Showing posts with label life lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life lessons. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Gender versus Sexuality

My post yesterday barely touched on the idea of changing your sexuality when you change your gender.

My own over simplification of the process is sex comes from between the legs and gender comes from between the ears. Of course your idea maybe different.  Mine comes from the experiences I went through. In other words, once I went through the process of joining the world as a new transgender woman, all of a sudden I had to figure out what I was going to do about my sexuality. Was I going to attempt to continue to try to date women or try the brave new world of dating men. 

By the time all of this was occurring, I was in my early sixties and was aware (even prepared) to go through the rest of my life alone. However, I was not prepared to stay in my house and not go out and socialize again. Those were the days I was desperately alone and went out to be alone as I called it. These were also the time I went on line to explore the then new dating sites. Predictably I had to weed

On Line Dating 
Photo, Jessie Hart

out tons of crazies as I explored what was out there. "Out there" meant mostly guys who either wanted to wear my undies, treat me as a fetish object or just not show up at all where they were supposed to be. By now you are probably thinking trash in equals trash out. Ironically only most of that was true because I did find my long time partner Liz on line. 

Plus, there were other quality men I did encounter. Several I did manage to meet in the public venues I frequented and enjoyed my times with them. Including my first dinner date with a transgender man I knew. Mostly the dates went as far as good night kisses and a bit of fairly aggressive groping. Far enough I had to wonder what would come next. Or, would this be the time I would lose my "other virginity" to a man. For whatever reason nothing ever happened. To this day one of the men remains friends to me on social media to this day.

The guy I "would have/could have" gone much farther with never tried to do anything else with me but talk. You regulars who read my writings regularly will recognize him as the "motorcycle guy". He is the one I met in one of my regular venues. He came in with a small group of friends who came to accept me as one of their own. He was a big bearded guy who rode a beautiful classic motorcycle. I used to fanaticize about riding on the back of that bike with him. None of that ever happened as he went through a very quick (one week) marriage and often I was the only one who took the time to talk to him We got along very well until all of a sudden he found another job and moved from the area.

With him went the last chance ever, I would spend any real time with a guy. Early on, I was just looking for validation from being accepted as a woman but when the validation came from other women, I found I didn't need a man's approval anyway. Not that there aren't quality guys out there but as any cis woman will tell you they are often very difficult to find. 

As my life has progressed I found my sexuality never changed, but a good person is a good person regardless of their gender.  

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Path

 The transgender path is definitely a path less taken by most human beings. However as more and more is learned about the transgender population and the more prevalent social media has become, the easier it is to understand the whys and how's of  embarking down a lifetime journey or path .All of which can even become more dangerous to the person taking it. Plus all of the current publicity could be emboldening more and more trans people to open their closet doors and explore the world. 

Exploring  the terror of a dark path often is a major problem, especially when anticipated gender euphoria never materializes. Or doesn't meet your expectations. I remember vividly when my gender path came to a fork in the road and I had to (or thought I had to) accept I would all of the sudden be attracted

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

sexually to men or continue to seek out the attention of woman. Even though I did go on a few dates with guys, I still didn't feel any particular sexual energy. Plus it didn't help when a creepy guy I also knew as a guy kept trying to approach me. I knew he made a yearly trip to Thailand so he probably was very aware and was attracted to "Lady-Boys". It didn't take me long to ignore him, just like all of those men who supposedly wanted to meet up for a drink and then never showed when I insisted on meeting in very public places. Plus, to top it all off I had a guy who managed to meet me a couple times before I found out he was married. As I was building my new woman, I most certainly didn't want anything to do with any of those guys.

Ironically, at the same time, I was finding I was getting along better and better with other women. Perhaps a portion of my success came because I was "mirroring" the others whose gender I desperately wanted to be as my authentic self. As I learned I had to first learn how to communicate on a feminine level. I thought I already did a good job from all my days dealing with women in the work world. But little did I know what I was missing when I climbed into the girl's sandbox. Sadly I didn't come out unscathed but I did come out successful. 

Today I do feel (and hope) the world is a kinder and gentler path for all LGBTQ people to follow. Just beware of the number of different side detours you may have to take to achieve your goal of living as your authentic self. Many will make your trip more interesting.  

Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day

 Once again here in the United States, Memorial Day rolls around . Memorial Day is meant to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.


Most of you regulars know , I am a transgender veteran. A fortunate one in that I survived a very ugly, unpopular and destructive conflict known as the Vietnam War. I have friends who didn't survive  or returned with psychical/mental scars which never healed. 

I always try to mention too, the inordinate amount of transgender veterans  who served in their closets while attempting to reclaim their masculine gender status. When I see the number of graves and crosses spotlighted in media news shows on Memorial Day, I wonder how many of them took their gender secrets with them to their graves. 

What really upsets me too are the number of people who see Memorial Day as just another day off to BBQ and not spend just a minute to remember those who served and lost their lives. 

Without them, we would all be lost.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

When Nature Calls

 This was actually written in the summer of 2021:

"Amanda not so long ago wrote into my email describing a few of her experiences using the women's room when nature calls and she has to simply go to the bathroom.

She also asked for some of my experiences. First of all, I haven't used a man's restroom for over a decade now but my introduction into using the women's room wasn't an easy one. I have written before when I had the police called on me several times when all I was trying to do was relieve myself of excess beer. 

Looking back, realistically, I brought on most of the problems I had upon myself.  As I explored the feminine world in the early days, primarily I fell victim to ill fitting wigs which were poor fashion choices. Until I was able to grow my own hair, was I able to present more effectively as a woman. Which in turn enabled me to have my own female rest room "pass". No pun intended.

Other factors which helped me immensely were how I viewed and adapted myself to the new rest room etiquette I was being exposed to. I made sure I was neat and tidy as I took care of essential business even to the point of trying to duplicate the sound of women peeing in the toilet bowl as close as I could. Plus, just to make sure I was prepared years ago, I always carried a feminine hygiene product in my purse in case anyone asked to try me. 

The rest was relatively easy.  I had to learn to adjust my urges to the normally longer lines to the women's restrooms. Plus I had to learn to make eye contact and not be afraid to converse with other women in line. 

Finally, I had to make sure I quickly checked my hair and makeup as I always washed my hands and quickly (or efficiently) left and returned to my seat. To this day though, I still retain the scars of my early experiences in the rest rooms. I always check to see if anyone is going out of their way to stare at me or even glare. 

I must say though, along the way, similar to the rest of the transgender journey I have chosen, I have been exposed to a number of humorous or even surprising rest room experiences. The most interesting one was at a Cincinnati Pride

Picture from Pride
Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

event a couple summers ago when one of the few free standing restrooms available was half closed due to a hornet infestation.  All the men were forced to use the women's room and the response was comical and classic as toilet paper was passed along the line. The most surprising experience I ever had was when I was at a concert one night and was waiting in the woman's room line. Once I finally made it close enough to the room itself, I observed a woman swinging from one of the stalls trying to break the lock off the door. My ideas of women respecting their restroom more than men was forever shattered. 

Overall, I think attitudes over restroom usage have definitely lightened up. Plus the number of gender neutral restrooms have increased.

Thanks Amanda for the question. "


Nothing much has changed concerning my "TPTSD" (Transgender PTSD) as far as I am concerned. I still harbor the scars from early in my male to female gender transition. During the period of time I had the police called on me and was even referred to as a pervert. Perhaps I will always suffer from those restroom scars. After all I am only trying to answer nature's call.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Musical Expert

 When I asked for more input on other transgender or cross dresser related music, I forgot to think about Connie who in many ways is our musical expert around here. 

Here are her additions to our trans musical list:

"Not counting the 50+ trans-themed parodies I've written and performed, there are two Beatles songs

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

that come to mind. There is speculation whether or not either of them was purposely trans related, but their lyrics certainly grabbed the ear of this trans girl. The song, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," has that mixed-up verse where Desmond does his pretty face, and at night she is a singer with the band (instead of it being Molly, as in an earlier verse). Did John really just mess up the lyrics there, or was he saying that Desmond was trans or a female impersonator? Since I have done just exactly that many times, it's the only way I picture it, myself. In "Get Back" there is that talk of Sweet Loretta, who was a man who thought she was a woman. There are all sorts of theories about that song, but, of course, my interpretation has always been influenced by my own gender identity.


I've also been subjected to the "cleverness" of an idiot who laughed with his buddies after putting "Dude Looks Like a Lady" on the jukebox. I don't get it, cuz I've never been anything like a "dude." :-) Then, there was the a-hole at karaoke who arranged, privately, to sing "Lola" and then asked me to go up with him for "support." People often ask me to help them, so it didn't bother me until I was on the stage and the intro to the song started playing. I walked right off the stage, and later gave the karaoke host the what-for - to which she replied that it hadn't even occurred to her that it might have been a joke at my expense. We can't help but be sensitive to these things, but they are usually not worthy of anything more than an eye-roll. As Amy Schneider, the recent Jeopardy! champion, said of the negative comments she was receiving, nobody could ever come up with anything she hadn't thought about herself countless times over her lifetime"

Thanks for the extra input! Amy Schneider was certainly correct in that no one could say anything more negative about ourselves than we have ever thought. I know with me, "Dude Looks Like a Lady" still resonates when I look in the mirror on certain mornings. On those occasions anymore, I remember the number of times in the past when the mirror has lied to me and simply move on with my life. 

I just wish I was musically inclined enough to write my own retort to "Dude". 

Friday, May 20, 2022

A Rare Event

 For me, gender euphoria is a very rare happening. Of course it is the opposite of the gender dysphoria I have lived with most if not all of my life. Just a guess but I think I can trace the beginnings of my gender issues to the days when as a youth, I made exploratory searches into my Mom's clothing and makeup. Somehow someway I realized just clothes didn't make the girl. The urge came from much deeper inside. So I pursued my urges. 

Jessie and Liz

Over the next half century I met with much more gender distress than euphoria. The days of being stared at, laughed at and made fun of felt as if it would never end. Following a steep learning curve of gender knowledge it finally did and I was able to assume a life as a full time transgender woman when I was in my sixties. Which gives you some sort of an idea how slow a gender learner I was. 

The amount of time and effort expended makes it all more worthwhile. Last night was an example.  

Liz and I attended the only transgender - cross dresser monthly social we ever go to anymore. It is fairly close and is held in a venue where we enjoy their food and service. Overall sound levels were low so we could easily hear each other speak. 

Perhaps the best part was the other attendees were respectful and entertaining. I was able to enjoy my time.

By enjoying my time, it was nice to be able to converse with other transgender woman (mostly, except for Liz) and to learn more about their lives. As the evening progressed I felt even more comfortable in my role as a transgender woman. Perhaps this rush of gender euphoria is just coming from being able to get out into the world as my authentic self. Being able to just walk in and out of the venue without being stared at was a gender victory of sorts. It was also vindication of all the years I worked to get to this point was worth it after all. 

Unfortunately, financial considerations tied in with the ever increasing effects of rising inflation are making our public trips less frequent. Actually one per month. 

Perhaps the rare occasions of being able to be out in the public's eye is one reason my gender euphoria is so powerful and wonderful. Also I suppose you can't have one end of the gender spectrum without the other. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Not a Choice

 This morning I was watching the news and came across a story about the average everyday person and choice. What the reporter didn't really ever say was for most things in life, we don't really have a choice. If we like it or not, choices are increasingly being made for us. By now you are probably thinking here comes another rant concerning politicians coming after transgender and even women's rights as a whole. But you are wrong. You all know my positions on the anti LGBT legislation sweeping the country. I would have to be Caitlyn Jenner not to. 

Jessie Hart Collection

What I am referring to is our lack of choice we feel as we transition our gender. Male to female or female to male, it doesn't matter. Normally we go through stages of despair and denial which has led the best of us to "purge" and throw away all the items we have acquired from what would become our authentic selves. My example came from when a close acquaintance of mine decided to purge his "collection" of feminine items. I was gifted a whole box of makeup, wigs and breast forms. Ironically, it wasn't so far before that when I did the same thing. 

During my purges I was sure I still had a choice and could quit the pesky idea I wanted to  be a girl. The feeling was so enlightening, for a week or so. Not being the sharpest tack in the box, I finally learned  my feminine desires were not going to magically disappear simply by throwing away my "collection" of feminine articles. Through it all I was slowly learning my true gender was not a choice and it was not the gender I was trying so hard to live as.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on those who don't understand why are living our choice to be our authentic selves. Female or Male. After all they were fortunate to grow up not having to question which gender they were. I will forever remember the lonely mornings when I woke up questioning why I was still a boy following dreaming I was a girl. Resentment  ran deep during those days. Why couldn't I have a choice on the gender I wanted to be?

Of course, gender choices during the 1950's and 60's were even more rare in those days than they are now. In other words, they didn't exist for me. I needed to learn any other method I could to depress my gender dysphoria. I resorted to sports and cars to basically just get by and hide my true gender from family and friends. 

Somehow, I bided my time until I could finally fully transition to a full time transgender woman. During the decades I experienced the highs and lows while living my life in a perpetual gender flux. Through it all, I wish I could impart on all of those considering a gender transition it is not a choice. Although I know the biggest problem can be convincing family and friends why you need to make such a radical move. 

It was never a choice. We just didn't know it.   

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Friday's and the Transgender Woman

Many of you know I have a history degree and consider myself an amateur historian of sorts. Along the way I have developed a deep respect of the historical past being able to predict the future. Somewhat similar to building blocks.

Many of you also know I have written several times about what I consider to be my first night out or history as a transgender woman, rather than as a cross dresser. The difference to me was, it was the first time in my life I was getting the chance to see if I could actually exist in a feminine world. If I was successful I felt I could actually move forward with my dream of living full time. 

In order to try, first I needed a venue to try it in. I had unsuccessfully tried in a number of gay venues and discovered I was only being viewed as yet another drag queen. Far from my goal of being seen at the least as a transgender woman. During the same period of time, a chain of casual bar/restaurants was being invented in NYC and Texas. They were called Friday's and were nearly the first to welcome, attract and serve single women. Before Friday's all bars were essentially were for men only. 

I came up with this information from a television show on food service on the "History Channel". I was instantly attracted from two angles. The second being I built a thirty plus year as a manager in the commercial food business. I ended up working everything from fast food to large casual dining food


operations. The first (and most important) reason was a Fridays in the Dayton, Ohio area was where I first went to see if I could be successful in blending in with and living as a single woman. In this instance, blending in with other women just getting off work from a neighboring up scale mall.

By now, you may recognize how the rest of the experience played out that night. Even though I was scared to death, I did my best to dress in feminine professional attire to blend in with all the other cis-women I knew would be frequenting the venue a little later from when I arrived. To this day I remember the black pants suit, flats and shoulder length blond wig I wore for the evening.

From my experience working in similar concepts, I knew once I made it past the hostess stand and to the bar, I stood a fairly good chance of being served and hopefully accepted. 

To make a long post relatively shorter, I was accepted. I wasn't laughed at by anyone and even though as terrified as I was, I was able to drink two drinks before I made my escape. Most importantly I was still afraid because deep down I knew I had touched a nerve and could possibly live my ultimate dream...a life in a feminine world. I loved it!

Of course Fridays went on to spawn a whole genre of spin offs.  But I will forever be grateful to one of the originals which helped me on my way to a life as my authentic self.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Transgender Desperation

 I believe during our gender journeys we have all experienced a form of desperation. The forms can take many different directions. From how we look as our authentic selves all the way to jobs and family acceptance.

A good example comes from a comment from Emma through "Medium" :

"I described how I felt shopping in my first year on HRT as like being a 14 year old girl with a credit card at her first shopping mall. Thank God I have tempered over time. I still have money left in my pension plan."

So true! Thanks!! I remember the often frenetic shopping trips I took when I first became very serious about living in a feminine world. Often it was the only time I could receive positive feedback on my appearance. Although, deep down I guessed the friendly store clerks were mainly interested in my money. Through it all I was desperate for next outfit which would be the one of my dreams. It was hit or miss until I finally was brave enough to try outfits on in the store  and have an understanding of the sizes which worked with my male figure I was trying to work with. 

Photo from Yasin Yusef on UnSplash

During most of this time I dealt with what seemed like an insurmountable amount of desperation and gender dysphoria. All I really knew was I was dealing with a male body while I was attempting to appear feminine. It took awhile but finally I got it through my thick noggin that sooner more than later I was going to have to take the steps other cis women were taking to improve their appearance. Two examples were diet and skin care. Relatively quickly I was able to shed twenty five pounds and began a daily cleansing/moisturizing routine I use to this day. None of it was easy but so worth it in the long run. 

Ironically, the more success I had with my outward feminine appearance the more desperate I was to leave the mirror behind and explore a feminine world outside of my closet. At times the pressure was intense as I was sure any discovery of my dark secret would lead to the collapse of my male house of cards. Built so carefully to maintain an image that wasn't the true me. 

The more success I found, the more humor I felt when I heard someone call being transgender a choice, a phase or a fetish. Here I was just wanting to live my authentic life as a transgender woman in my own feminine world. It was about this time extreme desperation set in and I attempted extreme self harm. Luckily I failed and went on to begin hormone replacement therapy and add another layer of satisfaction to my life. It felt so good when I began to sync up my feminine internal self with how the world really saw me. 

It was only then when it seemed like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. My transgender desperation was on the decline and life was good again

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The Archives are Overflowing

 Every now and then I get brave and go back through a few of my 6500 plus posts I have written over the years looking for a fresh idea or two. Needless to say, fresh ideas are difficult to come up with. Today I went back to September of last year for this post:

"And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don't all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren't reading this at all. 

Picture after first hair appointment
Credit: Cyrsti Hart
Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.

Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women. 

All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the "gauntlet" of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least. 

I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it's stand and brush it out. 

Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.

I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way."

I called the post "Material Girl" and the photo as I mentioned was taken after my first birthday present following coming out to my daughter. I was scared to death the first time I went to the upscale women's hair salon where my daughter was a regular. I learned quickly what I had been missing, I loved the experience almost as much as I loved my daughters acceptance of the new me. 

On the day at least I was the material girl. 
  

Friday, April 29, 2022

It's Prom Time

 Spring has finally sprung around here and with it comes prom season in the local schools. With prom comes most every young novice cross dresser or transgender girls dream of being the lovely girl in the fancy dress enjoying a night out. Excluding those who write cross dressing fiction, dreams are all the envious boys will experience.

Photo by Amy Kate on Unsplash

Way back in the day, I ended up going to my high school's junior prom one year followed by actually going to two proms (with the same girl) my senior year in high school. It was because we actually went to competing high schools. So all in all, I was able to experience too much prom for my own good. Ironically I had to spend my own hard earned money on something I was so envious of. Instead of me being restricted to a tuxedo, I had to present a corsage and purchase dinner for my finely dressed prom dates. 

The only positive I could see coming out of the whole evenings was for the first time I was actually going out with girls. Leading up to that point, I was so shy and confused about my own gender, I still could barely talk to girls at all. I continued to place them all high up on an impossibly high pedestal. The pedestal included being jealous on my end of a date in a pretty formal with professional makeup and hair. So badly I wanted to be her. 

The closest I ever came was years later when the supper club we went to eventually closed and changed into a gay venue. It took awhile but at least finally I made it into the same rest room/powder room my date went to. A small victory to be sure but at the least a small amount of satisfaction of the fact finally I was making strides in the right gender direction.

Today, from the outside looking in, times seem to be better for an increasingly larger number of young transgender girls. Every now and then I read about a trans girl being elected to her schools' homecoming court etc. Plus there doesn't seem to be the social pressure for actual prom dating. I remember how my first date was set up through in betweens.  In other words friends of the girl who turned out to be my first date set her up with me because they knew I didn't have a date .Being so far removed from the school scene these days I can't even speculate on current proms.

I do know an increasingly number of LGBTQ organizations around here are organizing "adult proms" for those who for whatever reasons never had a chance to go to a prom. Plus I know of a couple of places locally who deal in used discount prom dresses for those who need them. 

The closest I have come to needing anything remotely formal to wear was several years ago when my partner Liz and I attended a holiday performance of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra I think I was as scared going to the performance as I was so long ago on the first prom. For the evening I managed to pair a long flowing pair of black pants I owned for awhile with a black sparkly sweater top I located in a thrift store, belted at the waist. A beaded small black purse completed my outfit.    

Hopefully, during this prom season you can do something such as attending an  adult prom to see what if anything you missed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

It Takes a Real Man

 It takes a "real man" to be a woman. Because first we have to decide what a "real man" is, or should be. Unfortunately both genders do not begin life as a full fledged woman or man. We are socialized into our preferred gender. The problem being how stereotypes enter into the process. Presumably nearly all of us grow up with unfair media images of what our gender should be like.

The problem is compounded when one is growing up transgender. In my generation we had the influx of cowboys to watch on television who were basically the strong silent types. Women on the other hand were either long suffering but tough bar girl types or the all knowing suburban Moms who always stayed home to raise a family. Between the two feminine stereotypes, I wonder now why I even wanted so badly to be a girl. Through it all I suppose I wanted to be the feminine person being pursued by a guy, rather than the guy doing the pursuing. Over the years I often thought most of my gender thought process came from the fact I grew up in such a patriarchal dominated family. Maybe I was too shy and intimidated to be a quote "normal aggressive boy". It wasn't until much later I understood my gender dysphoria went completely deeper than what was being portrayed on television and film as the strong male stereotype. 

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

What I also didn't realize being born a genetic male came with it's positives and negatives. Sure you had to be the aggressor on a number of occasions including sports but once you did you were rewarded with a certain amount of male privilege. Plus, since I was white, society was set up for me to succeed much easier than others. Of course the journey was not all sweetness and light. Being perceived as a male meant I had to face the uncertainty of a three year military career exactly when I didn't need it. During those days and years I really resented the fact that only males were drafted. It didn't matter, I left home and served like so many others served my time. At that point in time I didn't know if any of it entitled me to the "real man" status. But at the least it all kept most of the people I knew fooled concerning my true gender desires. 

Life went on and as I tried to fight my gender dysphoria, the further I slid towards wanting to live as my authentic feminine self. It was during those days my second wife and I began to have massive fights when she caught me out and about as a transgender woman. She knew ahead of our marriage I was a cross dresser but never once accepted me as being transgender. She was also a very strong person which is why we were together twenty five years until her untimely death at the age of fifty. So when we fought, we fought. 

It was during one of these fights she actually told me to try to be man enough to be a woman.  Initially I was stunned. Sadly, it took me many years to understand exactly what she meant. If I wanted to end our relationship and live as a transgender woman, I was going to have to summon the courage to do it.  I was going to have to step out of what was left of my gender comfort zone and give up my male privilege.  Sadder yet I didn't do it until she passed on. 

I will never have a way to know if she would have ultimately approved of the person I became.  I can only hope to show her it did take a real man to give up nearly everything and become a woman.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Sugar and Spice?

 Many years ago in my formative days I firmly believed in the old gender stereotype of girls being sweetness and light and everything nice. A big part of the problem was I didn't grow up with any girls at all, so I never had a chance to form realistic ideas of what being feminine at all was all about. The feminine gender existence was so mysterious and wonderful to me. So wonderful I couldn't wait to come home and become one of the "pretty, pretty princesses" I so admired. Evidently I retained the "princess" tag for years because my second wife called me it much later.

From the Jessie Hart Collection

It wasn't until I began to live more and more exclusively as a transgender woman in a feminine world did I understand what my wife was trying to tell me. My perception now comes from my learned experiences. It turns out all the years I spent on the outside looking in on women was wasted. Of course, the more femininity I experienced the more I learned "sugar and spice" when applied to the female gender was a huge misnomer.  

I referred to the whole process as playing in the girl's sandbox. When I jumped in to play I discovered quickly first how different it was from what I was used to and secondly how serious the whole process was. It turned out the women in the sandbox had their own issues and weren't afraid to share them with you...or should I say, punish you with them. Especially if you got in their way.

One of the main issues I learned was the idea of passive aggression being the way to fight. Long gone was the male idea of attacking someone head on. Even if wasn't a physical attack, you still knew where it was coming from if you dealt with another guy. It didn't take long for me to learn to be careful of my back when it came to other women. One of my first lessons was to make sure I was guarding my back in the girl's sandbox. Especially when it came to using the rest room. I could go (no pun intended) from being one of the girls to an outcast when nature called. 

Other times I had to be very careful about were the rare occasions when a spouse or boyfriend was being nice to me. I think the wife or girl friend most likely came after me first and then saved the worst for him later. One way or another, the claws came out and the woman in question became very territorial. Whatever the case, it didn't take me long to learn girls/women were not sugar and spice and everything nice. 

The entire process turned out to be a positive one as I learned my new gender boundaries. Perhaps, most importantly I learned what my wife was trying to say when she called me the "pretty, pretty princess." Reading between the lines she meant I really had very little knowledge of what a woman's life was all about. I was consumed with how I looked. Thinking appearance would go so far in allowing me to be feminine Plus in those days, I was locked into a fake male persona I hated, so I wasn't the easiest person to live with.

It wasn't until I spent some quality time with other women in the sandbox did I discover the truth. Sugar and Spice was a myth.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

What Would You Say?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


 I discuss being a senior transgender woman quite often. To my knowledge I have never discussed what I would have told myself during my stressful teenaged years concerning my future.  Of course I am aware it's a useless exercise because my crystal ball was broken. In fact, those of you who may remember the "Eight Ball" game, I would have been behind the eight ball more than in front of it. 

Looking back, I would try to advise my younger self to be patient. Easier said than done when you are advising a teen ager, or even  a later age. I often wonder how my life would have been different if it would have not been re-directed by my military service which was forced upon me during the  Vietnam War by the draft. 

Through a series of fortunate circumstances I was able to continue my passion to work in the radio business as a DJ even when I was in the Army. The problem I continue to have was what would I do about my gender dysphoria while I served my time. Of course I was scared to death and wondered how I would make it through three years without so much as touching any of my feminine collection.

It's easy to say now but I should have known where there is a will, there is a way. In fact after approximately a year and a half of my three years of service, I was able to gather my courage to come out to several of my closest friends. I told them I was a transvestite following a Halloween party I went to dressed "to the nines" as a woman. Somehow my "dirty little secret" was never revealed to my superiors by anyone and I finished my three years without any incidents. 

Through it all, I still resisted any offers to re-up and extend my military service. My impatience was at a all time high and I couldn't wait to return to my civilian world. Little did I know, all I would do was begin a frenetic life's journey designed to try to outrun my gender dysphoria in my twenties. Perhaps the biggest warning came from my earliest gender psychologist who told me I was Bi-polar (which could be treated) but I would never get past my gender issues. 

I was seemingly doomed to continue down a path of alcoholic fueled activity. After buying (and losing) a small bar, I divorced my first wife and remarried and picked up and moved from Ohio to the metro NYC area. One of the reasons was I secretly felt I would be closer to a much more prolific and liberal cross dressing scene. I did take a partial advantage by going but it was short lived and my second wife and I ended up moving back approximately two years later. 

I wish I couldn't have gotten the point across to my younger self if I tried to relax and live my life as it played out everything would be fine. As it was I continued to chase my own tail by moving to other areas and countless other jobs.

What happened was, the world finally caught up to me in many ways. A prime example is the use and understanding of the use of the transgender word itself. Through my life I was able to witness a better idea of what gender dysphoria is and how it fits in with being transgender. 

As I enter my senior transgender years, finally I have been able to look back and say I should have relaxed and I was on the correct gender path. A path which would lead me to being able to lead a life as a full time transgender woman. I would have had a difficult time telling myself I would live long enough to do it.  

 

Friday, April 22, 2022

"Patch" Day

Today I administered my own hormone replacement therapy by applying the synthetic estrogen hormone Estradiol through patches. For my dosage, I apply four of them twice a week 0.1 per patch. I don't write often concerning HRT because everyone is different. Different dosages, different ways to administer the hormones and last but not least your age. 

I am fortunate in that at my age I was healthy enough to begin the therapy at all. Not all receive the same opportunity. Plus, as I always mention, do NOT try to administer your own HRT without medical supervision. Playing with your hormones can be dangerous. I have seen it in action a couple years ago when I attended a "Trans Ohio" seminar on hormones. They featured several different transgender women who abused their hormones by going on line. One was nearly killed. 

I receive my hormone replacement therapy meds  through the Veterans Administration Healthcare system. The process has it's benefits and drawbacks. The benefits include access to a free endocrinologist who monitors my overall bloodwork all the way to a co-pay system where I can purchase my medications at a discount. The drawback includes the VA is very conservative in what treatments and medications it covers. A good example is the Spironolactone medication I am on. It actually serves a dual purpose  of reducing my blood pressure and testosterone at the same time. I understand there are other medications which might do a better job and may be safer but they are n

From the Jessie Hart Collection

ot approved. 

Of course there are many ways to administer your HRT medications. All the way from pills, to patches, to injections.  Years ago I settled on applying patches because I was satisfied with the results I was getting. I have read and heard from numerous other transgender people who really love the changes they have gone through with their hormone injections, Regardless, my main point is, as long as you are doing HRT safely that is all that matters.

Then, there are always the questions. How soon will I begin to feel the gender changes and what occurred under what dosage. These questions have always been nearly impossible for me to answer. For several reasons. The first being the time which has passed since I started my HRT. Since many times I have a difficult time remembering what happened last week, something which occurred nearly ten years ago is impossible. Looking back I do recall how shocked I was because of the feminine changes I was starting to go through. An example was how quickly my breasts began to change and how fast my hair began to grow. Before I knew it, or even wanted it to happen, I had to locate my loosest fitting shirts and begin tying my hair back in a pony tail. All of the changes, not to mention the internal ones started to move my time table up to begin telling the few remaining friends and loved ones I had left the news I was transgender. 

The hormones also had a wonderful way of quickly softening my skin, all the way to me being pleasantly surprised how the angles of my face began to soften and change along with my body hair (except beard) thinning out. Through it all, I had to keep in mind I was in my early sixties and my testosterone would be naturally dropping anyhow. Making way for the new estrogen push. 

On patch day, I always try to pause and thank the powers above for my chance to experience this life the best I can. As far as your response to hormone replacement therapy, your results as I said can very widely on age, dosage and application. Good luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Younger Generation

 Connie responded to the "Better Late than Never" post. Here is her well thought out comment:

"The younger generation invalidating their predecessors is as old as humanity, itself. One of the joys of my parenthood has been hearing my grown children spout out with words of wisdom that I had said to them when they were younger (which, of course, they had pooh-poohed at the time). I don't expect it to be any different, as it pertains to gender identity.


Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

As difficult as it was for those of us trans people growing up over 50 years ago, I have mixed emotions when I (not often) consider the "what ifs" of myself growing up now. As wonderful as it would seem to have been to have access to puberty blockers and other hormone therapy at a young age, those things come with a whole different set of problems for a growing (emotionally, even more than physically) child. The social and political climate today must make it so much harder for trans kids, especially those kids who had started a transition, only to have resources taken away - even the threat of it.


Although I came to realize that I could have come out much earlier than I did, I can't allow myself to waste the time I have left by dwelling on that. In fact, I have precious little time left, considering the control I would have to give up, should being confined to a care facility become a reality.

If I had to miss out on the puberty blockers, maybe someone will come up with a geriatric blocker soon - but I don't have time to dwell on that possibility, either. Call me an old lady, just so you call me a lady! :-)"

Thank you for the comment. I also cannot help but wonder how life would have been like if I would have been afforded the luxury of being myself.  I am nearly certain nothing comes without it's consequences, good or bad. 

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a pre teen transgender girl during the Transgender Day of Visibility get together. She was obviously pleased. Here she was with the opportunity to be with an incredible group of accepting people. I felt so good for her. On the other hand though, how intimidating would it be to be looking ahead at a gender journey most certainly to be full of unexpected challenges. Plus, how would I feel if my child faced the same path. I am certainly biased but I would try every thing I knew how to help and protect my child. 

As far as the younger generation goes, I agree all we can do is try to plant a seed and hope it grows. I am a believer too that when you try to brainwash a child into believing only certain ideas, once they are free from your bonds, they will go an opposite  way anyhow. Hopefully all these kids you see with anti LGBTQ signs in far right rallies will follow their own heart  and know it is wrong. 

After all, the future belongs to them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Gender Euphoria

 During a lifetime of dealing with often severe gender dysphoria, every now and then I am blessed when the gender curtain rises. It is exceedingly rare but this morning I actually experienced gender euphoria. For no particular reason, I felt good about who I was. I didn't even wait to look at my reflection in the mirror. What did happen was, when I tied my long hair back, I was able to see my breasts silhouetted in my warm sweater. Since it is still cold around here. Finally this weekend it's supposed to become warm enough to wear my spring clothes.

For me, gender euphoria doesn't happen often. I can refer all the way back to my days as a youth when I woke up in the morning wondering what gender I was going to feel like during the day. Of course I could only guess what my desired feminine gender would feel like. I just knew I would feel better if I was a girl. Along the way I even questioned why I would want to feel that way at all. The guilt was monumental. The overriding question of "why me" was terrible. 

From the Jessie Hart Collection
Looking forward to Summer.

All of it leads me to the point of thinking now I deserve all the gender euphoria I can experience. Even now with all the positive feminine changes I have gone through with hormone replacement therapy, I still don't have the amount of euphoria I think I should have. Perhaps it is because of all the years of living under a gender rock. Too much repression for too many years. Or, too much paranoia from all the dark days I went through learning how to experience living as a full time transgender woman. I often write how difficult it was learning to play in the girl's sandbox. Along the way I often wondered why me and just wanted to sit in corner and cry. Little did I know how easy it would become after I started HRT. The difference was I started to cry tears of joy.

I understand the concept of "paying your dues" but on occasion I thought transgender women and trans men have too many dues to pay. Gender euphoria shouldn't be so rare and fleeting for so many of us. 

Then again it may make it so worth while when we can stand up  straight and proclaim to the world who we are. Or, if you prefer, just being able to blend in with the world and live your best life. Finally freed from the gender shackles you have been subjected to. 

For me, the gender euphoria allows me to take a deep breath and move forward with my life. The only regret I have is it took me so long to arrive here. If I could be granted one wish, I would hope to be given back just a small portion of the time and energy it took for me to continually battle my desire to be feminine. 

Since we only live once, even small victories can become larger as we progress in life. Happiness is fleeting. You need to find it when you can.

Friday, April 15, 2022

A Transgender Change of Pace

Last night my partner Liz went to bed early taking the dog with her and leaving me with the cat to be entertained. Predictably following a good dinner I soon fell asleep watching the television with the cat on my lap. I didn't really mean to do it because the whole deal would make it harder for me to fall asleep later on. Instead of staying downstairs with the cat, I decided to get ready for bed anyhow.

Of course, as soon as I hit the bed I was wide awake and my anxieties were closing in quickly. After an hour or so I finally quit fighting my phantom fears and decided upon a change of pace. I thought about all the pleasant memories Liz and I have had in the past when we went on mini vacations north of Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio. 


We began to explore certain venues in Columbus when I was participating in the statewide Trans Ohio Symposium. For several years I presented hour long meetings on subjects such as transgender veterans all the way to the needs of elderly transgender women and trans men. After the seminars were over, we took the opportunity to party.  And party we did! 

One of our favorite venues is called Club Diversity which is located just a short Uber drive south of downtown. It's a unique place in an old Victorian house and even featured a live piano player on most of the nights we were there. The picture was taken at the bar. 

As much fun as it was getting hit on by gay guys at Club Diversity, equally as fun was eating a famous burger up the street at Thurman's CafĂ©. Their burgers are so good they have been featured  on the Food Channel television network. 

Unfortunately the Trans Ohio Symposium doesn't exist anymore so Liz and I have to save our precious pennies to make the trip up to Columbus for more fun and games all on our own. Columbus is a progressive LGBTQ community with a huge Pride parade so good times were had by all and I know I can't wait to go back. 

I need a transgender "change of pace!"


Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Name Game

 I received several responses to my post about attending a virtual seminar on wills, trusts and end of life options. Two mentioned what a person could go through if their life insurance policies needed to be corrected if the insurance does not reflect a legal name change.  

At that point my mind began to wander back to the days when I was legally changing my gender markers, or name. I can't speak for many of you but I went through many different feminine names before I sat down with my daughter and came up with an agreed upon name which would be easy for the three grandkids to use. 

After quite a bit of thought, I decided to choose a name which reflected pride in the family. I decided to use my maternal grandfather's name and femininize it slightly. From Jesse to Jessie. Perhaps the more interesting choice came when I chose my middle name, Jeanne. Jeanne was my Mom's name. As you may, or may not remember she had no understanding of what I was trying to tell her when I told her I was a transvestite way back when I finished my military duty. When the new name was all said and done, the grandkids could call be "J.J.".  Even though my Mom didn't accept me, I decided to still honor her by using her name. After all, without her perseverance I wouldn't be here today.

From the Jessie Hart Collection

As it turned out, the name choice was the easy part. I had to set out to secure approval by the local legal entities. Where I lived, I needed to pay to put a classified ad in the newspaper informing anyone who cared what I was up to. Locally, the process was fairly non expensive, around fifty dollars. After thirty days, I needed to appear before a local judge to have the name change approved. At that point I considered the process could become a little tricky because I knew the judge to be very conservative. However, all my worries were baseless and he quickly signed off on my new name. After the papers were signed, it was a fairly easy process to have my social security name changed as well as my driver's license updated to a new "F" under gender. 

In my case, since I have chosen to be under the Veteran's Association health care, I needed to and couldn't wait to have my name change and gender updated on certain VA forms I dealt with on a regular basis. It was at that point my VA therapist jumped in and provided me with all the necessary paperwork I needed to make sure I could accomplish what I needed to do in a timely matter. Which can be a factor when one deals with the VA. 

What I haven't done yet is take advantage of the relatively new ruling in my native State of Ohio regarding the changing of gender on a birth certificate. By nature I am a procrastinator so I am just  going to make it a priority.

All of this brings me full circle back to the two small life insurance policies I have. I know for a fact one says I am male and the other says I am female. At some point in time I am going to have to get the one resolved. Or maybe both. The entire process proves once again how being transgender is a lifetime process and one which is so complex. As soon as I have more information, I will be sure to share it with you. In the meantime:

The " name game" is just a facet of the whole transgender experience. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Life or Death

 Once you are born, the fact is someday you will die. Tomorrow I will be attending a virtual training seminar from our local elderly support group . The training pertains to living wills, wills and trusts. I already have a living will provided by the Veterans Administration  but I don't have anything else. At my age I have felt for awhile it is important to leave a will behind for my partner Liz and/or my daughter Andrea. 

Years ago, before I lost it all to an attempt at starting my own restaurant I did have a fairly sizeable nest egg built up for the future. These days I still have two small life insurance policies worth enough to satisfy my final wishes and have a party afterwards. 

Photo by Logan Weaver
On Unsplash

Ironically, yesterday the need to accomplish all of this became important again when I learned of the passing of one the board members of the transgender - crossdresser support group I am a member of. Sadly she never came out to her family and the group members initially were told not to refer to her by her feminine name in any messages which may be seen by her family. 

Of course I am fully out to the only family I have which still matters and I could care less what the others think. Especially after I am gone and cremated. But I do have to stop procrastinating and get a will drawn up since being transgender does throw an extra factor in to the whole process. Extra proof to the non believers you are trans until you die. 

Perhaps of more importance to me is adding my wishes into the living will. I already have the "no heroic measures" line added but I am afraid of potential problems cropping up with my physical gender versus my mental gender. Since I have had no surgery done to my genital's, to the casual medical observer I am still a biological male. In fact I was told that the last time I was admitted into a hospital. The point I am trying to make is, I don't want my gender to be a point of contention for Liz or Andrea to have to deal with. Or no heroic measures are needed to deal with a gender bigot. 

One would think following the completely unexpected passing of my wife years ago, I would have done something before now about it. Since I am seventy two years old my biological clock is certainly ticking. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will learn valuable information on setting up a will. Just another step in preparing for the uninventable.