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

Monday, December 27, 2021

Male Privilege

Recently I have received several very good in depth comments from Logan, a transgender man from the Medium writing platform I use.  From our communication I began to wonder how it would be to undertake a gender transition from the other side of the human binary. In other words , what does a transgender man go through to compete and/or thrive in a male world. Of course as I write this post, I am using a few stereotypes and biases because I can only speculate on the process. 

Years ago I actually went on a dinner date with a trans man. It was the first time I had been on a date with someone as my authentic self  so the first thing I remember is being scared to death. After all, I was building a new person from scratch.  But we aren't writing about me. Through it all, he was the perfect gentleman and we remain friends to this day.

Other transgender men I have met have come through my dealings over the years with Trans Ohio which true to its name tries to provide statewide services throughout Ohio for the transgender community. My first observation was how well they presented as men. If I had not known, there would have been no way I would ever guessed their true birth gender.  Secondly they all seemed to be so well adjusted, the opposite from many of the transgender women I meet. Probably a topic for another blog post.

Here is where my pure speculation sets in. I would think using the men's room early on would be as traumatic as it is for a novice transgender woman. Even though the great majority of men try to distance themselves from any communication in the "room." 

Unidentified Photo:
Shane on Unsplash

For younger trans men, I am sure the parental adjustment is just as brutal. It is a special breed of parent such as my former hairdresser Theresa who adjusts to, loves unconditionally and raises a trans son. A lot of effort is needed.

I think also relationships may be easier for trans men to form, at least I know several who are in relationships with cis women. My thought is (and it is only a thought) it is because women are more sexually relaxed than men. Meaning, a hybrid transgender male person can be more appealing than a cis man.

What we can't forget, male privilege comes with the potential of toxic male behavior which I haven't seen from the transgender men I have known. Perhaps it is because they were never taught it growing up.

The whole process is so interesting but still so confusing to me. Perhaps Logan or someone else could shed some light on the process a transgender man goes through to survive in a man's world. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Great Comebacks

 If you are like me, there have been many times in your life when you wished you could go back to a social situation you found yourself in and redo it. Often you have thought of a comment or reply which may have been more appropriate or even witty as a retort to a person who approached you. 

Seemingly as transgender women or transgender men we are more subjected to the possibility of a negative statement or gender comment. 

Today, I have decided to share Connie's comment on how she handled a situation following a comment directed towards her:

"  You've reminded me on an incident, many years ago, when my wit was quick enough to make the perfect zinger. I was feeling every bit the woman I knew myself to be at a rather-formal gathering one night. A man approached me, I believe with full intent of chatting up a lady (I have always tried, as a woman, to be a lady). After a bit of small talk, including some obnoxious toxic male comments from him, my voice must have finally outed me. The guy suddenly remarked, "Wait, you used to be a MAN?" My quick retort was, "I used to be twice the man you'll ever be, and now I'm twice the woman you could ever handle." :-)

Nice! The worst I ever had to handle was a guy who was adamant about wearing my panties. We were kind of on a date which went quickly sour after that comment and was quickly brought to a halt. For his sake I hope he gathered up enough confidence to buy and wear his own panties.

Ironically (or not) I become a little agitated when a guy comes along with with strong male toxicity. Especially when he views transgender women as sex objects only. Then again he may feel the same way about all women, trans or not. 

I am also a bit humored when a novice transgender woman says how desperate she is to find a quality man. Just think of the dating pool she just entered with the number of cis women seeking that same man.

Bullied Kid Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Connie was correct though. Once we transition, the possibility exists you can become twice the woman a man can handle if you have learned any gender lessons at all. The possibility of recognizing  male toxicity and steering clear of it is easier once you have lived it in a previous life. After all men aren't shy of bullying other men as well as using other forms of gender dominance to get their way around other men. In many cases we did have to be twice the man as someone else just to survive.

Thanks for the comment!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

What Makes a Woman?

 This post actually began with a question which I saw asked in Facebook from one of my acquaintances who is starting down her own gender path. This isn't an exact quote but essentially she asked what/when did we know we were women. 

Backtracking just a bit on the subject, I have never felt women were ever just made because they were born female. Both binary genders, male and female end up being socialized into men and women. Obviously, since I can't birth a child or have monthly periods I prefer to refer to  myself as a woman of transgender experience.  In other words, I had to spend many years outwardly living as a man before I could finally take the plunge and begin  living as my authentic feminine self. 

These days also there are those who somehow want to suggest late transitioners  such as myself are not "transgender enough". Mainly because we put off completing our gender transitions. There are several problems with that idea. The main one being, all the changes which have occurred over the years when transgender women and men are concerned. After all term "transgender" wasn't even used until the mid 1960's (according to my quick research). My gender dysphoria predates that by approximately twenty years. Of course too, I predate the internet and all the social media sites which have made more knowledge possible about all sorts of gender issues.

I am fond of using the term "gender fluid" as an example. If I go back to my teen and pre-teen years, I remember vividly  how many times I would wake up in the morning thinking which gender did I want to be today. I most certainly could have been described as gender fluid before I more clearly understood my true gender intentions. 

I also can not take all the credit for socializing myself into a woman of transgender experience. You may recall recently I wrote about my daughter's role in setting me up in a very intense and scary appointment  at my first hair salon. I also have written about my two very close cis female friends who initially accepted me as a person and paved the way for me to socialize with them as a girlfriend. I love to say they taught me more about my new life than they would ever know. Before I met them, I never considered all the layers there were in a woman's life which men didn't have. They definitely helped me climb out of my closet but the person who kicked me out and slammed the door was Liz.

Liz (right) and I. Pre Covid
Halloween Photo

Liz is my current partner and we have been together over ten years now. When we met, even though I was having success socializing my feminine self, I still was clinging to the slightest bit of male privilege and life I was leaving behind. 

She flat out told me she never saw any male in me and I should take whatever means necessary to get out of the closet (totally) and live full time as a woman.

So, I am far from being wise enough to tell or suggest to anyone what makes a woman. We are socialized by society to be confined to our own gender closets. How we escape makes us the women we are today.    


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I Don't Remember

I become  a little embarrassed when someone asks me when I started to transition into the transgender woman I am today. I just can't say I don't remember.

Photo Courtesy
Cyrsti Hart

I feel as if there are several answers which are too complex for the great majority of those who asked to follow. After all, they weren't looking for an answer in a book length format. Even still the whole idea is something I should be able to explain in a simple blog post. Without having the person's eyes cloud over in boredom as I explain.

Perhaps the easiest answer is I started to transition when I was born. However, since I didn't really know what the problem was, did being born really count. The excuse is also to blame my Mom or her doctor for putting her on the meds which were so popular in the late 1940's into the early 1950's which (I think) flooded the womb with estrogen to prevent mis-carriages. Since my Mom had suffered several, the meds were prescribed. The drug was called "DES" and was a form of synthetic estrogen prescribed between 1940 and 1971 according to Google. The double edged sword of course was I may have not been born at all without the drug. I will take being transgender instead.

From birth until I was approximately 12 years old, I went through a phase of life I call "trans-interrupted" During that time I saw no way out of being a boy and indulged in all boy things such as sports and exploring the nearby woods to our house. 

So, I could say I started to transition when I noticed I still could fit into and try on some of my Mom's clothes as I entered puberty. I like to say those adventures into femininity started me on a half century trip into cross dressing. It wasn't until much later I finally figured out all that time I was actually cross dressing...as a man. It took awhile to transition myself away from it because I was so good at it and had established quite a bit of male privilege. 

Then again, I could say I began to transition the night I sat all alone and decided I couldn't take all the ripping and tearing I was experiencing in myself any longer. All coming because of my developing gender dysphoria. The whole process led me to be extremely depressed all the way to attempted "self harm" as my therapist calls my suicide attempts. Finally I decided to follow the feelings I was having when I was exploring the world as my feminine self. In other words, I felt so natural. I finally got it through my thick noggin to do what was best for me. No matter how selfish it may seem to others in the world, I had to save me.

Lately, I have been taking the easy way out when someone asks me when I started to gender transition. I reply by saying I do remember. It was eleven years ago when I was 61 and decided to seek out whatever help I could find to begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The process was a way of telling myself there was no turning back as my life was changing for the better. Plus it's a simple way (I think) of explaining to others where I am in my life. It helps me also to have my rusty memory working overtime to clear out the cobwebs.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

You Reap What you Sow

 Over the years here in Cyrsti's Condo, precious few posts are dedicated to the transgender allies who aided so dramatically in my gender transition. One of the main contributors who I have mentioned is my only child...my daughter. 

As a child, I tried to do my part early in her life to be inclusive. I remember the days I scolded her on the back of the bicycle I rode her to school on. Particularly about how she was treating a boy who was getting bullied.

As she grew up, her mother (first wife) and I became divorced and moved apart. My wife stayed in Ohio while I moved to New York. We became separate but equal parents while my daughter remained the only child and was raised by a village. In other words, she was able to experience life in more than one situation.

All of this contributed to her becoming a determined confident woman with a stable marriage and three children. 

By now you are probably thinking how does any of this have to do with her becoming a steadfast LGBTQ ally with a transgender parent. It all mattered the day I came out to her. This is how it all worked out. I was extremely nervous of course when I invited her to lunch. I quickly told her why I invited her, I was transgender and would be starting hormone replacement therapy soon under a doctors supervision. 

What she said startled even me. She said "Did Mom and her Step Mom know?" I replied partially to both. My daughter only said "Why was she the last to know?" That was it. No rejection of any kind. Needless to say I was relieved because she was the last major person left for me to come out to as transgender. Everyone else who was near and dear to me had passed away except for my brother who is another not so pleasant experience. 


It just so happened also all of this happened near my birthday. As a wonderful gift my daughter offered to pay my way to her hair salon for my first ever color and style. At that point, I didn't know to be more thrilled or scared. Of course I went for it and even have an "after" picture of the experience.

Along the way, I paid many prices to go to the salon. First of all, I was accompanied by my daughter which made me even more nervous with the thought of her previous big brave Dad subjecting to her new self and going through all of this adventure. The second of which was cruel and unusual punishment it seemed. All because the salon was long and narrow and I had to walk through a gauntlet of women who had nothing to do but stare at me. 

After it was all over, I was proud of myself for passing another milestone in my path to woman-hood but I was more proud of my daughter's acceptance of me. She gifted me a gigantic start down the pathway to being my authentic self.

Now, I share a rare acceptance from her family and even her extended family. Needless to say I cherish all of the gifts she has given me. Plus, I have lived long enough to see what I sowed so many years ago grow into such a strong transgender and LGBTQ ally.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas Two

 This is a promised continuation of my Christmas adventure posts which furthered my confidence of surviving in a feminine world. I already have posted my shopping successes when I searched for gifts for my wife but this is a little different.

Actual photo of Clifton Mill


 At the time I was searching for things I had done as a man which I so badly wanted to do as a woman. I wondered how the whole experience would feel.

One place I gave quite a bit of thought to was a actual working flour mill in a nearby village which decorated heavily for Christmas every year

The mill and surrounding shops were normally well visited and were a great time to wear one of my in style heavy fuzzy sweaters with leggings and boots. Even though I still did have to fight off my anxiety by trying such a new idea, the excitement of finally being able to live my dream made up for it.

After I completed the fifteen mile trip to get there, the first thing I did (after I parked the car) was take a deep breath and tell myself to enjoy everything. Two things helped, the first of which was my wife again was working a closing shift and I managed to take the day off so time was not a problem. The second was it was a perfect winter evening. Chilly but not too cold so the deep breaths helped my anxiety quite a bit. 

As I began to notice, no one noticed me. I then summoned the courage to stop in one of the small shops and buy a cup of hot cocoa. Again I was treated with a smile and my courage was at an all time high. It was then time to buy a ticket and tour the mall grounds myself. As you can see by the picture, the mill itself is beautifully decorated. What you can't see is the extra work they do with the surrounding grounds and out buildings. I was able to take my time and double enjoy my femininity as well as all of the decorations. I even bought a second cup of hot cocoa in the mill itself. Still, no negative feedback from anyone.

My disclaimer is I knowingly (or not) set myself up for success by doing several things. First of all, I had plenty of time to get ready and had the stylish clothes in my wardrobe to help me along. In fact my wife supported me enough that she had bought them for me as a gift. Second of all, as I have written, time was on my side. I didn't have to rush and ruin this milestone moment in my life. Finally, I attempted it all under the cover of darkness. Which covers a lot of flaws. Even the places I purchased hot cocoa had soft lighting which in turn made me look softer also.

I know it is a selfish thought but the whole evening proved to be the best Christmas present I could have ever given to myself. Plus give me the confidence to continue my quest to locate and support my own femininity. It all felt so natural.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Fun on a Motorcycle?

 Actually I didn't have any fun with my imagined wig hair (back then) blowing in the wind plus having my hands wrapped tightly around my new crush's waist. I was never able to beg my way into a ride and I never tried. I'm sure you remember the post I wrote about the experience. 

Long time Cyrsti's Condo reader (and co-founder) Connie Malone does and commented:

I've known you long enough that I recall discussing with you what to do about the biker guy at the time. It was fun girl talk, with lots of anticipation. Although it wasn't a fairy tale ending, it still created much drama.


Photo Courtesy of
Connie Malone 


The banana thing never appealed to me (intended). I guess I'm penis- averse in general, and even more so concerning my own. I have been asked for dates a number of times, let alone the numerous hits I've had to endure - mostly on the unsavory side. I did meet with a fellow band member for dinner one night before a rehearsal, but it wasn't really a date. He was just a really nice guy who totally accepted me when I came out to the band (a whole story in itself), and we met as friends. I remember sitting with him in the crowded restaurant, amazed that he was so comfortable being with a trans woman in public. Of course, it was fairly early in my transition, so I wasn't really so comfortable being in public, myself. By all appearances, we must have been perceived to be on a date by others, and I was even more amazed that nobody was staring at us. It was one of those validating experiences that added to my confidence, at any rate.


Of course, having been faithfully married to my wife for 49 1/2 years has a lot to do with any choices I would make in the dating (or beyond) department."

Thanks Connie for the comment. I say in essence she was the co founder here is because I was sharing coming out experiences with her and she suggested I write a blog. Back in those days, I didn't even know what a blog was, so I had to research it.

In addition, I too had a couple dates with men who went out of their way to make me feel feminine. Outside of the sexual side of being with men, I tried to learn communication skills which would help me on a date. Naturally, I was scared to death but survived anyhow. One of the men in particular wasn't from the area which I lived, so he was just passing through (as I hoped I was) when we went on a dinner date. The other I left up to him to contact me if he wanted to but he never did. Ironically, I was a regular in the two places we went and received great service and knowing looks from the servers I knew. My rule of thumb always was have a good attitude and tip well and it worked.

Speaking or writing about male crushes, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to watch one of my all time favorite male screen crushes on Turner Classic Movies. For some reason, I always have been fascinated with the WWII era and earlier and Robert Mitchum was my male crush way before I knew I was allowed to have one.
Robert Mitchum
Of course, any ideas of having a male crush were stifled and mis-understood. To the point I couldn't even dream of him for fear of what was happening to me. It all makes sense now why I didn't really crush on any famous cis women celebrities. Of course I wanted to look like them but did not desire them sexually.  

It was all part of my gender puzzle I have written about in the recent past.

As far as motorcycles go, without a doubt I am sure Robert Mitchum would look great on one. Plus I am sure Connie was a suburb dinner date. As far as I am concerned, I was single during the dates I wrote about. So now I wouldn't even consider such a move.

It's always fun to consider the "what if's" of life and how everything turned on a dime (or quarter). 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Gender Puzzle

 Anna commented on Medium concerning my coming out experiences as bravery.  I have never thought my gender transition as having anything to do with bravery. Rather, it was something I had to do. Now I look at the process as more of solving a gender puzzle.

Photo-Ryoji Iwata

As I assembled my gender puzzle, I kept discovering more and more missing pieces. What happened  then was I needed to accomplish more and more in the public eye to prove I had it right. I have written in depth on many of my learning experiences all along with more and more I continue to discover as I follow this writing path.  Once I think I have it all figured out, something new comes along to prove I have not.

One thing I don't write about enough are my severe bouts  with gender dysphoria. Perhaps there was a level of bravery to overcome passive and active suicide attempts. I know I was scared to death to enter the world as my feminine self on more occasions I can count. I have often told you all about all the times I came home crying following ill fated attempts at living as my authentic self. Back in those days I was still of the opinion I was crossdressing as a woman. When, actually all those years I had been cross dressing as a man.

I need to add in also I have never been good at puzzles. I tend to approach them (puzzles) with my usual impatience. When a certain outfit didn't work instead of trying another, I allowed the mirror to lie to me and out I would go to fail again. Slowly I did learn not to force pieces of the puzzle together that didn't fit. At that point, I discovered I could have success in public with my external feminine appearance and learned it was only the beginning. In other words, I discovered a whole new set of puzzle pieces.  

Now, even I wonder how I managed to navigate all of the challenges I was to face. It seemed every piece of the puzzle I located and was able to find a place for created the need for another. An example is how women communicate with each other. I found they have a unique way to communicate when men are present or when they are not. I had several women who protected me from possible negative situations with men as an example. It wasn't just men though. Along the way I learned women specialized in passive aggression. Or where were the knives located when they met you. Those were the ones who said you looked good as a woman...for a man. (un said).

The biggest puzzle piece had to be what happened when I lost my male privilege's. I reached the point of my life age wise when the term "sir" had been bestowed on me, if I wanted it or not. Most importantly I found my personal security changed drastically as I tried to live a feminine existence. For the first time in my life I asked friends for help getting to my car at night when it was parked in a relatively unlit parking lot. Overall, the loss of male privilege deserves it's own post we will get to another time.

Over the space of life, I learned to respect my gender puzzle as just a extra special portion who I became as a human. After all, how many people get the chance to sample life from both sides of the gender spectrum.

I just hope I haven't lost any pieces as I complete my puzzle.




Friday, December 10, 2021

More Comments on Passing

 First of all, a big WOW and thanks to all of you who took the time and effort to write in and comment on recent posts. The first  comes from Connie:

Photo courtesy Connie Malone
"So, I went out to grocery shop to get my booster vaccine. I was quite presentable in my hair, dress and makeup, and was feeling even a little pretty. At the grocery checkout, though, there was a discrepancy in the total, and it took three employees to figure it out. During their discussion, among themselves, I was referred to as "he" twice. I guess that answers any question as to my passing. It had been over two years (maybe three) since I was last mis-gendered, but the sting still hurts and kinda messes up my day. The employee who mis-gendered me had always been so friendly and accommodating in the numerous encounters we'd had in the past. 

The one thing that is common among cis people is that they don't very often give their gender much thought at all. I have been getting myself to that point, as well, but it's taken many years so far. As confident as I have become with myself, though, I guess I've not attained everything I've worked to achieve. 

The only positive here is that the hurt does not last as long as it used to. Big girl panties may not be enough; at my age, I should probably be in granny panties. I did get some redemption when the immunization coordinator at the drug store did not hesitate to check the female gender box on the form. The only bad thing about the experience there is that I ended up having a bad reaction to the booster, and I've been awfully sick for the past two days. Or, maybe it was the first experience at the grocery store that made me sick? :-("

That is unfortunate! I think sometimes when I think I am most presentable is when I let my gender guard down and cis people mis-gender me. I am a strong believer in the "aura" a person gives off in everyday life. So in situations with strangers I try to remember to input feminine on them. Seems to work for me.

The second comment comes from Emily:

"I came upon your writings through Femulate. Really appreciate your acknowledgement that some of us pass most or all of the time.

Some sites claim that is impossible which causes a turn-off for newbies. It also indicates a lack of self confidence on the part of the author and/or laziness to do the work.

Some of your other writings discuss friendships with women --I have found that most come around very quickly. Most men remain turned off"

Thanks Emily and welcome. Yes I have always thought the great majority of us can "pass" most of the time if they put a little work into doing it. What I mean is, take the time to learn a little of the feminine arts such as makeup and clothes. Maybe attempt to lose a little weight and strive for the closest possible shave. It's never easy but is worth it. Others may not take into consideration the years of error and trial which went into being where we are today. 

Photo Courtesy Paula  

The third comment comes from Paula : 

The whole question of passing will never go away. Not even just in the trans world, I hear my gay friends talking about passing as straight, and friends with Asian heritage as passing as white. Does this mean it's about claiming inherent privilege we are not entitled to?

On a personal level I am quite sure that I never pass, especially as soon as I open my mouth! Having said that the vast majority of the time I am not noticed, these days I have a self confidence I have NEVER had before, now I just go about my business as me and nobody notices. I fear it is when we try too hard that we get noticed and give ourselves away. It is only when I glam up that people notice, that I start to get the comment like "You've got great legs" with the unspoken "for a man".

I suspect that the situation may be different here in the UK with very many staying with support groups long after their own transition, It is a sorrow to me that I will be missing two meetings in a row due to other, work commitments.

Thanks to you Paula. I agree once you can get to the point of being able to just live your life as your authentic self, most of the other pieces of the gender puzzle come together. Which could be a topic for another post!




Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Now What? An Adventure in Sexuality

 


Way back when, even though I was trying completely to transition into a transgender woman, I had never given much thought to any potential changes in my sexuality. I couldn't see myself being with a man except if he was validating me on his arm as a woman. All of those thoughts changed when I met the guy and his bike. For you purists I think he owned a classic Indian Bike. 

I'm sure through out the years I had some sort of tunnel vision about my feminine appearance. Even though I wanted male validation from how I looked, I could never imagine really being with a guy.

Of course gender and sexuality are two separate terms. For simplicity, gender is how your perceive yourself as a woman or a man (or somewhere in between.) Sexuality is which of the binary genders you wish to have sex with. Again allowing for desiring both genders is a possibility. 

Somehow growing up wanting to be a girl rather than just look like one didn't allow me the idea of being sexual with my own gender. Looking back at my high school and early college years though, I think I did have a crush on one my closest male friends. A crush which would forever remain a secret. 

As life progressed and I interacted with my second wife while cross dressed as a woman, I had a  chance to experience what gender life would be like from the feminine side. On one of the trips we made together to a transvestite mixer we decided to stop at a tavern for a drink before we went. As we sat at the bar, a guy parked his Harley motorcycle by the front door and ended up sitting down next to my wife. He ended up having quite the conversation with her and ignoring me. So much so I wondered if she would end up leaving with him to ride on his bike. Of course I was helpless to do anything and let her take control of the situation. It was a feeling I would never forget when she didn't go anywhere with him. Ironically, years later I would another interaction with a man and his motorcycle of my own.

I have written how quickly I arrived at the "now what" moment with him too. He was as sensitive as he was gruff looking and totally validated my desire to be a woman. I remember wishing at the time I didn't have a wear a wig (and had my own hair) so I could beg a ride with him. But the wig I wore just didn't fit that tight. I could only fantasize what it would be like to ride with my hands around his waist. But a fantasy would all it would ever be with him.

Later in my transition, I did have a few other opportunities to date other men. In fact one of my first dinner dates with a guy was with a trans man friend of mine. A couple other dates went relatively well but overall I had a difficult, even miserable time finding a date with a man. On the other hand it seemed I was finding my interest from women was reaching a all time high. At first it confused me until I learned to relax and enjoy it. I have written in depth about my success (to this day) with lesbians. On the other hand I was able to befriend several women and their husbands too. I suppose being a gender hybrid has it's advantages.

To this day, now what never became a reality as I have never been with a man. Years ago I had a cis woman friend of mine who said get a banana and practice. Rumor has it, I did just in case. Or should I say "Justin Case". I only know Justin wasn't riding a motorcycle. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Good Question

 


Recently I wrote a post concerning the term "passing" and it's relevance to transgender women and/or cross dressers today.  Georgette wrote in with this response:

"I'm not sure the idea of "passing" will ever go away. I see so many on-line posts of Trans People still asking/worrying about it.  And it is not just transgender women, many younger trans men are asking the same.  The ones that give up and say they will never pass  say that's OK as I will own being a transgender woman. But I wonder if they could pass would they still own being a trans woman."


First of all, thanks for the comment. In my experience, most all of the transgender women I knew who readily passed, all went stealth and were never heard from again. Of course, my disclaimer is my examples came from "back in the day" when going stealth was the only way to go. In other words, stealth meant being invisible to the public than being anything other than a cis woman. 

I have two specific examples of trans women who closely followed each other in their transitions. In fact, I think their genital realignment surgeries came in the same year. Both of them had an advantage in that they had natural feminine tendencies and passed very easily. Yes, I was quite envious as I struggled to work with the qualities I did have to get by  Through it all, as I tried to come to grips with my gender identity, I was able to essentially "carve" out my own little niche. 

These days, I find myself  struggling with going stealth myself. In fact if the truth be known, I am an estimated  ninety per cent in the world as a cis woman. When I refer to this, I need to explain for the most part it has little to do with appearance and more to do with confidence. Much of my confidence comes from having Liz by myside. She has my back when/if anyone miss-pronouns me. Ironically, I think we get more public push back from those thinking we are lesbians. 

In addition, I have pulled back from most of my participation in the transgender - cross dresser support group I used to be fairly active in. I just don't feel a part of it anymore. Being a full time participant in a feminine world has eliminated the need to get all dolled up to be with other like minded individuals.  If I truly thought I had anything to add, I would go. Many of the other attendee's are much younger so there is an age gap to consider also.

Still,  I do think I carry the stigma with me of wanting to "pass" as a cis woman. Too much time , effort and worry went into during my gender transitional years. I can't forget also how much the femininization affects of hormone replacement therapy helped me align my inner and outer selves. Finally I  learned none of it still matters totally. An example was the Thanksgiving debacle I went through with my daughter's in laws. My excuse for their miss-gendering was how well I imprinted my maleness on them earlier in my life.

It's a good question.





Saturday, December 4, 2021

Feminine Socialization 201

 Essentially this is a continuation of my recent post describing portions of my early feminine socialization. Included  in the post, I wrote about almost being included in a bachelorette party get together. I say almost because I was briefly invited then heard nothing more about it. I didn't give it much more thought because the marriage only lasted approximately one week. 

The entire situation started when I expanded where I was going to socialize, or try to. If it sounds as if I was doing quite a bit of drinking during this period of my life, it was because I was. It is important to note I rarely drink alcohol at all now. Back then though I used it as a crutch in numerous ways. When I drank I was braver to go and try to socialize with others. To basically dive into the girls sandbox and see what happened. 

What happened was I found I was accepted into a small group of acquaintances who were socially interesting. Especially the exotic sister of one of the bartenders. She was truly exotic in that she was a dancer as well as being a hair stylist. This was in addition to her being a well tattooed dark haired beauty. To say I was envious is an understatement. She always threatened to work on my hair but I wasn't sure how that would work back in those days when I was wearing a wig. It turned out it never really mattered. The rest of the group included me (the transgender woman) a lesbian, the bartender and her husband as well as others who drifted in and out. 

How I looked back then.

Very quickly it seemed our little group of acquaintances who gathered in the venue for drinks grew. Included in the group was a big teddy bear of a man who worked in a local lumber yard  and rode a classic Indian motorcycle. He fell in love with the exotic one and they decided to get married at the spur of the moment. Ironically, I think most of the group thought it was the wrong move to make. I know I did.

We all were right because the marriage only lasted one week. After it was over, it turned out my feminine socialization was to take another turn into new territory. I was becoming attracted to a man who was paying some sort of attention to me. It all started when the marriage had dissolved. The poor guy still kept coming into the venue and I thought was treated rather poorly by most of the group. I felt sorry for him and let him know. By knowing both of them the short time I did, I didn't think the two were a match made in heaven. 

At any rate the group began to go in separate directions but I kept coming in the venue as did he. Surprisingly to me, he chose to sit next to me at the bar and all of the sudden I had the ultimate validation of a novice transgender woman...a man at my side. Especially a bearded one who rode a motorcycle. I always fantasized about how it would be to ride with him but never got the chance. Very quickly he took another job and moved away from the area.  

What did I learn? Even though I was having a difficult time being attracted to male companionship, I proved it wasn't totally out of the question. Also knowing the lesbian in the group was my introduction into knowing anyone who identified as a cis gay female. 

Most importantly I gained another level of confidence. I found I could socialize with a diverse group of other people.

I had graduated to another level of life on my transgender path and it was looking more and more as if there was no turning back.    

Friday, December 3, 2021

Feminine Socialization

Over the years I have mentioned all the obstacles I had to overcome on my path to becoming a full time transgender woman.  Many don't realize just because they were born a certain gender, the path towards becoming a woman or a man often is not assured. For transgender woman and men the path is infinitely more difficult because we have to tear down one life and start all over.

I have mentioned the losses of male privilege, gender communication as well as appearance in my transition. One thing I have left out was socialization. For me, becoming socialized or as I call it, being allowed to play in the girls sandbox was key to being able to live a feminine life. Overall it was a gradual process.  

What really aided me in the process was when I was invited along on several girl's night outs. The first was relatively easy as it was a Halloween party. I also had the benefit of having one of the other attendees go along who was every bit as big as I was. So, even with my attempt at a sexy outfit and big hair, she was right there competing with me. I am happy to say it was a friendly competition and was even more fun when we went to a straight tavern  for the party. It turned out the place was owned by Liz's (my partner) boss. I didn't know what to expect but had very little anxiety since after all  it was Halloween. Ironically I was asked by one woman if my big hair was my own. On the other hand, the evening still didn't provide the real feeling of a girl's night out.

My second and third tries at feminine socialization did. 

The second time I was invited along to a girl's only birthday party at a local restaurant. I did experience some anxiety before going. Of course I had to figure out what I was going to wear so I blended in with the other women which didn't turn out to be much of a problem. More importantly I had to figure out what I was going to say along the way. I was afraid just to sit there and not try to communicate at all would portray me as some sort of a bitch. The last thing I wanted to do. It turned out I didn't have much to fear as the conversation flowed smoothly enough  and I added in when I could. Only one of the other woman seemed to hold it against me that I was transgender. I figured one out of six wasn't bad. I ended up having a good time and made sure I expressed my appreciation to the person who invited me. 


It turned out my first invitation out with the girls shortly led to another in the form of cookout. I have added a picture to your left of the evening. I am in the bottom row, left hand side.

Not shown were the two or three men who showed up who had very little to do with me. Fortunately, several of the other women did and I had a good time. The lesson I learned was there was no huge mystique women go through when there are very few men are around. They do have a tendency however to talk more about family than men do. No surprises. 

Along the way, I did miss out on going to a bachelorette party I was "sort of" invited to, then not. Truthfully I don't know if it happened or not since the marriage only lasted one week. Which is another experience for another time.

The last meaningful girls night out I was invited to came several years later. I had became a regular at a couple large venues which served food and adult beverages. One of them was having a small get together with a few servers and bartenders at another nearby venue. Surprisingly I was invited along. This led me to quite a bit of anxiety since I needed to step up my feminine game. The other women were all younger and more attractive than I could ever hope to be. I went along I tried my best. I wore my long black skirt with the deep slit, black tank top and long dark wig. As it turned out, nothing seemed to matter. We naturally walked in together and no one seemed to notice me at all and I was especially not noticed by any of the guys who were trying to come on to the much younger and prettier group I was with. 

Over all I am just thankful for the women who invited me along to play in the sandbox. It did so much for my feminine socialization.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Doors


Or, in the gender out door.  It seems all my life I have been trying to force my way in the out door when my gender has been involved. 

Of course, similar to many of you, my earliest explorations into a feminine life involved diving into my Mom's clothing and makeup. The more I did, the more I felt the gender door I was trying to go through was closed to me. Still I persisted against all odds. The harder I pushed against the out door finally it seemed I could see just a little of what was beyond the door.  I guess you could say there was life outside of my gender closet.

The more I pushed, the harder the out door was to open. Looking back, I believe now the problem was I was still taking the whole process of transitioning into a feminine world too lightly. Even though I considered myself a student of watching the cis women in my life, my view was still clouded. I was so envious of their lives I couldn't see the forest for the trees, so to speak. The prime example is how I was so self centered on the appearance factor of being feminine, I missed the true layers of being a woman.

I then came to a point of no return. I was cross dressing as a man close to the amount of time I was spending as my authentic self. Most importantly I realized I was not challenging the out door enough and resolved to push through it and see if I could live my gender dream. I still remember the first night I resolved myself to seeing if I could blend in and present well in a venue I had frequented many times as my male self. 

To say I was terrified is an understatement. Literally, time stood still as I approached the door of the upscale restaurant/bar I chose for my personal coming out party. I am fond of writing an oxygen tank would have been my best accessory for the evening. Through it all, I was accepted and was able to find a seat at the crowded bar with several other women who were just getting off of work from their jobs at a nearby mall. Once I started to breathe normally I began to feel so normal. Once I had pushed the gender out door this far I felt I would never be able to return. 

I never did return. From that point on I set out to build a feminine life I thought  would never be possible. I made new friends who accepted me as my authentic self. My closest transgender friend even said I "passed" out of sheer will power. Which is the subject of another blog post. 

To make a long story short, I was able to shatter my gender out door and eventually start hormone replacement therapy. 

It was a long and difficult struggle. It took me over a half a century to get through the gender door but I made it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Stairsteps

 Over the years I have thought about my transgender transition as climbing a hill. then sliding down. Recently though, I have began to consider it as more of a trip up  a gender stairwell.

My first steps could have been the hardest. I had to live through the unmistakable urge to try on any or all of my Mom's clothes I could squeeze into. This step produced many feelings including confusion, fear and elation. This step was destined to last many years as I desperately tried to understand ad hide my inner feelings'

The next step brought with it the realization I wanted to be so much more than look like that girl I was seeing in the mirror. I didn't understand it fully at the time but I wanted to be the girl  staring back at me. All of a sudden, the feeling of wearing the clothes and the makeup faded away and a new deep longing settled in. 

Ironically the next several steps became steeper and blended in. As I became more experienced in the makeup arts and was able to build my own small collection of women's clothing, I am of the opinion I paused on these steps to look around and see where I was located. I did know, as far as my gender issues were concerned, not one thing had improved. I still would wake up in the morning wondering if
I wanted to spend the day cross dressed as a male or enter m more natural gender (feminine). Unfortunately, there was little I could do about it.

Years later, I was able to take giant steps and actually climb up and see if living a more natural life for me in a women's world was possible at all. It was around this time the internet was taking hold and I discovered new exciting terms such as transgender. It was on this step also when I began to attend "transvestite" mixers and actually learn from people who were close to being just like me. I remember awaiting my new copy of "Transvestia" magazine. What turned out from this step was a deep encouragement to take another. 

The next steps were the Halloween parties I attended. They all taught me yes I could present well enough as a woman to possibly get by in society. I have written in depth about them here in the past but briefly I can write all these steps were doing were creating more doubts about my ability to continue living a false life as a guy at all.

As I continued up my stairs, the newest landing, found me increasingly exploring the feminine world. I was leaving behind any ideas of being "just" a cross dresser and began exploring again the wild wonderful world of living as my authentic self. Although there is nothing at all wrong with being a cross dresser. At this point,  new steps brought me into a new feminine world of communication as well as losing my male privileges. As I reached these lofty gender heights, I had many fears of losing what remained of my life. Through it all, it seemed I had built a back stairway to use as a gender escape back to my old male life. Which made things worse and life unlivable at times. 

This all brings me to my final step which happened nearly seven years ago. I decided to give up my partial male cross dressing and live my life full time as my authentic self...a transgender woman. It was around this time too I started hormone replacement therapy to transform my body.

Finally after years of severe gender dysphoria I was able to tear down my back stairway and never looked back.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Be Man Enough


 Actually the whole comment turned out to be "Why don't you be man enough to be a woman?"  The phrase was directed at me after another huge fight my second wife and I suffered. I don't remember now what the exact reason for the fight was but I assume I was coming down after cross dressing and was becoming a less than pleasant person. 

I was certainly stuck in a rut and rather than asking for her help, I made myself miserable. When I did that, I made her miserable also. To make matters worse I think, she knew about my cross dressing urges before we became married. Over the years she witnessed my slow slide to becoming my authentic self and living full time as a transgender woman.

It wasn't easy. Her Dad was an alcoholic and I was close to being one too. So she had to put up with that part of my toxic male personality. Why or how she stuck with me for all those years was a testament to our love and her strength. Indirectly my wanderlust due to trying to out run my gender desires led us to other adventures. For example, we moved to and lived in such diverse places as metro NYC all the way to a rustic house in the woods in rural Ohio above Marietta and the Ohio River. 

One of the pleasures of living just North of the city in New York was the Sundays we were able to take the train downtown and explore in a relatively mellow environment.  It was one of these trips along with another trigger moment which started the fight which led to the comment. 

First of all, I felt as if I presented well enough to take the trip on the train as my feminine self. Either she felt I didn't or wanted not to take the risk of being recognized as we left the house, I will never know because it never happened. 

Around that time too, I somehow (think of this being years ago) became a transvestite pen pal with another cross dresser. We used to send scented letters back and forth along with the occasional picture. Somehow I came up with a photo of me cross dressed standing over a stove cooking. Another of the problems my wife had with me though I was never a "domestic goddess" and didn't overdo my share of the household duties. But the biggest problem she had was when she found a letter in the mail before I could get to it. Looking back at it, this was probably the first time I really had snuck around behind her back with my transvestite urges.

Of course the letter set off a huge fight. The problem with me fighting someone with words only was I didn't know how to hold back the emotions and often went too far. Unfortunately this no holds barred way of dealing with an argument did no good at all. It was during one of these moments when she turned to me and said "Why don't you be man enough to be a woman." 

Naturally I was taken aback and ended up giving quite a bit of thought to what she said. 

The problem was I couldn't or wouldn't give up my male life. It was simply still too much a part of my existence. Plus, no matter how hard I had studied women my entire life, I didn't feel I was ready yet to cross the gender frontier. I still had so much to learn plus I didn't want to face the probability of giving up my financial life as well as family and friends. Little did I know, waiting probably caused me extra pain and suffering before I actually made the decision to transition in my early 60's. 

It's so sad my wife passed on years ago now, so she couldn't see how I manned up and used my second chance at life to become a woman.  

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Walls or Closets?


 It was long ago it was when I first took the big steps and leaped into the feminine world as a full time transgender woman. To refer to it as only coming out of a closet was an over simplification.  It seems to me rather than coming out of a closet, I climbed enough walls to build a house. 

Of course, a closet is often small and dark and a house gives a person increased freedom to move around. When you are transgender, the house is never enough . The quest to being a woman is much more complex.

Examples? One of the biggest one I write about often is learning to look another cis woman in the eye and communicate. I learned quickly the subtle nuances of eye contact, vocal intonation and factors such as passive aggression. Lessons came fast and furious as I built the foundation to my authentic self. 

Even though as I built the foundation it felt natural, it was also terrifying. I was tearing down another house which contained the remnants of my male self. Over the years, I had worked so hard to cross dress and present as a macho male. I was successful. I gained a small family, a good job and all the trappings of a middle aged man. I was awarded the honorary title of "sir" whether I deserved it or not. I guess another example of impostor syndrome.

Now, lets get back to building a gender house. Obviously each wall involved quite a bit of work. Just moving from walking around and window shopping in malls evolved into interaction with clerks. From the shopping trips came having the courage to stop for lunch and attempt to order food and beverage. Looking back at the process now, it seems to have progressed fairly quickly. So quickly I decided for the first time to shed my inner image of being a cross dresser all the way to attempting to go to an upscale restaurant/ bar and interact as a woman. I will tell you jumping the wall was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life. 

As I continued to build and expand my house, there always seemed to be the "what's next" problem. I was hanging out at a couple lesbian bars about this time. One was extremely non inviting, the other the opposite. The only reason I can see now for building this room was a desperation to be accepted which I wasn't in the male dominated gay venues where I lived. Very early on, I closed the drag queen room in my gender house. What's next quickly became going to large cis gender venues to watch sports and drink beer.  With my career in similar venues, becoming accepted by the staff was fairly easy. Be nice and tip well was my way to getting my foot in the door. In one of my regular stops I was even invited and went on a girls night out with several of the servers. Even though I was scared to death, I ended up learning key lessons interacting with other women.

Finally I came to a point where my house was built as far as I could get it. I had provided myself a quality second existence which rivaled my cross dressing male life. The next major wall I had to escape involved the major step of starting HRT or hormone replacement therapy. The problem was my wife of twenty five years who I loved deeply was deeply against it. Her rational was she didn't sign up to be with another woman. 

Then, in a prime example of life changing on a dime, I was destined to see the doors of my walls swing wide open and I could make the lifestyle moves I needed to do to fully transition and live in a feminine world. 

More on it later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

All Quiet

 For once I am happy to write it's all quiet on the gender front around here. It's like I am some sort of vacation.

Yesterday I had my virtual therapist appointment and we talked about almost everything but my gender dysphoria. Rarely do I feel comfortable in my own skin, now it seems I have a brief respite from my gender dysphoria. Finally a chance to breathe deeply and recharge myself. 



Of course I have asked the question why now? I feel as if several factors are coming into play. The first of which is I feel good with the path my hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has taken me. My hips are continuing to develop as I have taken the torso mass down with the diet Liz and I are on. To refresh your memories, the diet is no joke as it cuts out all sugar and flour from our diet. Conservatively, I have taken off twenty five plus pounds. Liz and I are heading to my daughter's in laws for Thanksgiving, so I am anxious to show off my developing feminine figure. My first wife will be there and she has become quite heavy so I want to show off for her. I shouldn't be too evil though because the last time I saw her, she commented how good I was looking. 


As we all know, looks aren't everything when it comes to gender dysphoria. As I told my therapist, I am feeling better because of my interaction with the public. The last time we went out to dinner, I had no problem communicating with the server and he didn't seem to have any negative problems with me. Of course we don't go out much anymore and most of the time we still wear a mask so the chances of interaction are slim. In a couple weeks I will be part of a group presenting to a master's level sociology class at nearby Miami University of Ohio. So I will have the chance to really get out in public. 

The problem I have is waiting for the other shoe to drop. What I am referring to is waiting for my dysphoria to return. I have lived with it for most of my long life and it has become a part of me. Plus I have never been one to face life on it's own terms without questioning what is around the next corner.

Perhaps also I am moving past gender dysphoria into some sort of impostor syndrome stage of my life. Deep down do I feel even though I may look/act the feminine role, have I earned the right to be here. To be clear, I have because I went through all the changes which cis women experience, Mine were just different. I have always felt women just didn't become women because they were born into it. They had to grow and become women. Just like some boys actually become men. 

All in all, it's too early to speculate if I have any impostor's syndrome. In the meantime, I am going to try to enjoy my quiet period the best I can.   

Sunday, November 7, 2021

I didn't Do It

Recently I posted a Halloween photo of Melonee Malone and Mark asked if the picture was of me. No it wasn't and I could only say I wish I transitioned that well. To be fair though, I believe Melonee has completed several surgeries, Including gender realignment as well as facial feminization. Sorry for any confusion. To put any comparison in perspective, I have had no surgeries. Including electrolysis.  

As much as I am loathe to do it, here is a totally unfiltered picture of the before and after me. I need to point this recent picture of me is not too current because it doesn't reflect the weight I have lost in my face.

Also I need to point out I have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for nearly seven years now. As a result, my use of makeup has been drastically reduced. In the picture I am only wearing eye and lip makeup. On the left I was wearing my guy makeup and I was severely depressed. 

I hope all confusion has been solved.


  

Friday, November 5, 2021