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

Monday, March 20, 2023

No Fear

Image from Brian Kyed on
UnSplash

 These days with the advent of all the current anti-LGBT and primarily transgender sentiment going on, it is very difficult not to have some sort of fear of going out in public. I know in my case during my long years of gender transition,  many times I was petrified of trying out my feminine world. Having more experience in failure more than success made me quite timid in attempting more and more on my path. 

I understand how difficult it must be to be a novice transgender woman or man and/or cross dresser seeking to explore the world. I am fortunate to live in a relatively liberal part of Ohio in suburban Cincinnati and I have a nearly constant fervent ally (my wife Liz) who accompanies me almost everywhere. 

Ironically, possibly  coming up at the right time  on the end of the month is the Transgender Day of Visibility celebrated around the world on the thirty first of March but here on the Saturday before. Despite no problems last year when I participated in the event, I can't help having the slightest trepidation on what may happen this year with all the TERF's and other gender bigots being emboldened by all the negative transgender news. Even with all of that, I still plan on being a part in my own small way.

I believe by participating I am honoring all of my past efforts to simply live an authentic life the way I saw fit. Along the way, I had more than my share of testosterone poisoning and conditioning to overcome on my gender journey. Perhaps in my small way, if I encounter any younger transgender women or men I can give them some confidence they can have some sort of a favorable future. I would think many of them are scared about their future. Neighboring Kentucky has just passed a highly restrictive transgender bill and Ohio has tried and failed so far. Which means it is just a matter of time before the bigots in the legislature try again. 

In the midst of all this negativity and darkness regarding our gender quests, it is important not forget our LGBT and transgender friends and allies. I wish I could name all the wonderful people such as the Kim's, Jen's and Debra's  who have touched my life in a positive way.  They embraced me at the same time so many others were rejecting me. Primarily, they enabled me to learn how it would be to live my dream of surviving and even thriving as my true feminine self. 

I'm sure I will mention it again as the Transgender Day of Visibility draws closer but I hope in your own way you have the chance to be visible. Even if you are still existing in your own closet's mirror. You never know when your life may change and you will be able to escape your closet and learn to have less fear and live an authentic life you have always wanted to live. 

Remember life can change on a dime. If you can just locate the dime!

 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

My Last Date...as A Man

 

Long Dark Haired Wig Look
From the Jessie Hart 
Archives.

In many ways this was the final straw in my attempt to live in a male world. Approximately two years following the passing of my wife, I had the opportunity to date the Mother of one of my servers. She was smart, single ( near my age ) and very attractive. If I was a "real" man, she was the ideal woman I had ever wanted. As always, I realized nothing had really changed with my gender issues when it came to dating other women. Still I went ahead and tried and succeeded on setting up a few dates.

Along the way, we went on dates to places such as the Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in Springfield, Ohio all the way to a company sponsored suite at a Cincinnati Reds professional baseball game. Seemingly we were moving along at an reasonable rate until she sprung the question on me which probably ended it all. She asked me what my deceased wife would say about the situation I was in life without her.  I fired off the answer I drove her to an early grave without thinking of the consequences. Even though essentially I told the truth, I didn't immediately realize my future days with her were numbered. Obviously I decided not to mention any of my gender issues as probably added to the extreme stress of my wife's life.  

Through it all, my daughter had monitored my return to the dating field with some interest and at that time I hadn't come out to her as a transgender woman yet. As a gift she gave me two tickets to the late Joe Cocker who was performing at a nearby outdoor venue. I immediately took the opportunity to invite my new friend to join me. Initially she said yes and I thought all was good. Then about three or four days later she abruptly called me and said she wanted to end all dealings with me. I was shocked and said goodbye forever. Then I had to decide who I would invite to go with me to the concert.. Fairly quickly i decided I only knew one other woman well enough to invite and that was me. It was a great opportunity to judge how well I could present in a totally different situation. 

First I had to come up with a proper wardrobe choice which would blend in with a probable slightly upscale audience. For the evening I chose my black slinky wide legged slacks along with a black sleeveless top. The outfit was one of the benefits of having nearly hairless arms. By this time, I had arrived at a point where I didn't have to worry anymore what people may think of me for having hairless arms when I was still presenting as a man. For the evening I selected my long black straight haired wig to go with comfortable flats and sensible makeup to fit in. 

To my knowledge, all went well during the concert. Nobody gave me an extra glance and I was able to enjoy a cocktail as well as the concert. I ended up being one of the better dates I had ever had. A fitting end to my often discouraging history of my dating as a man. Something it turned out I never wanted to do anyway.  

When I transitioned to a transgender woman and was dating women such as my future wife Liz, I relaxed and was finally able to enjoy a new and wonderful life. The entire process was similar to everything else I had discovered about myself. Living a gender lie was never easy or successful, My last date as a man just proved it again.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Transgender Misconceptions

Image from Markus Spiske
on UnSplash


Since I had worked in the restaurant business for nearly thirty five years before I retired, I had a fairly good idea of how cis-women could trash a bathroom. So I often read with humor when I saw a novice trans woman and/or cross dresser singing the praises of how pristine women's restrooms tended to be.  Over the years, even before I began to use women's rooms exclusively, I began to develop a complete problem over how women discarded feminine hygiene products.  One restaurant in particular seemed to be more vulnerable than others I managed and I had to call the plumber approximately every two weeks for a stopped up toilet. In one restaurant I even put up signs asking women to please use the proper waste receptacles provided. All to no avail. Plumbers remained on my speed dial.

Little did I know, all of this would be just the beginning of the realization that women really weren't that much more tidy than men in the rest room world.  My first example comes with a warning to always look before you sit to pee. Sadly, it doesn't take very many wet butts for the point to get across that the last woman or two didn't bother to clean up after themselves. Plus, as the years flew by, I saw women using the rods holding the stalls up as acrobatic holders for their tricks. Wearing skirts or not.

Perhaps the ugliest women's room (if you really wanted to call it that) was at a venue in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. As I remember, the room had just enough space for a toilet and a sink. But the worst part about it was the smell. The place reeked of sewer gas so I hurried up and finished my business. It was so bad the tank lid on the toilet was just a piece of wood. As I said, I didn't waste anytime getting out of there and I was sure I had spent more pleasurable restroom experiences in "Porta Potties" or the green heavy plastic toilets you see at many construction sites. Even still, unbeknownst to me, a line of women had formed at the door waiting for me to finish. The first woman in line flashed me a disgusted look, probably thinking I was  responsible for all that smell. I didn't stop to return the favor  and headed back to our table while warning my then date Liz of the nasty potential which awaited her in the woman's room. 

By now you are probably thinking of all the gross men's rooms you have been to and most certainly that is true. Nature is an equal opportunity provider when it comes to rest room slobs. It's too bad when part of your job is having to clean up after a person or persons who don't care how they act. I can't begin to tell you all of the toilet stalls I have been into where the door latches and even the purse hooks have been broken. Even in newer venues. And, there is more.

The worst acting person outside of a restroom comes from a transgender woman She was in a group I was with viewing  an Any Warhol museum exhibit. She was coming down an escalator in front of me when all of the sudden she held on to both sides of the escalator and spread eagled flashed whoever happened to be watching below. She had a lot of class. It happened to be all low. Proving once again it doesn't matter if you are dealing with cis people, male or female and/or transgender people, it takes all kinds to screw up a world.

Plus, it doesn't just have to be in a rest room, where on a couple of occasions I had to nearly push my way through a group of gossiping women just to get to an hand dryer after I washed my hands. In fact I ended up giving one nasty cis woman a hair dryer experience when she wouldn't move and got too close. It was good for me.

If you are new to the restroom world expect the best but don't be surprised by the worst.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Interesting Questions

Civil War Veterans Cemetery
Jessie Hart Archives 

Most of what I see and react to on  my social media has to do with politics or the occasional reference to the chicken chain I refer to as "Bigot Chicken." (Chick-fil-A) Last night though I received one of the more interesting questions I have seen in a long time. It came from a guy who was new to me and I immediately thought it was one of those leading posts wanting me to send them a friend request or worse. Of course I never respond to those comments. Surprisingly,  this comment was much different.

It turned he didn't care at all I was transgender. He cared because I mentioned I was transgender so prominently in my profile. He went on to say he hoped I understood he wasn't being negative but on the other hand it seemed these days everyone is trying to push their feelings on to everyone else. He used vegetarians as an example. I thanked him for the comment and said I would probably make a blog post from it. I also told him my opinion was people are so picky in promoting their preferences  is because our country is so divided these days. And the divides lead us to wanting to support a certain lifestyle. Especially when it is being threatened to be taken away.  

Then I began to think about what he said. Years ago, my ideal would have been just to live my life as a woman. Without the transgender part added on to it at all. I would have been flattered if I could have been able to go "stealth." as a woman in my life. I would have arrived at my goal of being in the same category as many of the other impossibly feminine transsexuals I had encountered in my life up to that time. What would be the harm in removing the transgender portion of my on line profile and see what happens. After all, for all intents and purposes, I have led a stealth gender life for years now in the public eye, so why not do it on line also?

Suddenly it dawned on me, going stealth about my transgender status would be repeating the same exact mistakes many of the trans generation did before me. Perhaps you remember the days when anyone who went the distance and underwent a sex change surgery (as it was known in those days) was expected to move to another town where nobody knew them. There they would to all intents and purposes disappear and never be heard from again. Which left very few "gender educators" for the rest of us to follow. When I started writing this blog approximately a decade ago, I did it with the hope I could help others who were questioning their gender also. In that sense, nothing has changed. I still hope others receive help from what I write. Even the guy who wondered why I pushed my transgender profile so hard.

I thought I would mention again briefly how important it is to stand up against the gender bigots who want to destroy us and suddenly going stealth on line would certainly not help the cause. So in the meantime, I feel I will leave my profiles alone. I am proud  of being a veteran as well as being transgender and hope I can carry it forward the best I can.   

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Cake

Image from Katie Rosario 
on Unsplash

I'm sure you have heard the term "Having your cake and eating it too." In itself the term brings a complex meaning to the average transgender woman. If there is such a thing as an average. I equate having my cake when I reached a point in my feminine presentation when I found the confidence I could blend in with the public at large. Little did I know I would have such a long way to go to be able to finally taste the cake I so desperately wanted.

Baking the cake took longer than I anticipated mainly because life got in the way. Before I knew it, I was trying to mix in a liberal dose of cross dressing with attempting to raise a daughter and make a living. Also, several wives were mixed in, all of which knew of my cross dressing urges before the relationships even started. The problem was my cake recipe at the time did not include anything which remotely included dealing with transgender issues.. As I would discover over the years my cake recipes kept being ruined when I faced my gender truth. All my poor recipes were being destined for failure because I did not diagnose my own gender dysphoria as more than just wanting to appear as an attractive woman. I can compare the process as being given a great looking piece of cake only to find out it was dried out and nasty. 

At that point, following more than a few bitter battles with my second wife over what a woman really was, I began to adjust my gender recipe after deep research into what she really meant. It took awhile but I finally began to learn what she meant and I set out to eat my cake. The wait was worth it and my new improved recipe enabled me to live a life I had only ever dreamed of. I could live as a full time transgender woman and as my wife told me being a woman went far beyond just looking like one. Appearance just turned out to be just part of the recipe which included portions of ecstasy mixed in with a large portion of agony. There was nothing better than when my look seemed to come together and my presentation confidence reached an all time high and nothing worse when I ended up looking like a clown.

When I finally was able to bake my feminine gender cake with confidence, I was able to attempt larger more complex cakes and eat them too. I was faced with the massive challenge of communication for example. If I had taken my overall presentation to where people were prepared to talk to a woman, it was time to not disappoint them. I learned the hard way communication meant much more than how I sounded, I had to build into my recipe how what I was saying was important too.

I had plenty of time to perfect my transgender recipe, nearly fifty to be exact. I ended up eating lots of cake, along with wearing plenty of cake also. On occasion, I thought I would never be able to get it all together. Plus when I added feminine hormones to my recipe my future was decided for good. Of course I could always go back without my hormones but I never wanted to. 

As a self professed "gender baker" the time and effort I put into my cake was so worth it. The fun part is we all have the opportunity to bake our own unique and distinct cakes. 


   

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Dreaming Beauty Queen

I have written numerous times I am capable of having dreams in either gender on any given night. The truly unique nights are when I have both. I can start out as a guy and finish as a woman in a whole different dream.  It has been awhile though since I have outdid myself in the dream world. I have so many dreams, I don't remember all of them, unless they are very vivid.

Marilyn Monroe in the
Seven Year Itch 

Last night I had one of my most recent feminine dreams when I was in a beauty contest with an equally as attractive transgender friend. To make it more exciting and memorable, we were both wearing dresses and heels reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe's famous white dress in the 1955 Billy Wilder film "The Seven Year Itch." If you don't remember the dress (with Marilyn in it) I have added a picture. As you can see, if you are going to have to come up with a dream dress, this would be a good one to begin with.  This picture was taken with Marilyn supposedly caught unaware standing over a sidewalk subway grate in New York City. 

In my dream, all was going very well and I was even walking easily in heels. Something I have not been able to accomplish now for years because of a bad back. Also I remember how pretty my matching nails were on my hands and feet. My friend and I were certainly the belles of the ball.

For some reason we never made it to the pageant and ended up being confronted by several evil looking men. Plus, to make matters worse, my wig was starting to come off at exactly the wrong time. As I was frantically trying to find a place to fix the wig before the men noticed me, I woke up. I was so shaken by the dream, I was shivering for a couple minutes afterwards. Finally I calmed down and went back to sleep prepared for my next dream adventure.

Presently I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to stay away from many of the nightmares I used to have. I know the medications I am on to control my bi-polar mood swings can cause vivid dreams. In addition I wonder when the tipping point will come when I have more feminine orientated dreams than the old male ones. I guess I  need to keep in mind I did live most of my life in a dominant male world which continues to dominate my subconscious.

In the meantime, I have never been anything close to a beauty queen, so I guess deep down I wanted to always experience a little of how it would feel. Dreaming about it will be a close as I will come as a transgender woman. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

It's in the DNA

The last time I was asked when I knew I was transgender was by my daughter who correctly said "You always knew right?" She was asking primarily because of her own trans child and how to understand them. (They/them are their preferred pronouns.)  I told her I knew to an extent I have always known something was wrong with how I perceived gender. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives 

In my own personal gender research, I have read of the hormonal effects of the "DES" medication which was given to pregnant women in the time of my birth. If you are not aware, the medication "flooded" the wombs of women known to have problem births. By definition, "DES" is a synthetic form of the female estrogen hormone. The end result was it enabled the women to go full term and deliver healthy babies. My parents were on the verge of giving up and adopting a baby after a series of three still births until "DES" and I came along. As I researched the medication, the more I felt it could have a connection to my gender dysphoria. It could be why, all along I felt so natural anytime I attempted to research my inner feminine side. Perhaps the feeling had been always with me, including the time before I could even express it. 

The entire hormonal aspect of my life came full circle when I started on my own version of "DES" when I started more synthetic estrogen to my system through hormone replacement therapy. It seemed my body took to the hormonal process similar to how a duck takes to water. Changes to my body came fast and furious. An example was when I needed quickly to find looser shirts to wear because my breasts began to grow faster than even I imagined. I can not stress enough how natural the new gender process felt. I feel most people want to zero in on all the physical changes of HRT when in reality, the internal changes were just as big. Just as quickly, my new hormones calmed me down and enabled me to see the world in a whole different light.  In a word, my existence was "softer." 

The more I held my new world in wonderment, the more I wondered why the process happened at all and why it took so long to happen.  The more I questioned the more I came to realize I didn't have a gender choice at all. I was never meant to try to live a male life. Cross dressing as a man, as well as the rest of the lifestyle, probably took years off my life. 

Finally, as I was able to trace my existence at birth (or before in the womb) was because of my exposure to a synthetic estrogen, it all started to make sense. I never had a chance. No matter how hard I tried to please my family and friends, I was always a girl. It was in my DNA.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Exotic yet Obtainable Transgender Women

 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart
Archives


One of the prime reasons (initially) when I wanted to check out the feminine world, was I wanted the chance to dress in all the varied colorful wardrobes of other women. Little did I know the journey my desires would take me on. 

Similar to so many of you, I began by raiding my Mother's clothes and makeup. Right away I knew deep down I was doing the right thing for supposedly all the wrong reasons. I always use the "natural" word to describe my feminine needs. As my needs progressed with my age, I found I could attempt to cross several boundaries. Unfortunately one of the boundaries I needed to cross escaped me for years. I write about it often...the need to attempt to dress extremely tacky or trashy to feel more feminine. All it turned out to do was create too much unwanted attention. Once I survived this portion of my life, I could move on to another fun yet challenging phase of my life as a cross dresser. 

Becoming too serious about how I looked in public at times took the fun out of the process. Worry, worry, worry was all I did. Rather than being able to feel how an outfit looked on me, I was seriously zeroed in on if I was accepted as a woman. An example is the early evening when I went to a downtown street fair in nearby Dayton, Ohio. Before it became too dark, I took advantage of being able to wear my sunglasses to see if I was getting any unwanted attention. Once I found out I wasn't, I was able to relax and enjoy the overall experience. Just to feel the air on my bare arms was wonderful.

The more I learned of course the more I wanted to learn concerning my new found freedom as a transgender woman. Specifically when I did manage to set up a few dates with men who seemed to be interesting to me. I stressed on what to wear as I wanted to be more than the normal exotic transgender woman all the way to being subtlety obtainable. In other words, I knew I was already exotic to the men because they knew I was trans, I did not want to be perceived as some sort of a sex object like a trans porn video. Aside from being transgender, I was probably walking the same fine line as any other cis-woman. In case you are wondering, the dates never went past the first or second date, so I guess I was somehow a failure. Then again, I never labored under the opinion I would the woman the men would take home to meet their families. I knew I was some sort of a fling, I just wanted to be treated with respect. Which I was.

I can only say the world we decided to enter as women is a true art form. Walking all the various paths from being a saint or a sinner. Including being able to present well enough in the world to blend in with society at large.  As women today seem to be pulling away from the finer points of dressing up, it is more and more difficult to be exotic yet obtainable. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Getting Dizzy on the Transgender Merry Go Round

Photo from the
Jessie Hart Archives
In a recent post I compared coming out of a gender closet to trying to jump aboard a Merry Go Round which is spinning way too fast. It is difficult to catch up to the established gender you are trying to live as. Otherwise known as desiring to live as your authentic self, a transgender woman or a transgender man. As an extension of the post, today I will attempt to look at what happens once you are able to secure yourself a spot on the Merry Go Round. 

First of all, often you are made painfully aware a portion of the other riders don't want you there at all. Gender bigots or TERF's are everywhere trying for some reason to "protect" their gender from those wanting to live a life of their choice in the world. One of the initial ways they can spot you is from your appearance. Sadly, many of us have to deal with testosterone poisoning which gives our body and facial figures distinctly male looks. As we trans women learn the hard way, there are ways we can camouflage torso's which are too thick with certain items of female designed clothing. The same can be said for makeup which is also an appearance crutch for all women, trans or not. The fact of the matter is, women come in all shapes, sizes and appearance. We have to do our best to fit in. 

Once you have jumped aboard the Merry Go Round, sometimes it is difficult to stay there. My example comes from a lesbian social group I tried to join years ago with Liz. Liz identifies as lesbian and back in those days most all of my friends were also. I was na├»ve and thought I could join Liz's group but was quickly rejected. The rejection probably came from a woman who rudely approached me at a lesbian Valentine's Dance. She kept asking me drunkenly what my "real" name was. She was mean and nasty and it took me a while to calm down after I relocated Liz who was getting us food. Following the experience, it took me awhile to push my way back on to the Merry Go Round. But push I did. 

I compare the experience I had one time when a friend of mine and I (as males) were in Chicago and took a subway to Wrigley Field to see a baseball game. Being new to the experience, I wasn't quite ready for the rush of humanity which pushed their way into that subway car. Looking back, I was in the same situation many times when I explored my gender change path. From being completely rejected by a lesbian social club all the way to being cornered by a huge cross dresser "admirer" one night in a narrow hallway at a party I was attending with my second wife, I thought I had seen it all. I paid the "I told you so" price with my wife who saved me from my entrapment. Of course she didn't approve of the short mini dress I was wearing and blamed me for attracting the man. 

Through it all, I found once I had earned my seat, I wasn't giving it back to any narrow minded person who didn't like me. I deserved my spot as much as they did and I had to give up my hard earned male privilege's to get it. Plus I certainly wasn't trying to infringe on anyone else's rights. Even though the Merry Go Round was still spinning too fast on occasion, I learned to sit back and enjoy it.       

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Transgender Merry Go Round

 

Image from Kitae Kim on Unsplash

Every once in a while, I am fortunate enough to write a post which elicits several wonderful insightful comments. "Trans Reflections and Woman Illusion" posts were examples. First, through the Medium writing format Abbie wrote in and said:

"I've only just realized in the last couple years how far behind the 8 ball I am on this front. After 50+ years trying to fit in as a man I'm now trying to catch up with women and I barely know where to start. Obviously I'm going to miss out on some biological functions but all the relationships, ads directed at women, fabulous but too sexy for my age clothes, even the misogynist/glass ceilings and other garbage. How do us older girls make up for all that lost time?"

The comment started my thought processes which took me back to my early days of coming out in the world as a transgender woman and come up with an answer.

First of all, I view coming out as an older woman is similar to trying to jump on a merry go round which is going too fast. One question I do have is how long did Abbie pursue being a cross dresser before she decided to come out of the gender closet. In my case I was a serious cross dresser for nearly half a century which gave me plenty of time to practice, practice, practice my feminine crafts such as wardrobe and makeup. By the time I was trying to jump on the women's merry go round I was fairly proficient in both crafts. So much so, my second wife was asking me tips on doing her makeup. If I was new to the world today as a woman, I would take advantage of "You Tube" tutorials or go to in person events at some of the big makeup stores such as "Sephora". I know going to a store takes a lot of courage but the benefits are worth it. You just have to be careful of how much money you have to spend. The process can be expensive if they try to sell you items you don't really need.

The next big move I would make is a repeat of a recent post I wrote detailing my early love of thrift stores. In certain thrift stores I was able to partially work my way out of my "teen" cross dressing years and discover a wardrobe which fit me and was much more flattering for a fraction of the money I would have spent in regular retail stores. Plus, once I had settled in on what sizes fit me, I could then begin to order on-line sale items.

Another huge move I made when I was trying my best to come out of my dark/lonely closet was when I went to a doctor and was checked to see if I could undergo feminine hormone replacement therapy at my age of sixty. I could and from then on there was no looking back. Somehow, someway, I had to slow that merry go round down to where I could jump on. When my facial features and skin began to soften and my hair really began to grow, I knew my changes were real and imminent.

Then there were the small things I did to improve my feminine image and present better in the world. Even with the hormones which were supposed to cause me to gain weight, I went on a diet of sorts and ended up losing nearly fifty pounds. I thought of the process this way, if I was going to be a woman, I had to give it my best shot by doing extra things such as taking better care of my skin.

Abbie, doing all of this slowly but surely should get you on the merry go round also. While you can never make up for lost time, you can still build a gender future and enjoy who you have become. Thanks for the comment and I hope any advice I can add helps. Plus when you make your way to the gender of your choice there is always the chance to be able to communicate with the world as your new self. It's a terrifying but exciting journey very few are able to take.

There are other comments I will try to address later in the blog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Transgender Reflections

Reflection from
the Jessie Hart
Archive

Reflections from transgender women and men can mean many things. Of course mirrors come to mind first. Through our lives we worship viewing ourselves as a way of reinforcing our new feminine selves. This can go both ways as mirrors have a not so sly way of lying to us. That very short mini skirt which looks very good on an attractive teen aged girl most likely won't look so good on your much older testosterone poisoned body. Most of us as time goes by and we interact with the public more and more come to learn the mirror's shortcomings. It took me more than a couple times of being stared at, all the way to being laughed at to understand the mirror was not coming close to telling me the truth and I was attracting too much unwanted attention.

Finally, what happened to me was I replaced the mirror's reflections with ones from interacting with the public. Specifically when I started to interact one on one with other women. When I began to move forward from just interacting with sales clerks who were always nice because my money was green, onward to stopping at upscale venues for lunch, I really had to step up my feminine game. Specifically, I needed to do more than walk the walk. I needed to talk the talk. In other words I needed to quickly learn how to communicate on an entirely different and foreign gender level. To be clear, I am talking about more than just sounding feminine because I found women communicate on many different levels. Including a fascinating level which I learned which involved speaking on a non verbal level. I learned so much without even speaking from other women. I was spared potentially embarrassing interactions with drunken guys in bars with just a glance from female bartenders. Talking the talk without actually speaking was huge.

Reflections then became more important from a personal point of view. Once I had gained a basic confidence in how I interacted with the world as my new authentic feminine self, I could concentrate more on how others were viewing my reflection. I had the very rare chance to reinvent myself and learn from all of my mistakes. Including the ones I made when I was a new cross dresser or novice transgender woman trying to find my way in a new terrifying but exciting world. Losing my old male privilege played a part also, specifically when I found myself in dangerous situations when I was lucky to not be physically assaulted. It took me awhile to learn there were feminine privilege's too which went way past just having a man open a door for me. Just having the opportunity to be able to play in the girl's sandbox without being clawed was a privilege. 

Even though I still suffer from gender dysphoria when I look in the mirror in the morning, I am able now to look past the shallow reflection and see the bigger picture. In a new life as a full time transgender woman.  

Monday, February 6, 2023

All Kinds of Transgender Dilemma

 

Image from Karla Hernandez 
on UnSplash

We transgender women and trans men have always encountered plenty of dilemmas as we complete our gender transition, or attempt to. Most of us have friends, family and jobs to consider. Sadly we are considered to be selfish as we pursue our gender goals. Ironically there is truth to the selfish idea because we often need to address our most inner souls to find a path. We found muses were difficult to find.

Dilemmas were everywhere. I know one of my biggest drawbacks to transitioning earlier was trying to figure out how I would support myself. Most certainly I would have had to quit the well paying, hard earned male career I had managed to carve out. None of it seemed fair but who said life had to be fair? As I quote my parents who were fond of telling me just that when I didn't want to do something they wanted me to do.

Another huge dilemma came when I needed to learn the new basics of presenting and appearing realistically as possible in my new chosen gender. The whole process really defined being alone with a terrifying array of cosmetics to deal with. Then there was the problem of what to do about a new wardrobe. Styles and sizes became very important as well as cost. I was in a situation where I needed to hide any feminine expenditures from my wife. I found one big solution by shopping the thrift stores. I could purchase ultra cheap clothes and see if they fit on a very small budget. Plus, I was even able to gather the courage to try an item or two on in the dressing rooms. Finally I was able to dress my way out of my teen girl years and into a reasonable facsimile of what a cis woman my age would wear. Thrift stores not only gave me an excuse to go out shopping, and save money, I could also conquer the appearance dilemma at the same time. 

At the same time, I was ignoring the few friends I had accumulated. Slowly but surely my feminine side was sneaking into the forefront and stealing my life. The more I was in the public's eye, the less male time I wanted. It was working out to be a huge dilemma. The more I accomplished as a transgender woman, the more natural I became and all of a sudden the whole impossible dream of living a feminine life became more achievable. 

My dilemma  of telling friends I wanted to be a woman very much went away when my small circle of close friends passed away close to the time when my wife died. There was no one left to tell. Family, as I have detailed several times, my problems coming out to my family was a different process. Even though my parents had long since passed on, I still had a daughter to tell as well as a younger brother. I had a highly successful experience with my daughter and an equally bad one with my brother who I have not spoken with for nearly a decade now.

My final big dilemma was what to do about my finances. At my age I was getting close to being able to retire on early Social Security. I also owned a house full of antiques and collectibles I could sell to raise money, so I took the early out and retired. All of which of course, did away with me have to worry about job hunting as my new authentic feminine self. With most all of my dilemmas in the past, the door was finally open to complete my gender transition.  

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Who is Hurting Who?

Photo Courtesy
Kim Petras 

With the deluge of anti-transgender Republican led political bills around the country, it's easy to forget those cis women who may be caught in the gender cross fire. I am referring to the many cis-women (born female) who don't particularly present well as women. Are they going to have to undergo some of or all of the idiotic regulations some one has to go through just to go to the bathroom. I have read some legislators are trying to require monthly records of a woman's period as a basis to judge their gender to compete in sports.

Imagine being an unsuspecting cis woman questioned in a restroom about her gender. Will she take a moment to think about and realize where all political transgender problems are coming from. It's so bad now even the right wing parrots who say they are running for president are mentioning the transgender community as major problems. 

Speaking of problems, the only one I see for trans folk is when they try to go naked in places such as women's changing rooms. As I have said before, I would not be caught dead with no clothes on in front of strangers and resent others who do and discredit my right to life as a proud out transgender woman. Recently, another example of what I am talking about occurred close to where I live in Ohio. A pre-opt transgender woman was naked in a women's changing room and was seen by a group of teenaged girls. Of course, all hell brook loose.  By "pre-opt" I mean the person had no genital realignment surgeries. 

Even with all the negativity in the transgender world, there are still positive signs if you look for them. Signs that point out transgender women and men are not going anywhere. We have always been around and always will be. Recently, I was watching a promo about the upcoming Grammy awards show on

Photo Courtesy
Jazz Jennings

CBS and noticed Kim Petras name mentioned. If you are not aware, Kim is a transgender singer from Germany who began her transition early in life. She is one of the fortunate young trans girls such as Jazz Jennings who have started young with a supportive family and stayed in the public's eye. Although with Kim, you have to search long and hard to find any information about her being born male when I searched Wikipedia and other sources. It's a good thing when she is only known as a singer without the transgender tag added on.

Obviously, as a community we trans folks have enough challenges coming up. Together we have to accentuate the positive such as we are as normal as the population at large. I say that because I never considered I was "normal" even though I identified as a transgender person.  

Perhaps if enough cis women are affected by the ridiculous number of proposed anti-transgender laws being proposed and people get to know other trans people, the tide will turn in our favor and we don't have to rely on celebrities such as Kim Petras and Jazz Jennings to do it for us.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart
Archives 

The longer we live, I am increasingly convinced we encounter many phases of our life which we can separate down into certain categories. For transgender women and trans men those categories maybe more intense than the normal human being. I have several examples in this post. 

The first I place in the "would have "category. What if I defied all odds and proclaimed to my parents at any early age I wanted to be a girl instead of a boy. I didn't want the boy toys I received for Christmas, I wanted the girl dolls instead and why did I have to wear a hated tie to visit relatives. I so wanted to wear the pretty dresses, tights and shoes my girl cousins were wearing. Of course I couldn't do anything about my situation back in the dark days of the 1950's when a boy wanting to be a girl was considered to be mentally ill. Even though I didn't begin to know anything about my gender questions, I knew I wasn't mentally ill for wondering.  

Perhaps the largest question in the "would have" category is, what if I had the courage and or knowledge to had come out of my gender closet earlier. Looking back now, I see the time after I had completed my military service and my daughter was conceived would have been an extreme possibility of coming out to the world as my feminine self. I had completed my patriotic duty and was indirectly rewarded with the gift of a lifetime...my beloved and highly supportive daughter. It was around this time when I was rapidly beginning to come to grips to who I was and was learning to dress the part. 

The next category is "could have". It was during this period of great gender discovery when of course I had to make a living. I didn't have a potential pension to worry about such as a transsexual friend of mine, nor was I a very educated professional person. Similar to another trans person who was going through genital realignment surgery and moving away to a city where she knew no one. I didn't have the finances or the willpower to under go such a major step so I began to try to outrun my gender dysphoria by moving around and switching jobs.  Most certainly I "could have" cut nearly all the ties of the life I was used to and moved on but I didn't.

This brings me to my last category "should have." Should have I have the courage to live my gender dreams earlier? Most certainly but as is said, it is too late now to cry over spilled milk. Even though I didn't cut ties with my old male self when I should have, I was fortunate to have landed on my feet, I turned "should have" into I did it. But before I try to put myself up on some sort of pedestal, again and again I have to give credit to all the people who accepted me as my true self and allowed me to grow as a fulltime transgender woman.

Maybe I can add another category "did have" because I did have enough help to keep moving until I reached my final goal of leaving my male self behind.

 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Transgender Confidence

Image from Brett Jordan 
on Unsplash


I have always thought confidence was the most important accessory a transgender woman can have. More important than the most attractive dress or the prettiest most flattering wig. Of course your dress and wig work together in so many ways to provide an external image which matches your inner feminine self. Plus, confidence often proves to be so difficult to come by as well as equally difficult to maintain. It takes only a swift moment of being mis-gendered along with being recognized as a man in a dress to wreck your confidence. I know, because it all has happened to me too many times to count. I had spent literally weeks in gender heaven without even the smallest pushback to my new coming out presence in the world. 

Finally I learned my rejections were a moment in time and I went back to the drawing board and moved on. I kept my changes to a minimum and tried to analyze every small nuance of the feminine gender I was trying to assume. I knew deep down, I was a woman but somehow, someway I needed to cross the gender frontier and arrive at my destination. I can't began to tell you how many times confidence was fleeting due to a particularly brutal evening when I was out in public. I was fortunate though in that even though I was having bad times, there was enough gender euphoria slipping through to keep me moving towards my goal. Plus, even coming up with a goal was difficult because everytime I accomplished one goal, to keep moving, I needed to set another. There was also the problem of the ultimate goal of going all the way and living as a woman.

We all know humans are apex predators and not unlike sharks can sniff out blood in the water. So more than a few humans can sense something could be wrong when you try to change something as huge as your gender. Unless you have the supreme confidence to know deep down you are right in what you are doing, you could be in trouble. For me, often the supreme confidence came from feeling natural as my feminine self. So much more than just thinking I was acting as my authentic self because I wasn't acting at all. 

Where ever you are in your transgender journey, woman or man, I hope you have been able to develop the confidence you need to survive. As far as trans women go, the effects of testosterone poisoning is so difficult to overcome. On the other hand, once you have gone so far across the gender frontier, going back is often impossible to do. Inspiring more confidence and gender euphoria as you go.     


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

It Takes a Village

Virginia Prince in 
the 1940's
 I am sure over the years you have heard the term "It takes a village" to describe the best way to raise a child. I think the phrase is especially true when it comes to negotiating a gender transition. You regular readers know how often I mention the lack of transgender mentors we had as we each tried our best to cross the binary gender divide. As with most of you in the same senior age category I am in, mutual contacts were very difficult to come by. 


Fortunately later in life, my contact group expanded and I was able to take advantage of my new peer group. It all started with me when I discovered "Virginia Prince" and her "Transvestia" magazine. As I remember, it was published every two months and I couldn't wait to receive my new edition. Of primary importance to me were the announcements of regional transvestite "mixers". One of which was within driving distance to me where I lived in Ohio. Naturally, I couldn't wait to attend one of the mixers if I could get the trip approved by my wife. Finally she went along with the idea and she even helped me to try to pick out an outfit to wear. 

Regardless of our disagreements on what I thought I should wear versus her ideas, I went and I learned. Most likely the biggest lesson I learned was the different layers and types of the other attendees I met. Every layer from the so called beautiful mean girls to the overtly masculine cross dressers and me in between. I just didn't feel comfortable in either group. 

It wasn't until much later in life I finally discovered why. When the transgender term was introduced, I knew then I discovered an idea I could identify with. I felt that surgery wasn't the driving force in my quest to live a feminine existence but the mere fact of being able to live as my authentic self was. And the authentic self proved to be my inner woman. 

During her path to the surface, she received quite a bit of help. It took the village I mentioned to enable her to finally break free. I don't mention enough the group of cis women who embraced me when I came out of my gender closet. Then, after the first group, there was a second circle (as I like to call them) who helped me solidify my new life and move on. I will mention them more in another blog post. 

In the meantime, even though it took me years to realize it, a village was welcome and needed for me to find my way to a life I really wanted to lead. As a full time transgender woman. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Engaging the Public

 Engaging the public as a transgender woman has always been difficult for me.  First of all, I am an inherently shy person  and secondly when I first reached a level of coming out as my feminine self, I had to begin to communicate with the general public. All of this added to me being increasingly shy. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives

For some unknown reason, this morning was different. Since my retirement, I especially don't like to get up early in the morning. But as a favor to my wife Liz, I got up at 5:30 AM to go with her to a doctors appointment which was a half an hour away. As bribery, I made sure Liz knew we would have to stop for breakfast at a certain fast food place we enjoy. Plus we had to hurry because she had to be back as soon as possible to sign in to work which she does from home. 

In addition to getting up so early, we arrived fifteen minutes early and we had to wait in the outer hallway for the office to open. As we were standing there, a man came by with a crock pot full of some sort of food. I waited for Liz to say something and when she didn't I quickly said "Is it time for breakfast?" He laughed and said brunch and we were invited. Looking back I was amazed I took the opportunity to start a conversation with a complete stranger. I think this morning for some reason I thought the light makeup I was wearing matched how my hair looked and my gender dysphoria was not an issue and did not bother me. So I had as much right as Liz did to initiate a conversation.

Amazingly, I felt empowered to do it again when and if the opportunity arises. It felt good to shed my shyness around the public. Maybe if I was more into setting more new resolutions for the year 2023, I could have considered adding speaking up more to my non existent list. As I felt this morning, possibly engaging the public more will help me to continue to build my personality as my authentic feminine self. My excuse is the Covid years of relative isolation hiding behind a mask stunted any personal growth I had with the public. Plus, back in the day when I was first coming out, I enjoyed my time communicating with the public, for the most part. It could have been too I was caught up in the newness of it all. After all, the communication skills women required to survive in their world were so vastly different to me. Even with all the years I spent working with women, I found they shielded me from what they really meant on certain subjects. 

I have considered also that over the years, writing had become my preferred form of communication. To the point of hurting my verbal communication. Since I was afraid of using what I called my feminine voice, I softened my vocal delivery to a point of not being heard by some people. 

Now I hope to try to get out into the public more and practice my vocal skills more in depth. Adding yet another dimension to my overall public presentation. Years ago I did take a few lessons on developing a more feminine voice and think I still have the practice notes and homework I was given. I will have to find the paperwork and try again. Engaging the public was so enjoyable.  

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Hot Flashes?

 I have been on hormone replacement therapy for quite a while now. In fact, as far I can determine, I have been on HRT for nearly nine years now. All I remember from starting the hormonal trip is I started with my wife Liz at a LGBT night club in Dayton, Ohio. To make the whole affair more dramatic, I decided to wait to start on New Years Eve. 


As I said, it was a long time ago as HRT experiences go (maybe). It wasn't so long following the evening when I began to experience fairly dramatic changes on a fairly quick basis. I started to feel sensitivity in my breasts as well as noticeable growth. Very quickly I arrived at a point where I had to be very careful which shirt I was going to wear. All in all, my new and exciting feminine transition appeared to be going smoothly as I was under a doctors care. My hair was growing quickly, my skin smoothed out and my face lost some of it's masculine angles. I'm sure it helped because I was already in my sixties when I started HRT so my natural testosterone levels were already decreasing. Most likely, my biggest surprises came on my internal feelings. For the first time in my life I could cry. 

Another surprise in my new feminine puberty came when I experienced my first major hot flash. I remember sitting at a venue enjoying a drink when all of a sudden I felt as if I was burning up from the inside out. I was so self conscious at that point, I felt everybody was going to be staring at me. Even more so since I was already ultra aware of my surroundings since I was the only single woman at the bar. In a relatively short period of time, my hot flash went away and I returned to my state of normal. Whatever that was. The longer I was on hormones my body settled in on my new puberty my body adjusted and my hot flashes more or less went away. Until this morning it seems.

I have been on a twice a week patch dosage of Estradiol for years now. The only change comes when the brand name of the patches differs because of pharmacy availability. The only other constant I have is how well the patches stick on to my skin. At certain times of the year I have more trouble than others getting them to stick because of temperature and humidity. Through it all, every now and then I do notice more fullness in my breasts and even more so my more sudden development  in my hips. I really have a small feminine hips now.

The reason for this blog post however is wondering why I had a major hot flash this morning. All I know is either I did an extra good job of attaching my patches yesterday or somehow I attached patches which had a slightly higher dosage. As I said, I apply my patches twice a week, so I will have plenty of time to monitor future results. It makes more sense now why some mornings I have a red face when I get up and look at myself in the mirror. Just not as major as this morning. 

I never thought my feminine puberty journey would resume again at my age. My endocrinologist visit is coming up in three months so if the hot flashes continue I might mention them to her. Whatever the case, I really don't want to have my hormone dosages decreased because I enjoy the results so much. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The First to Know

Do you remember the first person you told you were transgender? Chances are you do because it was such a traumatic experience. I had some sort of experience in the process because back in the day I came out to a group of close friends as a transvestite. The difference being was I was coming out to them as a relatively harmless desire to dress in women's clothes versus the more permanent drive to actually becoming a full fledged transgender woman. The whole process brings to mind the old joke "What's the difference between a cross dresser and a trans woman...approximately three years." Of course you can change the years to fit your own situation. 

Image from Sai de Silva on
UnSplash

The first person I actually came out to as a transgender woman was my daughter. Needless to say I was very nervous. I called her up and scheduled a breakfast with her. After exchanging pleasantries I finally gathered enough courage to blurt out I was transgender. To my amazement, she paused a second and said why was she the last to know. When actually she was the first to know. Of course she mentioned her Mom and I told her Mom knew of my crossdressing desires but never knew I was trans. In all fairness to her Mother, I didn't really know of the depth of my gender dysphoria until later in my life. Also, for some reason, I don't remember any questions concerning my second wife or my daughter's step mom. 

It didn't take long to find out her response was a positive one. In fact, over the years, she has turned out to be a staunch LGBTQ ally and is now dealing with one of her three children coming out as transgender. I guess in many ways I was just a ground breaker in providing her with new gender information. She even went further by offering to take me shopping for women's clothes which I politely turned down because I was doing quite well on my own and was beginning to feel secure in my fashion choices, finally. On the other hand, what I did take her up on was an invitation to have my hair done at her hair salon. The first time I went I was positively scared to death but came out of it knowing I had just gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The estrogen in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. 

Sadly the experience of coming out to my daughter was not going to be the norm. In reality because I had waited so long to come out of my gender closet, most of the people close to me (including family) had passed on. Out of the very few remaining was my only slightly younger brother. Deep down I knew coming out to him would not be easy because of his redneck right wing in laws. Would he chose the easy way out and terminate our relationship. The answer was predicable and swift and came around the Thanksgiving holiday. 

When I came out to him, I told him I would respect his wishes if he didn't want me to come to the family holiday dinner as my authentic feminine self. In no time at all, he said no I would not be welcomed. It happened over a decade now ago and we have not spoken sense. If he couldn't look past his in laws and accept me for what I am, I had other options to fall back on. I know as the transgender community as a whole goes, I was very fortunate to have those options and moved on. 

I am sure all of you have your own often dramatic coming out stories. I hope your experiences tend to go towards my daughters acceptance and not my brothers rejection. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

A Transgender Set Back?

Photo Courtesy 
Jessie Hart

Yesterday I needed to go the Cincinnati Veterans Hospital for a colonoscopy. If you are not familiar it is a procedure when they run a small camera up and through your colon looking for what they call polyps.  Polyps if left unattended can sometimes lead to colon cancer. If you have ever been through a colonoscopy, you know the prep work before is no fun as you have to essentially fast for two days while drinking copious amounts of a liquid laxative which tastes like salt water. 

Recently I have not had to undergo any challenges to my gender. Sadly all of my gains were going to be erased yesterday. First of all, the intake nurse who was taking care of me came out into the waiting room and screamed "Mr. Hart." I cringed and said Mr. Hart wasn't here but would I do. She never replied anything and back to an intake room we went. By this time, I thought to hell with her Mr. Hart, let's just get this procedure over with. I also thought I was done with her so I wouldn't have to go through being mis gendered again. Plus there was always the chance she said it before she ever saw me and they don't see many women in the VA. 

Then came the worst part of all, I had to take all of my clothes off and put on one of those infamous hospital gowns, opened up the back. Even though hormone replacement therapy has taken care of most of my body hair, it was impossible for me to shave my backside, the one they were going to see. Again, by this time I just wanted the procedure to be all over so Liz and I could go out and get something to eat. I am sure with my highly androgynous appearance (since I have had no surgeries) at the least I may have given the nursing staff something to talk about. 

There was only one nurse who asked what I wanted to be called. I mistakenly thought there was going to be a light at the end of the gender tunnel when I told her my legal first name. Everything went well in our conversation until out of the clear blue sky she called me "Sir". I just said I wasn't a sir and everything was over...for now. The head doctors assistant told me I had four polyps, two of which they had to remove so I will probably be asked to come back in for a repeat procedure in six months to a year. I know the VA is trying to make a serious effort in their treatment of transgender patients, so maybe by then I will see a difference. I try my best to keep into consideration the people I meet who mis-gender me aren't being mean. They are just being ignorant because they have never met a transgender woman. Since I know what I will be facing when I go back too soon for my liking, maybe I can turn a transgender set back into a positive by educating people. Perhaps the next transgender person won't have to go through what I did. 

No pun intended but in the end result. all I want is to be kept free of colon cancer.