Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Trans Girls Dreams

Trans Ohio Archive Image from
the Jessie Hart Archives.




There were plenty of times when I thought living a transgender life was going to be impossible. 

All the days of staring into the mirror cross dressed in women's clothing come back to haunt me. As well as my poor attempts at the makeup arts when I turned out looking like a clown. Who knew being a woman was going to be as difficult as I was making it. But it was and took me years of work to come close to getting it right. 

Dreams of course can come during the night or day. As I was day dreaming my life away about being a girl/woman, I also tragically had the problem of dreaming of being a beautiful girl during my dreams. All my dreams, day or night, did was frustrate me even further. Most of the time, all my dreaming did was trigger my severe gender dysphoria. My cross dresser mirror visits were not doing any good and I couldn't see a way out of my gender issues. All the time shattering any hope I ever had of living life as a transgender woman. 

It turned out I was being a drama queen in many ways and was giving up a dream I really wanted way too early. What happened, all of a sudden I began to learn makeup and fashion skills so at the least I could survive in a world of women. It was a slow process to be sure but if I was ever going to achieve my trans girl dream, I just had to do it. Plus when I survived, I felt so natural and was elated at my progress. Perhaps my ultimate goal could be within reach after all. From then on, I still had a huge amount of work to do. As I delved deeper into the women's world I so admired, I then had to decide if I wanted to go all the way or not. Was the grass really greener on the feminine side? Again and again, I found it was as I tackled issues such as vocal training and just overall life surviving in the world as a trans woman. As I progressed, the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be sunshine and not the train. 

Since I started my journey with no obvious feminine characteristics, I had a long way to go. I started my path by trying out Halloween parties initially dressed as a trashy woman, all the way to presenting as a professional woman at others. So I could see if I could indeed present as a realistic woman. Finding out I could led me to believe my trans girl dream could indeed be realized. At that point, my life became a blur as I attempted to live as both a man and a woman. All my attempts did was create a tremendous amount of pressure on me and essentially wrecked my mental health. With the help of a good therapist as well as several good friends, I was able to survive and once again re-direct myself towards my dream. Once I felt I was back on the right track, I started gender affirming hormones following an approval from my doctor and there was no looking back for me. 

I never considered I could make it as far as I have when I was the kid staring longingly into our full length hallway mirror at home so many years ago. Even though there were many rough patches along the way as I battled my gender dysphoria, along with waiting until I was in my early sixties to out myself to the world as a transgender woman, I still somehow made it. 

I guess the old saying is true, if you don't dream it, it will never happen. My dream of living a feminine life was the only goal I could think of when I was young and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course. I could not say a woman and ruin any life as I knew it, so I lied and said a lawyer or something more popular with my parents. I am sure many of you can relate to my story. 

Finally, after more failures than trials my trans girl dreams came through and somewhere within me there is an inner child who is rejoicing. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Why Me?

Image from Emily Morter on UnSplash.





I can't remember how many times in my life I have thought of the idea of why me? Why did I have to have all these gender issues.

It wasn't until much later in life did I learn it was OK to be different and in fact sometimes I preferred not being part of what was called "normal." Then I learned nearly everyone had their skeletons in the closet and many people just were able to make the skeletons dance better and faster. These days, we often see many public figures whose skeletons ran out of gas and are exposed. For some reason, I even feel sorry for some of them because they needed to hide their so called problems for so long. Mainly because I suffered so many years in my own gender closet.

Plus, as I negotiated the complex path I followed to living my ultimate dream of living life as a woman, there were still many times I questioned all I was doing. On one hand, my job choice was proving to be successful while on the other hand, my self destructive self was trying to destroy it all. I was having huge why me moments. In other words, I was being a complete victim. Over the span of my life, I ran and hid behind my skirts and dresses anytime I encountered any rough patches in my male life. I always figured I never wanted to be a part of the male world anyhow, so it worked well for me to hide. 

In time, the pressures in my life increased and finally I needed to stop thinking why me and face them head on. The major issue I needed to face (and did not) was rather or not I was much more than a causal weekend cross dresser and in fact a novice transgender woman. At that point, I decided to find out if I was indeed a trans woman. It was then, I began to explore the world in any way I could to see if my gender skeletons could still dance with the best of them. At the same time I was dancing, my why me began to fade away. I had no more time to wonder why I had gender issues when so many seemingly did not. I found their closets were just deeper and different from mine. 

Then, I started to embrace my transgender status as a positive. Very few humans ever have the opportunity to explore and live in both binary genders, male and female. All of a sudden, when I was out in the world, I could see and understand all the games the genders played around me. I even knew I was succeeding when virtual strangers I met would ask me questions concerning their spouses or boy friends as if I would know. Which often I did. I just hope they took my advice as free advice and took it with a grain of salt. 

As you can tell, probably being a victim was a bigger issue for me earlier in my life versus the why me question I was always falling back on. The process took all the courage I could muster to overcome my problems. Ironically, hiding behind my skirts and dresses became the focal point of my new found confidence in the world. When I was able to dress to blend in the world as any other woman, my skeletons cheered me on. Since I had always been a terrible dancer, I never danced in the world but just kept it in mentally. 

One way or another, why me was becoming why not? It was time for me to take the gender issues I was born with and run with them. No more wondering what my life would have been like if I was born into a world the men around me faced. I was similar to a big piece of clay which was just waiting to be worked into a new unique human. Why not?

Monday, June 10, 2024

Then I Went and Did It!

 

Trans Girl image from
Alexander Grey on 
UnSplash.

I played around for nearly a half a century being a very serious cross dresser. Sounds like a long time, doesn't it!

It was while I was doing it but now it seems like it was a blur. Most of it started with all the problems of sneaking around my home when I was growing up. I needed to use a ton of creativity to hide my cross dressing itself and not to mention the clothes I had accumulated. Somehow, I managed to do it all. Who knows, maybe it all made me a better person? I doubt it but at the least, the process helped me to be more creative with my life.

As I progressed slowly with my makeup art and improving my women's fashion choices by going to thrift stores, I found out I could do more. Then I went and did it by going out and testing the public's reaction to me as a novice transgender woman or at the least a skilled cross dresser. I found, the more I did it, the more successful I was and I felt so natural. To me, feeling natural was the best way I knew I was on the correct gender path and I wanted to keep going. Plus, feeling natural, gave me the confidence I needed to always push my gender envelope and try to do more and more. I even changed the way I viewed my Halloween costumes I was choosing. I started to go away from my trashy woman's look and then tried for a more realistic approach. I searched my brain for ideas which allowed me to try to present as a cis-woman at a Halloween party. Again, I went and did it when I succeeded at two parties where I was actually mistaken for a woman. Which in fact I was just learning I was.

By this time, it was too late to turn back and ignore my gender dreams. I was having so much success building a new life as a transgender woman, I just couldn't turn back. Even my sexuality was not a problem when I began to attract more attention from cis-women than I ever had as a man. I was validating myself as my own type of woman through my years of femininization and it felt so right. Then, I went and did it and jumped into the girl's sandbox and after a few bruises was successful. The claw marks I received on my back I felt were all learning experiences and I stayed and eventually held my own. 

All of this led me to my next transgender step of researching the possibility of beginning gender affirming hormones. Then I went and finally did by making my first appointment with a doctor who I heard would prescribe the hormones if a person was healthy. Thank the Goddess I was and the fun started. Like so many others, I needed to begin my hormonal journey on minimal dose of medication until my doctor and I could see how my body reacted. As it turned out, my body took to the new feminization hormones the way I hoped it would. It was like a big I told you so as my body changed. Inside and out. I needed all the help I could get in the appearance department and I was overjoyed when my facial angles softened and my hair quickly grew to a point where wigs became a part of my past. Luckily, my family history had no male pattern baldness for me to deal with. 

Since my overall appearance was becoming highly androgynous, I was loving it, I decided to give up on what was left of my old male life. I was to the point where none of my male shirts fit my breasts anymore, so rather than buy new bigger ones, I decided to go and do it. Give away what was left of my male clothes and live fulltime as a woman, transgender or not I was ready for the world. 

Since I had taken my time to make certain my gender decision was the correct one, I had no problems of never looking back. Many times now, I wish I had the courage to do it sooner and not have to worry about so many then I went and did its. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Gender Puzzles

Image from Norbu Gyachaung 
on UnSplash



At what age can we act as if we understand our gender issues or dysphoria? Or will it forever be a big gender puzzle.

I suppose I can say, I never really understood exactly why something clicked with me the first time I tried on my Mom's clothes. The whole process caused me to finally understand I put so much into a process of dreaming of a feminine life which turned out to be so big, yet so small. The big view of course was having the success to go forth and conquer a sometimes negative world who was not used to gender explorers. The small view was thinking of all the pieces of the puzzle which allowed me to break out and break free in the world as a transgender woman. Just trying to remember all the facets of living as I do right now sometimes is very intimidating to me. 

Often, I just have to go back to pieces of the gender puzzle I was able to piece together so I could get a glimpse of how the final picture may look like.  I should have saved my energy since I am still putting together the puzzle. Since I don't have the patience for puzzles anyhow, it never mattered to me.  Through it all, the key word was outrageous since I never knew exactly what I was ever doing as I blindly followed my gender dreams. First I had to learn to not be outrageous in my dress and fashion and dress to blend with other women in the public's eye. Not what I thought I looked good as. I could also not be overstated or outrageous in how I acted. Again not to invite unwanted attention to myself. As a male I never liked crowds, so I had to learn all over how to conquer all my fears when I was out in the world with all my male/white privileges stripped away from me. So, outrageous to me at that time in my life was knowing I could indeed make it in the public's eye as a transgender woman.

Then I was back to the damn puzzle. It seemed when I was successful at piecing together one piece of the gender puzzle, I just could not figure out the next piece. Just when I thought I had made it, I was rudely awakened by a gender bigot telling me how much farther I had to go. My biggest example was the night when my wife Liz and I were at an lesbian Valentines Party. At one point, Liz left me alone for a couple of minutes to go get something to eat and in that brief time a lesbian TERF attacked me. She rudely asked me what my "real name" was and was extremely hard to dissuade from attacking me any further until Liz came back to save me. It taught me how far I still had to go in life since I essentially "raised" around accepting lesbians and was na├»ve when I was confronted.  I found in my new life I was young again and never too experienced to learn.

I was fortunate to finally having the basic resources to piece my life's puzzle together. I learned I could step into the feminine universe briefly then make my way into the larger universe of women eventually. All the nights with friends at the diverse mixer/parties I went to in Columbus, Ohio helped me to see and interact with all levels of the transgender and LGBTQ communities. By doing so, I learned where I belonged with my ongoing puzzle issues. I just knew I was excited often with how my journey was progressing. The problem I was soon experiencing was one which many other of you trans women have. What to do concerning  an unaccepting spouse. Sadly, too many marriages reach the end of the line when the gender rock meets the hard place with a trans spouse when the pressure becomes unbearable.

For the first time in my life, I had to have the patience and resilience to put my gender puzzle together. Now I am down to the final pieces as I reach the final stages of my life. All I can hope for is to pass on to the other side as painless as possible and I hope you are as successful with your gender puzzle as I managed to be. 


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Strong Women Role Models

Hand Beaded Transgender Hair
Barret from Liz T Designs on
Etsy 

 I am speculating most transgender women or even trans men have experienced at least one or more strong women in their lives.

For any number of reasons, women have been forced to be strong and carry the load for weak men. For many, their first entrance into true womanhood comes with having children. With current economic conditions the way they are, the days of the old fifties version of Mom staying home to raise the kids and take care of the house is long gone. To barely make it financially, both partners have to work.

Problems then arise when the man still wants to follow the old outdated male standards of doing very little around the house to help out. 

By now, you may be asking what does this have anything to do with being a transgender woman. With me, at least, it means a lot. My Mom worked out a deal with my Dad in the sixties. If she went back to work as a school teacher and used her college degree, my Dad would help her out with hiring a part-time housekeeper. Even with the help, Mom had a lot to do with two sons in a very male orientated family. Even though I admired my Dad for being a self made man coming out of the Great Depression and WWII, I had more on hands experience with my Mom who was very headstrong. Who knows, maybe that influence with her had more to do with me being transgender than anything else. Later I was to learn my gender issues ran deeper than one person outside of myself.

Even so, I still searched for the perfect woman to model myself after. I wanted to appear as the confident women in the world I saw moving around in their lives. The older I became, the more I learned the perfect woman did not exist and many women were hurting themselves attempting the be a successful person in the world as well as on the home front. Not to mention, the overwhelming problem of appearance. Until recent times, aging has not been kind to most women who among other things suffer from extended menopause. 

All of these factors contribute to why I have such a high opinion of strong women and how I think the world is changing quickly as many more young women seize the new opportunities in the world around them while young men play video games. 

With all the changes, it is important to figure out how a transgender woman can fit in at all. Certainly, we have to be a better woman to do it at all. Which means understanding all the layers of a woman's life. That is once of the reasons some women resist letting trans women play in the girls sandbox at all. As my second wife always told me in no uncertain terms, I needed to earn my way in. Maybe that is why I never considered her a strong woman role model for me at all. My Mom on the other hand, was a strong role model for me. From how she applied her makeup to how she battled me for my future, I appreciated all she did for me. Including of course, birthing me. She remained my role model even though she rejected me when I came out as a transvestite to her. She immediately said she would pay for a psychiatrist which I rejected. Since I didn't have a mental health problem because of my gender issues. 

We never mentioned my desire to change my gender the rest of her life but even so I decided to adopt her first name as my legal middle name when I transitioned and legally changed my name. It was the biggest honor I could think of for all the things she did for me. The most relevant thing she did for me was to show me what a strong woman was and how to be one. A trait I would really need as I followed all the ups and downs of following a new gender path.

It is ironic to me, the strongest women I know like Liz or Kim have very little idea of how much they have helped me along and the most frustrating part is I don't think I can ever repay what they have done for me. 

Who knows? You might be an offspring of the very few strong women like my daughter. She had to became an ally for her trans child and was then able to take advantage of helping her child at an early age. Maybe your Mom realized your authentic gender self and became an ally rather than the cruel opposite.  If you didn't, you were forced to do what the rest of us did. Study strong women close up and do your best to join their ranks. I was fortunate enough to be able to work professionally along side several strong women who I learned from. The women seemed to combine strength and humility seamlessly to forge a successful business career. 

There are so many variations on how to become a successful strong trans woman it is difficult to mention them all. We all need to the do the best we can to force our way into a world where sometimes we are not wanted.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Last Chance

The Ohio State Student Union
with Brutus Buckeye


In  a recent post, I discussed the problem of waiting through years of cross dressing before I could finally transition into fulltime transgender womanhood. 

Then when I came out, I faced certain people who somehow didn't think I was deserving of the transgender title because I took so long to do it. Of course in my usual way, I thought to hell with them, we all are different in how we are able to transition. In most cases, the younger trans people who were saying all of this, had no knowledge of the conditions we faced in our younger days before the internet and social media. Our closets were potentially darker and more lonely than the days after the internet. 

Enough complaining, reality set in for me as did my age. All of a sudden, all those years I spent supposedly preparing myself to come out of my closet had taken me to the age of sixty and I was facing a now or never proposition as far as undertaking my final transition. In addition, I had never worked on anything as hard as I had to cross the gender border to see if the feminine side was indeed greener. Slowly but surely, I found the grass was greener and I was much happier there. Once I did, my age became a major consideration. Being sixty meant I had more life behind me than ahead, so I had to act. Being the original great procrastinator I was, I needed to change that aspect of my life  and do something about my overwhelming gender issues. 

It all happened one night when I was sitting alone in one of my favorite venues pondering my future when a clear thought came to me. The thought was so simple, I wondered why I did not think of it before. Enough of my drama queen existence.  It was time for my male self to go completely away and I could live in the greener feminine grass for the rest of my life. Plus, the doors of destiny were opening for me so I could. First of all, I was single and did not have an unapproving spouse to worry about. Secondly, I felt I was ready appearance wise to present well enough in public to get by. And finally, my Veterans health care system was starting to approve basic care for trans veterans so I could take advantage of low cost gender affirming hormones which I had long dreamed of taking. As you can tell, I had no real reason not to change my life. I was even old enough to consider early retirement so I didn't have to worry about coming out on a job.

Once I decided my course was clear, now it was a now or never moment I had to act on it. In my mind, I had connected all the male to female gender transition dots I could, so it was time to quit running from my truth and start a new life. As the hormones feminized my body inside and out, I found I had made the right decision. It was my last chance to live my dream and I better take it. I guess I was fortunate in that my choice was crystal clear. I had been transgender all my life and at the least I had lived long enough to live a life immersed in both binary genders. It certainly was not the easiest way to live and I would not wish it on anybody but at the least, my life was never boring. 

Boring or not, I needed to play all the cards I had and take the last chance I had to live my dream. Thanks to a small circle of women friends, who helped me more than they ever knew, my last chance gender gamble was a good one and I made it a success.    

Thursday, June 6, 2024

It's All a Big Transformation

Image from Ross Findom on UnSplash

Before we get started, I need to take a moment to remember the surviving military members of the D-Day invasion. It is important to remember how we arrived at the point of having to fight such a monumental war at all and hopefully learning our lesson to never do it again. My Dad fought in WWII but was not in Europe for D-Day. 

Now, on to the post: Anyway you look at it, life is nothing but a big transformation. We are born into a certain gender (right or wrong) and have our opportunities to grow into men or women. Not just males and females because it is a socialization process. Sadly for transgender women or trans men, we go through extra transformations in our life. Mainly because we need to escape from the initial gender declaration we were straddled with when we were born. Being forced into square gender holes when we were born as round pegs is cruel and unusual punishment. 

Over time, if we are lucky, we are able to climb out of our gender closets and thrive in the world but to get there, often it takes several separate transformations to arrive at our goals. For example, the first transformation I went through was when I was able to look at myself in my Mom's clothes in the hallway mirror. From there, I went even further by raiding her makeup and basically looking like a clown before I improved. At the time, I compared my expertise to painting a model car which were so popular at the time. It took awhile but I did get better with both at the same time. With no guidance from anyone, I needed to start from scratch.

Along the way, somehow I did manage to catch up partially with other girls of my age who I was watching closely. Another problem I had was having any income at all to purchase any feminine items of my own because I was rapidly out growing all my Mom's clothes so I took on a news-paper route to augment my meager allowance and buy a few items. In order to do so, I needed to visit my Grandma who lived very close to the downtown area which back in those days was a thriving business district. I snuck out, spent my money while being scared to death I would run into my Dad who worked nearby. Then sneak all my purchases back home and into my regular hiding places. By doing so, I was helping my transformation along.

The older I got, the larger my transformative steps became. Starting with going to Halloween parties dressed as a woman and then sneaking out of the house cross dressed, I knew each time I was successful, I could not go back to my unwanted, boring male life. Yet I needed to because I was still the round peg struggling to get out of her square hole and enjoy an authentic life as a novice transgender woman. Most importantly, it was looking as if I could defy all odds and do it. All because of the evenings I went out as a trans woman to be alone and ended up socializing with the world. Granted, it was a huge transformation to climb out of the male life I was in and make it into the dream world of women I always wanted to be part of but I made it.

Perhaps the biggest transformation came when I began gender affirming hormones. In addition to feminizing my body, I also feminized the world as I saw it. Finally I didn't have to play the old macho male game and was able to cry when I needed to. Surprisingly to me, my body even became more sensitive to changes in temperature and smell as my world softened.

I look at myself as being so fortunate in that I lived long enough to sense and go through several big transformations in my life. All the way from being able to father a child I love to living a fulltime life as a transgender woman with a woman I love, in many ways I feel I have received more than I deserved.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Life in Her World

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives

Once I was preparing to live as a transgender woman, I needed to figure out what to do with my new life. . 

As it turned out, even though I had worked for years to figure out my ultimate gender puzzle, I found I still had a long way to go. When everything ceased to be in my mind and into the world, I faced the formidable task of rebuilding my life as a trans woman and leaving my male past behind. The first major problem came from my old male self accepting any of the idea at all. He kept reminding me of all the risks I would be taking if I transitioned. What would happen to my family, friends and employment if I entered my new exciting world. What I did for the longest time was attempt to live with one foot in one gender and one foot in another. Of course, my less than wonderful idea did not work and the pressure to move into her world fulltime became unbearable. I finally realized I did not have a choice and  I just had to complete my transition. I emphasize I had no choice because some transphobic individuals think I did. I would like them to live just a small time in a transgender life to permanently change their minds.

Another problem I had was the longer I lived in my new trans life, the more routine it became.  I found myself slipping back into my old male bad habits which were long gone. When my white, male privileges disappeared, I had no where to turn when life turned the tables on me. A primary example came on the occasions when my personal security was threatened as a novice transgender woman just learning the world. I discovered I could not just bluster or bluff away problematic situations which arose in the world. In many situations, like every other woman,  I needed to work hard to distance myself from the problem and try to learn from it.  Every time I slipped back into male mode, I was rudely reminded of what I did and quickly adjusted.  

Just moving around became a priority for me. I needed to unlearn the male walk and talk and learn to try to flow like a woman. I practiced everytime I could until I thought I had achieved a basic successful walk so I would  not look like a line backer in a dress. The whole process became easier when I finally realized I needed to put my male self away and adopt the feminine one forever. Without totally knowing it, I had moved away from my cross dressing days into a life in her world as a transgender woman. As far as talking was involved in the process, I write about the feminine art of communication often. As a male my habit of frontal aggression needed to go away as I found myself in a world dominated by passive aggression. All too often, I suffered the pain of claw marks on my back when I thought I knew what another woman was thinking or doing. Instead of making the first move in situations, I learned to lay back and let the other woman make the first move and then go from there.

Life in her world then became a question of how confident I had become. I came to realize even though another woman realized my path was different than hers, I still could be accepted as an equal. When I reached this moment of confidence, my life changed forever and I knew I could live the life I always dreamed of. In her world where I always belonged. 

In order to do so, I needed to finally trust my inner feminine soul to take over and run my life. She did a wonderful job since she had waited so long to do it. I was able to become a well rounded person in her world.


Monday, June 3, 2024

Trans Girl at Pride Day

 

Pride Flag image from
Jason Leung on UnSplash

Welcome to Pride Month. The only month of the year when the LGBTQ community is celebrated by a portion of the world and hated by others. Sadly, the month brings out all the gender bigots in the world. 

Early on, I had many experiences at various Pride Days with my new circle of lesbian friends. Including non lesbian friends when a meetup group my wife Liz and I were in operated a table at Cincinnati Pride for a couple of years. On occasion, I even felt as if I was the token LGBT person in the group. Regardless, I had a good time people watching all the diverse public which was walking by. I saw everything from lesbians wearing nearly nothing to cross dressers teetering painfully around in their heels and hose. Then, of course there were the drag queens who I almost felt were embarrassing to me because I did not want anyone to think I was part of their culture, I was transgender not a drag queen. My disclaimer is I have nothing against drag queens but my days in male gay bars taught me how unfortunate it was to be mistaken for a queen. 

Plus, I wanted everyone to know how important it was to me to be recognized for being a transgender woman in a sea of other diverse people. Along the way, I felt the Prides I went to started to emphasize trans people and not the drag queens who seemed to get all the attention with their flamboyant attitudes and clothing. Cincinnati in particular a couple of years ago featured a trans woman I don't remember now as their parade marshal. Plus, I started to see many more transgender women and trans men in the crowd along with groups of butch lesbians and gay male "bears". It made for an interesting experience as my preference was to be mistaken for a lipstick lesbian. Or a lesbian who wears makeup. 

Early on, back in our drinking days, Cincinnati Pride always featured an after hours "Pub Crawl" which one year even featured a bus which took us to many gay venues we had never been to before. I had always wanted to live in Cincinnati and this was a great way to experience it, without ever driving because at the end of the evening, we took an Uber to get home. A great time was had by all. 

Of course, Cincinnati wasn't the only city in the region which hosted a huge Pride celebration. Before I moved to Cincy, I lived within a half hour of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus, as I said, had a LGBTQ celebration which rivaled all the others in the state. This time I went with my new circle of lesbian friends including Liz and two others. Similar to my Pride experiences in Cincinnati, the drag queens became less of an influence and better yet, I could relax and enjoy myself. That night for some reason, we ended up in several straight bars without any problems. 

These days, Pride has really expanded. In the local metro area alone, there are four separate celebrations going on this year. Sadly, with most, after the celebrating has died down, the same old problems exist for transgender women and men in the community. Big corporations who support Pride go back into their closets and I assume wait for the push back from the gender bigots. 

At any rate, it is refreshing to see the public media support for our community. Even if it is temporary.

Enjoy your Pride month no matter where you are in your gender transition! That includes all of you who identify as cross dressers. You never know when all of that may change. It happened to me.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

A Zig-Zag Trans Life

Party night at Club Diversity
Columbus, Ohio.

 Maybe I should have called this post I should have zigged when I should have zagged. Or vice-versa.

In many ways, I see all sorts of transgender women or trans men in the same situation. I started at a very young age when I would zig away from my younger brother when we were home alone and I was able to get away from him when I cross dressed by locking myself in the bathroom. Fortunately, I never needed to zag because somehow, he never caught me and told my unapproving parents.

Somehow I thought when I got older, my life would improve. The first thing I learned was my urge to be or at least cross dress as a girl my age would not magically disappear. In fact, it became stronger when I learned it was not just a phase and I began to understand my gender dysphoria better. At that point, I really had to start zigging and zagging just to maintain my fragile mental health. When I was old enough, I even began taking myself to therapists to seek out help. My only main success which came out of it was when I was diagnosed with a bi-polar depressive disorder. It had nothing to do with my gender issues at all. As far as zigging or zagging, I was able temporarily save my marriage and received my money's worth when my gender therapist told me the truth. She could do nothing about me wanting to be a woman. Overall, my desires should not be a problem and I should face my truth. Of course, I wasn't smart enough to follow her advice and resumed all the zigging and zagging. 

It took me years and years to grow up and away from my male self and settle into a life as my authentic feminine or transgender self. By this time, I was growing so tired of all the zigging and zagging I was going through. Even though the whole process was an exciting time of my gender life, I was still becoming fatigued by my life the way it was. Ironically, when I was, I settled into a long term set of appointments with a very understanding therapist. She talked me off the ledge several times and along the way helped me secure gender affirming hormones and the paper work I needed to change all the legal gender markers I could. All of a sudden, I was able to visualize myself living my dream as a full fledged transgender woman. With my daughter's help, we were even able to come up with a new legal name which would reflect my family history and would be easy for my grandkids to use.

Finally all my exhaustion came to an end and I was able to live how I pleased. All the zigging and zagging had worked. All the times I hurried to hide myself away from friends and family, were put behind me. Through it all I learned one difficult lesson. If you can somehow believe in yourself, you can live your best life. Even though you may (like me) take years and years to evolve into your authentic self, the trip is usually never boring as you lead a zig-zag trans life. Overall, it takes a ton of effort to weave your gender issues into a life of family, spouses, jobs and friends. You learn to be forever vigilant in protecting yourself and end up internalizing way too much of your life. It seems the entire process is just ingrained as part of a transgender life as breath itself. We just have to finally zig to get around it. Then zag to adopt your new life as a trans woman.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Transgender Stairsteps

Image from Reinaldo Kevin
on UnSplash

As I progressed through life, the idea of me being transgender took up more and more space. 

When it did, I had to create my own steps to arrive at the next level and negotiate all the many stop signs which impeded my progress. For awhile, I was so engrossed in my own appearance, my second wife called me the "Pretty, pretty princess." Mainly because she did not use much makeup and was not very girly herself. I did get my revenge on the occasions we were going out and she had to ask for my assistance with her makeup. It was all I could do to not say something like did she all of a sudden need the "Princess's" help but I didn't.

Little did I know, presenting the best I could as a cross dresser or novice transgender woman was just the beginning. As I was attempting to learn as much as I could about the next step I was stonewalled by my wife who did not want me to go any farther as a trans woman. Not to mention my male self, who was doing his best to derail my gender journey the best he could. It was obvious, he wanted nothing to do with giving up any of his power over me. 

With or without either my wife or my male self, my path was set and I was intent on finding and climbing the next steps towards living as a fulltime transgender woman. Now I shouldn't get  too far ahead of myself because of all the steep stairsteps I still had to climb. The first step was to determine exactly what my gender identity was. Which included my all important sexuality. Since I was planning on living a feminine lifestyle, would I be expected on changing my sexuality as well. This time of my life was very exciting and scary at the same time. When I made it to my next step, I needed to maintain my balance before I could even think about going forward to another.

Once I maintained my balance and was able to look around in my new feminine world, I loved where I was and could not wait to go on. After all, I was showcasing my new skills at blending in with other women as well as experiencing more and more communicating with other women which I went into in yesterday's post. I can safely say my communication experience was one of the most difficult things I had ever done. The next step seemed to be an impossible distance away. Somehow I made it anyways and the next move was seeking out the availability of gender affirming hormones or HRT. I did get approved by a doctor to begin the hormones and the next step was a huge one. Mainly because I had some sort of an idea of the physical changes I would be going through but had no idea of the internal ones.

All of a sudden, I was a different person. I could cry when I never could before as well as undergoing other inner changes. The step of hormones turned out to be worth the wait and all the anticipation. In fact being afraid of heights and climbing too high was worth it also. Maybe it is the excuse I can use to rationalize to myself why it took me so long to realize my transgender life long dreams. 

Before I go, I would like to wish a Happy Birthday to my oldest Grandchild who is graduating from The Ohio State University in December. My Grandchild also happens to be trans and identifies as "They/Them" and I am so proud!

Friday, May 31, 2024

Trans Girl Passing Privilege

 

Witches Ball Image. Tom on
left.

Passing privilege has been one of my biggest gender paranoia's over the years. Many because I did not begin my journey with any feminine characteristics I could see. Testosterone poisoning had essentially ruined my life when it came to establishing passing privilege. 

As I began to add angles to my body along with unwanted body hair and muscle mass, I began to think ever presenting well as a cross dresser / transgender woman would be impossible. In order to make my gender dream possible, I needed to look around at the other women my age and try to blend my style with theirs. The whole process was difficult and I made many fashion mistakes along the way. Even though I did, I managed to survive in the world as a novice transvestite on my own and move forward. Mainly thanks to brief moments of gender euphoria which always propelled me forward. To do so, I learned how important for me it was to blend in with other women. All I knew was, I enjoyed it immensely when other women would take the time to talk and communicate with me as an equal.

Through it all, I learned that even if I was not the most beautiful woman in the room, many other cis-women were not either. Since women operate on a more layered existence than men, there were many other possibilities to be successful in the world other than just being attractive. In fact, being transgender gave me an extra quality to my existence which many women were drawn to. As I crossed the gender frontier into a new feminine world, ironically I found I had more interest from women than I ever did when I was a man. 

Probably, one of the more profound statements I was ever told was when my transgender friend Racquel told me I passed out of sheer willpower. Which I took to mean (again) I was not the best looking woman in the room but went out into the public's eye anyhow. Together, we went to many so called straight venues together and had a great time with very little public push back, Even if I was passing out of sheer willpower, I was doing it successfully. Which was all that mattered. 

It mattered even less, when I was able to expand my small circle of lesbian friends who put the icing on the cake so to speak when it came to passing privilege. We were able to attend several lesbian mixers in Dayton, Ohio at several different venues. Even though I was initially very scared to go, I was quickly put at ease when I found I could blend in with the group in the venue. Sometimes the venue would be gay and sometimes straight which added to the excitement. All I know is one night, I was asked to be a lesbian wing person for my friend who was too shy to approach another woman and ask for her name. I even was able to steal a few kisses on the side one night from another woman I met. Willpower passing was great. 

I don't have enough power to do it but I think "passing" should be changed to "blending". With blending, you have the choice to dress with the other women you are going to be around and you have the choice not to if you like. In my case, I always wanted to do the best I could to enter the world as a transgender woman and blend in with the other women who were going to be around me. On the other hand, I understand also it is a trans woman's privilege to go to the grocery store in her heels and hose to do her shopping. It is all part of the fun of entering the women's world. 

The biggest problem with trans girl passing privilege is the amount of stress and attention put into appearance by the media and the outside world. The competition to look better seems to get stronger with each generation with the internet and social media being the major culprits. When the stress goes up for ordinary women to look better, it follows the pressure to be even better is real for transgender women and their quest to blend in with the public. 

At least now, there are plenty of self help makeup videos to help the novice trans girl along plus several of the big makeup stores offer advice and products too. Many more places than transgender women such I had when I was first coming out. Maybe it all equals out. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Quiet Trans Girl

Image from Linkedin on UnSplash.

Growing up, I lived under the double edged sword of not wanting to live in a male dominated world which was my family. So I did what I was taught to do, I internalized my thoughts and never mentioned them to anyone.  I became a very quiet trans girl until when I was in my early twenties and came out as a transvestite to a few very close friends. In the Army, of all places. 

In fact, internalizing my feminine desires became my main theme to my life. On many days, when my gender dysphoria was at it's highest, I had no idea how I was going to make it through another day in a male world. Somehow, without the help of anyone else I made it and continued to live a very quiet life with a few male dominated activities included to throw my gender doubters off the beaten track. Somehow I managed to join up with a small group of hell raisers who I stayed friends with through high school and the military.

Staying hidden in my closet had a negative effect when I first took my tentative steps in the world as a novice cross dresser / transgender woman. When I made my entrance into the real world away from gay bars and clothing stores where everyone could be accepted, I was petrified when someone attempted to communicate with me. What would I say and more importantly how would I say it. Nothing in my life had prepared me for what I was about to face. 

I began the process with simply trying to mimic the voice of the woman who was trying to talk to me, which seemed to work out fairly well until I needed to talk to a man. So I tried to do the next best thing and not talk at all. Not talking worked fairly well until I began to see people again. For the most part, I was easy to remember and more people than I care to mention wanted to know more about me. Particularly women, who in their own feminine way wanted to know why I wanted into their world. To further my communication success, I then decided to attend vocal classes at the Veteran's Administration in Dayton, Ohio. By doing so, I was able to learn the basic differences the male and female binary genders use to communicate in the world. The training went much farther than just the basics of vocal range and I learned a lot. 

Perhaps the biggest improvement I learned was I could now have the confidence to hold my own, one on one with another woman. I was no longer coming off as unfriendly or worse by not wanting to talk. I used to say I was going out to my favorite venues night after night to be alone but it was not true any longer as I was out to be social. 

Ironically, the better I became at being social with other women, the more I was kicked out of my old men's club which I had become so adept at surviving in. I learned quickly my male privilege of discussing topics of interest with other guys was a waste of my time when I was rejected for being a woman. Transgender or not. Like it or not, once again I had became the quiet trans girl. 

It wasn't until I began to build a new circle of women friends did I finally discover I didn't need a man's validation to be a person at all. I could stand on my own two feet and flourish in the world but it wasn't easy to get there. I had more failures than successes when I first started the communication process in the world as a transgender woman. The feminine nuances of non verbal communication women use initially was very difficult to learn. It did not take me long though to grasp when a friendly woman behind the bar was trying to tell me when a drunk guy was a huge red flag and I should vacate the premises.

More than anything else, my new communication skills brought the quiet trans girl out of her shell. When I moved in with Liz in Cincinnati, we began to go to "Meetup" social groups which helped immeasurably with my communication skills. Sure, probably, most of the others attending knew I was trans but I was different and even exotic to a few, so I stood out from the group. I needed to accept the fact and finally began to thrive on my reality.

I know my reality isn't for everyone and my journey could be different than all of yours. The main thing is we are all on the same journey at various points in our lives and can learn from each other. When we do, we can come out of our deep/dark gender closets and live a meaningful life. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Time Waits for No One if you are Trans

Image from David Cohen
on UnSplash.


Sometimes I look back at my nearly three quarters of a century of life and wonder how I made it.

Often I think I could have made it easier on myself if I had been able to muster the courage to come out much earlier and live the authentic feminine life I always wanted to live. It is difficult to imagine exactly how it would have worked out, because the world has changed so much for transgender women and men. It is always worth mentioning the pre-internet/social media days when trans people were so much more isolated in their dark gender closets.

Timing always has quite a bit of influence on how anyone is able to attempt joining the world as an out transgender person. As anyone becomes older, they have a tendency to accumulate life experiences, material or not. Families come along for many, making the gender shock of changing genders so much more of a problem. Baggage continues to increase when we undertake better employment and secure better housing. Both of which can be very difficult to give up.

Time keeps on moving, which often is the only definite and when it does, the pressure builds to do something about it. The older we become, the more the reality of our mortality sets it and we lose the recklessness of youth. I was certainly much more reckless when I was younger and tried more self destructive acts such as consuming too much alcohol and driving way too fast. Also, as the pressure mounted, my mental health which was already shaky was put to the test repeatedly. Anything I tried seemed to take me farther and farther away from any potential answers I could think of.  

The problem was I couldn't see the forest for the gender trees. Similar to any other woman, my biological clock was ticking away and the older I got, the louder it became. I tried everything to run from my clock but of course nothing worked. Finally, when I turned sixty, I could take it no longer. On one momentous night after years of struggle I gave up my male self and gave in to living fulltime as a transgender woman. I put all the years of experimentation as a cross dresser behind me, dis-carded the remainder of my male clothes and set out to live my dream. Sure, it was scary but all the preparation I put into the move made it more natural and successful from the beginning. Primarily my inner woman was overwhelmed by finally having the final say in my life. 

At the time, I was viewing the entire process as jumping off a gender cliff and hoping for a soft landing. As it turned out, all my prep time when I was actually trying to play in the girl's sandbox worked well for me because I had a chance to build up a close circle of women friends who helped with the landing and even welcomed me in. 

I knew too, I wasn't getting any younger and if I put off a gender transition much longer, I would likely never have the chance again. I was close to retirement age, had no spouse to worry about, and had a limited amount of family and friends to come out to, so even I didn't have a good reason to stay in my gender closet any longer. 

In my case, for whatever reason, I was able to wait out time to the bitter end and come out positive in the process. I wish now, I didn't wait so long to live as my authentic transgender self and put so much prep work into it but no one goes back and gets a second chance to rewind the clock.  

Monday, May 27, 2024

Memorial Day

 

Author in Civil War Cemetery
Cincinnati, Ohio.

It is the time once again for my annual Memorial Day post.

It always seems to me, the true meaning of the weekend gets lost on things such as cookouts, parades and fireworks. Every once in a while, I will receive a "Thanks for your service" on Memorial Day and because I am a Vietnam Era vet. I am always sure to thank the person but the weekend is not about the veterans who survived all the various wars this country has fought over the years. The real reason for Memorial Day is to stop and remember all those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

Speaking of lives, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the transgender veterans who perhaps joined the military to "prove" their manhood and died while they were still in their closets.  So sad they never had the chance to express themselves. 

To all of you who lost a close family member in a war or have a veteran who is still suffering from combat trauma, you have all my respect and Memorial Day is for you.

At the least, as I said, take the time to remember that freedom is never free and it is a constant struggle to maintain it from enemies from outside and inside our country. I know also of the many transgender veterans I hear from here on the blog. (Georgette and others.) I know you all have the proper perspective on the day but still, thanks for being a survivor! One of the true meanings of Memorial Day.    

The Power of Hope as a Trans Girl

Image from Dayne Tompkin
on UnSplash.


Of all the emotions, perhaps hope is one of the most powerful.

Especially, these days when the world seems to be coming after the entire transgender community, hope seems to be a precious commodity. In my case, I learned slivers of hope came in the form of brief gender euphoria, when I glimpsed the girl looking back at me from the mirror. She gave me hope I could keep trying to live my dream. 

Then I was forced back into my mundane drab male life I never really wanted and my hope disappeared. Often for long periods of time before I could cross dress again. I was in despair until I could glimpse my feminine image again in the mirror. Perhaps the worst part was I did not know exactly what I was looking for. More preciously, I did not understand the predictability of my urge to be a girl my age. If I was able to document it at all, it seemed every week at least once I wanted to cross dress and be feminine. Why did the euphoria of dressing not last? It wasn't until much later I would realize my answer was I was more of a transgender woman than anything else. 

In the meantime, I was busy watching the teen aged girls I so wanted to be like. Without being creepy, I noticed how they moved and what they wore. When I did, it gave me hope I could someday live my dream of being a woman. Even though I was a student of the female gender, life kept me stuck where I didn't want to be. Later I began to understand no one gets out of life without trauma and mine was an extension of being transgender. Learning to live with my trauma and still hope for better kept me going along with small periods of gender euphoria.

Initially, I took the easy way out by taking trips to mall clothing stores where everyone could present as anybody as long as their money was green and by going to gay venues where it was easy to get in. Later I learned in the gay bars, anyone was admitted but very few transgender women were ever accepted. Which made sense, the men in the gay venue were there for other men, not one who was cross dressed as a woman. I found the best I could hope for was to be accepted as a drag queen which I wasn't. 

The whole process forced me further into the world and gave me new hope for the future. I expanded my horizons past the mirror and into the life I write about so often. Surprisingly, I felt a new life as a transgender woman was possible so I started gender affirming hormones to allow the process to be easier. New friends who never knew my old male self helped me along more than they ever knew and the nights when I went out to be alone suddenly became to socialize with the world. My hope to achieve my dream was alive and well. 

However I felt about my dream coming together, the more I knew I needed to work harder to make sure it happened. For example, I needed to change as many of my legal gender markers as possible back in those days in backwards Ohio. With the help of letters from my supportive therapist, most of the process was surprisingly easy. 

Overall, the power of hope in my transgender life has been a wonderful influence but not a super power which was easy to find or nourish. The whole process took me too many years to accomplish what I set out to do because I did not have the wherewithal or even the courage to do it. Eventually, I did learn it would take more than just hope to fulfill my life dreams, it took action. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Trans Girl in the World

Downtown Cincinnati archive
image. Ohio River in the
background.

Recently, the day came when my wife Liz and I were able to get out of the house and run a few important errands. Of course it was also a rare chance to see and be seen in the public's eye. 

The first thing which had to happen was to decide what I was going to wear. Since we were not going anywhere fancy, I did not have to over do it. We were just going to the county treasurer's office to pay our taxes and make a possible coffee shop stop, so I felt my leggings and lightweight lacy top would do, along with tennis shoes in case we needed to walk any distance. The treasurer's office was downtown.   

Since we were trying to beat the rush, we decided to try to get an early start, so I needed to be up early (for me) so I could apply a light coat of makeup and brush then tie back my hair which is due for it's summer trim. Once we arrived at the treasurer's office, we were lucky that the set up for the weekend "Taste of Cincinnati" celebration (which draws over a million people) did not interfere with finding a place to park. 

From there it was a matter of going through the guard screening to get into the building. When we did, the guard called us "ladies" so I was happy. Once we arrived at the office we were looking for, the clerks who waited on us were as predictably detached as I thought they would be, so I did not encounter any stares or pushback from anyone. The worst part of course was actually paying our tax bill before we were on our way. 

On the way back home, we decided to just use the drive thru at our favorite coffee shop and spend even more money we didn't really have but we managed to order a light breakfast and coffee and be on our way.

As I often write about, we just don't get out much, so even such a mundane trip was interesting. I often have the chance to relax and reflect on how far I have come as a transgender woman. It wasn't so long ago I would have been petrified to make the short trip I made this morning.

Since we are entering the Memorial Day weekend and I am veteran, I will have my usual post coming up reminding everyone to remember the true meaning of the holiday.

In the meantime, thanks always to all of you who have followed along with all my experiences. Your participation makes it all so worthwhile.

Friday, May 24, 2024

It was All so Natural

Image from the Jessie Hart Archives. 

Even though I was facing tremendous hurdles as a cross dresser and/or novice transgender woman, everytime when gender times became tough, I kept on trying. Mainly because deep down  I felt so natural when I was cross dressed head to toe as a girl my age.

Although the time I was cross dressed felt so good, the length of time I was able to do it was never enough. Had I had more knowledge back then, I would have realized I was a transgender person. A big difference to me from only being a part-time male who enjoyed cross dressing in women's clothes. As I discovered more and more about myself, I discovered I was a woman cross dressing as a man during the majority of my life. I only knew I was not enjoying or was being fulfilled as a guy. The whole lifestyle never felt natural to me. 

As time went by, I increasingly followed the natural path no matter how difficult it proved to be. More often or not, I encountered very many severe twists and turns. Again, I was encouraged by the natural moments I experienced when I finally encountered the public as a trans woman. It was like the path had big sign boards along the way with directions on how to proceed. Or once I made it to a certain spot in my new gender life, I could set new goals. The example I always use was when I started to progress past just going shopping in clothing stores where they didn't care if I was a man dressed as a woman or not (because my money was green) and began to challenge myself in restaurants where I needed to interact one on one with the serving staff.  

From there, my goals became to refine and test my restroom skills if nature called during one of my longer outings. It was during some of my restroom visits when I  really needed to feel natural and spread my gender wings. I found out quickly I needed to be able to look other women in the eye and smile even though I was very scared. 

Through it all, I lived and was able to move forward towards new enticing goals of living life as a transgender woman. It was during this period of my life when I began to seriously consider moving forward with gender affirming hormones. Sadly, my second wife was very much against any idea of me being on hormones saying if she had wanted to marry a woman, she would have looked for one. In other words, she didn't sign up to live with another woman, trans or not. I loved her deeply and no matter how difficult it was, I tried to honor her wishes until her untimely death after we had been married twenty five years. 

Her rejection of any idea of me moving forward with HRT just put an extra strain on my mental health which in turn, led to a suicide attempt. Following the attempt, I tried yet another "purge" of my feminine wardrobe which of course didn't work. It wasn't too long after my final purge, she passed away very suddenly from a massive heart attack. As I write about often, her death was the ultimate shock to my system because I was always so self destructive there was no way I thought I would out-live her but I did.

When I did, I decided it was time to live my dream of being a full-time transgender woman. I took the natural path and never looked back.  








Thursday, May 23, 2024

Not the Only One

My Transgender Friend Racquel
from Texas

This is really an extension of yesterday's post. During the post I mentioned the times when I discovered there were actually others who shared my cross dressing dreams. In fact, they even had a label back in those days, we were called transvestites. 

In my post I even mentioned the "Transvestia" publication which I came to cherish so much. I was so amazed to see a nationwide network of like minded individuals. In a short period of time, I discovered a side group of sorts called the "Tri-Ess" organization for strictly heterosexual cross dressers who met in nearby Columbus, Ohio for socials or mixers. Columbus was only approximately a half hour from my home and I just had to check it out.

When I did, I was able to meet a smaller, diverse side group who had private parties in an exclusive Columbus location. As I became a part of this group, I really found how I was not the only one. The only issue I had was, deciding what exactly I was. I knew from experience I was much more serious about being a cross dresser than many of the others I met at the mixers. On the other hand, I still wasn't sure if I was as serious as a few of the transsexual women who were headed for gender realignment surgery. Or sex change as it was known back then. I still had too many huge gender decisions to make before I could ever make such a life changing choice. 

In the short term, I decided to align myself as close as I could with the transsexuals as I attempted to learn as much as I could about their lives. I only really knew two, so contact was very rare plus on most occasions my second wife was with me so I needed to be careful about how I acted. 

As the internet and social media came into play, the potential of knowing I was not the only one in the world with gender issues literally exploded. Along with the internet came a new understanding of the different layers of gender life. As I said in yesterday's post, the term transgender became increasingly known here in Ohio, which as always behind the East and West coasts. As I studied it, the more I was convinced transgender fit my status in life and I felt better for a short amount of time. I say a short period, because in no time at all, I was striving to be a better trans person and learn more and more about myself in the world.  

What I did learn was, even though I found others who shared my gender issues or even gender dysphoria, there were not many. In fact, before she moved to Texas, my friend Racquel was one of the few women in the LGBTQ world I stayed in contact with and Racquel often joined in with my lesbian friends when we partied. 

Recently, partially because of my mobility issues, my transgender outreach has been limited to my writing as well as virtual diversity meetings with the local Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association. As well as the occasional speaking engagement thanks to a friend in the trans community. When I am able to participate in an outreach, particularly to young people, I am able to see I am far from being the only one with gender issues and it feels good.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Gender Boxes


Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives.

When I was very young, my parents did what so many others do. They constructed a gender box and forced me into it.

As I grew up, I had no choice. I was a boy and was expected to do boy things. Even to the point of receiving gifts on Christmas I did not really want. My primary example came one year when I secretly wanted a doll or kitchen set and I received a BB Gun instead. I was the opposite from the "Ralphie" character in the "Christmas Story" movie. For you that don't know, Ralphie wanted a BB Gun in the movie in the worst way.

 As I grew and began to gain confidence in cross dressing as a girl, my gender box became smaller and smaller.  On most days, it was a struggle to just exist in the world as I knew it. The worst part about it was I never had a choice. It was like I was a round peg being driven into a square hole and being told to like it. I didn't like it and my struggles led to a worsening of my gender dysphoria and mental health. Perhaps the worst part about my situation in those days was I had no one to talk to about it and knew no one with similar gender issues. I was so alone in my little gender box.

As I struggled forward in life, I discovered there were others who were in their own gender boxes and struggling with similar problems also. I like to refer to those days as my "Virginia Prince" and "Transvestia Magazine" days. First I could not believe there were so many other cross dressers in the world and they even had a regular publication I could subscribe to. Looking back, I think "Transvestia" came every two months and I could not wait until I received my new issue. Just reading and gazing at all the other pretty transvestites in the issue made living in my box a bit more bearable. Especially when I learned there were regular "socials or mixers" being held in a location I could actually drive to. I was dazzled when I went to my first mixer and saw all the different people who attended. All the way from weekend cross dressers to transsexuals' heading for gender surgeries. 

Even seeing all those different people in their own little boxes did not help me with mine. Deep down I knew I still didn't fit in with most of the cross dressers I met because I was way more serious and certainly not with the transsexuals because I wasn't serious enough. So I remained in my little box, mainly trapped until the transgender term made it's way into the mainstream consciousness in Ohio. Once I heard or saw transgender, I knew it described me better than anything I had ever seen. Finally, I could take a big marker and write proudly transgender on my box.

From there, it was a matter of connecting the dots and removing the box altogether from my existence. Of course, learning to live a new life as a new gender was a major process and not one which was to be taken lightly. To make matters worse, sometimes I tried to jump into new gender boxes and missed my step and had to retreat to try again. Even still, life had taught me by this time, nothing was going to be easy when it came to escaping being pounded into the square hole I was in but when I did, I could be happy. 

I was fortunate in that I lived long enough to escape my gender box and enjoy a new world as a transgender woman free from many worries I used to have. The process was difficult but worth it.  


Sink or Swim

Image from Trans Wellness Event.  Jessie Hart Archives.  Many times when I first entered the world as a new cross dresser or femininized mal...