it all, even all I was knowledgeable concerning the subject, I was ignored. It was my first experience at being ignored  as a woman in a male dominated conversation. Of course from there more was to come. Much more as a matter of fact. Along the way I learned how vulnerable I became as a transgender woman when a much larger man cornered me in a hallway and I quickly learned how women could be taken advantage of sexually. 

Then there were the times I almost was attacked in dark spaces I shouldn't have been in to start with. I finally learned to ask for friends to escort me to my car. The so called honeymoon phase of leading a feminine life and leaving the men's club was rapidly disappearing. I knew it was coming, just not as fast as it did.

Another reason men didn't trust me is for the same reason the two main binary genders have a difficult time communicating to start with. The men who knew I used to be in the men's club also knew I had knowledge of what went on behind the male gender curtain which threatened their often male senses of being. I have often mentioned how men in reality are the most frail gender and they proved it to me again after I transitioned and even began to try to date a few guys. After being stood up a number of times when I insisted meeting in a public place and meeting a few guys who wanted to wear my panties I finally gave up on the pressure of trying to find a good man and fell back into the circle of women friends I had been fortunate enough to develop. I didn't end up missing the men's club or their mistrust of me at all. Before I go any farther trashing men as a gender, let me say stereotypes are wrong to use and I did encounter several decent men along the way. Timing and destiny, or mistrust on my end could have spelled doom for any potential relationships I may have developed. 

As it turned out I never burned my military draft card during the Vietnam War and I served my time. On the other hand, without any remorse I burned my men's club card and moved on. I had again served my time and I was able to move on. I guess you could say my failed attempt to live out my life as a man was as doomed as the war in Vietnam anyhow. It was just wrong.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

While my Blog Gently Weeps

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance when we pause to remember all of the transgender women and trans men who have tragically lost their lives this year. Just trying to live as their authentic selves. In addition to the thirty two deaths reported in 2022, the news of the mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Sunday morning (CNN was reporting) a shooting at a LGBTQ nightclub which left five people dead and at least eighteen injured which will surely increase the total.

Just saying this is sad and tragic is not enough of course. Too many of the deaths come from the ranks of transgender women of color and some of them were engaged in the sex trade. Mainly because of family problems when they came out and couldn't find employment because of discrimination. Most had two strikes against them before they ever had a chance to live.

 The lessons to be learned from the Transgender Day of Remembrance are few and impactful. Without living in fear due to potential violence, there are plenty of common sense rules you can follow to help insure your safety. First of all you have to remember when you leave the boys club to play fulltime with the girls you immediately lose a certain amount (or all) of your male privilege. The most important privilege you lose is access to personal safety. An example is don't leave yourself open to being accosted in a dark deserted parking lot, when you enter the world of cis women everywhere. All cis women of course know the possible dangers they face in certain situations. It's why cis women travel in groups when they have to go to possibly dangerous situations. 

Whatever excuse you may try to explain what women go through, very simply neither gender should have to go through violence often perpetuated by toxic males. The moral to the story is to never live scared but learn to watch your surroundings and simply know women have much more to be careful of. Plus,  the extra sad part of transgender murders comes with the element of surprise is thrown in. Or, when a guy is negatively surprised when he is suddenly attracted to an attractive transgender woman. 

Every year this time I hope the new year brings a huge decrease in the number of transgender deaths due to violence. Sadly, it seems a whole political party has dedicated itself to restricting LGBTQ rights, so change will be difficult to come by. Even still, in the future, I hope to weep fewer tears. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Levels of Transition

 

Photo Courtesy Parris
Freeman on UnSplash

Over the years I slowly came to the realization there were many levels of a gender transition. As I climbed walls during my journey, I was seemingly stuck forever in a gender maze. Often my frustration reached crisis levels as I tried to live as my authentic self. Every time I thought I had conquered a wall or turned a corner, another wall appeared. On the days when I was out exploring the world as my feminine self for the first time I thought I was looking my best only to have my walk or talk give me away. I even went as far as practicing my walk when I was cross dressed as a man late nights in big box stores. I am sure more than a couple store detectives were amused when and if they caught me on store cameras. It took me years to try to put my male past behind me and move forward. 

Finally it occurred to me I was doing something all wrong. Through my gender haze I was neglecting to realize I was escaping one closet into another I would have to transition out of. This realization led me to the evening at a well known casual dining/bar venue when I decided I was going to try to blend in with the mall worker women who came in after their shifts. For the evening I chose my favorite outfit. A black pants suit which was dressy to a point without becoming overwhelming. I decided to wear my favorite matching black flats and shoulder length blond wig. Climbing this wall in flats was terrifying and I ended up sitting outside the venue for a half an hour before I gathered my courage to go in.

Once I was situated at the bar and was able to breathe again, I knew my life had changed and I could never go back to being a closeted cross dresser. I felt so natural! Plus more importantly I had the chance to climb my latest wall and see a portion of what could lie ahead in my life. In the dim distance I actually could see myself actually transitioning again into a transgender woman. The more I considered it, the more complex the idea became. At the time I was still married to my second wife who never approved of any idea of taking hormone replacement therapy and living more and more as a transgender woman. She said she never signed up to live with another woman. Of course there were many other problems to consider such as having a job and losing friends and family. All of these walls to climb became unbearable at times and I resorted to trying to bottle up all my emotions along with hitting the bottle (alcohol) way too much.

What happened was all of the sudden my life was to change drastically as I went into a very dark period. I was knocked for a loop when I lost three very close friends to cancer and my second wife to a heart attack. The only good thing that happened was all of a sudden the dark clouds parted and my path to transitioning to a transgender woman appeared. During this time was even when the Veterans Administration approved using HRT for gender dysphoric veterans. Since I was already in the VA health care system, taking advantage of the program wasn't too difficult and helped me to afford the treatment. 

Years later after I transitioned into living a full time life as a transgender woman, I considered I would never  encounter many more walls to climb. But now I face the greatest transition of all. The final crossing from this life to whatever may or may not lie ahead. Plus what will happen to me during my final days if I end up in an assisted living facility or nursing home. These days I have steeled myself to jumping off that bridge when I come to it. 

So all in all, transgender women and trans men don't have it so different than anyone else who lives a long life. There are built in transitions to consider. We trans and LGBTQ folk just have more to consider.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Transgender Awareness Week

 During Transgender Awareness Week it is important to note the basic differences we trans folk all bring to the table. From the outside looking in, I am certain most civilians think we are all the same. Persons who want to live as the opposite gender than they were born. The average person isn't sophisticated enough to see gender on the spectrum it is. In other words we all fit in somewhere between the two binary genders of male and female. 

Recently I have been seeing more and more mostly younger people refer to themselves as gender fluid or even non binary. When I do see either of the gender comments I equate them to myself. Even to the point of wondering how a gender fluid idea would have affected me in my formative years before the internet and social media became such powerful forces. A gender fluid idea would have certainly simplified everything I was going through with my gender dysphoria when I was growing up wondering what gender I wanted to be that day. 

Finally the transgender term became the catch term I grabbed onto as being the closest descriptor to what I felt about life. What could be easier than thinking yes I was transitioning from male to female so I was transgender. On my path however there were still many days when I still wanted to cling to my old male life I worked so hard to establish. They were the confusing days when I was having a difficult time deciding if moving forward to a feminine or transgender lifestyle was the proper way to go. None of this major confusion could be understood by the public when I couldn't understand it myself on many days. 

Currently I think I do quite a bit to promote transgender awareness whenever I go out.  Even though I do the best I can to present to blend in with the other women I encounter, I am sure more than a few of the public think there is something wrong with the gender picture they are dealing with. Thoughts of not being accepted used to bother me until I came up with my own little formula to deal with it. I learned the hard way most people are in their little worlds and don't care to be bothered with mine. Then there are the slim few who vaguely recognize something may be out of sorts with the way I look but keep on going anyhow. Finally there are the even slimmer portion of the public who want to make a big deal out of encountering a transgender person. At this point transgender awareness really comes into play. 

Hand Beaded Hair Barret
LizTDesigns
On Etsy 

In many ways I feel transgender awareness is needed in the worst way. The more visible we as a community become, the more political power we have. An example is here in Ohio where the organization "Trans-Ohio" as well as others have turned out in force to at least postpone efforts to try to oppress transgender care for youthful Ohioans. In a state dominated by Republican politicians, every little bit helps. In addition to adding my voice by calling the committee chairperson in the state capital of Columbus, I will be wearing my transgender hair barret to family functions coming up. 

Speaking of coming up, TDOR is fast approaching which is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Sadly at least thirty two trans people have lost their lives this year to senseless violence. So it pays to be careful if you are out and transgender.  

In the meantime, even if you are still in the closet, hopefully someday you will be able to swing the door open and enjoy the nicer more welcoming world to the transgender LGBTQ community. Even if we have to force the door open.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Power of Confidence

I nearly labeled this post the power of self conviction for one big reason. First I always write a transgender woman greatest accessory is her confidence. I am sure we have all observed a cis woman or two walking down the street or in a store who just seems to exude a huge amount of confidence in herself. Who knows, maybe she just bought a new outfit, visited her hair stylist or just was raised to be sure of herself but it surely shows. 

Photo with new glasses
courtesy Jessie Hart

Over the years I have been able to capture just a portion of the frail confidence of a few cis women I have known. I say frail because of all the times I have thought I had turned the corner on my male to female gender transition, only to be ridiculed to the point of feeling temporarily wanting to go back into my gender closet. Within a few days calmer gender minds ruled and I began anew to try to establish myself in a feminine world. During these dark days, the only thing which kept me going was the fact my transition felt so natural. So natural in fact it felt like it was the only path I could take and be able to live. 

Even with all the successes I managed to have, I still was paranoid of being harassed like the old days by some unfeeling transphobe. 

This morning my wife Liz and I went to two doctors appointments. One for her and one for me. Hers was much more intense as she had to go in to the doctors for an feminine test which was both painful and intrusive. On the other hand, mine involved going to the Veterans Administration local office and picking up my new glasses. Being able to see well after all these years was a pleasant surprise. During both appointments no one gave us much notice even when we went into a full waiting room of others getting their glasses proudly holding hands. Nothing gives me more confidence than doing that, even though if I present well (as I always try to do) holding hands gives us away as two lesbians. 

All in all, the power of confidence allows transgender women and trans men the conviction to move forward as our authentic gender selves. It is sad it has to be so difficult.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

All I Ever Wanted

 If you would have asked me when I was young what I really wanted to be when I grew up, the honest answer would have been to be a woman. That's right. When all the other boys my age wanted to be sports stars, corporate presidents or whatever, my goal was so simple yet so difficult. Somehow I needed to lead a feminine lifestyle. 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

How to arrive there was the problem. The first hassle I ran into was my impending date with the Vietnam war military draft. I tried to outrun the draft as long as I could by attending and graduating college but was finally caught when my draft lottery number came up to 23. Which meant my fate was sealed. I immediately began looking for the military branch which offered a job classification as close as possible to the job I was doing when I went to college. I worked at a local small radio station which was owned by a fairly powerful congressman. Through his influence, I was able to secure a spot in the Army's Defense Information School which in turn enabled me to be eligible to work in the American Forces Radio and Television system. This was very fortunate of course but none of it served to help me to achieve my goal of being a transgender woman. 

After the Army I was able to resume my journey in earnest. This was my time to explore living a feminine lifestyle out of the mirror by sneaking out of the house when I could all the way to the exciting Halloween parties I went to. Over this period of time I learned many lessons the hard way but on the other hand I was learning leading a feminine life in a women's world was indeed possible. 

Ironically,  the more I learned, the more I needed to learn. The life I so desperately wanted to pursue still was far away. An example is when I learned how walking in heels was fine, looking other women in the eye when I communicated with them wasn't as easy. Plus, surely wearing a frilly nightgown or lingerie was wonderful but it ultimately didn't help me in the regular world where other woman were wearing jeans and sweaters. Somehow I needed to temper what I thought would happen when I jumped out of my gender closet to what was really happening. 

Another problem is I have a mind which I really have to push to stay on a topic or goal. It's the primary reason most of my posts don't go over three minutes in length. I have this problem which ended up serving me well when I was making all my early cross dressing mistakes. After the countless times I was laughed at and came home crying, I was able to fairly quickly go back to my feminine drawing board and try again. The major problem I discovered was when I learned to stop my expectations of how men viewed me and begin to focus how the women viewed me. Once I began to focus on women, I began to present easier and I could concentrate on letting my long suffering feminine inner person out and into the world. 

From that point forward when my wife Liz said it best to me, when she asked what type of woman would I want to become. Would I bounce out of bed every morning and do my makeup and hair with heels and hose or would I rely on casual jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes for everyday non public wear. Since I always have a difficult time waking up in the morning, I chose to settle in to the casual feminine lifestyle. Hormone replacement therapy has helped me also with adopting a casual lifestyle since I have my own long hair, soft skin, breasts and developing hips to reassure my femininity. I know who I am now the world needs to accept me also. 

All I ever wanted was to lead a feminine life and I finally made it but it was a long struggle. My life was certainly a marathon not a race. 

Your Help is Needed

We are yet in another crisis for transgender youth here in Ohio. Predictably Republican state representatives are pushing severe anti LGBTQ agendas. One in particular is coming up to a vote soon.

Here is something you can do to help with a simple phone call to this number:

 614-466-6344

“Rep Manchester, my name is _______, I’m a resident of _______ county, and I’m calling today to ask you to vote NO on HB454, the trans youth medical ban.”

If you don't live in Ohio, make certain you add the passage of this bill will add to the reasons you will never visit here/there.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Mirror Mirror

I have been fortunate in that I have lived a fairly long life of seventy three years. Over the years I have had many acquaintances, friends, family and even spouses come and go. Not long ago I realized I missed an inanimate object which I deal with daily, which on occasion ranks above all the people I wrote about above in importance.

Mirror Photo courtesy 
Jessie Hart

I am referring to my mirror. Of course I have encountered and lived through many mirrors during my years. Very early in my life, a full length mirror in our long hallway became my best friend.  In fact, during the precious moments I found myself alone in, the mirror became my only friend. I loved it when I could get cross dressed as a girl and was able to walk slowly up and down the hallway thinking all along what a pretty girl I made. The mirror was of no help and added it it's positive affirmations regardless of how bad I really looked. In other words, the mirror was lying to me.

Of course my infatuation with the mirror continued. As I began to explore the world as my feminine self, many times I would push the envelope and try to dress too sexy which became too trashy. One example was when I had a platinum blond wig which was actually too short to cover dark hair on my back. Even though I knew it was happening, the mirror told me I looked so sexy I would certainly present well. Needless to say, I didn't and received way too much negative attention in a bar I went to. I was lucky to make it home without incident and the blond wig was forgotten forever.   

Unfortunately I am a slow learner and my mirror continued to lie to me. I persisted in trying to dress as a teenaged girl in a man's body. I wore my skirts too short as well as my shorts trying to show off my legs which was fine except by doing just that I ignored the fact I had shoulders and a torso which were decidedly un-feminine. The mirror never told me to change my thinking and dress for the overall look and began to blend in responsibly with the rest of the feminine population. It was around this time when I began to separate my self from my mirror and establish new standards. Plus I was increasingly faced with having to meet the public one on one. So essentially all of them became my new mirrors. 

For the longest time, my mirror obsession declined to a point where I had to dread seeing myself in the mirror the first thing in the morning. Some days I looked and saw a vaguely feminine person looking back at me but other days the image screamed same old male and my gender dysphoria would kick in again. I would be in despair thinking even with hormone replacement therapy, I was wasting my time. Then the gender pendulum would swing back again as I rationalized I probably landed somewhere in the middle of my appearance expectations. 

Regardless I wondered why I was so vain anyway. I suppose the vanity goes all the way back to my earliest days of wanting to be and fit in with all the girls. Never stopping to think of any of the negatives involved. Most certainly the girls I so intensely admired had their own issues to deal with.

So even though my mirror has been my life long companion, in reality it has never been my lifelong friend. Often telling me just what I wanted to hear. No matter where they happened to be from my hallway at home to mirrors in mall clothing stores all the way to mirrors behind the bars I frequented, it seems I always needed a mirror as a crutch. To reassure me I was always the feminine person I always wanted to be. Put what label you want on it, cross dresser or novice transgender person I needed the help to exist. These days, except for the occasional dysphoric episode. life with my mirror has settled in a daily small makeup and skin care routine.        

Monday, November 14, 2022

Popcorn Girl

 Recently I wrote a post explaining how I always wanted to look like one of the old time cigarette girls who sold tobacco products in nite clubs. Later on, after I wrote the post, I happened upon this photo of  famous female impersonator Grae Phillips. 

Photo Courtesy 
Grae Phillips 

Perhaps you may remember Grae from the early era of talk shows such as Jerry Springer, Maury and Sally. Just to scratch the surface. Over a period of time even I tired of the shows efforts to exploit cross dressers such as me.

Every once in a while though, I would see an impossibly beautiful cross dresser or female impersonator who I wanted in the worst way to look like. Grae Phillips, billed as the real live "Tootsie" (after the movie) was one of the best. Grae could sing as well as any cis woman and totally looked the part.

So naturally I was impressed when I found this photo on social media of Grae dressed as a popcorn girl several years ago in New York City. My knowledge of Grae plus classic drag or cross dressing stores such as "Lee Brewster's"  were a large part of the reason I moved from my native Ohio to the NYC metro area. Sadly, I never did have the opportunity to visit Lee's but I did take advantage of the opportunity to go a transvestite "mixer" one night on nearby Long Island. 

It turned out to be one fantastic evening as I almost didn't get admitted to the mixer at all. There were two women at the door standing guard so to speak and told me no "real" women could be admitted to this private event. I had to show them my then male drivers license to get in. Needless to say I was extremely flattered.

I also never had the chance to see one of Grae Phillips shows in person when I lived in New York. The closest I ever came was when they accepted my friend request on social media. I guess you can say I am a groupie but then again I couldn't understand how someone who looked that good as a woman  could ever not want to live fulltime. I was still in the period of my life when I was obsessed with appearing as a woman. Not living as one. 

In many ways life was simpler back then before I began to learn the many hidden facets of a woman's life. Much more difficult than just looking like the cigarette or popcorn girl.  

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Forces of Nature

No matter how you cut it, women are the stronger gender excepting purely physical attributes. Other than the physical part, women have to do it all. From raising a family to earning a living women  have to do it all. Plus it seems these days there are more and more single mothers taking the family on single handily.


All of this begs the question why would a man give up all of their male privileges to transition to living as a transgender woman. The answers are obvious to those of us who have accomplished the gender transition, primarily we had no choice. It was transition or die. Many of us, including me lived a very self destructive life dealing with our gender dysphoria.   

It amuses me (negatively of course) when other people think we are going through a phase or think we are engaged in some sort of an evil game. Perhaps our potential gender power scares them or they are still living in the years when the media portrayed us as evil people dressing up as the opposite gender for purely criminal reasons. 

As we all found out on our own gender journeys we discovered the path often had more twists and turns than we bargained for. In my case, my first discovery came when I discovered I had to go much farther than just appearing as a woman to live as one. I wish I could easily go back over the ten years and six thousand plus blog posts to write a time capsule on my journey. Simplified  early on my writings involved primarily my appearance. Then after I progressed past the appearance aspect of cross dressing, I progressed into attempting to  see if I could actually progress and thrive in a feminine world. As I moved forward it became increasingly evident I had a long way to go. I knew I wanted to experience the multi layered life cis women go through but I had no idea where my journey would take me. Here is another example,

When I was partying and being accepted by my women friends, I established  a base to work from as I strived to establish my new life. After I did was when I moved in with my wife Liz and began to further increase my circle of acquaintances who had never met my former self. They viewed me as just another person in their circle and made me feel welcome. Even in these groups I felt more comfortable with the other women. I never felt really comfortable with many of the men. Which in many cases was no more different than when I was growing up and later in life when I had very few male friends. 

The final result to my gender search was I had made the correct decision. The more I progressed in life I found out what my wife told me was true. Back in those days I didn't have any real conception what a woman was all about. Women's lives certainly ranged much further than just pretty clothes and well applied makeup. How women communicated with other women is always my go to example as to how different the genders can be. 

Women are the true forces of nature and it the real reason deep down men fear them so much. A prime example is a former president I don't have to mention.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Burning Transgender Bridges

 I am relatively certain  there are not many transgender women or trans men who haven't burned a few personal bridges on their journey to finding their authentic selves. I thought of this topic yesterday when I was watching a television show on the PBS network. The episode partially revolved around the main character and bridges. I am far from a structural engineer but I vaguely understood the  concept of bridges needing tension on both sides to succeed in their duties of carrying traffic to the other side. 

Image Credit Romeo Varga
on Unsplash

Immediately I equated the concept of bridge tension with the gender tension transgender people feel as they attempt to straddle the two main binary genders. What more tension could a human face and conquer? For many, including me, relieving myself of the gender pressure led me to burning bridges in my life. In fact I was notorious for being self destructive and burning my bridges so I couldn't return. Often the flames were so high I lost tract of where I was. Especially when I began to go into my own restaurant venue dressed as my feminine self. Thinking I wouldn't be recognized. Of course I was and it didn't take long for the gossip to spread about me. Not the smartest idea I ever had. 

Deep down I am sure now, I wanted the world to know my secret of wanting to live a feminine lifestyle full time. Regardless of the risks involved of discovery I forged ahead with trips outside of my house which had the potential to ruin the male life I struggled so hard to build. On the other hand, everytime I took a chance to leave my closet and live a new exciting life, I felt so natural. Which in turn led me forward to more intensive trips out of my closet. I guess through it all, I was experimenting how I would build my new life when and if the time came to live it. In many ways it was when the true challenges began.

As I rebuilt my transgender bridge, I had to guess at and then build my bridge to fit the process. How would I ever learn how to blend in and then communicate with both genders once my bridge was built. Again and again I conquered my fears and set out to live. I learned the hard way the inner communication rules of women and for the most part the fact men didn't want much to do with me except to treat me as some sort of a fantasy object. Which was the furthest thing on my mind.  I only wanted to be validated as a woman in my own mind.

Over time, I began to become very good on how I built my new bridge. After more errors than successes my life suddenly became so much easier and again so natural The entire process slowly but surely reinforced in my mind how much I never wanted to cross back to my old life of cross dressing and doing my best to act like a male. 

Years later I have been able to stop burning my bridges. I  was able, thanks to many others,  who helped build in supports to my life as I learned and went along. Another way of saying my own personal infra structure was sound and I could move forward as a secure transgender woman.  

Friday, November 11, 2022

Thanks to all Veterans

 It's Veteran's Day which means it is time again for my annual Veteran's Day post. Since I am a transgender veteran I understand the day may be a little more special to me but it shouldn't. Our country may not be in the best of condition, just imagine where would we be without the selfless sacrifices of veterans over the years. 


My special consideration on Veteran's Day goes out to all the veterans who paid the ultimate price with their lives. How many vets went to their graves not being able to live as their authentic selves as their preferred genders. In addition, how many vets joined the military seeking to prove their worth as a man? We will never know how many servicemen and women lay silent in their graves still withholding their gender secrets.

During my service time, I was in the military way before the so called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era when supposedly you were protected from harassment and/or penalties if you were part of the LGBTQ community. Of course, similar to so many other factors which are decided when you compare discrimination between lesbian and/or gay people and transgender individuals. I have heard it referred to as it is much easier to hide gay than trans. 

When I was in the Army in the mid 1970's I actually came out of my gender closet to a very few of my closest friends. During one extended evening drinking wonderful and powerful German beer, I blurted out the reason for my Halloween "costume" was it wasn't a costume at all. I was what I was referred to back then was called  a transvestite and I sometime preferred wearing women's clothes. I was fortunate in that none of them said anything about me to our superiors and nothing happened. When I/we sobered up, I kept my mouth shut and nothing ever happened. But it certainly could have. Being a transvestite or transgender or cross dresser would not have mattered to my superiors and I could have possibly been dishonorably discharged from the Army because of any of them. As I said, I was able to scurry back into my gender closet and survived the final year of my military service unscathed. In fact I was even offered a promotion if I re-upped for one more year of service. I declined and moved forward and even ended up marrying one of the people I came out to who was also in the Army. Eventually she gave birth to my only beloved daughter.

Here on the blog, I occasionally hear from other transgender veterans who took a similar path in the military during the Vietnam War era. Rather than be drafted many of us took the three year enlistment option to be able to be trained in specialized fields which served us well in life. In my case too, I continue to rely on the Veterans' Administration for my health care and medications. So I guess you could say I was repaid many times over  for my three years of service.

Regardless, if you served or not, be sure to take the time out of your busy day to thank a veteran for their service. 


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Why Me? A Transgender Odyssey

 As I recently wrote, I used to spend hours and some days even weeks wondering how I finally quit fighting living a male life and settled into a much more natural feminine lifestyle. Once I had the courage to complete my gender transition (more on it later) and begin to be able to see the big picture. I always considered the time I spent obsessing being a girl was somehow a waste of time. Plus many times I would be a whiney girl and get into my why me mode.

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart 

Basically it turns  out I was just wasting my time because I was pre-dispositioned to be transgender in the womb. Perhaps you have heard of the drug called "DES" or Diethyistilbestrol which is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature labor and other related complications of pregnancy. It matters to me because my Mother was having and extremely difficult time with miscarriages and even still birth babies before I came along in 1949. It is extremely possible my Mother was prescribed DES.  It suddenly made all the sense in the world why I turned out the way I did, transgender.

Sadly the biggest problem I had moving forward was adjusting to the guilt I felt from being myself.  Through out my life I was very self destructive. From driving way too fast to drinking way too much, I was fortunate I was able to live a long life at all. I definitely had a guardian angel looking over me. Even more drastic to me was the fact I was lying to my friends and family about my true self. 

After I attempted another major attempt at self harm, even I started to feel enough was enough and began in earnest to really see if I could successfully live a feminine lifestyle. Following a few minor then major successes, my new life began to materialize. I had the confidence to go out in the world as a proud transgender woman. 

The more wordily I became, the more I discovered my transition would never be complete for any number of reasons. First of all, my gender transition is viewed many different ways in the LGBTQ community. Since I have gone through hormone replacement therapy but have not undergone any surgeries, some others have a tendency to look down on me. The good old I'm "transer than you" tired thought pattern. During my life I have been labeled so many things, I don't pay attention to the naysayers anyhow. 

While my life will never be known as one of the classic odysseys, it still is different than the run of the mill lives I see others live. After all, how many human beings have the opportunity to cross the gender frontier and experience how the other half lives. Often negotiating the maze isn't easy but then again how many lives are.

I finally came to the conclusion to why me? It came out loud and clear, why not? 

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature labor, and related complications of pregnancy (1).

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Voting on Hormones

 My wife Liz and I went out to vote yesterday when she got off of work. Without becoming too political, of course I voted mostly the Democratic ticket since the other party seems to be more involved in  erasing transgender people everywhere, not to mention attempting to control women's reproductive rights. That is all I am going to say politically.


Even more important to me is the fact I was able to exercise my rights as a citizen as a female on my state drivers license which you have to present in order to vote. It is very special to me because years ago voting with my new female drivers license was the first time I had the opportunity to use my new legal ID. All things considered, changing over most of my legal gender identifications was not too difficult even in Ohio. Back in those days though, Ohio hadn't yet changed the rules on changing your gender on your birth certificate and Social Security was still  into changing names only on their records. Not gender. It hasn't been very long since both of these procedures have changed. Social Security being the most recent. 

In addition to changing all my civilian legal documents, I had to change my gender on all my Veterans Administration records. With the unwavering help of my therapist I was able to change my gender with most all of my VA documents. So I have a Veterans identification card marked female as well as being female on my records. Ironically, the VA is updating all it's records and they are now asking how I wish to be referred to. So I updated my records to transgender lesbian, she and hers. Naturally I was surprised when I was asked about my preferences. 

Overall, changing your legal gender markers, is a big move. It goes way past just choosing a new name. For me choosing a new legal name represented another milestone in my journey to a feminine life. No longer could I change my name as quickly as I changed my wig. I can't tell you how many names I used before I got together with my daughter and decided on my new name I would carry with me until I died. I went back a couple generations and selected a name from my mother's side of the family and selected my own Mother's name as my middle name. It made more sense to me than the old male name I had naturally but even more so because I could honor my family and heritage with my new name. My new legal  name I feel would have been approved by my mother.

All of this usually comes to my mind everytime I am able to vote. Plus it is also a chance to get out into the community and exercise my right to be myself...my authentic self as a transgender woman. Plus if you don't vote, you don't have any reason to complain about the results of the election. For my efforts yesterday I was thanked by a male smiling poll worker, voted and received my sticker. And, since yesterday was also Liz's birthday, I took her out to dinner after we were finished at the polls.

I wonder as I grow older if voting will still have a special place in my heart as the first place I was legally recognized as my true feminine self. As I proudly showed my identification with gender marked as a "F". The way it was always supposed to be.  

 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Gender Trigger Warning

 I love watching classic vintage movies. I especially love it when I see my love interest Robert Mitchum  or better yet get a brief view of a cigarette girl in a swanky nite club. As a youth I was always fascinated by Mitchum without even knowing why. Looking back now, I believe I had my first crush on a member of the male gender. I loved his cool yet aloof style. 


What really set off my youthful gender dysphoria were the cigarette girls peddling their toxic goods. I loved their hourglass figures squeezed into slinky black leotard tops. Worn with dark tights or stockings and heels of course. I thought at the time what a great idea for a Halloween costume but soon after that smoking was going out of fashion and I have never been a smoker. 

What never went away was my desire to be a sexy woman. I suppose my ideal was to be able to sell Robert Mitchum a pack of cigarettes as a sexy sales girl. 

I think my next crush on a male person, this time a real one, came in high school. I had a very close friend who I may have been a little too close to. We were literally the best of friends. I should point out nothing of a sexual nature ever happened but I can't say I never fantasized about being his girlfriend. All of this was an extension of my dysphoria working over time. 

Ironically, the older I became the fewer crushes I had with the male gender. I finally came to a point when being with a man was simply a validation of me being a woman. Being on the arm of a tall good looking man was my new fantasy. Then, when I learned I could attract more feminine attention than male attention. I didn't desire men at all. Even though I did have a couple quality male dates over a period of time. Especially the time Bob and I had a wonderful evening over a few drinks and the vintage motorcycle man I met after his ill fated marriage. Neither were fated to last for a number of reasons. Bob lived a distance away and my motorcycle crush ended up moving away shortly after we met. 

Both to me, including the other crushes I had were quick gender triggers. So quick, it took me many years and more wisdom to even realize exactly what they were.

Monday, November 7, 2022

At Least it wasn't Boring

 Looking back at a long transgender life, rather than being a whiney person concerning the experience and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to change directions. Slowly but surely I came to the conclusion my life was actually was fairly entertaining. After all, what would I be doing with all my free time if I wasn't obsessing about being a woman. Even sneaking out of my house cross dressed was a thrill unless I was laughed at. 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart 

I used to think this time I was in training to be a novice transgender woman could have been better spent obsessing about my work or other hobbies which I was already doing. During this time I was able to secure a really good job in the food industry which helped me to understand more fully what women go through in the work place and the difficulties they faced attempting to balance family and work. 

Also looking back, I would have missed the thrill of learning the first time I could possibly exist in a feminine world and live a life long dream. Then there were the other parties I went to in Columbus, Ohio when I learned I fit in with the transgender women more than the cross dressers. Then, after I figured all of that out, there was the problem of what to do next. I had a good job, family and loving wife to consider. 

If I hadn't decided to go through with my gender transition where would I have been then? Most likely very miserable and lonely after my second wife passed away. I had lost most everything which was dear to me and was experiencing very dark times. As it was, at the first opportunity I chose to seriously consider my feminine inner self as a source of strength. I followed her into another gender world and never looked back. One of the main lessons she taught me was to embrace who I was and try to remember the good times I experienced over the years of learning to be a transgender woman. Not the bad. 

Then there was the catching up time I had to go through to be able to play in the girls sandbox or the time and effort it took to learn to dress like and fully communicate with other women. I equate the process with what genetic females go through when they are socialized as women. It took awhile to shake off old male tendencies so I could grow into the woman I wanted to become. Once I did, I found I could face the world with more confidence than ever before. Plus, the process was sometimes terrifying and far from being boring.

The end result for me being able to live a transgender life was the benefit of being able to experience both sides of the binary genders (male and female.) The knowledge I gained was sometimes painful but so worth it in the end. I know intimately now how testosterone affects a man and how estrogen affects a woman. Priceless knowledge when it comes to never being bored. 

Trans Peaks and Valleys

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