Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Pedestal is Slippery

 A few days ago I wrote a post on the subject of transgender "de-transitioning." Shortly after I wrote it I began to worry if  I sounded too flippant about the subject. Even bordering on sounding if I was "being more transgender than you." Of course all of that would be the farthest from the truth.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

My point is everyone's gender transition is different and it is not up to me to decide the level of difficulty, especially when it comes to the drastic move of de-transitioning. 

It's no secret rejection from family and friends plays a huge role in a smooth transition. In my case my parents had long since passed away, so I didn't have to worry about coming out to them. That left me with my only brother and my daughter as the only blood family I had left to reveal my authentic self to. Not many people compared to others I know. 

As most of you may know, my daughter turned out to be one of my biggest fans. She even treated me to a visit to her upscale beauty salon for my birthday when I came out to her. At the same time, my brother and sister in law were totally the opposite. At the time, it was near Thanksgiving which was the only holiday we still celebrated as a family. Out of respect to my brother I gave him the choice of me attending the family get together as my authentic self. After discussion on their part, they told me they preferred I didn't attend. Since then I have not spoken to him. Sadly it has been nearly ten years now. The problem with him is (as I see it) , he chose not to support me because he was afraid of all the negative feedback he would face from all of his right wing Southern Baptist in laws. 

As I look down from my pedestal I have a tendency to forget how incredibly fortunate  I was when my daughter's in laws supported me as did my partner Liz's family. As in any transgender situation it could have gone either way. 

This is an another example of coming out into a larger family. It comes from Connie:

 When I decided I had to transition I had already been living a 90% out-existence. I had only been presenting as the father, grandfather, brother-in-law, and son-in-law at family get-togethers. My wife had come to accept me for who I was, and we each worked on our respective transitions. My mother and brother had passed away a year or so earlier, and then a beloved sister-in-law, to whom I had come out, died from a very painful bout with cancer. I put on the only suit and tie that I had, and I delivered the eulogy at her funeral Mass. The next day, I got rid of all of my men's clothing, and I proceeded to notify everyone in my family that I hereafter would be the woman that I was born to be. There was no way I was going to turn back at that point, and I've never even considered the possibility of doing so.

It was not easy transitioning with family. My wife is one of 13 children, and there are close to 150 extended family members. I think I've been seen by all of them by now, and I am accepted by most of them. After going through all of that, demonstrating my commitment to live as a woman, I would be more embarrassed and guilt-ridden should I detransition than I ever was about being a transgender woman in the first place.

Photo Compliments: Jessie Hart

Physically, I could detransition as fast as it would take me to get undressed and remove my wig to reveal my male pattern baldness. I have had no surgeries or HRT that would have caused changes to my body, so, given a few days to show a stubbly beard, I could easily pass as a man. I just wouldn't be one, though. I guess you could say I would be cross dressing as a man, but I would be doing it under duress (as opposed to when I used to cross dress under a dress).

As is a fear for you, I can't see how I would make it in a care facility. I would be completely exposed, shaving would not be as frequent or thorough as would be necessary, and wigs just don't hold up well when one is bedridden. Still, I would not detransition. I'm pretty sure I would find a way to end it, though. Until then, this girl is going to live it up!"

Speaking of  age, I think my pedestal  was easier to climb because I was older. I was to the point of my life (in my early sixties) when I was tired of  worrying about others thought of me. I can't forget also the world was slowly being educated to what a transgender woman or man was, 

One way or another, we all have our transgender pedestals to climb. The farther up we go the better we can see our futures as our authentic selves. I can only hope your climb is worth it. Mine was!

Connie, maybe we can get adjoining rooms.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Transgender Diversity

Before I delve farther into what I mean by the title. let me say Happy Easter to all of you who may celebrate it in their own personal way. 

Photo Courtesy Alex Shute 
on Unsplash

Yesterday, my partner Liz and I journeyed slightly North to the metro Dayton area to my daughter's mother in laws to take part in a Jewish Passover Seder. It was mostly all new to me as we prayed, feasted and remembered the exceedingly tragic history of the Jewish people. It was mostly all new to me because I am not Jewish and my daughter converted following her marriage. 

This was far from my first visit to her house and usually along the way somewhere I always get mis-gendered or worse yet get called by my dead name. Regardless, I value the time I spend with the only people who knew the old me. It's always a challenge to re-imprint them to my new life as a transgender  woman.  This time, I was not mis-gendered at all and only called my dead name once and it was only by my first wife's husband who suffered a stroke. So forgiveness was in order.

Yesterday it didn't matter because diversity ended up ruling the dinner. I have a granddaughter who years ago (when she was arguing with my daughter) told her what if she ended up loving another woman. Of course my daughter defused the entire situation by pointing out my status as a transgender woman and she didn't care who she loved as long as she was happy. In addition, my oldest grandson's fourth grade teachers was an out/ gay cis man who also was well known in the community as one of the top drag queens in the city. To make a long story short, the family was immersed in diversity. Even to the point of my first wife, who was also there at the Passover Seder.  It turns out her second husband's brother has a transgender man in the family. 

For a change I wasn't the only diverse LGBTQ person in the room. My highly androgynous granddaughter brought an equally androgynous friend with her. In addition, my granddaughter carried out a majority of the service by herself.  I was so proud! Finally someone else to carry on the LGBT banner in the extended family. 

Being in a safe space and being able to celebrate one's diversity can never be taken for granted and never unstated. My extended family's acceptance more than makes up for the lack of acceptance in my own family. I often have written about the reluctance to support my transition by my only remaining brother. Essentially he chose to not support me because of a potential rebuff by his Southern Baptist redneck in laws.  All of this occurred way before the rebirth of hate the transgender community is experiencing now, so I am positive my reception would be even worse. It doesn't matter, I don't need them anyhow

The best part is the knowledge of what I have gained versus what I have lost. It all contributes to one of the main reasons I cherish my transgender and/or any LGBT safe spaces I find. With my daughter's in laws I have even been invited to speak a couple times at their temple during my grandkids "Bar Mitzvah" The ultimate in acceptance. 

I only wish more transgender or LGBT woman and men could experience a similar feeling.  

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Monumental Women

 Of course I am biased but I feel the journey we transgender women go through to live as our authentic selves is epic. Just take a moment and consider the struggles we go through. Such as discrimination in employment, medical care and education just to name a few. 

On this Transgender Day of Visibility I have chosen a wonderful friend I had the pleasure of meeting when she first stepped out of the closet into the world. 

After I share a couple of her life's peaks and valleys since then , I hope you understand why I have given her the title of "Monumental Woman.: It wasn't so long ago I wrote about her and her wife visiting a less than liberal restaurant and essentially getting stared at and gossiped about. 

Her name is "Venessa" who you can see to the left and it is important to note the title really has nothing to do with size. 

Similar to so many of us, Venessa struggles with being a large person which she has had to overcome when it comes to going out with her wife and/or kids, What makes the situation worse is she lives in a less than liberal county just east of Cincinnati.

I also need to mention she transitioned on the job in a very male dominated profession of truck driving. So as you can tell Venessa has gone through a lot to claim her very honorary title of "Monumental Woman." 

As with most of us too, I am sure Venessa would say she still has a way to go with her transition. Or better yet, the world does. Until her wife and her can go out and enjoy a fun, peaceful brunch without being stared at.

I hope all of you can follow her lead and become "Monumental Women" in your own right. And thanks to Connie for initially giving me the term.

As far as I am concerned, I am helping to publicize the transgender - cross dresser support group at the TDOV event in downtown Cincinnati. Maybe some day in my own way I can earn a "Monumental Woman" award.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Most Difficult Post?

 Seemingly the Christmas Day post here in Cyrsti's Condo would be one of the easier ones to write. But, it just isn't. 

I know for many in the LGBTQ community the day brings back memories of ex-blood families who have rejected us. Of course I have documented many times  how my brother and his family did not support me when I came out to them as transgender. These days the extended family I have developed have more than replaced what I have lost from my brother. 

The bigger loss to me were the frenetic times I spent with my deceased wife whose favorite holiday by far was Christmas. All the memories now are so fond and bring back such great memories, it makes Christmas one of the more difficult times of the year for me too. As much as I try to make it as close to any other day as possible, I just don't want to.

Even my daughter quit celebrating the Christmas holiday when she converted  to Judaism. This Christmas she is spending in Alaska with her kids on some sort of a glacier. That leaves just me, Liz and her son to feast on a holiday ham. As far as ham goes, we now have an embarrassment of riches. We bought one on our pickup from our main grocery store was shorted on our order. So it was deducted and we went down the street to another store and bought one. Then when we returned home and found the ham they shorted us. Finally, to make matters even more ridiculous, Liz was gifted a large ham or turkey from her company.   So either we have enough protein to last through June or we donate one of the hams to a local food pantry.

So much for our positive food issues. Let's get to the important part of this post. I hope you all have a meaningful holiday, however you decide to celebrate it!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

On the Road


As I mentioned, today is my youngest grandson's birthday (13th). Also, due to our new diet, we will be packing our own sugar and flour free lunch. Obviously too, we will not be partaking in any of the birthday cake or ice cream. Sooner more than later I will have to run around in the shower to get wet.

As I try in this post to try to tie up some loose ends, here is a comment/question from Connie:

There's no doubt that trans people can be as rude as anyone else. Was the quote said directly from the DJ, or was the T word just added by the accuser to up the ante? Not only can anyone be rude, anyone, including trans people, can be too easily offended, sometimes. I probably would never return to a place where I was called the T word, but I would apologize if what I had done was thought to be rude. I hope that there isn't a blow-up over it all."

To clarify, the guy has never come close enough to me to use the "T" word. So, I took for granted what I heard was second hand and by an individual who over the years (literally)  has seemingly done her best to snub the group, 

After all, transgender people are no different than the rest of the population, Some are good folk, some not so much.

The person involved in the whole event supposedly, has never gotten back with me. For all I know, the DJ denied ever saying it or even apologized.  

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Are You Man Enough?

These days, when I write, I am dividing my time between the Cyrsti's Condo blog and the book I am trying to put together. In my mind it is much easier to write a blog post because it fits my short attention span.  As I work on a book chapter, I have to go more in depth. 

Here is an example for a chapter I am working on which revolves around leaving your male closet and finding your life as a transgender woman:

In many ways, it seems those days of rummaging through my meager wardrobe of girl’s clothes and make up were just yesterday. Then again, taking my precious time to admire myself in the mirror seems so long ago. The impossible dream was to try and get out of my restricting closet and try to live a feminine life. Along the way I had so many misconceptions of what that life would be like, it seemed I was hitting wall after wall. The only thing I do know is I went from hiding behind my skirts when the world threatened me all the way to becoming an out and proud transgender woman. Let’s go back now to how you change closets and why.

The “why” is simple. If you don’t feel the need deep down inside to change your gender, don’t do it. Because really you are not changing anything. You are connecting the dots back to the person you have always been deep down inside. Perhaps, this idea is the hardest to explain to an outsider trying to understand being transgender is not a choice for us. We are simply trying desperately to live the life we were always destined to live. Unfortunately, most of us are subjected to what is referred to as “testosterone poisoning” The time starting at puberty when we begin to develop the male characteristics which will come back to haunt our attempts to externally transition later in life. Very few of us are lucky enough to physically transition seamlessly into the feminine gender. For the rest of us, it is a real struggle.  Once you decide it is time to change closets, the problem arises on how you are going to tell friends and family.

There is no easy way telling others. Some decide to slowly tell family and friends while others decide to quickly pull the band-aid off and tell many people quickly. Younger trans people have their entire lives to try to carve out a niche where they can find employment and hopefully someone to have a relationship with. Older trans people have the opposite problem with primarily telling a lifetime spouse and family. Naturally, many spouses feel as if they have been deceived. They married a man, not a woman. It leads to heartbreaking dramas on both sides. In my case, my wife of twenty-five years accepted my need to be a cross dresser but never my need to be transgender and more of a woman. We had massive disagreements. Looking back on it, she was right when she told me to be “man enough to be a woman.” In gender disagreements each side essentially is right and it makes the whole situation very difficult to navigate. There is no easy answer. I certainly am not wise enough to suggest one.

I have such a long way to go!