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

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Mentors

Myself on left with Nikki and Kim

As I was looking back through a few of my numerous older posts, I found this one which was originally was posted near my birthday in October of last year. The topic was transgender mentors:

" Referring back to a Cyrsti's Condo post concerning several cis women friends I had when I first was learning to play in the women's sandbox, the term "mentors" came up. 

As I thought about it, I became aware mentors could be a very vague term. For example, many could consider a mentor who aides you with your appearance, make up and clothes. 

As you can tell by the photo , my friends did not emphasize much make up at all. I was the only one who did and I did it all myself.

Of course by that time, I had years of practice. 

What my cis friends did teach me was how to value my self as a transgender woman.  Since they both were lesbians, I learned  I did not need a man to validate me as a woman. 

This picture pre dates my relationship with my current partner Liz, so by the time I met her I had a clearer idea of who I was and how I fit in in a feminine world. 

My advice is to be your own mentor. Practice makes perfect as far as your appearance goes. Plus, once you make your way past the appearance phase, the real work begins. Learning to rebuild your personality away from when you tried and failed to live as a guy is a major task. One example is communicating  woman  to woman and dressing to blend. I learned the hard way not totally accept the compliment of looking great. Great for what? A man cross dressed as a woman? 

Granted, finding a mentor of any form is rough. I was just fortunate when I threw caution to the wind and put myself out in the world.  When you find a mentor of any sort, put your old male ego aside and learn all you can."

I met Kim through her daughter who was a bartender at one of the big sports bars I was going to. It was her suggestion her Mom and I got together for a drink. Nikki was much different in that one night in the same sports bar, she came in for a pick up order and ended up sending me a message down the bar. The whole process just proved to me how successful I had a chance ot being in public if I made the effort to put myself out in the feminine public, no matter how scary it was. I do know perhaps especially in todays world caution is to be used when escaping your gender closet. This is one time your presentation needs to be on point to prevent problems. 

Once I had my mentors and became a part of a small group, life as a transgender woman became so much easier and most of all...fun.  


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

You Said What?

 

Image from Unsplash

More than a few novice transgender women and trans men think their gender presentation is the major path to being able to survive as their authentic selves in the world. Following my nearly fifty years as a cross dresser and novice transgender woman I was locked in totally on my appearance. In other words, I had made all the stupid mistakes I could as far as my appearance was concerned. I was also becoming fairly proficient in going out as a woman. Somehow I knew something new was going to happen on my transgender path. No matter how hard I fought saving my male self the more I failed and the more frustrated I became. 

What happened was I was suddenly beginning to meet the same people as my feminine self. All of a sudden I was expected to come up with a name, wear the same wig to look similar and use it all to try to communicate with new people. By this time you may be asking how did I handle the voice situation. Early, what I did was try to mimic the women I was talking to and attempted to not talk to men at all. Yes, that worked for awhile. As I progressed in my gender transition, the more I learned I had so much farther to go.

It was around this period of my life I learned the true secret of of blending in with and being able to play in the girl's sandbox had to to with how well I communicated with other women.  Dressing similar to them was not a problem, understanding what they were saying was a whole other issue. As a guy, I worked primarily with women and prided myself on understanding what they were saying. When I transitioned to being a full time transgender woman, all of it changed. 

First of all I learned the feminine equivalent of silent communication. I learned to watch (no really watch) other women's eyes when they were talking to me. On several occasions other women helped me to stay clear of interactions with other toxic men, On other occasions I learned to take what I heard from other women very lightly because often they were carrying a knife behind their back. I was clawed several times before I learned. A prime example would come when a woman, normally at Halloween, would say I "made" a good looking woman. What they didn't say was for a man, 

Gone were the good old days of straight forward communications. As I always thought women operate on a much more layered existence then men. I had to learn a whole new communication system. Of course all the effort was worth it as I assumed my feminine place in the world. Ironically the whole experience taught me women are the stronger gender. Even though I would never go back to being a guy, my time served as a woman would make it so much easier. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Results are In.

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

After a reasonably short wait, my mammogram doctor contacted me and said everything turned out fine and they would see me next year. I take nothing for granted, especially with my health so I was naturally pleased. 

Others are not so fortunate I realize but I didn't remember Connie's wife had the different response from her doctor that no one wants to hear. Here  is Connie's comment:

It's good to hear that your mammogram went OK.

I will always remember the day, many years ago, when my wife's doctor called the afternoon after her mammogram of earlier that morning. I was at home, all dressed up in my closeted feminine glory, to answer the phone, as my wife was at work. The doctor told me nothing, except that she needed to talk to my wife ASAP, so I was almost certain that she had cancer. I called her work to leave the message that she needed to call the doctor, and then proceeded to withdraw to my locked room and further depression. When she got home early, I was still hiding myself, and I could hear her crying in another room.

This may sound selfish of me, but I had never felt the urge to fully come out to her more than I did at that moment. She knew that I was "cross dressing" and hiding myself, but I had reached the point where my gender identity had far surpassed the activity of cross dressing. Of course, I wanted to be there for her, but, because of my ever-increasing withdrawal, I had become unable to be fully there for her as the husband she so much wanted me to be. That doesn't mean I didn't do my best to try, however, so I quickly de-feminized myself and went out to be with her. That dichotomy of love and guilt/shame has never been so intense for me.

Throughout my wife's radiation treatments, surgery, and chemo, I suppressed my femininity as much as I could. I tried the beard growing technique and began lifting weights. My wife was suffering from her perceived loss of femininity after her surgery (I never thought that she was any less feminine, myself), while I was trying to overwhelm my femininity by letting my testosterone aid in my physical masculinization.

My wife has been cancer-free for many years now and, thanks to reconstructive surgery, still has amazingly perky breasts for a woman in her 70's. I'm so jealous of them, of course, but I'm also happy to have shed the beard and musclebound body that I'd developed. Her attitude toward life changed after realizing that it could be cut short at any time, and I'm sure that is the biggest reason for her acceptance of me being the woman I am today. I don't recommend this method for coming out and transitioning, at all, but I think this proves that happy endings can come from tragedy."

Happy to hear your wife has been cancer free for all those years and thanks for the deeply personal comment. In many ways I consider my transgender transition came from a tragedy also. I'm sure most of you know my story. My un-approving wife passed away quite unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. All of a sudden I was free to pursue being my authentic feminine self. Not the ideal way I wanted to change my life. 

Now, down with the negative, the results are in...on with the positive!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Lets Get Comfortable?

 

Photo credit Jessie Hart

Yesterday was mammogram day. The price I pay for being on hormone replacement therapy. The actual treatment is very minimally painful. Getting there was the problem. I don't walk long distances well and had to park quite away from the hospital where my appointment was scheduled. Since I had been there before I knew exactly what to expect and knew there was a big ledge I could sit down on and rest before I actually went into the hospital to register. Once I made it there I figured I had it made. 

Registration was a little more complex than I bargained for as the hospital had to figure out how my Veterans Administration coverage worked into my procedure. Once that was figured out it was clear sailing to the location of the actual mammogram.

If you have never been, they ask you to strip to the waist and give you one of those stylish hospital gowns to put on. Open in front of course. From there they take you to the room where the big mammogram machine is located. I always find it humorous they are in such a hurry. Once I got undressed I was hurried  into a hallway which luckily was deserted. 

The procedure itself as I wrote is basically just a pinching of the breasts so somehow they can get a good X-ray. The unpleasantness to me came when I had to stand that long and contort my body to get a good "picture" Finally two nurses had to come in and assist in the procedure. To add insult to injury, I had to totally take off my hospital gown. Naturally I was more embarrassed than anyone else because I am sure they had seen it all before. 

Finally the procedure was over. They had gotten two X-rays on each breast and I was set free to put my clothes back on and leave. This was actually was my fifth mammogram, so I know what to expect. I am directed to have one every year because my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer way back in the 1950's. So I am always extremely concerned about the results of the mammogram tests. 

So far, I haven't yet received any news about the latest tests. As directed I do self examinations and have felt no lumps so I hope everything is all right. 

Now my week continues tomorrow with my latest virtual appointment with my therapist. Among other things I can explain how stressful a week it has been since also, my credit card was hacked and blocked before any significant damage was done. I had to go to my bank branch yesterday to get it settled and had to sit through a sales pitch for another credit card which I was ultimately turned down for because of my credit. Which I knew was going to happen since I am on Social Security and don't make much money. 

On the positive side, I needed the extra exercise and feel much better today because of it. I even went out early this morning to the huge grocery store we have nearby and found a few necessities we needed for the refrigerator. Plus, the rumor has it I stopped at Connie's favorite coffee chain for a couple of nitro/coffees for Liz and I.   It felt good to do it!     

Monday, August 22, 2022

Always on Stage

 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

This morning I had the radical idea I would go out to the curb and bring in the two large trash cans we have. Of course I didn't put much effort into the process. Didn't shave and wore no makeup. Who would I see of importance anyhow? I knew from experience the two neighbors I do know I almost never see them at the time I was out anyhow. As luck would have it, this morning the neighborhood was positively completely packed with strangers walking their dogs, just walking or heading to the school bus stop on the corner, Without any fanfare I timed my trip to the curb and brought the two cans back up to the house. 

As I came back into the house I wondered why it is I feel as if I am always on stage when I am out doing even menial tasks that very few cis women would give a second thought to. Unless they were on their way to work, I see very few neighborhood women bringing in their trash cans in heels and hose. In fact, I can;t tell you the last time I have seen a ultra well dressed woman in this neighborhood at all. Perhaps the closest comes to me when I do my version of dressing up to go ot with Liz to dinner. 

I suppose the whole "on a stage" aspect of life extends to all women if they like it or not and especially transgender women. We are under increased pressure to appear feminine while at the same time blend in with the other women around us. Plus as we begin our gender journeys, we are playing catch up to the cis women who had the benefit of mother and peer input on necessary items such as clothing and makeup. 

Many of us also who didn't have the benefit of an easier gender transition due to feminine looks. We had to suffer (or are suffering) from the ravages of testosterone poisoning. It made or makes for too many stares or even rude comments from uncaring, nosey civilians It's no wonder we transgender folks are always looking over our shoulders. 

Then there is the other side. My deceased wife used to tell me it was not all about me when the tables were turned and I thought I was being unfairly singled out as a novice transgender woman. Often she (my wife) would go on to call me the "Pretty, pretty princess" when it all happened and said all the uproar may have not had anything thing to do with me at all. My feminine ego which was still deeply intertwined with my male ego made the whole process so confusing. 

It became ingrained it was all about me. Until I could free my strong inner feminine self, it turned out I had to be selfish to do it. Once I was able to discover who my authentic self really was, then I could set out to love others. Suddenly my selfish side was gone and I could see the world in it's truer form...good or bad, 

Regardless, as an full time transgender woman, I am certainly not the "Pretty, pretty Princess" anymore following my decidedly unfeminine trips to male dominated areas such as junk yards. As with any woman, part of our existence in being on stage. One way or another. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Comfortable in your Own Skin


As transgender women and trans men transition into our authentic selves often we take longer to feel comfortable in our own skins. As with many others, it took me  many years to catch up and feel much better on the direction life was taking me. 

The first thing I had to do was to grow up and out of my teenaged girl years which of course weren't happening until I was in my thirties. I have documented many times how I went through a period of dressing more trashy than classy as I was trying to validate myself as a woman. Another way of saying I was desperate to feel comfortable in my own skin but was failing completely. Fortunately even I got it through my thick noggin what I was doing wrong. By this time I was learning to dress to blend and interact with other women. 

As I did, I began to seriously realize I could be successful in my new gender skin. Every now and then I am asked how I made it to this point. My answer was and is two fold. The first answer is to practice, practice and more practice. My second advice is don't become discouraged no matter how tough life becomes. Specifically when it comes time to attempt a few or all of the same things cis-women have to do to better their appearance. Examples include working to lose weight and taking better care of your skin. Remember, women, similar to Rome, weren't built overnight. If you are having problems with your makeup, don't hesitate to hitch up your big girl panties and go to a makeup store for help or keep practicing until you become better. 

At times you may feel the road you are on may never end. After all, women lead such layered and complex lives and once you escape your gender closet and see the light of day, it's natural to be terrified to the point of wondering if you will ever be able to live the life you dreamed of forever. Plus you never know how your future life may change and allow you  to better live as a transgender woman. It happened with me. I went from a bearded two hundred seventy pound life long cross dresser in a little over a six month period to a full time transgender woman. When my wife passed away totally unexpectedly. Although I don't  recommend what happened to me, the fact still remains it could happen.

Being comfortable in your own gender skin is a lot of work but completely worth it in the long or even short term. Much of the process involves having the confidence to do something about it, which we will discuss in an upcoming post.  

Friday, August 19, 2022

You Know Your Old When...

 


When I wake up in the morning I look ahead to just exactly what my schedule looks like. This morning I realized the great majority of my appointments coming up next week or so are all medically related. For the sake of clarity, I include my mental heath appointments as medical visits. 

Here is an example. On Tuesday next week I have a LGBTQ group meeting scheduled virtually if the Veteran's Administration is able to finally get all their necessary ducks in a row so it all comes off correctly. Wednesday is my Mammogram at one of the University of Cincinnati hospital branches. I don't mind the process as a necessary inconvenience to make sure I don't develop breast cancer as it runs in the family. Friday I have my regularly scheduled visit with my long time therapist which is also a virtual affair which normally comes off without a hitch. Then a week from Wednesday I have my Covid booster scheduled again close by me in suburban Cincinnati. Since I am scheduled for every other week therapy visits, it won't be too soon until the cycle repeats. 

Perhaps you, like me have noticed a definite lack of "fun" time mixed in with any of this. To add insult to injury Liz couldn't make it to the monthly transgender - cross dresser group socials which was last night. Perhaps I can convince her to go out with just me one of the upcoming weekend nights. 

In the meantime I need to totally appreciate the fact that as I rapidly approach my 73rd birthday I seem to be in pretty good health. I am again walking everyday along with my writing. My Dad passed on from Dementia when he was 86 and he sadly faded away watching hours of the Animal Planet on television so I try to keep my mind active with my writings. I still hope I can assemble my work for another book in the future. My Mom, who passed away when was 77 from a bad heart. Since I resemble her side of the family I hope to stay active and keep my heart healthier. 

By now you may be asking what does any of this had to do with being transgender. The truth of the matter is not much but then again everything. My posts represent my life as a transgender woman which means we face the same trials and tribulations than any other cis woman. We have health or family issues the same as anyone else. We are no difference than anyone else except we decided to cross the gender frontier and live as our authentic selves. 

Certainly there is nothing I can do about the point in life I am in except to make the best life I can.      

Thursday, August 18, 2022

How the Transgender Tree Grows

 

Image from Unplash

Most days I sit and ponder what I am going to write about today, I notice the same huge tree growing in the neighbor's back yard. Today for some reason I made a connection with growing up transgender with that tree. 

All of us at some point lay down our gender roots, transgender or not. Waking up in the morning more times than not I would wonder what gender I would be that day. Non of it included the pain when I had a very vivid dream of being a girl. Of course dreams like that made the whole situation worse and made the roots grow deeper. The problem also was I was trying my best to up-root my feminine leanings. Please keep in mind I grew up in the pre-internet era when there was very little information on gender dysphoria. 

As I grew past that time in my life, my feminine roots really took over. Especially when I began to discover others with similar outlooks plus information how to deal with it. No matter how much root killer I tried to use to kill my feminine instincts, nothing worked. In fact, as my gender tree grew the stronger it became. 

Then came the big growth spurts caused partially by me going to Halloween parties. It doesn't seem possible but the time of year for Halloween is rapidly approaching and it will time for me to once again do my Halloween "Greatest Hits" posts here in the blog. In the meantime I will say the entire experience did more to send my feminine roots deeper than anything else in my life, up to that point.In short I learned there was a possibility I could present well enough as a woman to survive in society. My roots had branched into a tree which started to bear seeds. 

Multiple seeds sprouted into more transgender trees and I reached several points of no return in my growth into living as a full time transgender woman. So much so, that finally the female seeds choked out the male seeds completely. 

Which brings me full circle to the place I am today. From my initial explorations in my Mom's clothing what seems like it was a hundred years ago to going to my next Mammogram on Wednesday my roots have grown a strong transgender tree. Even with me trying my best to destroy them by destroying myself. I just hope my roots can remain as strong through an upcoming marriage and my later years in life. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

You Did What????



When I look back at all the crazy things I attempted when I first started to explore the world as a novice transgender woman, I wonder how I survived at all. One of the first things I remember was having the lack of a quality reliable vehicle. This led to several impromptu tow's and my first one on one involvement with tow truck drivers. Most were barely respectful when I needed to ride back with them with one bordering on being downright hostile. I experienced everything from flat tires to complete failure to start from a few of my cars. Often the problem I ran into was I was on a sort of a curfew and had to be home before my wife arrived from her job. To make a long story short, I needed to get out so badly and explore the world, I would risk having a major fight or worse. 

As my finances improved, I was able to afford better vehicles and my focus shifted to which venues I tried to frequent. Very early in the process I learned I wasn't really welcomed or satisfied with going to the male gay venues. The venues didn't come close to satisfying any of my needs when I went there. For the most part I didn't prefer the music and especially hated the idea everyone would refer to me as a drag queen which of course was the farthest thing from the truth. Finally I took my business to venues where I at least more comfortable. Places I often wondered how it would be to patronize as a transgender woman. Surprisingly I was accepted better than the gay venues I went to. It took awhile but it was in those venues I met several dear friends I have to this day.

Then, there were the lesbian venues. Back in the day, several small lesbian venues sprung up in the Dayton, Ohio areas. They provided me with a whole other world of possible experiences. Primarily, since I failed in experiencing any pleasurable time in male gay bars, I thought I would try women and see what happened. In one of the lesbian bars they were very radical and hated me but in the other it was much more mellow and I even discovered I knew one of the bartenders from my male life. This was the establishment where life became a little too exciting on a couple of occasions. 

One evening in particular times became a little more intense when just before I had to leave in order to beat my wife home, I had a lesbian come up to me and buy me a beer. When she did so, she also said maybe she should take me home with her. I briefly thought Oh No! How would I tell my wife I was abducted by an alien lesbian in a space ship. No story would have worked. Then, there was the well documented time (here) when I was basically strongly coerced into singing karaoke with a very big and masculine lesbian. Somehow I was able to "sing" with her and slip away when she moved on to another conquest. 

Through it all, at times I was terrified, excited and downright relieved when I pulled off whatever I was attempting. I look back and wonder how I summoned the courage to do it at all.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A Closer Look at HRT

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

Several days ago I wrote a post called "Comments" which ultimately came from a post which dealt with hormone replacement therapy. The post turned out to be one of the most commented posts I have written in a while. Mainly because to some HRT is the main gateway when you transition from cross dresser to transgender woman or trans man. As I wrote there are more dangers from the extra hormones to many people than are known. I also wrote about Connie being one of those individuals. She faces dire medical circumstances if she would attempt HRT. Here is the comment in reply to Jas:

"As you stated, in answering to Jas's comment, I have not been able to enjoy the mental, emotional, or physical effects that HRT may have had on me. Actually, though, at my age, my hormone balance is not so different than most 71-year-old cis women. That many people have expressed their assumption (of my consumption:-) of HRT for me is both gratifying and frustrating. I can, at the same time, think well of myself for "pulling it off" and also be offended that someone could say such an inappropriate thing to me. I suppose, then, that the next assumption would be that I have had all the surgeries necessary to "womanize" myself (and some have expressed that, as well).

One saying they are dying to be a woman is fine, but not very many would mean that literally - myself included. I also reject the statement made to me years ago that, because I suffered from male pattern baldness and could not (I think they said would not) take hormones or have surgeries, I could never be more than a "professional cross dresser."

Even though I have been on hormone replacement therapy for going on eight plus years now and live fulltime as a transgender woman, I have not undergone any surgeries. I suppose in more than a few critical transgender circles I too would be considered a "professional cross dresser." Then again, like Connie, I didn't begin this life long gender journey if I cared what most others cared about me. In fact it was years ago when I met Connie we found we thought alike when we harassed so called transgender nazi's who made a big deal out of how many surgeries they had under gone. 

These days, for the most part, I think the barriers within the transgender community are coming down. I am seeing more and more younger people identifying as non binary. Even still, I see the "I am transer than thou" raise it's ugly head entirely too often. 

As I have written many times, I am so fortunate to be able to begin and tolerate a hormonal replacement therapy at my advanced age. Anymore it is such a part of me I would hate to see it go. So far, so good but I am always prepared for the worst but HRT no longer defines me as a transgender woman.    

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Answer to a Transgender Guestion

Image from Unsplash 

Yesterday I wrote a post asking the question "What is a Transgender Woman." 

Today I received this wonderful response through my Medium writers format from Jas Martinez: 

"  Gender identity of a female? Not all females have a gender identity of a female. There has to be, there probably will be a better definition in the near future. There are trans people that label themselves trans women, however many of them are simply trans people that cross dress. I guess I am a gatekeeper is sorts. A trans woman is a trans person who lives full time as woman, has legally changed their name and is on HRT to be recognized or assumed to be a cis-woman. It’s the same as being a veteran.

To be recognized as a veteran one must have served in the military. To be recognized as a surgeon one must have graduated medical school, be licensed and actually perform surgeries. Label yourself any way you want but those are only words. To be a trans woman one has to live the part."

Thanks for the comment! There were so many to choose from. The only part I would disagree with is the portion which said HRT was a needed to be a transgender woman. I know several transgender women who live quite well as their authentic selves without going the HRT route. One in particular is Connie who can't because of medical issues and the other I believe is "Stana" from the Femulate blog.

On the other hand I agree not all females have the gender identity of a female. My partner (and future wife) Liz is way more masculine than I am and can't wait to call me "Mrs. Hart". I asked her the why's of being a transgender woman and she replied a trans woman was/is a person who knows where she came from and knows where she is going, even if she doesn't know the exact path.

Interestingly, Liz thinks too many transitioning novice transgender women have too difficult a time letting go of their old male privilege's. Growth doesn't happen over night and a person needs time to grow into their authentic selves woman or man.

Then Lauren added another comment:

"Yes JJ, gotta love the haters, it's really hard when they're family members who refuse to acknowledge or accept you. How do you reply to someone who says: "I don't understand and frankly, I don't want to understand, what you're doing is wrong!"

The answer, you don't really. you walk away and the relationship is over. Hard but necessary. They just can't get it through their thick skulls we are born this way and have been since we were children. It's just wrong."

Thanks to you Lauren and for the rest of you just to confuse everyone I decided to write Medium under my legal name change JJ or Jessie. Plus as far as haters are concerned, my very own brother falls under a person I just had to walk away from. Sadly.

I love comments and wish I could answer more of them in actual posts but it is difficult to do. Thanks again for those of who who do comment!


Saturday, August 13, 2022

What is a Transgender Woman?

 

Image from Unsplash

Talk about a question which goes right to the basics, this is it. 

Before I get started, here is a look at a definition of a transgender woman from Web MD:

"A transgender woman was labeled as male at birth but has the gender identity of a female. A transgender man was assigned female sex at birth but identifies as male. Some transgender people don't identify with one gender exclusively." 
I agree with this definition but coming from a person who has lived the definition I would naturally take it to a much deeper level. These days, many times through the power of social media, I have seen the wrath of transgender haters who say it is impossible for transgender women or men to be able to live as  our authentic genders. 
My favorite comeback is birth gender doesn't guarantee a person will able to achieve  the title of woman or man. Also there is the bogus idea that being able to give birth is the only way to claim the title as a woman. What about all those females for what ever reason don't want or can't have children. Most if not all struggle to have a rational answer but of course never give up their ideas but at least I probably gave the transphobes something to think about.  Furthermore I think most transphobes just can't comprehend the concept of being transgender. Either that or they decide to hide behind some sort of bogus religion. 
As I attempt to come up with my own definition of what is a transgender woman (or man) I normally think of what my daughter recently asked me when we discussed the possibility of one of her children coming out as trans. She asked something to the fact that I had always known I was transgender. After a little thought I added it to my definition. Indeed knowing I always knew I was struggling with my true gender but didn't have the tools at the time to understand what exactly I was going through. 
What I was going through was similar to what any other girl goes through as they mature and hopefully make it to womanhood. To put it another way the whole process to achieving trans womanhood gives me the right to claim the womanly status. 
So, that is my definition of what is a transgender woman.  


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Back to the Basics

 


Many times as you may have noticed I go way back to what I consider were my initial forays into cross dressing in girls clothes. The method to my madness is I feel those initial feelings were what shaped my future as a transgender woman.

I find it is interesting I don't share the same feminine tendencies as other transgender and/or cross dressers the same advanced age I am. I am a faithful follower of the Femulate blog and recently there was a post about wearing slips. I immediately thought Wow! I had even thought about wearing a slip in approximately fifty years. In addition, many times there are posts involved with other feminine under garments. I don't know exactly why it is but I never exactly followed my Mom's example of how she dressed all the time. She was a school teacher and dressed up for the job in what now would probably be referred to as business casual. 

For a period of time I did actually predominately dress in the business casual feminine world. Those were the days of the business suits worn with short skirts and I loved them. Especially when I could find a pair of opaque panty hose which matched my outfit and helped cover the hair on my legs. I followed that fashion path for years until the Boho fashion trend began to become the  predominant force in fashion. Being a child of the sixties (and before) I was in the Army during the height of the Hippie Days. I felt as if I had a second chance of expressing myself which I had missed during my military days. 

Through it all I again found I had lost any real attraction I had for the feeling of the feminine clothes I was wearing. Even the early thrill I had from wearing panty hose was nearly gone. I was simply doing what I needed to do to blend in and live with other women. I guess if my fashion sense was given a title, it would be called "Mo-Boho". Anything Boho fashion wise still appeals to me. 

Before I seem to put myself up on a pedestal of any sort, I am sure many would disagree with my desire to have very long hair. It is very non age appropriate but to me I still love it and the world can get over it if they don't like it. The old Hippie Girl still lives! 

I guess if I can understand the foreign desire to wear a slip and other feminine under garments and put it in the same category of having long hair and wanting to feel the natural changes to my body. It's all good. I just wonder sometimes why I lost all my desire for silky feminine under garments. I used to have quite the collection of night time negligee and couldn't wait to have my own breasts so I could purchase matching bra and panty sets. 

Maybe the basics just what weren't they seemed to be.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hello Ms. Hart



 Imagine my surprise when the phone rang and a pleasant voice from the Veterans Administration said "Good Morning is this Ms. Hart? " It was a surprise to me she referred to me with the proper pronoun because normally I need to correct them every call when they ask for Mr. Hart. Even though I didn't have any earth shattering (fortunately) health issues to discuss, it was nice to talk to a friendly voice who didn't start out miss-pronouning me.


I have told myself over the years, the VA receptionists just don't see many women at all, so they automatically revert to the default male pronoun. The whole process reminds me to to be on point with my feminine presentation and more importantly my voice. I have never been particularly successful at all on the phone. In fact, I go into every phone conversation prepared to defend my gender.  

We discussed getting signed up for the next round of Covid booster shots Which I did and how I could get referred for another Mammogram. I need to be scheduled for one every year since my maternal grandmother passed away in the 1950's from breast cancer. So over the recent years I have been through over four Mammograms. The first one I considered to be a sort of rite of passage for a transgender woman with her own breasts. Since then I know what is going to happen so the entire process is rather mundane. Only one time over the years have I had any remotely negative experiences. One time a nurse just had to ask questions about any operations "down below" which of course was none of her business. Following her question nothing more was said. 

After the conversation I had with my VA contact, I did realize I just experienced a gender euphoric highlight. Being referred to as "Ms. Hart" then discussing setting up a Mammogram. It doesn't get much more feminine than that. 

In the midst of my euphoria though, I forgot to set up an optometrist appointment or renew my gout medication. It will be interesting to see if I receive the same gender reception I received on my last visit. Since I will be going there in person for my booster in the not so distant future maybe I will run into the last person (woman) I encountered who refused to accept my correct pronouns. I believe they have personalized business cards to identify themselves. If she does, I will know specifically who to complain about. She needs to be told what a big deal pronouns are to transgender people. 

I need to point out also, over the years I have had very few problems with anyone at the VA. It is just at the closest satellite center I go to, they don't seem to care and represent the right wing population around the clinic. Maybe I can help to change it. 


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