Showing posts with label gender roles. transgender. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gender roles. transgender. Show all posts

Friday, January 27, 2023

Who Knew it Would be So Big

 More years ago than I would care to admit, I "borrowed" a pair of my Mom's hose and slowly slid them up my legs. Little did I know how from those humble beginnings I would finally grow into the feminine person I have become today. It all resulted in a life long gender journey which resulted in it's share of bumps and bruises. I think many transgender "outsiders" don't consider the real path we go through just to find and nourish our most inner gender needs. They think the process we go through is just a matter of wearing the clothes of the opposite gender we were born from. In other words, being transgender is just a phase. For me at least, I did go through a series of phases, mainly from going from confirmed crossdresser to out and proud transgender woman. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart

It certainly was not all a combination of kicks and giggles on my journey. First I needed to discover who I was and it was s scary experience. Letting go of all my ingrained male responses was as hard as it was to acquire them in the first place. I never wanted to be a boy and have all the experiences of youth which were forced on me. My parents came from the WWII/great depression era. They were great providers but sadly came up short in the emotional needs department.  I was expected to hide my emotions and move forward. I still can't imagine coming out at all to my Dad. I did briefly mention being a transvestite to my Mom after I was out of the Army and she shut me down by recommending electro-shock therapy. My "problem" was never mentioned again.

Years went past before gender knowledge began to catch up with the world and I began to have some sort of realization of who I really was. Terms such as "gender fluid" made sense to me as did the explanations that very few humans fell into a strict male/female gender binary standard. I remember how exciting and euphoric it was to realize again I wasn't so alone in the world. If they admitted it or not, most people just didn't fit into the gender binary we were all taught to think was the only way to be. Boys did not have to be boys and girls did not have to be girls. The two could mix. What a radical idea!

Through it all, I learned my gender issues were a big deal. I went through tons of pain and suffering to arrive at the other end of the gender tunnel which I described in a recent post. The light I found was not the train but a bright new world where I could be myself. I was finally past all the people who wanted to laugh at me behind my back or to my face. 

I wonder now if I ever had the choice to go back to those early cross dressing days, would I do anything different. Trying to hide dressing like a girl for the most part, led me down a life long road of sneaking behind the back of others. Some of which I cared deeply about. On the positive side of life, being transgender provided me with a unique look at both sides of the binary gender fence. I know of course I never really had a choice for whatever reason. I just never imagined the process would prove to be so big.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Long Dark Transgender Tunnel

Image Courtesy Snowcat
on Unsplash

 Recently I was thinking of how I actually transitioned twice in my gender life. For over fifty years I considered myself a cross dresser. In fact, for the longest time I considered dressing as a woman to be a harmless hobby. Obviously the longer I went along, the more I discovered it was anything but a hobby and far from harmless. All the time I spent agonizing over my gender issues proved to be very self destructive. In other words, I spent countless hours wondering what gender I was becoming and what I would do the next time I had a chance to dress in my secret feminine attire and admire myself. This stage of my life essentially lasted from when I was ten-ish until I was sixty and finally decided to begin my second serious gender transition. Although I can safely say I knew I was experiencing gender issues way before the age of ten. 

Of course I am aware no one can reclaim time but I do try to learn from all of my positive and negative experiences. Initially, I was able to install lights in my transgender tunnel which would allow me to learn the basics of makeup and how to dress myself. I stumbled when I went through my girlish high school years when I was in my thirties. Those were the days I committed the usual cross dresser sins such as trying to dress too sexy which turned out to be a trashy attempt to disguise my testosterone poisoned male body in clothes designed for an attractive teen girl. Needless to say, those were difficult days for me in my tunnel when the light at the end always seemed to be the train.

Fifty years is a long time and still I persisted and more importantly learned what I needed to do to better prepare my feminine self to go public. I can compare the process to enabling my strong inner female to take control of the process. Approximately it was this time I went into what I called my business professional period of my life. An example was when I would dress up as my best impression of an executive woman and shop all of the upscale malls back in the day when many of them flourished and so did I. Rarely did I experience any issues as I shopped. One of my favorite outfits I acquired was a pale, pastel green suit with a short skirt which I paired with pastel green opaque panty hose and kitten heels. I topped it all with my shoulder length blond wig and was ready to explore the world as a woman. What a relief it was when my feminine life was starting to come together. But the biggest problem became, now what? I knew the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't the train but something different. However, the closer I became to the light at the end of the tunnel, I knew I felt too natural to ever return to my unwanted male existence. He was fading away.

As I said, I ended up following the light in my transgender tunnel and decided to transition for a second time. This time I decided to never look back and begin hormone replacement therapy. From that point forward I was going to not only leave my long tunnel behind but I was going to allow my inner feminine self to find her way in the world. A possibility I am sure she never thought was going to happen. Once I did relinquish control, my feminine self made certain I knew it was her providing the light in my transgender tunnel. The light was very dim in the beginning but became brighter the farther I went.

The big question I have now is why was I so stubborn in hanging on to what was left of my male ways.  Even though all of my male life wasn't miserable, I think after my daughter was born I could have left the remainder of him in the past. I could have said then I was a cross dresser for twenty years instead of fifty. 

For any number of reasons none of it happened and I continued down my long dark transgender tunnel much longer than I should have.    

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Gender Threat?

Photo Courtesy Linkedin

Recently I wrote a post concerning a communication with the public as a new transgender woman. When I did the gender transition, I did it and surprisingly learned I could communicate with women better than I ever had before. After reading the post, Paula from "Paula's Place" blog, checked in with this comment:

I have actually found it easier to engage with strangers as a woman than I ever did when the world was experiencing me as a man. Being seen as man often equates to being seen as a threat. Being seen as a woman I am "safe" I can now indulge in the casual conversations with strangers that used to annoy me so much when my Mother did it." 

Thanks for the comment! I agree being seen as a man does equal being seen as some sort of a threat. Plus, there is also the sexuality facet which needs discussed. How many men want to approach a woman from a sexual aspect. Women on the other hand, especially attractive ones have grown up suspecting men because all they want is sex. Or men too, appreciate the chase of a woman and grow restless after they have "won" the "battle" for the woman they were approaching. During my dating years, I was most likely too timid in my approach to women. I didn't want them to think I was only into them for the sex. When in reality I just wanted to be just like them. I wanted to be the hunted not the hunter in a relationship. I thought life would be so much easier if for once a girl would have to ask me out, rather than me going through the torture and the nerves asking a girl out. As you can guess, I was often rejected and most of the dates I went out on were set ups by friends. Actually having a date on my arm helped solidify my standing in the guy community. The date went right along with me driving the best car I could and playing as many sports as possible. All of which were covering up my deepest, darkest secret. All I wanted was to be a girl. 

When we cross the gender frontier and earn the chance to have casual conversations with other women, as Paula said we essentially learned a lesson in gender communication. We are now "safe" and have escaped the rigid boundaries of gender discussion. It is no longer forbidden to compliment another woman on the simplest thing such as her earrings. I learned very early, a simple compliment could open the door to knowing another woman so much better. The more we talked, the more I learned about what the other woman may be thinking about me being transgender. 

The only time (and it was rare) I was perceived as some sort of a threat was when another woman's man entered the picture. I said it was rare because most all men had the tendency to leave me alone. It was when they didn't, the claws began to come out and I had to retreat. As far as I knew her man was just being friendly and was attempting to insert himself into our feminine communication which Paula alluded to. 

Sadly in this day and age women of all types are being subjected to more gender threats. If and when a transgender woman achieves a completely passable image, then she is faced with "surprising" a so called unsuspecting man. Violence could follow which leads to the very high rate of transgender murders. Very luckily in my case I was able to nearly avoid brushes with violence when I lost my male privilege of safety. I learned the hard way and was able to move on unscathed. I was neither the hunter anymore or the hunted. I wasn't a gender threat and it opened many doors I never expected to see behind. The trip was worth it. 

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Basics

Yesterday, I wrote a post concerning using the basics of using the women's room. Of course, as you transition genders from male to female or female to male, there are giant gender stereotypes you have to conquer. 

Examples are many, such as cis women have this sacred place to go (literally) when they use the restroom. Another would be women don't follow sports or drink beer as much as their male counterparts. Along the way I was able to put those stereotypes behind me as my cis when friends were every ounce the fan I was and could drink me under the table. 

If you look around at other women, they are as diverse as the rainbow some of them reject. The only major impact in society I see from women as a whole is they have moved away from dressing up as much as they used to. A disappointment to many cross dressers and or novice transgender women as they journey from their closets only to find in order to blend into the feminine population as a whole they had to change the idea of what they were wearing. Unless they were prepared to face added scrutiny. 

Other novice transgender women of a later age had to face the fact they were not a teenaged girl when they transitioned and no matter what couldn't dress like one. I fell into that trap and turned many A-Ha moments into Connie's Ha-Ha moments when I was laughed out of places I should have been accepted in. When the laughing stopped, I went back to my transgender drawing board, hitched up my big girl panties and went back in. Deep down I knew to be successful in my goal of presenting as a woman was going to take more work than I thought. 

I wonder now what I was thinking as I began to build a brand new person as my authentic feminine self. After all, she had waited years to get out of the dark and live. I don't think I grasped in the moment what I was asking. Perhaps I was too immersed in shedding the remnants of my old male life. Whatever the case, I don't believe I was totally ready for what happened to me.  One example is how suddenly I was able to find women who accepted me. I looked for and received more attention as a transgender woman than I ever did as a man. Maybe because the women sensed I had given up on the perceived masculine toxicity I had to live with.

The biggest challenge was building a good person others could relate to and I could interact with, learn from and develop as the woman I always knew I had been. At that point, the basics revolved around how I communicated with the new world I was facing. I couldn't believe the gender euphoria I felt when I began to communicate one on one with other women. 

As it turned out, the period of gender adjustment was not so different to the adjustments I had to make when I went through Army infantry basic training so many years before. Both transitions were intense and required an incredible amount of work to accomplish. Of course the gender basic was much more pleasurable than the Army one and I gained an incredible amount of respect for my new self. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Party Down

Last night proved to be a wonderful time. For the first time in many days, my partner Liz and I were able to go out and enjoy ourselves. 

Even though it was St. Patrick's Day, the venue we were meeting several other transgender women in was fairly quiet. I was able to enjoy a pint of Guinness stout ale along with corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. Nothing more Irish than that!

Photo Courtesy JJ Hart

Since the place was fairly quiet, I was even able to hear the conversations around the table. One in particular was wonderful when the transgender woman told us the story of her being accepted by her children. In typical trans style, she was always thinking of the possibility they may not.

In many ways, it is incredibly sad when acceptance is the major topic when trans people gather. But it was a sign of the times last night (I hope)when no one else paid us any undue attention. What helped also was we were in a relatively liberal upscale suburb of Cincinnati. As in true with many metro/urban areas, once you find yourself very far outside city limits, the attitudes can change...quickly. 

Plus, there is safety in numbers. Especially with novice transgender women and men. Lynnea mentioned it when she wrote in and commented on the "Were you Bullied" post:

"Escape from bullying takes different forms. Here are some I've employed:

Escape into dreams. I accepted the isolation and kept to my own world of thoughts, books, and even the dreams of the night.

Escape into a clique. I sometimes think "schooling" is so called because you have to find a group in which to make yourself less likely for attack like the schooling of fish.

Escape into another locality. I went to high school outside my district because I would probably have been murdered otherwise.

Escape through expulsion. My own family expelled me from their circle after decades of gross vilification for not accepting their bigotries. I'm better off not having them in my life anyway.

Escape through homelessness. As serious as this state of hardship has been, I did eventually gain a home. Walking away from an abusive environment and living on the streets was preferable to the abuse."

As I pivot away from my original post, it's time to share another comment on being bullied from Deborah :

"Yes, I was bullied in various ways. Even into my 20s. I couldn't face my gender dysphoria. It forces us into a dark cave, repressing feelings. At 71 I am still unpacking these feelings. Just retired last year... At last! Time to feel and be! --"

I suppose in many ways, just having the freedom to party down can show us the path to our own freedom from gender dysphoria.

I have received so many comments especially on the hair post I wrote and others, I am going to try to respond as soon as I can. In the meantime, I hope you are seeing the light in your gender tunnel and it isn't the train.