Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart
Archives 

The longer we live, I am increasingly convinced we encounter many phases of our life which we can separate down into certain categories. For transgender women and trans men those categories maybe more intense than the normal human being. I have several examples in this post. 

The first I place in the "would have "category. What if I defied all odds and proclaimed to my parents at any early age I wanted to be a girl instead of a boy. I didn't want the boy toys I received for Christmas, I wanted the girl dolls instead and why did I have to wear a hated tie to visit relatives. I so wanted to wear the pretty dresses, tights and shoes my girl cousins were wearing. Of course I couldn't do anything about my situation back in the dark days of the 1950's when a boy wanting to be a girl was considered to be mentally ill. Even though I didn't begin to know anything about my gender questions, I knew I wasn't mentally ill for wondering.  

Perhaps the largest question in the "would have" category is, what if I had the courage and or knowledge to had come out of my gender closet earlier. Looking back now, I see the time after I had completed my military service and my daughter was conceived would have been an extreme possibility of coming out to the world as my feminine self. I had completed my patriotic duty and was indirectly rewarded with the gift of a lifetime...my beloved and highly supportive daughter. It was around this time when I was rapidly beginning to come to grips to who I was and was learning to dress the part. 

The next category is "could have". It was during this period of great gender discovery when of course I had to make a living. I didn't have a potential pension to worry about such as a transsexual friend of mine, nor was I a very educated professional person. Similar to another trans person who was going through genital realignment surgery and moving away to a city where she knew no one. I didn't have the finances or the willpower to under go such a major step so I began to try to outrun my gender dysphoria by moving around and switching jobs.  Most certainly I "could have" cut nearly all the ties of the life I was used to and moved on but I didn't.

This brings me to my last category "should have." Should have I have the courage to live my gender dreams earlier? Most certainly but as is said, it is too late now to cry over spilled milk. Even though I didn't cut ties with my old male self when I should have, I was fortunate to have landed on my feet, I turned "should have" into I did it. But before I try to put myself up on some sort of pedestal, again and again I have to give credit to all the people who accepted me as my true self and allowed me to grow as a fulltime transgender woman.

Maybe I can add another category "did have" because I did have enough help to keep moving until I reached my final goal of leaving my male self behind.

 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Transgender Confidence

Image from Brett Jordan 
on Unsplash


I have always thought confidence was the most important accessory a transgender woman can have. More important than the most attractive dress or the prettiest most flattering wig. Of course your dress and wig work together in so many ways to provide an external image which matches your inner feminine self. Plus, confidence often proves to be so difficult to come by as well as equally difficult to maintain. It takes only a swift moment of being mis-gendered along with being recognized as a man in a dress to wreck your confidence. I know, because it all has happened to me too many times to count. I had spent literally weeks in gender heaven without even the smallest pushback to my new coming out presence in the world. 

Finally I learned my rejections were a moment in time and I went back to the drawing board and moved on. I kept my changes to a minimum and tried to analyze every small nuance of the feminine gender I was trying to assume. I knew deep down, I was a woman but somehow, someway I needed to cross the gender frontier and arrive at my destination. I can't began to tell you how many times confidence was fleeting due to a particularly brutal evening when I was out in public. I was fortunate though in that even though I was having bad times, there was enough gender euphoria slipping through to keep me moving towards my goal. Plus, even coming up with a goal was difficult because everytime I accomplished one goal, to keep moving, I needed to set another. There was also the problem of the ultimate goal of going all the way and living as a woman.

We all know humans are apex predators and not unlike sharks can sniff out blood in the water. So more than a few humans can sense something could be wrong when you try to change something as huge as your gender. Unless you have the supreme confidence to know deep down you are right in what you are doing, you could be in trouble. For me, often the supreme confidence came from feeling natural as my feminine self. So much more than just thinking I was acting as my authentic self because I wasn't acting at all. 

Where ever you are in your transgender journey, woman or man, I hope you have been able to develop the confidence you need to survive. As far as trans women go, the effects of testosterone poisoning is so difficult to overcome. On the other hand, once you have gone so far across the gender frontier, going back is often impossible to do. Inspiring more confidence and gender euphoria as you go.     


Sunday, January 29, 2023

One Trans Girl to go Please

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archive

Going out to be alone was one of my favorite phrases when I first started to explore a brave new world as a transgender woman. Another look at it would mean I was desperately lonely and just needed a release from being at home all alone. Along the way, I had discovered several venues I could go to without the chance of being harassed.  Outside of one notable exception, I was usually left to my own without any bother. Since I normally consumed quite a bit of beer, having a women's restroom pass was important. In several venues, I did experience push back from the management due primarily to complaints from other customers. I became so good of a regular at one place, after I was asked to leave one night by a manager, the crew found me at a nearby venue and asked me to come back. That was the infamous evening when a group of drunks kept playing "Dude Looks Like a Lady" on the juke box. Even then I was determined I would attempt to ride out the hassles until I was asked to leave. I got my revenge later when I found the manager who asked me to leave was fired for drug abuse. 

As I began to go out in the public's eye more and more, I did realize I was under some sort of threat being a single woman at a bar. As I continued to try to present as an attractive woman I found I had a couple things going for me. First, I discovered I was watched over by several of the bartenders I visited on a regular basis. When I was approached by the occasional drunk guy, the bartenders would warn me with a glance and kept him moving.  Another trick I learned was always using my cell phone as a crutch. I would act like I was texting someone else and expecting another visitor. That way I could explain to unwanted visitors I wasn't going to be alone much longer. 

Finally, "One trans girl to go" began to change. In a moment of brilliance, one of my bar tender friends set me up to meet her single mother who identified as a lesbian. Then, not too long after that I happened to be sitting alone one night when another woman slid a message down the bar to me. Not to let a golden opportunity go by, I quickly responded by introducing myself. It turned out she also identified as a lesbian and before long the three of us bonded over several mutual interests such as sports and drinking. For all intents and purposes from then on one transgender girl disappeared into a much needed small group of three. I learned so much from them I can't begin to list them all. All of a sudden I was even being invited to lesbian mixers which even led to one evening I was asked to approach another participant for a date...for my friend. I was a failure, because my friend didn't get her date but I tried. 

Also, as you may recall from a previous post, it was about this time when I met another circle of women who I called my second circle. It was through this circle I met Liz approximately twelve years ago. Our first date was a drag show and after being together for eleven years we decided to get married last October. Even though it's been years since my "One transgender girl", I still and probably always will remember all the intensely lonely days I had to go through. I even tried on line dating. Which predictably went badly in so many ways. I encountered my share of crazies before I ran into Liz who lived relatively close to me in Cincinnati, Ohio. We began to correspond more and more on line before I had the courage build up to let her hear my voice. She wasn't scared off and the rest as they say was history.    

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Brave New Gender World

 Recently I wrote a post describing briefly how big a deal gender actually is.  Coming out from one gender and living in another can only be described as a shock to the system which also takes a lot of work. I remember completely how many times when I first was exploring the feminine world, I was a dismal failure. No matter how many times the mirror told me I was doing well with my presentation, I found there was so much farther to go. 

Photo from the Jessie
Hart Archives 

One of my problems was putting my feminine image in motion. Walking the walk was very difficult for me. I needed to practice many many times walking in heels and/or other female footwear before I finally began to feel comfortable. Lessons learned included nearly breaking my ankle in a mall one day when my stiletto heel became stuck in a sidewalk crack. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice my complete embarrassment. Other times I practiced included walking around home and even late at night in deserted big box stores. I was trying so hard to develop a walk which fit what I was wearing without appearing too outlandish. 

Other problems I encountered were (as I always bring up) dressing to blend in the world. Once I did my life in my new chosen gender began to change. It was difficult deciding which wig I wanted to be my primary hair style. Which became ultra important as I began to see the same people over and over again. I was amazed how outgoing the world in general and other women specifically became when I saw them. During that same period of time also was when I had to seriously consider what to do about my voice. What happened was, I became bored with going to the same stores and malls where there was no real challenge to being accepted as my new authentic self.  What I did was begin to take the extra steps and began to stop in places for lunch. Once I did, after I behaved myself and tipped well, I fairly quickly became a regular. As a matter of fact too quickly in many cases. I simply was not prepared for the interactions I was finding myself in. My problem was I wanted to be friendly and learn more if I was doing my "woman thing" correctly. I needed to learn feminine communication skills along with trying to do the best I could with my voice as soon as possible. 

As far the voice went, I tried my best to mimic the range and tone of the person I was talking to. Then try to remember it the next time I tried to communicate with anyone. I tried to make the whole process habit forming which was all well and good until I had to go back to my old boring male self. Years later I did take professional vocal lessons at the VA (Veterans Administration) which I still use till this day to improve my speaking skills. Little did I know, just learning how to sound more like a cis woman when I was talking was only the beginning. As with nearly everything else they do as humans, women communicate in a much more layered, complicated system than men. I needed to go back to communication 101 and learn all the nuances of feminine communication. Including non verbal communication all the way to dealing with passive aggressive personalities. I knew going in to all of this brave new world I was facing, what women said versus what they meant were often two different things. Now I was seeing a whole different view of the process.

I can't begin to say how terrifying yet exciting my journey into a brave new gender world was. I believe I am a better person for the experience and certainly much wiser.  

Friday, January 27, 2023

Who Knew it Would be So Big

 More years ago than I would care to admit, I "borrowed" a pair of my Mom's hose and slowly slid them up my legs. Little did I know how from those humble beginnings I would finally grow into the feminine person I have become today. It all resulted in a life long gender journey which resulted in it's share of bumps and bruises. I think many transgender "outsiders" don't consider the real path we go through just to find and nourish our most inner gender needs. They think the process we go through is just a matter of wearing the clothes of the opposite gender we were born from. In other words, being transgender is just a phase. For me at least, I did go through a series of phases, mainly from going from confirmed crossdresser to out and proud transgender woman. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives


It certainly was not all a combination of kicks and giggles on my journey. First I needed to discover who I was and it was s scary experience. Letting go of all my ingrained male responses was as hard as it was to acquire them in the first place. I never wanted to be a boy and have all the experiences of youth which were forced on me. My parents came from the WWII/great depression era. They were great providers but sadly came up short in the emotional needs department.  I was expected to hide my emotions and move forward. I still can't imagine coming out at all to my Dad. I did briefly mention being a transvestite to my Mom after I was out of the Army and she shut me down by recommending electro-shock therapy. My "problem" was never mentioned again.

Years went past before gender knowledge began to catch up with the world and I began to have some sort of realization of who I really was. Terms such as "gender fluid" made sense to me as did the explanations that very few humans fell into a strict male/female gender binary standard. I remember how exciting and euphoric it was to realize again I wasn't so alone in the world. If they admitted it or not, most people just didn't fit into the gender binary we were all taught to think was the only way to be. Boys did not have to be boys and girls did not have to be girls. The two could mix. What a radical idea!

Through it all, I learned my gender issues were a big deal. I went through tons of pain and suffering to arrive at the other end of the gender tunnel which I described in a recent post. The light I found was not the train but a bright new world where I could be myself. I was finally past all the people who wanted to laugh at me behind my back or to my face. 

I wonder now if I ever had the choice to go back to those early cross dressing days, would I do anything different. Trying to hide dressing like a girl for the most part, led me down a life long road of sneaking behind the back of others. Some of which I cared deeply about. On the positive side of life, being transgender provided me with a unique look at both sides of the binary gender fence. I know of course I never really had a choice for whatever reason. I just never imagined the process would prove to be so big.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Second Supportive Circle



Recently I wrote a post or two concerning the individuals who helped me cross the gender frontier to live a life as a full time transgender woman. As much as I learned and appreciated their input, there was another group of cis women who accepted me plus helped me move even further into the feminine world. 

From the Jessie Hart Archives:
Min on left with myself and Kathy


More precisely, these women helped me to build upon my initial gender change results and took me to levels I never thought I could achieve so fast. Once I discovered the basics of communication, there were women such as Min and Kathy who started to invite me to girls nights out for special events such as birthday parties. Through it all, I was scared or terrified I would make a fool of myself but on the other hand, I wanted to desperately learn what all went on behind the feminine curtain. After all, I had waited my entire life to arrive at a point where I could be accepted as one of the girls on their special evening.  What I discovered was there was not much of a secret to be told. The women I were around were predictably more family orientated than men and of course didn't operate with the same amount of bravado. Looking back also, one of my biggest challenges also was to dress to blend with the women I was going with. 

Along with Min and Kathy, there were several more women who accepted me and helped me transition more than they ever knew. The Kim's, Jen's and Debra's (to name a few) made me feel at home in their worlds. During this period of my new life, I compared my gender learning curve to building a new house. Once I had established a firm foundation, I could enable my strong inner feminine self to do the rest. All of a sudden just getting out on Halloween parties became a thing of the past although I still went to them. 

Then there was the spiritual side to my existence. When I moved in with Liz, I followed her Wiccan path. In Debra's circle I was accepted by people such as Trish and Ed, who in turn introduced me to their friends and acquaintances. Very few people were even stand offish to me as I continued to build a circle of people who had never known my old male side at all. 

The second supportive circle even extended to the Pride celebration in Cincinnati where I helped yearly before Covid with a booth of information. Today as I look back I can't say enough good concerning all the people who accepted me as my new authentic self. Of course they knew I was transgender but none of that mattered. I was so fortunate.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Long Dark Transgender Tunnel

Image Courtesy Snowcat
on Unsplash

 Recently I was thinking of how I actually transitioned twice in my gender life. For over fifty years I considered myself a cross dresser. In fact, for the longest time I considered dressing as a woman to be a harmless hobby. Obviously the longer I went along, the more I discovered it was anything but a hobby and far from harmless. All the time I spent agonizing over my gender issues proved to be very self destructive. In other words, I spent countless hours wondering what gender I was becoming and what I would do the next time I had a chance to dress in my secret feminine attire and admire myself. This stage of my life essentially lasted from when I was ten-ish until I was sixty and finally decided to begin my second serious gender transition. Although I can safely say I knew I was experiencing gender issues way before the age of ten. 

Of course I am aware no one can reclaim time but I do try to learn from all of my positive and negative experiences. Initially, I was able to install lights in my transgender tunnel which would allow me to learn the basics of makeup and how to dress myself. I stumbled when I went through my girlish high school years when I was in my thirties. Those were the days I committed the usual cross dresser sins such as trying to dress too sexy which turned out to be a trashy attempt to disguise my testosterone poisoned male body in clothes designed for an attractive teen girl. Needless to say, those were difficult days for me in my tunnel when the light at the end always seemed to be the train.

Fifty years is a long time and still I persisted and more importantly learned what I needed to do to better prepare my feminine self to go public. I can compare the process to enabling my strong inner female to take control of the process. Approximately it was this time I went into what I called my business professional period of my life. An example was when I would dress up as my best impression of an executive woman and shop all of the upscale malls back in the day when many of them flourished and so did I. Rarely did I experience any issues as I shopped. One of my favorite outfits I acquired was a pale, pastel green suit with a short skirt which I paired with pastel green opaque panty hose and kitten heels. I topped it all with my shoulder length blond wig and was ready to explore the world as a woman. What a relief it was when my feminine life was starting to come together. But the biggest problem became, now what? I knew the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't the train but something different. However, the closer I became to the light at the end of the tunnel, I knew I felt too natural to ever return to my unwanted male existence. He was fading away.

As I said, I ended up following the light in my transgender tunnel and decided to transition for a second time. This time I decided to never look back and begin hormone replacement therapy. From that point forward I was going to not only leave my long tunnel behind but I was going to allow my inner feminine self to find her way in the world. A possibility I am sure she never thought was going to happen. Once I did relinquish control, my feminine self made certain I knew it was her providing the light in my transgender tunnel. The light was very dim in the beginning but became brighter the farther I went.

The big question I have now is why was I so stubborn in hanging on to what was left of my male ways.  Even though all of my male life wasn't miserable, I think after my daughter was born I could have left the remainder of him in the past. I could have said then I was a cross dresser for twenty years instead of fifty. 

For any number of reasons none of it happened and I continued down my long dark transgender tunnel much longer than I should have.    

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

It Takes a Village

Virginia Prince in 
the 1940's
 I am sure over the years you have heard the term "It takes a village" to describe the best way to raise a child. I think the phrase is especially true when it comes to negotiating a gender transition. You regular readers know how often I mention the lack of transgender mentors we had as we each tried our best to cross the binary gender divide. As with most of you in the same senior age category I am in, mutual contacts were very difficult to come by. 


Fortunately later in life, my contact group expanded and I was able to take advantage of my new peer group. It all started with me when I discovered "Virginia Prince" and her "Transvestia" magazine. As I remember, it was published every two months and I couldn't wait to receive my new edition. Of primary importance to me were the announcements of regional transvestite "mixers". One of which was within driving distance to me where I lived in Ohio. Naturally, I couldn't wait to attend one of the mixers if I could get the trip approved by my wife. Finally she went along with the idea and she even helped me to try to pick out an outfit to wear. 

Regardless of our disagreements on what I thought I should wear versus her ideas, I went and I learned. Most likely the biggest lesson I learned was the different layers and types of the other attendees I met. Every layer from the so called beautiful mean girls to the overtly masculine cross dressers and me in between. I just didn't feel comfortable in either group. 

It wasn't until much later in life I finally discovered why. When the transgender term was introduced, I knew then I discovered an idea I could identify with. I felt that surgery wasn't the driving force in my quest to live a feminine existence but the mere fact of being able to live as my authentic self was. And the authentic self proved to be my inner woman. 

During her path to the surface, she received quite a bit of help. It took the village I mentioned to enable her to finally break free. I don't mention enough the group of cis women who embraced me when I came out of my gender closet. Then, after the first group, there was a second circle (as I like to call them) who helped me solidify my new life and move on. I will mention them more in another blog post. 

In the meantime, even though it took me years to realize it, a village was welcome and needed for me to find my way to a life I really wanted to lead. As a full time transgender woman. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Transgender Teamwork

"Shawna Wegner" is fighting a proposed bill in Arkansas which would force transgender women and trans men to use the restroom which was originally listed on their birth certificate. Now you can sign a petition to fight back. Every signature counts.

 No matter where you live, legislative bills such as this ultimately threaten our very existence. Please go here to add your name! 

Thanks!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Dream on Or Transgender Dreams

Image from Randy Tarampi on
Unsplash

 I am fortunate, rarely do I suffer from not being able to sleep. Normally do I not benefit from my eight hours of slumber. Some nights it is even very entertaining. 

Early in life I remember vividly the mornings I would wake up from dreams in which I was a girl. I was immediately disappointed to learn  nothing had changed with my gender. I wasn't the girl of my dreams. Sadly for me my girl dreams were vastly outnumbered by my numerous boring male dreams. These days, following living forcibly as a male for sixty years, my nightly experiences are becoming more mixed according to gender. I guess the more I spend time as a transgender woman the more my subconscious mind is accepting it and is beginning to build a backlog of experiences of me in a feminine world. 

These days, I have made it to to a wonderful mix of gender dreams when I would have one dream as a man and the very next as a woman. Now interestingly I have reached the stage of being a cross dresser. Often I have to go through being exposed as a man in a dress and subjected to the normal rejection by the public. Perhaps I am just reliving the time in my life when I was coming out of my hidden feminine shell. Often to the stares and outright laughter at the hands of an ignorant public. 

Through it all, I am still dazzled by my subconscious which is able to switch my genders at will and put me in impossible situations in either. An example was the night, I started by dreaming of running a perfect shift during a very busy night at a restaurant I was running then going to a time when I was wearing a dress which was too short. To the point I was embarrassed and was trying to cover up my bare legs. 

I wonder if I live long enough, if my time as a transgender woman will overtake my time as a man. Which will be tough to do since to equal experiences out I would have to be one hundred twenty years old. Perhaps what will make up for the difference in years will be the intensity of the experiences I have been living through. Perhaps all the years of learning to find myself as a transgender woman will come back in my dreams. It will be interesting to find out. 

Using my very weak mathematical skills, I have calculated I spend approximately one third of my life sleeping. Since I do, I hope my dreams stay interesting. They remind of a rich life I have been able to live. One as part of the male gender I never wanted and the other as part of the female gender I always wanted to be included in. More examples of living as my authentic self will be welcome as reminders of my old unwanted male self fade away. Finally my transgender dreams will triumph as well as I have triumphed in my gender wars in real life.  

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Transgender Safe Spaces

This afternoon is my oldest grandson's birthday party/dinner. Without hesitation, my wife Liz and I said we would attend. Not so long ago, my response would not have been so quick or so easy. Similar to so many of you transgender women and trans men, I went through significant stress finding a safe place to go to and explore the limits of my new authentic self. 

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

The first venues I tried were the primarily gay bars where I discovered quickly I really wasn't welcomed. After all the vast majority of the gay men in the space were looking for other men and only viewed me as another drag queen. If there wasn't a drag show scheduled for the night I was there, I was totally out of place. It did not take me long to seek out other so called safe spaces where I could attempt to learn to live my new life. 

A few of the venues I chose did turn out to be safe while others not so much. First I tried a couple of small lesbian bars I discovered in the Dayton, Ohio area. Both were former biker bars. One maintained that image for lesbians While the other was certainly more mellow and welcoming. The first place always made sure I never felt welcome while the other was the opposite. Primarily because it turned out my male self knew one of the bartenders. The only problem I ever ran into in the second venue was when I was forced into singing karaoke by a very masculine lesbian. I don't sing at all, so it was quite the challenge. It wasn't so long after that the place closed for good and I was forced to find other safe spaces to go to.

Since I was already the general manager of a very popular and busy casual dining bar/restaurant, I knew with some certainty what I could do to develop another safe space or two to go to. I found I was successful in locating a couple and decidedly not successful in trying to become a regular at others. So much so, I had the police called on me when I tried to use the restroom. I easily explained my situation to the cops and was sent on my way. I did manage to become a regular at three other sports bar type restaurants and even received rest room privilege's in the process. Plus when I finally established myself with a small group of friends I came with, I became ever more of a regular. I enjoyed my space spaces immeasurably and was able to grow my feminine self. 

Outside of a couple isolated instances, I never went back to the gay venues again. Where I never did really fit in. 

As far as my daughter's in laws were concerned, I write often concerning how accepted I was as a transgender woman. I think I was more concerned about how I would be treated than they were. After all I was carrying a ton of my old macho male baggage with me. Plus, speaking of safe spaces, I would be remis not mentioning all the current concern over a pre opt transgender woman in a woman's locker room without any clothes, I don't believe it's time for  any real input from me  Except from saying personally, I wouldn't want to show off my naked body in either locker room and I can't imagine someone doing it without backlash. Also, as a transgender community, we don't need any potential negative publicity. 

On a brighter note, I hope you all have found and developed your own transgender safe spaces.  

Friday, January 20, 2023

You Wanna be my Girl

 During my errands this morning, I heard the "Jet" song "Do you Wanna be my Girl." If you aren't familiar, the lead singer mentions his lust interest in the song as having long blond hair and long legs. Back in the day, I tried my best to look the same way as I wore my skirts too short and matched them with a long blond wig. Through it all, I certainly wasn't having any music written about me. Ironically I was doing all the wrong things fashion wise as I supposedly didn't want to attract any attention and blend in with the world. My problem was I was presenting to attract men and not blend in with the other women around me. 

Girls Night Out from the Jessie Hart Collection
I'm seated in Stripes on Left

As I look back at my life, I see how often and desperately I wanted to be my own girl. Way back in high school after I was turned down yet again asking a girl on a date, I would run home and if possible shave my legs, put on a pair of pantyhose , apply makeup and finish dressing as my favorite girl...me. I always knew she wouldn't turn me down. This continued through out my life until the Army briefly forced my male self  to stand up and be counted. That didn't continue long because my dominant feminine self was always waiting patiently and often not so patiently to live her life in the public's eye. Not only I found did she want to be my girl, she wanted to be "the girl". 

Being "the girl" turned out to be the best move I could make. The big differences came as I was coming out of my gender closet and into the world. Instead of feeling terrified, I felt excited and so natural I couldn't wait to do more to achieve my inner woman's goals of coming out. As I quickly learned, when I got out of her way, she knew who she was and developed quickly. So much so, she was slowly but surely pushing my wife of twenty five years out of the marriage.  

Sadly the only thing which saved the marriage as long as it did was her untimely, sudden death from a heart attack at the age of fifty. Often before she passed, we had a dog who was certainly a one person dog and the person was me. My wife always said if something happened to her, the dog would never miss her. Which is very close to what happened. What also occurred was when she passed, the door was suddenly opened for my feminine self to come out. In many ways it seemed she had waited long enough for her turn and here it was. Even though the entire experience was and is a total shock to my being and I loved my wife dearly, I knew the path was clear to my gender freedom. At my age of sixty I was in a position to take the gender leap to freedom and not look back. All of a sudden, I didn't know how much time I had left as I lost more and more of my closest friends to cancer. 

The answer was clear, I wanted to be my girl. Even though I knew there were going to be many more bridges to cross and some even to burn. I was given a second chance in life I just couldn't turn down. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Gender Threat?

Photo Courtesy Linkedin

Recently I wrote a post concerning a communication with the public as a new transgender woman. When I did the gender transition, I did it and surprisingly learned I could communicate with women better than I ever had before. After reading the post, Paula from "Paula's Place" blog, checked in with this comment:

I have actually found it easier to engage with strangers as a woman than I ever did when the world was experiencing me as a man. Being seen as man often equates to being seen as a threat. Being seen as a woman I am "safe" I can now indulge in the casual conversations with strangers that used to annoy me so much when my Mother did it." 

Thanks for the comment! I agree being seen as a man does equal being seen as some sort of a threat. Plus, there is also the sexuality facet which needs discussed. How many men want to approach a woman from a sexual aspect. Women on the other hand, especially attractive ones have grown up suspecting men because all they want is sex. Or men too, appreciate the chase of a woman and grow restless after they have "won" the "battle" for the woman they were approaching. During my dating years, I was most likely too timid in my approach to women. I didn't want them to think I was only into them for the sex. When in reality I just wanted to be just like them. I wanted to be the hunted not the hunter in a relationship. I thought life would be so much easier if for once a girl would have to ask me out, rather than me going through the torture and the nerves asking a girl out. As you can guess, I was often rejected and most of the dates I went out on were set ups by friends. Actually having a date on my arm helped solidify my standing in the guy community. The date went right along with me driving the best car I could and playing as many sports as possible. All of which were covering up my deepest, darkest secret. All I wanted was to be a girl. 

When we cross the gender frontier and earn the chance to have casual conversations with other women, as Paula said we essentially learned a lesson in gender communication. We are now "safe" and have escaped the rigid boundaries of gender discussion. It is no longer forbidden to compliment another woman on the simplest thing such as her earrings. I learned very early, a simple compliment could open the door to knowing another woman so much better. The more we talked, the more I learned about what the other woman may be thinking about me being transgender. 

The only time (and it was rare) I was perceived as some sort of a threat was when another woman's man entered the picture. I said it was rare because most all men had the tendency to leave me alone. It was when they didn't, the claws began to come out and I had to retreat. As far as I knew her man was just being friendly and was attempting to insert himself into our feminine communication which Paula alluded to. 

Sadly in this day and age women of all types are being subjected to more gender threats. If and when a transgender woman achieves a completely passable image, then she is faced with "surprising" a so called unsuspecting man. Violence could follow which leads to the very high rate of transgender murders. Very luckily in my case I was able to nearly avoid brushes with violence when I lost my male privilege of safety. I learned the hard way and was able to move on unscathed. I was neither the hunter anymore or the hunted. I wasn't a gender threat and it opened many doors I never expected to see behind. The trip was worth it. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

It Was a Team Trans Effort

Overall I have written several times on how a journey down a transgender path can be a very lonely experience. At a very early age we trans youth find we are on our own. We don't even have the benefit of peer influences to shape our path in areas such as make up and clothing. Especially in the pre internet days, our gender closets were very dark and lonely indeed. Because of all of that, many of us desperately wanted an understanding cis-woman to help us with our transition, mostly in the appearance department. In my case I found just because a woman I knew would help me with my makeup and clothes it did not mean she had any real expertise to help me. In fact, the first person to really help me with makeup advice was a male makeup artist at a transvestite mixer I attended. He worked miracles with me and even explained what he was doing so I could repeat the process myself. I went on to help my second wife with her make up on numerous occasions because I actually wore more make up than she did. 

Later on in life, when I seriously began to explore being a feminine person in the public's eye did I begin to find the peer support from other women who helped me transition into the person I am today. They have been so important to me over the years that every now and then I mention them here in the blog. 


Photo Courtesy Rachel


Along the way I received advice on buying a banana from Amy to practice how to pleasure a man all the way to a constant reinforcement that I belonged in the world as a woman from people such as Kim and Nikki. Who had very little to do with men at all. The experiences such as lesbian mixers all the way to woman's roller blade events were priceless learning sessions. Of course I wasn't accepted by everyone but  since I had my core of supporting friends around me, no one else mattered. In other words, my life experiences back then taught me the boundaries of what I could and shouldn't do. For the most part I had a great time as I had in depth lessons on how to blend in with a new terrifying yet exciting feminine world. 

As you can see, I was blessed with having a total supportive transgender team around me including a couple more people I can't leave out.  Rachel was another transgender woman I partied with often. She was the one who told me I passed out of sheer confidence. Which I always took to mean even if I was not the prettiest trans girl in the room, I was not going to let it stop me from living an authentic life. The other person who was so very instrumental in my MtF gender transition was my wife Liz. Eleven years ago she told me she had never seen anyone but a woman in me and I should quit straddling  the gender fence and start living full time as a woman. 

After such a slow lonely start, it was a total team effort for me to become the person I am today. I have been fortunate to have had so much help.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Engaging the Public

 Engaging the public as a transgender woman has always been difficult for me.  First of all, I am an inherently shy person  and secondly when I first reached a level of coming out as my feminine self, I had to begin to communicate with the general public. All of this added to me being increasingly shy. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives

For some unknown reason, this morning was different. Since my retirement, I especially don't like to get up early in the morning. But as a favor to my wife Liz, I got up at 5:30 AM to go with her to a doctors appointment which was a half an hour away. As bribery, I made sure Liz knew we would have to stop for breakfast at a certain fast food place we enjoy. Plus we had to hurry because she had to be back as soon as possible to sign in to work which she does from home. 

In addition to getting up so early, we arrived fifteen minutes early and we had to wait in the outer hallway for the office to open. As we were standing there, a man came by with a crock pot full of some sort of food. I waited for Liz to say something and when she didn't I quickly said "Is it time for breakfast?" He laughed and said brunch and we were invited. Looking back I was amazed I took the opportunity to start a conversation with a complete stranger. I think this morning for some reason I thought the light makeup I was wearing matched how my hair looked and my gender dysphoria was not an issue and did not bother me. So I had as much right as Liz did to initiate a conversation.

Amazingly, I felt empowered to do it again when and if the opportunity arises. It felt good to shed my shyness around the public. Maybe if I was more into setting more new resolutions for the year 2023, I could have considered adding speaking up more to my non existent list. As I felt this morning, possibly engaging the public more will help me to continue to build my personality as my authentic feminine self. My excuse is the Covid years of relative isolation hiding behind a mask stunted any personal growth I had with the public. Plus, back in the day when I was first coming out, I enjoyed my time communicating with the public, for the most part. It could have been too I was caught up in the newness of it all. After all, the communication skills women required to survive in their world were so vastly different to me. Even with all the years I spent working with women, I found they shielded me from what they really meant on certain subjects. 

I have considered also that over the years, writing had become my preferred form of communication. To the point of hurting my verbal communication. Since I was afraid of using what I called my feminine voice, I softened my vocal delivery to a point of not being heard by some people. 

Now I hope to try to get out into the public more and practice my vocal skills more in depth. Adding yet another dimension to my overall public presentation. Years ago I did take a few lessons on developing a more feminine voice and think I still have the practice notes and homework I was given. I will have to find the paperwork and try again. Engaging the public was so enjoyable.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

Trans Imposter Syndrome

During the strenuous years of trying to achieve a passable feminine image, I never thought I would ever come close to feeling the  transgender impostor syndrome. In fact, I know for certain for the longest time in my gender transition it wasn't a term at all. Before we go any farther in this post, here is what the imposter syndrome means to me.

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart
Archives

My interpretation is when you have arrived at a certain point of your life which you have worked diligently to achieve,  all of a sudden you feel you don't belong for whatever reason. The closest example I can come up with was when I was promoted to a executive general managers restaurant position I had worked years to secure. Once I did get promoted I always felt I belonged there because of all the work I had put in plus all the success I had achieved. Ironically, I never felt the same when I transitioned to  a full time life as a transgender woman. 

As my life unfolded, I always wondered why I wasn't more satisfied with the results. I mean, hadn't I earned my spot in the feminine world by doing a ton of experimentation which led to learning  what worked and what didn't as continued my often lonely path to gender fulfillment. Even though through much of the journey I had my doubts if I was going to make it at all, still I pushed forward. The one thing I never considered was what would my ultimate gender destination look like. 

I also never considered once I arrived as a full time transgender woman, would I ever feel as if I didn't belong there. Most certainly I have paid my dues over the years learning the feminine life experience. None of the learning came easy but on the other hand it all felt so natural. The first nights I went out to  be a woman, not just look like one was the huge unveiling of what my life could be like if I continued down the difficult path I was headed. Again, after that first successful evening, I knew deep down I could never go back and sooner more than later my life as a male would be over. It was about that time, I began to feel twitches of what I later learned was imposter syndrome. Even though I knew I worked hard at making it to where I was in my gender journey, did I belong there. 

It wasn't until much later in my life when all the new internet/social media driven terminology began to appear did I notice the transgender impostor syndrome. I saw seemingly more successful and attractive trans women and men who had their doubts concerning their journeys also. So I knew it wasn't just my own paranoiac self taking control. In my times of doubt, I was fortunate to have my relatively new feminized body and my wife Liz's reinforcement to get me by. My coping mechanism was I had as much of a right as the next woman to occupy the space I was in.  The world could always use another woman and she was me. I just arrived by a different path.

For the most part, any trans impostor syndrome I suffer from is a figment of my imagination and a part of my past. To be filed and put away with so many other often unexpected circumstances from my long and eventful gender journey.     

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Future Transgender "A" Listers

 Back in the day when I was first exploring my public feminine self, I learned the hard way there were many cliques, even hierarchies in the new transvestite community I was witnessing. First I think I learned that although the group was supposed to be exclusively heterosexual, it clearly wasn't the case. Even though nothing sexual was flaunted in public there was plenty going on behind the hotel's closed doors. particularly among the group I called the "A "Listers.  



Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives


To me the "A's" were the impossibly feminine attendees. Other groups included the cross dressers who were trying desperately to maintain what was left of their masculinity even though they were trying their best to be feminine too. Then there were the rest of us. While I did my best to look the best I could, I also found myself to be an observer on the highest level. The reason was because I was still so confused on several issues which were dominating my life. At the time, I had no idea if how far I could go as an aspiring transvestite or even if I wanted to go farther at all. Then there was the pesky sexuality question. Little did I know, I would face years of self searching and practical experience before I would come up with any solid answers. 

Even though I didn't fit in with the "A's" appearance or personality wise, I found they could offer me a unique way of seeing the world as a feminine person. One way was even though this was before the transgender term was even invented, the "A's", clearly were a step above most of the other cross dressers who came to the transvestite mixer. However not all of the steps were positive ones. All too often they formed a clique not unlike the prettiest girls in a high school. Regardless, what appealed to me about the clique was they would go out into the world to select gay venues after the mixer was over. I didn't care what they thought of me, I just wanted to get out and explore the world to learn if I could make it as my authentic self. I took advantage to the fullest and even ended up achieving a great result one night after a meeting which included a free makeover to anyone who wanted one. I gathered up all my courage and went for it and was rewarded for an invite to go out with the "A's" to party. 

During our night out, I was further rewarded with a guy coming up to me in a bar we went to who wanted me to sit with him or play pinball. The group was amazed when I was picked up and none of them were. Mainly because I was in a different city than I was used to, I decided not to stay and went back to the hotel with the group. Plus, I didn't know how much the guy who approached me knew of my not so little gender secret. 

In the years following my earliest adventures at the mixers, I actually became a regular acquaintance of a couple of the "A's". One of which I even attended regular parties at her house in Columbus, Ohio. I knew that her as well as the best of group (appearance wise) went on to undergo genital realignment surgeries. Unfortunately, I lost contact with them after that. 

All in all, I learned quite a bit from being an hanger on to the group. I was torn because I badly wanted to look like them but in no way did I want to act like them. In the long run maybe I achieved both.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Hot Flashes?

 I have been on hormone replacement therapy for quite a while now. In fact, as far I can determine, I have been on HRT for nearly nine years now. All I remember from starting the hormonal trip is I started with my wife Liz at a LGBT night club in Dayton, Ohio. To make the whole affair more dramatic, I decided to wait to start on New Years Eve. 


As I said, it was a long time ago as HRT experiences go (maybe). It wasn't so long following the evening when I began to experience fairly dramatic changes on a fairly quick basis. I started to feel sensitivity in my breasts as well as noticeable growth. Very quickly I arrived at a point where I had to be very careful which shirt I was going to wear. All in all, my new and exciting feminine transition appeared to be going smoothly as I was under a doctors care. My hair was growing quickly, my skin smoothed out and my face lost some of it's masculine angles. I'm sure it helped because I was already in my sixties when I started HRT so my natural testosterone levels were already decreasing. Most likely, my biggest surprises came on my internal feelings. For the first time in my life I could cry. 

Another surprise in my new feminine puberty came when I experienced my first major hot flash. I remember sitting at a venue enjoying a drink when all of a sudden I felt as if I was burning up from the inside out. I was so self conscious at that point, I felt everybody was going to be staring at me. Even more so since I was already ultra aware of my surroundings since I was the only single woman at the bar. In a relatively short period of time, my hot flash went away and I returned to my state of normal. Whatever that was. The longer I was on hormones my body settled in on my new puberty my body adjusted and my hot flashes more or less went away. Until this morning it seems.

I have been on a twice a week patch dosage of Estradiol for years now. The only change comes when the brand name of the patches differs because of pharmacy availability. The only other constant I have is how well the patches stick on to my skin. At certain times of the year I have more trouble than others getting them to stick because of temperature and humidity. Through it all, every now and then I do notice more fullness in my breasts and even more so my more sudden development  in my hips. I really have a small feminine hips now.

The reason for this blog post however is wondering why I had a major hot flash this morning. All I know is either I did an extra good job of attaching my patches yesterday or somehow I attached patches which had a slightly higher dosage. As I said, I apply my patches twice a week, so I will have plenty of time to monitor future results. It makes more sense now why some mornings I have a red face when I get up and look at myself in the mirror. Just not as major as this morning. 

I never thought my feminine puberty journey would resume again at my age. My endocrinologist visit is coming up in three months so if the hot flashes continue I might mention them to her. Whatever the case, I really don't want to have my hormone dosages decreased because I enjoy the results so much. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Benefits of Crossing the Transgender Divide

Quite often it seems our journey across the gender divide is perceived  as only being a negative experience. Equally as often, our early coming out experiences add to our overall thoughts about breaking out of our dark gender closets. Every time we are completely rejected by the public, it reinforces the negative ideas we may have had which led to the many purges we went through of all of our feminine possessions. 

Jessie Hart in the Ohio State
Student Union

Still we endured as we walked down a lonely path to gender discovery. So much frustration and even tears led us to risk much if not all of our lives. For the fortunate ones, we were blessed with enough gender euphoria to move forward. For each time we were rejected and belittled for showing off our feminine selves, there was another time we were embraced by someone else in the public's eye. The best part was, gender euphoria felt so natural. So much so if I could sing, I would have since I felt that good. 

Looking back, I think the first time I felt the benefits of spending time on both sides of the binary gender fence was when cis women began to ask me for advice on how to understand their husbands, Even though I did my best to help them, I still had to explain (regardless what they thought) most all men were not all alike. The majority of their problems came from communication. It wasn't so much that men didn't listen, it was more as if the men just didn't comprehend what women were saying. An important part of my learning process came when I realized women did communicate vastly different than men. I learned the hard way to look for non verbal cues when talking with another woman.  Before I was allowed to play in the woman's sandbox I suffered many claw marks and back wounds before I learned how to play. 

All in all, my gender wounds were worth it because once I gained access to the sandbox, I didn't ever want to go back. I see the process now as a real benefit in my life. How many other humans can say they experienced such a deep process as living a life experiencing both sides of the gender divide. A recent experience which could have caused me to be mis-gendered at the VA may have been caused by how I answered a question by one of the nurses. She asked me who my driver was after my colonoscopy . I said my wife when maybe a better term to use would have been partner or spouse. I am a believer in how the smallest details can help me get along in the world. 

Even though I had to give up so much of a male life I never really wanted, the work of learning the feminine gender was a work of pleasure because mainly I felt so natural. The topic for an entire other blog post. 

Now I am happy to say I have made it to a place of gender understanding. However, I think I am far from knowing it all. I don't think I will ever know why I was chosen for this gender journey. Hopefully when I pass on, I will find out the answer. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The First to Know

Do you remember the first person you told you were transgender? Chances are you do because it was such a traumatic experience. I had some sort of experience in the process because back in the day I came out to a group of close friends as a transvestite. The difference being was I was coming out to them as a relatively harmless desire to dress in women's clothes versus the more permanent drive to actually becoming a full fledged transgender woman. The whole process brings to mind the old joke "What's the difference between a cross dresser and a trans woman...approximately three years." Of course you can change the years to fit your own situation. 

Image from Sai de Silva on
UnSplash

The first person I actually came out to as a transgender woman was my daughter. Needless to say I was very nervous. I called her up and scheduled a breakfast with her. After exchanging pleasantries I finally gathered enough courage to blurt out I was transgender. To my amazement, she paused a second and said why was she the last to know. When actually she was the first to know. Of course she mentioned her Mom and I told her Mom knew of my crossdressing desires but never knew I was trans. In all fairness to her Mother, I didn't really know of the depth of my gender dysphoria until later in my life. Also, for some reason, I don't remember any questions concerning my second wife or my daughter's step mom. 

It didn't take long to find out her response was a positive one. In fact, over the years, she has turned out to be a staunch LGBTQ ally and is now dealing with one of her three children coming out as transgender. I guess in many ways I was just a ground breaker in providing her with new gender information. She even went further by offering to take me shopping for women's clothes which I politely turned down because I was doing quite well on my own and was beginning to feel secure in my fashion choices, finally. On the other hand, what I did take her up on was an invitation to have my hair done at her hair salon. The first time I went I was positively scared to death but came out of it knowing I had just gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The estrogen in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. 

Sadly the experience of coming out to my daughter was not going to be the norm. In reality because I had waited so long to come out of my gender closet, most of the people close to me (including family) had passed on. Out of the very few remaining was my only slightly younger brother. Deep down I knew coming out to him would not be easy because of his redneck right wing in laws. Would he chose the easy way out and terminate our relationship. The answer was predicable and swift and came around the Thanksgiving holiday. 

When I came out to him, I told him I would respect his wishes if he didn't want me to come to the family holiday dinner as my authentic feminine self. In no time at all, he said no I would not be welcomed. It happened over a decade now ago and we have not spoken sense. If he couldn't look past his in laws and accept me for what I am, I had other options to fall back on. I know as the transgender community as a whole goes, I was very fortunate to have those options and moved on. 

I am sure all of you have your own often dramatic coming out stories. I hope your experiences tend to go towards my daughters acceptance and not my brothers rejection. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

No Mo Therapy?

Photo from the
Jessie Hart
Collection

Over many many years, my Veterans Administration therapist  has remarkably stayed the same. I am talking about going back to approximately 2009. Over the years she has helped me begin my hormone replacement therapy and provided me the documents needed to secure my feminine gender markers. Including the important paperwork to change all my VA gender markers also.

It is important to note I was initially given a VA therapist because of my bi-polar/anxiety issues which I needed to prove were not part of my gender dysphoria. Out of all the available therapists, I was lucky to be assigned to one (way back then) who had a basic knowledge of LGBTQ issues. I did not have to work very hard, or at all, to explain to her my bi-polar depression had nothing to do with my gender issues. Both were totally different topics for discussion. Early on I was very nervous talking to her. Once I became comfortable, my words flowed as well as my ideas and I was prescribed certain medications to deal with my depression and anxiety. As far as my gender dysphoria went, we all know so far there was/is no magic potion to deal with my gender closet problems.

Fortunately too I didn't have to educate my therapist on the basics of being a transgender person. She already knew some of the basics. On the other hand, she changed my expectations of what therapy should offer. Along the way I didn't see any major miracles but rather a smooth transition into my life and how I could make it better. She always stood by me in offering suggestions of how I could make my VA experience better when new and improved services came along for the transgender community such as free wigs or breast forms. 

Sadly or not for all of the right reasons, all of our sessions had become relatively routine. For years now my moods have been stable due to meds and my own coping mechanisms. Plus my gender dysphoria now is also fairly stable. What triggers it now is usually lifelong issues with the public all the way to my morning meeting with the mirror. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion the process is one I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.

During our last session, we decided to shut down my VA therapy and give up my slot to a person who needed it more fully. I have her to thanks for much of the progress I have seen over the years and if I regress at all, my therapist is still just a phone call away. I am fortunate also in that my wife Liz is also in tune with my moods and can usually pull the problem out of me. It is sadly one of the negatives I have continued to fall back on from my male past is a tendency to hold my problems in and not talk about them. I am trying to do better daily.

Overall, I view my therapy as a rite of passage I needed to undergo. I know I was lucky to be placed with a VA therapist who helped me so completely. It was with her help I made it to a point of "No-Mo" therapy. February the fourth will be our final outtake session and it will be bittersweet at it's best.   

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Transgender Day of Reckoning

Image Courtesy Elisha Ventur
on UnSplash

Finally I couldn't take it any longer. My gender issues  were getting the best of me and doing a better and better job of ruining my life. I had to make a decision to save myself. On one hand I had my old male self to deal with who had done an admirable job of keeping me afloat in an existence I didn't really want to be in. Together, we were able to carve out a life which was fairly successful. Even culminating in the birth of a daughter. Around this time was when I was seriously exploring if I could live a feminine life also. Also was the key term because I found out the hard way I couldn't live my life in a situation where I lived a couple a days as a man and several days spending all of my spare time being a woman. 

Finally it became increasingly evident to me the only real obstacle to me living as my authentic feminine self was my wife of twenty five years who I loved dearly. So much so months before her unexpected sudden death, I made what I thought was the ultimate gender sacrifice by putting away my make up, wigs and clothes grew a beard and again tried my best to live a masculine life. Spoiler alert, It didn't work for tragic reasons. 

First of all, trying my best to live as a man was making me extremely sad. As a result I tried to hide myself in a bottle which in turn led to overeating and weight gain. I ballooned my body up to two hundred seventy five pounds. Of course, before all of that was an ill advised suicide attempt  which fortunately I did not do a good enough job with. My intense sadness was destined to change when as I said my wife suddenly passed away. All of a sudden, the door was thrown wide open for my feminine inner self to have her chance in the world.

I remember the night I decided to listen to her as vividly as if it was yesterday when in fact it goes back to 2007. After taking the time to dress in what I considered to be a nice outfit complete with wig and makeup, I sat by myself in one of my favorite venues sipping on a drink pondering my future. All of a sudden a calmness came over me and I felt as if the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. The answer to my ultimate life question I had put off for so long was now clear to me. There was nothing stopping me from living my dream. To live fulltime as a transgender woman. Clearly I heard this voice tell me what took so long. 

From then on, the transition doors began to swing open fairly easily. I was fortunate in that my Veterans Administration assigned therapist had LGBT knowledge and could look past my bi polar issues and treat my gender ones. She was instrumental in helping me begin my hormone replacement therapy. From then on, there would be no looking back as I had my legal name changed as well as my VA gender markers.

My day of reckoning most likely had a sweeter ring to it because I waited so long to step up and take care of what always came natural to me. I was just too scared to accept the consequences. When I did, I was on the road to finding true happiness with myself.    

Monday, January 9, 2023

Better Late than Never

Photo Courtesy of
Jessie Hart

I go through many stages of emotions when I see a post saying or alluding to how we older transgender folk may somehow be less "trans" because we waited our life to evolve farther before we came out of our gender closets.  Of course there are many reasons we waited that the younger questioning transgender person doesn't realize. 

First and foremost they have no knowledge of the era or time we grew up in. They have no inkling of what life was like in the pre internet era. Closets were deeper and darker when it was more isolated. We weren't able to imagine a life without the world wide web and computers so small they fit on your cell phone. Plus,  I didn't even mention being without all the social media platforms. The many and varied platforms have
dramatically shortened the distances of the world. All of a sudden, it's easy to read about what Paula is up to on her blog  "Paula's Place" from the UK  or Franziska from Germany on her "Out and About" blog. Both are examples of just how much easier life would have been in my world if I had known there were others like me in the world back in the day. 

All of that aside, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much baggage we build naturally as we go through life. Over the years, we acquire families and children. Not to mention a circle of friends, jobs and property. It is a daunting task when you are stopping your life as you know it to consider a gender transition. On the other hand, I know younger transgender women and men have to consider building a life from scratch as their authentic selves with many having no family support at all.

Overall it is a shame we can't all get along better and learn from each other. Especially these days when anti LGBT (especially transgender) laws are becoming so prevalent. In the closet or not, young or old we need to organize our resistance and stick together before laws are proposed again, similar when I was growing up. stopping all men from even crossdressing as women in public at all. Some state politicians are trying to even ban drag shows. Young LGBTQ folk need to understand my urgency in resisting all of this negative change because I saw it in motion when I was younger.

Sure, it took me until my sixties until I fully came out of my gender closet and many times I regret not doing it sooner. It just took me longer to realize what I had as a man wasn't as promising of what I could have as a transgender woman. Finally I increasingly felt so natural as my feminine self, I decided to undergo hormone replacement therapy and live full time as a woman. Better late than never.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Selling Transgender Lemonade

Image from Earnest Porzi on
Unslpash

You have probably have heard of the saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". Many times it seems we transgender women and trans men have had more than our fair share of lemons. A frequent example I use is when during my earliest days of life I woke up in the morning wondering if I was still a boy and why did I have to be. Similar to so many of you , I wasn't given any other choice but to try to carve out an existence in a gender I didn't feel comfortable in. Be-grudgingly I took the gender lemons I was dealt and learned the hard way how to make lemonade. 

The hard way, I learned to exist. I learned to play sports to keep the bullies away and add to my masculine act. I acquired and tried to work on a few muscle cars such as the now classic Pontiac GTO. I did my best also to date a few girls who I had more of a secret interest in being them rather than having any sexual interest, Even with that, I managed to perform well enough as a man to father my daughter later in life. As was to be proven later, she was the ultimate in making a tasty drink from the lemons I was given.

All in all, I can not stress enough how difficult we trans folk lives can be. Crossing the gender frontier can be brutal as we chance losing our lives as we knew them. Family and friends can and do reject us as our new authentic selves and we can even lose our jobs and livelihoods. It is all a very difficult journey which can lead to a very sour drink or lemonade. 

It is also very easy to feel so sorry for ourselves to even give up on life or even de-transition our gender. Lemons can be brutal to deal with, especially for those who weren't so called 'naturals" in the transition process. Testosterone poisoning is very difficult to overcome. Both externally and internally. It is tough to finally align our internal gender to match our external selves which the world sees. In my case it took doses of feminine hormone replacement therapy to finally help me to present more authentically as a woman in the world. As my skin softened, my hair and breasts grew, it became easier to have the confidence to go forth in the world. My number of lemons grew as I entered the never-never land of gender androgyny. My second puberty as I entered my version of womanhood even involved the uneasy introduction of sore breasts, hot flashes and even hips. 

In many ways, we transgender women and trans men even are able to sell the lemonade they have created. Unless you have transitioned very well and were blessed with a small body, at some point in time you most likely will be in the position to be the first trans person another person has ever encountered. It's a difficult position when you are seemingly clearing the way for another person similar to you gender wise who will come after you. You could say if your lemonade was good, the public will have a tendency to have a favorable response to the transgender community as a whole.

The fact remains that fair or not we all have been given our fair share of lemons in life. It's up to all of us to sell a good and refreshing transgender lemonade. 

Saturday, January 7, 2023

A Brave New Transgender World

 One positive which came from yesterday's partial debacle during my Veterans Administration colonoscopy experience was finding out to take nothing for granted in my dealings with the world as a whole. As you may recall, for the first time in a very long time, I was mis-gendered at the VA. What made it especially frustrating is that I have gone through the trouble to change all my gender markers at the VA to female. One of my disclaimers is remarkably most all of my dealings recently as a transgender veteran have resulted in me being treated with respect including being being gendered correctly. 

My point is unfortunately around  every corner is a person in the world we as transgender women or trans men have to educate. Since in many ways we live outside the gender norms in society it is no surprise there are people who make no effort to understand or accept us. Sadly it seems there will always be. Plus with the advent of all the proposed new anti transgender laws, it will take us all to fight back and keep our rights. I would say anti LGBT laws but too many are directed to specific transgender people, I left the rest of the initials out.

On the other hand, once you have shaken your gender bonds, there is nothing better than experiencing your life as your authentic self. For me at least the whole process felt so natural. Even though the process of testosterone poisoning  hit me hard, I was still lucky enough to barely fit into a few feminine parameters such as size. Even though it was not easy to find women's shoes and clothes in my size it was far from impossible. Plus about that time was when stores began to stock larger sizes for women which unknowingly (maybe) included cross dressers and novice transgender women. As they say, timing is everything and the world seemed to be changing ever so slowly and slightly in it's understanding of gender dysphoric individuals. Even coming up with the new term to describe it called transgender. 

Just when we thought we were making advances, along came the transphobic person who would not accept us for who we are. At that point sometimes it was possible to educate the person to understand we trans folk aren't really much different than the rest of society. We had to overcome the years of talk shows and movies which depicted men who dressed as women as somehow being up to no good. Showing the public we were just ordinary people just trying to live their lives in their accepted gender. It's my opinion to this day, men don't trust us since we left the so called "brotherhood" and women were more likely to give us the benefit of the doubt since we were seeking to join their sisterhood. All of that entered my thinking when I was recently mis-gendered. Since I was, when I go back, I will be ready for them to the point of explaining who I am. Hopefully to prepare them for the next trans person which comes along. 

Photo courtesy of Mandy

Before I conclude this post, I would like to welcome "Mandy" of the "Me to Mandy" blog back to Google Blogger. You can find her also on my Blogroll. 

In the meantime, no matter where you are in your progression to a brave new transgender world be patient. Together we can make it. 

Finding your Happy Place

From the Jessie Hart Archives   As a transgender woman or trans man, it is often very difficult to find your happy place. A happy place can ...