Showing posts with label Veteran's Administration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Veteran's Administration. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Transgender Bravery versus Conviction

 Yesterday I virtually attended my monthly Veterans Administration LGBTQ support group meeting. Normally the meetings are fairly routine and I don't say much, plus the last get together featured an interesting mental exercise which everyone needed to be a part of if possible. The exercise started with a circle and then you had to add all the various important facets of your life. Examples would be privilege, family etc. 

After a few people stepped forward with their ideas, it became evident how important being a veteran was to all of us, as well as being transgender. Various privilege's came in a close third. Since we all happened to be white, almost everyone mentioned it. Mainly in a sense of how much privilege we lost when we gender transitioned into feminine lives as transgender women. 

Of course I write often and long concerning my own losses of male privileges when I transitioned. For the most part I felt them quickly and firmly. All of the sudden I had lost a significant portion of my IQ and were ignored when I was talking to men. I brought up the experience to the group when I needed to have my car towed and tried my best to explain to the tow driver and a sheriff where I needed to go. Once they heard the address they didn't need any other information from me. Since I was a blond that day, I finally just sat back and asked dumb blond questions about how the tow truck worked. Then I was "man-planed"  how it did. The best examples for me came when I was talking to men about sports which of course I knew quite a bit about. I found I was never taken seriously. Due to time constraints I was never really able to talk much concerning the real issue of losing control of your own safety when you transition to a transgender woman.

By far the best experience was shared by a transgender  man in the group who is completely presentable as a man and works as a nurse. He was saying he works with men from other countries who refuse to take any guidance from women and he has to go in and mediate between the two genders.

Other than that, perhaps the biggest topic from the group came when discussion started about being veterans and what it meant to us all, For me being a veteran was something I never wanted to do but was proud of myself for serving my time in an honorable fashion. Or at least I tried! :). Several others in the group managed to draw lines between being veterans and having the courage to pursue their lives as transgender women and men, 

Over the years occasionally I will be called "brave" when I describe a few of my coming out of my gender closet experiences. I prefer brave be saved for those who deserve it such as first responders. On the other hand my convictions led me to where I am today. As one of the participants said yesterday, as soon as she stepped foot into basic training, she had to stick with her convictions concerning who she really was. Plus I knew also, I just couldn't live a gender lie as a man. Somehow, someway I would have to find a way to live fulltime as a transgender woman.

There is no contest in my book in comparing transgender conviction to any sort of bravery. I rather leave the bravery to the ones who deserve it. Conviction is different. We all need it to survive in an often hostile world.  

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Battle Continues

 A reminder for a former president outside his Mar--a-Lago  home:

And, on the bright side, reversing Trump, the Pentagon has issued new policies for transgender troops. Policies which largely banned transgender people from serving in the military were reversed and new rules were given which will broaden trans troops access to medical care and gender transition. 

I will be interested to see what if any actions the Veteran's Administration will take now. Currently, the VA mostly covers only hormone replacement therapy and some essentials such as wigs and prosthetic breasts. To my knowledge, still no serious surgery. 

Monday, February 8, 2021


 It's very frustrating when a trip to visit the vampires to have my blood work done becomes such a big deal.

After all though, it was one of the very rare times I have been able to get out of the house these days. I was able to talk Liz into going with me as we had to head north to Dayton to let the vampires do their quick work.

It's my own fault in that essentially I am stuck between two Veteran's Administration hospitals. The first one in Dayton is about an hour and a half away but it is definitely more user friendly than the hospital here in Cincinnati. Plus, it might be my imagination but the Dayton VA seems to be more transgender friendly. 

Be that as it may, as we entered the hospital, we had to be checked in and asked the magical question, "What brings you here today." I so badly wanted to say just to look around or we came just to enjoy the wonderful cafeteria food. Needless to say, I didn't say that and we were allowed to continue our masked journey to where the blood laboratories were taken. 

Very quickly, we were done and making the trip back to Cincinnati.  Since I had fasted for the blood letting, we stated to look for a place to eat on the way back.

Along the way we found one of those infamous fast food strips along the interstate so we left the highway and began our search. Amidst the sprawl was a Popeyes Chicken restaurant. In the past I have eaten at a Popeyes several times but since there isn't one close to our home, I had never tried one of their chicken sandwiches.  I loved my first spicy chicken sandwich and wondered why anyone would ever eat at the hate chicken place, Chick-fil-A.

All too soon after a couple more errands the big day out was over and it was back to covid seclusion to me.   Perhaps a light is coming at the end of the tunnel for me. Sunday in typical VA style I received a robo call from the Cincinnati asking me if I wanted a vaccine. When I pushed the proper number saying I did, the voice came on and told me no one was available to answer my request. I just laughed and thought some things never change in the military...hurry up and wait. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Be Careful What you Wish For

 Lately here in Cyrsti's Condo, we have been discussing a few of the ramifications of life insurance and to a differing degree, changing your legal gender markers.

Here in Ohio, it was not too difficult or expensive to change my legal name, gender on my driver's license, my name/gender in my Veterans Administration paperwork and my name on my social security card. (not my gender) Also, I still cannot change my birth certificate gender here in Ohio.

It turns out, not being able to change my Social Security gender at the moment turned out to be a good thing after I heard this from Connie:

"When I applied for Social Security and Medicare, I did so in person with the proper documentation with my legal name change. I did not, however, change my gender marker, as I felt it wasn't worth opening that can of worms. I guess I should have been more aware, though, because the person on the other side of the glass partition checked off the Female box for me. It ended up being a pain in the ass to get it changed back when I later had trouble getting Medicare to pay on a doctor bill. Health insurance considers the differences in male and female rates, as well as does life insurance (or did, then). Social Security tried to blame me for the "mistake," even though it would have required a specific application and documentation from me to make that change - which, of course, I did not provide, and they could not have had on file). Maybe I was just passing so well to the woman that day, I don't know. Sometimes, though, there are more important things than passing.

It behooves us to be diligent as we make changes throughout transitioning. In the case of life insurance, we won't be around to clean up any messes that our beneficiaries may be left to endure."

I guess it was obvious to the guy at Social Security that I didn't "pass" or then again, I don't remember if I "outed" myself by telling him I was transgender. It was five years ago now and on some days, I have a difficult time remembering last week. I just remember him saying he could change my name, not my gender. 

Of course too, I am under a different health system with Veteran's Administration health.  Under which if I ever experience problems with being transgender, there is a person/persons to call. 

So once again, there are many steps to consider when you are considering changing your legal gender markers.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Voicing Your Gender

Most transgender women and men obsess with the problem of outing themselves with their voice. It seems no matter how well we present as our preferred gender, a slip up with our voice can ruin our whole day. 

As with many other aspects of being transgender, there are many avenues coming along to help with our voices. As well as the many voice feminization services featured on line, more than a few hospitals offer voice therapy. In fact, even the Veteran's Administration does offer voice therapy too. 

There is always the concept of vocal surgery which I have heard has varying levels of success. I have only ever encountered one person who had went through it. To be truthful I wasn't impressed. 

Myself, I pursued the VA services offered to me with varied results. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised they were knowledgeable to what I was trying to achieve. I blame myself though for the results. Being essentially the lazy person I am, I gave up and have tried to improve my feminine voice through the very few lessons I ended up going through. 

Over the years, what I have tried to do is try to match my voice to the cis women I am talking to. I imagine with varying levels of success.

The only time I can truly "try" out my feminine voice on strangers is on the phone. Even then, I am not competing on a level field. The majority of my calls come from the Veteran's Administration setting up appointments and going over results of my tests. Since the overwhelming majority of the hospitals' clients are male, the odds are stacked against me. Sometimes I still get called sir on occasion, except for the nurses and receptionists who have dealt with me a number of times. The example is my endocrinologist nurse. She is always very correct with her pronouns and calls me the proper ones. 

With all the others who don't, I always gently remind them I am not a "sir" and go back to the drawing board. What am I doing wrong to trigger their response. Plus, as I said before, I am essentially a lazy person and since I so rarely encounter strangers anymore, it's only Liz I talk to. 

Finally, the majority of the attendees of my transgender - crossdresser group have managed to settle into a softer version of their male vocal selves. Again with varying success. I suppose too, results hinge on what voice you had to start with. Many times feminine men have feminine voices. 

Voicing their gender becomes increasingly easier. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Off to See the Wizard least off to attend another Veteran's Administration transgender support group meeting.

It will be interesting in a sense if I can relay what I learned at the Trans Ohio Symposium. Including feminizing vocal sessions and free wigs and breast forms. As I wrote before, with the increasing numbers of woman vets the VA is seeing now, wigs and breast forms aren't so surprising.

Hopefully, the meeting will be attended too by the person who always complains about the VA not doing more for it's transgender veterans. Basically, you can get help with HRT and not much else, such as surgery. I can hear her now...she doesn't need breast forms, has already bought a wig, so where are the make-up classes???

Regardless, I think I am going to wear my tight jean style leggings along with one of my new lightweight gauzy tops for the trip.

Plus, in case you are curious, the car is back and no (Connie) it isn't old enough to have the the side "wing" windows. It's a warm day though, time for the "270" air conditioning.   Roll down two windows and drive 70 miles per hour. I may have to wear my hair pulled back today!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Week in Review

Looking back on the week that has just passed, again I wonder where the time has gone. Last week in particular, went all too fast. Thursday, congratulations (and a nice upscale dinner) were in order as my partner Liz celebrated twelve years without smoking. As always, getting a little more dressed up and having a good time out and about was nice. It seems, the nicer the venue, the more unlikely it is I ever get any push back from being transgender.

Other than that, the week was very uneventful due in part to weather complications. We had a couple storms pass through which led me to canceling my Veterans Administration support group meeting.

Plus, while I am on the subject of transgender military troops, which is near and dear to my heart since I am a trans veteran; last week, President dump took on another attempt to ban transgender service members.

Fortunately, it's not a done deal with four cases in the court system fighting the ban. I think, if the truth be known (which it is rarely is), dump is again just trying to divert attention from all his other considerable problems. Discriminating against the transgender community is just an easy thing for him to do.

Also, the facts are exactly clear the Pentagon approves at all of a trans ban. I ran across a post in the Military Times which contains a couple of the memos. If you would like to read them, go here.

This week, slow down and have a great week!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Invite

If your memory is better than mine, perhaps you will remember the post I wrote about a woman coming up to me in the Hall at the VA and alerting/inviting me to a Memorial Day event, they call "Patriot Days." She also gave me her phone number to call for questions. (The Dayton, Ohio VA.)

About a week or so again, I called the number and got an answering machine. I left all my pertinent info and didn't expect much else.

Then, all of the sudden, yesterday she called me back and asked if I was coming. I thought sure, how could I back out now?

My only real problems are I can't find anyone to go with me since Liz has to work, because I need to be there. Even for the ones who have called me a "fu-king queer- in fact especially for them. 

Check out these numbers:

Transgender individuals who are currently on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve forces
Transgender individuals who have served, or currently serve, in the U.S. armed forces
Times more likely that transgender women will serve than all adult men
Times more likely that transgender men will serve than all adult women
*Figures per a 2014 Williams Institute report on transgender military service in the U.S.
So Sunday it will be!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Meeting of The Minds

Gee, it's quiet between my ears today. The trans meeting was good last night except for I couldn't make the 'after meeting' at a near by coffee shop. If you know meetings, the after meeting is where the  "heavy lifting" takes place and peeps begin to form bonds.

I will the next time around!

Other than the meeting, on the way out, one of the building administrators stopped me and commented on my hair. She fibbed and said she liked the color and I said gray? But then I asked her had she ever tried the "Vibrant Violet" I have been addicted to recently and she said yes. Then I asked if she had tried any of the "power reds" I was considering next, the answer was yes again.

Hair color is heavily on my mind-no pun intended.  I need to DIY before the bar mitzfah in a week and have two picture ID's to update...

 Plus I have to keep up with my 14 year old granddaughter, who (if she can come up with half the money) is pushing her Mom hard for a blue "ombre" color job before the evening. The quote was "well, J.J. (me) has violet hair so what's the problem? That is NOT my granddaughter in the picture but you all know what I think!

What else is going on? I'm still between genders with the VA today, but I was able to hand deliver the latest documents they needed to get the job done. Of course, new forms were needed after the first of the year-of course. The man in charge of all of it said if he can make contact with the right peeps, we may 'git-r-done' yet this week. 

I'm sure the whole process will move faster when someone in the system figures out they almost got it right by changing my gender to female. 

What I'm really waiting for though is an almost immediate trip to get my VA photo I.D changed.

Several of my friends are requesting a "rite of passage" ritual-maybe I could start by burning the old ID's?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The First Domino Fell!

As I wrote of before here in Cyrsti's Condo, today was endocrinologist day at my Veteran's Hospital. To say the day went relatively well is an understatement! 

First of all, my initial blood labs came back well enough that the Doc is prepared to let me back on estrogen if one more test on my blood comes back positive. Then, I didn't have to even give a pint today to hematology because my iron readings are back to the normal range.

So, all of a sudden Liz and I had extra time to seek out the office of the VA Privacy Officer who (as you may remember) holds the key to getting my gender markers changed within the VA-so I don't have be called "Mr.Hart" anymore.

I have tried and my psychologist has tried to tie this guy down as to what was going on with my case. Today (which is nearly unheard of) we found the building-we found his office and we found him!

He jumped right to it and started wondering to himself what the hell was going on and pulled my change request up on his computer screen. As we read it my heart sunk when it still had my male name on it but soared when the gender read-Female! 

Literally, as he tried to figure out why the gender was changed and not the name-my life flashed in front of my eyes. It was a true surreal experience. I'm sure what was only a couple of minutes seemed so much longer.

What we finally came up with on the formal name change was when I get the formal court name change on the 23rd- bring it straight to him.

At that point, what I call gender marker "dominoes" really begin to fall. More on that later!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hell! They Tried to Kill Me?

First of all, thanks to all of you who thanked me for my service! Mandy and Connie specifically! You two, my daughter and partner Liz made four! Then again, I suppose I don't fit the stereotype of the trans "vet" next door.

In the meantime-yesterday, I went in for another "blood letting" and lab workup and even a visit with my real live Doc.  The problem became when the sequence of the appointments became screwed up. I went to the Doc before the vampires took another pint. The good news was I didn't really need another "session" yesterday but the vampires were not to be denied.  (The bad news.) 

So, since my numbers came back into line so fast, even the nurse brought in from "American Horror Story" to take care of me-won't now for at least a month. She became aggravated when they tried to set me up another blood letting in two weeks and I told her to talk to the Doc...and found out she was wrong...bitch!

The roughest part of all though was making the trip (about 75 miles) down I-75 back to Cincinnati- in the dark-a bumper car zone at it's best.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

Ker Plunk another Sunday edition is hitting your virtual front porch. Here in Southwestern Ohio, we are back to what traditionally is called "Indian Summer" when much of our traditional summer heat and humidity returns for it's last "hurrah" before fall. Let's grab a cup 'o' joe (coffee) and get started!

Page One-The Week that Was or Wasn't: To me the biggest thing that has happened to me for awhile in the transgender world was the announcement from the Pentagon that an actual timetable has been set for allowing active duty transgender troops to serve openly for the first time in their military careers.

Also, along the way- the news of  Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, (left) a former policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, will serve as an outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Obviously, great news on both!
Page Two- Opinion.- Pronouns and the Trans Person: To me at least, they shouldn't but the use of gender pronouns people use with me define me. Often though, it's not fair to a public who is just getting familiar with trans women and transgender men at all. Plus, we are asking a person to make a split second gender decision on us. I had plenty of examples this weekend alone. There was the clerk girl at the shoe store yesterday who started to call me "sir" (at the check out) and to her I just said "No, thank you sir."  

Then there was the receptionist at the Veteran's Administration a couple weeks ago who changed  pronouns on me seemingly ten times a minute until she was totally frustrated. The list goes on endlessly of course. The woman taking tickets at the amateur boxing match we went to last night (Thanks Kim!) he/she'd me instantly when she took my ticket.
Of course, I'm not alone (with many of you) in the fact "passing privilege" will never be 100% ours, and pronouns may always be a problem or embarrassment of sorts for both parties.  

I do have a solution though. Most of the offenders I encounter aren't doing anything inherently evil. They are just confused and uneducated. I am thinking of printing up a very short list of alleviating the public's questions and when I do encounter a person, I will give them one.

Page Three .-The Back Page: Most of you know, I am not much of a "fashionista" but this weekend I grabbed Liz (she smiled) and we went shoe shopping. I did get "radical" and dipped into my limited funds and bought a pair of "short" boots that come just above my ankles and a pair of green/teal actual women's tennis shoes. (I know neither are very sexy-but both are very functional.) So looking ahead at the tons of fall festivals in the area and later into the winter weather-I m set up fairly well with my three pairs of boots.
Well kids, I have to get going and rustle up another cup o joe As always, thanks for stopping by!!!! 'Luv ya' all!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It Only Takes One

Perhaps you have heard the story of a generic in Midland, Michigan raising un-holy hell about an individual she assumed to be a man in the woman's locker room:
Yvette Cormier encountered someone she described as a “man” in that Planet Fitness locker room. “I wanted to know why there was a man in the women’s locker room,” she told CNN. “He [sic] looked like a man, and that’s what stopped me in my tracks.” Cormier complained to the front desk and then the corporate office, but Planet Fitness stood by its policy of gender identity inclusion. Unsatisfied with that result, Cormier returned to the gym every day the following week, constantly approaching other women to warn them about who she saw in the locker room.

The "person" in question was actually Carlotta Sklodowska a local transgender woman.  Planet Fitness did the right thing and kicked Cormier out but the story But (according to this Think Progress link) Cormier’s story indicates just how backwards the situation is for transgender people.Studies have shown that when transgender people use the restroom, they are the ones who experience discrimination and harassment, not cisgender women and children. Cormier spent several days telling everyone at the gym to fear the clothed “man” she saw one time in the locker room; Sklodowska hung up her coat and purse. (No naked shower mind you!)

On a personal level, I have written about my paranoia of using the proper restroom which has lingered with me from problems encountered years ago.  In fact,  I still have a friend from my past cross dressing days who doesn't believe "I have gone this far." (with the restroom thing.) On the positive side though, I am finding too, more and more gender neutral bathrooms.  The Dayton Veteran's Administration Hospital was a good example yesterday as was the "Essex Studio's" art complex in Cincinnati Saturday night. But, I have another example from yesterday.

Before my blood was taken, I was in the waiting room for approximately a half hour before my number was called.  During the last five minutes or so, a 40 something woman with her daughter sat down right across from me.  I didn't notice her until I suddenly looked up from my cell phone and saw that tell tale "smirk" on her face which truly I haven't seen for awhile.  As it turns out, I figured the woman was going to be admitted for neck "whip lash" from jerking her head to follow me back to the admittance area and even when I came out.  My "red neck dar" was on and I figure she would be the one who would call security about a "man" in the woman's room.  She didn't have the chance since both restrooms were unisex. So all she has to worry about now is her neck injuries!

And, good for you Planet Fitness!!!! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Doc, The Resident and the Vampires.

It seems like ages since I began my HRT odyssey with the Veteran's Administration when in fact it has been nearly four years if we go back to my initial meetings with a VA therapist.

Yesterday, I hit a new level of sorts as I was finally able to land an appointment with a VA endocrinologist for the first time.  In the years past, my local  smallish hospital didn't have a full time one who would see me, so after fighting and fighting, my visits to an "outsider" were paid for.

My disclaimer on all of this is I have never had a problem with my overall care.  I think the great majority of the people who work within the VA system have a very difficult job to do. Not to mention our government (like it or not) will go off and fight any number of wars without looking forward to how they are going to provide proper care for those who fought them. Another blog post.

My visits to my old endo doc were for the most part, no harm-no foul. Check my vitals to make sure I was still alive, check my estrogen and testosterone levels, get my new "scripts" and "see ya!" Yesterday, my new Doc actually called out my name into the waiting room and asked me if he did it right (he did-I hate when they call Mr. Hart!) and we got started.

For the first time ever as a trans woman, I was really examined. Take off your sweater, drop your drawers kind of exam followed of course by 6,000 questions.  To add to the "fun" was the third year medical student who was accompanying the Doc. The first thing he asked me was "She had never met a transgender person, could she stay?" It turns out she was more fascinated by me, than I am on the mornings when I can't seem to put one foot ahead of another. Her presence in the room definitely provided me a first.  During my 50 plus years of adult life, I have never been "examined" by both genders at the same time-with breasts.

All too soon, my appointment was over and I was off to the "vampires" to give yet another three vials of blood which lately have seemed to get lost in the system. The good news was-this guy really knew what he was doing.

Perhaps my interaction with the Doc in training was the gift which will keep on giving.  She asked several times if I would come talk to her class at a local university about how to treat and NOT treat a transgender patient. Example from my last visit to old Doc- Note to residents- Do NOT make your first question- who do you have sex with-men or women after mis-pronouning you.

Finally, the Doc scheduled another appointment for three months from now and the only major change so far is I'm going on an Estrogen patch and off the pill. I will let you know of any other changes - like an unplanned pregnancy!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

"Kerplunk!" Good morning kids, the first Condo Sunday Edition of 2015 has hit your virtual front porch!  Get a hot steamy cup o joe, curl up in those new Christmas "jammies" and lets get started.

Page 1.- The Week that Was - or Wasn't.  The new year started on an incredibly sad and tragic note when the ongoing epidemic of transgender suicides hit home.  This time, incredibly close to us in the Condo area.  Unless you are living in a cave or in one of my Facebook groups where sharing stupid pictures of yourself is more important than commenting-you have heard of 17 year old transgender girl Leelah Alcorn's suicide on New Years Eve. Around here in Ohio, her memory is being honored with vigils.  The first was held around here in Cincinnati, then Springfield and Dayton-both just up the road.  Two points.  The first was the number one news station in Cincy had a lengthy story on the vigil this morning with the proper pronouning AND (THANKS!) reported vigils are happening as far away as London, England! It makes a difference Paula and Vicki and all you trans girls across the pond.
And two:  of course Leelah's bigoted parents are still reportedly calling her their son but as a transgender community we are gaining ally's and understanding again from people on the edge. The ones who didn't really know much.  It's tough, a very positive happening from the worst of all circumstances-a young transgender woman offering herself up as a martyr. 
Page 2.-Cha-Cha-Changes.  The end of 2014 marked my third year on HRT-almost.  I say almost because when I started my minimum dosage of HRT, when I wanted to step up my dosage (under medical care) I had to go through six months of bureaucratic B.S. with the Veterans Administration to claim my benefits as a transgender veteran.  Somewhere along the line, I heard it takes around three years for the hormonal effects to really set in. I am a complete believer in the timeline now after November/December of last year, I believe it.  All of the sudden, I went on some sort of fast forward mode mentally and physically.
Page 3.- The Back Page.  Looking ahead, it seems the world as a whole and in my little universe can't move any faster than it has recently.  I think!  Personally, my hopes for growth in 2015 are overwhelmingly in the spiritual area.  I hope what ever dreams you all have for the new year are achievable and come true. Look at it this way though, if you don't have dreams-that's the biggest tragedy of all.  Thanks for visiting Cyrsti's Condo!! Luv ya all!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

So All "Pub" Is Not Good "Pub?"

By "Pub" I am referring to "Publicity", specifically transgender pub.

Michelle and Pat responded to our recent Cyrsti's Condo post on the rise of positive transgender role models and shows on TV.  Appropriately both mentioned we all still suffer from the negative story too and Michelle even looked forward to the day when we trans folk are not news simply when we walk on to a podium or stage.

On occasion, I can be a visionary and see it happening, on others, my vision is not so good.  I would suppose the process depends exactly where you live. Yesterday was one of those days I agreed with Michelle's hopes as it was my time to shine in the waiting room of my small local Veterans Administration clinic. I was there for my yearly therapist "check up" with the VA and I was deemed "so interesting" that I was essentially tag teamed. One was a "meds" specialist, the other "lifestyle."

I didn't set out to become, well- publicity.  In my local clinic-I still do my best to butch it up.  It is tough anymore because of my mane of long hair and HRT softened skin. Once I get to the staff, I'm not fooling anyone anyhow, I'm fairly sure all of the clinic's small staff (maybe 3 docs and 12 nurses etc) know of "me" and really have gone out of their way to respect my transition. I have heard "rumors" of other transgender patients in the Dayton, Ohio hospital center but of course I have never met one.

The patients in the waiting room are a different matter. The process at times gets to be rather humorous. I get looks from everyone, especially the generics. I think "get over my hair! Bitches!!!"

Fast forward the process to my therapist appointments.  Both went so far as to not use a first name with me at all when then called me in. Med therapist was predictably dry, but lifestyle therapist was interesting.  At one point she was even apologizing for Ohio's supposed resistance to LGBT culture in any form. (Outside of Columbus.)  I jumped into educational mode and told her about the advances in our part of the state in cities such as Cincinnati and nearby Dayton. Thankfully, all my visits went well and I left hoping I was able to leave as much positive "Pub" as I could for the cause.

I'm not naive enough to think we now we are not doing anymore than scratching the surface of transgender acceptance.  I equate the process to a version of urban guerrilla warfare, a door to door - person to person battle. We are just going to have to make sure we tip the good publicity scale to the max and win the battles and the war..

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

"Ker Plunk!!!" Another issue of the Condo's "Sunday Edition" has hit your virtual front porch. Curl up in those warm jammies (Pajamas) of yours and lets get started!

Page One: The Week That Was-or Wasn't.  Late in the week, we took a look into the fragile and sometimes tragic circumstances of a relationship working to exist when the binary male needs to live a feminine lifestyle. Many times to be able to live at all.  Here is yet another great comment from Angela Kay
"Pat and I have a lot in common. My wife is very supportive of 'Angie' and has raised no objection to my HRT, but she lives in constant fear of the neighbors finding out and ostracizing her. I tell her that they're more likely to feel sorry for her, but she's not prepared to take the risk. This presents real problems as I live over 80% of my time as Angie. My solution is to do my own shopping and socializing in nearby towns where I'm not known; if we go into our own little town, it's always as husband and wife. I've written quite a lot about this in my own blog. It's not an ideal way to live, but it's a reasonable compromise and it seems to work for us.

By the way, I'm an English girl and had no idea what a 'condo' was until I looked it up on Wikipedia. See – I grow a little wiser every day!"

Thanks Angie! -I struggle to get a little wiser every day!  As far as your wife goes and many generics-worrying may just come with the territory.  Speaking only for me, my amount of "worry" has increased substantially on HRT.

Page Two: Cyrsti's Soapbox.  Just as I was preparing myself for an extended rant about the **Veterans Administration messing with my HRT treatment, seemingly, the "ship was righted" (even though I was in the Army-not the Navy).  After approximately nine phone calls and a threat to camp out in their offices, a person actually told me how to solve the problem.  The problem may now well become the solution seemed to be too easy.  Also last week, I was surprised and amused at how a "transitioning" email had made it to one of my in boxes.  Turns out it was coming from the CIA who does recruit American military veterans (for obvious reasons).  Seeing as how years ago I had signed up for a veteran job search site, I got the email too late! I started transitioning years ago.

Page Three: Just What the Hell is a?  Angie's comment about not knowing what a "Condo" was across the pond, again slapped me up the side of the head.  I say again because I'm am old school and forget this not so "new fangled" thing call the internet is world wide. So, sometimes when I write about something, I'm assuming most all of you know what I'm talking about.  The CIA is an example. Most in the world know of the American "Central Intelligence Agency" as I have heard of British M16 Intelligence Agency or "Scotland Yard." But then again, if I don't explain myself, I could be writing about the "Culinary Institute of America." Then again, many of you may wonder what I'm referring to when I mention the Veterans Administration. Basically, this is their mandate:  The US Department of Veterans Affairs provides patient care and federal benefits to veterans and their dependents.  The agency's name is commonly abbreviated to "VA". 
Page 4.- The Back Page: Before we call this a wrap and move on, I would like to thank Andee again for a link she sent in which goes into a speech about the history of the LGBT community from the Office of National Intelligence.  As a group we truly have and will be everywhere! 

Hey! Y'all have a good week and thanks bunches for taking your valuable time to stop by Cyrsti's Condo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Leave 'Em' Laughing"

My continuing saga with the Veteran's Administration took a decisive turn yesterday.

About two or so, I saw a call coming in from my Patient Advocate office...quickly catching you newer Cyrsti's Condo visitors up-I am a transgender veteran and I am under a co-pay medical program with the much maligned VA.  They are mandated to provide HRT care for me.  Sounds simple, right?

For the most part it has been-except-in typical bureaucratic fashion,  I got stuck in a classic "Catch 22" (A requirement that cannot be met until a prerequisite requirement is met, however, the prerequisite cannot be obtained until the original requirement is met.)  I was approved to be prescribed the HRT meds through the VA pharmacy but no one would prescribe them.  I fought for approximately six to eight months to get approval for them (VA) to pay for an outside endocrinologist to approve my meds. Fast forward two years later and all of the sudden it was happening again!

My advice to any or all of you who may be facing a similar situation-be a persistent bitch. I called three separate advocates nine times in a week and finally got a real answer, presented to me in a simple fashion I could understand.  For once, the guy who called me was interested in not just using me as a ping pong ball and bouncing me to another person.  He told me just to get approval from my primary VA Doc and all was good.  Wow.

Perhaps the second best point came when I was getting ready to hang up and I said "Thanks Dave". He said, "You're welcome, but the name is Jason." I said sorry, but that's fine,  I'm not a "Mister" either.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cyrsti's Condo "Sunday Edition"

"Ker Plunk!" Another Condo weekly wrap up has hit your virtual front porch!  Curl up with your Cup o Joe and lets get started!

Page 1.- The Week That was-or Wasn't.  Such a week it was! I really don't where to even start. I'm thinking an important place though, is my moving story.  My plan to get moved in with my partner Liz within 6 months or so and my old house on the market and sold-took a giant step forward. Briefly,  that is not an move across town-but one involving a two hour drive.
Moving was not the only thing weighing on my mind this week.  It seems the Veteran's Administration "powers to be" at the Dayton (Ohio) hospital center have gone back to where I fought them years ago and denied payment to an outside provider for my endocrinologist needs. Which (by the way) is illegal for them to do.  So here we go again.
Page 2.- A Star Arrives!   Last week marked the appearance of Laverne Cox in our area of Ohio and Northern Kentucky.  I was fortunate to see her Tuesday and was inspired and impressed. It turns out, I met a couple of young transgender men and women in Cincinnati who were impressed too.  Liz was doing a craft show here and put out many of her hand beaded items.  To the left you can see an example of a transgender logo beret she made me for my hair last Spring.  The picture is taken of me from my best angle!  At any rate, an obviously gender non forming young couple wondered by and were drawn to the beret.  Finally, the trans guy said quietly-they knew the transgender symbol and were trans! I was sitting to the rear of the table, for once being quiet and out of the way so I just raised my hand.  Liz said, "So is she" and pointed my direction.  From that point on, we had quite the chat, oblivious to the "civilians" around us. I wondered later, what they thought about phrases and words about testosterone shots, top surgery, HRT and transitioning.  How wonderful it was we could do it!!!! It turns out, they too had seen Laverne Cox at Northern Kentucky University recently. 

By the way, the trans guy is ordering one of Liz's beaded handmade beret's for his Mom as a Christmas gift-with a rainbow where the Yin-Yang symbol is centered on mine.  Just contact me if you have an idea and want her to make one for you.  Please remember they are hand crafted and I will give you a price.

Page 3.- Stealth, Football and Mo!  Our back page today is going to be brief (maybe). In the typical New York elitist media style- on the CBS News show "Face the Nation" one of the experts quoted the old "Texas" football coach who said when you pass the football-three things can happen-all bad. The coach was Woody Hayes, decidedly NOT from Texas, but Ohio State.  Then again, when I lived in the NYC area for a couple years, the only part of the country the New Yorkers acknowledged was Texas.  To them, my native Ohio didn't register.  Even though I do pay attention to the "East Coast" media bias-I hold it all at arm's length out here in the frontier!
However, here in the frontier, we do play football, and yes our Ohio State Buckeyes tore up some Wisconsin Badger last night.  Liz and I watched the game in a sports bar here in Cincinnati which is not exactly the strongest Buckeye stronghold in the state-but OK none the less. 
Being self centered, sure the victory was great but the local circumstances around it at the tavern were even better. More later.

You all are the best!!!! Thanks as always for stopping by Cyrsti's Condo!!! Have a great week!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Backwards-Both Ways

On occasion, even I'm impressed on how poor my communication skills can be especially when we are talking about one of my HRT doctors.  The reason I have two is even though my primary physician at the VA (Veteran's Administration) has a transgender niece, he is still not medically qualified to monitor my blood work and/or estrogen level.  For that I need an Endocrinologist. That's OK because  an elevated estrogen level can cause blood clots.  Especially at my age!

I see my Endo Doc about every six months or so and it always has been a struggle (for whatever reason) for him to write a prescription for what he says he is going to write it for. It took me a couple appointments to get the amount of estrogen I wanted and he said I could have.

Then, there is my other main HRT med, commonly known as "Spiro".  It's also used to control blood pressure but one of it's "side effects" is to lower testosterone. Since I have plenty of blood pressure to control (it's normally high), Spiro was good for me in a couple ways. Somehow though, I was certainly stockpiling enough to last awhile.

In fact, the last couple times I refilled my "Spiro", I wondered why I had more than the pharmacy did!  As I began to think about it, as reticent as the Doc was to give me more estrogen, the more he spoke about upping my dosage of Spiro. That was cool but telling me would have been even cooler! What confused me was somehow he wrote the prescription for double the amount I was taking but the instructions on the pill bottle (from the VA) said otherwise. I was following the instructions and becoming a Spiro "hoarder."

My next appointment with him is in September, so I have plenty of chance to take the right dosage and he can check me for "Low T" and high "E". And yes, I have checked up on the effects of a higher dosage. Plus, I have talked to a couple other trans women who were prescribed even higher dosages. So I should be fine.

What frustrates me though is I actually checked the size of the "girls" and found I am getting comfortably into "C" country.  I may have been able to take up residence there already if the "Doc" and I had been on the same page!

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...