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

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

In a Maze

 

Photo by Luemen Rutkowski on Unsplash

In many ways, this post is an extension of a recent post I wrote on living a complex transgender life. Looking back as well as forward in my life, I still think many times I am similar to a rodent in a maze. 

Just think of all the mini transitions we have to go through in our lives if we are transgender or not. Many of us go through marriages, have children and go through the deaths of those of us who are close. All of which leave positive or negative scars.

I remember when I was becoming an increasingly serious cross dresser, the mazes and walls I had to find my way around grew fast and furious. One prime example was when I was trying to perfect my feminine appearance, I thought I was doing it right until I would do something like tripping and nearly falling when I was trying to walk like a woman. I remember also the trials and tribulations of carrying a purse. For some reason when I was transferring all my important things plus still have room for feminine necessities such as lipstick and/or a hairbrush. Fast forward to today and I am like many other women when I can't begin to explain to you how my purse became so heavy and better yet what all is in it. I don't know what I have done to abuse the privilege of being able to carry a purse but I have done it. One thing I haven't done (yet) is forget my purse someplace. 

Other walls I had to face were how I was going to pursue trying to widen my feminine experiences. To do it I developed a mental checklist of sorts. When I first started to go out as a novice transgender woman, I would go to mostly mellow places such as malls, clothing stores and book stores. I learned the easy way store clerks were only interested in my money and couldn't care less if I was a guy dressed as a woman. Quickly I needed to find my way through the maze and find another challenge.

I found the challenge by beginning to stop someplace and eat lunch while I was out. This worked for awhile too until I needed new places to go. Finally I made my way to a point where it was time to transition again from a cross dresser to a transgender woman. The difference to me was I was taking another huge step forward from merely looking like a woman to actually being one. Little did I know I was simply syncing up my inner feminine self with a masculine exterior I never wanted. Even though I was still caught in the gender maze, every turn all of a sudden made me feel more natural.

During my life many times I felt age would solve most problems. Of course it doesn't. Even though I am living my dream as a full time transgender woman. Now coming up before I know it my wedding date to Liz will be here. 

Then I am staring down finding out what is coming up during my final transition. My health will become a increasing priority. The maze never lets up. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Broadband Gender

 

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

"Wikipedia" defines broadband as "In telecommunications, broadband is wide bandwidth data transmission which transports multiple signals at a wide range of frequencies and Internet traffic types, that enables messages to be sent simultaneously, used in fast internet connections."

For this post I am attempting to equate a transgender person with having a broadband look at gender. Even though we have our peaks and valleys of transitioning, the end result is we still have the chance to live as one gender or another during your life. 

Going back to the definition, the ability to transport multiple signals also describes many transgender women and men. Rather if we like it or not, along the way in our life we learn the hard way (in my case) to live as a male cross dresser. It took me years to finally come to the conclusion that all along I wasn't cross dressing as a woman but doing the exact opposite. 

When I transitioned into a feminine world and started to try to date men, I found I was left out in several areas. I was biased but I felt a transgender woman had a lot to offer a man in a relationship. After all I had spent enough years on the other side of the gender border to have an idea of what a man would want. My only drawback was I was woefully unprepared sexually. I was prepared to learn though. As my life would direct me, I would meet and stay with other women mostly so I never had to explore further being with a man.

For the longest time, I couldn't understand why more women were interested in me as I was transitioning than before. Maybe it had to do with the fact I was obviously not living a lie and sexually women weren't as uptight as men. So they were not so shy to be seen with me. Through it all I was able to become the "broadband gender." All the time I was spending with women allowed me to learn, communicate and live my way into a life I only ever dreamed of living. 

Sometimes I think much of society which is against the transgender population is jealous of us. We are the select few who somehow negotiate the often perilous journey to finding our true gender selves. How many of the gender bigots secretly wish they could live just a portion of our lives. Then there are the cis women who will always refuse to accept transgender woman just because at sometime in our lives they think we were men. 

Either way, it is a steep path to where we can take advantage of being a part of the broadband gender. In many ways it can be described as reaching a sort of gender euphoria. Was it singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell who wrote the song "Both Sides Now".  The song itself is about love but has a couple verses which can lend themselves to a transgender life:

"I've looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all"

Maybe being the broadband gender we do have an idea of life from both sides of the gender spectrum. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

One Little Word

 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

Often I wonder how one little word gained such power in my life. That one word of course is "she." 

From my youngest days I also wondered how magical it would be to be called the she word. It never happened. As life went on and I became a little more advanced in looking feminine, I dreamed of getting out of the mirror and into the world as a feminine person. Many, many times the mirror would lie to me and not let on to me how much farther I would have to go to achieve my goal. Plus the only time I was sneaking out of the house as a girl was when I snuck out a few times to walk down our longish driveway to the mailbox. 

Time went on and I stubbornly kept working on my craft...applying makeup and finally in my college days I gathered my courage to leave the house at night and drive to a local shopping center to see if I could see my reflection in the windows of the stores. A few I could and I was thrilled and encouraged at the sight. Still though, it was a lonely experience and there was no one to call me "she". I would have to wait many more years for it to happen. 

Next up were my Army days and it wasn't in the drill sergeants' vocabulary to call me she. Even my rather successful Halloween appearances as a woman weren't good enough to earn me the title. 

It wasn't until I began to become very serious about my appearance and experimenting with going out in public more and more did the she word become tantalizing close. What happened was the public I was increasingly interacting with indirectly was demanding I be more feminine. 

The tipping point came when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I always considered HRT was the dividing point between my first and second gender transition. The first was when I was a cross dresser and the second was when I went down the transgender path. Finally the changes I was experiencing under HRT demanded she would enter the vocal format when it came to me. In no way shape or form I was a "he" anymore. 

Approximately during this same time period HRT made it much easier to transition my main pronouns from he to she. Relatively quickly I became so androgynous the public was becoming confused when they met me. 

It may have taken me fifty years to do it but people started to finally call me she. My authentic pronoun. I did discover also I was correct when I was young it would be a wonderful magical experience to be called "she". 

Monday, July 25, 2022

A Strong Woman

Female Body Builder. 
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

 Recently I have noticed a rebirth of the posts asking what is a woman. As always I see the entire subject as essentially unanswerable. A woman to me is a highly personal subject which depends on the socialization of the person. I believe no one is born a woman, or a man. In both cases, life socializes both genders into whatever life they end up living. 

Currently, especially with the latest Supreme Court decision there are different pressures on women. Perhaps now, more than ever it is more difficult to be a strong woman. And, as always being a transgender woman becomes even more tougher. 

In some circles, we transgender women are rejected by cis-women as somehow being bogus. Surely our route to womanhood is very different than theirs but who is to say it is a wrong one, or even a dead end. Reading all the experiences on Medium has helped me to reinforce my belief in following the transgender pathway as a true gender journey to becoming a woman. Often a stronger woman due to all of the life experiences we have faced. Following a path we have no real choice but to follow, we have to fight the effects of testosterone and the loss of male privilege. 

I met an example a couple nights ago I met in person a Facebook acquaintance who is also a part of the transgender-crossdresser group I am part of. She works in the healthcare industry and carries herself as a confident young (to me) woman. I couldn't help but be confident our transgender future is in better hands with people such as her in existence. 

It's easy to point out a woman is the stereotypical gentle mother figure. The glue who holds the family together. The truth as we all discover, a woman is so much more. It took me a while to learn what my wife was trying to tell me when she said I had no idea what being a woman was really all about. In fact it was just a couple days after I was mistaken for a cis-woman at a transvestite mixer I went to. I was on a cross dresser ego trip when she brought me down saying I made a terrible woman. I replied how could that be when I was almost denied admission to a mixer I went to without her. She immediately said she wasn't talking about how I looked, it was how I acted. It wasn't until much later when I really began to live a feminine life did I know what she meant.

I learned the hard way women live a much more complex life overall than a man. Everything from raising children to communicating a different way within their own gender. A strong woman has a lot to learn and keep up with. 

I have been fortunate to have known, loved and even learned from some of the best.    

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mardi Gras

 

Photo by Ugur Arpaci on Unsplash


Several years ago, pre Covid, my partner Liz and I decided to take a bus tour down from our native Ohio to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We had done a couple other bus trips in the past so I was ready for the rest room challenges I would face...I thought.  

Very early on I learned  the toilet on the bus would be off limits to all except those in dire need. Which meant the bus would make scheduled stops at certain rest areas. My first learning experience came when I stood in line with approximately twenty other women waiting to use the bathroom. At the time I thought I never signed up for this but the first couple places we stopped were in rural areas, so everything went fine. So, at that time I started to gain confidence that no one on the bus would complain a transgender woman was using the wrong rest room.

On the way down to New Orleans, things began to change. The rest stops turned into truck stops and other stops along state lines in deep southern states. The worst by far came when we stopped on the Mississippi/Alabama line. I was petrified but had to go so I had no choice to join the waiting line of women. Even then, all went fairly well until I was coming out of the stall I used and came face to face with two obviously disapproving women. I tried to speed up the process and get my hands washed and leave the bathroom before I happened to run into those women again. I was so scared I was worried about a state patrolman or local sheriff pulling the bus over for a check. Fortunately nothing like that happened  and the bus rolled on without incident. 

Ironically, the only push back I received from anyone on the bus was when we arrived in New Orleans and stopped to eat at an upscale seafood restaurant. After dinner I excused myself  to use the Ladies Room and when I stepped in the door, one of the other passengers was washing her hands. She looked at me and said with a little surprise "Oh you use the same bathroom we do." She did not refer to the experience again and life on the bus went on until we arrived at our destination. A beautiful restored hotel within walking distance of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. 

We then took full advantage of the two unplanned days we had to take advantage of the "Big Easy". Also most ot the pressure of using the rest room was  taken away. Until the night of Mardi Gras itself. Since rest rooms were at a premium, venues were requiring a purchase to use theirs. We did make our way through the madness of Bourbon Street to finally learn a couple of the venues we could eat and use the facilities at were just a block off the strip. One turned out to be the oldest gay venue in the city which we stopped at and the other a tavern which served food which had a patio style courtyard  where we could eat. 

Before it was time to turn around and go back, I decided to use what could only be described as an out house with a flush toilet. It reeked of sewer gas, so I hurriedly took care of business and started to leave. Of course when I opened the door, a line of women had formed on the other side. I felt bad if they thought I had caused the odor, but it was time to face the long walk back to the hotel. 

As far as the entire Mardi Gras experience went, I wouldn't trade it for the world but it is certainly designed for a younger person than me. It's definitely the party to go to if you are worried about presenting as an out transgender woman. Obviously nearly anything goes. 

Restroom availability and usage are a different story. At some point you are going to have to pull down those big girl panties and go for it. You haven't lived until you have waited in a line of women at a rest room. Mardi Gras or not it is a rite of transgender passage.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Is the Other Grass Greener?

As we follow our journeys to our authentic transgender selves, often we mistake the gender grass for cis-gender women to be greener. By "cis-gender" I mean humans who were born biological females. 

As transgender women we automatically believe the amount of feedback our cis gendered sisters helped them grow into the women they became. The subject came up in our household last night as my

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

partner Liz tearfully recounted how the restrictions her Mother placed on her still effect her to this day. Examples include everything from not being allowed to wear makeup all the way to being discouraged from taking ballet lessons. The makeup effected her because her friends were allowed to wear it, the ballet because Liz was larger than many of the other dancers. All of this has influenced her life to this day. 

All of this happened when she read a post from a transgender woman friend of mine bemoaning the fact she never was able to experience the joys of girl hood. From makeup to frilly dresses. I know I feel the same way, specifically at Christmas when my girl cousins were so pretty and feminine in their dresses when I was stuck in a starched shirt and often a hated tie. Little did I know perhaps they didn't want to 

wear those dresses. 

Girls fighting with their Mom's I found was nothing new. In fact my daughter the other day pointed out how long she had to wait to have her ears pierced. She was blocked by my wife (her step Mother) at the time who was very conservative. Her views on makeup and clothes led to many fights between us and I don't think she ever approved of how I looked. Since she has since passed away, I will never find out. I can only say I did try my best to dress down on all the occasions I went out with her, except the parties in Columbus we went to when I knew I would be competing with other over dressed cross dressers or transgender women. Ironically, even she would tell me stories how she fought with her Mom on what she would be wearing to school.

As I look back, I am sure I could have benefited from makeup help from my peer group of girls if I had been fortunate enough to have gone through it. However I do know my Mom was very strong willed and would have fought me tooth and nail on my appearance. Little did she ever know in my youngest years, I did my best to copy her makeup habits and apply it to the clothes I managed to accumulate which matched what other girls my age were wearing. 

All these years later I still remember the shame I felt from just wanting so much to be a girl. It wasn't till much later when I began to live fulltime as a transgender woman did I discover the gender grass wasn't always greener. Surely I would have preferred a girl's childhood to the one I had but I am sure it all wouldn't have been sweetness and light. Plus I am certain as females grow into women they end up leading more complex and difficult lives than men.

Even though I feel the gender grass is not always greener, I wouldn't trade my journey into feminine pastures for the world. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

What Now?

 It's finally fully sinking in I have severed my final ties to my old male life by selling my property in my old home town. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The pressure is off meeting any strangers who may be curious about my transgender stature. Over the years I had grown so worry of so called proving my femininity again and again. I guess I will always will have to face it. To add insult to injury Monday Liz and I had the time to "tour" my old hometown. Even though many of the old physical memories had been torn down, many memories of my attempts to transition there in such a conservative atmosphere remained. Now it seems, I won't have to visit again.

All of this new found mental freedom brings up the question of what now?  Perhaps I have spent too many years of my life wondering what was beyond the next corner to simply give up the habit. Of course being transgender has given me many opportunities to wonder what was around the next corner as I strived to discover if I could actually live my dream as a full time transgender woman. Along the way I considered I actually survived two major gender transitions in my life. The first of which happened when I managed to get out of the mirror and discover the truth about myself. In other words, cross dressing wasn't just a fad which made me feel good, wasn't destructive and may be a phase or a fad I was going through. 

All of the discoveries I was going through on my gender journey finally led me to an unmistakable truth, cross dressing turned out to be little more than a gender pressure reliever and most certainly was much more than a phase I was going through. 

Finally I relieved myself of most all the pressure I was feeling because of my gender issues and decided to begin hormone replacement therapy. From that point forward I considered myself a transgender woman. Before I was fully ready to meet the world as my authentic self there were many "What Now" moments. Several of the most major included how to react when my male privileges were suddenly threatened or taken away all the way to communication issues between the genders as I struggled to fit in as a transgender woman.

Now as I face what only be called my senior years, what now revolves mainly around me being able to hang on to my relatively good health. Or try to maintain myself to the uninvertible a trip to an extended living facility. 

My next step is to erase all thoughts of what could happen in the future and try to be more present in my thinking.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Blast from the Past

Recently I was surprised to see a post on Facebook from one of my old transgender friends from the earliest days of us exploring the feminine world for the first time. Over the years we have moved far away from each other and she has undergone several surgeries to enhance her appearance as a transgender woman. Her name is Racquel (pictured below).


Interestingly her post concerned several early visits to "straight" venues when we went through unique musical harassments:

I’m eating a burger at Buffalo Wild Wings. And they just played Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith. And that’s fine. Because if I complained about it the staff would apologize profusely.

Six years ago the world was very different. I would hang out with Cyrsti and people would play Dude Looks Like a Lady on the jukebox just to intimidate us, and there was certainly nobody who cared if we complained."

All of Racquel's memories are unfortunately so true and even she didn't get to witness the night when a group of drunk rednecks kept on playing the mentioned hated song. It got so bad, instead of doing anything about it, the manager just told me to leave. Even though weeks later I was approached in a neighboring venue by a bartender in the banned place and asked to return. It seemed the person who kicked me out got fired for drug abuse. Revenge was mine but the hurt remains, even to this day.

I do agree with Racquel though the world has changed from the "mean" old days but we still have such a long way to go.

Racquel was also the one who said "I (me) passed out of sheer willpower." Which I guessed was a back handed compliment in that I was going to go public with my feminine life regardless of what anyone else thought. Which I still believe to this day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Such a Day

I have written numerous times on how I am retired and don't live a particularly active lifestyle. All of that changed yesterday. Seemingly the heavens ganged up on me and made sure everything came about on what would have been a lazy Monday. 

Photo Credit Jessie Hart

Everything started when I learned the closing paperwork on the final property I owned in my past was put off until later in the day. Four o clock to be precise. On the plus side, the timing gave my partner Liz and I a chance to stop in one of favorite villages on the way to the town my property was in. Plus, as luck would have it, yesterday was also the birthday (15) of my youngest grandson, so we could all meet for lunch. The village we were meeting in is known for it's liberal background and pro LGBTQ stances so I was looking forward to seeing my daughter and grandson while we enjoyed a light lunch. 

From there Liz and I had time to do a little shopping in a couple of the shops she has enjoyed going to over the years. Since the village is approximately an hour and a half drive from our house, it's not as if it is an easy trip to take. 

Another pleasant surprise was another small town along the way was having a real live gas war and we were able to refill our tank for nearly fifty cents a gallon less than we paid that same morning when we left. 

Even though we were taking our time, we still had plenty of time to waste once we arrived in my ex home town which over the years was ravaged by de-industrialization and has yet to recover. As we "toured" all the old places I remember were still there and nothing much had improved. Regardless of all of that, time seemed to be moving so slow as I approached a situation where I knew I would be forced to face my former life as a cross dressing man. I also knew it was past time to do something about it and cut my final ties to my past. 

As we walked into the title office where the paperwork was to be handled, I felt as if I was moving in slow motion. I did manage to pull my drivers license out of my purse without dropping it on the floor and not stutter. Having that success, it was time to be mis gendered and get on with the process of signing a ton of paper work. 

Fortunately I had my gender warrior with me and she forcefully corrected the buyer or the paperwork clerk when they tried to call me "sir". Ironically the major memories the clerk had of the building I used to own was the Christmas decorations my deceased wife used to obsess on every year. It was difficult for me to have to relive the memories of her and explain to the buyer why he has found so many garden articles in the building I used to own.  My wife also had a major love of gardening.

In seconds which seemed like hours it was all done and I finally had my check.

For some reason, Liz wanted to stop at Wendy's and try a strawberry Frosty so I had to brave a decidedly conservative public again plus use the ladies room. Which I was able to do relatively unscathed meaning I survived with just a few stares.

As we headed home, I decided to treat Liz to a dinner at our favorite restaurant. Exhausted, we finished a great dinner and a margarita and headed home. 

It was such a day, my past has finally been physically severed. Now it's even a better chance to build a better future.  

Sunday, July 10, 2022

All the Gender Boxes

 When we are born we are placed in a gender box. Most of us in a blue one for boy or a pink one for girls. From that point forward in our lives the problem begins. What if we don't fit neatly into one of 

Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

the main gender binary boxes? Most of us know our small restrictive box becomes an equally restrictive closet. We begin to refer to ourselves as cross dressers or transgender people. Plus, these days there are beginning to be an increasingly number of different gender boxes identified. An example would be non-binary individuals. 

As life goes on hopefully it becomes easier to escape your gender box and live as your authentic self. To accomplish your escape, often you have to live through several gender boxes. Taking me for example, I felt I was living as a relatively accomplished cross dresser for decades before I finally jumped into the transgender box. At the time I became extra serious about my feminine presentation and started hormone replacement therapy. Ironically, many changes from the feminine hormones resulted in internal changes also. So many it would take me another blog post to explain them all.

Even still, I found an amazing number of strangers didn't care exactly what gender box I was attempting to escape. Naturally, they all had their own lives to deal with and stayed out of mine, for the most part. The others provided interesting all the way to terrifying experiences which I remember to this day. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was to get out of my own personal gender prison box, I had to learn to blend and live in a cis-gender world as a transgender woman. There were many times I considered returning to my cross dresser gender box rather than give up on all of my male privileges I had worked long and hard to obtain. But my life in my new box as a transgender woman just felt too natural to let go. It was better to pursue the more difficult road and transition into a full time transgender woman. 

You could suggest too life itself is but a series of boxes such as school, marriage, parenthood etc. It just seems those of us who found ourselves in the wrong gender box from the very beginning of our lives were dealt a bad deck of cards.

Hopefully you can shuffle your gender boxes and be able to live your best life.


Thursday, July 7, 2022

Sleepless in Cincinnati

Quite a few things happened yesterday which led to a sleepless evening. By "sleepless"  I mean my usual eight hours of slumber was reduced to an hour and a half. The main reason was we had strong storms in the Cincinnati metro area and our electric power was knocked out for nearly twenty four hours. No electric meant no fan in the evening heat and humidity. As I have mentioned before, we live in a non airconditioned house. Worse yet, I had no background noise at all to help me go to sleep. Normally leaving me alone with my thoughts leads me to face more than a few of my deepest anxieties head on. 

Before I get to a few of them, I heard from Connie recently and she is facing desperate health issues. So if you all can take a moment and wish her the best I am sure she would appreciate it. To make a long a very personal story much shorter Connie was subjected to the medical paranoia we non

Photo courtesy Connie Malone

operative transgender women fear the most, the total un-robing in the prep room in front of strangers, some of which who don't seem to be completely approving. Regardless of all of that, again I wish her the best trip back to being the sarcastic fun person she can be.

Plus there is Stana's wife who seems to be on the road to recovery. My best goes out to her also. As my father in law always said growing old isn't for sissies.  

Getting back to last night, for some reason my thoughts seem to basically zero in on my deceased wife and a few of the times we had as my desire to pursue a life as a transgender woman was not met with any acceptance from her. Ironically Liz who is my current ten year partner and Cindy (my deceased wife) are completely the opposite in how they approach my gender issues. Cindy fought it saying marrying another woman was not what she signed up for but Liz says all she ever saw in me was feminine. As I struggled with becoming my authentic self, I did make many self destructive decisions. Many of which happened due to my not so secret desire to have my feminine ways discovered. 

One of those was trying my best to "pass" as feminine woman and not as myself around people who knew me. It wasn't too long the word began to get around about what I was up to and certain DJ's would start playing "Dude Looks Like a Lady" when my wife and I went to parties. In other words, I was doing my best to burn every bridge I could to my old male life.

Slowly but surely I was successful and for some reason those burning bridges came back to haunt me last night when I couldn't sleep. 

Finally I became upset when my feelings began to gang up on me and I finally was able to fitfully fall asleep. It helped when I was able to wedge in a couple pleasant memories when we attended cross dressing - transgender mixers at a friends house in nearby Columbus, Ohio. On occasion Cindy would go along but just as often I was left on my own. Leading me to good times which I will write about in another post.

In the meantime, I hope the strong storms stay away long enough for me to catch up on my sleep. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Toxic Masculinity and the Trans Girl

Over the years when I was trying my best to exist in an ultra masculine world, I encountered too many men who would have been described as being toxic masculine. In essence they were the ones who tended to dismiss women as basically only emotional people who were only good for sex and/or having kids. 

I can truthfully say I wasn't an active part of their mentality but on the other hand was ashamed when I went along with their childish actions. I had two excuses. The first was in the business I was in I had to manage to the best of my ability a group of macho redneck cooks in a kitchen. I had to appear tough. The second was on the other hand I had to manage a group of mainly female servers, hostesses and bar tenders. Even then I was studying women intensely to learn how they really maintained in society so in many ways it was a labor of love. I learned my guys in the kitchen worked better when I could manage them as a team and the women worked better when I understood they were going to form their cliques anyhow, so adapt to them and hope for the best.

Further more I had to watch for frontal confrontations from the men and passive attacks from the women. Lessons which would serve me well later as I transitioned genders.  

Lessons I wish I had paid attention to didn't take long to happen. One night very early in my transition I found myself with a group of men discussing a topic I considered myself to be well versed in. Very early they shut me totally out as if I was never there at all. I thought it was one of my first opportunities to learn first hand what my life was going to be like as a transgender woman. I was right and on the other hand, my lessons learned from my work world worked well too. 

I also learned quickly the amount of  non verbal communication women use. It is no wonder most men say they can't understand women when they can't pick up non verbal cues. 

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Ironically I had to change my stereotype of what a toxic man even looked like. When I began to explore the world, I attempted to stay clear of any man who looked like the macho type. not unlike my former self. It got so bad I couldn't even try to buy tickets for a sports event from a street "scalper" because they thought I was a cop. Slowly but surely I learned many of the "macho" men didn't seem to care much about me at all and weren't going to verbally attack me. My theory was they were more secure in their sexuality than the normal man. 

Of course recent political activities have made it possible for toxic masculinity to come out of the shadows and even thrive in some areas. Unfortunately the trans community, women and men, has been potentially the hardest hit. The attacks aren't just coming from cis men, they are coming from cis women as well.    

The future is not a given for anybody. Especially not the trans girl.  As always we are going to have to be better and fight for what we have. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Not the Man I used to Be

 I thought since our weather is headed back to yet another brutal period of heat indexed days over 100, why not cool off with a post from last winter. 

" Recently we had to endure a portion of the massive winter storm which blanketed the middle and eastern part of the country. We received over six inches of ice, sleet and snow. Following all of that temperatures plummeted courtesy of an Artic blast. Due to lack of planning we weren't part of the hoard hitting all the grocery stores, so we were quickly running out of something to eat. 

"Attitude" Photo
Courtesy JJ Hart

Not so long ago (it seemed) I would have had no problem scraping and cleaning the car. It seems forgetting all the years of aging combined with estrogen and testosterone reduction  has taken it's toll. Seemingly when I finished the task of cleaning the car, I was feeling good about the whole process. Even to the point of telling Liz who was against me doing it. She is fond of telling me my mind has not accepted the fact I am physically not the man I used to be. 

She was completely right in this case. After throwing caution to the wind and cleaning the car, I found and/or felt the pain in my back. In other words, I spent yesterday in pain and am not much better today. 

The whole deal proves once again how truly stubborn I really am. During the majority of my life, my perseverance has served me well. Of course the major example is my cross dressing past, building to me becoming a novice transgender woman. I have written many times of the error more than trial which went into my ever so slow progression into fulfilling my dream of being  able to live full time as a transgender woman. 

Then there was my time in the military. Since I was being drafted into the service, I chose the three year enlistment plan which helped me to be able to work in a job field of my choosing. No body told me how difficult the process would be and I went for it anyhow. I became one of just sixty persons in the entire Army doing my job as a radio broadcaster/DJ. That in turn led me to meeting and later marrying the mother of my only child. A very accepting daughter who I cherish more and more as time goes by. The military even provided me my first chance to "come out" to friends about being a transvestite. Through it all, no one tried to tell me any of what I accomplished was impossible. Not that I would have listened anyhow.

Coming full circle and having a hard time even moving with no pain, I at least wish I had listened to Liz and left the car alone. 

My back is telling me I am not the man I used to be.  Or then again, the man I never wanted to be anyhow. I just need to get past the remaining vestiges of what a much younger man is telling me to be. It's difficult because I dislike feeling worthless.  Whose to say also I have learned my lesson the next time a big snowfall hits. I feel like now I have."

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Friends

 What are friends for? Right? As far as transgender individuals are concerned, friends mean quite a bit. 

Many of us go through a portion of our lives when we desperately seek out "replacement" friends to help us with how we look or even how we move as we attempt to live as our authentic selves. I remember many times in the blog when others have mentioned how badly they needed a cis woman to do their makeup. Over the years I found I was mostly self taught which sometimes showed until I learned how to not look like a clown. I say mostly because on a couple of occasions I did take advantage of a free makeover. Even then with my ego, I had to "face" the makeup person with absolutely no make up and more importantly try to understand exactly what he was trying to tell me about applying makeup.

Years before I sought professional help, I did beg my fiancĂ© to help me totally cross dress as a woman. It turned out to be one of the most exciting times of my life yet one of the worst decisions I ever made. Later on I had to endure a very messy breakup with her before I went into the military. She told me to tell them I was gay and not be drafted or we were finished. It turns out she was holding my cross dressing desires against me. The wonderful end to the story is getting rid of her was one of the best decisions of my life. 

These days there are many ways to seek out help with cosmetics. Depending upon your finances, there are larger makeup chain stores to help you. I say finances because naturally, they will try to sell you many products. Some of which you may not need. 

Girls Night Out Photo. Courtesy Jessie Hart 
I am bottom row far left. 
Of course there are many other ways friends can help you down your path to living as your authentic self. I was fortunate to find several close cis women friends early in my transition when I was going out to be alone. In other words, I was desperately lonely so I still went out as my authentic self to enjoy what I had of life. Also I had recently gone through the loss (death) of my wife and several close friends, so I felt what else did I have to lose. 


My new found friends helped me to find life again and more importantly accepted me as my authentic self. As with most everything else in life, time moves everything in a circle if you live long enough. In my case I was able to finally replace the few long time friends I had acquired as a cross dressing man with equally as close friends I could socialize with. Being social again brought my life back to a place I could ever imagine.  

Transitioning certainly means more than coming out to family. No matter if you are able to find new friends through local LGBTQ groups or wherever, establishing a new world as your authentic self is often key to a healthy existence. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Transgender Bravery

 Some individuals call a transgender persons path to achieving living as their authentic self with terms such as bravery or even courage. Over the years I have been more likely to refer to me following my path as one of bravery rather than courage.


Courage I rather use to describe service members and/or first responders. It takes real courage to do what they do. On the other hand it takes bravery to take the first steps out of our tightly closed gender closets. For some, including me when the unbelievable pressure began to weigh on me, I just had to take steps to relieve the gender stress. If I didn't I would be nearly unbearable to be around. In fact my wife became quite adept at knowing what I was feeling and why. Most of the time all of it was a good thing except when I was suffering extreme gender dysphoria. She naturally became upset when everything she was doing was never enough. Sadly it never was. No matter what she did to give in to my cross dressing urges, she always drew the line at any suggestion of me being transgender. 

What happened was I increasingly pushed my gender boundary which led to possible discovery by family friends. When I was emboldened to do it, I guess you could say I became brave enough to leave the house and attempt to live a life as a transgender woman. An example was the night she was working and under the cover of darkness, I took off in my favorite oversize cuddly sweater, leggings and boots to take it a local Christmas light display which needed to be enjoyed on foot. The entire evening proved to be very successful as I even enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate I was brave enough to stop and order.

Then there were all times I gave up on the male gay bar venues I was being rejected in and started to explore going to larger straight venues. Sure I was scared but I wanted to see if I could be accepted as my new authentic self. As a began to go down this new path I needed to be very brave to have any success because I was scared to death. 

So, all in all I will accept the bravery comment. Mainly because I think it shows what I needed to go through to arrive at where I am today. There were so many times I thought living life as a full time transgender woman was definitely an impossible dream. During my brief time in the military during the Army drills we went through I learned what courage could be about. I learned to think courage was an intangible which showed up (or didn't) during times of great duress.  

Whatever you decide to describe yourself as, courageous or brave, basically we are dealing in semantics. Your transgender journey is yours alone and will never be described as an easy one.  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gender Puzzle

 As we follow our transgender journeys, we encounter many walls to climb over or run around. In my


case I have described my path as one of being similar to a mouse in a maze. When I would hit a wall, I just had to step back and try to overcome it...one way or another. Sometimes it seemed I was just hitting my head against a wall which would never move.

Normally I would usually discover I was just being stubborn about how I was approaching the matter. Another example would be when I finally decided the way to succeed in a feminine world was to dress for them and not men. Perhaps it's unfair to men but when I was dressing for them, I had a tendency to ending up more trashy than classy. Public doors really began to open for me when I quit trying so hard. 

Even still it seemed I was caught in the giant puzzle which was my gender. Once I began to succeed in presenting a positive feminine image, then I had to become very serious in building a feminine persona to go with it as I attempted to align my authentic self with my exterior image the world saw.

Problems came fast and furious at the beginning as I had to adjust losing my male privilege, During the rare occurrences I would be involved in conversations with men, I had to react quickly to becoming a second class citizen and basically wait to speak when I was spoken to. I will say now I am more self assured and confident in myself and will stand up for my point of view. I just rarely have the opportunity to do it.

The other main issue I had was picking up on and reacting to the different ways women communicate with each other. There were many evenings I went home thinking what that really what another woman meant when told me something basically with her eyes. An example was one night when I was approached by a guy at a bar where I was a regular. With only a glance I picked up on her visual warning to stay away. I also learned quickly not to necessarily take at face value what another woman was telling me. It was a good way to get a knife or claw marks down your back.

Once I had solved those pieces of the gender puzzle, then I was faced with perhaps the biggest challenge of all, what was this new feminine person I was discovering be like. After all, she had waited years for her turn in the world.  Since the stage was hers, what would she do with it. 

As it turned out, she was able to do more than she ever imagined. With the help of several other strong women, she was able to come out of her shell and seemingly fill in the last remaining pieces of her gender puzzle. Of course as I write that I realize my gender puzzle won't be complete until my final transition (death). All I can do is hope for the best.

Looking back, fulfilling my gender puzzle were equal portions of terror and excitement.  Terror at facing yet another wall and excitement at moving around it. Yes, there were plenty of tears shed along the way mixed in with smiles and laughter.

Neither ruined the puzzle.  


Friday, June 24, 2022

Catching Up

 

Picture taken at local military memorial 
pre Covid. Courtesy Jessie Hart

As predicted, my breakfast meetup with my daughter went well.  We connected well with not even the usual traffic jam taking place. As it turns out, she really has her hands full with two out of three of her children. I have always cherished all of them and as I always written, they have always accepted me. 

Plus, as I walked through the venue, no one gave me a second look. It's always beneficial when I can take it an amount of gender euphoria. 

I love her very much and can't wait for our next breakfast.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Still Melting

I am so over this ultra hot weather! Here in southern Ohio we have been stuck under this power dome of hot weather. As I have mentioned several times, we don't have an air conditioned house so the weather is so much worse. I am sick and tired of seeing a heat advisory on the television. 

By now you are thinking what does this have to do with being a transgender woman. Mainly the post has to do with the effects of hormone replacement therapy on a male body. Previously I wrote of a thermostat change which occurred when I seriously started on the hormonal route. I was cold all the time. 

The problem I have is how my age reacted with my new feminine hormones for change, Since I actually started down the serious HRT path when I was in my sixties, I felt my natural testosterone levels were already in decline. Making it easier for feminine changes to occur. 

Less is more it seemed as the changes started to come fast and furious. Before I knew it I was presenting as a highly androgynous person. Along with the natural changes such as breast growth, were the less noticeable but still as important changes. All of a sudden I could smell better and along with that it seemed my body chemistry was changing also. I didn't perspire as much was the main change. I wonder now if less perspiration hurts me now in this very hot and humid weather. One way or another you take the bad with the good.

Coming up this weekend is Cincinnati LGBTQ Pride and the weather is supposed to break for a couple days before we go back to the extreme heat again. We are still deciding if we are going to go downtown and party. Standing in the way could be my partner Liz's work hours and finances. We are still going to wait to see what we are going to do.

Until that time, I am going to continue to hope for no more rolling blackouts. At least now I have my fan to make life less miserable. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Transgender to the Core

 When I was first beginning to open my cross dressing closet and see what the world had to offer, one of the main questions I was asked was when did I know I was transgender. Overall it seemed like a simple question that wasn't. 

Photo courtesy Jessie Hart 

First of all, the basic answer to the transgender question is I have been trans since birth. In fact though there are so many layers to this question. In order to answer it, I would have to attempt to explain the differences in being a cross dresser versus being transgender. To me, I spent the majority of my life cross dressing. Mostly as a man which totally confused most who bothered to care enough to inquire into my gender issues. It was difficult to explain why I was so sure I was never really a man, I was just going through the motions. Even though I attempted to balance all my gender issues for over fifty years, I became very adept at fooling the world. Sadly I was mainly only fooling myself. 

For some reason, in my mind something snapped and I decided when it was time to move on from being a cross dresser. To me, the major difference was doing my best to look like a woman versus exploring the world to see if I could follow my dream and live full time. 

As I went down this gender path, it became increasingly evident I could live full time as a transgender woman, Why? Because I sought out and found a small group of women friends who accepted me for who I was. Through the entire process, deep down I felt so natural. I have written a number of times of how a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. 

These days, I don't get asked questions concerning my gender much to not at all. I think it is because I have become so comfortable as my authentic self. I don't have anything to prove to anyone and if they don't accept me, so be it. I'm also fortunate to nearly always having my partner Liz by my side. In ways she doesn't understand she runs interference if I happen to encounter anyone negatively questioning my gender, 

As you can tell, I don't have any easy answers for anyone who wants to positively question my gender journey. It is confusing enough to try to explain my idea of why a cross dresser and a transgender person differ. In fact, there were many times when I started what I referred to as my second transition to a trans woman, I was wondering what I was doing. I had so much to lose such as family, friends and jobs. What kept me going through this difficult time was the transgender journey I was going through felt so natural. That alone kept me going.

So if you are thinking of transitioning and have major questions to answer, my only advice is to listen to your inner self. It will tell you if you are transgender to the core.