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

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Customizable Gender

Photo from the
Jessie Hart Archives

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Transgender Runners

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 18, 2023

It's Urgent to Read This

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

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

Follow the link above to read more.

Transgender Habitation

Image from Kyle on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 17, 2023

Transgender Trial by Fire

Photo from the Jessie Hart

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

They Took my Cross Dressing Stash

Image Courtesy Anete Lusina 
on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Undying Admiration

Photo from Davide Ragusa 
on UnSplash

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Transgender Valentines Day


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, February 13, 2023

It's in the DNA

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

Photo from the Jessie Hart

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Exotic yet Obtainable Transgender Women


Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 10, 2023

Getting Dizzy on the Transgender Merry Go Round

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Transgender Merry Go Round


Image from Kitae Kim on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Transgender Reflections

Reflection from
the Jessie Hart

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Who is Hurting Who?

Photo Courtesy
Kim Petras 

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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy
Jazz Jennings

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

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

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

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Life Long Experience or Bad Ass Transgender

I have seen recently several profiles of new followers (thank you) who refer to themselves as "bad-ass" old ladies. At the time I felt Wow! it must be nice to think of yourself in those words. One thing is for sure, it takes the amount of life experience to make such a claim. 

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart

Certainly, many cis-women have the multi layered experiences to make the "bad-ass" claim.  It has always been my thought that to become women, girls have to go through quite the process. Just one example would be the child birthing experience. Of course most girls have to deal with the fact they shoulder most of the burden when it comes to becoming pregnant. It's still too easy for an underaged boy to trot off into the sunset when there is an unwanted child to deal with. 

Then women through out their lives have to deal with being perceived as being second class citizens in the worlds of being paid less and overall treatment at the hands of men. It wasn't so long ago women finally earned the right to vote and much later to even apply for and receive their own credit card. Bad ass women remember all of that. So where does it leave transgender women? Our life long experience should lead us to a position where we deserve to be bad ass women also. I vividly remember the early days of my gender transition into a feminine world when I rudely was rejected by men. In any and all conversations. Through it all it was evident when I reached a certain level of the presentation I was seeking, I lost huge amounts of my former hard earned male privilege. Primarily I lost my intelligence as well as my personal safety. Ironically, I knew it was coming and didn't miss any of it. What I gained was worth it because it all felt so natural.

None of this of course happened over night. There were so many nights out with my friends engaging the public when I was able to learn what I would need to know later in life to survive. I needed to survive my basic battles just to use the women's restroom as one of my prime examples. Those alone should make huge contributions to my claim of being a "bad ass" old lady. Except I am not. Over the years remembering how testosterone made me feel as well as the new feelings of estrogen in my body mellowed me right out. When someone mis-genders these days, even though it hurts me deeply, I try to take the upper path and educate them to their gender mistake. 

Life long experiences as a transgender woman have made me a better person. Not so much more of a bad ass. Who else is able to cross the gender frontier and live to write about it. Plus, to be bitter at all would negate a life long experience of learning. I do respect those who describe themselves as "bad ass old ladies" and prefer to make them my friend rather than an enemy.  One never knows what is going to happen next. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Sweet Revenge

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Collection

 I wish to thank everyone who responded to my recent post which dealt (among other things) with my self destructive attempts at self harm. Tragically it is a theme which resonates deeply within the transgender community. 

Now, since I survived a very bumpy road down my gender path. I like to think back and enjoy just a bit of sweet revenge. Too many times it would have been easier to turn around, purge my feminine clothes and wigs and go back to my male lifestyle. I could have reclaimed my male privilege and moved on like nothing happened. Through it all, I faced all the challenges, learned and finally arrived at the other end of a long dark tunnel. It all began in my very dark and very lonely gender closet as I suffered from gender dysphoria. As I continued my journey, there were too many false road marks to guide me and I suffered setbacks. It was during these set backs I resorted to deeply self destructive behaviors.  I took too many risks behind the wheel and drank way too much alcohol as I wrote about previously. In addition to all of those, I even lost a job when my gender dysphoric behavior got the best of me and I took it out on others. 

In desperation I made appointments with one of the only gender knowledgeable therapists at the time in Ohio. She was upfront with me when she said she couldn't help my gender issues but did diagnose my bi-polar ones. Which helped me immensely with a portion of the severe mood swings I was going through. The end result was once again I discovered there would be no magical cure to me wanting to be a girl and I was essentially on my own again. Back in those days, in the early to mid 1980's, there simply wasn't the information available to help any LGBT individuals, especially those with severe gender issues. In addition, I was guilty of expecting too much from my therapy. I was new at the process and just didn't understand the benefits and drawbacks. 

These days, as I come to the end of long series of appointments with my highly motivated and qualified Veterans Administration therapist, I have so many memories of the assistance she has given me over the past ten years. It was her who in many ways helped me in plotting my sweet revenge when she initially provided me the paperwork to begin hormone replacement therapy with the VA. Then she helped me again with paperwork which forwarded my gender marker changes which happened over seven years ago. By gender markers, I mean all the legal identifications I needed to process to change my gender legally through the courts and other places. 

Although, since I have been living for years now as a successful transgender woman , I still don't have all the revenge I so desired when I was younger. Back in those days, I couldn't wait to be prettier and drive a nicer car than my fiancé who dumped me with no warning before I was drafted into the military. Now, with my younger and prettier days behind me, I have mellowed to what is really important in life. My daughter, grandkids and wife who support me.  At the age of seventy three my own personal revenge is staying healthy enough to appreciate my gender journey and what I learned from it. 


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Being Transgender Nearly Killed Me

Image from Alexander Grey
on UnSplash

Even though I was able to never convince myself I was going through any sort of a cross dressing phase, I finally moved on in my life. By moving on I should say I went through several of the other gender dysphoric questions I faced such as was I addicted to the clothes all the way to was I facing many more gender issues such as being transgender. For reasons only I could answer, being transgender was the scariest proposition of them all. Certainly, thinking I had a part time hobby of being a cross dresser was less threatening to me. 

Through it all, I never turned back and ended up moving more and more towards knowing the inevitable, I was a feminine person and had been one all along. Being the hard headed person I was, I continued to do my best to carve out a male life. But, the more success I had doing it just made me more unhappy. Somehow, someway deep down I felt there had to be more. Another problem I had was the more I tried to test the public as a woman, the more successful I was. The more I did as my hidden self, the more I wanted to do. An example was my wife and I finally came to an agreement I could go and get a motel room, change into my feminine self and explore the world one day a week. Even that didn't end up being enough to satisfy my drive to femininity. What I did was start sneaking out behind her back any chance I got and ending up trying to lie my way out of it if I was caught. Which I was on a fairly regular basis. The whole process was very stressful because in the rest of my life I had prided myself on my honesty. 

Still I didn't stop until I reached the point where I had falsely tried to convince myself I could live part time as both binary genders, male and female. To be brief, the process nearly killed me. I went to the point of being caught one night by my wife and we had a massive fight. I decided to sleep away from her on the downstairs sofa but before I did, I was feeling so bad I took a full bottle of my anti depressants and washed them down with a bottle of Jägermeister liquor. Fortunately the mixture didn't kill me and I don't think my wife ever found out I tried suicide. 

Since that attempt many years ago, with the help of therapy, medication and many close friends, I have been able to put self harm in my past. As far as my wife went, before her passing, I was able to grow a beard and go back to acting like I was a guy for six hard months. Her passing was totally unexpected and sudden from a heart attack and when she died it opened the door for my feminine self to finally be given a chance to take over. Not the ideal way to do it but the opportunity was there and one night I finally accepted the fact I was transgender and had been my whole life. Suddenly, all the other self destructive episodes of my life became clear. All the times I was driving recklessly trying to cheat death all the way to drinking way too much to mask my gender pain, all made sense. 

Most certainly being transgender nearly killed me but it didn't quite succeed. Leading me to a happy, satisfied life as a transgender woman living my truth. I will forever wish though I had not been so stubborn in hanging on to my old male life.   

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It's All About the Hair

When I was very young the thought of ever being able to afford a nice, quality wig was the impossible dream. Since I was forced into the fashionable boy haircuts of the day ( a short burr or crew cut), I couldn't even begin to approximate having girls hair when I dressed up. I can't even remember wearing a towel around my head to look more feminine. Somehow, I made do until years later I was able to buy the first wig of my dreams, a sleek shoulder length blond hair piece I loved. In fact I think I bought it originally for my first fiancé and then managed to "inherent" it from her when we broke up. Something like you keep the ring and I will keep the wig. Definite priorities, right?

After I maintained ownership, that hairpiece managed to travel with me around the country when I was able to hide it in my baggage. I learned to be very skillful as I packed a small "collection" of women's clothes with my regular wardrobe. Now, as I fast forward several years to another time in my life, I found myself with enough freedom and financial resources to try and buy several ill advised wigs. I conservatively estimate I bought ten in a years time and of which, only two should have been worn in public. 

Finally, after I started hormone replacement therapy, my own hair quickly grew to a point where I could follow my daughter's lead and go to her salon and have it styled. At that point I felt I was truly making serious advances in my MtF gender transition. I loved fixing my own hair but it was an experience having to learn to take care of the back of my head also. No longer did I just have to rely on turning a wig head around and brushing it out. Paula, from the "Paula's Place" blog wrote in and commented on her similar experience:

Photo Courtesy 
Paula Godwin

"I note your comments about acting, there was a moment when I abandoned the use of a wig, for the first tie I felt as though I wasn't in costume and wasn't playing apart. I was dressing as a woman, I wasn't pretending to be woman, I simply was a woman, I was me. Additionally that was when I first started to understand that in all those (oh so many) preceding years I had been playing a part ~ I had been pretending to be a man. Now I could start being me instead of playing the part society expected of me."

Thank you Paula. I agree with your comment on so many levels. The blessings bestowed on me from being able to undergo HRT therapy among other things accelerated my hair growth and I was fortunate not to have any vestiges of male pattern baldness. 

The "costume" comment resonated with me also. Very quickly, being able to do away with wigs and wear my own hair helped me with my gender dysphoria. In other words, I was able to settle in physically to being my authentic self. 

I too was able to convince myself that all those years of being a cross dresser, I had it all wrong. I wasn't cross dressing as a woman. I was fooling myself and was cross dressing like a man. 


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

The longer we live, I am increasingly convinced we encounter many phases of our life which we can separate down into certain categories. For transgender women and trans men those categories maybe more intense than the normal human being. I have several examples in this post. 

The first I place in the "would have "category. What if I defied all odds and proclaimed to my parents at any early age I wanted to be a girl instead of a boy. I didn't want the boy toys I received for Christmas, I wanted the girl dolls instead and why did I have to wear a hated tie to visit relatives. I so wanted to wear the pretty dresses, tights and shoes my girl cousins were wearing. Of course I couldn't do anything about my situation back in the dark days of the 1950's when a boy wanting to be a girl was considered to be mentally ill. Even though I didn't begin to know anything about my gender questions, I knew I wasn't mentally ill for wondering.  

Perhaps the largest question in the "would have" category is, what if I had the courage and or knowledge to had come out of my gender closet earlier. Looking back now, I see the time after I had completed my military service and my daughter was conceived would have been an extreme possibility of coming out to the world as my feminine self. I had completed my patriotic duty and was indirectly rewarded with the gift of a beloved and highly supportive daughter. It was around this time when I was rapidly beginning to come to grips to who I was and was learning to dress the part. 

The next category is "could have". It was during this period of great gender discovery when of course I had to make a living. I didn't have a potential pension to worry about such as a transsexual friend of mine, nor was I a very educated professional person. Similar to another trans person who was going through genital realignment surgery and moving away to a city where she knew no one. I didn't have the finances or the willpower to under go such a major step so I began to try to outrun my gender dysphoria by moving around and switching jobs.  Most certainly I "could have" cut nearly all the ties of the life I was used to and moved on but I didn't.

This brings me to my last category "should have." Should have I have the courage to live my gender dreams earlier? Most certainly but as is said, it is too late now to cry over spilled milk. Even though I didn't cut ties with my old male self when I should have, I was fortunate to have landed on my feet, I turned "should have" into I did it. But before I try to put myself up on some sort of pedestal, again and again I have to give credit to all the people who accepted me as my true self and allowed me to grow as a fulltime transgender woman.

Maybe I can add another category "did have" because I did have enough help to keep moving until I reached my final goal of leaving my male self behind.


Monday, January 30, 2023

Transgender Confidence

Image from Brett Jordan 
on Unsplash

I have always thought confidence was the most important accessory a transgender woman can have. More important than the most attractive dress or the prettiest most flattering wig. Of course your dress and wig work together in so many ways to provide an external image which matches your inner feminine self. Plus, confidence often proves to be so difficult to come by as well as equally difficult to maintain. It takes only a swift moment of being mis-gendered along with being recognized as a man in a dress to wreck your confidence. I know, because it all has happened to me too many times to count. I had spent literally weeks in gender heaven without even the smallest pushback to my new coming out presence in the world. 

Finally I learned my rejections were a moment in time and I went back to the drawing board and moved on. I kept my changes to a minimum and tried to analyze every small nuance of the feminine gender I was trying to assume. I knew deep down, I was a woman but somehow, someway I needed to cross the gender frontier and arrive at my destination. I can't began to tell you how many times confidence was fleeting due to a particularly brutal evening when I was out in public. I was fortunate though in that even though I was having bad times, there was enough gender euphoria slipping through to keep me moving towards my goal. Plus, even coming up with a goal was difficult because everytime I accomplished one goal, to keep moving, I needed to set another. There was also the problem of the ultimate goal of going all the way and living as a woman.

We all know humans are apex predators and not unlike sharks can sniff out blood in the water. So more than a few humans can sense something could be wrong when you try to change something as huge as your gender. Unless you have the supreme confidence to know deep down you are right in what you are doing, you could be in trouble. For me, often the supreme confidence came from feeling natural as my feminine self. So much more than just thinking I was acting as my authentic self because I wasn't acting at all. 

Where ever you are in your transgender journey, woman or man, I hope you have been able to develop the confidence you need to survive. As far as trans women go, the effects of testosterone poisoning is so difficult to overcome. On the other hand, once you have gone so far across the gender frontier, going back is often impossible to do. Inspiring more confidence and gender euphoria as you go.