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

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

You Did What????

When I look back at all the crazy things I attempted when I first started to explore the world as a novice transgender woman, I wonder how I survived at all. One of the first things I remember was having the lack of a quality reliable vehicle. This led to several impromptu tow's and my first one on one involvement with tow truck drivers. Most were barely respectful when I needed to ride back with them with one bordering on being downright hostile. I experienced everything from flat tires to complete failure to start from a few of my cars. Often the problem I ran into was I was on a sort of a curfew and had to be home before my wife arrived from her job. To make a long story short, I needed to get out so badly and explore the world, I would risk having a major fight or worse. 

As my finances improved, I was able to afford better vehicles and my focus shifted to which venues I tried to frequent. Very early in the process I learned I wasn't really welcomed or satisfied with going to the male gay venues. The venues didn't come close to satisfying any of my needs when I went there. For the most part I didn't prefer the music and especially hated the idea everyone would refer to me as a drag queen which of course was the farthest thing from the truth. Finally I took my business to venues where I at least more comfortable. Places I often wondered how it would be to patronize as a transgender woman. Surprisingly I was accepted better than the gay venues I went to. It took awhile but it was in those venues I met several dear friends I have to this day.

Then, there were the lesbian venues. Back in the day, several small lesbian venues sprung up in the Dayton, Ohio areas. They provided me with a whole other world of possible experiences. Primarily, since I failed in experiencing any pleasurable time in male gay bars, I thought I would try women and see what happened. In one of the lesbian bars they were very radical and hated me but in the other it was much more mellow and I even discovered I knew one of the bartenders from my male life. This was the establishment where life became a little too exciting on a couple of occasions. 

One evening in particular times became a little more intense when just before I had to leave in order to beat my wife home, I had a lesbian come up to me and buy me a beer. When she did so, she also said maybe she should take me home with her. I briefly thought Oh No! How would I tell my wife I was abducted by an alien lesbian in a space ship. No story would have worked. Then, there was the well documented time (here) when I was basically strongly coerced into singing karaoke with a very big and masculine lesbian. Somehow I was able to "sing" with her and slip away when she moved on to another conquest. 

Through it all, at times I was terrified, excited and downright relieved when I pulled off whatever I was attempting. I look back and wonder how I summoned the courage to do it at all.   

Monday, August 15, 2022

A Break in the Weather


Image courtesy Mike Tolliver
on Unsplash

The hot and steamy non airconditioned weather I have faced for most of the summer has finally given way to lesser humidity and lower temperatures. Oddly enough the climate change has helped to give me a break from my gender dysphoria, without an influx of gender euphoria. I rarely have very many moments of inner peace but have had a few lately. Perhaps it is just the lull before the storm.

When the VA gets it scheduled my Mammogram will be coming up relatively soon I hope. Plus, I also have my latest Covid booster shot coming up at the end of the month. 

Then there is the wedding to plan for. Between now and October 16th we still have quite a bit to do. What could be interesting is when we go to the courthouse to finish and submit the legal process. My mind tells me not to fully expect a flawless afternoon. Between the usual legal trip it will be interesting to see if my transgender status plays into the process at all. My legal documents all say female so we are attempting a same sex marriage, which in the City of Cincinnati "shouldn't" be much of a problem. After we celebrate with a cocktail (or two) it will be time to move on to what sort of ring do I want and what am I going to wear. Of course, Liz already has ordered and received her outfit. No pressure on me? Right!

Also I neglected to mention I have my birthday mixed in in October and sooner more than later I will have to check back in with my VA health clinic to set up an optometrists appointment and reset several prescriptions I have which are expiring. My only problem is the clinic itself. Overall, except for my last phone call which the person referred to me as "Ms. Hart",  not many others in the clinic have been gender friendly. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have had enough and will start taking names and reporting people. At sometime also I have to pursue their (VA) help in obtaining a handicapped parking pass which increasingly I am needing. 

I know to those of you who lead regular non retired lives this perhaps doesn't sound like much but when you throw in the sometimes unexpected responses you get when you are transgender, life can become a little dicey. I am so fortunate to have such a "gender warrior" such as Liz by my side when the going could get a bit tough. She is quick to step in and correct the occasional person who refers to me with a male pronoun. 

In the meantime I have started up my walks again to attempt to build up my much needed physical stamina and will continue them as long as I can weather permitting.   

Saturday, August 13, 2022

What is a Transgender Woman?


Image from Unsplash

Talk about a question which goes right to the basics, this is it. 

Before I get started, here is a look at a definition of a transgender woman from Web MD:

"A transgender woman was labeled as male at birth but has the gender identity of a female. A transgender man was assigned female sex at birth but identifies as male. Some transgender people don't identify with one gender exclusively." 
I agree with this definition but coming from a person who has lived the definition I would naturally take it to a much deeper level. These days, many times through the power of social media, I have seen the wrath of transgender haters who say it is impossible for transgender women or men to be able to live as  our authentic genders. 
My favorite comeback is birth gender doesn't guarantee a person will able to achieve  the title of woman or man. Also there is the bogus idea that being able to give birth is the only way to claim the title as a woman. What about all those females for what ever reason don't want or can't have children. Most if not all struggle to have a rational answer but of course never give up their ideas but at least I probably gave the transphobes something to think about.  Furthermore I think most transphobes just can't comprehend the concept of being transgender. Either that or they decide to hide behind some sort of bogus religion. 
As I attempt to come up with my own definition of what is a transgender woman (or man) I normally think of what my daughter recently asked me when we discussed the possibility of one of her children coming out as trans. She asked something to the fact that I had always known I was transgender. After a little thought I added it to my definition. Indeed knowing I always knew I was struggling with my true gender but didn't have the tools at the time to understand what exactly I was going through. 
What I was going through was similar to what any other girl goes through as they mature and hopefully make it to womanhood. To put it another way the whole process to achieving trans womanhood gives me the right to claim the womanly status. 
So, that is my definition of what is a transgender woman.  

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Back to the Basics


Many times as you may have noticed I go way back to what I consider were my initial forays into cross dressing in girls clothes. The method to my madness is I feel those initial feelings were what shaped my future as a transgender woman.

I find it is interesting I don't share the same feminine tendencies as other transgender and/or cross dressers the same advanced age I am. I am a faithful follower of the Femulate blog and recently there was a post about wearing slips. I immediately thought Wow! I had even thought about wearing a slip in approximately fifty years. In addition, many times there are posts involved with other feminine under garments. I don't know exactly why it is but I never exactly followed my Mom's example of how she dressed all the time. She was a school teacher and dressed up for the job in what now would probably be referred to as business casual. 

For a period of time I did actually predominately dress in the business casual feminine world. Those were the days of the business suits worn with short skirts and I loved them. Especially when I could find a pair of opaque panty hose which matched my outfit and helped cover the hair on my legs. I followed that fashion path for years until the Boho fashion trend began to become the  predominant force in fashion. Being a child of the sixties (and before) I was in the Army during the height of the Hippie Days. I felt as if I had a second chance of expressing myself which I had missed during my military days. 

Through it all I again found I had lost any real attraction I had for the feeling of the feminine clothes I was wearing. Even the early thrill I had from wearing panty hose was nearly gone. I was simply doing what I needed to do to blend in and live with other women. I guess if my fashion sense was given a title, it would be called "Mo-Boho". Anything Boho fashion wise still appeals to me. 

Before I seem to put myself up on a pedestal of any sort, I am sure many would disagree with my desire to have very long hair. It is very non age appropriate but to me I still love it and the world can get over it if they don't like it. The old Hippie Girl still lives! 

I guess if I can understand the foreign desire to wear a slip and other feminine under garments and put it in the same category of having long hair and wanting to feel the natural changes to my body. It's all good. I just wonder sometimes why I lost all my desire for silky feminine under garments. I used to have quite the collection of night time negligee and couldn't wait to have my own breasts so I could purchase matching bra and panty sets. 

Maybe the basics just what weren't they seemed to be.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hello Ms. Hart

 Imagine my surprise when the phone rang and a pleasant voice from the Veterans Administration said "Good Morning is this Ms. Hart? " It was a surprise to me she referred to me with the proper pronoun because normally I need to correct them every call when they ask for Mr. Hart. Even though I didn't have any earth shattering (fortunately) health issues to discuss, it was nice to talk to a friendly voice who didn't start out miss-pronouning me.

I have told myself over the years, the VA receptionists just don't see many women at all, so they automatically revert to the default male pronoun. The whole process reminds me to to be on point with my feminine presentation and more importantly my voice. I have never been particularly successful at all on the phone. In fact, I go into every phone conversation prepared to defend my gender.  

We discussed getting signed up for the next round of Covid booster shots Which I did and how I could get referred for another Mammogram. I need to be scheduled for one every year since my maternal grandmother passed away in the 1950's from breast cancer. So over the recent years I have been through over four Mammograms. The first one I considered to be a sort of rite of passage for a transgender woman with her own breasts. Since then I know what is going to happen so the entire process is rather mundane. Only one time over the years have I had any remotely negative experiences. One time a nurse just had to ask questions about any operations "down below" which of course was none of her business. Following her question nothing more was said. 

After the conversation I had with my VA contact, I did realize I just experienced a gender euphoric highlight. Being referred to as "Ms. Hart" then discussing setting up a Mammogram. It doesn't get much more feminine than that. 

In the midst of my euphoria though, I forgot to set up an optometrist appointment or renew my gout medication. It will be interesting to see if I receive the same gender reception I received on my last visit. Since I will be going there in person for my booster in the not so distant future maybe I will run into the last person (woman) I encountered who refused to accept my correct pronouns. I believe they have personalized business cards to identify themselves. If she does, I will know specifically who to complain about. She needs to be told what a big deal pronouns are to transgender people. 

I need to point out also, over the years I have had very few problems with anyone at the VA. It is just at the closest satellite center I go to, they don't seem to care and represent the right wing population around the clinic. Maybe I can help to change it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

In a Maze


Photo by Luemen Rutkowski on Unsplash

In many ways, this post is an extension of a recent post I wrote on living a complex transgender life. Looking back as well as forward in my life, I still think many times I am similar to a rodent in a maze. 

Just think of all the mini transitions we have to go through in our lives if we are transgender or not. Many of us go through marriages, have children and go through the deaths of those of us who are close. All of which leave positive or negative scars.

I remember when I was becoming an increasingly serious cross dresser, the mazes and walls I had to find my way around grew fast and furious. One prime example was when I was trying to perfect my feminine appearance, I thought I was doing it right until I would do something like tripping and nearly falling when I was trying to walk like a woman. I remember also the trials and tribulations of carrying a purse. For some reason when I was transferring all my important things plus still have room for feminine necessities such as lipstick and/or a hairbrush. Fast forward to today and I am like many other women when I can't begin to explain to you how my purse became so heavy and better yet what all is in it. I don't know what I have done to abuse the privilege of being able to carry a purse but I have done it. One thing I haven't done (yet) is forget my purse someplace. 

Other walls I had to face were how I was going to pursue trying to widen my feminine experiences. To do it I developed a mental checklist of sorts. When I first started to go out as a novice transgender woman, I would go to mostly mellow places such as malls, clothing stores and book stores. I learned the easy way store clerks were only interested in my money and couldn't care less if I was a guy dressed as a woman. Quickly I needed to find my way through the maze and find another challenge.

I found the challenge by beginning to stop someplace and eat lunch while I was out. This worked for awhile too until I needed new places to go. Finally I made my way to a point where it was time to transition again from a cross dresser to a transgender woman. The difference to me was I was taking another huge step forward from merely looking like a woman to actually being one. Little did I know I was simply syncing up my inner feminine self with a masculine exterior I never wanted. Even though I was still caught in the gender maze, every turn all of a sudden made me feel more natural.

During my life many times I felt age would solve most problems. Of course it doesn't. Even though I am living my dream as a full time transgender woman. Now coming up before I know it my wedding date to Liz will be here. 

Then I am staring down finding out what is coming up during my final transition. My health will become a increasing priority. The maze never lets up. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Blast from the Past

Recently I was surprised to see a post on Facebook from one of my old transgender friends from the earliest days of us exploring the feminine world for the first time. Over the years we have moved far away from each other and she has undergone several surgeries to enhance her appearance as a transgender woman. Her name is Racquel (pictured below).

Interestingly her post concerned several early visits to "straight" venues when we went through unique musical harassments:

I’m eating a burger at Buffalo Wild Wings. And they just played Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith. And that’s fine. Because if I complained about it the staff would apologize profusely.

Six years ago the world was very different. I would hang out with Cyrsti and people would play Dude Looks Like a Lady on the jukebox just to intimidate us, and there was certainly nobody who cared if we complained."

All of Racquel's memories are unfortunately so true and even she didn't get to witness the night when a group of drunk rednecks kept on playing the mentioned hated song. It got so bad, instead of doing anything about it, the manager just told me to leave. Even though weeks later I was approached in a neighboring venue by a bartender in the banned place and asked to return. It seemed the person who kicked me out got fired for drug abuse. Revenge was mine but the hurt remains, even to this day.

I do agree with Racquel though the world has changed from the "mean" old days but we still have such a long way to go.

Racquel was also the one who said "I (me) passed out of sheer willpower." Which I guessed was a back handed compliment in that I was going to go public with my feminine life regardless of what anyone else thought. Which I still believe to this day.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Spreading Your Aura

I define "aura" as an invisible personality field you unconsciously pass along to others in your world. I most certainly feel someone can give off a female or male vibe. It may explain why when I was trying my best to be a macho man, someone would call me "Mam or Miss.". Of course secretly I would love the mistake.

Image from Katie Rainbow 
on Unsplash

On the other hand, your aura may explain why when you are moving through your day as your authentic self on a very positive pace, all of a sudden a stranger mis-genders you with a hated "sir." Many times it is a very humbling experience which wants to make you question your entire gender identity. You begin to take a closer look at everything from your voice to your makeup. After all, how could the world view you as a woman until the one person happens along and ruins your day.

As you begin to research your entire being, you may want to add aura to your search. Take an average day for an example. Everything was going so well as your authentic self and perhaps you let your gender guard down. At that point in time a stranger picks up on your old gender. 

I am far from an expert but what I try to do is project "feminine" to any stranger I am dealing with. It has taken me awhile to remember using my aura in a positive nature. Maybe I am being gender stereotypical but I still believe the feminine gender is the gentler/kinder one. With all that is happening concerning women's rights there days, maybe they shouldn't.

Regardless of what you think your authentic gender should act like, perhaps you should think it through and add it to your gender "tool box". Maybe you had a light colored fishing tackle box like I did to hide almost all of my goodies carefully organized with makeup on one tier and jewelry on another. In the bottom I had my brushes etc.

By now you may be thinking what does any of this have to do with establishing and maintaining a gender aura. The answer is, it all works together to help you make it to the goal of living a life as your authentic self. 

Along the way you need to pursue every trick in the book, plus some that aren't in any book, to find success. When you do, spreading your aura becomes automatic and so much easier to do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Gender versus Sexuality

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

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

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

On Line Dating 
Photo, Jessie Hart

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 5, 2022

We Got Mail

 Yesterday I wrote a post on what would have happened if I had never transitioned and received several interesting comments, one from Medium the other from Google. The first comes from Jas Martinez:

"Interesting thing about transitioning, like most life changing decisions we first have to get to a place where a change or decision needs to be made. We can look back and be sad we waited for whatever reason. But why be sad? We weren’t ready to transition if we were we would have done it. I should had gone to college, I should have moved west instead of the south, I should have not gotten married the last time and transitioned instead. Shoulda , coulda, woulda is a waste of time. Why we do these exercises of the mind is beyond me, maybe it’s to remind ourselves the fear we had back then was just that fear of uncertainty. We had to arrive in a place in time when the fear of not transitioning was greater than the fear of transitioning. Fear the greatest motivator to do or not do something." 

Thanks for the comment. Indeed, fear is a powerful motivator. I so remember all those days when the primal "fear or flight" idea ruled me during my earliest days of coming out. 

The second comment comes from Connie:

"What if I hadn’t made the move to transition? I’d still be the miserable man I was. No, actually, I’d still be the miserable excuse for a man that I was.How many times have we said that we wouldn’t wish this [gender dysphoria] on anyone? We can repress, suppress, even try to regress it; but it will forever be a part of us. It can be a vacuum, if we let it, sucking from us precious time and energy – a jealous mistress, if you will.

To the outsider, our transitioning may seem to be a giving-in to some sort of mental illness or salacious lifestyle. Some will say that God made man and woman, individually, and that he makes no mistakes. What these people don’t realize – and could never fully understand – is that we, as transgender people, do not need to be told those things, as we will have spent so much time and energy considering those “theories” before making the decision that transition is the right thing to do.

Doing the right thing for oneself does not have to be a selfish act. What can be more selfish is to allow the dysphoria to sap time and energy that could be directed toward loved ones and other positive life endeavors. The trick, I think, is to be as patient with others as we would hope they would be with us. We can never forget that the transition process is not ours alone. Everyone else in our lives must go through a transition along with us. We, of course, have the advantage of having had a lifetime to prepare for it. Not allowing others to adjust at their own pace would be quite selfish, indeed."

Great point! Often it is so difficult to not understand why others aren't so quick to adjust to a transgender person. Especially when adjustment is mistaken for rejection. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Power of being Impatient

 I don't see myself as a patient person, even though I am mellowing with age and understand many things happen if you are patient enough to wait. An example I can use is the time I spent in the Army. Looking back on the entire experience, it only took three years out of my life and in return I was able to see three continents. Most importantly I can thank my Army contacts for my beloved daughter. Who is my only child. 

Looking back I can remember how I counted the days until I "served" my time and was honorably discharged. Through it all in the back of my mind were my noticeable (to me) gender issues. I can safely say my issues dominated my thinking. The problem back in those days in the 1970's there was precious little information concerning transgender issues at all. Even the term "transgender" was new. According to Wikipedia transgender became a umbrella term in the mid 1970's.  Regardless, I was desperate to learn more about my gender issues. My impatience caused me to try to outrun my issues. Leading to moving my wife and I several times along me changing jobs numerous times. Due to self destructive behavior impatience caused me to flirt with alcoholism. 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

During the years I was able to redirect my gender frustrations into being able to carve a nice career in the commercial food management business. On the other hand I wish I could reclaim the energy I lost to wanting to become a transgender woman and manage to do it on a full time basis. No such luck and along the way again I overcompensated as a macho male. Heavily into sports and drinking. It worked too well. Except on a few occasions when I was cross dressed as a man and someone would refer to me as a "she" I passed as a guy well. Testosterone over the years had served me well...against my deepest wishes.

I found for me, the most effective way to overcome the effects of testosterone on my body was to begin hormone replacement therapy when I was in my early sixties. As I began the therapy, I was aware a few of the changes would occur over a short term of time but overall, I would have to be patient and wait for other changes. Also age and health was a factor in my medical decision to begin HRT. Fortunately I was cleared medically and I was able (as I saw it) to begin my gender transition from cross dresser to transgender woman. Later on I came to realize switching my hormone balance to the feminine side would aid in my exterior presentation to the world but no matter what I still was transgender. No amount of patience or hormones could change that. In other words, I was correct in assuming mentally I was a girl. 

Having written all of that, I am still extremely impatient when it comes to my hormone replacement therapy. I finally was able to find out my estradiol levels this week, so it is possible I may be in for a slight increase in dosage. On the other hand, I am aware breast size is determined not so much by the amount of hormones but by hereditary history. Also, since all of the sudden I am experiencing growth in my hips, I probably will stay on the Estradiol dosage I am on and not risk any negative health situations.

For once I am going to have to put my impatience behind me.       

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Cover Girl

I have chosen to feature another photo from one of my favorite Facebook transgender woman acquaintances. This is Melonee Malone before her and wife Lisa went to an upscale country club party. Not to be outdone, Melonee decided tp go all out to impress.

I'm sure you will agree, she probably did not disappoint!


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Transgender Desperation

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

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

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

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

Photo from Yasin Yusef on UnSplash

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 2, 2022

In the Passing Lane

 Today I went through more old posts from last year and came up with this one from early 2021. It seems this topic never gets old in the  transgender and or cross dressing communities. After all, the importance of  syncing up our internal and external selves can never be understated.  At the least, it gives us the confidence to leave our dark gender closets and go forth in the world as our authentic selves.  This post includes a comment from Connie:

I do agree that, for me, "blending in" is not really my desired goal. I had always been pretty quiet and rather shy as a man, while my feminine side wants to be much more social and involved. I have often joked that all I really want is to be the most beautiful girl in the room - which is only a joke if I really think that I ever am. Still, I'd much rather shine than blend. I can't make my feminine appearance be as good as Phaylen's (highly filtered and possibly photo shopped) pic portrays, but I have learned that there is so much more to "passing" than the way I look. It's much more about the self-confidence and living in truth. Although it took much longer than it should have, I finally realized that I belong and have every right to be anywhere I choose to be, as does anyone else. I want to pass as a person (the person I really am) more than an illusion I may have created."

(The "Phaylen" Connie is responding to is an LGBTQ activist and actress and does have passing privileges' probably due in part to advanced makeup and photography techniques many of us don't have access to. See below:)

More Connie: "I suppose that I have some "passing privilege" - at least, I have been told this many times. My dysphoria keeps me from recognizing this allegation, however. Beyond the primary, my secondary (male) sex characteristics add up to be a real challenge for me. Sure, there are cis women who are taller, or with broader shoulders, or with large hands, or with big heads and necks, etc. - but very few of them possess all of them together. Nevertheless, these are things that I do possess, and that I can never change. I have managed to change my attitude, though, and that has gone more toward achieving any passing privilege I have than has anything else."

Connie. Making Seattle beautiful. 

Perhaps my emphasis on blending in has to do with my intense interaction with other women over the years. Even though I had to act as if I were a man, I interacted as if I were a woman. My gender dysphoria has told me over the years I couldn't be the best looking woman in the room and just being perceived as a woman in the room was good enough. 

Anything else will have to wait until my next life. In the meantime, I just have tried my best to exist in the passing lane.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Gender Dreaming

 Do you dream in gender?  In other words during your dreams are you just you or are you distinctly one of the binary genders.

As I have progressed through life into finally being able to live as my authentic self as a transgender woman, I believe my dreams have began to change. Early in life I remember the elusive (even cruel) dreams when I was the girl. When I woke up I was severely disappointed. This went on for years until I was able to find my way out of the closet and live in a feminine world. As my dreams began to transition in their own way, so did I.

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

When I went out more and more I was nearly completely entranced with my appearance. I would spend hours shopping for what I hoped would be the perfect outfit. The amount of effort I was putting into transforming my external self must have been seeping into my subconscious being when I was asleep. My dreams went from just being a girl to being an attractive woman. Either way, I was waking up severely disappointed.   

As time went by, slowly my gender dreams started to change. 

Along the way I spent many hours wondering why I was living in a feminine world, living relatively successfully as my authentic self. I thought my dreams should be changing also when I had dreams which I knew specifically I was returned back to my hated male self in more than a few of my dreams. 

I am far from an expert when it comes to dreams and what they mean and I am aware I may be putting too much worth to the whole process. My partner Liz  is much more knowledgeable on the subject and says simply I have lived too many years in a male world. My subconscious mind just has not caught up yet. 

She may be correct because recently I have been dreaming in situations where I am the feminine person. Perhaps my gender dreaming is catching up with my everyday life. For whatever reason it is important to me. Small wins I guess for small minds. But then again the entire process is just another indication of how important the transgender life process is to us. 

Dreams can come true!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

It Takes a Real Man

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

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

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Life AS A Transgender Foodie

 One of my favorite things to do is to go out to eat with my partner Liz. In addition to the food, I am very much a critic of the entire operation due to my long history working as an owner and manager in the food service industry. If you are curious, I always support the restaurant for the most part when something goes wrong. 

Thursday night, when  Liz and I attended the transgender-cross dresser social dinner noting really went wrong.  The venue has always been very accepting and I am happy to say outside of one boisterous newcomer, no one acted out of line. In other words, did nothing to embarrass the rest of us. I only mention it because over the years I can't say the same thing.

I have vivid memories of misled cross dressers abusing their restroom privileges for the women's restroom. Their thoughtless antics led to messages on the door warning non birth females to stay out. Perhaps the worst case of a person acting badly was when a transgender person on an escalator in a museum we were visiting grabbed both sides of the "moving steps" swung out and flashed the people in front of her. Really? That fortunately was the last time I ever saw her. I do know she went on to go through a genital realignment surgery. Hopefully she learned not to show it off.

I know the moral to the story is if you had any morals as a male person, you will have the same morals as your feminine self. 

Forgetting my rant, I am almost to the point of remembering to take a picture or two when Liz and I go out. This photo was actually taken a couple weeks ago when her son treated us to dinner. In my mind (which is the only one I have), no matter how much I dislike pictures, they help bring life to whatever experience I am writing about. 

Unfortunately, I have to look far ahead to our next night out. Financial circumstances will limit any potential "adventures" for at least another couple weeks until the "eagle lands " and my Social Security payment comes again. On the good side, Cincinnati continues to be a  wonderful place to explore if you are a "foodie" at all. 

Especially a transgender foodie. It's wonderful when gender ceases to be a problem where we go. How good the food is becomes the issue.


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Gender Sponge

 I am fairly sure many of you, similar to me, have spent days, weeks, months or even years attempting to figure out all the ins and outs (no pun intended)  of being the opposite binary gender. The one we always  desired to become a part of.

How did this all begin? With me it all began with a fascination with my Mom's clothes and makeup. For some reason in a male dominated household, I was able to watch Mom transform herself with makeup. It all translated into trying on her clothes and using her makeup when I was by myself. While other boys my age were out terrorizing each other, or the world, I was at home doing my best to look like a girl.

After a Mary Kay makeover
Jessie Hart Collection

All of this carried over to school. When I couldn't help but focus on the girls in my age group, I had to really focus hard to bring home reasonably good grades. After all I was desperately trying to assume a gender life I increasingly didn't want.  In the meantime I kept the bullies away by focusing on traditional male activities such as sports and cars.

Through it all I put all girls up on a pedestal. I was so envious of their lives. All of it. Their clothes were a start but one which wouldn't last forever. I became a gender sponge, from afar I did my best to immerse myself in everything feminine. Everything from how girls huddled to how they seemed to all talk at once. The frustrating part of it all was the fact I couldn't climb the gender pedestal myself. Little did I know I was just paying my dues. Eventually I would have a chance to live as a transgender woman full time.

Ironically, everytime I thought I had learned enough or paid enough dues to play in the girls sandbox I learned I was only just beginning. I had to be even a better gender sponge. A prime example came about when my wife called me a terrible woman. For the longest time, I didn't know exactly what she meant. What about all those years I invested on observing everything feminine, how girls dressed, how they moved. The truth was, my wife was right, my woman gender training was far from complete.   It turned out her comment about me was concluded with a comment saying she wasn't talking about my appearance. From that point forward I dedicated myself to learning what she meant.

Unfortunately I didn't learn until after she passed away when I was able to attempt to exist fulltime in a feminine world and finally leave my false male self behind. 

The first of many powerful lessons I learned came from when I began to learn to communicate with other women as my new authentic self. It was one of the things I wasn't allowed to be part of when I was attempting to live as both genders. I quickly learned cis women mean what they say. It's also true they say it differently which is lost on most men. One of the most flattering encounters I happened upon was when other cis women would ask me questions about their spouses and/or boyfriends. One of the powerful benefits of being transgender became using the knowledge I learned from being forced to live as a guy to help others. It's a shame more of the public isn't motivated to take advantage of trans women and men instead of fearing us. 

Possibly the second of the major lessons I learned involved the loss of white male privilege I encountered. Quickly I found how difficult it was for women to be recognized in many circles and how all of the sudden I had to be very cognizant of my surroundings. 

Finally, for this post, was the lessons I learned from other women regarding passive versus direct aggression. Many times I felt I was accepted as s transgender woman only to be stabbed in the back by another woman. With a smile on her face.

The more I learned, the more I tried to be a better, more complete gender sponge. It's been a long journey from my days of watching Mom and her makeup. 


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Transgender Tetherball

 Do you know what the game "Tetherball" is? Basically it is a ball secured by a rope to a pole. When the ball is hit by a hand it comes back round to you. Of course it can be played by more than one person.

When I heard the game discussed briefly this morning on a PBS television show I was watching, I thought of what it meant in relation to a transgender woman or trans man.  

I was intrigued and thought of gender replacing the ball in our game of life. For awhile we can be fortunate and the gender ball smoothly comes right back to us. During it's circle there was no one to stop it by saying the wrong thing and ruining your day. The problem is it can be so much more than just an outsider who can destroy the smooth rotation of the gender tetherball as it swings back to us.

Take for example, the gender dysphoria many of us suffer from. Through no fault of anyone other than ourselves, we can have our lives turned upside down when we have to live through the gender hell of not having our feminine souls sync with who the world sees us on a daily basis. Recently my gender game has been relatively smooth because I think my inner gender has been syncing up with who the world has been seeing. However, those feelings can be destroyed in an instant by ill advised side look in a mirror. It's similar to the gender ball hitting me in the face. 

Seemingly the only way I can correct the problem is by going out in the world and proving to myself I can present myself as a feminine person. Once it happens (or if it does) I can get back in the game until it happens again. My gender dysphoria has proven to me time and time again it will. 

An example happened to me this morning when I went to visit the vampires at the Veterans Administration clinic to have my blood labs taken. During the brief time I was there, I happened to look up in the waiting room and see a man waving at me. Also the tech who drew my blood took the extra time to "mansplain" to me all the tests he was doing. A sure sign they were booth reading feminine when they interacted with me.

All it really matters is the realization I am tethered to being transgender the rest of my life. Of course it is not a blinding sense of reality to figure out something I should have known years ago. 

Oh well, living in the past is just another case of getting hit in the face by the ball. One thing for certain is "Transgender Tetherball" is not a fun game.