Tuesday, February 28, 2023

No Gender Fear

 

"Rest Room Selfie" from the
Jessie Hart Collection

On the rare occasion I hear from someone who thinks I was brave for pursuing my gender dreams. First of all I consider the "brave" word should be reserved for those who really deserve it such as those in the military, first responders etc. I was just doing what I needed to do to survive my reoccurring gender crisis stemming from my extreme gender dysphoria.

Looking back, I can vividly remember all of the times I was positively frozen in fear when I was trying for the first time to express my femininity. The times when I felt all eyes were on me when I first entered a new  venue and the walk from the door to where I was going to sit seemed to be at least five miles away. I also felt as if my feet were stuck in sand as I tried to remember to mimic every feminine move. Of course the harder I tried, the more I would mess up. It wasn't until I became more relaxed that I began to do better and enjoy the experience.  

Then, there were the dreaded rest room visits. Since I was known to consume lots of beer, a rest room visit was more than a luxury, it was a necessity. I found out early in the presentation game to beware of women who would quickly follow me into the rest room. When they did, I needed to be especially careful to follow the basic etiquette of using the woman's room. There were so many (and continue to be), all the points would fill another blog post. Again, it took me awhile to settle down and relax before I could even think about being accepted. 

As I climbed the invisible ladder to being a more presentable transgender woman, it seemed the times I experience extreme panic would come and go. Many times I felt how my overall presentation was working dictated the results I was going to experience. Examples included the nights I hurriedly was  sent packing in a lesbian bar I was frequenting. From the well documented time I was forced to sing karaoke with a big butch lesbian in a cowboy hat all the way to another woman who said she ought to pick me up and take me home, my fear set in and I rapidly left the bar. After all, what would my wife say?

As you can tell, fear struck me in many ways. Since I was basically a shy person to begin with, I was extremely intimidated by the idea of talking to another person (woman or man) as a feminine person. On one hand I was flattered they wanted to talk to me but on the other hand what would I say. In those days I still basically was dealing with the usual male life topics such as work and sports. I was truly scared when I came to the communication aspect of transitioning. I never planned ahead because I never considered I would make it this far. When I did indeed scale the gender ladder to a point I could reach the transgender woman level, of course I was scared. Among other things, I was scared of losing my family, friends and living. I was never scared of anything more in my life. 

The farther I went in my gender transition, I was able to put my fear in my past. Mainly because for the first time in my life I knew deep down I was doing the right thing. It wasn't bravery, it was survival. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Sweet Spot

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Collection


 Relax, this is not another post about food. Following my post called "Cake" I almost went searching through out  the kitchen looking for baking supplies to augment my non existent baking skills. This post on the other hand, concerns the gender sweet spot we encounter when we finally are able to align our inner feminine gender selves with the exterior we show to the public.

As we all know, attacking the problem of presenting a respectful exterior self to the public as a brand new gender is very difficult. We face all sorts of issues from the lack of peer pressure to having (or acquiring) a knowledge of clothing and makeup In other words, we had no mothers, sisters or girlfriends to provide feedback on our journey to public womanhood. Through it all the pressures of maintaining some sort of a male existence  while at the same time trying our best to express true womanhood seemed to be an impossible task.

For those of us left literally alone on the gender frontier, often the mirror became our only friend. The problem was the mirror only showed us what we wanted to see. Not what the public was seeing in reality. The process led me to suffer tough love when I tried too many fashion statements. To put it mildly, they were ill fated and led to public rejections. The extra pressure of trying to disguise my testosterone poisoned male body was intense. Following more failures than successes , I finally found what I was searching for... a chance to live my life as my authentic self. The basic lesson I learned was when I began to dress for other women and stopped dressing for my outdated ideas of what men thought women should look like.

What my new path set in motion was a chance to live a life I had only previously just dreamed of. Even though I had set my new life in motion, it turned out I still had a ways to go before I found my sweet spot where my internal and external feminine genders aligned.  I knew I was coming close to alignment when gender euphoria set in for any number of reasons.  Primarily, one of the main changes I went through was when I was forced into communicating with the public as a transgender woman. To more than a few women I knew I was a curiosity but it was all good because we were learning from each other. They had a chance to learn why a man would want to join their "club". On the other hand, I had the opportunity to learn from the women how it was to communicate one on one with another woman. 

The more I was able to explore finding my sweet spot, the more I knew I could never go back to my old male self. Even though I knew it was a certainty I could not go back, I still stubbornly held on to my past. For what ever the reason, it finally felt as if  I was jumping off some sort of a gender cliff. I was on a very slippery slope until I hit the very edge and I let go. I was fortunate in that I had friends to catch me when I landed. All were women and I can never thank them enough. The whole process was similar to going to some sort of a finishing school.

Locating my gender sweet spot was a lifelong journey and was often very difficult. Deep down I knew the process was something I just had to do and it all became worth it. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Cake

Image from Katie Rosario 
on Unsplash

I'm sure you have heard the term "Having your cake and eating it too." In itself the term brings a complex meaning to the average transgender woman. If there is such a thing as an average. I equate having my cake when I reached a point in my feminine presentation when I found the confidence I could blend in with the public at large. Little did I know I would have such a long way to go to be able to finally taste the cake I so desperately wanted.

Baking the cake took longer than I anticipated mainly because life got in the way. Before I knew it, I was trying to mix in a liberal dose of cross dressing with attempting to raise a daughter and make a living. Also, several wives were mixed in, all of which knew of my cross dressing urges before the relationships even started. The problem was my cake recipe at the time did not include anything which remotely included dealing with transgender issues.. As I would discover over the years my cake recipes kept being ruined when I faced my gender truth. All my poor recipes were being destined for failure because I did not diagnose my own gender dysphoria as more than just wanting to appear as an attractive woman. I can compare the process as being given a great looking piece of cake only to find out it was dried out and nasty. 

At that point, following more than a few bitter battles with my second wife over what a woman really was, I began to adjust my gender recipe after deep research into what she really meant. It took awhile but I finally began to learn what she meant and I set out to eat my cake. The wait was worth it and my new improved recipe enabled me to live a life I had only ever dreamed of. I could live as a full time transgender woman and as my wife told me being a woman went far beyond just looking like one. Appearance just turned out to be just part of the recipe which included portions of ecstasy mixed in with a large portion of agony. There was nothing better than when my look seemed to come together and my presentation confidence reached an all time high and nothing worse when I ended up looking like a clown.

When I finally was able to bake my feminine gender cake with confidence, I was able to attempt larger more complex cakes and eat them too. I was faced with the massive challenge of communication for example. If I had taken my overall presentation to where people were prepared to talk to a woman, it was time to not disappoint them. I learned the hard way communication meant much more than how I sounded, I had to build into my recipe how what I was saying was important too.

I had plenty of time to perfect my transgender recipe, nearly fifty to be exact. I ended up eating lots of cake, along with wearing plenty of cake also. On occasion, I thought I would never be able to get it all together. Plus when I added feminine hormones to my recipe my future was decided for good. Of course I could always go back without my hormones but I never wanted to. 

As a self professed "gender baker" the time and effort I put into my cake was so worth it. The fun part is we all have the opportunity to bake our own unique and distinct cakes. 


   

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The High Mainetenence Gender

Image from Amin RK on
Unsplash

I don't think I would receive much argument from women or men that women are certainly the high maintenance gender of the two. An example would be what a woman (trans or not) has to go through to appear well dressed in public. Instead of just putting on a nice shirt and pants as her man does, the woman in question has to make sure her legs are shaved all the way up her body to how her hair looks. Plus, I didn't even mention applying tasteful makeup and adding extras such as jewelry as well as other matching accessories. 

In addition to the physical aspect of being feminine, there is the actual bodily changes a woman goes through in her life. The major changes of puberty all the way to menopause isn't very long when you think about it and I am not even mentioning the impact child bearing has on a woman's body. Estrogen doesn't get the press testosterone does as being a powerful hormone but I can tell you from my viewpoint coming from being on both, estrogen does pack a wallop. Just consider the hormone surges a woman goes through at puberty and pregnancy and the reversal when menopause sets it and I wonder why I ever wanted to cross the gender frontier and live full time on hormones as a transgender woman.

As I look back, much of my love for cosmetics and the obsession with the way I presented as a woman was fun to me. Or at the least it was all very satisfying, when it worked. It's easy to forget all of the times it didn't work and I came home crying. Still I wanted desperately to become the high maintenance gender. I wanted to be the well put together woman if I was attempting to blend in as a business professional woman or a boho hippie. I was having fun doing what felt natural to me.

At the same time, I was leaving all the boring male trappings of society behind me. I was bored with all the same old drab colors and fashion which never changed. Being the high maintenance gender was heaven to me. Even as I become older and my introduction to estrogen has been part of me for awhile now I have even changed the way I think about pregnancy. Whereas before I always considered it "woman's work" to carry a child, now I consider it a blessing to be able to bring another new life into the world. 

I guess my life wasn't complex enough as a man, I wanted more. As a member of the high maintenance gender. This morning is an example. Just to go to the pharmacy, I had to make sure I was wearing a light foundation, eye makeup and lipstick. Along with my long hair pulled back. I wonder if my Mom would approve as she was the standard bearer for me as an example of the high maintenance gender. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Life is Too Short

As I went through many years of being a cross dresser, I knew time was running short ( I was sixty) if I was ever going to make the big jump to living as a full time transgender woman. As life went on, two major ideas set in.. Perhaps the hardest one was facing my own mortality and knowing I had lived longer than I was going to live in the future. The writing on the wall was telling me I was entering my senior years and time was growing short for any major lifetime changes such as a gender change. Of course changing my gender involved the possibility of losing friends and family as well as my financial livelihood. 

Photo from the Jessie 
Hart Collection 
The second major factor in changing my gender closet was how natural I felt when I was out of my old dark and lonely closet. Somehow the gender euphoria which flooded over me when I was out and about presenting as a woman was a feeling I had a difficult time expressing. Because there was no one to tell how I was feeling. At the time, my second wife was completely against any idea of me pursuing a transgender lifestyle. Being a pretend male at the time, I did what I was trained to do...hold your emotions in and get over any problem you may encounter. Or, man up and get over it. 

For the sake of saving my relationship with my wife, I did my best to go against my own natural feminine instincts time after time. Finally, the stress I was living under became to much and I tried yet another very aggressive act of self harm. I have written about it several times here in the blog because it is so important to me to spread the word that suicide is never the answer to your problems. Mainly because life is too short as it is and secondly what is true today may not be true tomorrow.

In my case, I learned the hard way to accept my own mortality when close friends and my wife all passed on within a relatively short period of time. All of a sudden, the old "now or never" narrative set in on me with a vengeance. So, after exploring being a woman in all the various ways I knew how, I decided to jump off the cliff and transition. I started with hormone replacement therapy and never looked back. Again the more I explored the world, the more natural I became and felt. It got to the point when I was massively depressed when I had to face the world as a male. Mainly because the hormones stripped away almost all of my male privilege's by making my appearance highly androgynous. Plus, at that point, I hadn't made it to the point where I could sample any of the female privilege's. 

Finally, I got it through my thick, stubborn noggin that my life acting like a man was over. More so because the whole male gender process should have never been undertaken to begin with. The weight was finally taken off my shoulders when I decided once and for all to live a full time feminine existence as a transgender woman. Even then I knew the process wouldn't be easy. The time I spent exploring and learning to find my way around told me to be prepared for more hidden curves and walls on my gender journey. 

On the other hand, I had prepared myself the best I could with assets such as appearance and communication so I could begin the journey. I figured life was too short not to do it. There was no attempting to succeed, I was going to make it.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Dreaming Beauty Queen

I have written numerous times I am capable of having dreams in either gender on any given night. The truly unique nights are when I have both. I can start out as a guy and finish as a woman in a whole different dream.  It has been awhile though since I have outdid myself in the dream world. I have so many dreams, I don't remember all of them, unless they are very vivid.

Marilyn Monroe in the
Seven Year Itch 

Last night I had one of my most recent feminine dreams when I was in a beauty contest with an equally as attractive transgender friend. To make it more exciting and memorable, we were both wearing dresses and heels reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe's famous white dress in the 1955 Billy Wilder film "The Seven Year Itch." If you don't remember the dress (with Marilyn in it) I have added a picture. As you can see, if you are going to have to come up with a dream dress, this would be a good one to begin with.  This picture was taken with Marilyn supposedly caught unaware standing over a sidewalk subway grate in New York City. 

In my dream, all was going very well and I was even walking easily in heels. Something I have not been able to accomplish now for years because of a bad back. Also I remember how pretty my matching nails were on my hands and feet. My friend and I were certainly the belles of the ball.

For some reason we never made it to the pageant and ended up being confronted by several evil looking men. Plus, to make matters worse, my wig was starting to come off at exactly the wrong time. As I was frantically trying to find a place to fix the wig before the men noticed me, I woke up. I was so shaken by the dream, I was shivering for a couple minutes afterwards. Finally I calmed down and went back to sleep prepared for my next dream adventure.

Presently I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to stay away from many of the nightmares I used to have. I know the medications I am on to control my bi-polar mood swings can cause vivid dreams. In addition I wonder when the tipping point will come when I have more feminine orientated dreams than the old male ones. I guess I  need to keep in mind I did live most of my life in a dominant male world which continues to dominate my subconscious.

In the meantime, I have never been anything close to a beauty queen, so I guess deep down I wanted to always experience a little of how it would feel. Dreaming about it will be a close as I will come as a transgender woman. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Transgender Euphoria

 

Photo Courtesy 
Jessie Hart

Yesterday was my quarterly appointment to see the dentist. Dental is the only medical related service I don't receive from the Veteran's Administration.

 Surprisingly (or not) I have never been mis-gendered when I have been there. Equally as surprising to me was the informational questionnaire I needed to fill out before my initial appointment. The questionnaire included a fairly deep dive into what my gender was and how I wanted my preferences as far as pronouns etc. to be. Amazingly, someone must have read my answers because from day one I was referred to as "she". Yesterday was no different. I was just there for a cleaning and my insurance unexpectedly covered nearly the entire cost so I was happy. I didn't have to fight for my gender and pay for the privilege. 

From there I needed to stop at a fast food drive thru and pick up lunch for my wife Liz and I. For as long as I can remember, drive thru's have always been a challenge for me due to concerns over my voice. I can't tell you how many times I have been called "sir" at the speaker and then be subjected to funny looks when I pulled forward to pick up my order. Yesterday was what I considered a neutral win because the woman was so busy with everything she was doing, she didn't have time to consider or even care about my gender. In no time at all, with no side glances or comments to other employees I was on my way with our food. 

My final stop of the day was a trip to the pharmacy to pick up medicine. Normally it is another neutral gender experience with no pronouns attached. But yesterday for some reason was different and the young man at the window unexpectedly called me "Ma'am". All of a sudden, in an instant, the sky was bluer and even the bitter taste in my mouth from what the hygienist used to polish my teeth went away. Gender euphoria was wonderful. 

The rare ability to be able to experience gender euphoria makes the process so wonderful when it occurs, even in so small doses. I wrote about it briefly in my "Customizable Gender" post recently. Among other points I attempted to go into, the process when we change genders stand out as important when we start all over to build a complex transgender woman person. Fellow  blogger "Paula Godwin" picked up on the idea and commented:

"I often reflect that one of the (few) advantages of being a transgender woman of "a certain age" is that I had opportunities that very few women my age had ~ in sport, music, education, and employment all of which definitely favored men." 

As always, thank you Paula for the comment. Indeed, when you have the chance to experience the privileges of living as both of the primary genders, you have the opportunity to be a better person.  Transgender euphoria only makes the experience more worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A Brave New Gender Path

 


In essence, every turn we take down the path can involve us making our way into a brave new gender world. Little did I know how long the path would be or how many twists and turns it would take. Often I think I should have known more about the gender change process before I started. On the other hand, I was deeply protected from the world in my very dark and isolated gender closet. Even though I was dealt many setbacks as I tried to appear feminine, I was able to experience just enough gender euphoria to help me continue on my journey .

Very early in my life I found I could run my own newspaper route and save my allowance from doing odd jobs around the house to save money to buy my own feminine items such as makeup, hose and even shoes. Then I discovered saving the money was the easy part. Just exactly how was I going to be able to get to a store to spend it because I was still of pre-driving age and only had my bicycle to try to make it into town. I found where there is a will, there is a way when you are dealing with the powerful urge to cross dress and look like a girl. Since my Grandma lived in our nearby city very close to downtown, I could make an excuse to want to go in a see her for a day when I had the chance. From her house I could easily walk downtown to several stores who specialized partially in selling makeup and other women's items. 

Once I summoned the courage to try to shop for the first time on my own, I needed to be extremely careful because my Dad also worked downtown and it would be hell if I was ever discovered.  Little did I know, being discovered by Dad would not be the only hell I would face. Once I found the cosmetic section, I was ill equipped to be prepared for all the different products and brands I was suddenly faced with buying. I remember to this day the panic I felt when for the first time in my life I picked out a few select makeup items and even a pair of my own panty hose. I was flying blind for the most part on what shades of lipstick or foundation to buy but the panty hose decision was much easier since I could buy the largest size the store carried. 

In what seemed like an eternity, I made my selections and gathered my courage to take them to the checkout line. My nervousness I felt would give me away and a suspicious clerk would ask me what I was doing with all the items I had hurriedly selected. All my nerves proved to be wrong and I think the bored clerk never even looked up to see who she was checking out. I paid my hard earned money, looked around again for my Dad and headed back to my Grandma's where I easily hid my purchases. Like it or not, my brave new gender world was beginning to change. During the course of the next few decades I began to learn how deep my gender dysphoria would go into my soul and how far I would go to try to satisfy a  journey often filled with terror and euphoria as I followed the best I could all the gender mileposts. Mileposts which led me finally to a brave new gender world. I am sure I will write more on the subject in later posts. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Customizable Gender

Photo from the
Jessie Hart Archives


One of the positive aspects of being a transgender woman I feel is we have the chance to customize our gender. 

Often it is a lifelong process as we learn to live as our authentic selves.  We start by admiring the girls around us who we  were sent to school with or even grew up with when we had sisters. Somehow I knew I had to learn first hand to finally live as a woman. In fact, when I was young, and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the only true answer I could never give was I wanted to be a girl. To say something like that would have resulted in severe repercussions, so I kept my mouth shut and opinions about my gender to myself. 

It took me many years of suffering and wondering what my true problem was to finally embrace my true gender and learn a happiness I never thought I could ever find. In my family, happiness was a fleeting emotion we never saw. Whatever good happened, you could always do better. And, if you had any sort of a problem, you could just get over it. Vintage thought from my parents who came from the WWII-great depression era. I always point out my parents were great providers but poor emotional providers. Certainly not the best atmosphere for a transgender child. Relying solely on myself somehow I made it through my emotional wasteland and managed to grow up on my own terms while hiding my severe gender dysphoria. 

What I learned from that time of my life was I could be forced into a male existence I never wanted and basically survive doing things I didn't really enjoy. I tried sports but never really excelled and tried my hand at auto mechanics which I hated. Not ever knowing completely why I was so miserable, I persisted. Looking back, the only positives I learned were what I never wanted to do as a male in my life. I kept thinking if I could ever make it to my goal of living as a woman, I could have the chance to remake myself into the person I could only dream of.

As I finally had the chance to experience a feminine life in the mirror, I was able to experiment with different clothing options and makeup choices. Quickly I learned the new life I was living in secret was just the beginning. I was faced with learning the multi faceted life cis women lived. I became the customizable gender as I learned to live a life in a brand new world. Ironically, the more I explored, the more natural I became as my long closeted feminine inner self took over my life. I could tell, she felt life should have always been this way.

Finally, I began to think of my life being a blessing in so many ways. How many other guys get the opportunity to break out of their boring existence and live the remarkable life of a transgender woman. Very few humans are afforded the chance to see both sides of the gender binary. We are truly the customizable gender. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Transgender Runners

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archive


Rarely in my life have I ever considered myself a runner in any shape or form. In fact, the only times in my life I have done any sort of serious running were when I was in the Army or playing football. These days I think of myself as another sort of runner.

When I look back at all of my frenetic job moves to various parts of the country, I wondered why I pursued such a different path than say my Dad or younger brother who in the case of my Dad lived in the same town his entire life and worked the same job most of it. My brother followed the same path since in his formative years he was able to escape any military training.  I can't blame my vastly different path exclusively on being transgender but it certainly helped.

I started my path to separating from home when I went away to college and ironically the dramatic cutting from home ties caused me not to think anything about my gender issues for six months or so. In the long term scope of things, not a dramatic long term pause but significant in that it was one of the few times in my life I quit worrying about my gender. Moving forward, the process of moving out and meeting new people helped my well being when I had to find my way in the military. Which, by the way, did absolutely nothing to suppress my gender dysphoria. In fact, if anything, the process of military training made everything worse because I resented having to be there at all.

After I was honorably discharged from the Army, my gender issues increased as I had the freedom to explore more deeply how far my femininity went. At the same time my running increased also. I tried moving from my native Ohio to the urban jungle of NYC, then back to the heavily rural area of Southern Ohio. All of the sudden I was doing the grocery shopping (unknown to my wife) dressed completely as a fashionable woman of the 1980's. With big hair and short skirts. One day I did so well, I drove a grocery bagger boy to stutter and asked me if I needed help to my car all the way to when I encountered by accident my wife's boss in a parking lot outside of a big box store. A venture I came to regret when he mentioned seeing a "big redhead" that day when he went to the store. She of course mentioned it to me and asked if I was out sneaking around.  It took awhile for all of that crisis to blow over. Finally it did and I sought out another job and indirectly more transgender adventures somewhere else. This time I settled on fairly nearby Columbus, Ohio. In the recent past I had several fond memories of cross dresser and/or transgender mixers I attended and wondered if I could have more. Plus, Columbus was close enough to my wife and I's hometown so I could move my wife back home. 

During this portion of my life you could say I was trying to outrun my gender issues. By going to NYC and even Columbus, I was attempting to help myself by moving to more liberal situations with more to do. 

Finally, I learned to live with myself and I quit running. Even though my life of running led me to many interesting situations, mostly positive, I grew tired of the process and my transgender running ended.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

It's Urgent to Read This

 If you haven't seen Stana's "Fenulate" post concerning the state of affairs due to the continuing attacks on the LGBT and Transgender communities, you need to read her post "Who's Next".

If you are an in the closet cross dresser all the way to a fully transitioned transgender woman, you should be very afraid of what the future could bring.

Follow the link above to read more.

Transgender Habitation

Image from Kyle on
Unsplash

 Every so often I receive a comment to a post so profound I just have to share it. This is one of those comments from "Mdanastrauss" concerning the "Transgender Trial by Fire" post which should be repeated:

"The goal of attaining womanhood is not solely or even for the most part about clothing or mannerisms. It is about how you feel about your inner self and how we are mirrored by others as women. This can take years to fully inhabit your womanhood and can be just as daunting."

To take you back, the post partially dealt with the process of coming out in the world as a transgender woman. Or a person needs to walk a mile (or so) in those high heeled shoes before deciding they want to make such a bold move. As the quote said, transitioning to your authentic self  is so much more than walking in heels or finding that perfect dress. 

I can not repeat enough how females are not born women. The same as trans women they are socialized into it, as are men also. In my case, everytime I thought I was successful in my goal of being a quality presentable trans woman who could take care of herself, another wall became a priority to climb. One of the walls I had to climb was learning how to judge a room as a trans woman. Yesterday for example when I went with my wife Liz to her doctor's appointment, I was invited to go back with her to an in-take room staffed by women only. When I first got there I felt I needed to look each one of them in the eye and see if there was any negative reaction to me.  Once I was satisfied there wasn't, I could concentrate on what they were telling Liz. 

Then there was Thanksgiving last year when my first wife got me aside and told me I was really progressing in my transition. I totally appreciated her compliment since she knew me from my earliest cross dressing days as a self professed transvestite. Then there were the wonderful days when the hormone replacement therapy began to show results. Surely I thought, growing my own hair, breasts along with the softening of my skin would further all my feminine goals. Of course the answer to that was no it didn't help achieve my goals of living full time as a transgender woman. Hormones didn't help at all with learning to communicate with either gender as a woman. Nobody really warned me, nor did I give it much thought what would happen to me when I lost all my male privilege's. The only one privilege I had any idea about losing was the one pertaining to my personal safety. In my cross dressing days I encountered several occurrences when my well being was in question and I was lucky to escape unscathed.

I also have known several other transgender women and men over a period of time to the point when I could see firsthand how they developed the confidence following making the plunge to live as their authentic selves. Referring back to the comment, it took years to fully habitate their transgender selves. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Transgender Trial by Fire

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives


 In the past I have had several people ask me about any tips or hints I  may have about how I managed my gender transition. After hours of thought and many replies I have posted here, I came up with a new answer... find the biggest fire you have and  jump in. I know it sounds a bit radical but here is what I mean.

First and foremost I recommend trying out living the lifestyle you want to transition to. I read with suspicion anyone who says essentially they want to "become a woman" by simply putting on a dress. I automatically feel the person has no idea of what they are getting themselves into. A major learning point is gender is more than sex and certainly more than just clothes. At some point in time, you have to hitch up those big girl panties you admire so much and try to live in the public's eye.  Or get out of the mirror and into the world.

Sure it is scary or even terrifying but it is a necessary evil you need to face if you are to ever discover if the internal need you are feeling can be taken care of  simply crossdressing  on occasion, or is the urge much deeper. In my case, I always go back to the evening I decided I was going out to a crowded public venue to have a drink as a woman and not just look like one. There was a huge difference to me and in fact I look back at the evening as the beginning point to me realizing I was more transgender than a cross dresser. Furthermore it is important to mention how scary the evening was for me. I was so scared I sat in the venue's parking lot for at least twenty minutes or so nervously checking my makeup and hair before I summoned the courage to go inside. 

Amazingly once I found a seat at the bar which fortunately was  heavily populated by other women, I was able to start to breathe again and enjoy my accomplishment. Once the rush of the moment seemed to fade away the realization set in my life could never be the same again. Why? Because my first main trip into the world as a woman was a successful one and it felt so natural. Finally I was getting positive face to face feed back for all the time I had spent dreaming in front of a mirror. 

Even though my first transgender trial by fire was successful, little did I know how many other fires were to come. My first dinner date with a trans guy comes to mind. Here I was trying to be as attractive as  I could be and still trying to maintain myself in a whole new world where all my male privilege was gone. He told me years later how scared I was, so I didn't hide it well.

Changing genders is a very layered experience and going through it is not for the faint of heart. The farther you pursue the journey the more you learn you have so much farther to go. Once you have gone through your own transgender trial by fire, you will understand on your own terms how much more gender is than sex or appearance.   

Thursday, February 16, 2023

They Took my Cross Dressing Stash

Image Courtesy Anete Lusina 
on Unsplash

When I enlisted in the military rather than face being drafted during the Vietnam War era I ended up having an extra five months or so before I needed to report for basic training. This was back in the early 1970's. At that time also, I was working on a radio station near where I graduated college from in Urbana, Ohio. And, I ended up finding a job where a friend of mine was working in Bowling Green, Ohio. If you are not familiar, Bowling Green is the home of a fairly sizeable university, so there was a market for progressive rock radio as it was known back in those days. In order to take the job, I had to only move approximately one hundred miles north to Bowling Green. In the meantime, I found an apartment to live in with two other college students. I was up front with everyone about my having to leave in a couple months because of my date with Uncle Sam. 

The only problem I had was what was I going to go about my small but growing wardrobe /makeup of women's clothing.  Since I had my own room in the apartment so the issue became smuggling my "stash" out of my parents house and into it's new home in Bowling Green. I always say "Where there is a will, there is a way" and I was somehow able to accomplish doing the move without anyone noticing. Once I moved into my new apartment I was fairly careful to make sure I didn't leave out any of my cross dressing accessories for anyone to see. My plan worked well and when the college holiday break approached I planned to be able to pursue my past time in peace. All my other apartment dwellers were college students and they planned to be gone for nearly a month or so around the holiday season. 

One night, unannounced another guy who didn't go home for the holiday's showed up at the apartment. A night I had planned for myself to shave my legs, slide on my panty hose, dress, makeup and wig and enjoy the evening. As the evening progressed with this guy and after a few beers, I started to wonder if he would be totally degusted if I dressed in front of him. I finally decided to try it, secretly hoping he would find me so attractive he would want to take me out to one of the college bars downtown. After making sure he knew where the beer was, I slipped away to get ready. After I got my courage up and finished shaving my legs I went searching for my "stash" and discovered to my horror, most of it was gone. So much for any planned seductions I had planned. 

I never did find out which of my apartment "friends" or their girlfriends stole my cross dressing stash. The closest idea I could come up with was someone got into my room when I was home a couple days for Christmas. When everyone returned from their breaks I didn't have enough courage to confront the group about what happened. I should have because my mind set at that point in time was what was the worst that could happen? In a month I would be gone to the Army anyway. It was just another one of those "what if" moments in my life, 

What if I had the courage to cross dress as a woman in front of a stranger for the first time in my life and what if he liked it. I will never know because they took my cross dressing stash.    

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Undying Admiration

Photo from Davide Ragusa 
on UnSplash

 Or should I say the opposite, dying admiration. On the rare occasion I visit a cemetery., especially in the military section I wonder how many of buried service members took their deep dark gender secret of being transgender to the grave with them. Men in particular have a higher portion of transgender service because they saw the military as a way to denying the fact they wanted deep down to be a woman. Sadly many took that to the grave with them. 

On a lesser scale, there are those trans women in the closet who decided to stay there later in life. I can understand the inner turmoil which existed by staying in the closet for the sake of family, job, or even friends. I did it for six months for my second wife just before she passed away. I was so polished in my feminine presentation, you might say in many words I "de-transitioned" to do it. I became so bad off, I resorted to growing back my hated beard, gaining weight and drinking way too much. Terrible is the word which comes to mind when I think back on this period of my life. 

To be able to stay in the closet later in life can most likely be looked at in a couple ways. One of which is the thought pattern I have made it this far in life in the closet, why risk my life as I know it for such a radical change. All you have spent your entire life trying to build could be in jeopardy. Using a current term, you could put your entire life into the "hot mess" category. Spouses, extended family and property are just a few of the things which can be thrown suddenly into the junk pile. The other way is the complete opposite.

If you are not going to try to get out of your closet later in life, mortality is closing in and you may never have another chance. Sometimes relationships with spouses have become routine all the way to toxic, so a change could do you good. My own parents became increasingly toxic to each other somewhere following their fiftieth wedding anniversary and I often wondered who or why they were staying together for. 

These days it would not surprise me to hear of more senior citizen de-transitioners. Perhaps it is because many of given up so much, it makes no sense to go back. On the other hand, in my case I would never give my brother and his family the satisfaction of thinking they were right concerning my right to live as my authentic self. Plus, the fact I enjoy now who I am for the first time in my life can be factored in. I guess I can say those transgender individuals who never came out of their closets until death were better men than I never was.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Transgender Valentines Day

 

From the Jessie Hart Archives
my Valentine Wife Liz on left,


This Valentines Day I have decided to write about  loves I experienced during my life. I have been fortunate in that I have always had a cis woman who more or less put up with me. In chronological order, here they are.

The only woman who did not know I was at the least a cross dresser when we met and dated was my first fiancé. She ultimately became the only woman to ever attempted to completely dress me up as a woman from head to toe. As exciting as it was for me initially, the newness wore off and problems set in. I can't say my cross dressing led to our ultimate separation before I enlisted in the Army. During my interaction with the military draft board, she told me to tell them I was gay to get out of serving to stay home. If I didn't, she told me she would be done with me. When I refused, she followed through on her threat and I was done with her which was probably the best thing that had happened to me to that point in my life.  I was now on my own when I went off to Army basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

Ironically, my second big romance came courtesy of the Army in Germany. Once I was there for awhile during my two year tour, I met a WAC. Known back then as the Woman's Army Corps. We started to date to the point we decided to keep seeing each other after we were discharged from the military. She knew I was a cross dresser from the beginning of our relationship so I didn't have to worry about telling her my innermost secret. To make a long story short, we ended up getting along well enough to get married and she gave birth to my daughter. Who turned out to be my only child.  The relationship lasted nearly five years until I was literally knocked over when I met my wife to be of twenty five years. It was love at first sight and somehow, someway I knew I just had to establish a relationship with her.

After a lengthy courtship behind my first wife's back, I managed to win her over. Even when I told her I was a cross dresser also. I can't say the twenty five years were not at times rocky but for the most part they were interesting. Even though she fought completely any thoughts I was transgender, I still loved her dearly until her completely surprise death at the age of fifty from a massive heart attack. I was destroyed for years.

I was still very much dealing with a possible transgender transition when I met Liz and several others who helped me more than they ever knew. It has been over eleven years ago since Liz and I met and we were married last October at the urging of my daughter. Just one of the major things I remember about our relationship over the years was when Liz told me she had never seen anything but female in me.

Over the years of my life I have been fortunate to have been loved and to love several Valentine's which passed through. Perhaps being transgender made the process a little different of course I can't speak for others. But since I came from a family who wasn't known to show emotions and even speak of love, being transgender or not has made the love experience special to me.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you also and thanks for reading along.  

  

Monday, February 13, 2023

It's in the DNA

The last time I was asked when I knew I was transgender was by my daughter who correctly said "You always knew right?" She was asking primarily because of her own trans child and how to understand them. (They/them are their preferred pronouns.)  I told her I knew to an extent I have always known something was wrong with how I perceived gender. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives 

In my own personal gender research, I have read of the hormonal effects of the "DES" medication which was given to pregnant women in the time of my birth. If you are not aware, the medication "flooded" the wombs of women known to have problem births. By definition, "DES" is a synthetic form of the female estrogen hormone. The end result was it enabled the women to go full term and deliver healthy babies. My parents were on the verge of giving up and adopting a baby after a series of three still births until "DES" and I came along. As I researched the medication, the more I felt it could have a connection to my gender dysphoria. It could be why, all along I felt so natural anytime I attempted to research my inner feminine side. Perhaps the feeling had been always with me, including the time before I could even express it. 

The entire hormonal aspect of my life came full circle when I started on my own version of "DES" when I started more synthetic estrogen to my system through hormone replacement therapy. It seemed my body took to the hormonal process similar to how a duck takes to water. Changes to my body came fast and furious. An example was when I needed quickly to find looser shirts to wear because my breasts began to grow faster than even I imagined. I can not stress enough how natural the new gender process felt. I feel most people want to zero in on all the physical changes of HRT when in reality, the internal changes were just as big. Just as quickly, my new hormones calmed me down and enabled me to see the world in a whole different light.  In a word, my existence was "softer." 

The more I held my new world in wonderment, the more I wondered why the process happened at all and why it took so long to happen.  The more I questioned the more I came to realize I didn't have a gender choice at all. I was never meant to try to live a male life. Cross dressing as a man, as well as the rest of the lifestyle, probably took years off my life. 

Finally, as I was able to trace my existence at birth (or before in the womb) was because of my exposure to a synthetic estrogen, it all started to make sense. I never had a chance. No matter how hard I tried to please my family and friends, I was always a girl. It was in my DNA.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Exotic yet Obtainable Transgender Women

 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart
Archives


One of the prime reasons (initially) when I wanted to check out the feminine world, was I wanted the chance to dress in all the varied colorful wardrobes of other women. Little did I know the journey my desires would take me on. 

Similar to so many of you, I began by raiding my Mother's clothes and makeup. Right away I knew deep down I was doing the right thing for supposedly all the wrong reasons. I always use the "natural" word to describe my feminine needs. As my needs progressed with my age, I found I could attempt to cross several boundaries. Unfortunately one of the boundaries I needed to cross escaped me for years. I write about it often...the need to attempt to dress extremely tacky or trashy to feel more feminine. All it turned out to do was create too much unwanted attention. Once I survived this portion of my life, I could move on to another fun yet challenging phase of my life as a cross dresser. 

Becoming too serious about how I looked in public at times took the fun out of the process. Worry, worry, worry was all I did. Rather than being able to feel how an outfit looked on me, I was seriously zeroed in on if I was accepted as a woman. An example is the early evening when I went to a downtown street fair in nearby Dayton, Ohio. Before it became too dark, I took advantage of being able to wear my sunglasses to see if I was getting any unwanted attention. Once I found out I wasn't, I was able to relax and enjoy the overall experience. Just to feel the air on my bare arms was wonderful.

The more I learned of course the more I wanted to learn concerning my new found freedom as a transgender woman. Specifically when I did manage to set up a few dates with men who seemed to be interesting to me. I stressed on what to wear as I wanted to be more than the normal exotic transgender woman all the way to being subtlety obtainable. In other words, I knew I was already exotic to the men because they knew I was trans, I did not want to be perceived as some sort of a sex object like a trans porn video. Aside from being transgender, I was probably walking the same fine line as any other cis-woman. In case you are wondering, the dates never went past the first or second date, so I guess I was somehow a failure. Then again, I never labored under the opinion I would the woman the men would take home to meet their families. I knew I was some sort of a fling, I just wanted to be treated with respect. Which I was.

I can only say the world we decided to enter as women is a true art form. Walking all the various paths from being a saint or a sinner. Including being able to present well enough in the world to blend in with society at large.  As women today seem to be pulling away from the finer points of dressing up, it is more and more difficult to be exotic yet obtainable. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Neat Little Boxes

These days it seems, everyday a different term or even an alphabet letter comes forward to describe a different facet of the transgender or LGBT community. In fact the latest LGBT acronym has been expanded to LGBTQIA + to include Queer, Intersex and Asexual persons also. Often when I write the original four letters (to me) I feel remiss in leaving out the other groups but for the sake of simplicity, I leave it alone.

Image Courtesy Christine
Jorgensen 

I wonder also why we need such a selection of neat little boxes to identify with. Perhaps it is because we are learning gender has so many different variations to discuss. Again I will throw up my age as an excuse to be mesmerized by the newer facets added to the old school thought that there were just boys and girls growing up. Then we slowly became aware of people such as Christine Jorgensen  was the first to be widely known for undergoing sex change surgery  To put it into perspective Jorgensen changed gender in 1952 when I was three years old. As I grew up, the only vague terms I ever heard or read to describe at all what my gender feelings were transsexual or transvestite. 

The next main person I remember in my gender dysphoric life was Virginia Prince who I started to follow in the 1970's when I subscribed to her "Transvestia Magazine". Some publications give her credit for coining the transgender term but others don't. It doesn't really matter because in the seventies the transgender term became popular anyhow. I viewed it at the time for ideally describing me. I wasn't ready for any life changing gender surgery but on the other hand I knew my cross dressing was more than an innocent hobby. 

It was during this time I progressed into what I called a very serious crossdresser, even to the point of imagining if I could really be a novice transgender woman. I was trying to fit into two of the neat little boxes and I was having a difficult time doing it. My old male self was fighting back as I slid down the slippery slope to living my gender truth. To cloud my judgement too, this was becoming the time more terminology was being added to the system I was identifying with. Terms such as "gender queer" and "gender fluid" became popular subjects in support groups I was attending. "Gender Fluid" I felt could have really gone a long way describing how I felt when I was younger and totally confused. Just when I thought I had the box thing figured out, two of the biggest, most challenging box choices were still to come as I began to seriously pursue a gender transition. 

The biggest of them all came when I made the ill-fated attempt to live a life in both binary genders. To put it very simply, my feet ended up not fitting in either box and the process came close to killing me. The second was when I had to determine my future sexuality as a transgender woman. During my life I had never been remotely attracted sexually to another man so I wondered if I ever could. What happened was after a couple brief flings with men which resulted in no sex, I was able to settle back in with women friends. So I viewed myself as a transgender lesbian which I see more and more of in social media circles.

It took awhile but I finally figured out which of the neat little boxes I fit into. Until someone comes up with another. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Getting Dizzy on the Transgender Merry Go Round

Photo from the
Jessie Hart Archives
In a recent post I compared coming out of a gender closet to trying to jump aboard a Merry Go Round which is spinning way too fast. It is difficult to catch up to the established gender you are trying to live as. Otherwise known as desiring to live as your authentic self, a transgender woman or a transgender man. As an extension of the post, today I will attempt to look at what happens once you are able to secure yourself a spot on the Merry Go Round. 

First of all, often you are made painfully aware a portion of the other riders don't want you there at all. Gender bigots or TERF's are everywhere trying for some reason to "protect" their gender from those wanting to live a life of their choice in the world. One of the initial ways they can spot you is from your appearance. Sadly, many of us have to deal with testosterone poisoning which gives our body and facial figures distinctly male looks. As we trans women learn the hard way, there are ways we can camouflage torso's which are too thick with certain items of female designed clothing. The same can be said for makeup which is also an appearance crutch for all women, trans or not. The fact of the matter is, women come in all shapes, sizes and appearance. We have to do our best to fit in. 

Once you have jumped aboard the Merry Go Round, sometimes it is difficult to stay there. My example comes from a lesbian social group I tried to join years ago with Liz. Liz identifies as lesbian and back in those days most all of my friends were also. I was naïve and thought I could join Liz's group but was quickly rejected. The rejection probably came from a woman who rudely approached me at a lesbian Valentine's Dance. She kept asking me drunkenly what my "real" name was. She was mean and nasty and it took me a while to calm down after I relocated Liz who was getting us food. Following the experience, it took me awhile to push my way back on to the Merry Go Round. But push I did. 

I compare the experience I had one time when a friend of mine and I (as males) were in Chicago and took a subway to Wrigley Field to see a baseball game. Being new to the experience, I wasn't quite ready for the rush of humanity which pushed their way into that subway car. Looking back, I was in the same situation many times when I explored my gender change path. From being completely rejected by a lesbian social club all the way to being cornered by a huge cross dresser "admirer" one night in a narrow hallway at a party I was attending with my second wife, I thought I had seen it all. I paid the "I told you so" price with my wife who saved me from my entrapment. Of course she didn't approve of the short mini dress I was wearing and blamed me for attracting the man. 

Through it all, I found once I had earned my seat, I wasn't giving it back to any narrow minded person who didn't like me. I deserved my spot as much as they did and I had to give up my hard earned male privilege's to get it. Plus I certainly wasn't trying to infringe on anyone else's rights. Even though the Merry Go Round was still spinning too fast on occasion, I learned to sit back and enjoy it.       

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Transgender Merry Go Round

 

Image from Kitae Kim on Unsplash

Every once in a while, I am fortunate enough to write a post which elicits several wonderful insightful comments. "Trans Reflections and Woman Illusion" posts were examples. First, through the Medium writing format Abbie wrote in and said:

"I've only just realized in the last couple years how far behind the 8 ball I am on this front. After 50+ years trying to fit in as a man I'm now trying to catch up with women and I barely know where to start. Obviously I'm going to miss out on some biological functions but all the relationships, ads directed at women, fabulous but too sexy for my age clothes, even the misogynist/glass ceilings and other garbage. How do us older girls make up for all that lost time?"

The comment started my thought processes which took me back to my early days of coming out in the world as a transgender woman and come up with an answer.

First of all, I view coming out as an older woman is similar to trying to jump on a merry go round which is going too fast. One question I do have is how long did Abbie pursue being a cross dresser before she decided to come out of the gender closet. In my case I was a serious cross dresser for nearly half a century which gave me plenty of time to practice, practice, practice my feminine crafts such as wardrobe and makeup. By the time I was trying to jump on the women's merry go round I was fairly proficient in both crafts. So much so, my second wife was asking me tips on doing her makeup. If I was new to the world today as a woman, I would take advantage of "You Tube" tutorials or go to in person events at some of the big makeup stores such as "Sephora". I know going to a store takes a lot of courage but the benefits are worth it. You just have to be careful of how much money you have to spend. The process can be expensive if they try to sell you items you don't really need.

The next big move I would make is a repeat of a recent post I wrote detailing my early love of thrift stores. In certain thrift stores I was able to partially work my way out of my "teen" cross dressing years and discover a wardrobe which fit me and was much more flattering for a fraction of the money I would have spent in regular retail stores. Plus, once I had settled in on what sizes fit me, I could then begin to order on-line sale items.

Another huge move I made when I was trying my best to come out of my dark/lonely closet was when I went to a doctor and was checked to see if I could undergo feminine hormone replacement therapy at my age of sixty. I could and from then on there was no looking back. Somehow, someway, I had to slow that merry go round down to where I could jump on. When my facial features and skin began to soften and my hair really began to grow, I knew my changes were real and imminent.

Then there were the small things I did to improve my feminine image and present better in the world. Even with the hormones which were supposed to cause me to gain weight, I went on a diet of sorts and ended up losing nearly fifty pounds. I thought of the process this way, if I was going to be a woman, I had to give it my best shot by doing extra things such as taking better care of my skin.

Abbie, doing all of this slowly but surely should get you on the merry go round also. While you can never make up for lost time, you can still build a gender future and enjoy who you have become. Thanks for the comment and I hope any advice I can add helps. Plus when you make your way to the gender of your choice there is always the chance to be able to communicate with the world as your new self. It's a terrifying but exciting journey very few are able to take.

There are other comments I will try to address later in the blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Is Being a Woman an Illusion?

Image from Caroline Veronez 
on Unsplash

 Put in it's simplest terms, being female could be defined as the binary gender who can birth other humans and can have monthly periods. A statement many TERF'S or certain politicians would like us all to believe. As we all know, gender is much more complicated than all of that. Even the poor misunderstood drag queens have been pulled into the battle. They never wanted to be women to start with, just look like one. Politicians don't want to understand any of that.   

Now, for the moment, let's consider the old saying "Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice." I am fairly sure those of you who have ever interacted closely with women as a transgender woman or as a man, know a woman or two (or many more) who do not fit the old stereotype. I have seen many cis women who are so much tougher on so many levels. I have also seen many women who are able to cover up their toughness by trying a passive aggressive approach instead. It took many years for me to develop eyes in the back of my head to look for hidden claw marks from women who didn't like me for whatever reason.

Along the way, I have seen many transgender women (novice or not) who project extreme femininity. I remember distinctly one attendee to the monthly cross dressing/trans parties I went to at an acquaintance's beautiful house in Columbus, Ohio. The only time I saw this person was when she quickly changed into a lovely nightgown, lingerie set. Even though I thought her choice of wardrobe was out of place, I could not believe the amount of femininity she radiated. I was sure she was destined to "go all the way" to genital realignment surgery or sex change as it was known back in those days. Very rarely did I encounter a person like this. Of course I saw many men who transformed themselves into beautiful women but sadly their inner masculinity found a way to shine through. In other words, they almost were able to create the ultimate gender illusion but just fell short. 

Perhaps it was just because they were just like me and were living a part time life as a man also. In my case I had to take my whole study of womanhood to a whole other level. Similar to the other glamorous cross dressers I encountered, I wanted to do my best to look feminine. I wasn't a natural, so I knew I had a way to go. It wasn't until after another bitter battle with my second wife did I begin to understand I still had a long way to go until I could take the next step and totally undertake being a woman. What happened was the night before I had been mistaken for a cis woman at a transvestite mixer and my male ego was at an all time high about reaching a new goal with my feminine appearance. After the fight calmed down, my wife told me she wasn't speaking about how I looked as a woman. She was talking about I had none of the experiences it took to achieve womanhood. From that moment forward, I dedicated my life to understanding what she meant. It was difficult to study woman from afar but I did the best I could. Sadly, she passed away before I could achieve my goals. It would have been interesting to see if we could ever could have been friends as women. 

In conclusion, being a woman is not an illusion. It is an earned right we are all entitled to. No one is born a woman, we are socialized into the title. Transgender or not, learning what that means is the most difficult part. 


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Transgender Reflections

Reflection from
the Jessie Hart
Archive

Reflections from transgender women and men can mean many things. Of course mirrors come to mind first. Through our lives we worship viewing ourselves as a way of reinforcing our new feminine selves. This can go both ways as mirrors have a not so sly way of lying to us. That very short mini skirt which looks very good on an attractive teen aged girl most likely won't look so good on your much older testosterone poisoned body. Most of us as time goes by and we interact with the public more and more come to learn the mirror's shortcomings. It took me more than a couple times of being stared at, all the way to being laughed at to understand the mirror was not coming close to telling me the truth and I was attracting too much unwanted attention.

Finally, what happened to me was I replaced the mirror's reflections with ones from interacting with the public. Specifically when I started to interact one on one with other women. When I began to move forward from just interacting with sales clerks who were always nice because my money was green, onward to stopping at upscale venues for lunch, I really had to step up my feminine game. Specifically, I needed to do more than walk the walk. I needed to talk the talk. In other words I needed to quickly learn how to communicate on an entirely different and foreign gender level. To be clear, I am talking about more than just sounding feminine because I found women communicate on many different levels. Including a fascinating level which I learned which involved speaking on a non verbal level. I learned so much without even speaking from other women. I was spared potentially embarrassing interactions with drunken guys in bars with just a glance from female bartenders. Talking the talk without actually speaking was huge.

Reflections then became more important from a personal point of view. Once I had gained a basic confidence in how I interacted with the world as my new authentic feminine self, I could concentrate more on how others were viewing my reflection. I had the very rare chance to reinvent myself and learn from all of my mistakes. Including the ones I made when I was a new cross dresser or novice transgender woman trying to find my way in a new terrifying but exciting world. Losing my old male privilege played a part also, specifically when I found myself in dangerous situations when I was lucky to not be physically assaulted. It took me awhile to learn there were feminine privilege's too which went way past just having a man open a door for me. Just having the opportunity to be able to play in the girl's sandbox without being clawed was a privilege. 

Even though I still suffer from gender dysphoria when I look in the mirror in the morning, I am able now to look past the shallow reflection and see the bigger picture. In a new life as a full time transgender woman.  

Monday, February 6, 2023

All Kinds of Transgender Dilemma

 

Image from Karla Hernandez 
on UnSplash

We transgender women and trans men have always encountered plenty of dilemmas as we complete our gender transition, or attempt to. Most of us have friends, family and jobs to consider. Sadly we are considered to be selfish as we pursue our gender goals. Ironically there is truth to the selfish idea because we often need to address our most inner souls to find a path. We found muses were difficult to find.

Dilemmas were everywhere. I know one of my biggest drawbacks to transitioning earlier was trying to figure out how I would support myself. Most certainly I would have had to quit the well paying, hard earned male career I had managed to carve out. None of it seemed fair but who said life had to be fair? As I quote my parents who were fond of telling me just that when I didn't want to do something they wanted me to do.

Another huge dilemma came when I needed to learn the new basics of presenting and appearing realistically as possible in my new chosen gender. The whole process really defined being alone with a terrifying array of cosmetics to deal with. Then there was the problem of what to do about a new wardrobe. Styles and sizes became very important as well as cost. I was in a situation where I needed to hide any feminine expenditures from my wife. I found one big solution by shopping the thrift stores. I could purchase ultra cheap clothes and see if they fit on a very small budget. Plus, I was even able to gather the courage to try an item or two on in the dressing rooms. Finally I was able to dress my way out of my teen girl years and into a reasonable facsimile of what a cis woman my age would wear. Thrift stores not only gave me an excuse to go out shopping, and save money, I could also conquer the appearance dilemma at the same time. 

At the same time, I was ignoring the few friends I had accumulated. Slowly but surely my feminine side was sneaking into the forefront and stealing my life. The more I was in the public's eye, the less male time I wanted. It was working out to be a huge dilemma. The more I accomplished as a transgender woman, the more natural I became and all of a sudden the whole impossible dream of living a feminine life became more achievable. 

My dilemma  of telling friends I wanted to be a woman very much went away when my small circle of close friends passed away close to the time when my wife died. There was no one left to tell. Family, as I have detailed several times, my problems coming out to my family was a different process. Even though my parents had long since passed on, I still had a daughter to tell as well as a younger brother. I had a highly successful experience with my daughter and an equally bad one with my brother who I have not spoken with for nearly a decade now.

My final big dilemma was what to do about my finances. At my age I was getting close to being able to retire on early Social Security. I also owned a house full of antiques and collectibles I could sell to raise money, so I took the early out and retired. All of which of course, did away with me have to worry about job hunting as my new authentic feminine self. With most all of my dilemmas in the past, the door was finally open to complete my gender transition.  

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Who is Hurting Who?

Photo Courtesy
Kim Petras 

With the deluge of anti-transgender Republican led political bills around the country, it's easy to forget those cis women who may be caught in the gender cross fire. I am referring to the many cis-women (born female) who don't particularly present well as women. Are they going to have to undergo some of or all of the idiotic regulations some one has to go through just to go to the bathroom. I have read some legislators are trying to require monthly records of a woman's period as a basis to judge their gender to compete in sports.

Imagine being an unsuspecting cis woman questioned in a restroom about her gender. Will she take a moment to think about and realize where all political transgender problems are coming from. It's so bad now even the right wing parrots who say they are running for president are mentioning the transgender community as major problems. 

Speaking of problems, the only one I see for trans folk is when they try to go naked in places such as women's changing rooms. As I have said before, I would not be caught dead with no clothes on in front of strangers and resent others who do and discredit my right to life as a proud out transgender woman. Recently, another example of what I am talking about occurred close to where I live in Ohio. A pre-opt transgender woman was naked in a women's changing room and was seen by a group of teenaged girls. Of course, all hell brook loose.  By "pre-opt" I mean the person had no genital realignment surgeries. 

Even with all the negativity in the transgender world, there are still positive signs if you look for them. Signs that point out transgender women and men are not going anywhere. We have always been around and always will be. Recently, I was watching a promo about the upcoming Grammy awards show on

Photo Courtesy
Jazz Jennings

CBS and noticed Kim Petras name mentioned. If you are not aware, Kim is a transgender singer from Germany who began her transition early in life. She is one of the fortunate young trans girls such as Jazz Jennings who have started young with a supportive family and stayed in the public's eye. Although with Kim, you have to search long and hard to find any information about her being born male when I searched Wikipedia and other sources. It's a good thing when she is only known as a singer without the transgender tag added on.

Obviously, as a community we trans folks have enough challenges coming up. Together we have to accentuate the positive such as we are as normal as the population at large. I say that because I never considered I was "normal" even though I identified as a transgender person.  

Perhaps if enough cis women are affected by the ridiculous number of proposed anti-transgender laws being proposed and people get to know other trans people, the tide will turn in our favor and we don't have to rely on celebrities such as Kim Petras and Jazz Jennings to do it for us.  

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 ...