Showing posts with label Autumn Sandeen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autumn Sandeen. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2016

Still No Real Movement at the VA

From The Advocate and Autumn Sandeen:
It will likely take a lawsuit  to end the Veterans Affairs policy of denying coverage for gender-confirmation surgery — a procedure currently covered by Medicare. 
Here is an excerpt: "A lawsuit was filed recently that made little news, lost to the headlines of HB 2 and the Department of Education telling America's 13,000-plus school districts that they must accommodate transgender students in accordance with Title IX. This little-heard-of lawsuit was filed by the Transgender Law Center and Lambda Legal, with co-counsel WilmerHale, and in it they've petitioned the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to change the rule that categorically excludes transition-related surgery for transgender veterans.
For a bit of background, in June of 2011, many of us transgender veterans were pretty excited when the VA announced a standardized policy of respectful and affirming delivery of health care for transgender and intersex veterans. The policy required equal access to affirmative basic health care for transgender veterans across every VA facility — which surprisingly wasn't uniform across the country — and that all medically necessary health care for transgender veterans was and still is to be provided by the VA.
Well, almost all medically necessary health care. Under existing VA regulations, transition-related surgeries — also referred to as gender-affirmation surgeries — aren't performed by or paid for by the VA. In fact, VHA Directive 2013-003 (Providing Health Care For Transgender And Intersex Veterans) states under line item 2.b. "[The] VA does not provide sex reassignment surgery or plastic reconstructive surgery for strictly cosmetic purposes."
Being a transgender veteran myself, I'm not holding my breath waiting for change, but who knows?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Caitlin Trump?

Already, the "Caitlin Jenner" is a Republican- is becoming an issue-because the "Pub's" are SO opposed to LGBTQ rights. It's a shame because for me at least, a few of the potential Republican candidates I see have ideas I agree with. I have followed Autumn Sandeen (trans veteran) for some time now and I was very interested in her recent post in the LGBT Weekly:

Autumn Sandeen

"Caitlyn Jenner is arguably the most famous transgender woman in the U.S. and has identified herself as a Republican. She represents the transgender community to the general public whether the transgender community likes it or not, and I’m seeing in social media where a lot of the transgender community is falling into the “or not” side of the divide in significant part because of Jenner’s public politics."

I will let you read the in depth version here, but here are a few highlights:

Caitlin Trump

  1. Trump referred to Jenner as "Bruce" then miss-pronouned Jenner.
  2. Carson said we should have transgender restrooms - it's not fair for us to make them uncomfortable? (Kind of like the first years of integrated restrooms Ben?)
  3. Rubio wants to block employment rights for LGBT people saying it's a "special right" not equal right. (Kind of like not hiring Hispanics? Mark?)
  4. And my choice for the candidate most likely to come out of the closet - Ted Cruz, said "We shouldn't use the military as a cauldron for social experiment."

Of course, we have a long way to go until election time. Plenty of time for ALL the candidates to try to squirm out of former positions to gain votes. 

And plenty of time for us to write about it here in Cyrsti's Condo.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trans "Girl Chat"

I have made mention here in Cyrsti's Condo of my two dear transgender friends, one a trans man and the other a trans woman.

The other night, I also made mention of the Equality Ohio meeting my trans girl friend invited me to attend. Afterwards, we were able to sit down and engage in some very rare T-girl chat.

No matter how you cut it, our experiences are so unique, it's difficult to even find another transgender person geographically close to you-let alone be able to sit down and talk face to face.

Even though my friend is much younger than me, in many ways we are at the same cross roads in our transition.  An example is how we both agonize over actually pushing ahead with our gender marker changes.  My problem is a combination of pure laziness and procrastination more than anything else. I'm notoriously bad about not living in the present, so if something isn't particularly bothering me (gender markers) then I can easily put them off in my mind.  As we discussed (and I have written in the past)  changing your gender marker with the DMV here in Ohio is not particularly tough and (as I understand it) neither is the social security set up.

On the other hand here,  birth certificates are impossible.  Plus, my trans guy friend has done all he could including a legal name change, so he knows the process and I can ask him for specifics.  I do know I have to go back to my therapist at the VA to get some sort of a letter too, so that is not much of a problem.  Other than that, I don't want to even get into how the VA works, except to thank trans vet Autumn Sandeen (shown above) for opening many doors I will need to go through to change my markers in the VA system which is a huge step towards NOT being called by your male name when you go in for an appointment.

Other than the marker chat, we talked about her work and how she planned to handle any transition on the job.  All three of us have gone different routes with jobs.  I of course am retired but I could tell you without a shadow of a doubt my last employer would have made any transition on the job hell on me.  My trans man has transitioned on the job already (with - as I understand it various stages of acceptance.) Finally, my trans woman friend has not transitioned past the point of being viewed (I imagine) as a very effeminate man.  One of them works for a perceived diverse company and the other company-not so much.  Bottom line is, she has a lot to consider with transitioning on the job including no real legal protection.

By now you are probably thinking, did you two have any sort of girly girl chat?  Yes we did.  She asked me why I rarely wear skirts and what was I doing about facial hair. Truthfully, I am very much a contradiction in terms (again) in that I'm sort of a "Tom-Boy" trans woman and that's the way it is. (It sends the trans purists over the edge. Like I'm supposed to conform to their ideas?)  As far as electrolysis goes, I have a couple problems called finances and aversion to pain. On the other hand, my friend is already baby smooth but seems to always be heading back for more treatments.

Finally, before we parted ways-we did talk about the future on a bigger "what if" scale, as far as possible surgical procedures.  My trans man is actually close to his "top surgery" and I wish him the best and all of a sudden, there is a glimmer of hope (with recent developments) I may be able to at least look into the two procedures I would really like to have-breast augmentation and FFS, facial feminization surgery.  I will have to get back with you on what my trans friend thought about herself except she "really" wanted something done about her nose.

So, all in all, it was a fun couple of hours with another person who has walked a mile in my shoes and vice versa. They are so difficult to find!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Discussion Continues

As I had hoped Elizabeth responded back to my answer yesterday and took it another different direction or two: First of all I liked it because she didn't start it off by saying "Cyrsti-you ignorant-f--k." Plus you all know how I so love a good discussin! (as they say in my neck of the woods)


Becoming a woman is a learned process that woman earn over time and "earn" is the correct term. Womanhood is not conferred on you based on how you dress or how you define yourself. Sandeen is not a woman because Sandeen has not one clue about what it means to be a woman. You claim you have observed woman for 50 years and somehow this lets you "see" all their mistakes which is a crock of shit.

SO you are claiming you have been an undercover woman for 50 years observing and learning how a female becomes a woman. You have spent less than two years defining yourself as transgender yet you suddenly seem to know everything about what it means to be a female and a woman. The truth is you are clueless because you never experienced life as a woman and that is the key.

Learning to be a woman involves experiencing daily life as a woman which you neglected to do for the first 60+ years of your life. You were a man and worked as a man and lived as a man so get off your high horse milady because you know not what you speak of.

I raised my first husbands daughter and about two years into that mind blowing experience I was talking with my mom and she simply said "congrats Elizabeth because now you are a woman: and I took that as a major compliment. My mom taught me about Vicks vapo rub under my nose to prevent gagging on the baby poop which was a godsend. I think I was 29 at the time but had existed as a girl basically from just short of my 14th birthday.

Those of us born transsexual have a sex identity issue because our sex characteristics do not match the gender we perceive ourselves as. My gender was actually never in question because I believed I was already a girl. Just how does not believe one is a woman? It is not given it is earned and quite frankly you have not earned anything close to it but then I am sure you know that.

If you want to call yourself a transgender or trans woman be my guest because that is a label you should live with. As for the younger generation I kind of doubt they will rewrite the definition for woman as easily as you seem to feel. A friend and I have worked with kids for years and we have two in Britain that are within a year of SRS and once they have SRS they just want to melt into society and be normal. I realize the word normal is weird to those of you that exist in the "activist" world but believe me once any kid has had SRS that is all they want unless of course they have ulterior motives like being famous but then that is kind of different.

I actually enjoy your blog but I also see you as a stereotypical transgender / crossdresser which does not make you a bad person just different. I do not wish you any harm nor would I be happy if harm came to you but that is just me.

Have a nice day.

Having not a clue of Elizabeth's background, I had no idea she was TS-by birth-her statement.  I don't want to put her in a corner by saying many TS's consider themselves to be the sole inhabitants of our culture who "were born into it."  My only response is, how does anyone know how anyone else was born and into what?

Here is more of my response:

Thanks for making my point Elizabeth. A woman is a "socialized" person- a female is a birthed person. So a TS is a socialized woman by your definition...not birth.

As far as how you want to attach any "life experiences" to the process is a personal journey of one's choices and the cards one was dealt....No matter how you cut it, one person is no better than another and I'm glad your Mom "anointed" you "woman" when mine was making an appointment for electro shock therapy.

Our whole discussion obviously is rooted too deeply in passion for objectivity and I suspect, a touch of good old male "one upmanship" which is so prevalent in our community has crept in...But you win with the baby poop (although, I did my fair share with my daughter-not knowing that made me a woman.)   At the least here, we are discussing semantics. Your perception of a term is obviously different than mine and that's cool. 

I was interested in your take on the two young trans kids who just want to disappear, unlike the ones I see here who want to make a difference in a new world they are carving out...especially the trans guys.  The black trans women are like that too..maybe it's just a part of being American. They won't take discrimination laying down anymore and just don't see stealth as a viable alternative.  I'm excited and proud of them as much of it is way too late for a person my age.

Yes, the word "normal" is weird to me because I was never able to access it during my life (and it had very little to do with gender) and no I am really disappointed because I can't consider myself an "activist"-AND I do feel a deep amount of guilt dealing with the fact most all of my generation went stealth and nothing was changed.  I just figure anything I can do or say may be helpful in the last one third of my life.

 All one can do is try and the last thing I want to do is to ever get into a ego battle with anyone for what they have or have not done.

I'm kind of selfish though.  It's interesting you brought up Autumn Sandeen of all people.  I would never even begin to speak for her but what I can tell you is she has brought some tremendous change with in the VA which I directly benefit from. I'm sure you agree it's tragic trans military members can't access the same rights they are fighting for.
No, none of us can turn back the clock and we did what we could to survive. I'm sure you lived with the depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and the rest like most of us have-so you know.

Finally, this is going to sound a bit blunt Elizabeth.  I'm glad you enjoy the blog but I really don't care how you view me...I learned a long time ago how not to get my feelings hurt around here on line-especially in a certain very popular trans social site dominated by TS girls waiting to strike because they think having more surgery or drugs makes them better.

On the other hand, I've been fortunate to be surrounded by my friends, a partner and what's left of my family (still living) who accept who I am. I live in a relatively conservative part of America who needs to experience people like me- I am transgender and that is exactly what the word means- between both genders. My jewelry says I'm trans, my friends certainly know I am and you know it took me 60 + years to get here-so yes I do love it.  It's mine, I'm me and I embrace it.  If I am a unique one of a kind person-so be it.

Thanks for reading the blog and a wonderful discussion!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gender "Marks the Spot"

Here in Cyrsti's Condo, I have discussing my current plans to begin to take the next big step in my Mtf transition and change my gender markers.  With gender markers, you don't realize how many there are. I knew when I wrote the post, (as I said) I know a couple transgender friends who have changed their markers,including Shelle.  Recently she was kind enough to take her time and comment:

Certainly changing my markers has been the most difficult and arduous of all my tasks as I transition,It is a huge undertaking that tests your very resolve as a transgender, even armed with legal court documents some of it is just a miserable slog through a system that has known me as M for a lifetime and many of them are just plain resistant to change things and it takes sometimes a month or more to just change simple things like your electric,and gas account,and all the other accounts related to your previous existence you are left in some cases for a time thinking you suddenly don't exist at all,it two times for my bank to get my checks right so I could begin paying my bills again the whole thing gets done but not without a huge amount of perseverance.

By far dealing with the rules in my state are the worst for me,as they require a minimum of genital mutilation to acknowledge me as F,I'm sure they don't give much thought to it but they are asking me to give up likely on a permanent basis my ability to ever have sexual satisfaction as I have known it all my life,that's asking a very lot of a person just to give me the dignity of being who I truly am,I have thought very long and hard about going through with this major step in life,but having my markers changed is as important to me as the HRT was, so I will move forward reluctantly feeling somewhat stripped of my right to human dignity, I personally feel this is cruel and unusual punishment of my diagnosed condition,and I pray it will be changed for those behind me, not all of us has the monies or inclination to have the surgery. so for while longer I have to live somewhere between M&F branded as it were as T.

I'm in the same situation as Shelle because of for whatever reason, I don't see SRS in my future.  Our differences lie in which state we live in. For example, here in Ohio, changing your legal name isn't very difficult in most counties and changing a driver's license isn't either. However, I don't believe you can get a birth certificate changed here, with or without SRS.

The "big dog" Social Security changed it's policy sometime ago to: allow transgender people to change the gender designation on their Social Security records by submitting either an amended passport or birth certificate reflecting the applicant's lived gender, or certification from a physician confirming that the individual has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

If you are a cynic like me, you are looking for the "catch 22" in the process. I wondered,if in the end, an amended birth certificate (not possible) would stop me from getting an amended passport? But that's not true either according to this release: A transgender person can obtain a passport reflecting his or her current gender by submitting a certification from a physician confirming that he or she has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

From all of this you can see how intense this process can be. Fortunately we transgender women and men have had some very powerful and competent advocates opening doors for us.  An excellent example is what transgender veteran activist Autumn Sandeen has done to ease gender marker changes within the VA.  Shelle is a trans vet too and I'm sure she agrees!

Thanks again Shelle,  for commenting for us and you can always check out her blog here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Difficult to believe this is our last Sunday get together for 2013.  My Mom was right, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The quicker you get to the end, the faster it goes." A true philosopher was Mom!

Here we go:

"Social Media".-  Enough is never enough!  Cyrsti's Condo is now on Pinterest joining my Twitter link, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.  It seems "networking" has become part of my life as a blogger.  I know some of you already follow a couple of my other spots but in reality almost all my original offerings are here in "the Condo". Here's why I link to them (which means very little):  Twitter is a great place to retweet very timely and important news quickly to a whole different group and it is soooo easy!  Facebook, I have never really understood the full benefit of being there or how to use it effectively-so I don't.  Plus FB seems to be "time needy". Google+ is simple and is part of this whole platform, so why not?  Linkedin is interesting in that I've been able to say hello to more than a couple very influential transgender people I respect such as "Frock Magazine's" Katie Glover  , transgender veteran activist Autumn Sandeen, top of the line transgender blogger and writer Matt Kailey , Femulate's Stana Stana and many more including the "es-steamed" Bobbie.

"Public Media"- "DuckBoy Phil " of Duck Dynasty managed to "mysteriously" have homophobic and racist comments published in GQ just before a holiday "marathon" presentation of the Louisiana Yuppies television show.  Of course the "Duckster" has now apologized and will be brought back in the Spring. Blah, blah, blah.

"Da Holiday's"  In modern society, it seems the most difficult part of the holidays is to slow down enough to enjoy them, although to all too many of the transgender community, this time of year is excruciatingly painful. Hopefully, you were able to celebrate the true meaning of the season.

"Sports! "  I know better to even mention the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL playoffs in the same sentence but I did and I was met by a flood of negative feelings.  Almost as the negativity I feel towards The Ohio State University football defense.  As Mom also reminded us, "If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."  She reminded us but never came close to following the idea. But I'm going to follow the concept and shut up about sports! Could be worse, I could be a NYC sports fan! (Pat)

Coming up in the final days of 2013:  My much promised New Year's resolution and a final "Horror Scope".
Thanks for finishing the year with us here in Cyrsti's Condo!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's "Autumn" In Cyrsti's Condo

Actually here in O_H-I-O we have officially entered "Indian Summer" and the weather as always is staking out it's claim to the end of summer with high humidity and temps near 90.

This post though, I'm referring to a different "Autumn"- Autumn Sandeen.  She is the retired transgender veteran who is working so hard for the rights of all transgender veteran.

You all probably know by now, I'm one of those vets and rely on the Veteran's Administration for my HRT needs.

So,  almost anything post I can find from Autumn Sandeen I try to pass long and here's an excerpt from the latest:

Autumn Sandeen
"When I joined the U.S. Navy back in 1980, I knew I was transgender. I didn’t know the word transgender, but I knew deep down that’s what I was. Prior to joining the Navy, in 1979, my pentecostal parents considered transgender identities and transgender expressions to be sinful, and made going to “conversion therapy” a condition of living at home. Due to my own internalized transphobia, I thought I was sinful too, so I underwent the therapy, which had the goal of having me become “ex-transgender.” A goal of both gay and transgender conversion therapy is to embrace societal gender role norms, so in my case embracing masculine norms was the goal. It should come as no surprise then that when I enlisted in the Navy in 1980, it was in part an attempt to be the man I wasn’t. Chelsea Manning, who enlisted under the name Bradley Manning—and who in August received a 35-year prison sentence for releasing classified government documents to WikiLeaks—recently gave that same explanation as to why she enlisted."

This article comes the RH Reality Check site and you can go here for more.

As a side note, Autumn mentioned she grew up in a "Pentecostal" family.  The "Penny-Cost-alls" I know would definitely consider being transgender, gay or lesbian very sinful and I shudder to think what sort of "conversion" therapy they would consider! My next post will deal with the "Pennies" and more.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Any of you who have spent anytime around Cyrsti's Condo know I'm a transgender veteran and a huge fan of trans vet Autumn Sandeen.  Autumn is always modest enough to play down her role as a transgender veteran trail blazer within the VA. But she IS and uniquely qualified to speak on navigating the VA system. Often very different than "civilian health care".

Recently she wrote a post called Transgressive Health Care for the San Diego LGBT Weekly, centering of course on the VA and trans vets. Here's an excerpt:

"Even though I’m a kind and joy-filled person, I’m always prepared to deal with inappropriate comments or behavior from the government-employed health care services workers. I’m always ready to ask why a medical doctor, nurse or technician’s bigotry is getting in the way of treating a veteran with respect to their service. Yet, I’ve never had even one treat me with anything but the purest of professionalism at the Veterans Health Care Administration (VHA) or at the Navy Medical Center, and I’ve never had to challenge anyone on their bigoted speech or behavior.
Here in San Diego, I just haven’t experienced that kind of inappropriate behavior. That I’ve never had difficulties with those who provide health care services to veterans, that I’ve never had anything but positive experiences with those health care professionals, actually makes me a bit proud of those VHA and of those Navy Medical Center, San Diego employees. Here in our city, these folk have all served me as a retired and disabled service member with honor, respect and professionalism."

I agree with Autumn's description of the system. My VA center (Dayton, Ohio) is probably much smaller in scope than some. Because of that my only problems have come from Dayton not having a full time endocrinologist in the center.  I had to get permission to go outside the system.  My dealings with the people have been remarkable. I do know that all you trans vets do not have the same story.

Autumn's latest post was very important to me as it describes her experiences with a mammogram. You can read it by following the link above. A mammogram needs to be in my future because my maternal grandmother died from breast cancer.

Not that I'm surprised but when she went in for the mammogram, the questions such as "when was your last period" or " how many times have you been pregnant" , had no other options than a number.  By the time she left though Autumn had voiced her concerns about not including options for transgender or intersex persons and she was getting the form changed.

Indeed I probably will face the same issues with the intake form when I go for a mammogram and I will make the same suggestions.

In my own small way, my goal is to try to change the system for the future.  From the way it's looking, there could be many more trans vets coming soon!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Autumn Sandeen On Transgender Vets and More

All you regular peeps here in Cyrsti's Condo know I am a transgender vet and follow Autumn Sandeen's (left) views on the subject with great respect.
Following transgender Navy Seal Kristin Beck's coming out party and book, I was anxious to read Autumn's take on the whole situation. To fill you in, Autumn is truly a ground breaking trans vet fighting what often I'm sure looked like a very lonely fight.

Here's an excerpt of what she said:

"I’d like to comment on instead is the implications of her story on the broader movement toward open service for trans people. One of the many arguments that were made by the LGBT public policy organizations, such the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), was that we wouldn’t want to discharge hardcore fighting corps, such as SEALS and Army Rangers, just because they were gay. America would be removing tough, smart, well-trained soldiers out of America’s special forces for a reason that had nothing to do with whether or not they were effective at doing their jobs.

That’s an effective narrative, but the LGBT community never had any former SEALS or Army Rangers it could point to and say, “And this is the kind of special forces soldier you’ll kick out of the military if they said they were gay on active duty.” In the trans community, we do have such a soldier now. We can now point to Kristin Beck and say, “If Senior Chief Beck came out as transgender while she was in the Navy SEALS, she would have been kicked out for a reason that had nothing to do with whether or not she were effective at doing her job. Is that what America really wants?” And is it?"

Allow me to paraphrase and get you to her actual statement but Autumn points out there are questions for an open trans military service AND the the preliminary work has been set in motion for a national discussion. Such as (from her previous column) the narratives of trans Department of Defense (DOD) contractors and civilian employees who’ve recently served in Middle Eastern combat zones – narratives such as those of Nicole Shounder, Rachel Bolyard and Erika Stetson.

Then there’s (Autumn's) narrative about her historic fight to have her recorded gender changed in the DOD databases. Huge, in that it showed that the DOD  acknowledged that trans servicemembers and veterans even did exist. Fortunately, this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg and hopefully the hypocritical transgender ways of the Pentagon have first class seats on the Titanic!

As you can read much is happening on this front. For more on the story go here

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Look Fast! We Are Invisible

I was going to title this post "Bastards" but decided to mellow myself out.

This story comes from BuzzFeed, and takes into consideration the Pentagon (due largely to the efforts of Autumn Sandeen) now does recognize the fact that transgender women and men have served- DUH!  The move is huge. Now veteran transgender retiree's can change their gender marker in the Defense Eligibility Reporting System.

In the meantime though, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” ended the ban on out gay, lesbian or bisexual service members, the military continues to consider a service member being transgender grounds for a discharge from the military.

This year the Pentagon stepped up to the plate with a totally hypocritical statement:

"The Pentagon will be celebrating LGBT Pride Month again this year, but the memorandum announcing the designation has caused a stir with an organization that supports LGBT service members and veterans and their families. “We recognize gay, lesbian and bisexual service members and LGBT civilians for their dedicated service to our country,” Clarence Johnson, the director of the Pentagon’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, wrote in a memorandum announce the designation of June as LGBT Pride Month."

Very simply, don't insult transgender military service members past and present by adding the "T" in LGBT.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Transgender Vet News

From the ThinkProgress site:

"Despite the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military still does not allow people who are transgender to serve.

Still, many people only transition after they’ve completed their service, creating complications for their continued receipt of benefits. Now, the Pentagon has recognized its first gender change for a military veteran and established a process — albeit a bit burdensome one — for future trans vets to do the same. Blogger and activist Autumn Sandeen was informed earlier this month that the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been updated to show her gender as female. Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen provided the following statement to BuzzFeed: For the last several years, the Department has made requested changes to gender in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) for military retirees.

Autumn Sandeen
A gender change in DEERS may be accomplished by the retiree presenting the following documents: - A letter from the doctor who performed the surgery, documenting completion of a gender reassignment surgery - A court order, legally changing the gender in accordance with applicable state law - An original birth certificate - A document, reflecting the sponsor’s name and if applicable, gender following completion of the gender reassignment procedure for a spouse The Department will not change a gender in DEERS if it results in a loss of benefits to the spouse of the retired member due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The last point is noteworthy, in that the military is committed to making sure retirees receive spousal benefits without conflicting with the limitations of DOMA."

Of course there is much more to this process of interest to all of us transgender to read more.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Patience as a Transgender Virtue

Autumn Sandeen
Here in Cyrsti's Condo we have discussed on occasion the power of patience. I don't have much of that specific power so I respect those who do.

SO! I really respected this post I just read from Autumn Sandeen.  She is a transgender vet I've referenced before.

Her article is called My Year of Bureaucratic Changes in Gender, but in reality covers the ten years since she began living as Autumn. 
Here's the link to read more but in the meantime I would specifically recommend all of you who are considering a transgender transition journey to check it out.
Indeed, patience is a virtue!  Another virtue is Autumn writing about her experiences!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Autumn in Cyrsti's Condo

In reply to my VA post (Thanks) concerning Autumn Sandeen's gender marker experience, she was kind enough to reply:

"Thank you, Cyrsti. I'm doing what I can for the betterment trans military and veterans because of our active duty and veteran peers...because of you, and to a lesser extent because it helps me too. We trans people deserve better that what we've received over the years. Having many of our peers and me empowering ourselves to work for change -- empowering ourselves to work and sacrifice to achieve ordinary equality for trans people -- changes the world not just for ourselves, but for the generations that come after us. I've currently picked trans active duty and veterans issues to work on because I have some credibility on the subjects. Again, thank you for your kind words. And, thank you for your service -- it's really an honor to serve you. on Thanks!"

Again...thank you Autumn...for all that will come after us!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Recently it seems I have spent a lot of time here in Cyrsti's Condo discussing the Veterans Administration.
Not too long ago I exchanged emails with Jessica from France and she asked what the VA was? OK, I'm a dope sometimes and forget the world wide web is indeed world wide.
Very simply, my definition of the VA is that it is a branch of the U.S. Government entrusted with the welfare of military veterans following discharge.
My journey with the VA started a year ago and currently is finally at the point I call my "second level" of hormone therapy. Simply, I want to increase the dosage of the meds I'm on to expediate my feminization process.
I believe all of that will happen and now are starting to look at level three.
Level three is having the VA change my gender markers. So far it hasn't been that big a deal but it will be.
When it is, already I owe a huge debt of gratitude to trans vets such as Autumn Sandeen. 
This year she has tested this basic VA Directive:

"Effective immediately, to change the gender on VA medical records, a vet must simply provide a letter from a physician certifying that the vet has changed genders and has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. To be clear, the physician’s letter does not need to certify that some specific surgery or any particular medical procedure has been completed – only appropriate clinical care for the individual veteran as determined by the physician.”...BUT!

In testing the policy she found that one couldn’t change one’s sex marker as easily as the new healthcare policy was supposed to make it. So October 2011, I filed an appeal with the VA challenging the denial of my request for a sex marker change...AND

That appeal was the tool NCTE and the VA used to clarify the policy. So March, the VA identified what kind of documents would be acceptable for changing one’s sex marker. I had applied fall 2011 with the kind of documents the VA identified as acceptable in their March policy clarification. Yet, the new policy didn’t impact my ability to change my sex marker: my appeal was still pending. As of Oct.15 – almost a year to the day after filing my appeal – I was sent a letter from the VA. My appeal was resolved in my favor. Per the letter, sometime within the next thirty calendar days the VA will change my sex marker from male to female.

Because of transgender veterans such as Autumn pushing the system, my path becomes so much clearer and hopefully easier. Just saying I have a debt of gratitude doesn't seem enough.

Go here to read more.

The Gender Waltz

Image from Clarisse Meyer on UnSplash Since the beginning of time, the two binary genders have done a special dance with each other.  Being ...