Showing posts with label gender realignment surgery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gender realignment surgery. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Trans Lost and Found

 

Lost woman from UnSplash

During a transgender persons' life, we experience many enormous periods of  lost and founds. 

Perhaps the biggest loss most of us face is with our families. In the transgender transition process, often many in families choose not to understand our journeys to living as our authentic selves. I am very familiar with the process when my brother decided to end all dealings with me when his family decided they did not want me at a family Thanksgiving dinner. We have not spoken since and that was over ten years ago. Needless to say, I am not happy about all I lost with my brother. As I always write is how fortunate I was when I found other family to fill the void. Between my wife's Liz's family and the acceptance I found from my daughter's in laws, I found more than I lost. 

Another major portion of our old male lives we have a tendency to lose is much of the old baggage we have to try to bring along. Interests such as mechanics and sports are stereotyped as male and are frowned upon back in the day when transsexuals were expected to go through gender realignment surgery and then move away and start a brand new life. I saw the whole process as one of the biggest obstacles of me potentially giving up everything which I earned to start all over again. I wanted in a large part to have my cake and eat it too. Could I really, transition into a feminine based life and keep most of my interests? 

I was stubborn and found out I could when destiny led me to a whole new group of friends who helped me into a new world. In essence, I found more than I ever lost, even though going through the separation from my old male life was very traumatic and stressful. More than anything, the finality of the loss off of many of my old male friends to death was tough to take, including losing my wife of course. Before the found began to flourish in my life, it seemed the losses would take over and they almost did. 

It took awhile but slowly and surely. I began to climb out of my valley and begin to climb again at the age of sixty. I shed (or lost) almost all the parts of my male life and even though I was scared of the future, I could at the least look ahead to better times ahead. Finding more than I lost became a fun goal for me as my life changed. 

I hear from so many other transgender women whose lives parallel mine. Either they continued with a skill they earned earlier in life or were able to meet others who made their gender transitions so much easier. One way or another,  the losses didn't feel as bad. Sadly, there are the other trans women and transgender men who never seem to not struggle with their loss of family or employment. It is just another example of how being transgender is everything but a choice. 

Perhaps, as being transgender continues to be better known thanks to the internet, everyone will have the chance to pick and choose with more confidence what is lost and what is found with their life. Then have a chance to cherish what is found.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Mourning your Past

Image from the
Jessie Hart Archives

Is there ever a time when you miss your old gender self? 

Do you miss your old male privileges which seemingly gave you more rights?  Remember the old days when you survived with the myth of more intelligence and less mansplaining in any conversation with a man. While I remember the shock of my first times of interaction with a group of men who essentially were ignoring me, on the other hand I thought somehow I had arrived in the place I wanted to be. I was experiencing first hand the loss of the privilege's I had fought so hard to accumulate in a male world I didn't like. 

No matter how much you enjoy your new life as a transgender woman or trans man, possibly there could be times when you miss the good times? On my end, it is very rare when I miss the "good old days" which weren't so good. 

On a recent interview with a Veterans Life Insurance representative I experienced a brief glimpse into my past when I needed to explain my gender situation with the sales person. For the sake of insurance, since I have not undergone any gender realignment surgeries, I had to tell the person I was still biological a male,  even though I lived as a woman. Through the confusion, the only person who really suffered was my daughter who was rudely interrupted by an insurance call which referred to me as a "he". Since she has a transgender child and a is a fierce ally of the trans community, she was not happy. So I ended up calling the representative and asking what she was doing calling her at all. 

Other moments of surprise and a bit of shock occurred during the times when I had my personal safety challenged. The first time happened during a party I was attending in Columbus, Ohio with my second wife who was strongly opposed to the mini skirt I was wearing. Her fears for me materialized when during the party a huge cross dresser admirer cornered me in a narrow hallway. For the first time in my life, I was made to feel powerless about my body until I was rescued by my wife and he freed me. 

The second major time happened one night when I was leaving a late night urban gay venue on a lonely, dark street in Dayton, Ohio. As I clicked down the sidewalk in my high heels, I was suddenly approached by two men. Again I felt totally powerless and on the edge of panic. That night I was lucky when I was able to use my last five dollar bill and they went away to my relief. From then on, I learned my lesson and always tried to park in close well lit parking lots. The old days of just having more personal security were over but I knew they had to go.

Overall I looked at the whole privilege changing time as a challenge and one I needed to conquer. Through it all, I had no time or will power to mourn any of my past. The only time I have twinges is during football season when I remember a few of the intense past experiences I went through when my second wife (a big fan too) attended all the biggest The Ohio State Buckeyes football games. Admittedly most  were memorable times I would not trade like the birth of my daughter which I was present for. 

Being part of the two binary genders has made me an overall better person. Mourning was just a part of my life as is it is a part of any other life. I view the process as a plus as I tried hard to leave my old male past behind and begin a new life as a transgender woman.    

Friday, September 1, 2023

Sex Versus Gender



Image from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

One of the main problems a transgender person faces is the confusion we face in the world over the difference between sex and gender.

My easiest explanation to a "civilian" is sex is between the legs and gender is between the ears. It is the primary reason I chose not to undergo any serious gender realignment surgeries. I just didn't need any reinforcement from my body to reinforce what was my brain was already telling me. Even still, on occasion I have a difficult time explaining to the average person I am transgender but not gay. 

Some would say I was lucky to be able to experience my sexuality the way I did. Back in the day when I was exploring coming out as a trans woman, the trendy act to follow was to find a man you could be at his side so you could validate yourself as a woman. I know I felt the same way, all the way to having several dates with men. Including one transgender man. As I was seriously considering my sexuality at that point, I began to notice I was attracting much more attention from women than from men. Naturally, I was more at ease dealing with women due to a lifetime of experience, so the entire experience made my life easier and very much more fun. Plus I was never good at really having any close male friends in my life and I didn't have to start now. Perhaps the biggest factors I faced when I made women friends was they taught me tons of ideas on how to survive in their world.

Also what most "civilians" don't understand is, both gender and sex are on spectrums. Even though they refuse to admit it, very few individuals are totally straight or gay and fall into a middle point. With new understandings of the gender spectrum we have discovered new terms such as "gender fluid" or "non-binary" humans. It all makes perfect sense for the transgender women or trans men who don't feel completely as one gender or the other on any given day. The whole process makes it very difficult for the people who simplistically attempt to put everyone into neat little  gender corners. The old square peg in the square hole theory. It is basically too complex for many to understand

Since I had never really experienced any sort of a sexual spark when it came to my dealings with men, I was fortunate when I transitioned. Even though there were the men I mentioned dating, I didn't really have any sexual feelings towards them. Plus the hormone replacement therapy I was under, effectively reduced any sexual drive I used to have to the bare minimum.  So if I ever did have to become sexually active again, I would have to get creative. To the point, I even had one female acquaintance tell me I better get a banana to practice. I didn't have to because I never became that close to having a male friend.

On the other hand, I cherished the time I spent with my women friends. They helped me blossom into the person I am today. Speaking of cherish, my days of being sexually active as a man helped to reproduce my daughter whom I love very much and made the time of gender torment I was going through so worth it. It turned out I was on the gender spectrum as a woman and fought it all the way and I never had much choice as far as the sex aspect happened. I never had to really experience the fact I wasn't into men and my sex versus gender was far apart.

 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Gender Countdown

 

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives

My journey to living my dream as a transgender woman admittedly took a long time. 

Too long to many who blame me for waiting so long and tried to say I was somehow less transgender than they were. Which of course, I immediately dismissed. After all after I had spent nearly a half a century to achieve my goals, who were they to question me anyhow. Also, they dismissed me since I turned my back on any possible gender altering surgeries. My reasons included not wanting to undertake any serious surgeries at my age. I was in my early sixties when I decided to undergo HRT which I still call "Hormone Replacement Therapy.' Since I understand has been relabeled in some circles. It's interesting in that the topic this week of my Veteran's Administration group session this week included two full pages on just transgender related labels from over the years.

Then, there was always the matter of trying to properly present  my feminine gender in a brave new world. Along the way, a trans woman friend of mine told me I passed out of sheer willpower. Which I took to mean, I was going out in the world doing the best I could and I would learn as I went along. Similar to on the job training. As I continued my on the job gender training, I learned the hard way, the more I learned the more I needed to learn.

I was fortunate in that my entire life I made observing women a priority. By doing so, I had a head start when it came to surviving in a new world. Even though I had made major strides, I found I could not learn enough to overcome all of the obstacles I would face. The main one was to be worried about my own personal safety. Looking back, it was the main male privilege I lost when I transitioned. There were many more but none where I had my safety questioned several times by stray men. 

For some reason, destiny led me into the company of lesbians when I was included into a small circle of friends I socialized with. With them, I learned to be an observer more than an active participant until I began to gather my confidence. From there I learned also how women don't need a man for verification. It was during this period of my life my gender countdown really became faster. I began to make up for lost time. 

Perhaps the final and biggest push to my countdown came when my future wife Liz told me I should complete my MtF gender transition. She told me at the time she had never seen anything male about me at all. Finally the doors were opening for me to live my transgender dream. To celebrate, Liz was with me the night I took the first minimal HRT dosage. 

The only regret I have on my countdown, is I put myself through so much torment before I completed it. (To my specifications.) I could have saved myself another suicide attempt as well as other unpleasant possibilities My gender countdown would have come to an unpleasant end. .

Thursday, July 6, 2023

The Second Half

 

Image from Nik
on UnSplash

Relax, this is not another sports post...As I approached the age of sixty, my gender feeling of something not being right grew ever stronger. 

I knew then, if I didn't immediately make a move to correct my issues, I never would. Even though I was in a fairly comfortable position to keep living as a man, there was still time to get out while I still could. It would mean the possibility of sacrificing the remaining family, friends and job security. I had to do it and I still needed to move forward into a life as a transgender woman.

Once I decided to begin hormone replacement therapy and my external appearance began to change fairly quickly to an androgynous looking person there could be no turning back. The whole process took me by surprise when it happened so fast. I adjusted to the progress and moved on. I found living fulltime was more of a challenge than I thought it would be. When I threw out all my male clothes and was responsible for dressing feminine every day, the whole process changed dramatically. I needed to be able to plan long term for my appearance and not just rely on short term bursts of wardrobe creativity to get me by. Like it or not, looking at myself in the mirror every morning when I got up became a gender dysphoric process. Some days I thought I looked feminine and others I looked terrible. The same old guy.

It turned out too I had several other main issues. One of which was I going to consider any major or minor surgeries. I decided no to all because I felt I could barely present well enough to get by and I didn't need any painful major gender surgery to allow me to feel any better as a transgender woman. Plus, at my age any major surgeries such as gender realignment surgery could be a health risk to recover from. My motto became "don't pay anyone to hurt me." So I stuck with my HRT and hoped for the best and for me it worked and I didn't have the money anyhow.

The second major issue I needed to face rather quickly was how was I going to explore my sexuality once I transitioned into a transgender woman. During my life as a man, being with another man never appealed to me so would it change now? Even though I dated and kissed several men following my gender transition, I found nothing had really changed.  Being with a man most certainly validated myself as a woman in public but it didn't lead to much else. I did interact with a couple men I thought I could be friends with too but it turned out my sexuality in the future would firmly remain with women.

I became entrenched with a very kind and giving small group of cis women who I was able to learn so much from about being a woman in todays' society. When I did, my sexuality never did have to change from what I had felt my entire life. 

Other issues were more mundane yet still very important. I wasn't independently wealthy so I needed to figure out how I was going to live and support myself. I was fortunate when I grew close to early Social Security retirement age. I took it and supplemented my income by selling vintage collectables my second wife and I had collected. I remember vividly my last day at a job I disliked as I walked across the parking lot into a new world. A world where I was free enough to re-create myself as a brand new person. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that new person had been there all along just waiting for her chance to emerge. She was good people which made interacting with the outside world much easier. I found very few people are ever given a second chance at life so I needed to make the most of it. 

I did and found myself moving and marrying my current wife Liz following her finding me on line over eleven years ago now. I would have never dreamed the second half of my life would take me this far.     

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Staying in Your Gender Lane

Image from Robert V, Roggiero on
UnSplash

Seemingly, gender differences are one of the earliest things we learn in life. By learn I mean we come to realize there are differences in gender. To simplify the matter, I should use the differences between boys and girls. For the fortunate ones, they never question their biological sex matching up with their mental gender. At that point, if we have questions, staying in our gender lane becomes a huge issue which can linger for life. 

I mention often I grew up around very few girls and I was in a boy's world. There was only one time I can remember an incident which could be called I will show you mine if you show me yours. It came up innocently enough between the only girl and the boys. All it did was reinforce the differences we had as separate genders. Years later all I really remember about the encounter is that it happened. There was no blinding realization I wanted what the girl had between her legs. To this day, I have had no strong desire to undergo any gender realignment surgeries of any kind as I feel my gender has already been aligned by the way I live. Finding a spot in my gender lane was far from easy and took me years of learning. 

Sometimes I believe children are born gender free and early in life are forced into stereotypical boys and girls roles. In my case, I never was afforded the chance to look around the world and determine which gender I wanted to be because my sex was biologically set at birth. I am often asked when I knew something was different about me and now I reply I always knew I was different. I just didn't know how. It took me years to define my gender was different than my assigned sex and I would have a lifetime of issues because of it. Perhaps my gender issues began in my Mother's womb when she was prescribed a hormonal drug to prevent miscarriages but of course I have no way of really knowing. Plus, blaming the medication (D.E.S) would just be an unnecessary crutch anyhow. 

The older I became and the more proficient I became in expressing my feminine side, the more difficult it was for me to stay in my original male gender lane. Especially when it came to the time when I began to understand my gender was completely between my ears and my sex was between my legs and my problems stemmed from syncing up my life. It all added up to severe issues when I at first attempted to change lanes from the male to the female side of the road. As "Stana" from the Femulate blog always says, she turned on her turn signals and used her horn when she entered the passing lane. If you are familiar with her blog, you know she does well in the passing lane.  For the majority of novice transgender women, men or cross dressers we are not naturals and using a new gender lane takes a lot of effort. 

One of the main problems is the gender lanes are crowded and have very different rules to obey. It often takes years of practice to learn the new basics of gender life you are trying to live, Then you have to face the potentially other hostile inhabitants in your lane. Anymore with the number of new anti-transgender bills in quite a few states, our gender lane as trans people seems to be tilted against us. It's bad enough if you have to face an insecure hostile man  but sometimes it is just as bad when a hostile cis woman or TERF does not want you in her lane. 

The good part is, once you make it into the new gender lane you are seeking, no one can force you back,  You have passed into your authentic life and have every right to  enjoy the respect you  deserve. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Lots of Clutter

 I attended a rather lengthy webinar yesterday designed to help care givers deal with elderly parents or patients. Predictably, no mention was made concerning LGBTQ+ individuals. I did have a question in to be answered by email at a later date. We will see if the moderator ever answers me.  I doubt it but at the least I got my point across. At any rate, the whole adventure used all my battery power on my laptop along with the usual allotted time I use  to write a blog post.

Then today, I filled out a LGBTQ+ survey and filled out the on line vehicle license tags registration for our car. As always it took Ohio time to catch up and offer an on line service to residents of the state.

Speaking of Ohio, the Repugs in our legislature tried to pull a quick one and reintroduce a ban on transgender athletes in the state which was previously defeated. Fortunately it was defeated again and so far trans athletes in Ohio can compete.  As always, our transgender rights seem to be so fragile. 


The idea of fragile rights continues in this post as readers discuss the recent VA policy shift supporting gender realignment surgeries. First, Lisa P:

" It is good news, but we will see joy know that we have real progress when the next Republican Administration doesn't dismantle the program. My advice to anyone who needs the help is to get it NOW, while the getting is good. Hopefully, this policy will remain in place, but one never knows."

So true Lisa, thanks for the comment.

Then Michelle commented: 

"Remember that the article did state that the VA needs to find medical staff the can perform the procedures. Unfortunately, as with all government programs it will take some time to get it established. I'm with Lisa about if the republican party has anything to do with it, we will see that taken away. I'm also fully aware of the transphobe medical staff that the VA has down here in Florida.
As you said Cyrsti about having a hint of paranoia, I will be waiting to see what will happen. I hope to find out more this weekend when I meet with several members of the LGBTQ group that works in the VA."

Hopefully this means if the VA can't do the procedure themselves, they have to find someone to do it!

Please keep us posted! Also the person in the photo is Carla Lewis. I wore a similar shirt to a Columbus, Ohio Pride event several years ago. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Trace Lysette

 Even though I had heard of Trace from her work on television, I didn't realize she is from Dayton, Ohio which is very close to my hometown of Springfield. 


Not surprisingly, Trace went through more than a few troubling times to arrive where she is today. Including losing a job at Bloomingdale after she was denied using the women's restroom. 

She underwent successful gender realignment surgery in Thailand and returned to New York to work as a dancer in Manhattan for nearly eight years.

Trace Lysette's big career breakthrough happened when she landed the role of "Shea", a transgender yoga teacher on the "Transparent" series.



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sexuality?

I brought up the age old argument between sexuality and everyday life as a trans woman at last night's transgender -cross dresser support group meeting. I only said in passing (no pun intended), one of the bigger things I learned quickly when I came out was how my sexuality didn't really change.

The very few dates I had with men were always a struggle and very quickly I could see no real future ahead with the male gender. On the other hand, I was always attracted to women and enjoyed immensely my new interaction with them. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I ended up socializing with several lesbians. During some of the lesbian mixers I went to, there were several women who were more masculine than I ever was. And looking at the long term, I am still with Liz, who identified as a cis lesbian. Now she believes she is more/was gender fluid.

I must have done pretty well because the moderator didn't have any input and the rest of the fourteen attendee's seemed to being paying attention. One of the most presentable trans women who is a couple years out of her gender realignment surgery even had a good comment on the discussion. Several of the group was busy having a love fest about how accepting cis women are and the transgender woman said all that was true until you find yourself between another cis woman and her man. It took a little while for me to understand with some women, the smiling face could be hiding a knife waiting to go into your back. Like so many other things, learned experiences only happen with time.

Speaking of time, our skin is something which reacts to time and we have been writing about here in Cyrsti's Condo. Yesterday we heard from Paula, today Connie:

"Shaving is a double-edged sword, so to speak. It does dry out the skin, but it also helps to exfoliate. I use an apricot scrub before shaving, as it allows for a closer shave, so I've got the exfoliation thing down. I follow up with a serum that goes deeper into the skin than a moisturizer, but I still use the all-important moisturizer after that. Usually, I will apply a light layer of a pore-reducing cream over the "T-zone." Because of my uneven and rather ruddy complexion, I brush on a foundation of mineral makeup. In order to bring back some color to my face (after having had covered it up with the foundation), I use a mineral blush. Of course, this is all after I've used a good cleanser in the first place.

I've spent a good part of my working life out in the elements, and most of it without sun block. I can only wonder how much better my skin might be today had I used it all my life. If all of the sun block properties of those things I put on my face now could be added up, I'd be using an SPF 60. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way, and I can only expect the benefits of the SPF 30 in my moisturizer. Unless I'm out in the direct sunlight in the summer, that's minimal protection. I've found that I can apply a waterproof* sunscreen over the mineral makeup without making a complete mess of it, but it's not too difficult to brush on just a bit over the top of the sunscreen to even things out again.

*Waterproof to a degree, as I hate it when I perspire and the sunscreen drips from my forehead into my eyes".

Thanks for the input!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Crossing the Gender Frontier

Last night's cross dresser - transgender support group get together did provide a couple interesting moments.

One in particular was a new attendee. She was two years post op and nearly unrecognizable as having any kind of male past at all. It turned out she wasn't transgender or transsexual (if you will) but was an inter-sexed person. Her travel to finally get the State of Ohio to  force the insurance company to cover her surgery, was incredibly complicated, sad and included  an amazing amount of time in the courts. She claimed several years ago when this all happened, she was even accosted for it by bigots on the street.

As interesting as her story was, she got to me when she asked the group of approximately 16 people how many were interested in "transitioning all the way." Meaning of course having Genital Realignment Surgery. Which, by the way, is becoming much easier here in Ohio. New surgeons are coming on line in all the major cities and even insurance is becoming more available.

At first I almost said my transition is done according to her terms. But then I began to think it  isn't according to my ideas. You see, I don't have any desire at this time to have any kind of surgery outside of breast augmentation. It helps of course, I have a very supportive long term partner who fully accepts me as a trans woman.

I also, have my age (69) to think of ,as well as my gender dysphoria which continues to hang around. I believe it always will in one form or another. I can't see GRS relieving my dysphoria any time soon, so I guess I could say I will always be transitioning.

From cradle to grave.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

More "Support" Mail

I received quite a bit of mail on several topics here in Cyrsti's Condo, including "transgender support groups", or just women's support groups:

First from Paula Goodwin:
  1. "My own group, which I often describe as a "support group" offers "Mutual social Support", we meet in a local family pub, so basically it's a chance to share a few drinks with some friends."
  2. Paula, the group I go to the most has most of it's get together s in restaurants and/or bars. I don't go for any number of reasons. Including not feeling real chummy with most of them, all the way to having real bad experiences with groups of drinking cross dressers who have embarrassed me totally. Some of the pictures I have seen, lead me to believe, this bunch does have the potential to be the same.
  3.  Plus I just cant drink much anymore and risk driving. Thanks for the comment! :) 
  4. And, from Connie:


  5. As has been discussed here in your Cyrsti's Condo many times, trans women of our age are possibly considered to be dinosaurs by the younger crowd. We may receive some admiration for all of the crap we had to go through in "the olden days," but much of that is irrelevant to younger people's issues today. I think it's funny that, since the first time I went out in public, I had never hesitated to use a ladies room until doing so became politicized. 
  6. "I, like you, pretty much navigated my way through finding myself without the support of others. These days, I may belong in a support hose group with a bunch of old ladies, but not necessarily transgender ones. I'm just hoping for a few more years of not needing the support of a cane or walker. :-)
  7. The few support group meetings I have attended included some discussion about restrooms, however. One young (19 y/o) trans woman, who had already undergone GRS, was homeless, spending most of her daytime hours in the public library. She had been banned from using the ladies room at the library, though, and was forced to go across the street to a fast food spot with a unisex restroom. She went on and on about how this was such an interference to her transition, until she then switched to how men were rejecting her sexually. I think she said that she identified as gender queer, but I could only sit there thinking that, if she made the effort to be more feminine in appearance, neither of those problems would be so serious. 
  8. I did not express my thoughts, though, as I'm sure that they would have done more harm than good. She definitely needed professional help, and much more than a support group could provide. In fact, I mostly just sat there looking pretty - which wasn't hard to do considering the appearance of the dozen or so others in the room. I was the only one who could not declare the amount of time I had been on HRT, yet I felt like I had transitioned far beyond this group. I really did feel out of place, more like a mother who had accompanied one of the young trans kids. I could empathize, but I found it difficult to relate on their level.

  9. I don't know if my presence helped anyone in that group, but I never returned to find out."
  10. Thanks Connie, our moderator in the one group goes to great lengths to tell really troubled individuals the group is not for trained counseling. The VA group though, has a trained licensed therapisr in charge.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Jazz Returns

Jazz Jenning's show on the "TLC" is returning this June with Jazz facing the thoughts of gender realignment surgery. Check this video for more:

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...