Showing posts with label MtF transition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MtF transition. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Checking Those Fluid Levels!

I guess the last couple of posts here in Cyrsti's Condo may make the point more effectively than the one I'm going to discuss.  The "Madam LaNoe!" and star gazing posts were essentially genderless.  I wondered aloud with Liz what the average peep who stumbled across this blog the last couple days would wonder why the transgender tag is on it at all.

Maybe Pat answered part of it when she commented While I have been following your blog it is clear that you are going through a multi year transition. I assume that at some point you will reach a point where you are comfortable knowing that you have always been a blend of male and female but that your components have been reprocessed and have reached a new equilibrium.
Many others are on the journey

Pat didn't use the term "gender fluid", but on occasion I have considered the term as an interchangeable one for me and one which causes more than a couple of my "critics" to go "bonkers."  I understand why for the most part.  They are the "black and white" thinkers who have very little respect for a life out of the male/female binary- no matter how they identify. So would the "strict gender constructionists" be more comfortable with Cyrsti's "Gender Fluid" Condo?  I'm thinking not.

Regardless of all my babbling,  Pat's right, I am reaching a point of equilibrium and it's mainly because of the friends who refused NOT to accept me for anything other than the person I was. THEY brought me full scale out of the closet.

I will argue the equilibrium began when I began to accept my life as a man, even though I desperately didn't want to be there.  Of course some would argue, I wasn't desperate enough or I wouldn't have stayed there and those people are right too.  But, time, circumstances and lives change in a blink and  we all have reasons of why we are here  Plus, when you are almost 65, you have a freight train full of baggage to sort through to even try to understand why.

These days, it's not really a question anymore of checking my gender levels.  I'm at rest finally about who I am and when you think about it, gender is merely how society sees you. If I spend a day in drag as a guy now, at the least I'm a rather androgynous one doing things like mowing the grass.  Somehow, I don't think it would be appropriate to wear a skirt, heels and full makeup to mow.So I get a man to do it and that just happens to still be me. To put the whole idea in perspective, I have exactly two pairs of men's jeans left,one set of casual men's clothes and my old Army uniform and a bunch of unisex t-shirts.

Transgender, gender fluid, glorified cross dresser or whatever label anyone wants to slap on me, there is only one that really matters- survivor.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

When Your "Comfort Zone" isn't so "Comfortable" Anymore.

I gave quite a bit of thought to all the activity described in the "Hate" Cyrsti's Condo post yesterday and managed to come up with what I thought was a fairly simple idea:  My old comfort zone as a guy just isn't comfortable anymore.

Back in the day, I could out macho my way through most situations I found my way into-or got myself into with my mouth. I could have stared down the stupid inbred hill jack in the truck. No more.  One reason is-we have talked until we are blue or green in the face here about the effects of HRT and the fact remains I am now the proud owner of an increasingly prominent set of feminine breasts. Sure, I see plenty of guys in my town who could easily fill a "C" or even a "D" cup with their "Moobs" (Man Boobs) but in the wrong t-shirt, mine are distinctly feminine to the point of going in for my first mammogram in a week or so.

So what's my problem (you and I are both asking?)  I still have this thin thread connecting to me to my male past.  The thread is the remnant of the lifeline I carried with me when I was deciding how transgender I was.  When I had a particularly bad day experimenting presenting as a woman in public, I knew my gender line was still there to pull myself back into my "comfort zone."

Now it is the exact opposite.  The only reason the thread is till there at all is I'm lazy and for the very few occasions I need to bring him back.  I'm the supreme procrastinator and if something is not beating me in the noggin (such as gender markers) , I will put them off.  You should have seen the confusion on the front desk girl's face as she checked my driver's license when we got to our hotel for Trans Ohio.  I'm sure she knew I wasn't genetic but when she looked at my ID, .my picture looks very androgynous but has a male gender marker.  The worst part is, Ohio is not a difficult state to get your gender changed on a driver's license (but impossible so far on a birth certificate.) So exactly what is it I'm waiting for?

I guess you can say I am afraid to cut that last thread but not for any of the usual reasons.  I have said I infuriate the gender "purists" who recoil at any retention of anything male as they transition, but that's not me. I'm sure as hell not against using anything from my past to further my future.

Setting aside any of my past though,  the old comfort zone "just ain't what it used to be" and the new one is feeling more and more natural.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Pop" Goes the Transgender Culture

Rhys (left) with Zackary
As in many social areas, the transgender presence is also growing quickly in today's pop culture and here's an example from The New York Times. The"Times"  recently featured two aspiring artists, Rhys Ernst, and his partner, Zackary Drucker. Rhys had recently graduated from Hampshire College and was working for MTV networks. Zackary had graduated from the School of Visual Arts and was appearing on a reality TV show called “Artstar,” hosted by Jeffrey Deitch.

Over the last five years, Zackary has transitioned from male to female, Rhys from female to male. And in “Relationship,” a photo exhibition currently on view at the Whitney Biennial, the two have chronicled that process and the evolution of their own love affair.

The post goes on to say that a show by two transgender artists should be so prominently featured at the 2014 Biennial should come as a surprise to no one. It is just more evidence of the increasing presence of trans people at the center of popular culture. Go here for an in depth look of familiar and not so familiar names you may not recognize.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Technology and the Trans Woman

The more I bounce around the web, even I am impressed by the sheer numbers of pictures I encounter of all different "flavors" of men dressed as women, from cross dressers,  all the way to transsexual porn stars.

Domino, as a girlI simply marvel at the individuals who post literally thousands of pictures of themselves on sites such as Flickr as much as I marvel at pictures of transsexual women such as Domino Presley (left). It's no wonder so many so called "hetero" men are "intrigued"  and the majority of other trans women get the ugly "fall out."

Even though we live in an age of unprecedented advances in plastic surgery and HRT advancements, many times I have to look through the smoke and mirrors to see what I'm really looking at.  Domino reportively is an adult film star so her looks are a big part of her business. I assume, she has her peeps who market her in the social media.

On the other hand, there are numerous examples of other MtF video transitions on YouTube which produce equally as dazzling human beings.  And, let's not forget the power of a good picture-again go back to Flickr and notice how many of the "heavy hitters" have paid their way into professional camera/portrait studios. Finally, there are the huge percentage of "impostors" on sites such as Pinterest who aren't trans at all but genetic women.

It's quite the industry we have going here.  .from the lookers to those who are working hard to be looked at. The industry is male dominated and in most cases still has nothing to do with living a life as a transgender woman.  For a person such as me though who grew up in the information "dark ages", all of this is simply amazing!

Nail Failure and the Pretty Princess

I have a tendency to believe one of the least mentioned effects of HRT is what it does to your finger nails- at least to mine.  My nails have become paper thin just at a time in my life I need them to have substance I can style.

One place I have not been for help is a nail salon, yet.  My partner Liz wants to book us together for "mani/pedi's" sometime before summer  Oddly, it's not my feet which are causing me problems with the idea, it's my hands.  Neither are the most feminine in the world but Liz has convinced me my hands and feet are proportioned well for my body.  My hands specifically aren't huge but have and will continue to be subjected to what heavy labor I can still do. (My upper body strength is a fraction of what is was and my arm muscle definition has went with it!)

My fear is having my nails done and doing whatever and trashing them.  I'm working between two homes and yards. Not getting the work done by being the pretty, pretty princess (me) is not an option.

Two certainties in the upcoming months are, to lose weight (which the work will do for me) and to never whine about breaking a nail to any of my women friends. I'm sooooo sick of hearing welcome to our world! I've been here girls! Come on!

I'm not a real goal orientated person but with what's coming up, it is easy to set goals.  The Trans Ohio Symposium is scheduled for the very end of May and it is followed several weeks later by the biggest Pride weekend in the area - Columbus, Ohio.  My goal is simple- get down to my pre HRT weight before then.  I know it will be harder now than during my male life when all I had to do is cut back on a beer or two along with a pizza but I really want to make May/June yet another coming out month for me.

If I set my mind to it. Failure will not be an option.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Rockin" the Red!

My partner Liz and I finished out the weekend with her coloring my hair.  It was time!  My natural grays were starting to catch up with me! OK already, they passed me in the dust!

As far as color choices go, I have willingly given up the total decision process, remembering a few of the completely atrocious wigs choices I made. Truthfully, we both were basically on the same color pages. The only compromise I made was putting the box of a streaked ash blond mix back on the shelf-if  I could use similar highlights later this spring or summer with the red color I picked. Then, I was told to get two boxes to treat all the hair I have. Cool!  The color also words for me because red heads do run in my family as I have written here in Cyrsti's Condo. So,  my idea of going back to a deeper red hair is not completely unfounded unlike many of my other ideas.

If you have been through the process,  I think you would agree a home coloring ranks way below the sadistic rituals of waxing body hair and plucking eyebrows.  The process is just a little uncomfortable, even for a whiner like me, unless you screw up and leave the coloring on too long.  I just have a difficult time of sitting still plus I obsess over the treatment rinse and condition timing directions. I have a paranoia of leaving it on too long and my hair falling out!  Luckily, that didn't happen. The end result was I loved the color and softness of my hair. I'm sure you regulars here remember my earlier posts about visiting a salon for professional coloring.  The reasons I don't  now is money plus Liz does a great job and even wants to do it.

Of course I'm figuring  by now, you all are thinking, where the hell is our  "selfie" so we can see if Cyrsti did do something dumb with her hair! Well,  I'm getting a new phone later this week and assuming I can be smarter than the "smart phone", I promise a "seeing red" pix by next Monday at the latest!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's In Here Somewhere

Pat had a great comment for me not long ago, which for the life of me, I can't find. (No real surprise!)

In a post, I was mentioning my need to carry a "feminine hygiene product" in my purse in case I was asked by another woman for one in the restroom. She said something to the point of who would even ask me at my age?  Of coursed I loved it! 

Her age comment does bring me to another point though- age appropriate dressing. It's a huge deal for many genetic women as they have the need to cut their hair shorter every year and seemingly go out of their way to ignore every younger fashion trend.

The length of my hair alone takes me out of the 60+ female age category I'm in.  In other words, I don't blend.  By the time a genetic woman gets to my age (or vice versa) she has beaten her hair into submission over the years and her hormone levels are decreasing. Plus of course, hair is only a small part of the problem. To help me,   I am a follower of the Fabulous after 40  fashion site and on a recent update, here was the question:

Of all the questions my readers send me, the one I seem to get the most is a variation on the theme of age-appropriate dressing: “Can I wear short skirts/low-cut tops/bikinis/etc. at my age?”;“Does this make me look like I’m trying hard to be young?”; “Does this make me look old?”

If you follow the link above, you can find many pictures plus possible answers to the question.  As a transgender woman who didn't get a chance to transition until later in life, I'm seeking some sort of a middle ground.  I don't want to regress to my days of being the cross dresser in the mall squeezed into a mini and heels but I do want to squeeze enough style and fashion into what's left of my active life.

I'm lucky. Over the years, I did take the time as a guy to give a little extra love to my skin.  Between genetics, HRT, make up and smoke and mirrors, I can take a few visual years off my life.  In fact in some situations I threaten people with my ID to show them how old I really am.

Finally, the problem I know I have (along with so many other cross dressers or transgender women) is looking like I'm trying too hard. The only difference is I have two hurdles - age and gender.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Breakfast with the "Kid"

First of all, we are talking about my "kid" who happens to be 35 and a mother of three. For those of you who happen to be new to Cyrsti's Condo, my daughter is incredibly supportive and in fact my MtF transition has made us closer.

Recently though, she has been pretty quiet about receiving a "transition" update.  I knew her life was incredibly full with her family so I let her come to me. At a recent breakfast. I could see the wheels turning in her noggin, so I knew it was time.

Coming up in June is my grand daughter's Bat Mitzva.  If you don't know, it's the female Jewish equivalent of her coming of age ceremony.  The group of people attending will be incredibly diverse, religiously and politically. An example is I was baptized Methodist, became involved with Buddhism in Thailand when I was there and now am evolving into more of an earth based spiritualism. I guarantee you, most of the people there won't want to talk religion with me, and they shouldn't.  Nor, should they be distracted by my appearance anymore than I can help it.  As I have written many times, my HRT is transforming me into an androgynous person at the least and there will be a group of radical right wingers attending.  Of course I can tie all this hair I have back into a pony tail and look for an xxl very loose shirt of some sort to hide my breasts but my skin gives me away too. My only consideration is, it is my grand daughter's day and I don't need to be a distraction at all.  I don't think my daughter really cared but just needed to know what to expect.

Issue two with her was bouncing the name change off her and what goes on with the process of gender markers. She liked the idea of changing my name to Jessie but unfortunately had never gotten to meet or know my grandfather who I'm "adopting" the name from.

The only unfinished business was what were the kids going to call me in the future and when.  My only answer to the question was to follow the status quo for awhile. The two oldest kids (12 and 8) know but the six year old doesn't.  My suggestion was at some point in the future, it will be time for a sit down with just the three of them and me to "announce" the move. As it stands now, until I can get totally sold out of my old homestead and down to Cincinnati full time, there still are bits and pieces of my old self to deal with-as a guy or even as a cross dresser.

As you can probably tell, breakfast was a total success and she even paid!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Hello again "Condo-ites", ker plunk! (As Wendy would say) the Sunday Edition just hit your front door!

Page 1.- AKA Jessie.
Not long ago I wrote about thinking of changing my name again as I enter the gender marking phase of my transition.  For some reason, I had the opportunity this weekend to be around people who didn't know me at all.  My partner Liz went to a meeting Friday night and the first thing they did was go around the room and ask for names and I said Cyrsti Hart.  Later on that night before I went to sleep, I thought a second unrelated meeting in the morning may be a time to "try out" my family name of Jessie on for size to see how it felt.
The next morning, I did just that and really surprised Liz, who had no idea I was going to take the step.  I introduced myself as Jessie Hart.  You may ask, "How did that work for you?"  Strangely (even for me) after I said the name in public, I felt a rush of belonging.  It's a fun androgynous name to start with and as I said, is part of my past.
Later on in the day I used it again to order a pizza and began to think of the enormity of what I'm doing- yet again.
Then again, isn't the transition process enormous in itself?

Page 2.- Memories.  I already mentioned Wendy above but I didn't mention a further chat we had about our past which happened to include having paper routes.  I don't think anymore, many kids have paper routes. Some would say kids aren't motivated enough to work a route and some would say it is not safe for them to do it. I would think the latter.
Over the decades, I lost touch with how I had the financial means to buy my own "stash" of girl's clothes and makeup.  I forgot my paper route.  Between the route and a weekly allowance I received from Mom and Dad, I began to have a real reason to make money-I needed new make up!

Even better, I had the opportunity to spend my income (the American way!).  My Grandma lived a mere four or five blocks from a real live thriving downtown in the town I lived just outside of. It was a match made in heaven, I'm sure my parents were just as eager to get rid of my 12 year old behind, as I was to spend my money on wondrous new girl stuff.  Once I got to Grandma's it was certainly OK if I walked downtown and got out of her hair too.  Once I was down there,  a couple of the old "five and dime" stores became my favorite place to get scared to death, rush in, try to buy the best makeup I could and escape back into the world.  Makeup wasn't my only purchase either.  One magical day, I found my first pair of women's shoes that actually fit and I could afford.

As Wendy proved I wasn't the only kid of our age demographic who worked a "route".  It taught us the power of money and how to be entrepreneurs (I couldn't wait to expand my route into a new housing development.)   What differentiates us was exactly what we were using the money for.

Page 3.- Week in Review.  This past seven days saw no more new dramatic interviews with transgender icons but plenty of rumblings still reverberating.  As they should.  Plus a few more barriers were crashed in places such as Virginia who approved the rights of transgender athletes to participate in the sport they desire, as their chosen gender.

Finally, on a negative note we addressed the needs of senior trans  women and men.

Back always our time passes so quickly.  Thanks to all for stopping by "theCondo"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's Never Easy

It's very obvious I'm transitioning towards the end of my life.  What may not be so obvious is the amount of interaction I have had with other younger transgender women considering their transitions. The only constant is, a gender transition is never easy.  While a younger person may have the benefit of building a life from scratch in their chosen gender, in fact an older person may be close to or in retirement and not have to worry about a work transition at all.

Then, there is the ever important "appearance" factor which seemingly benefits a younger trans person who doesn't have the effect of living years and years in an unwanted gender. However, with out being too derogatory, later in life women begin to gain heavy features and sag when men lose their "T" naturally and start to soften.

All ages agree medical coverage availability and legal rights are huge injustices.  I have talked with several young transgender women who are just incensed they have to go to a therapist for permission to even start HRT.  On the other hand, I just don't want to face the day when I'm taken to the hospital with this highly androgynous body I'm developing especially with new gender markers.

Ironically, it was my generation (the baby boomers) who could have made a serious impact with all of this but just didn't get it done for what ever reason.   Just as ironic is I picked up this story from Al Jazeera America:

In the end, living an authentic life is a financial risk for transgender individuals. A 2013 study found that transgender workers report unemployment rates two times higher than the population as a whole, and are generally underemployed, more likely to have lower income and more likely to be in an unstable housing situation. But there’s always retirement, right? Not always. As more and more transgender individuals get older, the unique challenges they face are becoming apparent. Shortfalls in health care could mean the difference between life and death for some. Discrimination in retirement communities or assisted-living facilities could tarnish the golden years, and a later-in-life transition could leave some ostracized from the families they’ve loved their whole lives.  

But just when you think all is lost, there are beginnings of hope here and there, such as the group Forge which is described as a transgender support group with a focus on aging.

As I said, no one has it easy and the younger trans generation seems to have the task well in hand of changing the world from their end.  We old-timers need to do the same!

Follow the links above for more information on all of this!

Gender 'Dreamin"

Certainly, I'm not the only one of you Cyrsti's Condo readers who has had regular dreams about cross dressing or even crossing the gender line and being a genetic girl.

Anymore, I don't have them so much anymore.  I'm far from a dream "expert" but it could be because of the chance I have had to finally transition. I do know back in my earlier years, I had quite a few dreams I didn't want to wake up from. I was a girl or woman and so bad to stay one.  I was grumpy for hours as I "adjusted" back into my male world.

The reason I'm writing this post here in the Condo is last night I had an interesting dream.  Can't quite remember all the details except I was out all night, looked very ragged and had to see my Mom.  I had all this dark black curly hair (about the length of my hair with more curl) and I was in a restroom desperately trying to "freshen up."  Of course, I couldn't find the needed necessary makeup in my purse.  So, finally I said to hell with it and off I went to meet Mom.  I never did meet her, as I don't encounter in my dreams many of the loved ones in my life who have passed on. I also don't know if there was a question in the dream of me being genetic or transgender.

What I do remember thinking was-after the night out I had, I couldn't be pregnant! Always the realist!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Your Type" Can NOT Come IN

Perhaps you have heard of Helen Boyd.  Her books, including My Husband Betty would be one of my choices to give to a spouse when you are coming out for the first time as a cross dresser or transgender woman.

Her blog is called En Gender and a recent post called UnValentine caught my eye.  Evidently she wrote it when her and her partner were not welcomed in a "woman's only" space.  Here's an excerpt:

Why should someone’s transition negate the partner’s identity as a lesbian? The whole idea that they wouldn't “look like” a lesbian couple is infuriating – the same argument was made against butch/femme couples back in the day. 

 Here’s the thing: as a community, could we maybe start to acknowledge that people transition, and that they have histories, and identities, and life experiences, all of which may not tidily map onto our models of “straight” and “gay”? Can we allow trans couples to decide how to negotiate their own identities as individuals and couples instead of everyone else telling us where we belong? Can a trans guy honor his own past and his relationship’s past without other trans men telling him he’s sold out his gender and trans people everywhere? 

Are lesbians really not used to guys transitioning yet? A little compassion would be awesome from groups who are now and who have been, historically, excluded discreetly and explicitly, kindly and hatefully. Trans partners are often a wrench in the homo/hetero works, but sometimes we get eaten by the gears. 

Well said! For more, go here.

The Ego of Transition

I don't pretend to play or think in the arena of transgender icon's such as Janet Mock who recently released a new book called Redefining Realness.  Of course, her recent interview with Piers Morgan stirred up controversy as did Katie Couric with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carerra.  Both Morgan and Couric to a degree wanted to focus on the mechanics of transition rather than the person involved.

My question is, isn't that a huge reason we can't get along well in our own community? How many times have you seen me use the term Trans Nazi to describe someone who feels they should move to the head of the line just because of money expended and pain suffered? I know for sure, there have been cross dressers who have felt I would be the same way, simply because I live a feminine life; and let's not forget the usual genitalia questions I always get.  So, I guess I'm in the same boat and did all the uproar help me?

That's the world today, right?  What's in it for me?  Don't get me wrong. I get sick and tired of being asked about what is between my legs, I can only imagine what it would be like for Carmen, Janet or Laverne. I do find it positive they all pushed back.

I'm not naive enough to think the world will get to a point where we can be defined as women and not transgender women anytime soon.  We still have too much ground to cover and in my case, I will never be able to take the "trans" off my identity. Sixty plus years of male dominated living is simply too much to overtake.  Then again who cares?  Sure, there will always be the haters.  The Rad Femme Lesbians or Trans Nazi's probably won't go away in my lifetime. Then again, do I care?  Not so much. I'm selfish. I just want to navigate the world as closely to a woman as I can. It is quite the liberating experience for me and I will fight like hell to keep it.

Yes, on occasion all the transgender icon's do help me.  In fact more of the world is now educated to the fact there are more of me than they thought and I'm very real.  In the end, we are just trying to live our lives the best we know and along the way, we are all similar to Janet Mock.

We are simply redefining what realness is to us.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Potty in Peace

Logo darkAs I was catching up Cyrsti's Condo, I read one of Stana's posts in Femulate about a site called Refuge Restrooms.  

Like her, I am going to pass along the link to all of you. Depending of course of where you are in your transition and how your presentation is coming along, the simple act of going to the potty can be problematic. I have told you my restroom stories of being called a perve, cops called twice and possibly being tarred and feathered by two women in a state in the deep south when I was on a bus tour with my partner. It's only been recently that restroom problems seem to be in my past and every once in a while, I run my "do's and don'ts" of using the "women's room".

In the meantime, you can visit the "Refuge" site here and maybe add your own to the list.

Cyrsti's Condo "Cover Girl" of the Day

Our feature transgender woman today is Karla Karrillo from Mexico.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gender "Marks the Spot"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gender by Default

Not so long ago here in Cyrsti's Condo, we covered the topic of changing your gender markers.  If you didn't know, gender markers are those all important letters "M" or "F" in your legal existence.

Some documents pack a huge impact (such as social security, driver's license, etc.), others, not so much-or do they?

I began to think about it the other day and here is why:  I applied for one of the gas/convenience store discount cards which are so prevalent and popular in my part of the world.  Essentially the more you spend with them, the less you pay for their gas.

For years I have had a card with a well established gas chain in my hometown under my male name, a couple days ago I applied for another chain's card under my female name.  The gender box of course defaulted me to male or female.  To be clear, these cards are not credit or debit cards of any sort, but these days you know all your info sooner or later is going into big data bases.  I have never doubted Big Brother is watching and if I really had anything to hide, I wouldn't be out here writing a blog.

I just wonder if some day I will be cross referenced by address, age and gender on one of these lower level cards and bounced.  It won't happen I know because all these companies want is my money and all the gender markers which really matter are cross referenced by social security numbers.

It's just my little conspiracy theory but I wonder if sometime in the future, more than a couple of my old male gender markers will make a surprise return to my life.

I know at least two visitors to "theCondo" (Shelle and Drake) who have started down the gender marker trail but as of yet, I haven't. Actually, I see the process as important to me as starting HRT. Obviously, the process separates me further from my male past.  I can rationalize not beginning the process on laziness but my deadlines to sign up for Medicare are rapidly approaching this year and obviously if I can register female then I would save myself headaches later.  Plus, I will have to read up (and get some advice) from a few of my Veteran's Administration friends to get an idea of what I have to do to get my markers changed with the VA as it interfaces with Medicare.

Fortunately, I'm not totally clueless about the strides that have been made with changing gender markers.  It seems on occasion, every time you can cross one huge MtF transition threshold-you are looking square at another.

Cyrsti's Condo "Cover Girl" of the Day

Our cover girl today is a bit different (no not like that sillies) I found her picture on Pinterest and loved her edgy look.  If you have ever took a look at Pinterest, the site has a tremendous collection of transitioned women from cross dressers, to androgynous models, to transgender and transsexual porn stars.

Poppy Cox Style Me QuirkyThe problem I have is, some of the MtF transition pictures look a little too good and many you can't research to see if they are not genetic.  I do my best to find out the background of the women we feature here in the Condo before I present them.

So, I think, today's feature cover girl is a make over project - and a fun one at that!

Certainly, if you have any more info on this, let me know.  I have a friend who is considering going to a "make over" service!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inter Culture Slurs

Here we go again, today in one of the transgender Google+ groups, someone called me a "gurl". Really? Well, you regulars here in Cyrsti's Condo know how I feel about that...not warm and fuzzy.  Right or wrong I equate the term with a stereotype I have been trying to lose for years. This time though, my rather snarky reply to the person turned out to be a real eye opener for me.  Plus the person gave me my first look into yet another segment of our community I don't think about much-a gay man who transitioned.

Wow, as I thought about the idea and added my somewhat limited knowledge of gay men, I realized how difficult that must be.  Finally just getting to the point of not being discriminated against in gay venues for me was tough enough and that didn't include the time it took me to educate them to the fact I wasn't a fetish CD on the "down low" looking for sex or a queen.

Here's the reply (unedited)

Um ... hm. Good question loaded with a valid point. Perhaps this is a topic for a new thread? Regardless, I will answer your question with complete honesty (as I am so impassioned as of late!). I am still rather new to being openly trans*. I suppose like many others my experience is varied and complex. In short I lived as a gay man for many years. Early in my "coming out" stage I performed drag as a way to express how I truly felt about myself. But, in my experienced, drag queens are acceptable in the gay/lesbian community while trans* is still very much misunderstood. I know many of my past friends (gay men especially) just don't seem to get it. It is still hard for them ... my ex of 6 years couldn't understand why "drag" turned into a lifestyle at home. I never understood why I wasn't attracted to gay men; it seemed I was only attracted to straight men. (An impossible life ... ) I suppose I even went through a few years where a clinician would have called what I was doing as a fetish or that it was more about sex. I have old friends (again, mostly gay men) who think getting dressed up is my way of seducing the straight men I have always been attracted to but could never have while living as a man. So, in the process I have referred to myself as "gurl," "tranny," and "cross-dresser." In many ways those "titles" accurately reflected my knowledge, exposure, and self-awareness.

It has only been by involving myself in trans* communities such as this that I have learned the difference. Whether you are offended or not ... I am a woman who lived as a gay man performing drag, I was a big ole "gurl" for the longest time, and was less offended in times past by the behavior of a "tranny chaser." I use the term "gurl" as a way of differentiating between CIS women and trans* women. Or, maybe I should say, I used to? But, in this age of political correctness at every turn I also think we can get our panties in a bunch rather easily over some of the most innocent of behavior, speech, and action. I mean no offense. It's only an indication of how much room remains to grow and how much more I must learn. Thankfully I remain open-minded and willing. I hope that clarifies the use of "gurl." 

As I said, I was truly impressed by the reply and the thought behind it and couldn't wait to get permission to pass it along to you all here in "theCondo"!

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Our Sunday edition this week is truly special in that you and I went over 1,000,000 hits here in the Condo.  Yes kids, that's one million!!!

First of all, I would like to thank my Mom for recommending electro shock therapy to me 40 years ago when I came out as a transvestite to her and much of the rest of the world who treated me as a freak during my early days.

Seriously, I would love to thank Connie out in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (Seattle) who first suggested I write a blog when I was sharing several of my many coming out stories on the Pink Essence site. Cyrsti's Condo's first post was May 29,2010 after I learned what a blog even was (I couldn't spell it!). I estimate it took me until 2011 to solidify the name and learn the nuances of tags, etc, which pushed "the Condo" out into the vast internet where others could see it.  All you current bloggers who visit here know, just publishing a blog is the easy part. Getting someone to read it is another.

In 2010 my goals were simple.  Hopefully someone would be able to learn from my trial and error transition which seemed to be mostly error. Also, along the way, I hoped to share more than a few of my off the wall experiences which at the least would be entertaining.  From there, I added transgender news and opinion and finally, pictures and videos'.

So, over 2750 published posts later, I thank all of you for stopping by my little blog. At times it's a labor of love and at others, a full time job with very little pay.  Like so many things in our lives, the true joy here does not come from money even though the ad's you see here do provide me with a minimal stipend I can use.  If you don't know, when and if a person see's an ad of interest and clicks on it, I get a very minimal kickback.

Looking back to 2010, I couldn't have even predicted HRT would be in my future, let alone the amount of freedom I have been able to achieve in my chosen gender.  Perhaps not so ironically, you can read more than a tad of my uncertainty in post #1 "You Make a Better Looking Woman"

You've probably heard the comment. Unless you are like the recent "Tyra Show"guests. I'm referring to the 7 and 8 year old transgendered kids who are living in their preferred gender. You've likely agonized over the duality within you. .When I played defensive end, I wanted to be the know the story. My experimentation with the opposite gender didn't really start until I was about 12. The magic elixir of seeing a girl in the mirror was powerful. I've often wondered if some chemical endorphin in my brain is the catalyst for the creature I am today. And what about the comments that I made a" better looking woman than man"? (Halloween party gossip) Comments such as those used to destroy me! How could I even consider stopping this shameful "hobby"? Where was my "get out of jail free" card to end this madness? Obviously, I didn't stop.

 In my mind there is nothing more powerful than a beautiful woman so I listened to the comments and obsessed to get better. Better I did become. The world knew me as one gender or the other and for the most part I went out of my way to create two existences. Chance encounters with people who knew the male side of me never produced any recognition. Life was balanced. Until New Years day this year. Symbolically, I started the year and decade as Cyrsti for the first time ever. Checked into the hotel as a girl, went to the clubs with friends and left the next morning in girl clothes. On the way home, I changed into my favorite teams jersey (filled it out a little different!) and stopped and watched the first of the bowl games. On the way home, I was totally into girl mode when impulsively I stopped at my regular grocery store to pick up a couple things. On New Years Day I figured none of the regular cashiers would be working. If they were, they wouldn't know me anyhow. Wrong, wrong and WRONG! Both of the regular cashiers were working. Of course one of them picked me out of the crowd immediately. I knew it and she knew it...she thought. I bought my groceries and took off. I went back the next day to see if I was right. It took her about ten seconds to start asking questions since I was alone in line. She said "I know how you will answer" but "do you have an alter ego" or did I lose a bet. I was naturally evasive as I considered "outing" myself and just said I was at my brothers watching football. I did not out myself to her so she got bored and wrapped it all up with "Who ever it was was very attractive and really looked like you". Nearly three days later I ended up in the other cashier's line. Following a similar Q & A, she just said "if you ever had to go that way, you would have no problems, she was beautiful." Not my ideal way to go fishing for compliments. 

Fortunately, my gender balance wasn't too difficult to restore. Many around me know of my duality and I don't care. I did spend some time considering the old questions about how challenging it is to live life this way. But you know I wouldn't miss another shot of that "magical elixir." Life would be soooo much more boring!

That's the past and I wish I had some wonderful plans I have for the future here in the Condo but I don't.  I'm notoriously short term in my thinking! I have felt for the longest time the platform I use is too small for all the things I try to do here but I am quite comfortable with it.  What scares me the most is the real potential I have to screw a new platform up. So, I'm taking the easy way out for a change. I may have to come up with something different when I get my book done and published in May.

Finally, I can't begin to tell you how humbled, flattered and surprised with all of this and I am not blowing hot air up your collective skirts! (No matter how much you would like it!)

Very simply, all I can ever say is thanks to each and everyone of you!

Cyrsti Hart

Trans Peaks and Valleys

Image from the Jessie Hart Archives. Lifetime as a whole presents us with many peaks and valleys to negotiate. Since I am transgender and al...