Showing posts with label military. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military. Show all posts

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. 

  

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Transgender Plan B?

A Bright Idea from Diego PH
on UnSplash


In life, did you ever have to come up with a new plan if the one you were working on didn't work?

In my life, I had many "Plan B's" because I didn't think things out before I did them. A prime example was when I was engaging in all the cross dressing I was doing in front of the mirror when I was very young. If the truth be known, I didn't know what I would do if I was caught. Except to lie and promise to never do it again. Plus, what if I was caught shopping for makeup in a downtown department store close to where my Dad worked. In the vacuum I lived in, I just plowed blindly ahead, hoping for the best and expecting the worst never happened. Which it never did.

I suppose I always thought there was a "Plan B" somewhere if I was discovered. Somehow I would magically give up on my dream and keep marching ahead in a male world. In reality or not, I always thought there had to be some sort of back up if I failed at anything. There was always going to be another chance to put on a dress and apply makeup if I was careful. 

The first time I encountered a situation where the only back up plan was applying myself in the system was when I enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War to evade the draft. When I went through the human machine called basic training, the threat of failure was real. The drill sergeants made it clear if you failed at something you could be recycled back to the beginning and have to start all over again. No one wanted to face that "Plan B." The result of going through basic built my confidence in that if I was forced into a situation I certainly did not want to be, I could still survive. The main problem I had was I couldn't (of course) cross dress at all and had to put my gender issues aside. During the several years which occurred before I could indulge in cross dressing again, my back up plan was to do quite a lot of daydreaming about when I finished my military service and could resume my life as I had lived it before. 

When I did finish, I found myself needing a whole new set of "Plan B''s." What happened was, I started to go all out at Halloween parties dressed as a woman. Where I learned the basics of surviving in a new exciting world as I was slowly growing up as a novice transgender woman, which was my dream. Of course the problem was Halloween only came around once a year and what was I going to do the rest of the time about my gender dysphoria. What I decided to do was sneak out of the house and into the world as my new transgender self. When I did it, I needed plenty of "Plan B's" if I was caught. My rule of thumb was to be as careful as I could and deny anything which happened if I was caught by my second wife. Not the best plan. 

As my femininization presentation improved, I found I needed a whole new plan to survive in the world as my authentic self. Primarily I needed a way to communicate with women I was meeting who were curious why I was in their world. Initially, I tried to mimic who I was talking to as far as using their vocal pitch and then even moved on to taking voice lessons to sound more like a woman. Finally, I moved to a point where I was half way comfortable with the way I sounded and I did the best I could.

I am biased of course but I feel the back up plans we transgender women or trans men face are far more impactful than those of the average person. We trans folk often face the possibility of losing almost everything as the "Plan B" we have when we enter the world. All too often, I read the sad, tragic stories of trans women losing their entire families, jobs and even friends when they made their way out of the closet. 

Hopefully, in the future, society will come around and we won't have to rely on severe "Plan B's" to survive.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Updates




Well another fun (?) colonoscopy has come and gone and I promised an update.  I have a partial one. 

Since I had to have a driver, my wife Liz came along. I needed to have a driver because I would be put under anesthesia for the procedure. I had the work the same place I had the last colonoscopy at the Cincinnati Veterans Hospital so we knew the way and arrived at the required appointment time. After signing in, I was encouraged the wait was only approximately ten minutes, so I thought I would be moved along quickly. As it turned out I was wrong.

Once I was taken back to the intake area, the gender fun started to happen. As I said in my last post, I knew the VA was attempting to do better with their treatment of transgender patients. So I was curious how my treatment would have changed over the previous year when grumpy staff called me "Sir" several times.  This time, to my amazement, the intake person asked me if I was born female since it was what it said on my VA paperwork. Because of the requirement to have a pregnancy test if I was born female. At that point I told her I had transitioned my gender to transgender woman in my early sixties. She didn't say anything else and we moved on with no other problems and I answered the million other questions she needed to ask. 

Shortly she left and another nurse came in to start my I.V. and take my blood pressure, which she did and left. Then, within a short period of time, the nurse came back in and asked how I would like be referred to, a woman or a man. I said woman and again we moved on. At that point I was encouraged I was going to complete everything fairly quickly and finally would be able to eat again after two days. Then the wait started. To make a long story shorter, I needed to wait an extra hour until the operation room would be open and ready. For all of you familiar with the military, one of our most memorable sayings was we had to hurry up and wait, suddenly I was back to my Army days as I laid in a hospital bed and waited and waited and waited. 

Finally, I was wheeled back to the operation room and the the operation happened. In fact the main surgical nurse remembered me from my last visit. Something I wasn't so proud of. In a way having frequent flyer miles in a colonoscopy operation room is not my proudest moment. But she was nice, the anesthesia kicked in and I felt nothing and I was wheeled back to my room.

Sadly, they found another polyp  which is defined as a tissue growth in the colon which could be or turn cancerous. Again they cut it out and sent it away for testing. I was told I would have the results in a week or so. 

In the meantime, I needed to get dressed and leave the hospital. Fortunately they let Liz come back and help me because I was feeling a little unsure of myself. So unsteady I needed a wheelchair and an aide to get to our car. It was at that point when the only person who miss-gendered me stepped in to ruin the whole experience. The man who wheeled me quickly down to the car called me "he" when talking to Liz. Of course at the time Liz quickly corrected him and away we went.

So overall, my assessment of my health care visit was one of improvement. My gender was correctly displayed as female on my paperwork and I feel it is always OK for caring individuals to question me. Especially if the process leads to a better experience for me. Which is what happened to me. Maybe I helped make the experience better for the next transgender veteran who takes advantage of the health services. 

So now I need to wait and hope my news comes back as "non-cancerous."   

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Looking Back

 This comment comes from Connie based on my recent "Memorial Day" post:

"Thank you for your service, and thank God you survived it.

At the time I entered college (1969), student deferments were in effect. So was my gender dysphoria deferred, through pure will power and suppression. When the government decided to drop the student deferments and institute a lottery, I became fearful of being drafted with a lottery number of 122. At
Photo Courtesy Connie
Malone

first, I thought I could go over to the ROTC building, register, and then complete my education. Talking with some vets in my dorm, though, I learned that doing so would make me a 
2nd lieutenant, and being one would put me in a higher casualty position than if I were just inducted as a private. OK, I thought to myself, maybe this would be a good time to come out (suppression doesn't work 24/7, but it adds an extra door or two to the closet your in). I figured that it would be the ace up my sleeve, anyway.

My number did come up, right at the end, but I was never "asked" to report for anything (and so was able to keep my suppression active). I don't know why I wasn't called, and I don't much care. For many years afterward, though, I wondered how many of those who had had my same lottery number never made it back home alive. It was a source of guilt for me, until I had a talk with my brother-in-law, who had been drafted, and then served in the infantry earlier in the war. He helped to relieve my guilt by letting me know how lucky I was to have missed out on the whole thing. Although relieved and happy to have made it back alive, he was haunted by things he had seen and had been forced to do. He passed away from cancer a few years ago, a cancer his doctor was sure had been caused by his earlier exposure to Agent Orange.

As I put the flag up for Memorial Day, I do so with a reverence and respect for all who have served and have died in protecting the rest of us. Even those who make it back alive surely have had something die within them, as a result of their experiences. My brother-in-law loved to barbeque, so I will add a little prayer for him when I fire up the grill later today."

Thanks for the comment. I was one of the few I knew who were able to make a potentially dangerous situation livable, I know regular reader Georgette was another. The fact remains though most were not so lucky. 


Monday, October 26, 2020

Just Google It

 The group which is presenting me with a honor for my LGBTQ transgender military service so many years ago requested a picture if I could find one. It was so many years ago (1972-75) and was a time which I wasn't especially fond of having my picture taken anyhow, I doubted if I could find one. 

I was sure I didn't have any pictures "just laying around" the house. Finally, I remembered a few of the former guys who served where I did on the American Forces Radio and Television Service - Thailand Network actually put together a website years ago. I began to wonder if I was in any of their pictures.

I went out on a limb and googled my deadname and AFTN and amazingly, there I was. Listed in a group picture of the entire crew of the military Udorn, Thailand radio/television station in September of 1972. I would have been approximately six months removed from basic training and the station itself was still fairly new. A year before, a battle damaged fighter jet had crashed into the old station killing all nine of the workers inside. So the surprise picture brought back many memories, many not so good.

At any rate, I have decided to share the photo on Cyrsti's Condo. I am on the bottom row, first person on the left. I worked all nights then and lived off base, so somehow I escaped not having to wear a uniform for the group. Ironically the only other military person shown here not in uniform was my close friend Dave Mallett. 

With this group we operated and tried to maintain a 24/7 radio station and a 14 hour a day television station for the airbase and separate "secret" sites in Cambodia. Our job was to provide as well as we could a connection to home for the others we served.

I am humbled and honored to receive the award!


  

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Not Good Enough

Perhaps you have read somewhere by now, the Navy has given a waiver to serve for a stellar transgender active duty person. As you probably remember, for no good reason (except pleasing his red neck base) the liar in chief banned all transgender troops from serving. Since I am a transgender veteran myself, this story really hits home.

Now. “The acting Secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Brittany Stephens told CNN. 

Here is more from the LGBTQ Nation: “This service member requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender, to include obtaining a gender marker change in (the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming.”

The unnamed officer came out after the ban went into effect in June 2019. They were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights(NCLR)  and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

“The ban has been in place for over a year and this is the first waiver to be granted,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “While we are relieved that our client, a highly qualified Naval officer, will be able to continue her service, there are other equally qualified transgender service members who have sought waivers and are still in limbo, despite being perfectly fit to serve. Dedicated military service members shouldn’t have to bring a lawsuit to be able to continue doing their job.”

“There is no basis for treating transgender service members differently by requiring them to seek a waiver that no one else has to obtain in order to continue to serve,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director." “While we are relieved for our client, requiring transgender service members to jump through this discriminatory hoop makes no sense and only underscores the irrationality of the ban. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s fitness to serve, and transgender individuals should be held to the same standards as other service members.”

Hopefully, in November, the people will speak and the crook in chief be be voted out!



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Blog Comment

I follow a non transgender based blog on Word Press called Lifes Fine Whine. Today she posted she wanted comments about childhood dreams and how they came out. I decided to provide a comment about mine. The comment was designed to explain some of the angst of being transgender without getting too in depth. Here it is:

All through my childhood, I wanted desperately to be just like the girl next door. Unfortunately I was a boy born into a male dominated family.
So, I played football when I wanted to be a cheerleader. Went to the prom in a tux instead of the beautiful dress my date wore.

After college, I was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War. I served my time but never lost the idea I was somehow living a lie. I cross-dressed every time I had the chance to relieve the pressure and explored the idea of living a feminine life.

Along the way, I went through two marriages to women who knew of my "secret." The second passed away quite unexpectedly leaving me free to make a decision in my life.

Finally, at the age of 60, I came out as transgender and started hormone replacement therapy to feminize my body as much as possible.
I began to live my life as a transgender woman. Found an incredibly accepting partner and settled into living my dream.

It took me awhile but now I feel blessed to have lived on both sides of the gender fence.
I have also benefited from my daughter and three grand kids who also are extremely accepting.
In many ways I feel I should come out sooner.
However the wait was worth it. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hypermasculinity and the Transgender Vet

A new study is being released this fall on the connection between the military and transgender vet according an article in San Diego by Beth Ford Roth:
"A soon -to-be  published study claims men who served in the military were twice as likely to consider themselves transgender as men who were not veterans.
The study by Air Force veteran and psychologist George Brown  looked at more than 5 million veterans as subjects."

The study went on to say many joined the the service to become a "real man" and was a way of suppressing their gender dysphoria.
No real surprise. Right?
I'm a little different in that I was a "draft induced" vet from the Vietnam era and the exclusion for genetic females was yet another cause to yearn to jump the gender fence.

In her article Roth contacted the Pentagon for a reaction to the upcoming release.
 Their official reaction was quoting the Dept of Defense regulation that states transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military.
(Other than the ones who have served, do serve and will serve-of course)
This does give the Pentagon time to bring in a fresh load of sand to stick their heads into and further ignore the status of current transgender servicemen and women.
They also can stock in extra whip lash medication for future neck trauma. An injury sustained by violently turning your head the other way.



Dealing With Trans Rejection

Image from Jakayla Toney on UnSplash. Similar to so many transgender women or trans men, I have dealt with my share of rejections.  My first...