Showing posts with label hormones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hormones. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2024

Finding your Happy Place

From the Jessie Hart Archives 

 As a transgender woman or trans man, it is often very difficult to find your happy place.

A happy place can often be called gender euphoria for all of us who suffer from gender dysphoria. If you don't know, dysphoria is the often evil process of hating the gender you were born in. After all these  years, I still dread the first look in the mirror every morning. Who will I see looking back? My same old masculine self, or a femininized version of him. Some mornings I land in my happy place and others I don't. I usually settle on a middle point until I am done with the mirror.  On occasion too, I suffer from having an impostor syndrome. When I think do I even belong here at all. Happily, the syndrome goes now away quickly because I know I have earned my place as a transgender woman.

Earning my place was never easy as I never inherited any feminine characteristics to start with. What I did have was a testosterone damaged body to work with. The only positives I had to work with were the compliments I received  on my freshly shaven legs at Halloween parties.  Then I had the tendency to overdue it when I explored feminine fashion. I thought I should emphasize my positives such as my legs and at the same time play down my body negatives such as a thick torso. All of it led to massive fashion mistakes before I learned to dress to blend in with the other women I encountered in public. I lived through all of those and found a happy place I could live with.

Around this time was when my happy place location started to change and move around. It shifted from appearance only into a personality based place. Mainly because, suddenly I was closely interacting with the public as a trans woman. It all meant so much more to me than my days as a casual cross dresser. All I know was I was up to the challenge and enjoyed my new happy place everytime it presented itself to me. Outside of a few instances of impostor syndrome, I was learning more and more I could indeed live my dream of being a transgender woman in the world. It turned out my happy place did exist in the feminine world and more and more I wanted out of my old boring male existence. 

Still I had a lot of climbing to do to rid myself of the old baggage I needed to lose to transition. I wondered at the time what I would do about everything I loved in life such as my daughter, (hobbies such as sports) and what was left of my business. It turned out destiny took it's own course with my baggage. My daughter supported me completely while my brother rejected me, so I was the recipient of the best part of the deal. As far as my business went, it mercifully closed due to a weakened economy and other factors, leaving me close to having an early retirement. As far as hobbies went, ironically I found a group of women who were as passionate as I was about sports, so I had friends to watch our favorite games with. So as you can tell, outside of the obvious gender issues, I was able to restart my happy place without a whole lot of extra effort. 

When I found my new happy place, it felt so natural I wondered why I did not pursue it earlier. I know early on I was into my appearance as a woman completely and often missed the basics of movement and communication to further my femininity. It turned out I did not have to worry because the deeper I delved into my new life, the more fluid and natural I became. Practice made perfect in so many ways along with the fact I became secure into who I was. When I did, I didn't care what others thought of me and my confidence as a trans woman increased.

It turned out, destiny took it's time but ultimately led me the right direction.    

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Back from the Brink

Picnic with my wife Liz on right. 
 

As I changed out my estrogen patches this morning, I thought about how far back from the brink I have come over the years towards my dream of becoming a full time transgender woman. 

Along the way, it became evident to me I needed to streamline my life If I was ever going to succeed in my goals. I carried way too much old male baggage with me and if I ever expected to actually to succeed, I needed to determine what I needed to leave behind. Since I was attempting a later aged MtF transition, I had a truck load of baggage to consider such as family, friends, employment etc. As it turned out, I received an even break with my family as I retained my daughter in my life but lost my brother along with his extended red-neck family. So, I considered I did well, all things considered. As far as close friends went, I never made many which probably due to the fact I always thought someday I would have to disclose my gender issues to them. But first, I needed to be truthful to myself and realize my dreams went far beyond just looking and cross dressing as a woman. I wanted to be one, a huge difference when it came to telling another person. 

My issue with telling other friends became a non issue when sadly, most of my other close friends passed away. Leaving me on the brink by myself and looking down a very steep gender cliff. During this time, the pressure was continually building to make a decision on how my life was to be lived. Would the status-quo be good enough to get by, or did I need to make a radical change and hope for the better. By this time also, my second wife had passed away, leaving me with no real relationship obstacle to hurdle. Essentially, I had free reign to do as I pleased. If I wanted to take my feminine self to a downtown festival or an outdoor concert I did it.  The whole process helped my to decide my gender future as I continued to feel so natural. Even though I was on the brink.

In the meantime, I was slowly shedding as much of my old male baggage as I could. If I could help it, I never bought any male clothes as I expanded my feminine wardrobe. If and when I stood on the brink of my cliff, I wanted to look as feminized as possible. It worked as I was able to interact in a whole new world to me. 

Eventually, what happened , my new friends shoved me off of my brink and at the same time provided me a safe, soft landing. They took me at face value as a transgender woman and did not want to know anything about my male past, so I was happy beyond belief, I couldn't figure out why I had such good fortune but could only surmise it was because of all of the years of gender struggle I spent getting to the brink. My world was finally coming full circle.

I also need to mention women such as Kim, my wife Liz and my therapist Dr. "C" who helped me negotiate me coming back from my brink. Plus, as I write this, I realize I never came back from the brink, I made my way through it. 

Even still, being at the brink for all those years was  the mental challenge of a lifetime and without all the help I received from the women around me, I am not so sure I would have made it. Or, at the least I would have been a different person today.  

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Gender Truth

 

Image from Oksana Manyich on UnSplash


It took nearly a half a century for me to come to terms with my gender truths. Mainly, what I was into was so much more than a casual approach to cross dressing. 

My first clues came when I learned the hard way just briefly looking like a girl in front of a mirror just wasn't good enough. I needed to do more and more to try to discover my gender truth. I even went as far as waterproofing a small collection of girls fashions and makeup in a nearby woods where we lived so I could be alone when I cross dressed. I even was able to move around and enjoy the outside air on my body. 

In the long term, discovering my gender truth was mainly a case of following all the clues. I already mentioned clue number one when I never could seem to be satisfied with being locked in my gender closet when all the women around me seemed to get all the benefits of society. It wasn't until much later when I found that wasn't true and men actually had many privileges in society which women never had. Regardless, I wanted so much not to be the chaser and wanted a girl to chase me instead. Plus there was the Vietnam War draft which hung over my life for years and years and threatened to destroy everything I had worked for so far. I felt it was so unfair girls never had to worry about a draft disrupting their lives. 

It was during this time in my life when I learned what it was really going to take to cover up and hide my gender truth. I resorted to the stereotypical male response to emotions and became very good at holding most all of my gender truths in. The only slip up I had was when I convinced my fiancé in college to dress me head to toe as a woman one day at a motel room I rented. It was a move I came to regret several times in the future when she began to hold the entire experience against me. Even to the point of pushing me to tell the draft board I was gay to gain an exemption. Which I never did. Even way back then, I knew my sexuality had nothing to do with my gender truth. I just did not know how to express it.

I took many more years before I could even come close to escaping my gender closet and admit to myself what was wrong with me. Even my second wife who fought with me over my rapidly increasing fondness for a transgender diagnosis for what I was feeling, told me to just get it over with and come out. Sadly, I didn't take her advice and still tried my best to fight my gender truth. I ended up making both of us miserable in the process before she passed away.

At that point, I had very little to hold me back and even I began to realize perhaps I could live my gender truth and live full-time as a transgender woman. For the first time since the Army, approximately forty years previous, I didn't have a spouse or woman in my life to deal with. So it was time for my inner woman to finally have her chance at life. Following the huge relief of finally making the decision to transition, I began femininizing hormones and never looked back.

It turned out, it was all my fault for not realizing the truth all those years. Once I was able to live my gender truth, life became livable again.  Nothing was wrong with me. I just chose the wrong path. 

  

Sunday, February 18, 2024

You Can't Buy Love

Image from the 
Jessie Hart Archives


 One of the first lessons I learned when I was first brave enough to date girls was spending more money equaled to more dates with certain girls. Sadly, the plainer the girl, the less potential spending was going to happen. When I flipped my gender, I found out how evil it was.

As a transgender woman, I was or am not the prettiest woman in the room. As such, I never managed to have many dating interactions with men who most of which just saw me as some fetish object. They wanted the first date to be a motel room. I drew the line at any sketchy first dates and demanded a meeting in a public place of my choice. What happened then was a predictable amount of being stood up on possible dates. While I did have a couple meaningful dates with men, often they were unscripted moments in the regular venues I went to often. One night in particular happened with a man called Bob who treated me completely as a woman and I loved it. He lived far away and was married so there was no chance at any further involvement. 

Through that period of my life I was questioning my sexuality also so any dates with men added to my possible knowledge. The farthest I ever went was very brief episodes of heavy petting or making out. From it all, I learned I still preferred the attention and company of women. With the help of a few female friends I learned the meaning of what it meant to be to be a transgender lesbian. In order to do it, I found I didn't have to have a lot of money spent on me to be happy. I was more into spending more money on my feminine self to attempt to improve my public's appearance. I ended up saving every extra penny I had to buy that next extra wig I didn't really need to be more attractive than ever before. At least in my mind. As I acquired more fashion and makeup, slowly but surely was acquiring more acquaintances to try my new fashion out on.   

Which leads me to another woman I don't mention much anymore who is Amy. Amy is the woman who recommended me practice with a banana to get ready for my intimate moments with men. So as you can tell she wasn't shy. One day in particular  with her comes to mind when she invited me over to her house for a spaghetti dinner with friends. I didn't really ask who else was coming, I jumped at the chance to enjoy a home made dinner. Fashion wise, Amy had only seen me in my short denim skirt days, so I decided to wear one over to her house again not thinking who else would be there. It turned out she also invited two men so the group included a cis woman, a transgender woman and two men who were seemingly ill at ease with me. I made the decision to join Amy in the kitchen and serve the men their delicious Italian dinner. I decided if the men were going to be ill at ease with me, I wasn't . I enjoyed the meal, helped clean up the mess, stopped to socialize with Amy and left the men behind. Just another learning experience.

I finally was able to slow down on expenditures on fashion and makeup and spend more on my personal interactions. My experience with dealing with both sides of the binary gender spectrum helped me to truly understand what buying love really meant. I understood both genders often expect intimacy in return for how much money you spend. The last woman I ever dated me as a man suggested to me we go to an expensive steakhouse for food before our first date. I politely saw through what she was up to and declined and we went to a more reasonably priced venue of my choice. Probably dooming our relationship from the beginning. She was quite attractive and a diva to begin with so I figured she thought she could do better than me and our brief fling ended after three or four dates.

Since we live in a money driven society, buying love is hard to do and even more difficult to resist as a transgender woman.  

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Labels

 

Coccinelle, early transsexual woman

As a long time transgender woman, I have seen my share of different labels coming and going over the years.

The first one was the declining use of the word transvestite. I remember the days when there were very much only two labels you could use to describe yourself,  If you cross dressed in the clothes of the opposite gender, you were a transvestite and if you desired a sex change (as it was known then) you were a transsexual. Over the years, the sex change terminology went through it's own changes, As I remember, the sex change became known as gender reassignment surgery. Then gender realignment surgery. All these labels lead to the same result. As most labels seem to do in the LGBTQA+ community.

While we are on the subject of the LGBTQA+ letters, the expansion of the letters themselves needs mentioning. As our community expanded and the knowledge of the overall gender spectrum expanded, more letters needed to be added to the initial LGBT letters. To include more people the abbreviation was expanded to include more than the initial, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. At that time the queer or questioning was included plus the "A" which stands for Asexual and/or Ally. I guess the plus just stands for any more possible additions in the future.

Way back when, transgender wasn't even a term at all and even though it is rumored Virginia Prince (transvestite pioneer) was the first to use the term, it's true history is murky.  The best history I could find is transgender (or it's shortened trans term) first appeared in the 1950's and 1960's. I only know I started to be aware of the term in the 1970's. The whole process meant so much to me because all of a sudden I had a term or label which applied to me since I knew I was much more than a cross dresser and not as much as a transsexual. The perfect fit for my gender questioning mind. So I adopted it as my own.

These days, labels seem to change as fast as the world around us. The word transgender sadly has been made infamous by all the political attacks' against it. In the same way, LGBTQ+ has been popularized also when associated with the unfortunate uproar over the trans situations. Yet another change has recently been updated also. Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is now known as gender affirming  hormones.   

Of course the bottom line is all these terms are nothing more than labels which often lead to confusion all the way to altercations. Especially in the transgender community when people start to think they are more trans than someone else. It all comes at a crucial time when we all have to stay together to present an unified front to the world.

Through it all, if you are into the increasingly complex world of labels, I hope you have found one which fits you. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Testosterone Challenged



Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives



Recently it was time to take our car into the shop for an oil change. When I learned I needed to accomplish such a simple task on my own (with no help from my wife Liz), my anxiety level began to rise up. 

All my anxiety stems from my early upbringing when I was struggling to find my footing at all as a male type person. On a fairly regular basis, my brother and I would accompany my Dad when he visited his best friend who happened to own and operate a auto salvage yard. For better or worse, my brother and I got to see so-called pet alligators all the way to dynamiting ponds and salvaging the fish which floated to the top. to eat.

On occasion, the experiences were fun but at other times I was wondering how I could ever break out of my well hidden feminine tendencies and be a man in the mold of my Dad who was in many ways a man who fit the stereotype of a self made man. He rose from struggling through the depression to become vice president of a bank and building his own house. I never came out to him during his life. I forever grew up in his shadow and always experienced huge doses of anxiety when I needed to participate in any male-centric activities. Which included going to any sort of auto parts stores. 

Which brings me back to my oil change experience. My basic problem was I thought I could have been taken advantage of since I am a transgender woman. 

The staff at the place was predictably all male and the testosterone level was very high and yes I was intimidated but I survived. It turned out the only major questions I needed to answer or respond to were how to open the hood, turn on the lights and operate the turn signals. Outside of not knowing where the hood opener was, I didn't have any major problems. Very soon, they were finished and I was on my way. No worse for wear from the extra testosterone I had to experience.  As with anything else, the build up to the event itself was much worse than going through it. I have a colonoscopy coming up in approximately one week and I know the build up would be much worse than the procedure itself. The biggest problem I had the last time I went through it was being miss-gendered by the staff. Hopefully by this time the staff will be more progressive and I won't have to put up with that this time.

Since the staff who dealt with me last time was all female, I hope they recognize my testosterone level is as low as theirs and my appearance is only damaged by an unwanted male puberty I went through.  Plus as I look at it now, the biggest problem I may face is having another sizeable polyp which would have to be removed and I receive a clean bill of health. Health, after all is everything and miss-gendering is ignorance. 

Through it all, I am sure my testosterone didn't increase and I survived my anxiety level went back to normal so I am satisfied.   

Monday, December 18, 2023

Having Fun????

 

Image from Jarritos Mexican Soda 
on UnSplash

Depending upon which label you use, transgender or cross dresser, when you reached the heights of dressing yourself as a woman, did you ever feel as if you were having fun?

I guess before you can answer the question, you have to define what fun is to you. To start I went to a popular well known source for an answer and it said whatever provides amusement or enjoyment. At that point I began to think at what point did I achieve either amusement or enjoyment. Although I couldn't remember many times I was amused with my life as a serious cross dresser or novice transgender woman, there were plenty of times I enjoyed myself. Even though many moments of gender euphoria were rare. However rare, there were enough moments to encourage me to move forward in the world I wanted to create for myself. 

There were many times my old male self filled in the blank spots in my life as he always did. To him, he rarely enjoyed anything and was amused by less than that. I can blame my parents on how I was raised to feel nothing was ever good enough, I could always do better. There was never time allowed for fun or enjoyment when I was moving on to the next thing.  My male life carried over to my earliest cross dressing days when I always thought my next outfit or wig would allow me to present better the next time I went out into the public's eye as a feminine person. Even on the rare times I was successful in my transgender quest, I never allowed myself a moment of fun. 

During that period of my life, like most people, I thought I would never be old and wrinkled and my idea of having fun would change. Even though, unexpectedly, the introduction of estrogen based hormones into my system plus the blessing of good genetics, allowed me to continue the partying lifestyle much longer after I should, sooner more than later I needed to calm down. In order to save my body the best I could, I needed to cut back nearly entirely my alcohol consumption. On the other hand, as I reached my mid seventies in age, I needed to find activities to motivate my mind and body as I approached the end of my life. 

What I decided to do was continue to write the Cyrsti's Condo blog on two on line platforms now and on the other hand try to push my body to do more walking. Since my Dad began to give up on himself and retire to his easy chair later in life until dementia ultimately led to a very ugly death, I figured even though I couldn't enjoy the same aspects of life I didn't take the time to savor when I was younger, I try to set myself up for the future and enjoy what I have. Such as the rare accepting cohesive family I am so fortunate to have. I cherish the relationship I have had over the years with my wife Liz as well as my daughter Andrea. 

Even if I am not having fun as such, being able to lead a life as a fulltime transgender woman is special to me. I try to always remind myself how truly special it is to lead the life I do. 

It is always special to me that all of you take the time to stop and read my blog. It means so much to me and thank you.

  

Friday, December 15, 2023

Night Moves

 

Image From 
the Jessie Hart
Archives

With all respect and credit given to singer Bob Seger, one of the line in his "Night Moves" song particularly resonated with me. Seger sings about having a 1960 Chevy which I had one also. Plus, I even copied Seger's lead and made out with a girl in the back seat. 

Basically, the basis of the song has to do with his early learning relationships with girls. Other than the connection with the car, I immediately made another connection with me being a transgender woman. Since I had many years to live as a heterosexual man, I had big sexual questions to answer when it came to my future feminine life. 

At the time I was coming out, I had certain cis-women friends who automatically assumed I would move my sexuality with me into all of a sudden being attracted to men. I worried how my new sexuality would effect me because I knew gender was between the ears, or in the brain, and sex was between the legs. It turned the sexuality did not matter that much to me after all. 

In order to understand where my sexuality would ultimately end up I needed to work on my own night moves. Very quickly, I found out women would still be in my future. As it turned out, not only was I going out by myself as a woman in sports bar venues (which was hard enough), I was going out as a transgender woman. Which meant greater expectations of what my night moves could mean. Along the way, I attracted very few men but on the other hand, I was approached by more women than I had ever experienced in my life. Going out to be by myself was quickly proving to be more of a failed theory than a fact. The public, mostly women, wanted to interact with me.

Of course at that time, I wasn't looking for a sexual relationship of any sort, so I didn't have any night moves at all to work on. Other than attempting to appear as presentable as I could. If I was approached by the rare man, I considered myself validated as a full fledged transgender woman. All the way to the times to I actually had dates with men. Plus there was a guy, if I had the time and would have put in the effort I could have seen myself going farther with him. The fact still remained I had no experience with flirting with a guy and all the experience flirting with another woman. 

By pure chance, all the cis-women who I became close to turned out to identify as lesbian. I think it happened for a couple of key reasons. The first of which was curiosity. The women were all curious why I wanted in their world at all. The second is I was still a mixture of some sort of a hybrid gendered man. I was certainly more mellow than any man they ever met and never made any sexual advances to speak of. I worked hard to not be the guy I didn't ever like. 

Embarking on hormones very much did away with any sexual advances I could ever consider as a so-called normal man. My doctor who initially prescribed my HRT told me was I OK with losing any sexual contact I had previously enjoyed. It didn't bother me because when I had sex with a woman, I always imagined I was a woman too.

I guess you could say since I was too shy to start dating until later in high school, I didn't have much experience with many night moves at all. What I did have was with women and it turned out it was all I needed. 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Supporting Cast

I'm on left with Nikki and Kim
on right.


There was no way I could have pursued my male to female gender transition as quickly and as thoroughly as I did without help from my women friends. 

Having said that, it is important to note I had already made it to the point in my transition when I could present rather well as a woman in public. In other words, I had paid my dues learning to dress to blend with other women in the venues I frequented. When I went to upscale malls, I went with my nicest professional business woman attire and then I would wear my jeans, boots and sweaters going to my sports bars or lesbian bars. To me at the time, the entire process was great fun and presented me with yet another facet of being feminine. 

After I had learned from all of my mistakes (or most of them), I was able to learn so much more about going even further towards my dream goal of living as a full time transgender woman. By pure chance I ran into two other women in the sports bars I was frequenting and we became fast friends. One of the main things I learned was I didn't need a man to validate my existence as a transgender woman because my two friends just happened to be lesbians.  Along the way, we drank a lot of beer, cheered on our favorite sports teams and had a great time. I think the evening I remember the most was when I was asked to be Nikki's wing person when she was trying to get a conversation started with another woman she admired. I agreed to try If you are wondering, I failed at my attempt to set Nikki up for success. It turned out to be my only attempt ever to act as a wing person at a lesbian mixer. All of that happened back in 2015.

Of course too, there was Liz who I met on a on-line dating site under "woman seeking woman" categories. She too identified as a lesbian, so I had quite a bit of experience on some of her thought patterns involving men. With her, my supporting cast just became stronger. At the time, I was in the last stages of still attempting to maintain some sense of having a male life. Very quickly, we formed a bond which included a first date to a drag show and a New Years Eve date when I first started my hormone replacement therapy medication. At the time, she very much sealed the deal on me transitioning further. I knew I was on the right path. 

I kept on putting off going full-time as a transgender woman long enough until Liz finally told me she didn't see any male in me at all and why didn't I leave him behind. I did and started a ten year relationship which culminated just over a year ago with us getting married. Throughout the years, she has been my supporting cast.

Plus I can't forget my daughter's input on my life. She has accepted me from day one. Even to the point of giving me my first hair styling appointment to her salon for my birthday. Which is a post for another time. 

To all of my supporting cast, I love you all.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

A-Ha Gender Moments

 

Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives

Since I have been fortunate enough to live a fairly long life, I have experienced several a-ha moments when it came to my all important gender needs. 

When I started my gender journey as a youth, even though for the most part I considered my desire to cross dress my boy self as a girl to be a fairly innocent hobby...unless I was caught. Looking back, I don't know how I managed to hide what I was doing. 

Perhaps my first a-ha moment came when I was able to save up enough of my own meager funds to buy my own makeup and pantyhose. Sure I was petrified but somehow I made it through and was emboldened to do more. The whole process was to set the stage for more gender adventures and a-ha moments or being scared to death but loving the feeling of success.  

A few of the biggest moments I mention quite often and I am sure I will remember them when if and when my life flashes in front of my eyes when I pass on to the other side. One was the night I decided I would make the effort to go out as a transgender woman and quit thinking of myself as a cross dresser. Knowing full well, there was nothing wrong with being a cross dresser, I just needed more since I was increasing how many times I was going out and the venues I was attempting to go to. On the night in question, I ended up in the parking lot of a nearby "Fridays" venue gathering my courage to go in. The end result was predictable as I was to discover later. I lived and was treated with respect. I had done so much more than just interacting with store clerks in the mall. 

The more a-ha moments I had, the more emboldened I was to try more. For the most part I was successful except when I tried a couple redneck venues where I was roundly rejected. I guess you could say I had different a-ha moments when I had the cops called on me. I learned the hard way and kept on trying. When I tried, I was able to find more success in my quest to see if I could live fulltime as a transgender woman. As I progressed, on occasion I was elated and couldn't stop thinking how I could fit in to the feminine world but other times when I thought of the enormity of what I was thinking of doing. My male self and wife were fighting me at every turn so life was not pleasant. 

As it turned out I out-lasted both of them and finally came to the conclusion I needed to transition fulltime into a world I had only had ever dreamed of. It was a huge a-ha moment and took a ton of pressure off of me. From there, it was a short jump to deciding if I should undertake hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT was yet another major moment of success. My body took to the new hormones as if I should have always been on them. 

The only problem I faced at that point in time was my feminine inner soul taking over my life. She had waited so long and proved time and time again she knew what to do if I would just trust her. 

As I near the age of seventy five, I am sure the a-ha moments maybe will be less numerous but more dramatic as I face the final hurdles of life. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

We Met in a Mirror

Image from Laura Chouette 
on UnSplash

Along the way I have vivid recollections of how I met most of the memorable cis (or natural born) women in my life. As it turned out, I married several of them. 

Perhaps the most important woman I met was myself when I glimpsed her for the first time in a full length mirror we had at home when I was growing up. All I really remember is the feeling of gender euphoria I felt. Something clicked mentally and I knew somehow, someway I needed to try to cross dress again and even do my best to perfect the image staring back at me. 

Over the years, the problem became I became too addicted to what the mirror was showing me. For as much as I loved playing in the mirror, I was to learn the hard way the whole process was a one way street. As I broke out of my gender closet and into the world, the public did not see me the same as the mirror did. Stares and laughter all too often followed me around during my earliest gender adventures as a novice cross dresser. 

Still I persisted and learned without the help of the women in my life. The only one who tried turned out to be a dismal failure. She was my fiancé from my college days and I talked her into dressing me head to toe as a woman. I say failure because after she was done, I did not see much improvement over my efforts. Plus, over time, she held my gender issues against me and even wanted me to tell the military I was gay to stay out of the Vietnam War. Something I never did and went off to serve my three years, away from her. Which was a real blessing from many angles. 

From there I stayed mostly single until my last year in the Army when I met my first wife who was in the Women's Army Corps, also stationed where I was in Germany. We stayed together after both of us discharged all the way to when we had my only child, a daughter. My first wife knew of and mostly accepted the fact I was a cross dresser before we were married and was never really bothered about it. During this time I was beginning to learn my new life was everything but living in a mirror. I was beginning to take on the world as my authentic self when I met my second wife.

I was working at a radio station in Ohio where we met and I just knew I had to divorce my first wife and be with her. She was so full of life and strong willed, I thought she might do me good and went all out to be with her. Through it all, she as my first wife knew I was a cross dresser and accepted it also. We were married for twenty five years until she passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of fifty. Till the day she died nothing changed about how she viewed my cross dressing but she firmly drew the line at no HRT hormones or for me going towards being a transgender woman at all. 

As I wrote in my post yesterday, I was between the rock and the hard place when if came to my transgender issues. I had taken the steps to firmly move out of the mirror and into the world. The mirror became the place where I just checked myself out every morning to see if I looked masculine or the least bit feminine. Most of the time setting off my gender dysphoria or despair. I finally came to the conclusion nothing was as bad as it seemed or as good as the mirror tried to tell me. I had come to the middle point I needed to meet in the mirror.   

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Why When How

Image from Simon Secci on
Unsplash

It's been awhile but every now and then someone asks me how I knew I was transgender. 

The question should be when did I accept the fact I always knew deep down but refused to accept...I was born to be feminine and could not rest until I achieved my goal. In fact, I tried to hide my goal from myself for the largest part of my life.

Even though I was forced to pursue such ultra macho activities such as playing sports, working on cars and completing my military obligations, I made it through. Like so many others, I was drafted into the Army but ended up serving three years instead of two to have a better chance of not going to Vietnam to war. I was honorably discharged in 1975 and would proceed to become a father for the first and only time in 1976. Through it all, I tried my best to ignore my biggest inner truth by trying to drink and run away from the fact I was transgender. 

When I gave my male self his best shot to succeed the more I became increasingly miserable. All the drunken nights did nothing to relieve my gender tension the next day. The only time it did help was when I came out to a close group of friends as a transvestite as a cross dresser was known back in those days. Fortunately for the rest of my Army "career" nobody outed me any further which would have resulted in an immediate dishonorable discharge.

As October and another Halloween is upon us, it is time to focus in on how important the day was to become to me. Halloween proved to be the beginning of my "when" on my path to coming out as a transgender woman. As I will pass along in future Cyrsti's Condo posts, I will detail how important Halloween became to me. In the meantime when started to become so real when I was thinking about my future and how it meshed with the possibility I was transgender. Even though I was working on the when, I still didn't have much of an idea of why I was facing my gender issues at all. At the time I was subjected to extreme bouts of gender dysphoria when sometimes the mirror showed me my old male self and others when it showed me glimpses of my inner feminine self. 

As I moved on, the "how" of what I was trying to accomplish began to weigh heavily on me. After all, I had a lot to potentially lose if I attempted a male to female gender transition. What about my family, friends and finances when my life faced such a radical change. To say the least, the how was very intimidating. What happened was the doors to change opened wide due to lifestyle changes I could in no way predict.

In the short space of two years, my second wife suddenly passed away. Since she was the major force in not starting hormone replacement therapy, I could now research if I could do it. Ironically, soon after I was approved health wise by a doctor, the Veterans' Administration healthcare system which I was a part of began to approve and administer hormones to trans veterans. As far as family went, my only daughter became my biggest ally while I lost all contact with my only brother. And the final how took care of itself when I was able to take advantage of early Social Security retirement. So I didn't have to worry about coming out at work. So almost all the why, when and how's were in place, except the why which I have never quite figured out to this day. Truthfully, I probably never will. 

The whole gender process was just something I was born with and should have come to grips with much earlier in life. If I did, I could have saved myself countless hours of stress and thoughts over why I had to be the one who was different. Once I arrived with the knowledge I was different, I embraced it all and moved on to a better future. 

Finally, I don't say it nearly enough but thanks to all of you who read and comment on all of my posts. Your participation makes it all worthwhile to me.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Confidnece

 

Image from the 
Jessie Hart Collection
Ohio River in Background

Perhaps the most important and the most fragile accessory we can add as a transgender woman or trans man is the confidence to be ourselves. Positivity gives us the power to move forward on our gender paths. 

In my case, confidence was hard earned and still remained very difficult to hold on to. The problem was it seemed as if every step I took forward as a novice cross dresser (or transvestite if you prefer), I would fall back two steps by doing something wrong. If I had the appearance of the presentation down perfect, then I would trip and fall in my heels which I was still attempting to learn how to walk in. To make a long story short, confidence was fleeting because this was the portion of my cross dressing life when I was still trying to dress too sexy and it turned out to be just trashy. I was learning the hard way to dress for other women, which allowed me to blend in and not cause unwanted attention.

When I arrived at the point when I began to effectively blend in, I became more grounded with my feminine presentation. When I did, I was able to gain more confidence and then attempt to communicate in the world as a transgender woman.  Sadly, my new found freedom was so fragile, I could lose it without much warning. I was always ready for pushback from the public. With someone laughing at me or worse yet inquiring which gender I really was. If the truth be known, I still feel the same way today. The difference is today, I am better situated mentally to take care of any attacks by a transphobe or a TERF. I know who I am and it is none of their business. 

In my overall presentation I think hormone replacement therapy has helped me greatly. The changes in my gender hormones over the years have helped me to change my way from the old unwanted male body I so disliked. My skin softened to the point my facial features became more feminine along with the rest of my body including the hair I have been able to grow. The whole process has enabled me to move with more confidence in the world. 

Speaking of more confidence, I recently saw a news story which said the Department of Defense or Pentagon was now going to make it easier for LGBT Veterans to have their less than desirable discharges reversed. Just having an Honorable Discharge is huge when it comes to being able to claim many veteran benefits and increases their confidence. Many of the discharges came during the ill-fated "Don't ask, Don't tell" military program. Hopefully many if not all of those who are trying to upgrade their discharges will be aided by this new program. I know my Veteran's Administration hospital has had an initiative to help LGBT vets upgrade their discharges for awhile now. 

My final VA ten week group session is coming up, so I should be able to find out more then. In the meantime, it is important to note confidence is earned not given. The more you live as your authentic gender self, hopefully the easier it becomes. Human's are like sharks and can smell blood in the water if anything is wrong. Just make sure you are not bleeding in the water and life will become easier.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Moving too Fast

 

Image from UnSplash

There were times during my transition when time moved so slow but then again other times went all too fast.

Most of the slow times involved the periods when I had to wait to cross dress again and again seeking precious small amounts of gender euphoria. I needed them to hold me over until the next time I could stare into the mirror and visualize my feminine self looking back. Improvements at the time were painfully slow. It seemed they only happened to just barely keeping me afloat in life. It turned out to be a decades long project to resurrect my true self which went into forced hiding many years before when I was a misunderstood youth. I was forced by society into being a boy when all I really wanted was to be a girl.

Sometimes I think I was fortunate to have survived the slow times in my life when I was so frustrated with my very limited chance to express myself. The very few chances I had were often dismal failures such as when I talked my fiancé into dressing me head to toe as a cross dressed woman. First of all, I didn't think she did that good of a job and the whole experience came back to haunt me when I entered the military. To satisfy her paranoia about me serving, she told me to tell the draft board I was gay. Nothing wrong with being gay but I wasn't and I was not ready to out myself to the world. So out she went. I was prepared to face a long slow three years in the military (Army) by myself. 

It turned out, the three years I served did go by very fast. I was able to experience different cultures when I was stationed in Thailand and Germany. I was even able to come out of my gender closet very briefly to let a few close friends into who I really was. Ultimately I owe the three years to allowing me to meet my first wife who is the mother of my daughter who accepts me totally and giving me the chance to utilize much needed Veterans Administration health care when my business failed and I needed it most. 

The period of time when I signed up with the VA which entitled me to low cost bi-polar medications  and ultimately my hormone replacement therapy was a blur. Not only was I going through a very dark period of my life when I was losing nearly everything, I was exploring an exciting but terrifying time of life when I seriously began to live finally as my transgender self. Initially I set out to live a isolated self as a novice trans person, it proved impossible. I had always been a social person when I left high school and I found I still craved human interaction. My interactions started innocently enough when I began to be recognized as a regular at several of the venues. From there destiny did the rest. One of the bartenders who always saw me by myself set me up with her Mom who I still know today. Another social contact happened one night when another woman sent me a note down the bar. 

At this time, my life began to speed up, I was learning more and more about what my new life could be like. The women I was with showed me so much and I always say , I owe them so much. Without their input, I would have taken literally years longer to achieve my goals of living as a transgender woman. There were times I thought I was moving too fast but eventually determined the feeling was just because my old male self was being threatened with losing everything he had worked so long to accomplish. 

Very quickly I did catch up and look back at that time of my life as one big blur but the outcome was wonderful. 

On another sidelight...it's nine eleven. Never forget!!!!!


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Gender Willpower

 

Image from the Jessie
Hart Collection

Over the years I made at least two major mis-conceptions and spent precious time attempting to over compensate. 

The first big one was I was a male to female cross dresser. When in reality, the opposite was true, I was a female to male cross dresser. I was forced into dressing like a guy to survive in a world I never really accepted. It took an enormous amount of willpower to maintain an image of being a well adjusted male in the world. Too much as a matter of fact. Every time I snuck around to build a  small collection of my own feminine wardrobe items and makeup, I would then build up the courage to "purge" (throw away) my stash and feel good for several days when I "manned up" and got the gender monkey off of my back. Sadly, most of you know what happened next. The gender pressure would build again and I would begin to rebuild my small wardrobe and makeup collection. If I didn't, I would become irritable and very nasty to live with as I attempted to make everyone around me as miserable as I was. 

The second major misconception I encountered was when I was much older and entered a phase called my "twin spirit" time. It was about this period of my life when I began to be exposed to a life source advanced by many of the ancient native tribes. Some of them believed and accepted multi gendered individuals. Some of them to the point of viewing them as special citizens in their tribes. At the time, I thought Wow! this is for me. The problem was later on I found I wasn't a true twin spirited person because all along I rejected my male side and was only influenced in the public's eye by the testosterone poisoning I had gone through. So on the outside, I looked the part of a total male.  Again I spent most of my time and gender willpower trying to fight the cards I was dealt as a transgender person.

Again and again I was stubborn and tried to "purge" my femininity out of my life. No matter how hard I tried, the results were still the same. In a short period of time I kept going back to the mirror and enjoying my cross dressed image. 

Finally, I left the mirror behind and became fairly proficient in being out in the public as a transgender woman. My willpower was beginning to shift from fighting my gender changes to one of acceptance. When I did, I was able to decrease the pressure I was putting on myself to conform to a male-centric life. The main discovery was I was correct  in  was when I thought deep down I was always born to be a girl and something went horribly wrong. When my willpower went to the positive side, I was able to build the life I was always destined for. 

In the end I realized gender willpower was always a powerful human emotion and one which is taken for granted from the majority of the population. Once I arrived at the place now on my own gender journey, I can now allow all of my willpower to send me in the right direction. To live out the rest of my life as a fulltime transgender woman. 

Monday, September 4, 2023

I'm More Trans than You???

 

Image from Alexander Grey
on UnSplash


How can that be? It shouldn't be but it's one of the many dividing points we face in the transgender community.

Plus, with all which has happened recently in our country with bigoted politicians we all need to stick together now as never before.

We also have to consider just how many factors go into considering why anyone would consider such a preposterous thought. It used to be surgeries were one of the dividing points over someone was more transgender than another. Years ago, Connie and I coined the term (probably not original) "Trans Nazi" for those who thought since we had not undergone extensive gender realignment surgeries, somehow we were not allowed to claim the term transgender. 

These days I feel as if the pressure to conform to being more transgender than anyone else is more involved with how you live. In other words, if you claim to be trans and don't live it on a daily basis in the public's eye, are you no more than a dedicated cross dresser. Repeating what I said in yesterday's post, gender doesn't come from what is between the legs, it comes from what is between the ears. Even though for whatever reason, the trans person just can't live everyday as their chosen authentic gender. Along the way, perhaps we have lost the perspective of the common point of what is was which brought us altogether. In the beginning perhaps we felt a need to feel somehow superior to other cross dressers because of appearance. I know I faced a superiority complex from a group of transvestites I referred to as the "A Listers". Sadly their beautiful appearances didn't carry over into their personalities. Most of the "A's" acted similar to the mean cheerleader types in high school. A few I knew did take the extra move to pursue surgeries to supposedly enhance their femininity and the rest I simply lost track of. 

These days I am stuck in some sort of a middle point in the argument of being more transgender than the next person. On one hand, I could put myself up on some sort of a fragile pedestal. On the other, I could feel the rejection from others because even though I live full time as a woman, surrounded by those who only see me as such, on the other hand, for whatever reason I have never undergone any gender surgeries. I am sure more than a few could consider me as no more than a glorified cross dresser. Or, as one reader pointed out so rudely years ago...just another old man on hormones. I found the comment to be humorous and if the truth be known there are very few people who I care what they say anyhow.

As precarious a position most transgender women or men find themselves these days with anti LGBT legislation, there is no time for petty bickering concerning who or who is not better situated to represent our community and should not be so segmented. We need everyone from those deep in the closet to those who have undergone genital realignment surgeries to understand their paths contribute to an important path to guide others. 

Being more transgender than someone else, simply should not exist for the welfare and advancement of us all. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Life Comes Fast

Image from Suraj Kardile 
on UnSplash

It seems like one moment you are a kid in a rural Ohio neighborhood and the next you are a senior citizen transgender woman. 

Life comes at you very fast. Sometimes extra fast if you are attempting to learn to live as your authentic self. Sometimes it seems the more you do to further your gender goals. A prime example would be when you have achieved a spot where you can present as a trans woman who can blend in, then you have to rapidly learn to put your appearance successes into motion. After all, if the public expected you to be feminine, you needed to do your best to do something about it. The whole process came on me fast when other women unexpectedly wanted to talk to me. I think most of them were just curious as they started conversations revolving simple things such as what I was wearing.

Through it all, I needed to quickly learn basic communication skills when I was intensely shy concerning my female voice. I just didn't foresee anyone wanting to talk to me. It turned out this was only the first of many ways life was coming at me fast.

Of course, there was my stint in the military which ended up coming up very fast after I went through years of trying to outlast the trauma of the Vietnam War. The war followed me through high school and then through college. At that point I was smacked down by Army basic training which I thought at the time would derail any dreams I had of ever becoming a woman. Amazingly, the opposite happened. Basic taught me to be more resilient and I was able to make some sort of future plans after I was honorably discharged three years later. Very directly, the Army sped up my life when I met my first wife in Germany where we both served. A couple of years after that, life came even faster when I learned I was going to be a parent of who turned out to be my only child. I secretly didn't desire any children because of the self doubts I carried with me because of my gender dysphoria. I was so wrong.

From my discharge forward, I relied on nothing much more than a series of Halloween parties to keep my life on some sort of a status quo. For the most part, life would come at me quickly again when I was successful in presenting as a woman at several parties. Years later I would wonder why more people didn't foresee my future coming out as transgender because of all the work I did to look good for the parties. But my macho male disguise was so convincing they never did and many were surprised when I let them in to my authentic self. 

More than likely, the fastest my life was ever sped up was when I started hormone replacement therapy or HRT. I just didn't expect the changes to my body to occur so fast and I needed to move up my time table of when I was planning to jump into a fulltime life as a transgender woman. It all worked out for the best because I was tired of my old male life anyhow and was ready for a change. Once I did make the change, my life slowed down and I was able to enjoy it again. 

  

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Great Pivot

Image from the Jessie Hart
Collection


Very few human beings ever attempt such a major change such as crossing the gender border. 

For me, pivoting into the feminine world as a transgender woman took me years to complete. In fact some would argue I am still working on the process. A complete pivot doesn't end until you are safely in the grave with your chosen gender intact. In my case I am very fortunate in that I have two strong trans allies who I hope will survive me. Plus I plan on simplifying the funeral procedure to the maximum since I am requesting cremation and no services to speak of, unless close friends and family want to gather for some sort of a celebration of life service. 

Before you begin to think this whole post is going to pertain to death and dying, it is not as there is plenty more to discuss in a gender pivot. First of all, you have to figure out how you are going to appear as the gender you perceive to be your authentic self. Since many of us begin our journey in the pre-testosterone time in our life, the transformation into a girl is often much easier. Until the pesky masculine hormone began to make it's presence known and the process known as testosterone poisoning began to set in. All of a sudden, the great pivot became harder to pull off for most of us.  Unless you are one of the few males who are feminine in nature. I was not and the struggle became real.

As we grow up, society becomes a problem also. Peer and adult pressures combine to attempt to force us into pre-conceived gender norms which are difficult to escape. Again, I grew up in a very patriarch influenced world and being the oldest son, I was expected to conform to the expectations of the "Greatest Generation" made up of survivors of the Great Depression and  WWII. My Dad served in the war and one of my uncles was a drill sergeant. So you get the idea of what I was facing. I was so intimidated by the idea of letting anyone into my desire to pivot my gender, I waited until after my Dad and uncle passed away before I did it. As far as the rest of society was concerned, I finally arrived at the point where I didn't care.

The point I did arrive at was the point where I was able to pivot more or less gracefully in the public's eye. I say more or less because of the many blunders I made with my attempts at taking my mirror image public. I needed to conquer all the challenges of wardrobe, movement and communication before I could even conceive of moving forward. Slowly but surely I did learn and was successful enough to build the authentic self from scratch. 

Looking back now, I think learning all the basics of communication with the world as a woman was the most difficult part of my great pivot. Most likely, because I had all the time I needed to practice the art of dressing and making up as a feminine person. Interaction with the world in all situations was many times a shock and took me time to become used to.

In many ways, my pivot was a lifetime labor of love. One I had no choice in but then again wouldn't force it on my worst enemy. Then again, the whole process may do them some good. 


 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Rites of Passage

Image from the
Jessie Hart
Collection

Yesterday I made the appointment for one of the main rites of passage I have decided to go through as a transgender woman.

What I did was schedule my annual summer mammogram. My Veteran's Administration primary provider (family doctor) always pushes me hard to have a yearly mammogram due to my family history with cancer. My maternal grandmother passed away years ago in the 1950's from breast cancer. I strongly feel because of my history I need to follow up.

If you have never had a mammogram, it is a relatively brief procedure when the nurses put you in a big X-ray machine and provide pressure to take pictures of your breasts. Not a pleasurable experience but a necessary one. Since I often think of the irony I would have to respond to if I did develop any sort of breast cancer as a transgender woman. Also I neglected to mention having to strip down to your waist and wear one of those fashionable (not) hospital gowns. I guess it's no worse than having to strip down for your military draft physical.   

The remainder of the appointment process has normally been very routine. Except for the nurse who aggravated me by asking  if I had any work done "down there". Like it was any of her business. The only other humorous thing which happened when I sat up the appointment was when the reception person was having a difficult time matching my voice on the phone with anyone needing a mammogram. She finally asked me what relation I was to the patient. 

For any number of reasons I consider having a yearly mammogram one of the top of the rites of passage I have had to go through on my gender journey. Others would include the night I decided to see if I could throw my cross dresser or transvestite ideas aside and decide if I could try to live as a transgender woman. From there I went on years later to an even bigger decision. Which was to start hormone replacement therapy. The path that started the breast growth I needed to start having mammograms. 

Hopefully this years test results will be clear of any abnormalities in my breasts so I can face my primary physician with the results. Also I hope I don't have to encounter any more rude nurses with off the wall questions. For the most part, everyone has been nice to me and the VA has handled the payment process without a problem. 

The appointment is scheduled for close to the end of the month so I will have sometime to think about it. Plus, this year, my wife Liz is going with me, so she can handle most of the driving as well as the directions to get there. Always good to have company.  

Saturday, August 5, 2023

It's Complicated

 

Transgender Image 
from UnSsplash

As I transitioned, my overall life process became so much more complicated.

Fortunately during most of the time I did not receive many questions concerning my gender. It's not that I would have not answered most of the questions, even if anyone asked. It turned out the most sensitive question I do dislike is have I had any surgeries "down there". In fact, I reported a rude nurse during a mammogram I had asking the exact same question. It was certainly none of her business.

What also became very complicated was my life as a whole. The more I found I could live a life as a transgender woman, the more I wanted to pursue it. When I did, I ran head on into several major problems. The first of which was my second wife. As I write about often, she and I were married for twenty five years before she passed away. In addition she knew from the beginning I was a transvestite or cross dresser and my cross dressing initially had no bearing on our marriage. When I wanted to take my life a huge step forward and begin hormone replacement therapy, she drew the line. In no way did she want to live with another woman. As I began to be that other woman, our life together became very complicated and many huge fights happened.

The second main issue I faced was with my male self. He was rapidly seeing his life fade away and wanted to hang on as long as he could. Sooner more than later, the scales tipped and when I was still in my male role, I felt as if I was cross dressing as a man. At this point I was in an extra complicated relationship with the two most important people in my life...my wife and myself. In other words, two women fighting for my life. I was under intense pressure to make a decision on what I was going to do. I ended up attempting to live separately between the two major binary genders. I was torn completely on what my final decision would be.

At this point is when destiny stepped in and helped to make my decision for me.  When my wife passed away, there was really no one to tell me not to transition. From then on,  I had to begin to rely upon myself to make the final decisions on what I would live my life as. Continue as a man or explore the possibility of living as a transgender woman. It turned out I was soon helped along by a new set of accepting cis-woman friends I encountered along the way when I was out trying to enjoy myself. Through my powers of observation, I was able to sit back and learn more of what it meant to live a feminine life. We went to all kinds of places from LGBTQA Pride celebrations to lesbian mixers to women's roller derby matches. I had a good time and learned so much. Mainly that I did not need a man to validate myself as a transgender woman.

Very quickly when I decided to leave my male life behind, I knew very quickly I had made the right decision. It seemed as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. From that point forward to the present day, my life has been remarkably uncomplicated once I faced my gender issues.  

Sink or Swim

Image from Trans Wellness Event.  Jessie Hart Archives.  Many times when I first entered the world as a new cross dresser or femininized mal...