One topic I can't seem to quit writing about were the lack of transgender examples and/or muses who stayed in public and provided a pathway for the rest of us who were so desperately questioning our gender.
One of the very few I can remember was Jennifer Finney Boylan (left) a very accomplished author of fifteen books In addition, From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide. She was co-chair of GLAAD’s board of directors from 2013-17.
The problem is, I go back much farther than this. All the way back to the pre-internet days, known by many as the dark aages of information sharing.
I remember the days when "men dressed as women" were rounded up and arrested outside of gay bars in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Obviously the last thing I wanted to happen.
So what was a novice transgender girl supposed to do. For me, this was around the time when I learned of Virginia Prince and better yet her Transvestia Magazine. Virginia, among other things was a proponent of "heterosexual cross dressers" or transvestites.
To put her age into perspective, Virginia was born in 1912 as compared to my 1949. Most of her biographies I have read, list her as a transgender activist. Others deny the claim she started the widespread usage of the transgender terminology. None of that mattered to me as I waited for my issue of Transvestia to arrive. It was my only connection to the outside world which featured other transvestites as we were known back in the day. As I remember, each issue featured a model cross dresser who for the most part I could attempt to copy and look like.
Soon I discovered something even more important to me than the featured model. I discovered in the back of the issue a list of upcoming mixers hosted by a group called "Tri-Ess" The organization is still active Here is their mission statement from their website:
"Tri-Ess is an international support and social group for straight (heterosexual) cross dressers and their partners, spouses and families. Our organization has provided over 50 years of cross dress service."
Amazingly, the closest chapter to me was in Cleveland, Ohio which was within driving distance. For the first time in my life I could go meet like minded persons and see what my life could be.
The first mixer I attended scared me completely but I was able to observe and meet a wide variety of supposedly straight cross dressers. After all, who knows what went on behind all those hotel room doors. Regardless, there were everyone from those impossibly feminine attendee's I called the "A Listers" all the way to the cigar smoking crowd who seemed to be trying all too hard not to leave their masculinity too far behind. Perhaps it would stray so far they could never retrieve it.
Through it all, I still didn't gain any contacts I would call "muses" The closest I did come was a couple of the "A Listers" who were from Columbus, Ohio which was much closer to where I lived. Eventually I became somewhat close to one of them before she moved on to the ultimate gender realignment surgery. As was the norm back in those days, we both went on our separate ways.
As I look back at the years gone by, I suppose I could say my wife of twenty five years was my muse. Before she passed on, we used to fight over my desire to become a transgender woman but more than she ever knew her lessons to me on how a woman was so much more than appearance began to ring true and make so much sense.
It took awhile for me to fully comprehend what she meant but once I learned, she helped me to become the person I am today. She was truly my main muse and sadly I can't thank her. It's too late, she passed on years ago. Gone but never forgotten.