Showing posts with label gender binary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gender binary. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Transgender Control

Image from Charles 
Deluvio on UnSplash

Many times, resistance to transgender  women  or trans men comes from people who just want to control us.

Since so many people don't understand trans people, control for them seems to be the easiest way out to deal with us. On the other hand, I dealt with being ignored by men when I first came out in the public's eye. Most of it probably came from the presentation issues I dealt with. Examples included the times I started to talk to men concerning topics I knew quite a bit about and was roundly ignored. However there was the occasional man who tried to dominate the conversation with me. 

Seeing as how I had lived in the male world all those years, I should have known it was coming. Even other men tried their best to control me over the years. With a few of them, like drill sergeants when I was in the Army. What I did was internalize my thoughts and outwardly listened to them. So I learned to get by in the world. Even when I was wondering how I would exist in the world as a transgender woman.

I was lucky I had good role models around me from the women I knew. My Mom started it all off because she existed quite well in the male dominated world she existed in. Then, much later in life, I worked in a profession where again I saw how the strong women around me survived well in life. Very few people controlled them. As their boss, I learned to work with them, not control them. In my dealings with men as a trans woman, all I wanted was the same. A man who would work with me not cut me off in mid sentence when we talked. In all fairness to the men I met before I began to be involved with my group of lesbians, I did meet a couple guys I felt I could be interested in.

My problem was I refused to be treated as a fetish item and required a man to meet me in a public place before we did anything else. Which stopped all of the crazies I met on line. For just a moment at least, I wanted my own transgender control. As my transition progressed, I found control was harder and harder to maintain, especially when I became quite fond of several women around me who accepted me for who I was. Control from a feminine viewpoint was quite different from all I had learned as a guy growing up. Primarily because there was more give and take.

Of course I embraced all the changes and willingly gave up several keys to my life. The biggest one came when I packed up my belongings, along with my cat and dog and moved in with my current wife (and longtime companion) Liz. Now it has been over twelve years ago and after quite a bit of give and take, our relationship thrives. 

All in all, learning control as a transgender woman  is a difficult process. Primarily because of the major differences in the binary genders. In order to survive in our male life, many of us had to learn to control the situation when it came to dealing with spouses, family and employment. While I can safely say I never really controlled my second wife who was a very strong woman, on occasion I tried because I was the man and it was what men do. Above all it taught me, it was NOT what men should do. Especially when I faced it as a trans woman. 

Again, thanks to the feminine role models I grew up with, I blossomed into a proud out transgender woman I am today. They all showed me the way and my inner female finished the deal. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Quiet Trans Girl

Image from Linkedin on UnSplash.

Growing up, I lived under the double edged sword of not wanting to live in a male dominated world which was my family. So I did what I was taught to do, I internalized my thoughts and never mentioned them to anyone.  I became a very quiet trans girl until when I was in my early twenties and came out as a transvestite to a few very close friends. In the Army, of all places. 

In fact, internalizing my feminine desires became my main theme to my life. On many days, when my gender dysphoria was at it's highest, I had no idea how I was going to make it through another day in a male world. Somehow, without the help of anyone else I made it and continued to live a very quiet life with a few male dominated activities included to throw my gender doubters off the beaten track. Somehow I managed to join up with a small group of hell raisers who I stayed friends with through high school and the military.

Staying hidden in my closet had a negative effect when I first took my tentative steps in the world as a novice cross dresser / transgender woman. When I made my entrance into the real world away from gay bars and clothing stores where everyone could be accepted, I was petrified when someone attempted to communicate with me. What would I say and more importantly how would I say it. Nothing in my life had prepared me for what I was about to face. 

I began the process with simply trying to mimic the voice of the woman who was trying to talk to me, which seemed to work out fairly well until I needed to talk to a man. So I tried to do the next best thing and not talk at all. Not talking worked fairly well until I began to see people again. For the most part, I was easy to remember and more people than I care to mention wanted to know more about me. Particularly women, who in their own feminine way wanted to know why I wanted into their world. To further my communication success, I then decided to attend vocal classes at the Veteran's Administration in Dayton, Ohio. By doing so, I was able to learn the basic differences the male and female binary genders use to communicate in the world. The training went much farther than just the basics of vocal range and I learned a lot. 

Perhaps the biggest improvement I learned was I could now have the confidence to hold my own, one on one with another woman. I was no longer coming off as unfriendly or worse by not wanting to talk. I used to say I was going out to my favorite venues night after night to be alone but it was not true any longer as I was out to be social. 

Ironically, the better I became at being social with other women, the more I was kicked out of my old men's club which I had become so adept at surviving in. I learned quickly my male privilege of discussing topics of interest with other guys was a waste of my time when I was rejected for being a woman. Transgender or not. Like it or not, once again I had became the quiet trans girl. 

It wasn't until I began to build a new circle of women friends did I finally discover I didn't need a man's validation to be a person at all. I could stand on my own two feet and flourish in the world but it wasn't easy to get there. I had more failures than successes when I first started the communication process in the world as a transgender woman. The feminine nuances of non verbal communication women use initially was very difficult to learn. It did not take me long though to grasp when a friendly woman behind the bar was trying to tell me when a drunk guy was a huge red flag and I should vacate the premises.

More than anything else, my new communication skills brought the quiet trans girl out of her shell. When I moved in with Liz in Cincinnati, we began to go to "Meetup" social groups which helped immeasurably with my communication skills. Sure, probably, most of the others attending knew I was trans but I was different and even exotic to a few, so I stood out from the group. I needed to accept the fact and finally began to thrive on my reality.

I know my reality isn't for everyone and my journey could be different than all of yours. The main thing is we are all on the same journey at various points in our lives and can learn from each other. When we do, we can come out of our deep/dark gender closets and live a meaningful life. 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Creating a Tangled Gender Web

Image from Robert 
Anasch on UnSplash

When I look back at my life, I wonder if I knew all it would entail would I do it all again.

The only change I would make would be to have have the courage sooner to go ahead and transition from male to female. Even though it sounds like a good idea to have jumped off my gender cliff earlier, the problem became the world around me. I am seventy four and the world at large has gone through several different realities when it comes to the transgender world. Back in the day, there was very little feedback when it came to being transgender at all. Basically, there were only two categories, transvestite (or cross dresser) and/or transsexual. Neither of which felt very natural to me, Plus if you went the transsexual route, you were expected to move and leave your old life completely behind. I never thought I could do it either. I still had a daughter I loved plus enjoyed small parts of my male life.

In other words, I was stubborn to the point I thought I could still transition my own way. If indeed I ever came to the conclusion I was trans. As I procrastinated through life, I created an increasingly tangled gender web. I was trying to balance what was left of my male life along with a long term marriage with a woman I loved very much. At that point, I was trying my best to try to discover my true gender self. My web grew ever tangled the more I tried to either escape or relax and enjoy the ride. The ride included taking my transition one step at a time. I found as I struggled in my tangled web I needed more than one transition to move forward. It took the evening when I finally decided to go out to be a transgender woman rather than as a very serious cross dresser just out to escape my male world. to change my mind The difference was major in that I was striving to discover who I really was rather than just playing some sort of game I had indulged in for most of my life. Much of it was in front of a mirror. Naturally the world was much more brutal and I needed to be better.

As it turned out, I was increasingly successful in both of my lives in the main two binary genders which caused my web to be even bigger and more tangled. I ended up sneaking out behind my wife's back, which caused severe problems with my marriage. It was increasingly evident I was stuck in a battle between two women. My wife and my inner woman were both strong feminine people and the war weighed heavily on my overall mental health. Before it killed me, I needed to finally escape the tangled web I was in and begin to live as a woman. Or, as my wife told me, be man enough to be a woman. 

Once I escaped, and with the help of several key friends, I was able to start all over in a new feminine  life. Although, once I began the life, I understood the fact my new life wasn't so new after all. My inner self had been waiting and observing my life just waiting to take over. Of course after I escaped the web, she had her chance and I was living my dream life.  At the least I never led a boring life. 


Friday, December 1, 2023

Stuck in the Middle with Me


Image from Rene Ranisch 
On UnSplash

Once upon a time and probably more than once, my second wife told me my cross dressing existence wasn't all about me. 

We were usually fighting about my feminine existence when she came up with the same comment. The unfortunate truth was it was all about me. I had a singular desire to look better as a woman and I knew deep down the whole femininization process would not be accepted by my wife and if I was to succeed at all, I would have to do it myself. Since she was unable to help, it meant I was on my own to discover my own fashion, makeup etc. So, for the most part, we never saw eye to eye on anything when it came to my cross dressing. Over the years, it became obvious she didn't like my inner woman at all.

Even though I knew it was and had to be all about me, life went on and we were able to stay together for over twenty five years until her untimely death. Until the end, she resisted any idea of mine I would ever want to begin down the road to trying a transgender lifestyle by starting hormone replacement therapy. When she always stated she didn't sign up with me to be with another woman again I had to agree with her.

Since she did not accept me, I started to sneak around behind her back and found out it was possible I could follow my ultimate dream. In the world I was beginning to discover, I was able to begin to carve out a new life as a transgender woman. When I did I became stuck between the two binary genders. I was trying to live as my old male self a couple days of the week and my female self the remainder of the time. Of course my life became unbearable and I sustained dark days when it came to my mental health. Being stuck in the middle with myself was not a fun place to be. I would come to learn in her own way, my inner woman who was doing battle with my wife was just as strong willed. 

I quickly figured out my old male person was going to be the first person to go away when my wife passed. I'm sure in the next life, my wife wasn't surprised to see I quickly transitioned totally into a feminine world. She always said my dog would never miss her if anything ever happened and she could have added my inner woman would not have missed her either. To make matters worse with my overall mental health, my male self desperately missed her. Possibly knowing my wife was his last chance at maintaining any sort of life.

 Even though the times I was out exploring the world as a novice transgender woman on occasion I was terrified, I pushed on to experience the excitement of exploring a life I had always dreamed of. When I did, often I was surprised at the outcome. I never expected many of the results I had when my inner feminine self took over. Quite a few times I couldn't believe how easy and natural life turned out to be.

Being stuck in the middle with me turned out to be worth all the hassles I went through to arrive there. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Good Fight

Image from Fred Moon 
on UnSplash

Often, our biggest enemy we face when we transition from one binary gender to another is ourselves. 

In the case of male to female gender transitioners the male ego never wants to give up his control. In my case it was a fight to the bitter end. A fight which nearly killed me. As along the way my old male self seized upon every means possible to preserve his existence and furthermore, he never fought fair. He felt he carried all the cards and only played any when he was pressed to do so. 

Through it all, what he never counted on was the inherent strength of my inner feminine self. Along the way he was ego driven to the point where he thought dressing as a transgender woman was simply a hobby he had to relieve the stresses of the world. When in reality, the opposite was true. She was letting him continue to express his masculine self while she bided her time and waited for her chance to shine in the world. 

As I continued to explore the world as my feminine self, it became clear to me who the winner of my gender struggle would be. Every step of the way in my brave new world felt so natural. Before I knew it my so called even split living life the best I could as a male and a female became more and more female and when I was spending life as a male, all I did was dream of what my next step would be as a woman. Where would I go and what would I do?

Of course the biggest problem I faced was my male self held the power cards such as family, friends and finances. The most powerful card he held was the influence he had with my wife of twenty five years who I desperately loved. She wanted nothing to do with my female and created the ultimate catfight between two women. In the meantime, in protest to having less and less influence in my life, my male self made my existence miserable, ruined my mental health and led me to try a suicide one night. He was prepared to risk my entire life just to maintain his. In addition, he pushed me into more and more alcohol abusive situations. Happily, I was able to end his influence when I transitioned before I seriously damaged my body. 

None of any of that mattered to my male self as he fought the good fight and slowly but surely was sliding down a very slippery gender slope. Deep down he knew every successful moment my novice transgender self experienced, the fewer chances he would have to claim his existence.  In typical male fashion, he moved ahead fighting change at every turn without thinking of the final outcome. In the process, he was making himself and everyone around him miserable. 

Finally he knew enough was enough and with the help of a few very close cis-women friends I took the leap and transitioned into a new life as a transgender woman. The slope I mentioned abruptly ended and I went into a gender free fall. Little did I know at the time how strong my inner female was and how much she appreciated finally being free and having the chance to run my life. 

It turned out she really knew how to fight the good fight since she had been fighting her entire life to live an authentic life. There are days, I wish I would have intervened in my gender fight earlier in life but as it stands now I have to live with what I did. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving and Beyond

Image from Kevin Dowling
on UnSplash

 As much as Thanksgiving was always a given as a time to meet up with family and eat a delicious feast.  Early on, the day was more enjoyable because one of my right wing nephews at that time did not want to start a political argument with me. 

Through it all, in the back of my mind, I knew something was wrong. In my own way, I was engaging in impostor syndrome. I wasn't the man I was portraying to be. Each year I used alcohol to dim the pain and move on the best I could. Even though I had very little control over Thanksgiving itself, there was a day I still thought eventually I may have some control over. The day in question was the Black Friday shopping event my second wife always insisted on going to. This all happened in the latter part of 2005.

Finally, I waited long enough or persisted long enough I was able to try out a Black Friday shopping experience on my own at a well known mall close to where I lived. My opportunity to cross another feminine experience off of my novice transgender woman check list came when I learned my wife (who worked in retail) had to work on Black Friday morning. Suddenly, since I didn't go in to my job until late in the afternoon, I had my chance to experience the shopping madness which was Black Friday as a woman.

When the day finally arrived and my wife left for work, my time to get dressed in my best sweater, skirt and comfortable shoes, added my blond wig, sensible make up and was ready to go. I was excited about finally having the chance to again live my dream. 

Once I arrived at the mall, predictably parking spots were at a premium but I finally found one. From there I had to gather my courage and enter the mall. Once I was in the shopping area, all my nerves faded away and I was able to concentrate on the relatively short time I had to fulfill a long term dream of mine. I wanted to experience the estrogen laden atmosphere of Black Friday.

All too soon, as I browsed a few of the stores for a gift or two, I found in particular no one paid me any attention at all. It was so crowded with mainly women, I was able to blend in with no problem. It was time for me to return to my boring unwanted male life and move on back to my impostor syndrome. I was learning I was never a guy cross dressing as a woman. I was a woman cross dressing as a guy.  

After I went into my work and became immersed in my job, at the least I was still mentally able to bask in the glow of being able to live out one of my big feminine dreams... to experience a Black Friday shopping experience as a transgender woman. As it turned out, my start to the holiday season was destined to grow and grow into one of the major holidays for me. Replacing even Halloween. Throughout the month of December, I will be writing more in depth about my times as I grew into a fulltime trans woman.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

I Couldn't Take It


Image from Adam Jicha 
on UnSplash

The process of completing my male to female gender transition admittedly took me many many years. Over fifty to be exact and the whole process took a toll on me. 

During the time, I experienced many peaks and valleys on my way to living my ultimate dream. My attempt was to try different scenarios to see if I could pass successfully as a woman in the public's eye. As I said, I experienced many failures and returned home to cry my eyes out. Through it all, I was still determined and kept going back to the cross dressing drawing board to try harder. Thankfully, the more I tried (and learned) the better I became at my presentation. The better I became, the more I wanted to try.

From that point, the better I became at being transgender, the better my chances of trying to live a fulltime life as a transgender woman became. The problem was my entrenched male self was fighting every gender move I made. He did his best to discourage me and did it well. After all, he had a lot to lose. Such as an entire life he had worked hard to create. Friends, family and employment were all at stake. So the pressure was intense to somehow stay the course and try to live a life stuck firmly between the two primary binary genders. 

The problem was when I was living the life of a transgender woman, I felt increasingly natural. I had a deep seated feeling all was right in my gender world for a change. The process should have brought about a welcome change, when in fact it was causing extra pressure. As much as I tried to avoid it, I could see ahead I would have to make serious decisions in my life. If I was ever able to salvage what was left of my mental health. Dealing with the pressure had led me down the road to self destructive behaviors including suicide. After my suicide attempt, I made a very unhappy decision. I decided to purge (or get rid of) most all of my feminine belongings, grow a beard and live fulltime as a guy. The whole process was designed to please my second wife who told me any number of times she didn't sign up to live with another woman. You regulars know within a year after I purged, she passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack at the age of fifty. 

At that point my life entered a new stage of being totally alone. Between wife one and two, I had been steadily married since when I was in the military approximately thirty years before .Through my tears, I reached out to my feminine inner self for comfort. Off came the beard and on came the makeup as I set out to rebuild what was left of my life. It took awhile for my confidence and mental health to improve as I was suddenly able free to explore a world I had only ever just dreamed of. The pressure was relieved and I could finally enjoy where I was headed again and I could take it. I didn't want to self destruct. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

More Planning


Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

This comment comes from Connie concerning a recent post I wrote about actually planning your gender transition:

"I dare say that the attempted balance of a male/female existence requires much more planning than does the actual transitioning process. Of course, by planning, I mean the controlling, conniving and deceptive behavior necessary to make time for expressing one's desired gender.

For a while, before I made the move to transition, I wondered if my gender dysphoria might only be an addiction, not unlike other addictions such as alcohol, drugs, or gambling. My behavior certainly matched, point by point, the lists that describe an addict, with planning my life choices around the perceived addiction, itself, being the overwhelming destructive force.

Compartmentalization of the two binary gender expressions seems to be attainable by some, but not by me. I really did try to make it work, though, for many years. It requires much control to do so (or so I thought for myself), and I eventually gave way to the weakness (my perceived addiction) that took things out of control. This is why I say that although I will never apologize to anyone for being a transgender woman, I must beg for forgiveness for the things I did and didn't do in order to feed the perceived addiction.

In retrospect, I can say that my addiction was not to my gender identity or dysphoria, but it was to the destructive behavior, itself. My plans were obviously misdirected. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”

Is that like saying "No matter where you go, there you are?"

Thanks for the comment!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Staring into a Blank Screen

 Over the years here in Cyrsti's Condo I have written about my battles with the mirror. Very early in the process of cross dressing I was positively in love with my girlish image. 

Later on though, as I started to journey out in public as a feminine person, I learned the hard way how the mirror can lie. 

This morning as I caught myself staring into into a television screen which wasn't on, it jogged my memory all the way back to my past days of learning with the mirror. Slowly but so unsurely I was learning to blend and to dress for other women, not men. My problem was I went overboard dressing to accentuate my so called positives. I listened to all the women who told me I had great legs and went too far with mini skirts and heels. The results were predictable and sometimes even clownish. 

Ironically, at the same time, I had nice clothes too. The night when I first decided to go out and blend in with professional women getting off of work in an upscale venue went as well as could have been expected when I calmed down and started to breathe. For the occasion I chose a black pantsuit, flats and straight blonde wig. For once the mirror gave me all the right signals. 

As the years passed on, I learned I too had a better chance of passing as a transgender woman if I was wary of what the mirror was showing me. Along the way I began to treat it as a blank television screen. Never giving it too much worth. 

I still go through wildly fluctuating gender dysphoric mood swings when I look into the mirror. Sometimes I see too much male, other times I see female. I have learned (again the hard way) the answer lies somewhere between the two binary genders. On those days, I am satisfied to live as an androgynous person. Hormone replacement therapy has given me that much.

For now I am slowly learning to exist with the television off and spend more time with my writing and other pursuits. As far as the mirror goes, I have a meetup to go to with Liz tonight, so I will have to revisit myself along with my old friend.

Sometimes I think I have come a long way from the confused boy dressed as a girl in the mirror over fifty years ago. Other times, he is still with me. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

What Have we Learned?

 As I made the final gender transition from male to female, hormone replacement therapy was one of the keys to living more comfortably as a transgender woman. I have mentioned many times the wondrous effects as my skin softened, my hair grew on my head (and stopped growing on my body) and my breasts grew.

None of that came even close to the largest changes I was destined to experience on the other side of the gender frontier as a transgender woman. 

As I learned to perfect my outward feminine appearance, my life began to change. Perhaps the first example I encountered was when my car broke down and I had to call a tow truck as well as deal with a well meaning sheriff. I found out very quickly I didn't really know the best route home to my own house. Later that month was the first time I was actively shunned from a group of guys mansplaining to each other guy stuff. I knew then my life was changing forever and yet it felt natural. I should have been dealing with it for years.

I'm on the Bottom Left. My first Girl's Night Out.
All along, before she passed away, my wife was telling me I didn't really know what being a woman was all about. Until I seriously went down the path to learn, I found she was right.   

What else did I learn? Mainly how important communication is (or isn't) is between the two main binary genders. I also learned how important it was to learn to understand the unspoken communication between women and of course how much effort should be put into blending. In other words, walking the walk and talking the talk. 

I don't know if I couldn't have accomplished this gender trip on my own. I was able to form close friendships with several cis-woman. Even though they didn't outwardly teach me anything, I was observing and learning how they dealt with life.

Jumping genders is not for the faint of heart. It is a mostly error of trial and error until you get it right. Plus, I am not so sure I ever got it right. 

As an old transgender girlfriend told me years ago, I didn't pass as a woman easily. I passed out of sheer effort.

Nearly daily I learn I still do.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

He or She?

 MANILA — Vice Ganda does not mind being addressed with either the masculine or feminine pronoun, identifying as non-binary, the comedy superstar said in a now-viral explanation of his gender identity.

The “It’s Showtime” host spoke on the topic in the May 14 episode of the noontime program, during its Tawag ng Tanghalan segment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Nobody is Quitting

We received plenty of feedback here in Cyrsti's Condo concerning our post called "Could You Quit?"

It's always fun to let the readers do the writing:

  1. you cannot quit being yourself which is why its unlikely you could only be yourself a few times a month. I know I couldn't..

  2. The transgender umbrella is large, and seems to be growing. Yes, the truth is that some of us just cannot live a compartmentalized life - being at different places on the gender spectrum as the situation or desire may dictate. The one thing we all have in common, I suppose, is that we all have a gender identity different from the binary norm that has one's gender identity and assigned-at-birth gender in congruence. There's something more to it than the intensity of dysphoria, but I believe that may well be a large factor. I know that my dysphoria could not be tempered through cross dressing alone. Cross dressing, for me, was a means toward an end, giving me the confidence and self awareness of who I really am - and needed to be every minute of every day. That doesn't make me better than one who is satisfied to express their gender identity with more plasticity, whether that be through cross dressing, non-binary identification, or a drag act. It does, however, make me different.

    As someone once said, when you meet a trans person, you can only say that you've met just one trans person. Of course, the emphasis should be on person, and not trans. I think that most of us would prefer we be taken for who we are, and not what we are. I may have a personal moral objection to someone who is fetish-oriented and predatory, but I shouldn't care whether they are also trans....except that my insecurities may cause me to be somewhat ashamed that I am under the same umbrella. What I think of such a person is really none of my business, though, and I can only do my best to show others who I am (a good person, I think, who happens to be trans). I can't be worrying about others, especially having had lived most of my life worrying about how others would see me (as a trans woman). As my mom used to tell me, pick your friends, but leave your nose alone - unless you happen to have a long nose hair protruding from it - in which case you may make more friends if you removed it. :-)

  3. It's truly a fine line that we walk when we post our thoughts and feelings online. I don't get much feedback on my little blog, , so I often wonder why that is the case. Many people that run across it may not agree with me at all, or think I'm just boring, or whatever.

    I know what you mean about being thought of as looking down on someone who "just crossdresses". I am still mostly in the closet, as are most of my online friends, who help keep me sane. And it's so hard to know what the correct label is for ourselves, but the point is that labels only help to an extent. They can easily divide more than unite. I truly believe I'm a trans woman, but to others, maybe I'm not. Regardless, I'm just me. Intent in writing is so difficult to discern online. I'd always request someone ask me to clarify if they think I'm putting someone or something down, before reacting negatively. It's a fine line.

  4. Quit what? Presenting as a woman?...No way! Such a pretty lady!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Gender "Tipping Point" Part Two

Recently I wrote a post here in Cyrsti's Condo concerning my Gender Tipping Point. Connie wrote in and added:

"In my case, my rising femininity was more a matter of dropping the dead weight of the masculine facade I had been carrying around for so many years. I guess I'm one of those for whom being feminine has always been easier, but I began transitioning because I could no longer compartmentalize my gender expressions (masculine and feminine) in living as two separate personas. 

Interestingly, setting myself free to live authentically has led to my giving less and less thought to my gender at all. We are all really a combination of gender traits, yet the transgender person is so much more aware of her, or his, own gender than is the average cis person. My own dream is to achieve that kind of balance, unconcerned with tipping whatsoever."

Thanks for the comment! I too give less and less thought to gender as I live as me. Plus, the more I hear (primarily from the younger set) about "gender fluidity", the more I like it too. I agree we are all a mix of genders anyway.

Unfortunately, society still dictates a strict gender binary be followed in most all circumstances, as seen by the number of transgender or gender queer kids who end up estranged from their families on the street.

I think too, the amount of time I spent falling off the balance beam (or "she saw" as Connie called it), could have been spent so many other ways. I am saddened on what could have been.

Then again too, crying over "spilled make-up" is a waste of time too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The "Enigma" Gender

One definition for enigma is: a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

It's no secret the binary male and female genders don't understand much about each other, so it's no wonder neither know much about we "invisible T's".  Here in Cyrsti's Condo in the past, I have taken the title from the classic guide Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex and added transgender people must be from Earth, right between the other two. If we liked it or not, we spent some time on both planets and many of us still commute back and forth.

We are enigma's with all the stigma which can be attached-good or bad.  This week for example, I ran into many new people.  Not just walking by them on the street, but interacting with them too in meetings and social events. Truthfully, I was willingly knocked out of my comfort zone all week long. I know what you are thinking "Whoa Cyrsti, thought you were living all this time as a girl.  I can explain it this way: Every so often someone will ask me if I'm living "full time" or "24/7" as a woman.  The question is always difficult for me to answer because I can only vouch for living 24/7 between my ears.  The remainder of the time I'm awake, my gender is how the world perceives it-not how I do. I already know. For all I know, on my androgynous days some may think I'm from the moon!

So, at this point I am an enigma to the folks from Venus and Mars.  For the most part, I can guarantee you most don't understand me but as long as they don't willfully hurt me, that's fine.  I can't understand ever perceiving myself as my birth gender completely so I don't understand them.

As I transition, I am learning the fun part is to stay an enigma to the other planets.  For the most part the Martians keep me at arms length and the Venusian's are as curious as cats. My latest responses (truthfully a very small minority of the world who has much more to worry about than me) are centered in the eyes.  I had two or three women this week who seemingly couldn't get out of mine. If you are a believer in the eyes are the windows to the soul, they were trying to look at mine!

If I was a better writer and more disciplined a "Classic Guide to Understanding Earthlings" would be a fabulous follow up to understanding both other planets-or-we could do the "Why's and How's of Being a Gender Enigma" too. In the meantime, it's interesting to step back and look at the wonder of it all. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Future is Now?

For a transgender person of my age demographic, stories such as this from Yahoo News  simply are amazing.  It seems, groups of younger people are working to broaden or eliminate the whole idea of the gender spectrum.  All of the sudden, the old transexual, transgender and crossdresser hierarchy, is becoming irrevelant according to Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst who recently wrote:  " the vast majority of students who identify under the trans umbrella identify in some way outside the binary, and that's really causing a shift on college campuses" .  Of course there is much more to the story from Yahoo:

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The weekly meetings of Mouthing Off!, (left) a group for students at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, always start the same way. Members take turns going around the room saying their names and the personal pronouns they want others to use when referring to them — she, he or something else.

 It's an exercise that might seem superfluous given that Mills, a small and leafy liberal arts school historically referred to as the Vassar of the West, only admits women as undergraduates. Yet increasingly, the "shes" and "hers" that dominate the introductions are keeping third-person company with "they," ''ze" and other neutral alternatives meant to convey a more generous notion of gender. "Because I go to an all-women's college, a lot of people are like, 'If you don't identify as a woman, how did you get in?'" said sophomore Skylar Crownover, 19, who is president of Mouthing Off! and prefers to be mentioned as a singular they, but also answers to he. "I just tell them the application asks you to mark your sex and I did. It didn't ask me for my gender." 

Of course the transgender topic was involved too:

The nods to novel pronouns and nonconformity are an outgrowth of campaigns for gender-neutral bathrooms and housing that were aimed at making campuses more welcoming for transgender students moving from one side of the gender spectrum to the other. But as fewer young people choose to undergo sex reassignment surgery, such students are slowly being outnumbered by peers who refuse to be limited.

What's the world coming too??? A MUCH better place!   And just when you think this pronoun/language issue is getting to be a bit too complex:

Mel Goodwin, youth program director at the gay and lesbian community center in Las Vegas, said getting the hang of alternative pronouns can be tricky in conversation. Goodwin, 28, claimed they as a preferred pronoun four years ago and it took time "to unlearn what I had been taught about gender." Yet when people object to they as being grammatically incorrect, Goodwin counters that modern English is to blame and that scholars, writers and linguists have spent more than a century trying to come up with gender-neutral pronouns that stick. In public presentations, Goodwin also refers to a map that shows historic and contemporary cultures around the world that have recognized more than two genders. "This is not about young people in the U.S. over the last 20 years kind of coming out of the woodwork and making up labels that aren't real," Goodwin said. "This is a real variation among humans, period."

Well, it's time for old dinosaurs such as me to head off for my nap- feeling good about the future!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Got Mail

Actually this goes back a bit and I have no excuse except I have been chasing my tail and never catching it!

Our "Transition by Definition" post brought in several thoughtful comments including this one from Shelle who included a "Coming Out Day" response:

"I consider that I am in transition and likely always will be to the end of my. I guess making great fanfare of it just isn't a part of me so I mostly let coming out day go by with not much interest really. But yesterday I saw this posted on facebook by the person who runs the transgender program at my local pride office,and it made me wonder if this really helps or hurts our cause in general,as for me I want no part of it.

I'm a loud and proud queer – of the transmasculine genderfluid variety. I'm pan and I'm butch, a survivor and a fighter. I'm an activist for respect and a public disturbance. I'm in love with humanity and determined to end all oppression. I'm white and I'm purple plaid, I'm a fabulous glitter-spraying unicorn coming to public demonstration near you. I'm a partner and a sibling, a dog parent and a hopeful romantic. I believe in supporting bodies and bending minds and I don't believe in social binaries.

I’m a Marxist and the only thing in this world I hate Is capitalism because capitalism hates people. I don't learn books, I learn life and my life is your life since your life is my life’s advocacy. I’m a second generation American And a first generation revolutionary. I’m bilingual and bad at both languages and I genderfuck our fucked up gender binaries. I’m a radical feminist and demand radical change. I believe in body positivity and positively love consensual sex. I’m privileged to be able to come out! I hope you can, too. Either way, know that I love you."

Drag Queens at a Pride March
I agree with you Shelle but for slightly different reasons.  I don't understand this person's need to mix all of this into a great big blender and come out with political declarations from all ends of the spectrum's including ignoring the fact that radical feminism has led to mega hate and discrimination against the transgender movement. I also wonder in a Marxist state if you can be a "fabulous glitter spraying unicorn"?" Also, personally I spend a lot of time at Pride events explaining to people I'm not a drag queen like the unicorns on the right.

Plus Innis Annity commented on our "Beyond Transition" post:

"These examples you use never made it across the gender divide. They got stuck in "trans-land". This is why they are so committed to the "fluidity" of gender. They are neither male nor female, neither goose nor gander. They are 'forever trans*' on"

Thanks Innis! If we go back to the post and take a look, most of the terms came from the original author however I do feel you made a very good point and the term which comes to mind which became stuck was "transvestite"!

As always, thanks to all of you for reading and commenting! You are the best!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Would Thomas Edison Say?

A chance to re-invent yourself? Really? I'm thinking Edison would have to invent the transgender word first of all and take the credit away from Virginia Prince (who didn't coin the term either)

Nice topic.  Many feel they aren't reinventing themselves as they go from one gender to another of their choice. After all,  they were born with a few gender switches in the wrong positions. Indeed they are right.

On the other hand, most don't know immediately of exactly which switches are in the wrong position, what to do about it and have the support structure to do anything about it.

Which means, most of us, transgender women or transgender men simply do carry an imprint from living a life outside of their mental or chosen gender. We learn from observation or participation how the two primary gender binaries dance. For example, most of MtF trans women are up to a passionate debate about the so-called benefits of "male privilege"

So in a sense, no matter how many of the trace elements you are carrying from your birth gender- you do indeed have a chance to reinvent yourself.

Take the guy on the bike to your right.  Growing up as a male child did you wonder why women were mainly attracted to the "bad boys"? But now don't you secretly want to be the "chick" on the back of his bike? Or have his kid? ( Well maybe that's a little extreme!)

The point is, to even consider any of this is as special as it is confusing and painful. Really, how many members of the human race have or considered starting all over in a new gender?

It is also a subject which scares many people outside the transgender community. We make men very uneasy about their sexuality and/or aggravate women who for whatever reason don't want or need perceived competition in their sandbox.  In many circles we are viewed with distrust simply because we have glimpsed behind the curtain of both binary genders, rather than  ignoring the idea we could be ambassadors of understanding.

We trans folks indeed are from a planet between Venus and Mars and have had a special seat on the gender fence since we all lived in caves. Sadly in many cultures we used to be valued for our potentials!  I'm sure you have probably heard of the Native American cultures (and others) who believed in genders between the binary male and female.

Unfortunately, our seat on the fence is ours alone to ponder and it's not without it's own pressure.  As I constantly learn to process the world from a feminine viewpoint, I am guilty of using my male imprint to maximize my life. What bothers me more is though,  I'm also guilty though of not being more understanding of the where's and why's of input then  making the wrong decisions.

Now you will have to excuse me, I have to go jump on the back of a Harley!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Cult of Cross Dressing

Several years ago when I still couldn't claim being young, I still could claim to be naive in the ways of certain on line transgender women's groups called "trans nazi's" ( a label I borrowed ). Most were of the SRS variety.

As you probably have guessed by now, I'm not above "stirring the pot" on occasion. One evening I succeeded well with the comment "aren't we all cross dressers?". Very quickly all the trans nazi pedestal sitters jumped down to berate such heresy in their realm.

These days I'm much older and mellower and let the trans trolls alone, but....yes I still believe we are all cross dressers of different stages and ilk. No matter how many operations and how many chemicals you ingest, the greatest majority of us came out of the womb as one of the binary genders...externally. From whatever age we start, we cross dress to match the world with our inner gender clocks ticking away in our noggins. Which brings me to another point.

The good old self destructive hierarchy in our community. You know, TS's TG's and then CD's. I fired the group up one night when I told them their "system"  is a patriarchal  bleed through of the worst kind from their male genders.  Not unlike, hey look what I bought! No it's not a Corvette, it's a vagina! Until you get your own, well don't talk to me in your beat up old Chevy.

Not a popular position with the girls and again I learned very early my rather comfortable position as a middle of the road transgender girl wasn't good enough for a seat at the transsexual table and was too good somehow to sit with the cross dressers. How dare I attempt to live my life as a woman without all the sacrifices of surgery?

As you have also guessed by now, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what others think of me and I do know that so many of us have had to fight tooth and nail for any public feminine existence we can achieve.  Unless you are a "natural" you need to use your time as a cross dresser to discover what is really going on inside of you.

Plus,none of us should care about the silly labels anyhow!

**Most of the definitions are from the "Urban Dictionary".

Monday, June 17, 2013

Get in Your Holes!

All you round peeps, get into those round holes! All you square peeps, you know where you are supposed to be...Now get there.

Do you really think I should have to work harder as a parent and explain what you are?  Can't you come here when no one else is here. Have some respect!

Then there is that pesky gender binary deal. Doesn't everyone belong to one or the other?

OK, I see now- you are lifting your leg to pee. Are you even allowed to pee here? 

What's wrong with you. Don't you know life would be so much easier for us if you weren't  wearing that pink collar?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Morning Reset

Nearly all of my working life I have worked Sundays so now having a Sunday morning with essentially nothing to do is still special and I assume it always will be.  From my paper route to a radio DJ gig to many years in the restaurant business working Sunday was never an option.

These days, since I'm semi retired people think I'm kicking back and doing my nails. Ironically, I have had to set a day off up from posting vintage items I sell to my three shops, organizing my book and contributing to Cyrsti's Condo. 

What that means is I get a chance to reset on Sunday morning and step back and look at my life, my gender transition and plan into the future.

This morning in my part of the world, March ( per norm) is refusing to give any ground to Spring and the snow is flying. Plus I live in one of the old Midwest Ohio "rust belt" towns which is finally making a transition of it's own. I'm always interested in driving around and seeing the non preservable old and ugly giving way to inner urban land to be developed. I'm a history freak and I am not always sure new is good. In this sense it is.

If you are considering the transgender path, the same could be good for you.  I'm often asked about an inner transition from cross dresser to transgender or even transsexual. Of course there are the "easy out" crowd who think you are placed in the trans trilogy at birth and any deviation from CD to TG to TS is blasphemy. In my mind those individuals are as narrow minded and stuck in the past as the traditional gender binary  male and female believers are.  If you are similar to me, you have spent years trying to figure out just what you are. Moving dirt and building new ideas in your noggin.

So this Sunday reset for me is time to look at my gender reconstruction so far and glancing at the blue prints of the future. My problem is I have never been good at reading blueprints. I have been good at charging ahead to test the waters. Another test is coming towards the end of April when I do a workshop on "Transitioning Later in Life" at Trans Ohio in Columbus. I'm honored and humbled to have been chosen and the last thing I want to do is mess it up and I won't. As we all know though, there is a huge difference in the written and spoken word. So I'm a "jabberer" and have to be careful I'm making sense.  Plus, the last thing I want to do is be a role model instead of an example. I am an example of my personal transgender history and as you know I am not shy about communicating it. Learning anything from my experience is a huge positive. Following the same path to get there may not be.

In the meantime,I will have to rely on my "resets". I know my heavy moving is over and perhaps the reconstruction will go as long as I'm allowed to be on this Earth. I just hope I can chose the right paint colors.

Sink or Swim

Image from Trans Wellness Event.  Jessie Hart Archives.  Many times when I first entered the world as a new cross dresser or femininized mal...