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

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Red Heads Have More Fun?

 Yesterday I watched the vintage movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Of course Marilyn played the dumb blond  and Jane the brunette played her more sensible friend. 

One of the benefits of being a woman is you are able to change your hair color on occasion and in fact I spent years as a red head before my hair stylist suggested I let it grow out to it's natural shade.  

So as we were checking out two of the major types of women with major hair color differences yesterday, it just so happened, the redheads checked in yesterday also.  You may recall I have featured Jayde Dent here on the blog before. She is a local transgender woman from the Metro-Cincinnati, Ohio area who is fortunate to have married a woman who essentially transitioned with her.

Here is Jayde as a redhead:

Photos Courtesy Jayde Dent

And as a blonde:


You can choose your favorite!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Fear as a Transgender Motivator

 Recently I wrote on the subject of how difficult it was during my MtF gender transition. Every time I thought I had taken a step or two forward, I was sent backwards when my high heeled pump became stuck in a sidewalk crack and ended up sending me into a decidedly unfeminine situation. 

Through it all I was so alone and left on my own to judge my appearance and mannerisms. Similar to so many of us crossing the gender frontier, all I had was a mirror which seemed to never want to tell me the truth. Looking back, fear and trepidation of what the public was going to think of me curiously kept me going. When I was laughed at or even asked to leave a venue, my setbacks just led me to try harder to be successful. 

The entire process was exciting yet terrifying. Interestingly, we transgender women and men all shared similar but all so different experiences. Take Connie for example:

" By the time I finally made it out to be a visible part of the outside world, I had become so afraid of the thought of never leaving the safety of my locked room that going out was more a relief than anything else. The scenarios I'd imagined would surely come to fruition turned out to be much worse than anything I've ever actually experienced.

Connie Malone

 Of course, I really did know that would be the outcome. I'd read Dale Carnegie books, and I was fully aware that 99% of the bad things you think are going to happen never really do. I was also familiar with the Al Franken character, Stuart Smiley, and his inept life coaching tagline, "You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You." Throw in a favorite quote of mine from Oscar Wilde - "Life is too important to be taken too seriously" - and my fears were subsided by the thought that I'd rather have died laughing (even being laughed at) than having been found, alone in my locked basement room, dead in a pool of my own tears.


As I like to say: If ya can't leave 'em laughing, at least leave 'em guessing. That's how I relax and enjoy the ride! :-)"

I agree 99% of the bad things never really happen but it was the one percent which kept coming back to haunt me. 

I finally figured out most of the percent I was failing came from setting myself up for failure. A prime example was one venue I tried time and time again to visit where I knew I wouldn't be welcome instead of going to another venue close by where I had already established myself.  The whole process led to the time I had the police called on me just for using the restroom. 

As I eventually became wiser to where I could go, I was able to begin to relax and build the new feminine person I was always destined to become on a firm foundation. From there forward I didn't have to rely on fear to motivate me.


Monday, April 4, 2022

Monday Uplift

 One of the very few transgender women I feature on a semi regular basis is Melonee Malone who I always write is no relation to regular contributor Connie Malone.

Most certainly, as you can see, Melonee needs plenty of uplift in her latest picture on Facebook.



Maybe this picture should be captioned "My eyes are up here!"


Friday, April 1, 2022

A Brisk Day Downtown

 Another Transgender Day of Visibility has come and gone. As I previously wrote about I helped "man" the table for three hours for the Transgender - Cross dresser support group I am part of. It was held at the downtown campus of the county library. A portion was set up in the library and a portion was set up outside in the parking lot. 

Weather wise, the day was less than ideal. To say the least, the weather was brisk. Regardless,  there were plenty of participants who attended from the community. In addition,  there also were speakers and several entertainers. 

Surprisingly, even with the gray cold day attendance was still good. Although after the presentation most of the group moved to a warm place inside the large library where they had catered refreshments for us. I went in with a friend and as we thawed out As we chatted, it was difficult not to notice the complete diversity of the group.

My friend and I were on the older (more mature) end of the spectrum but it ranged from several pre teen transgender girls and boys all the way through many in their teens to us old people. As we enjoyed the food and warm friendly climate, my friend looked around and said how wonderful it was to be part of a majority for a change. So true!

To further the thought, the library even had a feature of the several "scary" books alt right politicians and preachers would like to ban. Of course it was wonderful to see such an outpouring of support. 


If you know anything about the politics of my native Ohio, it is important  to note the state has pockets of LGBTQ support. Take Cincinnati where I live for example. For the Day of Visibility, the transgender pride flag was flown over City Hall. 

I am not going to ruin this positive post with all the negatives which still face the transgender community. Even though the weather didn't cooperate, the people did.

It was good to be out and proud. And by all means...visible! I think many times when I am out with my partner Liz, I blend too well and end up not representing the transgender community at all. I guess you could call it a version of stealth. It's one reason why on occasion I prefer on occasion being an example of what can happen if you are able to live long enough to accomplish your gender goals and live as your authentic self. 

I fear some people just see the end result with me and not the fifty plus years to get here. 

A brisk day downtown brought it all back into focus for me. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Journey to Where?

 Just when I think the transgender community is making strides forward, there comes a giant step back. 

Photo Courtesy Google

This time it is Florida trying to out do Texas (as well as a few other states I won't mention) as the most anti LGBTQ state in the union. By now I'm sure you have heard Republikkan governor DeSantis of  Florida signed the "Don't Say Gay" bill yesterday. In essence, the bill tries to restrict schools from teaching any sort of LGBT material at all. 

It's sad the number of bills being introduced around the country which will eventually try to inhibit our right as transgender women and men to exist at all. Obviously a very un-American idea.

It's also tragic the number of all transgender or gay/lesbian people this will drive back into their closets. Growing up with any sort of gender or sexuality disorder is difficult to begin with. Being in a dark closet makes it worse. 

The only positives I see are the various pro LGBT organizations which exist on a national level which are powerful enough to fight these bigoted bills in court. Once the transgender cat is out of the bag, one way or another it will be difficult to force it back in.  

It's also difficult for me to write about what's left of the political system. Somehow over the years we have let the educational system decline to the point of just "dumbing down" large portions of society. Then, some are influenced by out right lies by a major news network I won't bother mentioning. 

This Thursday is the "International Transgender Day of Visibility." I will be writing in depth on what I will be doing to be extra visible. I know also so many of you are still in your closets and are unable to get out and be seen. 



In the meantime as I will mention again and again it is so important to know who you are voting for. Even it's just for a school board seat. It's going to take a grass roots effort on our part to maintain any gains we have made.

By doing so we can tell the world not only is it OK to say Gay, it's also OK to say transgender. 

It will make our journey to where, a successful one. Where you can lead a safe life.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

A Piece of Clay

Through out life there is the argument of nurturing versus nature being the major influences on how we develop as human beings. In other words, an example could be which parent did you more closely identify with and did that decision have an impact on your gender decisions later in life. So many of us in my age range grew up with distant fathers whose generation leaned towards more of a provider roll, versus an emotional one. For example, my Dad was always a wonderful provider but emotionally distant. 

My Dad was also very much a self made man rising from the depths of the depression,  serving in WWII all the way to retiring as a bank vice president. What does this have to do with nurturing as a parent, he just wasn't able to embrace that part of parenthood which left my Mom to do it. Perhaps at that point I became more interested in how she applied her makeup and presented herself to the world rather than being allowed to tag along with my Dad as he built his own house. 

All of those reasons sound like an oversimplification to me. I'm sure my slightly younger brother as well as the rest of the neighborhood boys one way or another were raised the same way and didn't turn out to be transgender, or at the least have gender issues. 

My First Girls Night Out, I'm on the top left.

On the other hand, our highly unique lives have given us a chance to see both sides of the binary gender spectrum. As difficult as it was to carve out a fairly successful life as a pretend man, in many ways it was terrifying to make the transition to live full time in a feminine world. The more I did, the more I learned I had so far to go. Partly because I felt men were basically much more simple to figure out than women. Men dealt in power systems built on job successes all the way to athletic ones while women dealt with complexities in life revolving from personal relationships all the way to family issues. As I was invited along to my first "girls nights out" I truly discovered how the genders operate on different ever changing  ways.

How the entire process works in positive ways for many transgender women and men is that we have a chance to re-invent ourselves. How many humans have an opportunity like that? It's similar to the cup being half full or empty. Sure it's painful to lose old family or friends but the opportunity to build new relationships (and better) ones is always a possibility. In the end we are just a big piece of clay to work with. 

How we work that clay of course is up to each of us. In many ways we are gender hybrids which is the reason so many people don't understand us as transgender women and men.  If we work our clay right, maybe they will. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Gender Transitions

 Recently I wrote on the aspects of hormone replacement therapy and how I considered beginning HRT as the line I crossed when I went from being a cross dresser to a novice transgender woman. At the time I thought crossing the line would be the only gender transition I would undertake. Needless to say, I was really wrong. 

Basically what happened was, the more I learned about existing in the feminine world, the more natural I felt and the more I wanted to learn more. In a relatively short period of time I was able to begin a life as a fulltime transgender woman. Before I could, I found there were other transitions I had to make. 

The first was deciding the basic idea of exactly what I was. Was I truly a woman or a transgender woman. For the longest time I was content in thinking of myself as sort of a gender hybrid. As the years went by and I lived more and more, I finally decided I deserved the "woman" label as much as the next person who was socialized into it. Just because they were born female. I too went through the comments here on the blog regarding the description of a woman was somehow tied into childbirth. I knew that to be so much trash talk because many women can't have children medically, or want one such as my second wife. Did it make her any less of a woman? I don't think so. 

As time went by also and I was approaching the point when I conceivably could go "stealth" I transitioned to the point where I didn't really care what most anybody thought about my gender anyway. Outside of a few very isolated circumstances, I had transitioned into what I thought was gender nirvana or the ultimate confidence of believing who I am. 

Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

The nagging  question remained though was I done with my gender transition. The answer is a resounding no. The farther I went, it seems there were always steps to climb or a wall to scale.

Perhaps regular reader Paula said it best when she wrote in and commented she essentially had passed the point of just considering herself a woman. All the way to believing in herself as a person.

In other words, Paula is just herself along with her many interests such as being a musician. When you are yourself, it leaves others to have no choice but to believe in you too. If they don't...buh bye. 

Call a gender transition what you like. A series of challenges, stairs to climb or even walls to scale. It's all dealing in semantics but then again so real to a transgender woman or man. 

As I reach this point of my life (72 years old) my biggest blessing is to have my health for the most part which allows me to continue on my HRT. Syncing my inner female who has always been there pushing to live with my external self which the world sees has helped me tremendously.

Hopefully I can continue this gender transition I am on as I reach the point of the final transition. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sports and the "Big T."

 As football season winds down, for the first time in over three decades the Cincinnati Bengals are playing the Kansas City Chiefs for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. Kansas City is a tough talented team so they will be difficult to defeat


None of that hurts my enthusiasm. In my long life of 70 plus years, I have witnessed only two visits to the Super Bowl by the Bengals and both were heartbreaking defeats. On one occasion I even suffered a broken bone in my foot trying an ill advised leap during a touchdown run. I have written before how I had to make up a weak excuse for my boss why I worked the next several days on crutches.    

During todays' game you can bet I won't being trying any leaps. In fact with my testosterone levels so low and my estrogen so high, I'm definitely aren't so passionate anymore. I used to be so competitive I had a difficult time playing any sort of a game because I hated to lose. On the other hand, I am a better fan. I watch the games with more nuance. Maybe why there are so many more women these days who are sports fans.  

On another topic away from football, I received several great comments on my post "What's in a Name". The first is from Lisa :



"I completely understand. I went through several names before settling on Lisa, but it is a diminutive for Elizabeth, which is what I plan to use on my birth certificate, if I ever change it. I too have the grandkid issue, and have thought of putting my current first two initials as my middle name so they can use that. Not too different from your solution. "Great minds think alike!"

Thanks Lisa! And, another from Paula:

"It is a revelation to many that anyone can change their name, like you I went through a lot of names, more or less exotic. But when I realised that this was for keeps I went for the pragmatic answer, and the one that meant I didn't have to change my signature!


We grow up with the name our parents gave us and it becomes a part of our identity, so when we choose a new name we have to make sure it is one we are going to be happy taking as part of our identity. A while back my name was printed in a concert program as "Pauline" I was horrified as I though "No, I could never be a Pauline!"

As always thanks Paula! 

Finally GO BENGALS!!!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Party Down in "C-Bus"

 The city of Columbus  in Ohio is known often as "C-Bus."  I grew up and lived for years approximately a half hour away in Springfield, Ohio. 

One of the first places I used to go to attend transvestite or cross dresser mixers were in Columbus. It is a much larger city than Springfield plus it offered me a place to go where no one would recognize me. It was at several of those mixers I started to try to follow in the steps of the group's "A" listers. I didn't want to adopt their attitude in anyway. They were similar to the ego trips most likely seen in the cheerleaders where I went to high school. 

What I did value was the chance to go out with them after the mixers were over. I tagged along when they left most of the group at the mixer and went out to various gay and lesbian venues to party. Needless to say I learned a lot about attempting to go out in the world as a novice transvestite/cross dresser. 

As time went on, the group who staged the mixers went away and many of the "A" group who lived in the area began to meet at one of the members houses. If you are familiar with Columbus at all, the house was in a fully restored brick home in the German Village historic district. In other words, it was a great place to have a party. 

One of the benefits of tagging along with the "A" listers was my wife and I received an invite to the parties which normally happened about once a month. Since I worked in the restaurant business, Saturday nights off were difficult to come by and the rare ones I did get were cherished. As you can imagine, my wife wasn't totally on board with spending one of our rare Saturdays with a group of men in dresses. I had to mix in a powerful mixture of  persuasion mixed with pouting to get her to go. Normally me going by myself was out of the question. I wasn't trusted to be on my own in other words and she was right. 

Normally the parties featured a wonderful who's who of gender dysphoric people on a rapidly developing gender spectrum. Being transgender was still a new idea but being a transsexual wasn't. It was still during the time when transsexuals were expected to go through what then was known as sex change surgery then disappear into society. Never to be heard from again. In fact, the person who organized the parties identified as a transsexual. 

What fascinated me were the number of different individuals who attended. All the way from male admirers to transsexuals considering surgery to all the questioning people such as me. One night, a question I never considered was presented to me in a way I would have never considered.

Photo of model in mini skirt
 by Edward Howell on Unsplash

On the night in question, my wife and I had the usual fight over what I was wearing. My dress was just too short for her liking. I hate to say it but she was right and her point was proven dramatically. One admirer (or a man who admired cross dressers) was a big guy, around  six foot four and probably approximately two hundred sixty pounds. I wasn't a small person but he towered over me. 

What happened was he caught me in a hallway of the house in a position I couldn't get out of. I learned quickly how tables could be turned on women in an instant as I was trapped. About the time I was starting to panic and he was reaching for my thigh I looked up and saw my wife looking at me from down the hallway. It turned out she had let the lesson play out as far as she thought it needed to and then loudly cleared her throat. When the admirer heard it, he quickly backed off and as I said my lesson was learned. 

Of course, I had to hear about it all the way home. Partying down in "C-Bus" would never be the same again and I knew how quickly all women could be put in compromising situations they can't escape from.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Confidence

 I am always fond of sharing the idea of the importance of a transgender woman's confidence. In fact the argument can be made her confidence is her major accessory

Photo Courtesy Cyrsti Hart 

In all the years of studying how cis women carry themselves there always seemed to be a certain amount of women who just exuded more femininity than others and it had nothing to do with being more sexy.. Although it translated into just that.  

It's no secret either that humans are apex predators and will gather like sharks to any sign of blood in the water. Transgender women and men are often very fragile when traveling in public and the least small set back can cause the proverbial blood in the water. I know in my case confidence was difficult to come by in my early years in the world. Often I would experience a couple days of success and gain confidence in thinking I could navigate a feminine world only to experience a setback. When I did, often I would become depressed and think I never stood a chance to live as my authentic self. Ultimately I continued down my path and became successful. Finally achieving my goal of living full time as a transgender woman.  

Of course too, I was my own worse enemy along the way. Trying to dress like a teenage girl didn't help me at all as you can imagine. But even then I had to learn to accept what I chose to wear and try to make the most of it even though I was leaving the blood in the water by attracting unwanted attention. Finally I found and adopted a style I thought I could live with  and began to blend in successfully with other cis women.

Probably one of my most recent examples of confident transgender women came last week when my partner Liz and I joined two other transgender women for dinner. As we moved about the venue to our seats and when we left no one seemed to give us a second glance. Plus, through out dinner we engaged in what I called trans girl talk concerning acceptance by our families among other topics relating to our lives. 

Unfortunately, confidence is often difficult to achieve and the only way you can gain it is by living as your authentic self. I am true believer these days if you are near an urban area you can find an LGBT group to socialize with. Once you do, your chances to increase your trans confidence will rise and you can keep your blood out of the water.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Monday Inspiration

After three decades the Cincinnati Bengals are still in the hunt for a Super Bowl. In an exciting game in Nashville, the Bengals beat the Titans with a last second score. It all sets up a rematch with Kansas City next weekend in KC, Needless to say it has been very exciting for the whole town of Cincinnati. 

On the other end of the sports spectrum were the Green Bay Packers (Wisconsin)  who lost their game this weekend to the San Francisco "49ers". 

One of my favorite transgender women who I share photos of is Melonee Malone who is also from Wisconsin and a Packers fan. I always say she has transitioned really well. Here is her latest photo:

Photo Courtesy Melonee Malone

 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

No Fun

 My partner Liz asked me the other day not to write anymore when it ceased to be fun. I'm sure anyone who has ever attempted to write a daily blog will tell you there are so many times when writing is the last thing I really wanted to do. Definitely not what I would call fun. So, you may ask why to I keep doing it. 

The easy answer is the great majority of days  I do enjoy writing, which I separate from fun. An example would be back in the day when I first started exploring wearing my Mom's clothes then began using my meager funds to buy select items of makeup and/or clothes on my own. It all was so exciting and fun but all too soon it wore off. Looking back at it now, it was the first milestone in my life when I should have known my gender issues were far from being just wanting to wear feminine clothes. I wish I had realized there was so much more to just looking like a girl...I wanted to be one. As the fun began to wane, a sense of satisfaction set in when I thought I had achieved a certain level of excellence when I adored myself in the mirror. 

As the years went by, I learned an even more important lesson. Not only did I enjoy the feminine world I was increasingly enjoying, the lesson was how natural the whole process felt.

Maybe writing is the same way. I started this blog hoping to help others dealing with their similar transgender issues. At the time, of course I had no idea that over ten years later I would still be writing as many times as I do. Along the way I have managed over 6000 posts and I wonder how I can come up with different things to write about. I enjoy blaming my friend Connie for the whole blogging adventure when we shared experiences with each other about our feminine lives on another transgender - cross dresser web site. I wish I could bring back a few of the exchanges she had with a few of the other participants who we ended up calling "trans-Nazi's"   They were the ones who felt they were better than you because they had more operations to prove their femininity. In today's world, they would be the bigots who want to point out they are more transgender than you. Many just for the reason they started to transition earlier than you did.

Maybe there was very little fun along the way because crossing the gender frontier is such a deadly serious journey. Often at stake are families, jobs and friends. Very few of us also are lucky get through the process unscathed.

Whatever the process has been for you, I hope you have managed have a little fun along the way. The same is true for my writing. Even though certain days it is not easy to write and I hope I don't recount the same experiences from my past very often. The problem is many of the happenings are tied together similar to a huge collage of my life.

Thanks for being along.
 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Spilled Estrogen and Health Care

 Along the way here in Cyrsti's Condo, I enjoy reading other experiences from other transgender women who share a similar age to me. Five (at least) are transgender veterans and it seems I am learning of more trans vets daily. By reading their comments, what the typical person doesn't realize I think is the wide range of care you can receive in various Veterans Administration Hospitals. 

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabonao
on Unsplash

Also, trans persons in my age range (65-70 plus) go through being an educational experiment. Meaning, we are educating our medical providers about the needs of transgender patients. As it has turned out, I have been on both sides of becoming a self care provider.  I do think over the years, more and more medical professionals are being educated to us. When I look back at my experiences mostly at the Dayton, Ohio VA center, they have many residents from nearby universities following around my regular doctors. I always take it as a good sign when a young college aged professional has the opportunity to see a transgender woman such as me be cared for. 

Unfortunately I know all haven't been able to  have the same beneficial experiences. I know I am mostly speaking to the choir here but imagine if you have to fight through personal and or  religious discrimination to even receive quality transgender care such as hormone replacement therapy. Which studies have proven to be mentally helpful to the mental health of so many gender dysphoric individuals. Alternatives such as Equitas Health are proving to be life saving medical providers for the LGBTQ community if you are lucky enough to live near one of their offices in the Midwestern United States.

Now, let's go back to another major service the VA provides for transgender veterans...mental health care. Again, from the comments I receive, the care a vet receives varies widely from VA center to center. As I have previously written my original therapist at the VA has been with me all the way and has been completely sympathetic and proactive to my needs. Of course HRT meds come to mind but there was so much more such as providing paperwork to help with name and gender changes within and out of the system. 

Plus, even though I had to educate my initial endocrinologists, my current "Endo" is also a wonderful provider who monitors and takes care of my needs. 

Through all of this, I hoped I would be the rule, not the exception. But from many of the comments I receive I am afraid I am not. it is too late to cry over spilled estrogen when you are 72. Sure, such as many of you I wish I had worked my way out of cross dressing and into a transgender life much earlier than I did. It seemed my gender crystal ball was a bit cloudy and the life I so meticulously built and protected as a man was too good to give up. 

I hope your journey across the gender frontier has brought you to where you want to be. No matter the years it took you to get there and the experiences you had with your health care.



Saturday, January 15, 2022

It's Playoff Time

 As I have written about previously, football is a big deal around here  Statewide people are fans of The Ohio State Buckeyes while here in Cincinnati, this year was a big year for the Cincinnati Bearcats who made it to the college football playoffs and the professional Cincinnati Bengals who have one of the youngest teams in this years NFL playoffs. 

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

All of this brings me to a long ago evening when I was invited as my authentic self to attend a NFL Monday Night Football game with friends. Even though I was shocked at the invitation, I hitched up my big girl panties and said yes. 

Of course saying yes was the easiest thing I could do. Then I had to figure out what I was going to wear and immediately what I was going to do about rest room usage. Keep in mind this all happened a couple decades ago when I was very much a novice at navigating the world as a transgender woman. I envisioned being called out at every turn for being a cross dresser. 

Back in those days also, I was still wearing wigs. I needed to take care to wear one wig which my hosts had seen me in the most. I chose one plus one of my Bengals jerseys. To be sure not so feminine but it would be worn under my jacket anyhow. 

All too soon, it was game time and we were making the hours drive to the game. Once we arrived and unsavory as it was, I decided to stop and use one of the parking lot portable toilets. Quickly I took care of business adjusted my wig and hoped for the best. 

My first test came as we approached the stadium and needed to be "checked in" by a security person before they took our tickets. For some reason, I was comforted when I was checked in by another woman. It helped when she smiled and told me she hoped I enjoyed the game because I was close to being in total panic mode. Somehow I maintained as we stopped for a adult beverage and made our way to our seats. As we sat down, the stadium was still filling up so I couldn't get a read on who was going to be sitting close to us. The last thing I needed was a redneck fan sitting next to or close to me . My impostor transgender syndrome was in full swing. I felt insecure enough when the television field camera seemed to stop and focus on me. Finally I managed to stop all the paranoia and enjoy the game. 

Sadly but predictably, my team lost and the person who invited me along won. So I had to put up with a little abuse but overall the game went off fine. I didn't get "clocked" as a man in women's clothes and outside of a few glances nothing happened. I even braved the long line to the women's room and again took care of business in a better environment than the portable toilet in the parking lot. 

The whole experience was totally amazing and I still remain in contact with the woman and her daughter who invited me. Even more amazing was the fact they accepted me so totally as my authentic self. 

I owe them so much more than I can ever say and you might ask how did I meet them. The daughter was a bartender in a sports bar venue I became a regular in as I started to explore the feminine world. She would eventually introduce me to her Mom. The rest as they say, is history. So the whole meetup was sheer destiny,  

You may also ask if I have ever been back to another game. The answer is no not football but yes I have been to professional baseball games. The biggest reason now is not because I am transgender, It is because of my increasingly poor mobility. I am starting the process to securing a handicap  placard and since Liz wants to go to her first The Ohio State Buckeye football game next year, maybe we will be able to do it.

In the meantime...GO Cincinnati Bengals!


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Therapy

Approximately every two weeks I have my scheduled appointment with my Veteran's Administration therapist. Over the years I have drastically changed my expectations of therapy.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Many years ago when I visited my first therapists I thought they would be some sort of a mind reader or on the other hand, I would be paying another person to talk about me for an hour. My very first visit to a therapist is difficult to remember.  It was so long ago in the 1980's. What I do recall is he seemingly refused to take me seriously about any desires I may have to dress or act in a feminine nature. The only thing I got from him were my first mind altering meds, without much explanation of why I was supposed to take them. Needless to say, it was one and done with him.

Several years later when my wife and I lived in Southeastern Ohio (near the Ohio River) I was compelled to seek out the services of another therapist. At the time I had learned of her from other attendees at several of the transvestite and/or crossdresser mixers I went to in Columbus, Ohio. An example of how rare the therapist was she was known as one of the only psychiatrists in the state who knew anything at all about gender issues. 

As it turned out, I decided to make an appointment for all the wrong reasons. At the time I was really dealing with my gender dysphoria and it was winning the battle. I bounced between extreme depression and euphoria. Of course the only way I thought I had to cope was to cross dress as a woman, ignore the deal I made with my wife not to be seen in public and go out anyway. Predictably I was eventually caught sneaking out and yet another bad fight broke out between us. So, getting caught motivated me to seek help and supposedly save our relationship.

The gender therapist's office as I wrote took me an hour to drive one way, was expensive but was very worth it. After I described my terrible mood swings and cross dressing she told me there was nothing she could do to change my desire to dress as a woman but there was something she could do about my mood. For the first time in my life I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. At least part of my life made sense and again I was prescribed medications that actually worked. Armed with this knowledge I felt better and headed home. 

Unfortunately, similar to so many other times in my life and even though my moods had evened out, I couldn't stay true to my word and kept leaving the house unattended. The gender therapist was right, she or no one could sway my increasing desire to discover a feminine lifestyle.

By now, many of you know my wife and I actually stayed together for twenty five years until her sudden death from a heart attack. Her passing tragically opened the doors wide open to attempt a final journey over the gender frontier.  

In order to do this, I chose the Veterans Administration health care system. In order to be accepted in the hormone replacement therapy program I had to be seen and approved by a therapist. The potential problem I saw was having my bi-polar status hurt the whole process. After all, being bi-polar didn't have anything to do with me being transgender but I was paranoid someone else may not think so.

At the time, I didn't know how fortunate I was to be assigned to the therapist I was. She understood both of my issues were separate and even had knowledge of the gender issues I was experiencing. No education on my end needed! 

The best part of the experience is we still meet after all these years.     

Monday, January 10, 2022

No Days Off

 Yesterday I took a rare day off from all my blogging activities. It was one of the few days I couldn't come up with anything to write about in the cluttered transgender universe which is my mind. Today as I retrieved and turned on the old lap top (I knock on wood every morning when it comes on.) and proceeded to come up with a new post. 

Cluttered Office=Cluttered Mind?

Writing for me is either a labor of love or a real chore. I compare the whole process to the early days when I was exploring the world as my true feminine self. Many days I would feel so confident and good. Other days, the process was not so seamless. It felt like everytime I turned around something was going wrong. An example was the day I was (in my mind) proudly negotiating a mall in my dress, heels and hose when I promptly stepped into a crack in the sidewalk. Needless to say I didn't feel very feminine as I almost fell and had to retrieve my shoe. Fortunately no one else seemed to notice and I learned another valuable lesson. Watch where I am going and not so much on the publics' reaction to me. 

Another discovery I made was learning I could never take a day off from the feminization process I was slowly but surely going through. Unfortunately, the whole process made me a very difficult person to live with or work for during what I called my "down" days when I couldn't cross dress as my true self. Between battling my bi-polar behavior and gender dysphoria, life was no fun. Still I kept going spurred on by working way to hard all the way to changing jobs and moving to different places. Another prime example was when my wife and I moved from one part of Ohio to metro NYC then back again, only to move to  a very rural area of Southeastern Ohio to open restaurants. I learned the hard way no amount of frenetic moving and changing could solve my basic problems. Plus, I won't even m mention the amount of heavy drinking I did to self medicate my problem.

Along the way, I always considered myself to be a competent but deeply flawed person. Looking back now I see taking any days off from my issues would be impossible until I "manned up" and faced them like a woman. Which is exactly what my wife told me to do. Instead I blundered ahead until I tried suicide. It turned out I even screwed that up and went to work the next day like nothing happened. Looking back of course, I am glad self harm didn't work for me. 

What did work was finally realizing my inner feminine self was the dominate portion of my being. Once I let her live was when I could relax, build a new life as a transgender woman and take a day off...from myself.  


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Transgender Validation

 The power of gender validation is strong. Especially after we take on all the intense work and struggle to cross the binary gender frontier. For most transgender women and trans men validation is difficult to achieve as we attempt to live a new life as our authentic selves. In the past I have attempted to document my struggles with validation. 

Looking back, I suppose it all started with my earliest days of cross dressing in front of the hallway mirror growing up. Unlike girls of my age bracket, I didn't have any feedback. Except from the mirror.

Mirror Photo
Source Cyrsti Hart

Which I discovered later wasn't the best choice. The mirror was excellent in telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. Not what was really happening. A tendency which would cause me tons of pain as the years progressed.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I made in the validation process was getting past the idea women primarily don't dress themselves with men in mind. They dress for other women. As I began to understand the feminine validation process, I started to grow up mentally and began to dress to blend. My "style" shifted from borderline trashy into my beloved "boho" style which was coming back into fashion. I was able to relive a portion of my youth and still have the style to blend into the public's eye. This included upgrading my ill fitting clownish wigs into more expensive but presentable hair. Once I did all of this, I was able to achieve a feminine presentation which allowed me to explore the world as a woman without getting laughed at. 

At this point of my validation process was when I gained the nuances of gender communication. Of course I always knew women and men communicated differently but I didn't realize how much until I started to communicate one on one with other women on a regular basis. Many stereotypes were true. For example men really don't listen to women who communicate on a totally different plane than men. With my gender background I carried so many biases with me. For example, I knew many of the men I knew only looked at women on a sexual level and rarely paid any attention on a professional or intellectual level. Even still I wasn't prepared for the immediate gender rejection I experienced when I attempted to interact with a man.

My very first experience I remember was when my car suffered an untimely breakdown. As I waited for a tow truck of course I was "helped" out by a well meaning policeman. Fortunately, it didn't take long for the tow truck to arrive and the cop and tow driver got together on the best route to get my car home. Amazingly neither of them wanted to listen to my directions! I guess living there wasn't good enough. Finally as I rode back in the front of the tow truck, my perceived lack of intelligence presented itself again and again. As the driver painstakingly described his truck I finally dumbed down to asking the most basic questions. It turned out this experience was one of many as I explored being validated as a woman from men.

Women were much easier. As I quickly accepted, learned and ultimately enjoyed my new communication roles  my confidence grew as well as my validation . Most of it occurred when I learned non verbal communication skills women use.

Looking back at the transgender validation  process, it was a long experience to jump from the mirror to the world. But, it was worth it. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Another Transgender Icon Passes On

 April Ashley, a transgender woman who was reportedly one of the first British women to undergo gender confirmation surgery and also the first known trans woman ever to appear in Vogue magazine, died recently. She was 86 years old.

Born in 1935 to a working-class family in Liverpool, she enlisted in the merchant marines in her teenage years. She then spent time in a psychiatric unit after numerous suicide attempts.


At age 20, she moved to London and then Paris where she performed at the queer and drag venue Le Carrousel nightclub. There, she gradually saved money to eventually undergo gender confirmation surgery in Casablanca, Morocco.

She chose the first name, April, because it was her birth month. She chose her surname, Ashley, after Ashley Wilkes, an anti-war and pro-abolition character in the book and film “Gone With the Wind” whose life dramatically changes following the U.S. Civil War.

Upon returning to England, she received government ID documents — like a driver’s license and passport — that identified her as female. She later appeared in Vogue magazine and appeared in films such as “Road to Hong Kong.” In that film, she appeared alongside big-name stars like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Joan Collins.

A true transgender pioneer is gone.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Addiction?

 Many years ago I struggled to think my cross dressing  urges were just a harmless way of expressing myself, even to the point of referring to it as a hobby (to myself). There was no way I was going to tell anyone else of my hobby without subjecting myself to ridicule, or worse. As the years went by I outgrew my idea of wearing women's clothes as being any sort of a hobby. My love of sports and model railroading were hobbies. Attempting to develop my feminine self the best I could became an increasingly serious pursuit.

By that time in my life as I entered my college years, I began to wonder if my crossdressing urges were more of an addiction. The reason being was because when I took the time and effort to dress I would automatically feel better for several days. What I didn't realize was I was feeling natural for a change when I was aligning my feminine side with my external appearance. 

Photo Courtesy: Cyrsti Hart

Along the way I received a clue from the first gender therapist I went to. She bluntly told me I would never totally lose my transvestite urges. (Remember that word?) To me it meant the path I was on had nothing to do with being addicted to wearing women's clothes. The whole process provided me with one answer but in turn sent me on another path searching for answers. 

For what ever reason as the years flew by I couldn't face the fact I was living a lie as I tried as hard as I could to be a macho man. The only addictions I was living through were the stresses my severe gender dysphoria was causing me  and the extreme amount of alcohol I was consuming to to outrun all my urges.

I was very fortunate in that all of my excesses which led to thoughts of self harm didn't kill me. In fact, one of the reasons I decided to write about my life was in hope others could learn from it. Another way of saying I/you were there too and could make it out of the closet and into the world.

Finally after years of struggle I figured out the only addiction I had was holding on as long as I did to my white male privilege.  Once I let it all go it was similar to taking a heavy weight from my shoulders. Very few people were around to witness my gender transgender transition but the ones who did mentioned how much happier I was. 

I am fond of saying I was a crossdresser for a half a century before I could get it through my thick noggin what my problem was. At that point I started hormone replacement therapy and formed plans to live full time as my authentic feminine self. 

I guess you can say I am still addicted...to my estrogen patches. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Toxic Femininity

 These days it seems, toxic masculinity gets all the press and it should but on the other hand does toxic femininity exist also? What form/forms does it take? 

I have always thought women have as much ego as men. Of course it just manifests itself different. I go way back to the "A" list crossdressers I met at the coming out mixers I attended. They were always huddled in their little clique and reminded me of the cheerleader types in the high school I went to. Later on I would refer to individuals such as them as "trans nazi's" They valued their self worth by the number of operations they had undertaken to secure their "trans-ness." Seemingly the trend has never totally gone away with the fairly recent wave of "I'm more Trans than you."

I used to think most of this had to do with a holdover affect from male competitiveness. An example would be since I can't out compete you in sports, I will mold myself into the most attractive woman I can.

I'm sure you all have known those women who seem to grow older gracefully and a few of them who didn't. My very own Mom had a difficult time with the graceful aging process. Some attribute the process to a hormonal balance. After menopause women have a tendency to experience a lowering of their estrogen levels which leads to a higher testosterone level. Obviously I am not an expert so it's just another theory. 

Another reason for toxic femininity could be that women operate on more of a layered existence than men. Families, kids and boys/men play a big part in a woman's ego. It's one of the reasons marriages are less likely to survive when the husband decides to transition into a woman. All of a sudden the wife does not have a spouse but now has a competitor. What will she ever tell her friends. Then again, I have known cis women in my life who have never gotten along with other women. For whatever reason. I have also met "TERFS" who have taken it upon themselves to be feminine gatekeepers and keep me from their world. 

There have been times when I wish I had one super power. I wish I could know what other women think of me when they meet my eye and glare. Sure, perhaps they are transphobic and dislike me or do they consider me competition. One night, I ran smack into a gaggle of cis women in a rest room in downtown Cincinnati. Even though the venue was heavily straight, it also advertised it's

Photo Courtesy 
Cyrsti Hart

pro LGBTQ stance, so I wasn't expecting any pushback when I used the supposedly female only space (which wasn't). One woman in particular glared at me as I went into the stall to complete the reason for my visit. As I followed restroom etiquette to a fault, I paused to wash my hands and quickly check my hair and makeup. The funny part happened when I had to dry my hands and the woman who glared at me was standing very close to the air powered hand dryer. As she glared again, it gave me great pleasure to push the button and rearrange her hair. Getting the last laugh was fun.

Even though toxic masculinity takes a more evil and often violent form, toxic femininity exists too on a different level. Unfortunately it takes a trip or two into the girls sandbox to experience it. My disclaimer is toxic masculinity can kill you. More on that in another post.  Be careful on both fronts.