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

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Inspiration

First Wedding Kiss

Today we were sent our wedding pictures by my daughter who along with my grandchild is an amazing photographer. 

Sadly, I don't think just one picture can convey the emotions I feel when I see it. Even though hormone replacement therapy has mellowed me out from copying the no emotion persona I inherited from my Dad. During the wedding ceremony, I barely made it through my prepared vows I made on my own without becoming emotional and began tearing up,

What I was trying to say was how much I loved all of the various things my new wife Liz did for me back when we first met. 

Outside of the major questions concerning my gender issues, Liz was instrumental in me coming out of a very dark time of my life. Essentially I had lost everything dear to me and for some reason came to believe I deserved it. Anytime I came close to drifting in the self detrimental decisions I somehow found myself getting into, Liz would pull me out of my funk. Obviously she (Liz) faced quite a bit of work she never backed away from.

Of course outside of my moody issues, my gender dysphoria came in a close second on occasion, or even took the lead on others. Life could be very difficult and I was difficult to live with. How did Liz handle it? She told me she had only ever seen a woman in me. Keep in mind also, at that time I was still working on transitioning from being a serious cross dresser to a novice transgender woman. In fact she was with me the night I took my first estradiol pills. Needless to say, a big moment in my life. 

As you can tell, Liz was and is pure inspiration to me and everyday I thank the powers to be in the universe for bringing us together. We met in the most unlikely way possible. In an relatively obscure on line dating site when against all odds Liz responded to my "sad eyed" picture and the rest as some would say is history. 

Finally, I would thank all of you who went out of your way and take your valuable time to congratulate us. It means a lot!     

Friday, October 21, 2022

A Night at the Theatre

 This is yet another Halloween experience which helped me to break out of my gender closet and experience a possible life as a transgender woman. 

Image by Danie Franco
on UnSplash

Years ago Columbus, Ohio completely restored a very elegant classic vintage theatre downtown. With interest I learned the new venue would be hosting a late night Halloween horror show silent movie complete with accompanied music from the restored theatre house organ. Aside from being a total restoration geek, I immediately sensed an opportunity to extend my feminine Halloween adventures. From there the evening began to come together quite nicely. Little did I know how much fun I would have. 

The first thing I had to do was get four tickets. Two for my first wife and I and two for two other close friends I wanted to go with. Then I needed to put together a "costume" for the evening. Actually, back in those days, my options were as limited as my wardrobe. Following several unsuccessful trips to thrift stores, I settled on a mini dress which I had even worn on another Halloween adventure but with different people. Supposedly, changing up what I wore would keep people from guessing how serious I was concerning how I was perceived as a woman. The last thing I wanted to do was however was try to be an obvious jokester of a man in a dress. 

As it always happens, the time coming up to the Halloween evening seemed to go so slowly as this was the only time of the year I could escape my self imposed gender closet and explore. Before I could explore I had to decide if I was going to throw caution to the wind and go all out to appear as a sexy woman. Back in those days, shaving my legs was a rare and often wonderful experience and I decided to do it for the evening. Shaving of the legs is the one biggest giveaway I think between someone dressing as a woman as a joke and someone who is a serious cross dresser. In other words, going all the way for me was the only way to go. 

The afternoon of the party, when I left work, I was able to leisurely prepare for my night on the town in "C-Bus" which was only approximately a half hour away. I drew a hot bubble bath and made sure all of the hated hair was off my legs before I was able to slide into a new pair of panty hose without ruining them with a run. Then came the makeup, mini dress, long blond wig and heels which I would regret wearing later. After downing a couple of "road pops" for courage it was time to head out, pick up our friends and go to the theater. 

These friends in particular had seen me before dressed as a woman so I don't think there was much of a surprise to them when they saw me. My wife always knew I was a cross dresser so I know for sure she wasn't surprised. 

The unfortunate part of wearing the heels I did came when I learned how far I was going to have to walk in them as parking was at a premium. Needless to say my feet weren't used to walking that far in heels and were protesting. I had to hitch up my big girl panties and pay the price for fashion. It all was so worth it once we arrived and saw all the other beautiful and creative costumes. For better or worse no one seemed to notice the tall blond in heels and mini dress. The movie with the background organ was wonderful.

Not as wonderful as my big night out at the Ohio Theatre.  

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Being a Woman is a lot of Work

 

Photo courtesy 
Jessie Hart

Recently I wrote a post about the cost involved with being a transgender woman. Now I am adding a companion post concerning the amount of work it takes to be a woman. 

On occasion I happen along a novice transgender woman who seemingly wants to look, act and/or be accepted in the feminine world immediately.. I usually try to tell her to be patient. The gender journey is not a race, it is a life long marathon. Once you think you have the process down it changes on you. 

Also the gender change process takes an immense amount of work. Lets start with clothes. Many, including me rush out and buy some frilly ultrafeminine outfits which naturally look wonderful on a beautiful  model. It takes time, energy and money to learn what looks good on an internet model may not flatter your testosterone infected body unless you are one of the rare few naturals who are able to transition into an attractive woman easily. 

In my own case I was able to take care of my skin long before I seriously started to gender transition. Which helped immeasurably when I was applying foundation following a close shave. Plus I did realize (like Stana says) shaving actually helped me because it got rid of old skin cells. After I began to become very serious about following the path to a feminine life, I decided I had to shed myself of most all of the extra weight I had gained over the years with pizza and beer. Amazingly I was able to lose nearly fifty pounds to get down to a much more manageable weight, Which meant a wider choice of fashions to wear. Also I became more adept at hiding my masculine broad shoulders and narrow hips by again wearing clothes which tried to not accentuate my shoulders. 

I mention all of this because it just scratched the surface of the work I put into becoming my authentic self and in my case the entire process took years to refine in the public's eye. I'm sure to a novice I am nothing more than an experienced confident transgender woman but they were not around when I was struggling to find my way in a new world. 

Along the way also I found out the hard way being the "pretty, pretty princess, as my wife called me was just not going to be enough to continue my path to living full time as a transgender woman. I found what I had always suspected deep down women were the more complex and often the stronger gender. To join them would require much more than just appearing as a woman in public. The process wouldn't take long because seemingly overnight I had to begin to interact more intensely with the public as my true self.

Were there mistakes? More than I care to count. The times I tried to wear ill fitting wigs to the wrong venue come  back to haunt me even more than my choice of wardrobe. 

My hope is that these days, in direct comparison with the past there are many ways a novice transgender woman can learn the feminine ropes. In many area's now there are strong LGBTQ organizations who offer social functions for all transgender women or men as well as cross dressers also. Plus the social media outreach can be a help if you can steer clear of the crazies. 

Bottom line, as any cis woman will tell you, it's takes a lot of work to be a woman. Be prepared.    

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

I Was Never a Crossdresser?

 

Image from Alexander Grey
On UnSplash

A couple days ago I read with interest a post from a person saying they were transgender but had never been a cross dresser. Further more, cross dressers were an embarrassment to all transgender women. I wish I could provide just a few of the many derogatory comments which followed. Nearly all of the comments were against the idea of the transgender woman claiming to never have been a cross dresser. The whole post to me sounded like a "I'm transer than thou" attitude. Perhaps even to the point of the poster having internal transphobia.

I freely admit to being what I call an increasingly serious cross dresser. Before I ever admitted to being transgender, I needed to research if such a big move was a fit  for me. Most certainly, the possibility of losing an entire life and beginning a new one from scratch was intimating. Plus, by definition, I was crossdressing from one binary gender to another. Much later on in life I finally realized I was doing my cross dressing as a guy, not a woman although all those years I thought I was attempting the opposite. Doing my best to feminize myself. 

Ironically, the person who posted the comment also came out against cross dressers who come out of their closets at Halloween. This comment went totally against everything I had ever felt and learned from my Halloween experiences. I believe my very short time out of the gender closet provided me so much experience and confidence to move forward in life. All in all, the only time I can think I ever found cross dressers to be distasteful was at the various Pride celebrations I went to when I saw several cross dressers (not drag queens, which is another subject) teetering around on high heels while squeezed into impossibly tight or short dresses. I thought to each their own and they were probably just out of the closet novices. The drag queens to me provided much more of a threat to the visibility of transgender women.

We all have to arrive at a point when we can accept ourselves as being transgender. If being a cross dresser through a portion of your life is needed to do it, then so be it. Over the years, I knew another transgender woman who said she was never a cross dresser and stuck her nose up in the air when she said it. Again I don't understand how a person who at first had to get dressed in her car before meetings could say such a thing. But she did I questioned her on it during one meeting and was soundly rejected for my comment so I just shut up for once. 

I view my life as a cross dresser as going through a series of closed doors. Once I had established myself behind one door, I just had to see what was behind the next door and open it. Finally I found my way to where I am today. Living life as a newly married full time transgender woman. I would guess more than a few "surgically corrected" trans women would pull the no surgery card on me (since I don't desire any) and say they are more transgender than I am. Which I think is truly a shame. 

I am not ashamed to say my decades as a cross dresser in a gender closet most of the time made me what I am today. I transitioned from being a cross dresser to a transgender woman at the age of sixty. So I was very much a cross dresser which helped me to find my way to where I have arrived today.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

All I Ever Wanted

 
Back when I was young I always struggled with which gender I would wake up to be. Of course and sadly the answer was always the same. I never changed and yet again I would have to face the day battling the male gender I never wanted to be a part of. Regardless I learned the rules on how to be a boy and grudgingly survived in the world. 

Photo Courtesy 
Jessie Hart
Against my deep seated desires to be a girl, I learned and played on athletic teams throughout school up to the end of high school. The example I always give is how I yearned to be a girls' cheerleader when I was playing defensive end on the football team. Again, all the yearning in the world couldn't help me jump the huge gender divide I was looking at. The only thing sports did was keep the bullies off my doorstep. It was all so frustrating. 

Also very frustrating was knowing I probably would have my life as I knew it interrupted for several years by military service. No longer could I use my small collection of  shoes, clothes and makeup to relieve the gender stresses I felt. Somehow I made it through Army basic training and was fortunate when my request to be accepted into the Defense Information School was accepted. The next two and a half years of my life turned out to be the most interesting of my life but still didn't bring me to my ultimate goal of living a feminine life. I'm always careful to say a "feminine life" because deep down I knew I was a woman but just couldn't live it to the fullest for obvious reasons. On the rare occasions I was discussing my entire gender situation with transphobes or TERF's, I was always careful to explain females were born but women are socialized. Plus the age old argument that that only women can birth children is not true because of the number of women who can't forever what reason bear children. Others try to make the whole process more complex but I just gave you my simplified approach. 

Along the way, I learned I could and did get socialized as a woman. It meant giving up all of my hard earned male privileges as a beginning and then learning to communicate with the world as a woman. Which meant, as I am fond of saying, I earned my chance to play in the girls sandbox. I was laughed at, threatened and stabbed in the back many times before I finally learned my hard earned lessons. 

Through it all, my journey never waivered. All I ever really wanted was to be a woman. The whole process made me to difficult to live with, I don't understand how my first two wives put up with me. Here is an example.  My second wife and I often used to try to out-run the late summer Ohio heat by vacationing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On one such trip, when I had a good job, a loving wife and seemingly all the positives my life could offer I was still miserable. My wife sensed it of course and kept pushing me for what my problem was. I never did tell her my issue was a wanted to be making the trip as a woman. 

Giving up all the hard earned male privilege's I earned was in a word "difficult" but so worth it. With the help of hormone replacement therapy I have been able to feminize my external body to match my feminine soul as well as add more emotional awareness to my life. I never thought I would make it this far and the whole journey was so worth it. It's all I ever wanted.  

Monday, October 17, 2022

Now I am a Mrs..

 

Beaded Hair Clip by
Liz T Designs

Yesterday our wedding day turned out to be a beautiful fall day here in Southwest Ohio. We hosted the ceremony under the tree's and had reserved a nearby shelter house for a small celebration. The temperature under blue skies did not disappoint and turned out to be near 70 (F) with a slight breeze. It was good to see my daughter and her family and Liz's son. In addition, Josh, the Officiant did a wonderful job handling the ceremony itself and the vows. We exchanged rings and became wife and wife. I will have pictures after they are sent to me by my daughter. Liz did cut back my hair somewhat which had almost found it's way to my waist and painted my fingernails. I wore the rest of my hair up with a beaded transgender clip hand made by Liz. 

Afterwards we went to our favorite local Cajun restaurant to enjoy dinner together.  

A day later I don't believe it has all sunk in yet. Liz did call me her beautiful wife just before we settled in to sleep and I wondered what could have been if I had asked her to marry me sooner.  Looking back, my excuse was early on I was still so insecure about my gender transition, I needed extra time to "mature" into the whole process of being a new person. Plus I still had extra financial baggage I was still carrying from my old life I needed to take care of. Anyway you cut it, I still had a long way to go before I could commit to something as serious as marriage vows. 

I found out yesterday too how fortunate I am to be able to be healthy enough to do all of this. At seventy three I am easily the senior person in the extended family. I used to use patriarch now matriarch. As I was saying I learned the person closet to me in age just suffered a bad fall and is bed ridden and has to be fed through a tube or port. Plus my first wife's husband also was recently hospitalized due to reasons I am not sure of. Hopefully not another stroke. The news once again reinforced in me how precious health is to all of us.

As far as my health is concerned, I was checking my recent blood lab work on a Veterans' Administration on line site (thanks Michelle) and to me most of my results seemed to be within the normal prescribed ranges. Except for the estrogen/testosterone check which always takes longer to come back. I have until the 27th before my endo visit, so I have time. 

What I don't have time for in my life is another serious relationship and/or marriage. I plan on making this one my last. In the meantime, I can't wait for the next time I have to choose which gender marker I want. It is now a resounding Mrs. Hart. 

   

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The French Girl

 

Photo from Jonathan Borba
on UnSplash

As October progresses it is time for yet another Halloween post. This one also happened several years (or decades) ago when I was desperately searching for my true gender identity. 

As Halloween approached, once again I was torn between wearing something trashy or toning it down several notches and trying to present as a cis woman out for a good time at the party. Earlier I had decided to go to one of the biggest parties in town at a nearby venue in a convention center. Further more I knew my first wife wouldn't want to go so I would be on my own. Which gave me more freedom in my decision of what to wear. 

Since I was perpetually short on funds, plus had a small wardrobe, I needed to be creative when coming up with a "costume". 

After quite a bit of thought and a little luck I happened upon a black beret at one of the big local box stores I shopped at. Quickly I became brave enough to try it on and amazingly it fit well. The price was right and I had discovered the beginning of a party outfit to wear. One which had a theme and wasn't too trashy. Ironically I was able to put together the "costume" from the beret down and go as a French woman (not a maid). 

Since I was partial to black as it minimized my size, I had plenty of the color in my small wardrobe to work with. I started with a leotard top, added a black short skirt I had, added black tights and my black flats and was happy with the result after I added my blond wig. Included in my make up. I made sure to highlight my lips with a red lipstick and I was ready to go  For once fairly confident in how I looked and eager to experience the feedback from others. 

Predictably, most of the other party goers were too wrapped up in their own times to notice me but I did have a few unwelcome pinches to my rear area. I wonder if they knew all they were feeling was foam rubber. After a while, this person in a full robe and mask comes up to me and abruptly says "I know who you are." I was shocked until he lifted his mask and explained. He said he knew me because we grew up together and I looked like my Mom. Of course once I saw him, I did know him from my time growing up. In fact he taught me how to drive his car when I was fourteen. 

For the longest time I didn't know how to react to being recognized.  Finally my ego told me to be flattered because literally I knew I had always looked similar to my Mom and that night someone else had seen it also. Following the "outing" the person involved and I went back to rarely seeing each other so the incident never had a chance to be revisited again. 

Perhaps I was lucky it was never revisited because I learned the person who I interacted with turned out to be a huge transphobe. So I am sure the conversation wouldn't have been cordial. But in the long run I learned who cares anyway.

As far as the party went, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed immensely how the evening went along. Sadly I would have to wait another year for a re-run.  

Sunday, October 9, 2022

You Win Some - You Lose Some

Very early in my gender transition I felt I was successful if I "fooled" another person into thinking I was actually a woman. Little did I know how wrong I was. An example was I would recoil at the mention I "made" a good looking woman. I felt I wasn't making anything, I was just becoming my natural self. Perhaps I was being hard on myself because in reality I was working very hard to perfect my feminine new transgender appearance. By doing so I was encourage myself I could actually survive in the world as a woman.

At the Park
Photo by Jessie Hart

When I first began to notice I was succeeding in my feminine quest was when I was shunned by male friends I knew when I dressed as a woman for a Halloween party. My "costume" was way too serious to be mistaken as a casual excursion into the feminine gender. Maybe among all the other clues, shaving my legs for the evening gave me away. 

It wasn't until years later I realized I had witnessed the first vestiges of losing my male privilege. In other words when I was successful at presenting as a woman, I was kicked out of the boys club I had worked so hard to be accepted in. I was naïve in thinking I could to try to live part time in each binary gender. The entire process nearly cost me the ultimate loss when I tried suicide in addition to a very self destructive existence.

As I transitioned into a fulltime life as a transgender woman, I began to understand exactly what I was winning and what I was losing. Naturally what I was winning was a life as my feminine authentic self when I finally let her out of our gender closet. On the other hand, I was out of the boys club forever and needed to adjust my thinking. I learned the hard way, I had become in essence a second class citizen in the world of men. Long gone were the days when my opinion actually mattered in a group of men. Even though I knew more about the subject than they did. It was humorous to me when I was "mansplained" about a sporting comment. I lost the battle in society but won the war personally. 

I also learned the hard way how losing my male privilege could be dangerous. I write often how I was cornered at a party by a much larger man and suddenly found how vulnerable women could feel. To make matters worse I needed to be rescued by my wife. Yet another instance when losing my male privilege nearly led me to harm occurred during a late night excursion to a gay bar in downtown Dayton, Ohio. When I left the relative safety of the bar and headed down the dark sidewalk to my car I was suddenly stopped by two men. Luckily I was able to escape with no harm when I gave them my last five dollars. Never again did I walk that sidewalk alone. 

Even though there is no way I would give up my feminine privilege which included my new cis woman friends, it still is amazing to me the white male privilege so many men take for granted. 

I certainly won more than I lost.       

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Gender Euphoria's Backlash

This is an extension of yesterdays post which went into detail of one of the highly successful Halloween parties I went to. In recap, the evening turned out to be so successful gender euphoria ruled my life for several days following. 

Halloween with Kathy
Photo Jessie Hart

By the time this happened, I should have been able to predict it would occur again almost down to the day. Essentially the pressure of being unable to explore my feminine self became so great I nearly could not stand the pressure. The more pressure I felt, the harder to live or work with became. I was so jealous of any cis woman who I perceived was so fortunate to be born female and having the chance to grow into a woman. It was all a throw back to when I was young and woke up in the morning wanting to be a girl. 

Later I learned my all too brief trips into cross dressing as a woman just wouldn't last. My gender backlash would soon be back to haunt me. I also found out, the more intensely pleasurable the cross dressing experience was, the stronger the need to repeat the process. As knowledge of gender became more well known, what I was going through was gender euphoria versus gender dysphoria. In scientific terms, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  

In the case of the Halloween party I wrote about, the euphoria I felt from feeling I was able to compete appearance wise with the other women I was with was intense. In the days following my adventure, it didn't take long for my gender dysphoria to set in. When it did set in, it did it with a passion. I couldn't stand to look at my male face in the mirror in the morning and my day automatically started on the wrong foot. Once again I was stuck wondering why I couldn't live a feminine life more often. My inner self who was feminine in nature was screaming to get out. 

My entire reason in writing this post was my desire to point out no matter how pleasurable to finally burst out of my gender closet it was during these Halloween adventures, finally learning I had a deeper need to be a transgender woman was slowly but surely ripping me apart. When I say was nasty coming down off my gender euphoria I mean it. I was fired from one job for how I treated my employees and almost lost several others. Finally I had to tell my bosses I was undergoing anger management training when in fact I was going to a gender psychologist. It saved my job and helped somewhat with my dysphoria. 

Halloween was such a learning experience for me, I craved the euphoria when I achieved it which was not always the case. Some Halloweens were more special than others and if I knew then what I know now, I would have recognized the true depth of all my gender issues. Putting on the feminine clothes was all well and good but it turned out the clothes were just the tip of the gender iceberg.  One thing is for sure, I would have understood the negative aspects of  backlash better.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Party Time

 My Halloween posts this month will not be in chronological order. This evening happened while I was living with my wife in an apartment in the NYC metro area. In the early to mid 1980's. 


At the time I was managing a Wendy's near the Bronx and knew few people outside of my fellow managers and workers.  So when Halloween rolled around I thought I would be left out of a party again that year. Since in those days, Halloween was basically the only day of the year I could break out of my gender closet and explore the feminine world. As it turned out that year I was "rescued" by a fellow cis woman manager who took pity on me and invited me to a party she and her friends were going to at a nearby venue to her.

Needless to say I was excited and found out where I had to go to meet up with her and her friends. Then I had to stress out on what I would wear and what would my wife say. I knew for certain she would not approve of what I was planning to wear. In fact, she was so against my outfit she refused to even tag along. Leaving me on my own, which is normally not a good idea.

First of all I chose my outfit which attempted to be sexy as well as realistic. In other words, the same way many other cis women try to dress for Halloween. I chose a short mini dress, hose and heels along with my favorite wig for the evening. Since I couldn't sneak out without my wife seeing me, I had to put up with her disapproving stares and or glares. Once I left the apartment I was in heaven. I loved the feel of the cool autumn air on my freshly shaven legs and the sound of my heels as I walked down the sidewalk. Even still, the anxiety mounted as I followed my directions to where I was to meet the others going to the party. 

Once I made it and knocked on the door, I was amazed to find and pleasantly surprised to learn all the other people going were women. In addition they were all tall and beautiful and dressed like me. It was funny when I entered the room all conversation stopped as the other women looked me over. Only this time I was not met with the same disapproval I received from my wife. After brief introductions, we went out the door and made the short (thankfully) walk to the small tavern where the party was taking place. One memory I will never forget was when we all had to cross the street together and here I was holding my own with other women.  My heels didn't even bother me. It was as if I was walking on air. 

Once we arrived in the venue, the women scattered to meet other friends and I was left on my own to see what happened. Along the way, I managed to locate a vacant table until an older man came along and joined me. Of course I didn't know if he knew my true gender so I resisted any of his attempts to buy me a drink or more importantly dance with him. Before I knew it the evening was over and it was time to leave. 

What I didn't recognize until much later in life was the night was actually my first girls night out. I hadn't learned yet that so called girlfriends come in second place when it comes around being around men and essentially everyone is one their own.

Finally, amazingly to me, I received very little feedback at work concerning my so called "costume". Perhaps living in a more liberal world helped. One way or another it turned out to be an evening I will never forget. I wish I had pictures but I don't. This all happened way before the "selfie" days and cell phones.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Now What?

 


After writing my post yesterday trying to separate my Halloween experiences, I laid awake last night attempting to think of a follow up post. Naturally it was difficult to do. Then I started to think of one of the powerful responses I received to one of my "costumes". It happened during a party I went to with friends when a couple of the wives cornered me and said something to the affect if I ever decided to go that way (and be a woman) I wouldn't have to worry about how I looked. I was immediately at a loss for words and finally came up with "A lot of good it does me." At that point in time during my life, I saw very little hope I could ever live a life in a feminine existence. I don't remember for sure but all of this may have happened before the transgender term was ever used. 

So here I was feeling strangely vulnerable in my long hair, mini dress and heels wondering now what. Looking back it was the beginning of understanding I couldn't continue to cross dress as a woman and continue to reap the benefits of white male privilege. How times have changed. Today we seem to have so more how gender works and the attached benefits or restrictions each gender seemingly has to experience. 

Yesterday I was watching a talk show on television which featured a beautiful transgender woman and her supporting fiancé. Sadly even though she had it all in the looks and voice departments, she said she still wanted facial femininization surgery because she couldn't feel at ease with herself.  She still saw the same old male face. Even though she benefitted from an early start on her transition and had an understanding family, which I didn't, I could still feel for her situation. In many ways she was still searching for her own now what. 

Unfortunately, as I approach my seventy third birthday, my now what turn to much more overall negative thoughts. Such as what is going to happen if I live into my later eighties and face the same fate as my father who passed away from dementia. Plus what is going to become of all the dire warnings about Social Security which is nearly my only source of income. And last but not least, what will happen if I have to go into an assisted living facility With all these negatives swirling around, often it is difficult to maintain positive thoughts and try to live my life to the fullest while I can.

As I have aged, I have tried harder to mold myself into a positive way of life. Along with it I try to look back at all of my now what's to see if I can still learn from what I messed up. Even still I will miss some of the early excitement I felt when I went to several Halloween parties, I still have to remember the aftermath when I was haunted by the memories and became  terrible to live with.

In the spirit of Halloween, I guess I can say, my now what's were haunting me. I so badly wanted to let my transgender woman out of the closet  I was miserable and mean to those around me. Naturally it took me years to get over the process. Once I did, my now what became clearer and life became easier.

Monday, October 3, 2022

It's October

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

October has arrived and it is time to celebrate my former favorite holiday Halloween. During the month, as promised (or threatened) I will spotlight several special evenings I spent on Halloween exploring if my feminine self could actually have a life in the public's eye.

Before I start the experiences, it is important to note several key feelings or happenings. As it turned out the yearly experiences started to vary with the number of times I tried getting out of my gender closet.

An example comes from my first big Halloween adventure, a party when I was in the Army in Germany. As the evening approached the mixture of trepidation along with elation was almost too much to bear. The closer Halloween got, it seemed it was difficult to keep my mind on anything else. 

The problem I had with Halloween was it only came once a year and I would have to wait another whole year to break out of my closet. The pressure affected how much fun I could have.  As I began to have more and more Halloweens under my panty hose, I began to be able to separate which party might be more fun and for what reason. Another example came the night I dressed very glitzy for a bunch of friends and ended up feeling very shunned by my male friends all night long. It turned out the whole process would be a look in how my future would turn out once I began to transition into a full time transgender woman.

It turned out, my favorite Halloween adventures occurred around and with people I didn't know. Probably because I went into the evening with radically different objectives. When I was with friends, primarily I was just fishing for compliments about how good I looked. When I was with strangers, it gave me a chance to see if I could truly present as a woman in public. Once I learned the lesson, I radically changed the way I chose what I was going to wear. I toned down the glitz and tried to turn up the reality and be mistaken for a cis woman, nicely dressed.

There were in between parties I became caught up in which I will explain along the way. One of which when I just happened to glitz my costume up and became part of group of tall women doing the same thing.

Of course October means so much more this year other than Halloween. I have my 73rd birthday coming up soon as well as my wedding, so there is plenty to look forward to. Regardless, even though I don't do any Halloween patties anymore, the holiday will always be special to me as the one day a year I could try life out of my gender closet.  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Girls Night Out



Girls Night Out #1 
I am on the left.

As I was first attempting to survive in the feminine world without the "Ha-Ha" moments Connie mentioned in a recent comment on my :Ah-Ha" post, I craved any opportunity I had to join a women's night out. In a relatively short period of time I was fortunate and was invited to four, One of which was even a bachelorette party which sadly was cancelled. Two of the remaining invites were with a group of cis women friends I became close to until similar to many women they got married and moved away from the group. Children were involved also.

Perhaps the most exciting was my first invite because I had no idea of what to expect seeing as how there were going to be a couple other women attending who I didn't know. How would they accept a transgender woman? The answer was one didn't seem to care and the other rejected me quickly.  

My first issue was what to wear of course. I wanted to appear as attractive as I could without over-dressing the other women. As you can see in the picture, I think I achieved the desired effect. My second issue was what would the conversation be when no men were present and again how would I fit in. The whole process (per norm) turned out to be just a whole lot of worry about nothing. Most of the conversation dealt with family and children so I just inserted my daughter's examples when I could. During the space of the evening I even forgot to worry about my voice. Everything must have worked out fine because shortly after the first night out, I was invited to another before I moved away with Liz to Cincinnati.

Perhaps the most surprising girl's night out occurred when I was invited by a group of servers from one of the venues I was going to on a regular basis to join them for a get together at another trendy venue. I was terrified when I said yes. How would I react to going with a group of younger, more attractive women to a venue I had only been to a couple of times. This time there wasn't much conversation because of the amount of guys the rest of the group attracted. It turned out to be like I was almost invisible as the night went on. Lesson learned.

As far as other lessons learned, I discovered no new earth shattering gender secrets when women gather.  Naturally, it was no big surprise when the younger women I was with got their flirt on with men and forgot about the group all together. Even though all of that happened I was pleased I survived the evening without doing anything gender ignorant.

Overall, all of the girls nights out I was invited to were fun and learning experiences. I was happy to accept the invitation. 

  

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Living the Dream

 



Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

For so many years I lived with what I thought was the impossible dream. That dream of course was wondering if I could ever live a life as a full time transgender woman. Although for the longest time I didn't see how I was ever going to make it to my goal, slowly but surely I kept moving towards it. 

I like to say I was a serious cross dresser for fifty years of my life. During the half century I made a few strides in makeup and fashion only to find myself headed back to the cross dressing drawing board time and time again. The only positive aspect of the experiences were I tried to learn from each one. What worked and what didn't. Every positive gave me hope for the future. 

Along the way I have written concerning the gender maze I found myself in. I felt everytime I achieved one goal and turned the corner, I found another corner to deal with. Almost all with no positive intervention from any other person. Even though my wives knew of my cross dressing activities, they were rarely participants. And, if the truth be known, many times I didn't want to follow the ideas of what a woman meant to them. Even to the point of trying my best to dress to blend when and if we ever went out together as girlfriends. Examples were when my second wife and I used to journey to Columbus, Ohio to eat at a LGBT friendly restaurant. It got the point of me wearing jeans and a sweater and she (my wife) still didn't like the way I looked. Deep down I knew I was struggling to find my feminine identity and I stayed on course with what I wanted to wear. 

Slowly but so uncertainly my small successes added up and my dream of living full time became more than a distant reality. After the fewer and fewer setbacks I had, I righted the gender ship and realized yet again how natural my feminine side felt. When I went out as a novice transgender woman I felt the world was in the right place and I even went as far as feeling out of place when I went out as a guy. 

Finally even I could not deny it any longer, I was meant to live as a transgender woman. I started hormone replacement therapy and started to transition my exterior as close as I could to match my feminine soul. It all worked so well and I was left no alternative to living my dream. The hormones fueled the fire which burnt my final bridge back to any male life I had left. 

After I made the commitment to giving away all of my male clothes, a new voice inside of me was asking what took so long. My only answer was I was stubborn and wanted to hang on to whatever white male privilege as long as I could. Most certainly giving it all up was one of the best decisions I ever made.

My biggest lesson from my lifetime of experience is, not trying at all is the biggest disaster.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

From the Gender Ledge

 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

In many ways, this is an extension of yesterday's post. Along the way I mentioned and showed a photo of a guy looking over a steep ledge. My comment was I was at the ledge looking over the edge when I was considering moving away from my old cross dressing male life and moving to a full time existence as a transgender woman. 

Naturally, I was terrified of leaving behind a fairly successful life as a man with a good job, friends and family. I had to prepare myself to lose almost everything I had worked so long for. I had reached the magical moment when white males become privileged citizens by default. On the other hand, I was near retirement age so wouldn't have to worry about finding a new job as a transgender woman. On another hand, sadly, almost all of my close friends had passed away and my parents had long since passed on. All of a sudden the ledge didn't look so steep.

Still remaining were the normal everyday hurdles we face in life. I had to consider even the smallest details of life. For example, I would have to go into male dominated spaces as a transgender woman. Another aspect was how would I present myself to the world everyday. No longer would I have to stress compulsively on how I looked. Thanks to hormone replacement therapy, my whole make up routine was shortened to a point when I only needed a light application of eye make up and lipstick if and only if I was going out. I was always fortunate in that my hair grew on it's own to a point where I didn't have to wear wigs.

I won't sit here and try to tell you jumping off the ledge was easy. Often the landing was bumpy and uneven. The only words of wisdom I would have are to try to stay loose and flexible. Always assume new changes are right around the corner. Just when you thought you had everything figured out. Like when I went with Liz to get my ears pierced. She got her smile on when I protested slightly when the pain hit. For all of you considering piercing your ears don't think it is painful because it is not. I am just a huge baby when it comes to any kind of pain. 

I can't say enough how important it was to me to have formed a strong support group around me when I decided to jump off the ledge. I can't thank them enough. I was able to find them by taking the steps to put myself out in the public's eye. On the other hand, all of them were open minded enough to embrace me as a friend and as a transgender woman. They made my gender landing much softer. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Transgender Evolution

Photo courtesy
Jessie Hart

 I am biased but I continue to view the transgender experience as human evolution. I mean how else where you are forced to cross the binary gender divide to sample how the "other half" lives. Surely it is a difficult journey but at the end of it we all have a chance to build a new/different person. Often from scratch.

We have to go through many of the same issues cis women go through on their journey to become women. Keep in mind, being female does not guarantee you will ever achieve true womanhood. Similar to males becoming men. On our journey to finding our authentic gender selves we are capable of encountering as many toxic females as males. Sadly, we don't often possess the life tools to deal with them. In my own case, I tried my best to stay away from most all males. So I never had the chance to find out if they were toxic or not. It were the females who surprised me.

As life went by it seemed I attracted the attention of far more females than males. For the most part I was accepted into the feminine world without much of a problem. On the other hand, there were plenty of times I was made to jump out of the girls sandbox and regroup. For whatever reason I was rejected, especially in a few lesbian circles. Another example was when Liz and I were minding our own business at a lesbian Valentines party when a stray female forced her way into my world asking what my "real" name was. I don't know what problem she had with me me except she was a huge transphobe looking for trouble. After me basically ignoring her, she finally went away.

Even though I had my share of unpleasant encounters and I was sent home in tears, I knew deep down, it was all a learning experience.  No one ever said life was going to be easy and I found out the hard way how true it was when I made it out of my closet and into the world as a novice transgender woman. Seemingly, destiny was on my side when I had just enough pleasant or positive experiences to keep me moving forward. Such as the night at Fridays restaurant and bar when I made the conscious decision to try to go out and exist as a woman. Not just look like one. A huge mind shift for me as I was considering moving from being a cross dresser to seeing if I could exist in a feminine world. 

Naturally I evolved with my overall skills as I transitioned. Mainly I learned to blend in and communicate with other women successfully. 

Finally I arrived at a point where it didn't make any sense to continue in a male life I was miserable in and I made the final evolution into a full time transgender woman's life. My future wife Liz said it best to me. She pointed out how rare it was for a person to have a second chance at life so do it the best you can.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Between the Transgender Rock and the Hard Place

 

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Sadly, many of us in the transgender community have experienced losing a spouse as we continue our journeys towards living as our authentic selves. 

Equally as sad is the fact for many the trip turns out to be a selfish and solitary experience. In addition, our spouses all too often have front row seats as we slowly slip away. First there are the clothes and the makeup, then comes the occasional trips to test the public's eye and those turn out to be the simplest part. 

In my case I have written often how my second wife (deceased) accepted me being a cross dresser but rejected any ideas of me transitioning into a transgender woman. It led me to sneak out behind her back as much as possible and into huge fights when she caught me. All of the hostility led her once telling me to be man enough to be a woman. 

She unfortunately was gone before I transitioned and I will be forever interested in what she would have thought about the new person I became. I loved her very much and held on to the bitter end. Looking back, had she lived I am sure we could not have survived as a couple. The draw to live a feminine life was just too strong and felt all too natural. I can't imagine her accepting me changing my name for example. 

Having said all of that, I have several transgender women friends who have managed to hold together a marriage through a transition. Slowly and often begrudgingly spouses have decided to stay with their trans mates for any number of reasons, including children. Another subject totally. Some kids just seem to accpet more than others. 

I can't imagine if my spouse decided to transition to being a trans man. Of course I am biased and think there would be no problems but deep down I'm not so sure. Even though on occasion Liz is more masculine than I ever was even when I was trying to hide any toxic masculinity I ever had. 

The whole process certainly puts us all between the rock and the hard place when it comes to our gender transitions. Deep down we know it's something we have to do regardless of the number of years we have put into a marriage. I was at twenty five years and counting when my spouse passed away. We faced problems in the relationship when I was the girly girl of both of us. So much so, she asked me to help with her makeup on special occasions. 

The whole process for me was similar to a slippery slope. The more I did as a novice transgender woman, the more I wanted to do. As I was finally syncing up my feminine soul with my exterior and exploring the world, the better I felt...for awhile until the pressure to explore again began to build on me. It was then I began to feel I was between the rock and the hard place. Having someone who love but not as my authentic self. 

The whole process eventually led me to a suicide attempt. The rock and the hard place was a brutal place to be. As I looked over my gender cliff, I didn't know where I would land and how soft the landing would be. New friends made it all a success. 

  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Weekend

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

 It's Saturday which means college football and tomorrow is pro football day. Sandwiched in between is the paranoia I feel about going to a long put off eye appointment Monday afternoon. It's been since 2016 since I have had an eye check up so I am primarily worried about having the beginning stages of cataracts at my age.  I guess I will find out soon enough.

Also my paranoid noggin is suggesting to me I will have some sort of a hassle of getting my female glasses, not male. I didn't have any problems before so I shouldn't  have any problems. As you can probably tell, I am good  at making my own problems up. 

The last two days of the week I virtually visited my two therapists. Both went predictably smooth. I have seen both for years and they know me well. Out of the two, my actual therapist tries to find things I should do and pressure me to do them. None of which have anything to do with me being transgender. The latest example is my CPAP machine. For those of you who don't know, a CPAP machine helps you to have a better nights sleep by basically adjusting your air pressure. By wearing a decidedly unsexy mask. I received one years ago from the Veterans Administration and found out several months ago mine was on a recall list to be replaced by the company. I sent in a replacement request in February and haven't heard anything back yet. However the company said at the time it could take a year to replace. 

So much for the boring things, the wedding still beckons and of course I still haven't figured out exactly what I am going to wear. I have a whole month to decide so why hurry, right? Plus I am not a fan of fancy wedding gowns so the extra expense is out. None of my previous wives (2) bought fancy gowns and did just fine, so I should also. It is nothing to me. Out of all my dreams as a young feminine wannabe, being a bride wasn't one I admired and wanted to do. 

Another major decision I want to make before the October 16th wedding is if I am going to have my long hair trimmed. Liz has volunteered to do it. No pressure! 

Other than that, my my home state of Ohio (typically) is trying to pass a measure to force the state school board to discriminate against LGBTQ students in the state. The local television station here in Cincinnati ran an interview with the legislator pushing the bill. Typically he looked as if he was in the closet of his own but was masking it all with religion. Tragically for transgender youth in the state, it will probably pass. Groups such as Trans Ohio are organizing a protest but sadly we live too far away to attend.     

    

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Thank You! And More

 

Photo by Howie R on
Unsplash


Thanks to all of you who took the time to congratulate Liz and I on our upcoming marriage vows. The response was overwhelming to both of us.  As I have written several times, the actual ceremony will be October 16th. 

In the meantime, it is therapy week for me on Thursday and Friday. Since I am bi-polar, I have a separate nurse practitioner to monitor my medications from the Veterans Administration doctors. It is a very in depth process since along the way, years ago, I admitted to the depression which led to to a very serious suicide attempt. So, just to be safe, I have to check in every three months. 

Friday is a different story. Every two weeks or so I have my regular appointment with my psychologist/therapist.  She is the one who over the years has helped me with securing hormone replacement therapy, legal name change documents and gender change documents within the VA. As you can tell, we have been together a long time. 

She has been with me from my time as a nervous cross dresser exploring HRT all the way to the present as I have lived as a full time transgender woman. I have shared all my insecurities with her. Especially the one of how it would be to throw out all my male clothes and take on the world. Important also was the fact my therapist is LGBTQ educated and could make the separation between my bi-polar moods and my transgender adjustment. I can not stress it enough, there is a HUGE difference between dressing up as a woman for special occasions to spending your life in a feminine world. I still have my problems with going into male dominated settings such as mechanics shops and even one trip to a junk yard. 

By now, I am sure you are thinking, what does this all with wishing you all a big thank you. I really appreciate too all of you who have taken the time and money to subscribe to Medium and those who comment on Google.

As far as my repeated warnings on the difference between being a cross dresser versus a transgender woman, I realize many of you can't make the jump if you wanted to. Been there, done that also. Be ready though life can change in a moment.  

Saturday, September 10, 2022

More Planning

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thanks for the comment!