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

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

There is Always a Transition

 

Archive
image
Jessie Hart

In an expansion of yesterday's post, today, I am beginning a post on the extra transitions we go through in life. Many are relatable to everyday life, some are not. Everyone goes through changes or transitions. For example when and if they ever become parents.

My biggest transition came when I crossed the gender frontier from viewing myself as a cross dresser I could possibly live without to a fulltime life as a transgender woman. My transition also came along when I was negotiating raising a daughter, building my career and attempting to outrun myself. Life became very busy as I struggled to find myself. I resorted to therapy to try to balance my mental health. Along the therapy path, I was diagnosed with a Bipolar depression disorder to add on to my gender dysphoria which was dominating my life. Through medication I take to this day, I am able to control my depression and my gender dysphoria became much better when I finally decided to fully leave my gender closet. 

As I lived on, maybe I should have taken up the motto, "Later is Greater" as I took my time exploring the possibilities of living a totally femininized life. My excuse is I wanted to make sure I had it all right before I risked it all and left my male self behind. Eventually, I learned from all the trips I was making out the door of our house, doing the best I could to blend into the world as a woman, transgender or not. Then, another transition was facing me head on. It was the great leap from being an experimenter to being a doer or practitioner of being feminine. I took years of watching and learning to understand what my second wife was telling me when she said I didn't know anything about being a woman. Not only was she right, she did did her best to hold me back from learning what she was talking about. There was no way she wanted to show me much about what truly being a woman was all about. Instead, she persisted in calling me the "Pretty, pretty princess."

Her failure to help me just pushed me farther and farther towards my next transition which was a huge one. The more I settled on a feminine look and style I liked, people I previously didn't know began to recognize me and I was forced to begin to build a whole new life as a trans woman. Primarily it meant I needed to communicate with the world with tools which were totally foreign to me. Trying my best to develop a softer feminine sounding tone was a real challenge along with adjusting to a society of women where passive aggressive behavior was the rule. There were too many times I suffered when I didn't perceive exactly where the attack on me was coming from. Instead of usual male frontal attack I was used to, I needed to start watching my back. Communication with the world was a huge part of my next gender transition. 

After I thought I had the communication and appearance transitions down, seemingly there was another challenge awaiting me at every turn. Who knew it could be so difficult to cross the gender divide? I was often frustrated when the smallest details would trip me up, not to mention the big ones such as the ill advised use of water balloons as breast forms. The balloons worked well enough until one exploded on me one night in a venue I often went to. Fortunately, I was on my way to the woman's rest room when it happened and it was empty. I was able to clean up,  quietly finish my drink and leave with no one noticing me, I was wearing a loose fitting top so no one saw or mentioned the one breasted wet woman on her way out of the venue. Needless to say, my next investment was silicone breast forms. 

As I near my seventy fifth birthday. transitions are harder to come by yet more meaningful These days, I mostly just present as old. Plus, my ultimate paranoia of having to go to assisted living and having my gender attacked looms large. As I always say, I need to do my best not to dwell on the future and live in the present. 

None of us control the final transition, no matter how much money or power we have. It is up to any higher power you believe in to make it happen..   

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Trans Acceptance

 

Liz on Left, Daughter on Right.

Today, my wife Liz and I are heading north to Dayton, Ohio for a family birthday party. The party is for my youngest grandson and my daughter's father in law. 

The get together of my daughter's extended family has always been a different experience for me, as a man or a woman. Per norm, my visits as a man were ego driven with battles with my son in law in particular. They were nothing as compared with any other macho activities I faced with the family.

When I completed my male to female gender transition, I wondered how I would be accepted. If at all. It turned out as my daughter led the way, the rest of the family followed. As most of you regular readers know, my kid was wonderfully supportive from the very beginning. However, as her family expanded to three grandkids for me, what would they think of my gender issues. Spoiler alert, all three took my transition in stride and my oldest grandkid even came out as transgender before "they" left high school. They (chosen pronouns) were always leaning that way, so I was not really surprised.    

As time and events went by, my feminine self was still chosen to stand up in front of a temple and actively participate in one of the bar mitzfah ceremonies since my daughter converted over to the Jewish faith. Her decision led me to a whole other level of acceptance I never knew existed. From the Rabbi, to cousins I never knew before, I was accepted as an equal person. No one cared.

Now when we make the hour trip to the birthday party, I have nothing but good feelings. At the least, transgender acceptance as a person helps my gender euphoria, at it's best I get to see my trans grandchild again. Plus, I get to moderately dress up for my first wife who usually attends as she is the mother of my daughter. Recently she gave me a complement which literally left me speechless. She mentioned how good I looked and how far I had come along. Now I feel bad, I couldn't come back with anything else than a mumbled thank you. She went way back with me to the Army and she knew I was a cross dresser before we got married.

Since now I am close to the oldest person in the room, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would ever become a matriarch.   

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Is Being Trans all About You?

Image from Caroline Hernandez on UnSplash

 As I was embarking on a struggle with my second wife concerning me coming out as a transgender woman, we encountered plenty of problems. It was  during this time, she was fond of telling me my gender issues were not all about me.

Ironically, for the most part she was right. As I ventured more and more into the public's eye, all I thought about was the next opportunity I would have to go out as a woman. Then, when I had to go out as my boring, unwanted male self, I would become upset and get mad when I tried to internalize my thoughts. I have written before about the vacations I ruined when all I thought about was how I would spend them as a woman. 

Worst yet, I was jealous of the fact she had the body and life I wanted to have. I wanted her curves and soft skin and wanted her to make love to me as another woman. Which for the most part never happened. The whole process carried over into my life as a cross dresser or novice transgender woman. When ever I went out into the public, I felt as if every eye was on me. Which for the most part, was not the case. I found most of the public was just going about their everyday lives and could not care less about me and my issues. It took me years to learn I could just blend in for the most part into a feminine based society and basically just disappear

First, I had to work my way around the fact my male ego still controlled the way he wanted me to look. He wanted me to dress to thrill, which just turned out trashy and attracted unwanted attention. It was quite the learning experience and took awhile to accomplish because of one big reason. I wanted so badly to be a pretty woman but just couldn't accomplish it primarily because of my testosterone poisoned body. As far as anyone had ever told me, my legs were the only feminine part of my body I had to work with and my wife was no help because she never helped or complimented me on anything I did. Once again saying my attempts to be pretty were all about me.

When I could not disagree, I just became more frustrated and the pressure was on to do better as a femininized person...with or without her. It was at that point, I did my best to escape the house without her knowing and see the world through the eyes of a transgender woman. I was modestly successful and when, on the other hand, when she discovered what I was doing, huge fights happened. Fights, I never won, because I knew she was right. I was risking everything we had built to experience a new exciting but scary world. After I figured for sure I was indeed transgender, the pressure on me really began to build. On one hand, I suddenly could see a dream I wanted my entire life may be accessible but on the other, I would have to lose everything I had worked so hard for to grab it. It seemed life was so unfair but I could hear my parents telling me, no one ever said life had to be fair and I moved on.

Sadly, my wife passed away before I faced my truth with her and she knew it more than I did. On more than one occasion following a big fight she told me why did not I do us both a big favor and transition. For some reason, I followed the male way out and tried again and again to internalize my feelings until I was intensely unhappy. It seemed being trans was all about me until I finally came out and accepted myself.

When I did accept myself as transgender, I was able to see the world from a different viewpoint and learned to love the world and others more deeply than I ever had before.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Young and Dumb

 

Banquet image with Liz on left. 

I often wonder how wise I was when I decided to follow my gender path to becoming a full time transgender woman. In many ways, I am referring to the good old, if I knew then what I know now, would have I done it.

The short answer is most certainly I would have tried my best to follow the same path because I had no choice. Either I transitioned or I died. I made it so simple even the most extreme transphobic person could understand.  

Transgender or not, we all go periods in our life when we are young and dumb. Fortunately, most of us live through this process and learn from our mistakes. This is especially true for transgender woman or trans men as they go through an assimilation process leading to living as their authentic selves . In many blog posts, I document more than a few of my fashion and makeup  mistakes when I first started my journey out of my dark gender closet. It wasn't until years of experimenting with my makeup did I seek out professional help which happened at a cross dresser - transgender mixer I happened to go to. I put my ego aside and volunteered for a professional to redo my makeup. He did a tremendous job and even explained what he was doing so I understood as he went along. I was very impressed with the results and basked in the praise I received from others I met. I went from a casual believer in the power of makeup to a total devotee.

Even when I was young and dumb, I tried to conduct myself with some sort of grace and decorum. I made sure I distanced myself from the other trans woman who was flashing others at the Andy Warhol show we went to in Columbus at The Ohio State University as well as making sure I did not abuse the rest room privileges other cross dressers did at a gay bar we went to. Leaving the toilet seat up and urinating all over the toilet in the women's room was certainly not cool and was nothing I wanted to be associated with. It wasn't too long after that when the sign went up on the door...real women only.

On the other hand, I still did quite a few dumb things which could have gotten me into trouble when I was in my formative cross dressing years. I drove way too much after I consumed vast amounts of beer was my main sin as well as how I dressed when I first came out into the world. My trashy fashion sense was just screaming look at me when the best policy was just to blend in with the world. My other problems I was lucky to escape happened when I ignored my new personal security needs as a transgender woman. No longer could I fall back on my departed male safety privilege and I needed to watch where I parked and what I wore around certain people. I was bailed out of one close call by my second wife and another time, I was able to buy my way out of trouble with two men I encountered on a dark urban sidewalk when I was leaving a gay bar.

I always have been a believer in that I have always had some sort of a guardian angel looking over me and she was certainly helping me out during my self destructive coming out days. I am sure, many times she was shaking her head and saying not again. How I was driving in those days alone many times could have resulted in a very serious injury. 

As with anything else, if you are transgender, life has given you extra layers of existence to work your way through. You need to deal with life's normal problems along with a whole new set of others which often are completely unexpected. Crossing the gender border can often be brutal at the hands of the public which chooses not to support us at all. Which we will find out again with yet another major Supreme Court decision coming up soon. Too many people didn't make it through the young and dumb period of their lives and are now old and dumb. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Strong Women Role Models

Hand Beaded Transgender Hair
Barret from Liz T Designs on
Etsy 

 I am speculating most transgender women or even trans men have experienced at least one or more strong women in their lives.

For any number of reasons, women have been forced to be strong and carry the load for weak men. For many, their first entrance into true womanhood comes with having children. With current economic conditions the way they are, the days of the old fifties version of Mom staying home to raise the kids and take care of the house is long gone. To barely make it financially, both partners have to work.

Problems then arise when the man still wants to follow the old outdated male standards of doing very little around the house to help out. 

By now, you may be asking what does this have anything to do with being a transgender woman. With me, at least, it means a lot. My Mom worked out a deal with my Dad in the sixties. If she went back to work as a school teacher and used her college degree, my Dad would help her out with hiring a part-time housekeeper. Even with the help, Mom had a lot to do with two sons in a very male orientated family. Even though I admired my Dad for being a self made man coming out of the Great Depression and WWII, I had more on hands experience with my Mom who was very headstrong. Who knows, maybe that influence with her had more to do with me being transgender than anything else. Later I was to learn my gender issues ran deeper than one person outside of myself.

Even so, I still searched for the perfect woman to model myself after. I wanted to appear as the confident women in the world I saw moving around in their lives. The older I became, the more I learned the perfect woman did not exist and many women were hurting themselves attempting the be a successful person in the world as well as on the home front. Not to mention, the overwhelming problem of appearance. Until recent times, aging has not been kind to most women who among other things suffer from extended menopause. 

All of these factors contribute to why I have such a high opinion of strong women and how I think the world is changing quickly as many more young women seize the new opportunities in the world around them while young men play video games. 

With all the changes, it is important to figure out how a transgender woman can fit in at all. Certainly, we have to be a better woman to do it at all. Which means understanding all the layers of a woman's life. That is once of the reasons some women resist letting trans women play in the girls sandbox at all. As my second wife always told me in no uncertain terms, I needed to earn my way in. Maybe that is why I never considered her a strong woman role model for me at all. My Mom on the other hand, was a strong role model for me. From how she applied her makeup to how she battled me for my future, I appreciated all she did for me. Including of course, birthing me. She remained my role model even though she rejected me when I came out as a transvestite to her. She immediately said she would pay for a psychiatrist which I rejected. Since I didn't have a mental health problem because of my gender issues. 

We never mentioned my desire to change my gender the rest of her life but even so I decided to adopt her first name as my legal middle name when I transitioned and legally changed my name. It was the biggest honor I could think of for all the things she did for me. The most relevant thing she did for me was to show me what a strong woman was and how to be one. A trait I would really need as I followed all the ups and downs of following a new gender path.

It is ironic to me, the strongest women I know like Liz or Kim have very little idea of how much they have helped me along and the most frustrating part is I don't think I can ever repay what they have done for me. 

Who knows? You might be an offspring of the very few strong women like my daughter. She had to became an ally for her trans child and was then able to take advantage of helping her child at an early age. Maybe your Mom realized your authentic gender self and became an ally rather than the cruel opposite.  If you didn't, you were forced to do what the rest of us did. Study strong women close up and do your best to join their ranks. I was fortunate enough to be able to work professionally along side several strong women who I learned from. The women seemed to combine strength and humility seamlessly to forge a successful business career. 

There are so many variations on how to become a successful strong trans woman it is difficult to mention them all. We all need to the do the best we can to force our way into a world where sometimes we are not wanted.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Owning Who you Are

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives.

During Pride Month, it is extra important to to own who you are. Just as much as it is anytime but Pride may give you the little extra confidence to get by. 

To a large part, confidence in yourself, plays a huge role in you being able to own who you are as a novice transgender woman or trans man in the world. For me, it took many setbacks before I gained the confidence in myself to enter the public's not so accepting world. Just learning the basics of fashion and makeup was a major undertaking for me since like so many of you, I was starting from scratch. Slowly but very unsurely I was able to learn the basics enough to get by. In order to do so, I needed to learn to blend in with other women and not try to be sexier, which was a dismal failure. Stuffing a male, testosterone poisoned body into an ultra short mini skirt or dress just didn't work anywhere except for shock value at Halloween parties. 

Once I began to develop a slight amount of confidence in myself, I still learned the hard way that the sky was not the limit when I came to exploring a new life as a transgender woman. In one venue ( a  TGIF Friday's) I found myself becoming a part of a small diverse group of strangers who knew nothing of my old male life. The group was a mixture of a lesbian and her friends which included a beautiful exotic  dancer who drew the interest of a big bearded guy who owned a motorcycle and managed a lumber yard just down the street. Against the wishes of the group, he shocked everyone by proposing to the wild dancer and found himself in a short lived ill fated marriage. Ironically, I was the only one who showed him any sympathy in the group and we became close, before he moved on with his motorcycle to another job. The whole episode gave me confidence in the fact that men were not as off limits as I thought they were. Even though they were not knocking my door down to date me.

I found out quickly my sexuality did not change as I transitioned from male to female and even was enhanced when I learned all the attention I could get from other women. Most importantly, I did not need the validation from a man to give me the confidence to be myself. Even though I was prepared to see if there was any sort of a sexual spark between the authentic trans me and men, there just wasn't. I was busy owning who I was and she was doing a quality job during the process. As it was, the process led me down many different paths. Many turned out to be good and others were dead ends but my new found confidence helped me to continue to search.

Owning who I was also meant forcing my old, unwanted male self into the closet where my authentic gender self lived for years just existing by cross dressing in front of the mirror. Of course, he put up quite the battle before losing and nearly wrecked my mental health on the way. With the help of a key group of women friends and a loyal, dedicated therapist, I survived on my gender path and eventually thrived. I just had to muster up more courage than I thought I had to do it. To those of you who would ask why I would risk so much to transition, I can only say the process along the way felt so natural and saved my life. 

Some would argue I am less trans than the next person because I waited so long to come out in my life. That is ridiculous because I always knew I had gender issues but did not grow up in an easy time to express them Plus, I would not give anything to have missed out on certain moments of my male life, such as my daughter. Who has led me to having three grandchildren I love very much. So you can see why I don't consider my entire male life to be a waste of time because I learned so much from it. 

On the other hand, switching gears after being deeply embedded in a male world wasn't easy. The process took me many years before I could come up to speed in a new world which was and is constantly changing for women, transgender or not. In fact, it could be argued, catching up is more difficult for a trans woman because we have to start from scratch and often be better in the world than other women just to survive. Having the confidence to own who you are is the only way to do it. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Life in Her World

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives

Once I was preparing to live as a transgender woman, I needed to figure out what to do with my new life. . 

As it turned out, even though I had worked for years to figure out my ultimate gender puzzle, I found I still had a long way to go. When everything ceased to be in my mind and into the world, I faced the formidable task of rebuilding my life as a trans woman and leaving my male past behind. The first major problem came from my old male self accepting any of the idea at all. He kept reminding me of all the risks I would be taking if I transitioned. What would happen to my family, friends and employment if I entered my new exciting world. What I did for the longest time was attempt to live with one foot in one gender and one foot in another. Of course, my less than wonderful idea did not work and the pressure to move into her world fulltime became unbearable. I finally realized I did not have a choice and  I just had to complete my transition. I emphasize I had no choice because some transphobic individuals think I did. I would like them to live just a small time in a transgender life to permanently change their minds.

Another problem I had was the longer I lived in my new trans life, the more routine it became.  I found myself slipping back into my old male bad habits which were long gone. When my white, male privileges disappeared, I had no where to turn when life turned the tables on me. A primary example came on the occasions when my personal security was threatened as a novice transgender woman just learning the world. I discovered I could not just bluster or bluff away problematic situations which arose in the world. In many situations, like every other woman,  I needed to work hard to distance myself from the problem and try to learn from it.  Every time I slipped back into male mode, I was rudely reminded of what I did and quickly adjusted.  

Just moving around became a priority for me. I needed to unlearn the male walk and talk and learn to try to flow like a woman. I practiced everytime I could until I thought I had achieved a basic successful walk so I would  not look like a line backer in a dress. The whole process became easier when I finally realized I needed to put my male self away and adopt the feminine one forever. Without totally knowing it, I had moved away from my cross dressing days into a life in her world as a transgender woman. As far as talking was involved in the process, I write about the feminine art of communication often. As a male my habit of frontal aggression needed to go away as I found myself in a world dominated by passive aggression. All too often, I suffered the pain of claw marks on my back when I thought I knew what another woman was thinking or doing. Instead of making the first move in situations, I learned to lay back and let the other woman make the first move and then go from there.

Life in her world then became a question of how confident I had become. I came to realize even though another woman realized my path was different than hers, I still could be accepted as an equal. When I reached this moment of confidence, my life changed forever and I knew I could live the life I always dreamed of. In her world where I always belonged. 

In order to do so, I needed to finally trust my inner feminine soul to take over and run my life. She did a wonderful job since she had waited so long to do it. I was able to become a well rounded person in her world.


Saturday, June 1, 2024

Transgender Stairsteps

Image from Reinaldo Kevin
on UnSplash

As I progressed through life, the idea of me being transgender took up more and more space. 

When it did, I had to create my own steps to arrive at the next level and negotiate all the many stop signs which impeded my progress. For awhile, I was so engrossed in my own appearance, my second wife called me the "Pretty, pretty princess." Mainly because she did not use much makeup and was not very girly herself. I did get my revenge on the occasions we were going out and she had to ask for my assistance with her makeup. It was all I could do to not say something like did she all of a sudden need the "Princess's" help but I didn't.

Little did I know, presenting the best I could as a cross dresser or novice transgender woman was just the beginning. As I was attempting to learn as much as I could about the next step I was stonewalled by my wife who did not want me to go any farther as a trans woman. Not to mention my male self, who was doing his best to derail my gender journey the best he could. It was obvious, he wanted nothing to do with giving up any of his power over me. 

With or without either my wife or my male self, my path was set and I was intent on finding and climbing the next steps towards living as a fulltime transgender woman. Now I shouldn't get  too far ahead of myself because of all the steep stairsteps I still had to climb. The first step was to determine exactly what my gender identity was. Which included my all important sexuality. Since I was planning on living a feminine lifestyle, would I be expected on changing my sexuality as well. This time of my life was very exciting and scary at the same time. When I made it to my next step, I needed to maintain my balance before I could even think about going forward to another.

Once I maintained my balance and was able to look around in my new feminine world, I loved where I was and could not wait to go on. After all, I was showcasing my new skills at blending in with other women as well as experiencing more and more communicating with other women which I went into in yesterday's post. I can safely say my communication experience was one of the most difficult things I had ever done. The next step seemed to be an impossible distance away. Somehow I made it anyways and the next move was seeking out the availability of gender affirming hormones or HRT. I did get approved by a doctor to begin the hormones and the next step was a huge one. Mainly because I had some sort of an idea of the physical changes I would be going through but had no idea of the internal ones.

All of a sudden, I was a different person. I could cry when I never could before as well as undergoing other inner changes. The step of hormones turned out to be worth the wait and all the anticipation. In fact being afraid of heights and climbing too high was worth it also. Maybe it is the excuse I can use to rationalize to myself why it took me so long to realize my transgender life long dreams. 

Before I go, I would like to wish a Happy Birthday to my oldest Grandchild who is graduating from The Ohio State University in December. My Grandchild also happens to be trans and identifies as "They/Them" and I am so proud!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Quiet Trans Girl

Image from Linkedin on UnSplash.

Growing up, I lived under the double edged sword of not wanting to live in a male dominated world which was my family. So I did what I was taught to do, I internalized my thoughts and never mentioned them to anyone.  I became a very quiet trans girl until when I was in my early twenties and came out as a transvestite to a few very close friends. In the Army, of all places. 

In fact, internalizing my feminine desires became my main theme to my life. On many days, when my gender dysphoria was at it's highest, I had no idea how I was going to make it through another day in a male world. Somehow, without the help of anyone else I made it and continued to live a very quiet life with a few male dominated activities included to throw my gender doubters off the beaten track. Somehow I managed to join up with a small group of hell raisers who I stayed friends with through high school and the military.

Staying hidden in my closet had a negative effect when I first took my tentative steps in the world as a novice cross dresser / transgender woman. When I made my entrance into the real world away from gay bars and clothing stores where everyone could be accepted, I was petrified when someone attempted to communicate with me. What would I say and more importantly how would I say it. Nothing in my life had prepared me for what I was about to face. 

I began the process with simply trying to mimic the voice of the woman who was trying to talk to me, which seemed to work out fairly well until I needed to talk to a man. So I tried to do the next best thing and not talk at all. Not talking worked fairly well until I began to see people again. For the most part, I was easy to remember and more people than I care to mention wanted to know more about me. Particularly women, who in their own feminine way wanted to know why I wanted into their world. To further my communication success, I then decided to attend vocal classes at the Veteran's Administration in Dayton, Ohio. By doing so, I was able to learn the basic differences the male and female binary genders use to communicate in the world. The training went much farther than just the basics of vocal range and I learned a lot. 

Perhaps the biggest improvement I learned was I could now have the confidence to hold my own, one on one with another woman. I was no longer coming off as unfriendly or worse by not wanting to talk. I used to say I was going out to my favorite venues night after night to be alone but it was not true any longer as I was out to be social. 

Ironically, the better I became at being social with other women, the more I was kicked out of my old men's club which I had become so adept at surviving in. I learned quickly my male privilege of discussing topics of interest with other guys was a waste of my time when I was rejected for being a woman. Transgender or not. Like it or not, once again I had became the quiet trans girl. 

It wasn't until I began to build a new circle of women friends did I finally discover I didn't need a man's validation to be a person at all. I could stand on my own two feet and flourish in the world but it wasn't easy to get there. I had more failures than successes when I first started the communication process in the world as a transgender woman. The feminine nuances of non verbal communication women use initially was very difficult to learn. It did not take me long though to grasp when a friendly woman behind the bar was trying to tell me when a drunk guy was a huge red flag and I should vacate the premises.

More than anything else, my new communication skills brought the quiet trans girl out of her shell. When I moved in with Liz in Cincinnati, we began to go to "Meetup" social groups which helped immeasurably with my communication skills. Sure, probably, most of the others attending knew I was trans but I was different and even exotic to a few, so I stood out from the group. I needed to accept the fact and finally began to thrive on my reality.

I know my reality isn't for everyone and my journey could be different than all of yours. The main thing is we are all on the same journey at various points in our lives and can learn from each other. When we do, we can come out of our deep/dark gender closets and live a meaningful life. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Not the Only One

My Transgender Friend Racquel
from Texas

This is really an extension of yesterday's post. During the post I mentioned the times when I discovered there were actually others who shared my cross dressing dreams. In fact, they even had a label back in those days, we were called transvestites. 

In my post I even mentioned the "Transvestia" publication which I came to cherish so much. I was so amazed to see a nationwide network of like minded individuals. In a short period of time, I discovered a side group of sorts called the "Tri-Ess" organization for strictly heterosexual cross dressers who met in nearby Columbus, Ohio for socials or mixers. Columbus was only approximately a half hour from my home and I just had to check it out.

When I did, I was able to meet a smaller, diverse side group who had private parties in an exclusive Columbus location. As I became a part of this group, I really found how I was not the only one. The only issue I had was, deciding what exactly I was. I knew from experience I was much more serious about being a cross dresser than many of the others I met at the mixers. On the other hand, I still wasn't sure if I was as serious as a few of the transsexual women who were headed for gender realignment surgery. Or sex change as it was known back then. I still had too many huge gender decisions to make before I could ever make such a life changing choice. 

In the short term, I decided to align myself as close as I could with the transsexuals as I attempted to learn as much as I could about their lives. I only really knew two, so contact was very rare plus on most occasions my second wife was with me so I needed to be careful about how I acted. 

As the internet and social media came into play, the potential of knowing I was not the only one in the world with gender issues literally exploded. Along with the internet came a new understanding of the different layers of gender life. As I said in yesterday's post, the term transgender became increasingly known here in Ohio, which as always behind the East and West coasts. As I studied it, the more I was convinced transgender fit my status in life and I felt better for a short amount of time. I say a short period, because in no time at all, I was striving to be a better trans person and learn more and more about myself in the world.  

What I did learn was, even though I found others who shared my gender issues or even gender dysphoria, there were not many. In fact, before she moved to Texas, my friend Racquel was one of the few women in the LGBTQ world I stayed in contact with and Racquel often joined in with my lesbian friends when we partied. 

Recently, partially because of my mobility issues, my transgender outreach has been limited to my writing as well as virtual diversity meetings with the local Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association. As well as the occasional speaking engagement thanks to a friend in the trans community. When I am able to participate in an outreach, particularly to young people, I am able to see I am far from being the only one with gender issues and it feels good.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Gender Boxes


Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives.

When I was very young, my parents did what so many others do. They constructed a gender box and forced me into it.

As I grew up, I had no choice. I was a boy and was expected to do boy things. Even to the point of receiving gifts on Christmas I did not really want. My primary example came one year when I secretly wanted a doll or kitchen set and I received a BB Gun instead. I was the opposite from the "Ralphie" character in the "Christmas Story" movie. For you that don't know, Ralphie wanted a BB Gun in the movie in the worst way.

 As I grew and began to gain confidence in cross dressing as a girl, my gender box became smaller and smaller.  On most days, it was a struggle to just exist in the world as I knew it. The worst part about it was I never had a choice. It was like I was a round peg being driven into a square hole and being told to like it. I didn't like it and my struggles led to a worsening of my gender dysphoria and mental health. Perhaps the worst part about my situation in those days was I had no one to talk to about it and knew no one with similar gender issues. I was so alone in my little gender box.

As I struggled forward in life, I discovered there were others who were in their own gender boxes and struggling with similar problems also. I like to refer to those days as my "Virginia Prince" and "Transvestia Magazine" days. First I could not believe there were so many other cross dressers in the world and they even had a regular publication I could subscribe to. Looking back, I think "Transvestia" came every two months and I could not wait until I received my new issue. Just reading and gazing at all the other pretty transvestites in the issue made living in my box a bit more bearable. Especially when I learned there were regular "socials or mixers" being held in a location I could actually drive to. I was dazzled when I went to my first mixer and saw all the different people who attended. All the way from weekend cross dressers to transsexuals' heading for gender surgeries. 

Even seeing all those different people in their own little boxes did not help me with mine. Deep down I knew I still didn't fit in with most of the cross dressers I met because I was way more serious and certainly not with the transsexuals because I wasn't serious enough. So I remained in my little box, mainly trapped until the transgender term made it's way into the mainstream consciousness in Ohio. Once I heard or saw transgender, I knew it described me better than anything I had ever seen. Finally, I could take a big marker and write proudly transgender on my box.

From there, it was a matter of connecting the dots and removing the box altogether from my existence. Of course, learning to live a new life as a new gender was a major process and not one which was to be taken lightly. To make matters worse, sometimes I tried to jump into new gender boxes and missed my step and had to retreat to try again. Even still, life had taught me by this time, nothing was going to be easy when it came to escaping being pounded into the square hole I was in but when I did, I could be happy. 

I was fortunate in that I lived long enough to escape my gender box and enjoy a new world as a transgender woman free from many worries I used to have. The process was difficult but worth it.  


Monday, May 20, 2024

Transgender. Complex or Simple




Is the art of being transgender very complex or simple? It depends on where you are in your gender transition cycle.

Anyway you cut it, femininization is a difficult process and I assume the same is true for transgender men seeking to enter a male world. In my past, I have had conversations with a trans man friend of mine about the trials and tribulations of using the men's room. The process seemed different to me because I had always taken for granted using the men's room and ignoring everyone else in it. I experienced a much different world full of complexity when I started to use women's room. Just making sure I looked another woman in the eye was a challenge, not to mention everything else I needed to remember to survive. 

Of course the biggest complexity was fashion, hair and makeup. Since we transgender women don't have the luxury of growing up feminine, we have a ton of catching up to do. It is often more painful than fun but is something we just have to if we want to ever make it to the simplicity side of our lives. In addition, the complexity of living trans comes full circle when it comes to our emotions. Then emotions lead to our overall mental health, so it has a very deep relationship with our everyday lives. If we are fortunate, we settle into and come to an uneasy acceptance of being our authentic gender selves is the goal. 

None of the conquering of the transgender complexities came easy for me. I needed to work my way through dressing as a teenaged girl in my mind all the way to being able to present to blend in the world successfully. I needed a whole new attention to detail if I was ever going to achieve my lifetime dream of being a fulltime woman, trans or not. It took awhile but I slowly adjusted my life to a much simpler mode which included being feminine. Fashion and makeup became second nature to me as well as the difficult attempts of dealing with the public which meant mainly with other women. 

There were so many serious facets of my everyday such as being to deal with such as what my sexuality was going to be. After all, since I was living as a woman, would I be expected to have sex with men. Since I had never had sex with men, I had no idea of what to expect. Would I have any pleasure, or would I have been doing it just for my own validation. Thankfully, I did not ever have to explore the new frontiers of sex as I found I was still attracted to women and my lesbian women friends taught me it was fine to be so. So the sexuality of my life didn't change and stayed very simple.

Life is complex enough on it's own without adding in the complexities of being transgender, so we face the ups and downs of following our paths. We somehow find we are carrying pocket knives to solve a problem when all I needed was a set of pliers. It was all part of the simplification process. All along I knew women live a more complex lives than men but adjusting our existences to fit was the challenge. Ultimately, I needed to accept the challenge to save my own life. On occasion, the complexities of learning a new gender world in my femininization process became too much and I needed to try to fall back and take a break. However, breaks were short because the more I learned about being a woman, the more I wanted to learn which was aided to a large degree from finally beginning gender affirming hormones. The new hormones simplified my life even further by aligning my inner and outer selves. 

Suffering through all the complexities of transitioning genders turned out to be so worth it for me. The long journey I took led me to a much simpler world I wish I had be able to know years ago.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Dsyphoria is Never Pretty

Image from Jen Theodore on UnSplash.

It was years before I knew what gender dysphoria was all about and what it meant to me.

Essentially what it meant was understanding the depth of how far I wanted to go towards my feminization. I started out innocently I thought, similar to most of you, with explorations into Mom's wardrobe. and makeup. I wonder if she even noticed the fascination I had watching her put on her makeup. 

All along, I wondered what was going on with me and was I the only one who felt the same as I did. On those days, my gender dysphoria ran deep even though I still had no idea of what my future held. I looked in the mirror and saw a male even though on some days I felt decidedly I wanted to be a girl. In fact, if you had asked me then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a successful woman. Sadly, there were almost no successful transgender women to model myself after, so I internalized my feelings and carved out a very tentative life as a male. In fact painful internalizing became a theme in my life and led to further gender dysphoria.

All of a sudden, as my life progressed and more gender information became available, my dysphoria became more in focus. I could see what the problem still was but I still wasn't in any position to do anything about it except cross dress my life away. I knew deep down, I did not want to harm anyone, especially myself. However, when I still saw my male self in the mirror in the morning, harm still came. The more I attempted to cross dress my dysphoria away, the quicker and stronger it seemed to return just wrecking my mental health.

The only thing which kept me on any sort of a feminine path was when I expressed my female side to myself, I felt so natural. I felt from that reason alone, I was doing the right thing which in turn positioned me in direct opposition with my male self and increased my dysphoria to the max. Because my male self was fighting back with all the tools he had. In those days, he held all the cards, making life miserable for me which sadly I passed along to those people closest to me. I did everything I could to relieve the stress and live a pleasurable life. 

As fashion and makeup became easier for me as far as going out and entering the world as a novice transgender woman but more difficult when I needed to re-enter the world as a guy. My job did not make it any easier because I was in a very male dominated profession. I would do quite a bit of day dreaming of my other life while I was working in my reality. I even was quietly embarrassed when someone would mistakenly refer to me as a woman when I was working as a man. I figured my "aura" was overpowering female on those days and tried to project female more when I was out in the world as a transgender woman. I believe projecting my gender became an important accessory to be added to present successfully. Which I still do.

Still my dysphoria persisted and does to this day. Some days I wake up and sneak a peek in the mirror and see a feminine person which makes me happy. Other days, I see the same old male person I had ever been and become depressed. From there I have learned to take the middle road, or nothing is as good or bad as it seems including my dysphoria. 

At my advanced age, I seriously doubt I will ever be finished with my transgender dysphoria. Since I have an aversion to any extreme facial femininization surgeries, there will be no radical moves to change what I have to face the world. Dysphoria be damned, I will do the best I can.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Flashing a Trans Girl

From the Archives. Club Diversity
Columbus, Ohio.

Before you think I am preparing to write a post about me "flashing" another person. No my skirt was not too short or anything else on that occasion. I was wearing my typical fall fashion, boots, jeans and sweater. 

In truth and as boring as it may seem, the only person  who was flashed was me and I don't think anyone else noticed. At least, I hoped not. As it was, my flash occurred just after I increased my dosage of gender affirming hormones. On the evening in question, I was out doing what I normally did, trying to enjoy myself with a drink at one of the venues I regularly went to. 

Suddenly out of the clear blue sky, I felt my face flush and I felt as if I was internally combusting. As I attempted to slyly look at the patrons around me, I was surprised and please to note, no one was rushing towards me with a coat or blanket wanting to put out the flames. Then, as quickly as it came on, my first hot flash as a transgender woman was over and I went back to my drink. I can not say the whole experience was as unpleasant as much as it was unexpected. Up to that point, my gender affirming hormones had ushered me into the second puberty of my life...a feminine one. 

While I could not go back and totally erase all the unwanted benefits of my first puberty which I called testosterone poisoning, my new HRT could help me into a new world. As my breasts and hair grew, my skin softened, along with my facial contours. Not having to wear wigs anymore as well as using less makeup helped my feminization in the public's eye as well as giving me a new found confidence. What I missed the most was having anyone to talk to about my second puberty. When I did bring up the facets of changes I was going through, my female friends just said welcome to their world. Little did they know how long and how much I wanted to be in their world. 

Up to the point of my flash, I had never cried in my life, even during the passing of both of my parents. The best way to describe the new me who could cry was when my testosterone was driven down, the hard edges were taken off my life. All of a sudden, my first good cry occurred one evening when a thunderstorm rolled through my Ohio town and I quietly mourned the loss of my male self. I took no real pity and for the first time, I was able to understand the difference between a good cry and a bad one.

As you can imagine, I was elated with the results of my second puberty in life which did not occur until I was in my sixties. Even though, if I had it all to do over again and transition earlier, I would not have wanted to miss out on the times of accomplishment and fun I had carved out as my old male self. He had taken me a long way in life on a basically successful journey which gave me highlights of having a daughter who supports me to this day, all the way to living with wives/women who helped me unknowingly be a better transgender woman. 

In a nutshell, very few humans have the opportunity to go back and try again. By going through a second puberty and flashing myself, I had the rare chance to not screw it up and be a better person. While I consider my hot flash learning experience as one of the top moments in my life, I also consider the process part of my passage into my unique womanhood. Not unlike having a mammogram. I am just glad, no one else noticed I was on fire one minute and reaching for my coat the second because my thermostat was broken and I was freezing. All part of my second puberty.

See, I told you this post wasn't going to be part of a sensual flash in anyway. Sorry! 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Earning Motherhood

 

Liz on left with me preparing to celebrate
Mother's Day with her son over a Margarita.
Photo by AJ Trumble.

To be clear, I never have asked for the honor of being called "Mother" from either one of my off springs. 

I have a daughter of my own who means the world to me and a step son who I love very much. I met him when I met my wife Liz and was accepted into his world immediately with no questions asked. 

My daughter started the Mother's Day ball rolling last year when I received a small gift and a Happy Mother's Day for the first time from her. Truthfully, I was brought to tears by the thought. I was forever finished with Father's Day. 

I consider the title of Mother to be the ultimate compliment and as I said, not one I take lightly. I also think being referred to as Mother represents a total erasure of all the years of testosterone poisoning and an unwanted male life I went through. It means to me, my immediate family sees me as a full fledged trans woman. I even respected my own Mom enough to use her first name as my middle name when I legally changed it. Even though she never approved of my gender transition. Even to the point of being a relatively harmless cross dresser or transvestite. Back in those days, neither one of us knew the depth of gender issues. I considered Mom to be a product of her generation (WWII/Depression) and moved on after her death. 

Needless to say, most of my gender journey was never easy and represented many roadblocks along the way. I can only say, I never expected to arrive where I am today. Maybe I should come up with another book and call it "From the Mirror to the World...A Transgender Journey." 

We shall see.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Being a Transgender Victim


Image from University of Cincinnati
Trans Seminar.  

It is difficult not to play or be the victim if you are transgender. 

It is always easy to think why me and resort to various escape mechanisms such as in my case, running home and cross dressing in my dress when anything went remotely wrong in my frail male world. Making the varsity football team just wasn't as important as trying to look like a cheerleader in my mirror at home. 

Many years went by before I grew out of being a victim. Perhaps I made my biggest strides in Army basic training when I had no where to run and hide behind my feminine feelings. Ironically, my intense introduction to man hood would in turn enable me to be a better transgender woman in the future. Or as my second wife used to tell me, be man enough to be a woman. For the longest time, I had no answer to what she was telling me. To begin with, I had no idea of how I would support myself as a trans woman and at the same time, I was still very inexperienced as a woman. I had a ton of learning to do. 

As I finally was able to escape the confines of my male existence, I fell back heavily on his new found idea of never being a victim. When I initially was going through all the trials and tribulations of attempting to present convincingly as a woman, many times I was a dismal failure. The easy thing to do would have been to be a victim and blame the world but I chose the other path and kept going back to my cross dressing drawing board and try again. By doing so, slowly I was able to learn what I needed to get by.

By not becoming a victim, I was able to look the world in the eye and learn to communicate one on one with mainly women in public. Very quickly, I was able to see in their eyes what their perception of me was. Mostly I found the majority of women knew I was transgender and were curious what I was doing in their world. By the time I reached that point in our interaction, there was no turning back and I was in so deep I could not back out and hide at home or in my car. Most importantly I learned to stand my ground and learn a new feminine life. Of course there were many new rules I needed to observe and accept before I could move on but I did. The whole process was not without setbacks and many times I needed time to rest before I re-entered the fray cis-women call life. I had learned from my work experience, women have the tendency to form cliques unlike the teams men form, so I knew once I was accepted by a women's clique, I had it made. Just getting there was the issue.

As I widened my search in the venues I frequented, destiny enabled me to be successful. By pure luck, one of the bartenders who always waited on me set me up on a date with her lesbian Mom and we became close friends  and remain so to this day. Then, one night another woman sent me a note down the bar and we became friends also and the three of us were inseparable for years.

Probably, my most chance encounter of all came when my current wife Liz answered my "ad" on a dating site and we have been together for nearly fourteen years now. She came along on-line after having to put up with an incredible amount of trash. For some reason, I refused to become a victim again and kept trying.

Being transgender is a difficult situation to find yourself in. As I always point out, trans is NOT a choice but being a victim is and it is a difficult burden to overcome. 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Poor Executuion equals a Hot Mess

Image from Author, Columbus, Ohio.

More times than I would care to remember, evenings when I went out to explore the world as a cross dresser or novice transgender woman turned out to be a hot mess. 

Particularly frustrating were the evenings or days when I thought I had planned everything out so well. I picked out the perfect outfit and applied my makeup just right and was ready to go. Perhaps my biggest issues had to do with figuring out where I was going to go and when I needed to be back before my wife returned home. Did I have a relatively long time to explore the world, or a short time to visit a few of my favorite venues and be back in time to remove all vestiges of my makeup and attempt to return to my male life. 

In the beginning, big mistakes would appear to ruin my time and turn it into a hot mess. I did not understand because I thought I was doing my best to put my new feminine cross dressed image to the public test. Some of my problems came from taking too many chances and others came from just purely being new to the world. Examples of taking a chance came when I used water balloons as breast forms, knowing full well how fragile they were. Predictably, one broke when I was out in public, making a huge mess in a rest room I was in. The only good thing which happened was, the room was empty except for me and I was able to clean up my mess and exit before anyone else came in.  From there, I learned the hard way to invest in silicone breast forms which I was able to use until I was able to grow my own breasts with gender affirming hormones. 

Other mistakes I would put under the title of ill-advised were the times I was simply having too good of a time and lost track of what time it was. Those were the evenings, I came home and ran directly into my second wife who was not amused. A huge fight always ensued until she settled down days or even weeks later. The whole process was not pleasant and just kept repeating itself essentially until just before she passed away. Finally I decided to purge my trans-feminization self and grew a beard for the last six months of her life. During this time, I didn't know she was as sick as she was and she passed totally unexpectedly and I often wondered if we could have stayed together for any length of time had she lived. All I do know was, I was making a hot mess out of our life because of my transgender issues. 

During this time also, I was desperately trying to catch up with all the small issues a woman has done to live her life. I did so many things such as wedging my heels in sidewalk cracks, which of course destroyed any image I was doing my best to project as a confident well dressed professional woman. 

Through it all, my wife still prodded me on by telling me I still didn't know anything about really being a woman. I wasn't able to learn until later how correct she was. My excuse is I wasn't allowed to play in the girl's sandbox until I earned it. I compare the process to being able to land a job by finally having all the qualifications needed. Until someone gives you the chance to move up, you have to earn your way or you never get the chance. I was always under qualified to play with the rest of the girls until I forced my way in.

Getting there wasn't easy. I needed to find a group of women I could learn from and not be judged at every turn. I also need to locate women who had no knowledge of my previous male self. He was never mentioned and most certainly, I never brought him up. When I did my life became so much easier. I did not have to worry about my transgender execution and hot messes became increasingly a part of my past.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

A Night at a Concert



Image from the Jessie Hart Archives

Following the time when my wife passed away, I actually tried to date another cis woman, once.

During this brief period of my life, my old male self was still desperately hanging on to the idea he could still exist at all. At that time, one of my servers came into my restaurant with her very attractive Mother. After several inquiries I found her Mother was single and she would ask if she would go out with me. She did and we started our very short history of dating. 

Right from the start I found she was a bit of a prima donna when we met on a date in downtown Cincinnati. I suggested stopping at a micro brewery for a quick appetizer when she wanted to go to an upscale steak house on my dime. I should have known then she was out of my league but I kept on trying anyhow. In a very short period of time, I told my daughter I was dating again. In response, she came up with two tickets to a local park pavilion near her house. The concert performer was Joe Cocker, so I could not wait to go. I even asked the new woman I was dating if she wanted to go and she initially said yes and the date was on, or so I thought. A couple days later and a week before the concert in the park, she called me and broke up our brief affair. I was slightly shocked but then again not so much as I began to consider what I would go with an extra ticket to see Joe. 

At the time, I was increasingly exploring the world as a transgender woman, so I thought why not take myself on a date in the park. I knew exactly what I would wear .My long silky black slacks with my black matching sleeveless top and black flats for comfortable walking. I then applied my makeup and topped my outfit off with my long black straight wig and I was ready for the half hour drive to the venue. By this time all of this happened, I was becoming very comfortable with my feminine self so I was really looking forward to the evening as it approached. I had spent many a evening being alone with myself. I wasn't very nervous as much as excited by the expectation of having a good time. 

The evening of the concert turned out to be ideal weather wise, a beautiful warm but not too humid Ohio summer evening. I showed my ticket and was admitted to the venue without a problem. Before I went to my seat, I decided to buy a drink and then headed to sit down. Again I experienced no problems with anyone in the venue in my section. I was able to enjoy my drink and relax even further before the music started. I especially enjoyed the silky sensation of my clothes in the summer evening air.

I was glad I went because I had been a Joe Cocker fan since the Woodstock concert days and it wasn't too long following the concert, he passed away and I was still able to be completely enjoy his performance before it was too late.

As far as I was concerned and as selfish as it may sound, the whole exciting evening was more fun for me than taking a woman I barely knew. Plus my experience even further increased my confidence as a novice transgender woman. Even to the point of coming out to my daughter who I told that I enjoyed the concert very much but never added who my "date" was. 

The night at the concert was one of those lifetime experiences I will never forget. It was the last time I ever tried to date as a man and the first time I was ever to seriously explore my life as a transgender woman. Once I did, the more I understood it was the life for me. 

Monday, May 6, 2024

It Has Never Been a Sprint

 

Image from Marcus
Spiske on UnSplash

A transgender life is never a sprint, it is a marathon. 

From the first time we slide on the hose and view ourselves in a mirror, we never believe the gender journey we have started would last as long as it did. Initially for me, I was on a very short term program when I would cross dress as a girl one day and live off the proverbial buzz until I could follow my dream and cross dress again. 

I wonder now if I had known the journey I followed would have so many bumps in the road and would have lasted so long would I have still done it. On the other hand, I was never a sprinter and a marathon was a closer match to my personality. Plus, there were milestones along the way which kept me going. Very early on, I knew I needed much more than just the feel of women's clothes to propel me forward. There just had to be more than just looking like a girl, I wanted to do more and be a girl. I knew the journey would be difficult and maybe impossible but I needed to keep trying. 

First of all, I needed to learn the basics of feminine appearance so I could safely explore the world as my new exciting self. With no help and very little money, I haunted the thrift stores trying different wardrobe items which were very inexpensive until I finally began to see improvement. My sprint during the time in my life when I was experimenting more and more was exhausting. The one thing which was evident to me was I was on my own. To win or lose was my passion but first I needed to see away around surviving a stint in the military where I could not express my feminine self. Fortunately, I could fall back on what my male self had taught me about internalizing my feelings. During my three years of military service, I managed to survive without cross dressing except for one notable Halloween party which led to me coming out to a few friends of mine as a transvestite. Included in the group of three was a woman who was to become my first wife and the mother of my only child. This brief sprint set the stage for me coming out to others in the future. 

For awhile, I was over confident about others accepting my authentic self until a conversation with my Mom brought me back down to earth. She soundly rejected me and I was off I pursuing my gender marathon again. Even with the set back, I had plenty of energy to move forward. Move forward I did, regardless of living with an unapproving wife. I needed to hide nearly all of what I was doing as I ran my next sprint. 

By this time, my sprints were becoming more defined as  I was increasingly discovering my dream of living a fulltime life as a transgender woman just could be a reality. Next up on my sprint were gender affirming hormones and making the decision to never look back where I had come from as a male and plan ahead a life as a transgender woman. 

The only constant I found on my gender marathon was change. Every time I thought I had it made in the process, something came along to disrupt my thinking. It could be as minor as being mis-gendered in the world or so much more now as I reach the twi-light of my life. Now making it to the finish line of my gender marathon in the best shape possible is my main goal.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Living in Your Own Prison

 

Image from Engin Akyurt
on UnSplash

When someone says living a life as a transgender woman or trans man is a choice I get a huge chuckle. 

I wish the people who think my life was a choice, needed to live a small time in my shoes and  then they could truly decide my life was never a choice. I was living in my gender prison. In many ways, I could describe my confines to a bigger version of what was called my personal closet. Either way, I was stuck in a very dark and isolated space where I was all alone. Especially in the pre-internet days when I was living.

When the internet came along with social media, I was able to locate a few others who were cross dressers or transgender women , which made life a little easier in my prison. My biggest problem then became hiding my new on-line contacts from my wife who was more tech savvy than I was. Let's just say I needed to learn the hard way when my wife found a discussion I was having with a person in nearby Indiana and I had to become much too comfortable with.

Looking back, I could call the few, brief times when I tried to purge my feminine wardrobe and be a full time man as being out of my prison on parole. The problem was deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong and the pressure would build to build a new feminine wardrobe and try again in front of the mirror. I could almost predict when I would go back to my gender prison. 

Yet another casualty of me serving time in my closet was one I always mention, my mental health. Since it was already fragile and I was going to therapy for help, I didn't need any extra problems to push me closer to the edge.  I was becoming a hot mess as I took more and more chances when I left the house as my novice transgender self and explored the world. The problem became, I was feeling more and more natural when I escaped my prison. Even still, the process was not easy and involved too much scary trial experiences when I first went out. 

The entire process became all I thought about and when I was in my my male mode I caught myself thinking too much of the next time I was going to be able to experience life as a transgender woman. Plus, at the least I was busy studying the mannerisms of all the cis-women around me. I was locked in to one thing only and it was being a woman myself. It was a good thing I had my therapist to talk out my exploding feelings about my gender. 

I guess the only frustrating part of trying to explain to the outside world what it means to be transgender is there was no choice. If I would have continued in my self destructive male ways, I would have killed myself and become yet another statistic. Fortunately, destiny had other ideas for me when I escaped my gender prison and started to live an authentic life as a trans woman. Similar to so many others in the transgender community I was a survivor and thrived when I was free to do so. 

Finding your Happy Place

From the Jessie Hart Archives   As a transgender woman or trans man, it is often very difficult to find your happy place. A happy place can ...