Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2022

"Endo" Day

 Every six months or so I need to "face the music" and visit my endocrinologist or "Endo" doc. Quite possibly it is the most important doctors appointment I have.? Because she  controls my hormone replacement therapy medications. 

From the Jessie
Hart Collection 

In my case, that means I have to make a trip to the vampires to have my blood checked at the Veterans Administration blood laboratory.  From that point forward it is up to her to judge my overall health and give me her blessing to continue on my meds. 

Needless to say, my hormone meds are near and dear to me because the meds have allowed me to become the transgender woman I am today. No pressure...right? I write quite a lot about the changes HRT have contributed to my growth as a transgender woman. Mainly when it came to the  feminization  of my exterior to match my inner self. 

Adding to the pressure of this visit is I needed to do a new test I had been putting off for nearly a year and/or two appointments. This time I had to provide a twenty four hour urine sample. So , not only do I not know what the test is for, I don't know how it will enter in to my HRT, The VA has an on line site where you can view test results I just don't know how to translate the results. I guess that much is her job. 

Many times I have the ability to conjure up irrational fears. Hopefully this is just another one of those. 

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

It Takes a Real Man

 It takes a "real man" to be a woman. Because first we have to decide what a "real man" is, or should be. Unfortunately both genders do not begin life as a full fledged woman or man. We are socialized into our preferred gender. The problem being how stereotypes enter into the process. Presumably nearly all of us grow up with unfair media images of what our gender should be like.

The problem is compounded when one is growing up transgender. In my generation we had the influx of cowboys to watch on television who were basically the strong silent types. Women on the other hand were either long suffering but tough bar girl types or the all knowing suburban Moms who always stayed home to raise a family. Between the two feminine stereotypes, I wonder now why I even wanted so badly to be a girl. Through it all I suppose I wanted to be the feminine person being pursued by a guy, rather than the guy doing the pursuing. Over the years I often thought most of my gender thought process came from the fact I grew up in such a patriarchal dominated family. Maybe I was too shy and intimidated to be a quote "normal aggressive boy". It wasn't until much later I understood my gender dysphoria went completely deeper than what was being portrayed on television and film as the strong male stereotype. 

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

What I also didn't realize being born a genetic male came with it's positives and negatives. Sure you had to be the aggressor on a number of occasions including sports but once you did you were rewarded with a certain amount of male privilege. Plus, since I was white, society was set up for me to succeed much easier than others. Of course the journey was not all sweetness and light. Being perceived as a male meant I had to face the uncertainty of a three year military career exactly when I didn't need it. During those days and years I really resented the fact that only males were drafted. It didn't matter, I left home and served like so many others served my time. At that point in time I didn't know if any of it entitled me to the "real man" status. But at the least it all kept most of the people I knew fooled concerning my true gender desires. 

Life went on and as I tried to fight my gender dysphoria, the further I slid towards wanting to live as my authentic feminine self. It was during those days my second wife and I began to have massive fights when she caught me out and about as a transgender woman. She knew ahead of our marriage I was a cross dresser but never once accepted me as being transgender. She was also a very strong person which is why we were together twenty five years until her untimely death at the age of fifty. So when we fought, we fought. 

It was during one of these fights she actually told me to try to be man enough to be a woman.  Initially I was stunned. Sadly, it took me many years to understand exactly what she meant. If I wanted to end our relationship and live as a transgender woman, I was going to have to summon the courage to do it.  I was going to have to step out of what was left of my gender comfort zone and give up my male privilege.  Sadder yet I didn't do it until she passed on. 

I will never have a way to know if she would have ultimately approved of the person I became.  I can only hope to show her it did take a real man to give up nearly everything and become a woman.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Sugar and Spice?

 Many years ago in my formative days I firmly believed in the old gender stereotype of girls being sweetness and light and everything nice. A big part of the problem was I didn't grow up with any girls at all, so I never had a chance to form realistic ideas of what being feminine at all was all about. The feminine gender existence was so mysterious and wonderful to me. So wonderful I couldn't wait to come home and become one of the "pretty, pretty princesses" I so admired. Evidently I retained the "princess" tag for years because my second wife called me it much later.

From the Jessie Hart Collection

It wasn't until I began to live more and more exclusively as a transgender woman in a feminine world did I understand what my wife was trying to tell me. My perception now comes from my learned experiences. It turns out all the years I spent on the outside looking in on women was wasted. Of course, the more femininity I experienced the more I learned "sugar and spice" when applied to the female gender was a huge misnomer.  

I referred to the whole process as playing in the girl's sandbox. When I jumped in to play I discovered quickly first how different it was from what I was used to and secondly how serious the whole process was. It turned out the women in the sandbox had their own issues and weren't afraid to share them with you...or should I say, punish you with them. Especially if you got in their way.

One of the main issues I learned was the idea of passive aggression being the way to fight. Long gone was the male idea of attacking someone head on. Even if wasn't a physical attack, you still knew where it was coming from if you dealt with another guy. It didn't take long for me to learn to be careful of my back when it came to other women. One of my first lessons was to make sure I was guarding my back in the girl's sandbox. Especially when it came to using the rest room. I could go (no pun intended) from being one of the girls to an outcast when nature called. 

Other times I had to be very careful about were the rare occasions when a spouse or boyfriend was being nice to me. I think the wife or girl friend most likely came after me first and then saved the worst for him later. One way or another, the claws came out and the woman in question became very territorial. Whatever the case, it didn't take me long to learn girls/women were not sugar and spice and everything nice. 

The entire process turned out to be a positive one as I learned my new gender boundaries. Perhaps, most importantly I learned what my wife was trying to say when she called me the "pretty, pretty princess." Reading between the lines she meant I really had very little knowledge of what a woman's life was all about. I was consumed with how I looked. Thinking appearance would go so far in allowing me to be feminine Plus in those days, I was locked into a fake male persona I hated, so I wasn't the easiest person to live with.

It wasn't until I spent some quality time with other women in the sandbox did I discover the truth. Sugar and Spice was a myth.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Monday Monday

 Another week has passed here in the Condo and it is time to face another Monday. 

What better way is there than to feature one of my favorite Facebook acquaintances who features a new photo nearly every Monday. I am  featuring again a transgender woman from Wisconsin Melonee Malone who along with her cis woman wife have what they call "Boy Toy" nights every Saturday. 

As I point out every time, Melonee has transitioned well and is fully "post op" meaning she has gone through the genital realignment surgery.

Hopefully her picture will make your Monday (and week)go a little bit better!


Sunday, April 24, 2022

What Would You Say?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


 I discuss being a senior transgender woman quite often. To my knowledge I have never discussed what I would have told myself during my stressful teenaged years concerning my future.  Of course I am aware it's a useless exercise because my crystal ball was broken. In fact, those of you who may remember the "Eight Ball" game, I would have been behind the eight ball more than in front of it. 

Looking back, I would try to advise my younger self to be patient. Easier said than done when you are advising a teen ager, or even  a later age. I often wonder how my life would have been different if it would have not been re-directed by my military service which was forced upon me during the  Vietnam War by the draft. 

Through a series of fortunate circumstances I was able to continue my passion to work in the radio business as a DJ even when I was in the Army. The problem I continue to have was what would I do about my gender dysphoria while I served my time. Of course I was scared to death and wondered how I would make it through three years without so much as touching any of my feminine collection.

It's easy to say now but I should have known where there is a will, there is a way. In fact after approximately a year and a half of my three years of service, I was able to gather my courage to come out to several of my closest friends. I told them I was a transvestite following a Halloween party I went to dressed "to the nines" as a woman. Somehow my "dirty little secret" was never revealed to my superiors by anyone and I finished my three years without any incidents. 

Through it all, I still resisted any offers to re-up and extend my military service. My impatience was at a all time high and I couldn't wait to return to my civilian world. Little did I know, all I would do was begin a frenetic life's journey designed to try to outrun my gender dysphoria in my twenties. Perhaps the biggest warning came from my earliest gender psychologist who told me I was Bi-polar (which could be treated) but I would never get past my gender issues. 

I was seemingly doomed to continue down a path of alcoholic fueled activity. After buying (and losing) a small bar, I divorced my first wife and remarried and picked up and moved from Ohio to the metro NYC area. One of the reasons was I secretly felt I would be closer to a much more prolific and liberal cross dressing scene. I did take a partial advantage by going but it was short lived and my second wife and I ended up moving back approximately two years later. 

I wish I couldn't have gotten the point across to my younger self if I tried to relax and live my life as it played out everything would be fine. As it was I continued to chase my own tail by moving to other areas and countless other jobs.

What happened was, the world finally caught up to me in many ways. A prime example is the use and understanding of the use of the transgender word itself. Through my life I was able to witness a better idea of what gender dysphoria is and how it fits in with being transgender. 

As I enter my senior transgender years, finally I have been able to look back and say I should have relaxed and I was on the correct gender path. A path which would lead me to being able to lead a life as a full time transgender woman. I would have had a difficult time telling myself I would live long enough to do it.  

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Life AS A Transgender Foodie

 One of my favorite things to do is to go out to eat with my partner Liz. In addition to the food, I am very much a critic of the entire operation due to my long history working as an owner and manager in the food service industry. If you are curious, I always support the restaurant for the most part when something goes wrong. 

Thursday night, when  Liz and I attended the transgender-cross dresser social dinner noting really went wrong.  The venue has always been very accepting and I am happy to say outside of one boisterous newcomer, no one acted out of line. In other words, did nothing to embarrass the rest of us. I only mention it because over the years I can't say the same thing.


I have vivid memories of misled cross dressers abusing their restroom privileges for the women's restroom. Their thoughtless antics led to messages on the door warning non birth females to stay out. Perhaps the worst case of a person acting badly was when a transgender person on an escalator in a museum we were visiting grabbed both sides of the "moving steps" swung out and flashed the people in front of her. Really? That fortunately was the last time I ever saw her. I do know she went on to go through a genital realignment surgery. Hopefully she learned not to show it off.

I know the moral to the story is if you had any morals as a male person, you will have the same morals as your feminine self. 

Forgetting my rant, I am almost to the point of remembering to take a picture or two when Liz and I go out. This photo was actually taken a couple weeks ago when her son treated us to dinner. In my mind (which is the only one I have), no matter how much I dislike pictures, they help bring life to whatever experience I am writing about. 

Unfortunately, I have to look far ahead to our next night out. Financial circumstances will limit any potential "adventures" for at least another couple weeks until the "eagle lands " and my Social Security payment comes again. On the good side, Cincinnati continues to be a  wonderful place to explore if you are a "foodie" at all. 

Especially a transgender foodie. It's wonderful when gender ceases to be a problem where we go. How good the food is becomes the issue.

  

Friday, April 22, 2022

"Patch" Day

Today I administered my own hormone replacement therapy by applying the synthetic estrogen hormone Estradiol through patches. For my dosage, I apply four of them twice a week 0.1 per patch. I don't write often concerning HRT because everyone is different. Different dosages, different ways to administer the hormones and last but not least your age. 

I am fortunate in that at my age I was healthy enough to begin the therapy at all. Not all receive the same opportunity. Plus, as I always mention, do NOT try to administer your own HRT without medical supervision. Playing with your hormones can be dangerous. I have seen it in action a couple years ago when I attended a "Trans Ohio" seminar on hormones. They featured several different transgender women who abused their hormones by going on line. One was nearly killed. 

I receive my hormone replacement therapy meds  through the Veterans Administration Healthcare system. The process has it's benefits and drawbacks. The benefits include access to a free endocrinologist who monitors my overall bloodwork all the way to a co-pay system where I can purchase my medications at a discount. The drawback includes the VA is very conservative in what treatments and medications it covers. A good example is the Spironolactone medication I am on. It actually serves a dual purpose  of reducing my blood pressure and testosterone at the same time. I understand there are other medications which might do a better job and may be safer but they are n

From the Jessie Hart Collection

ot approved. 

Of course there are many ways to administer your HRT medications. All the way from pills, to patches, to injections.  Years ago I settled on applying patches because I was satisfied with the results I was getting. I have read and heard from numerous other transgender people who really love the changes they have gone through with their hormone injections, Regardless, my main point is, as long as you are doing HRT safely that is all that matters.

Then, there are always the questions. How soon will I begin to feel the gender changes and what occurred under what dosage. These questions have always been nearly impossible for me to answer. For several reasons. The first being the time which has passed since I started my HRT. Since many times I have a difficult time remembering what happened last week, something which occurred nearly ten years ago is impossible. Looking back I do recall how shocked I was because of the feminine changes I was starting to go through. An example was how quickly my breasts began to change and how fast my hair began to grow. Before I knew it, or even wanted it to happen, I had to locate my loosest fitting shirts and begin tying my hair back in a pony tail. All of the changes, not to mention the internal ones started to move my time table up to begin telling the few remaining friends and loved ones I had left the news I was transgender. 

The hormones also had a wonderful way of quickly softening my skin, all the way to me being pleasantly surprised how the angles of my face began to soften and change along with my body hair (except beard) thinning out. Through it all, I had to keep in mind I was in my early sixties and my testosterone would be naturally dropping anyhow. Making way for the new estrogen push. 

On patch day, I always try to pause and thank the powers above for my chance to experience this life the best I can. As far as your response to hormone replacement therapy, your results as I said can very widely on age, dosage and application. Good luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Younger Generation

 Connie responded to the "Better Late than Never" post. Here is her well thought out comment:

"The younger generation invalidating their predecessors is as old as humanity, itself. One of the joys of my parenthood has been hearing my grown children spout out with words of wisdom that I had said to them when they were younger (which, of course, they had pooh-poohed at the time). I don't expect it to be any different, as it pertains to gender identity.


Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

As difficult as it was for those of us trans people growing up over 50 years ago, I have mixed emotions when I (not often) consider the "what ifs" of myself growing up now. As wonderful as it would seem to have been to have access to puberty blockers and other hormone therapy at a young age, those things come with a whole different set of problems for a growing (emotionally, even more than physically) child. The social and political climate today must make it so much harder for trans kids, especially those kids who had started a transition, only to have resources taken away - even the threat of it.


Although I came to realize that I could have come out much earlier than I did, I can't allow myself to waste the time I have left by dwelling on that. In fact, I have precious little time left, considering the control I would have to give up, should being confined to a care facility become a reality.

If I had to miss out on the puberty blockers, maybe someone will come up with a geriatric blocker soon - but I don't have time to dwell on that possibility, either. Call me an old lady, just so you call me a lady! :-)"

Thank you for the comment. I also cannot help but wonder how life would have been like if I would have been afforded the luxury of being myself.  I am nearly certain nothing comes without it's consequences, good or bad. 

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a pre teen transgender girl during the Transgender Day of Visibility get together. She was obviously pleased. Here she was with the opportunity to be with an incredible group of accepting people. I felt so good for her. On the other hand though, how intimidating would it be to be looking ahead at a gender journey most certainly to be full of unexpected challenges. Plus, how would I feel if my child faced the same path. I am certainly biased but I would try every thing I knew how to help and protect my child. 

As far as the younger generation goes, I agree all we can do is try to plant a seed and hope it grows. I am a believer too that when you try to brainwash a child into believing only certain ideas, once they are free from your bonds, they will go an opposite  way anyhow. Hopefully all these kids you see with anti LGBTQ signs in far right rallies will follow their own heart  and know it is wrong. 

After all, the future belongs to them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Better Late than Never?

I am aware I have many interested readers who may share basically the same age I do. In other words, they are senior citizen transgender women and men. I am seventy two and have heard from a transgender woman who came out when she was eighty. 

Unfortunately,  I see a few people coming out with negative comments saying we senior trans people are less than valid because we came out so late in life. Before I explain my reasons why this is so wrong, let me share this comment from Georgette, who happens to be a senior and transgender: 

"Some of us may come out early, some may come out late, BUT it is important we come with no regrets and try to live the rest of our lives the best we can.

It does no good to look back and say what if BUT always look forward."

Christine Jorgensen

Thank you for the comment! I know in my case I was busy battling the "system" early in life which led to very little room for anyone to operate outside of the binary gender spectrum. In other words, boys were boys and girls were girls and there was no in between. One of the few examples of a person escaping the "gender system" was Christine Jorgensen who made headlines when at the age of 24 she began hormone injections to begin one of the first sex change surgeries. As it was referred to in the early 1950's.
Even I was too young to remember when the news was released but I know as I grew up, she was one of the only examples I could look up to .Plus, I had to be very careful how I did it because I had limited access to magazines and newspapers in the semi rural area I grew up in during the 1950's. 

Even with the obstacles I faced "back in the day" I was still able to explore my desire to explore being a girl. So you could say, even though it was impossible for me to come out in the dark ages I lived in, I still was trying.

Like it or not, there were dues to pay and luckily I was able to pay them. Including negotiating a very long military conflict (war) in Vietnam which was going on through my high school and college years. As Georgette said, it does no good to look back but referring back to my history degree, we are doomed to repeat our failures unless we understand the history behind it. So I would hope senior transgender women and men everywhere take the time to feel a little pride in what you have helped to develop in the LGBTQ community. Surely, the "T" is still feeling the pressure to conform and/or disappear but we have helped to create a voice to be heard.

I know I write quite a bit about my experiences over the years but I do it to perhaps help or (on occasion) even entertain as many of you as I can to the peaks and valleys of coming out as transgender. 

As I become older yet, my paranoia rests with my final years in an assisted care facility.  I need to look forward to making it the smoothest transition of my life which has already gone through a few major transitions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Gender Euphoria

 During a lifetime of dealing with often severe gender dysphoria, every now and then I am blessed when the gender curtain rises. It is exceedingly rare but this morning I actually experienced gender euphoria. For no particular reason, I felt good about who I was. I didn't even wait to look at my reflection in the mirror. What did happen was, when I tied my long hair back, I was able to see my breasts silhouetted in my warm sweater. Since it is still cold around here. Finally this weekend it's supposed to become warm enough to wear my spring clothes.

For me, gender euphoria doesn't happen often. I can refer all the way back to my days as a youth when I woke up in the morning wondering what gender I was going to feel like during the day. Of course I could only guess what my desired feminine gender would feel like. I just knew I would feel better if I was a girl. Along the way I even questioned why I would want to feel that way at all. The guilt was monumental. The overriding question of "why me" was terrible. 

From the Jessie Hart Collection
Looking forward to Summer.

All of it leads me to the point of thinking now I deserve all the gender euphoria I can experience. Even now with all the positive feminine changes I have gone through with hormone replacement therapy, I still don't have the amount of euphoria I think I should have. Perhaps it is because of all the years of living under a gender rock. Too much repression for too many years. Or, too much paranoia from all the dark days I went through learning how to experience living as a full time transgender woman. I often write how difficult it was learning to play in the girl's sandbox. Along the way I often wondered why me and just wanted to sit in corner and cry. Little did I know how easy it would become after I started HRT. The difference was I started to cry tears of joy.

I understand the concept of "paying your dues" but on occasion I thought transgender women and trans men have too many dues to pay. Gender euphoria shouldn't be so rare and fleeting for so many of us. 

Then again it may make it so worth while when we can stand up  straight and proclaim to the world who we are. Or, if you prefer, just being able to blend in with the world and live your best life. Finally freed from the gender shackles you have been subjected to. 

For me, the gender euphoria allows me to take a deep breath and move forward with my life. The only regret I have is it took me so long to arrive here. If I could be granted one wish, I would hope to be given back just a small portion of the time and energy it took for me to continually battle my desire to be feminine. 

Since we only live once, even small victories can become larger as we progress in life. Happiness is fleeting. You need to find it when you can.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Why Not?

Years ago, as I had progressed to the point of no return as far as my transgender transition was concerned, I finally came to the conclusion...why not?

One night as I sat by myself at one of my favorite venues I frequented I finally decided to give up what was left of my remaining old male self and finish my dream of living a feminine life. By this point of my life what did I have to lose except a ton of male privilege , some earned, some not. By this time I was just over sixty years old and was fortunate enough to have lived an interesting and healthy life. The only drawback it seemed was the never ending desire to lead a feminine life. The whole process was very self destructive as many of you know. Through it all, my wife of twenty five years accepted me as a cross dresser but never approved of any idea of me taking the next step towards becoming a woman. Through it all we battled as I cheated with the "other woman" in my life who happened to be myself. Life became so difficult I became very destructive, all the way to attempting self harm or suicide . 

Little did I know at the time my life would change forever when she passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. I found myself free to be me after the grief and suffering went away. I was given the rare chance to start my life over. A life I could only dream of for most if not all of my life. 

Needless to say, my decision was quick and predictable. I would start hormone replacement therapy and begin to feminize my exterior as soon as possible. Even though my doctor started me on a minimum dosage, very quickly I could tell the whole process was living up to everything I had hoped for and more. Before I knew it, my softening skin, budding breasts and longer hair were becoming  a definite give away to my rapidly changing gender. At the least I was a more androgynous person and faster than I ever dreamed possible, It was like my body was expecting the changes all along and just accepted them as a natural state of being. 

From the Jessie Hart
Collection

Also, my "why not" was easier to go through than many others crossing the gender border to play in the girls' sandbox. Probably, most important was my job. Back then, at my age, I was able to apply for and be able to live on an early Social Security check as I augmented it with selling a few collectibles on the side as I was careful to never go over the SS earnings limit. So I was able to scratch together a living and could retire from the prying eyes of a job which was certain to be hostile to me as I went through a MtF transition. In other words, destiny was swinging the doors wide open. My path was clear to achieving a life long dream of living a feminine life, full time as a transgender woman.

Of course the night I decided to finally live as my authentic self was not without a heaping portion of fear. It was then as it still is now on occasion the most exciting yet terrifying thing I have ever tried in my life. Over time though, the peaks have far exceeded the valleys as I have reached the age of seventy two. 

Probably the only regret I have is not transitioning from cross dresser to transgender woman earlier in my life. I should have asked the "why not" question much earlier.



  

Friday, April 15, 2022

A Transgender Change of Pace

Last night my partner Liz went to bed early taking the dog with her and leaving me with the cat to be entertained. Predictably following a good dinner I soon fell asleep watching the television with the cat on my lap. I didn't really mean to do it because the whole deal would make it harder for me to fall asleep later on. Instead of staying downstairs with the cat, I decided to get ready for bed anyhow.

Of course, as soon as I hit the bed I was wide awake and my anxieties were closing in quickly. After an hour or so I finally quit fighting my phantom fears and decided upon a change of pace. I thought about all the pleasant memories Liz and I have had in the past when we went on mini vacations north of Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio. 


We began to explore certain venues in Columbus when I was participating in the statewide Trans Ohio Symposium. For several years I presented hour long meetings on subjects such as transgender veterans all the way to the needs of elderly transgender women and trans men. After the seminars were over, we took the opportunity to party.  And party we did! 

One of our favorite venues is called Club Diversity which is located just a short Uber drive south of downtown. It's a unique place in an old Victorian house and even featured a live piano player on most of the nights we were there. The picture was taken at the bar. 

As much fun as it was getting hit on by gay guys at Club Diversity, equally as fun was eating a famous burger up the street at Thurman's Café. Their burgers are so good they have been featured  on the Food Channel television network. 

Unfortunately the Trans Ohio Symposium doesn't exist anymore so Liz and I have to save our precious pennies to make the trip up to Columbus for more fun and games all on our own. Columbus is a progressive LGBTQ community with a huge Pride parade so good times were had by all and I know I can't wait to go back. 

I need a transgender "change of pace!"


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Life or Death

 Once you are born, the fact is someday you will die. Tomorrow I will be attending a virtual training seminar from our local elderly support group . The training pertains to living wills, wills and trusts. I already have a living will provided by the Veterans Administration  but I don't have anything else. At my age I have felt for awhile it is important to leave a will behind for my partner Liz and/or my daughter Andrea. 

Years ago, before I lost it all to an attempt at starting my own restaurant I did have a fairly sizeable nest egg built up for the future. These days I still have two small life insurance policies worth enough to satisfy my final wishes and have a party afterwards. 

Photo by Logan Weaver
On Unsplash

Ironically, yesterday the need to accomplish all of this became important again when I learned of the passing of one the board members of the transgender - crossdresser support group I am a member of. Sadly she never came out to her family and the group members initially were told not to refer to her by her feminine name in any messages which may be seen by her family. 

Of course I am fully out to the only family I have which still matters and I could care less what the others think. Especially after I am gone and cremated. But I do have to stop procrastinating and get a will drawn up since being transgender does throw an extra factor in to the whole process. Extra proof to the non believers you are trans until you die. 

Perhaps of more importance to me is adding my wishes into the living will. I already have the "no heroic measures" line added but I am afraid of potential problems cropping up with my physical gender versus my mental gender. Since I have had no surgery done to my genital's, to the casual medical observer I am still a biological male. In fact I was told that the last time I was admitted into a hospital. The point I am trying to make is, I don't want my gender to be a point of contention for Liz or Andrea to have to deal with. Or no heroic measures are needed to deal with a gender bigot. 

One would think following the completely unexpected passing of my wife years ago, I would have done something before now about it. Since I am seventy two years old my biological clock is certainly ticking. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will learn valuable information on setting up a will. Just another step in preparing for the uninventable.   

Monday, April 11, 2022

Finding Yourself Through Gender

Ironically my post on having writer's block produced several very wonderful responses. The responses followed up on what should be a re-occurring theme. No matter how hard you try to assimilate yourself as the authentic gender of your choice of more importance is being yourself. Many times I have written how important it was to me to be accepted by other cis women during my transgender transition. 

All this time I have concentrated on confidence being your number one asset when you enter the world but being yourself could be more important. This first comment comes from Jamie Aileen through The Medium writers platform: 

" Learning to be a woman is so much more difficult when you are 70. But first, I want me to be just me!"

The second comes from Medium also from Logan Silkwood who is a transman and naturally approaches the subject from a different angle:

"

Yesterday, I looked in the mirror and saw myself briefly: an effeminate gay man. It’s a rare but lovely thing to get that validation from myself. In those moments, I realize I don’t need men to see me as a man. I simply am one. I’m me. 🏳️‍⚧️"


Specifically you novices are probably thinking this is all well said and good as you look forward to what seems like an endless road to a gender transition. But if you can, try to keep in mind you are finally receiving a very rare but difficult opportunity to shape a new human being who just happens to be you.  Second chances are so rare in life. 


From the Jessie Hart Collection

Yesterday, my partner Liz's son took us out to eat in our favorite Mexican restaurant which happens to be right around the corner. This is one of the few pictures we have taken recently before the margaritas arrived. Even though I think I show every bit of my 72 years in the picture, once again we had no problems being served. My gender wasn't questioned and no I wasn't I.D' d to prove I was old enough to drink. :) So in essence we were left again to just be ourselves. What's helping me now is with our diet and the effects of HRT, I can wear more form fitting clothes and not look like a clown.


In many ways I am the direct reversal of Logan.  When I look at a picture or a mirror I no longer see a very masculine man but on the other hand, I see a rather masculine woman who as you can tell wears very little makeup. 


The tragedy is I went through so many years of testosterone poisoning to get to where I am today. I can't say I can quote Helen Reddy and her song I am Woman but I can quote me and say "I am me."  

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Gender Sponge

 I am fairly sure many of you, similar to me, have spent days, weeks, months or even years attempting to figure out all the ins and outs (no pun intended)  of being the opposite binary gender. The one we always  desired to become a part of.

How did this all begin? With me it all began with a fascination with my Mom's clothes and makeup. For some reason in a male dominated household, I was able to watch Mom transform herself with makeup. It all translated into trying on her clothes and using her makeup when I was by myself. While other boys my age were out terrorizing each other, or the world, I was at home doing my best to look like a girl.

After a Mary Kay makeover
Jessie Hart Collection

All of this carried over to school. When I couldn't help but focus on the girls in my age group, I had to really focus hard to bring home reasonably good grades. After all I was desperately trying to assume a gender life I increasingly didn't want.  In the meantime I kept the bullies away by focusing on traditional male activities such as sports and cars.

Through it all I put all girls up on a pedestal. I was so envious of their lives. All of it. Their clothes were a start but one which wouldn't last forever. I became a gender sponge, from afar I did my best to immerse myself in everything feminine. Everything from how girls huddled to how they seemed to all talk at once. The frustrating part of it all was the fact I couldn't climb the gender pedestal myself. Little did I know I was just paying my dues. Eventually I would have a chance to live as a transgender woman full time.

Ironically, everytime I thought I had learned enough or paid enough dues to play in the girls sandbox I learned I was only just beginning. I had to be even a better gender sponge. A prime example came about when my wife called me a terrible woman. For the longest time, I didn't know exactly what she meant. What about all those years I invested on observing everything feminine, how girls dressed, how they moved. The truth was, my wife was right, my woman gender training was far from complete.   It turned out her comment about me was concluded with a comment saying she wasn't talking about my appearance. From that point forward I dedicated myself to learning what she meant.

Unfortunately I didn't learn until after she passed away when I was able to attempt to exist fulltime in a feminine world and finally leave my false male self behind. 

The first of many powerful lessons I learned came from when I began to learn to communicate with other women as my new authentic self. It was one of the things I wasn't allowed to be part of when I was attempting to live as both genders. I quickly learned cis women mean what they say. It's also true they say it differently which is lost on most men. One of the most flattering encounters I happened upon was when other cis women would ask me questions about their spouses and/or boyfriends. One of the powerful benefits of being transgender became using the knowledge I learned from being forced to live as a guy to help others. It's a shame more of the public isn't motivated to take advantage of trans women and men instead of fearing us. 

Possibly the second of the major lessons I learned involved the loss of white male privilege I encountered. Quickly I found how difficult it was for women to be recognized in many circles and how all of the sudden I had to be very cognizant of my surroundings. 

Finally, for this post, was the lessons I learned from other women regarding passive versus direct aggression. Many times I felt I was accepted as s transgender woman only to be stabbed in the back by another woman. With a smile on her face.

The more I learned, the more I tried to be a better, more complete gender sponge. It's been a long journey from my days of watching Mom and her makeup. 

 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Transgender Tetherball

 Do you know what the game "Tetherball" is? Basically it is a ball secured by a rope to a pole. When the ball is hit by a hand it comes back round to you. Of course it can be played by more than one person.


When I heard the game discussed briefly this morning on a PBS television show I was watching, I thought of what it meant in relation to a transgender woman or trans man.  

I was intrigued and thought of gender replacing the ball in our game of life. For awhile we can be fortunate and the gender ball smoothly comes right back to us. During it's circle there was no one to stop it by saying the wrong thing and ruining your day. The problem is it can be so much more than just an outsider who can destroy the smooth rotation of the gender tetherball as it swings back to us.

Take for example, the gender dysphoria many of us suffer from. Through no fault of anyone other than ourselves, we can have our lives turned upside down when we have to live through the gender hell of not having our feminine souls sync with who the world sees us on a daily basis. Recently my gender game has been relatively smooth because I think my inner gender has been syncing up with who the world has been seeing. However, those feelings can be destroyed in an instant by ill advised side look in a mirror. It's similar to the gender ball hitting me in the face. 

Seemingly the only way I can correct the problem is by going out in the world and proving to myself I can present myself as a feminine person. Once it happens (or if it does) I can get back in the game until it happens again. My gender dysphoria has proven to me time and time again it will. 

An example happened to me this morning when I went to visit the vampires at the Veterans Administration clinic to have my blood labs taken. During the brief time I was there, I happened to look up in the waiting room and see a man waving at me. Also the tech who drew my blood took the extra time to "mansplain" to me all the tests he was doing. A sure sign they were booth reading feminine when they interacted with me.

All it really matters is the realization I am tethered to being transgender the rest of my life. Of course it is not a blinding sense of reality to figure out something I should have known years ago. 

Oh well, living in the past is just another case of getting hit in the face by the ball. One thing for certain is "Transgender Tetherball" is not a fun game.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Transgender Writers Block

 You regulars know I have very few days when I don't have a post to share with concerning the transgender world at large. Every once in a while I need a day off from my writing to step back and consider where I am with my writing. 

First of all, the one thing I don't do nearly enough is thank all of you who read my work here or on the several other social media platforms I write for. An extra thanks goes out to all of you who participate on my posts by commenting. It all means the world to me. 

Photo Jessie Hart Collection

My last "day off" from writing a post came after my latest therapy session. Since I have to complete my session in private on my lap-top, the battery is nearly drained following every session. So, I have to wait until I can recharge the lap-top before I can write again. 

While it is true I could write ahead and schedule posts to be active, lately I haven't thought I had enough material to bother trying. 

Sometimes I wonder also how much material is there to write about at all?  If the truth be known, there should be plenty to write about. In many states including my native Ohio, politicians are trying to potentially erase our very existence. Since so many of us face the problems of coming out at all, I am hesitant to keep mentioning the obvious. 

The obvious should be, a sizeable amount of transgender women and men are out and finding ways to carve out a new life.

So, when I am suffering from a transgender writers block I try to remember all of you who have been kind enough to comment on my previous posts, Hopefully my mistakes will help you  not make as many. I  highly regret the days when I was a thirty something cross dresser trying to pass myself off by dressing as a teen aged girl  My excuse is it took me awhile to learn true public validation as a feminine transgender woman came from other women. Not men. 

Through it all I became a "gender sponge". Everything, no matter how small became important to me. Finally, my :studies" led me to am impossible situation. I was trying to live with one foot in my pretend male life and the other in my more increasingly more natural life in an expanding women's world.

By now you may be thinking where was the transgender writers block? It actually occurred a couple days ago. All it took was a day away from writing to cure it.   

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Red Heads Have More Fun?

 Yesterday I watched the vintage movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Of course Marilyn played the dumb blond  and Jane the brunette played her more sensible friend. 

One of the benefits of being a woman is you are able to change your hair color on occasion and in fact I spent years as a red head before my hair stylist suggested I let it grow out to it's natural shade.  

So as we were checking out two of the major types of women with major hair color differences yesterday, it just so happened, the redheads checked in yesterday also.  You may recall I have featured Jayde Dent here on the blog before. She is a local transgender woman from the Metro-Cincinnati, Ohio area who is fortunate to have married a woman who essentially transitioned with her.

Here is Jayde as a redhead:

Photos Courtesy Jayde Dent

And as a blonde:


You can choose your favorite!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Transgender Muses

 One topic I can't seem to quit writing about were the lack of transgender examples and/or muses who stayed in public and provided a pathway for the rest of us who were so desperately questioning our gender. 


One of the very few I can remember was Jennifer Finney Boylan (left) a very accomplished author of  fifteen books In addition, From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide. She was co-chair of GLAAD’s board of directors from 2013-17.

The problem is, I go back much farther than this. All the way back to the pre-internet days, known by many as the dark aages of information sharing.

I remember the days  when  "men dressed as women" were rounded up and arrested outside of gay bars in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Obviously the last thing I wanted to happen.

So what was a novice transgender girl supposed to do. For me, this was around the time when I learned of Virginia Prince and better yet her Transvestia Magazine. Virginia, among  other things was a proponent of "heterosexual cross dressers" or transvestites.


Virginia Prince 
 To put her age into perspective, Virginia was born in 1912 as compared to my 1949. Most of her biographies I have read, list her as a transgender activist. Others deny the claim she started the widespread  usage of the transgender terminology. None of that mattered to me  as I waited for my issue of Transvestia to arrive. It was my only connection  to the outside world which featured other transvestites as we were known back in the day. As I  remember, each issue featured a model cross dresser who for the most part I could attempt to copy and look like.

Soon I discovered  something even more important to me than the featured model. I discovered in the back of the issue a list of upcoming mixers hosted by a group called "Tri-Ess"  The organization is still active Here is their mission statement from their website:

"Tri-Ess is an international support and social group for straight (heterosexual) cross dressers and their partners, spouses and families. Our organization has provided over 50 years of cross dress service." 

Amazingly, the closest chapter to me was in Cleveland, Ohio which was within driving distance. For the first time in my life I could go meet like minded persons and see what my life could be. 

The first mixer I attended scared me completely but I was able to observe and meet a wide variety of supposedly straight cross dressers. After all, who knows what went on behind all those hotel room doors. Regardless, there were everyone from those impossibly feminine attendee's I called the "A Listers" all the way to the cigar smoking crowd who seemed to be trying all too hard not to leave their masculinity too far behind. Perhaps it would stray so far they could never retrieve it.

Through it all, I still didn't gain any contacts I would call "muses" The closest I did come was a couple of the "A Listers" who were from Columbus, Ohio which was much closer to where I lived. Eventually I became somewhat close to one of them before she moved on to the ultimate gender realignment surgery. As was the norm back in those days, we both went on our separate ways.

As I look back at the years gone by, I suppose I could say my wife of twenty five years was my muse. Before she passed on, we used to fight over my desire to become a transgender woman but more than she ever knew her lessons to me on how a woman was so much more than appearance began to ring true and make so much sense. 

It took awhile for me to fully comprehend what she meant but once I learned, she helped me to become the person I am today. She was truly my main muse and sadly I can't thank her. It's too late, she passed on years ago. Gone but never forgotten.  

Fear as a Transgender Motivator

 Recently I wrote on the subject of how difficult it was during my MtF gender transition. Every time I thought I had taken a step or two forward, I was sent backwards when my high heeled pump became stuck in a sidewalk crack and ended up sending me into a decidedly unfeminine situation. 

Through it all I was so alone and left on my own to judge my appearance and mannerisms. Similar to so many of us crossing the gender frontier, all I had was a mirror which seemed to never want to tell me the truth. Looking back, fear and trepidation of what the public was going to think of me curiously kept me going. When I was laughed at or even asked to leave a venue, my setbacks just led me to try harder to be successful. 

The entire process was exciting yet terrifying. Interestingly, we transgender women and men all shared similar but all so different experiences. Take Connie for example:

" By the time I finally made it out to be a visible part of the outside world, I had become so afraid of the thought of never leaving the safety of my locked room that going out was more a relief than anything else. The scenarios I'd imagined would surely come to fruition turned out to be much worse than anything I've ever actually experienced.

Connie Malone

 Of course, I really did know that would be the outcome. I'd read Dale Carnegie books, and I was fully aware that 99% of the bad things you think are going to happen never really do. I was also familiar with the Al Franken character, Stuart Smiley, and his inept life coaching tagline, "You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You." Throw in a favorite quote of mine from Oscar Wilde - "Life is too important to be taken too seriously" - and my fears were subsided by the thought that I'd rather have died laughing (even being laughed at) than having been found, alone in my locked basement room, dead in a pool of my own tears.


As I like to say: If ya can't leave 'em laughing, at least leave 'em guessing. That's how I relax and enjoy the ride! :-)"

I agree 99% of the bad things never really happen but it was the one percent which kept coming back to haunt me. 

I finally figured out most of the percent I was failing came from setting myself up for failure. A prime example was one venue I tried time and time again to visit where I knew I wouldn't be welcome instead of going to another venue close by where I had already established myself.  The whole process led to the time I had the police called on me just for using the restroom. 

As I eventually became wiser to where I could go, I was able to begin to relax and build the new feminine person I was always destined to become on a firm foundation. From there forward I didn't have to rely on fear to motivate me.