Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives

I found out long ago, living my desired lifestyle as my authentic feminine self would involve tons of insistence. 

First of all, I needed to insist I needed all the practice I could come by in front of the mirror as I attempted to perfect any sort of a new gender appearance. It meant sneaking around the prying eyes of an inquisitive younger brother as well as hiding from my parents who I knew would never understand. Slowly but surely my insistence paid off and I improved my appearance. Little did I know, it was only the beginning of an extremely long life time journey.

Through it all, I needed to insist on continuing my journey no matter how difficult the process was. If I was ever discovered, the push back would have the potential to be tremendous. I could lose my friends, family and job, almost immediately. As the pressure mounted, I still needed to move forward down my path to move from a part time transvestite or cross dresser all the way to living fulltime as a fulltime transgender woman. 

Insistence was also the key during my early days of exploring the world as my true self. I needed to face all the stares (and even laughs) I was getting from the public. I ended up learning the hard way how the mirror could and was lying to me. I needed to repeatedly go back to my wardrobe and makeup drawing board until I achieved more of a success. 

Then, I learned the hard way, how my successes would lead to needing more insistence for success on my part. I was petrified the first several times I was forced into one on one conversations with other women. How was my voice going to sound and what would I say were my primary worries. At the beginning, I resorted to trying to attempting to mimic the pitch of the woman I was talking to and as far as what I would say, I would simply just respond to whatever questions were asked of me. I don't know how well it worked but it was all I had. Finally I was forced to improve and began to develop who I would be as a transgender woman as I began to interact with the world.

Even still, whatever was going on, I needed to insist with some people I was feminine, not masculine. To this day, I have to correct the pronoun usage used with me by strangers. I am fortunate because I have two powerful gender allies with my wife Liz and my daughter Andrea (who also has a transgender child). Often either of them will lead the conversation for me calling me "she".  That way strangers who may question my gender have an idea of who I am. 

What makes everything so difficult these days are the continuing attacks on the LGBTQ and primarily transgender community by a certain political party not called Democratic. In fact, the party has outlined a platform for 2025 which would be the beginning of the end for trans women and men everywhere in this country. A prime reason all of us have to unite against the gender bigots now and in the future.

One of the positives is our tribe has been trained to be insistent and will survive in the future.