Showing posts with label trans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trans. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Back from the Brink

Picnic with my wife Liz on right. 
 

As I changed out my estrogen patches this morning, I thought about how far back from the brink I have come over the years towards my dream of becoming a full time transgender woman. 

Along the way, it became evident to me I needed to streamline my life If I was ever going to succeed in my goals. I carried way too much old male baggage with me and if I ever expected to actually to succeed, I needed to determine what I needed to leave behind. Since I was attempting a later aged MtF transition, I had a truck load of baggage to consider such as family, friends, employment etc. As it turned out, I received an even break with my family as I retained my daughter in my life but lost my brother along with his extended red-neck family. So, I considered I did well, all things considered. As far as close friends went, I never made many which probably due to the fact I always thought someday I would have to disclose my gender issues to them. But first, I needed to be truthful to myself and realize my dreams went far beyond just looking and cross dressing as a woman. I wanted to be one, a huge difference when it came to telling another person. 

My issue with telling other friends became a non issue when sadly, most of my other close friends passed away. Leaving me on the brink by myself and looking down a very steep gender cliff. During this time, the pressure was continually building to make a decision on how my life was to be lived. Would the status-quo be good enough to get by, or did I need to make a radical change and hope for the better. By this time also, my second wife had passed away, leaving me with no real relationship obstacle to hurdle. Essentially, I had free reign to do as I pleased. If I wanted to take my feminine self to a downtown festival or an outdoor concert I did it.  The whole process helped my to decide my gender future as I continued to feel so natural. Even though I was on the brink.

In the meantime, I was slowly shedding as much of my old male baggage as I could. If I could help it, I never bought any male clothes as I expanded my feminine wardrobe. If and when I stood on the brink of my cliff, I wanted to look as feminized as possible. It worked as I was able to interact in a whole new world to me. 

Eventually, what happened , my new friends shoved me off of my brink and at the same time provided me a safe, soft landing. They took me at face value as a transgender woman and did not want to know anything about my male past, so I was happy beyond belief, I couldn't figure out why I had such good fortune but could only surmise it was because of all of the years of gender struggle I spent getting to the brink. My world was finally coming full circle.

I also need to mention women such as Kim, my wife Liz and my therapist Dr. "C" who helped me negotiate me coming back from my brink. Plus, as I write this, I realize I never came back from the brink, I made my way through it. 

Even still, being at the brink for all those years was  the mental challenge of a lifetime and without all the help I received from the women around me, I am not so sure I would have made it. Or, at the least I would have been a different person today.  

Monday, May 13, 2024

It's Complicated

Image from 
Alexander Grey
on UnSplash.


To begin with, I would like to mention a comment I received from "Pammie". In essence she challenged my daughter and son in law's idea of me earning a "Mother's Day" title. Pammie is the mother of four and I completely understand her position. I simply said, I did not seek out the title and I was not bragging. Being bestowed with what I consider the highest honor possible is amazing and I cherish it .Thanks for the comment which brings me to the subject of this post.

Anyway you cut it, being transgender is the ultimate in living a complicated life. It's no wonder many "civilians"  in the world don't understand what a trans person is when we often don't understand it ourselves. I know it took me years to come to a conclusion I was transgender and what it meant. Obviously when I did come to the conclusion I had been avoiding all my life, I needed to explain I was transgender to those closest to me. Destiny seemed to follow me once again (as it so often did) when I was completely accepted by some and totally rejected by others. More precisely, my daughter came out as a fierce ally and on the other hand, an embarrassing rejection from my only sibling, a younger brother. Essentially, he sold me out to appease his right-wing religious in-laws. I knew it was coming, so I moved on and haven't seen him in over a decade.

The problem is each gender's life is considered to be a given to the lucky majority who never question it. To the unlucky minority who for whatever reason we don't often know, we are stuck trying to determine which gender we are. Even to the point of accepting a relatively new term called "gender fluid." If the term had been around during my youth, it would have solved so many issues I went through. All the days I woke up wondering if I was a boy or a girl could be put behind me. 

Then it comes to the basic point of telling other humans of our plight, it becomes very complicated. How do you even attempt to explain your transgender needs to an elderly parent such as I did, or a family worth of offspring who have always viewed you a certain way. A way you carefully crafted all those years to hide your deepest darkest secret. You are not and never were the gender you appeared to be. I know life throws you many unexpected challenges and I am biased but I can't think of anything else which is so complicated to explain. 

Years ago, when my daughter was struggling with her oldest child coming out as transgender to her. One day she said to me how did I know I was trans and then answered her own question by saying I had always known. Which was true, I had always known something was different about me. I just didn't know how to express it. It seemed to be so unfair to me when I needed to address my complicated issues surrounding my gender which my friends did not have to face. 

Over the years and especially when I started blogging, I did expect push back on my transgender ideas but have received relatively few. One of the best comments I can recall when a person called me just another old guy on hormones. I received quite a  chuckle from that. I laughed because once again I had encountered another person who did not understand how complicated our lives are. Most don't understand it is a life time of effort to transition into another gender. For example no one understands in order not to back track on how I perceive myself as a transgender woman, I need to be on gender affirming hormones for life.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention the end of life situations trans people face. I am fortunate to have several transgender allies in my life so I don't have to worry about having my gender questioned at death. One way or another, the entire death process represents the complicated life we face. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

It's Game Day

 

Red Wig Image from the 
Jessie Hart
Archives and the game...


Recently, the Cincinnati Reds kicked off their latest professional baseball season. Opening Day is a big deal here complete with a parade and sell out crowds at the game. 

As a guy, I somehow managed to secure a ticket or two to the game because the company I worked for knew I was a huge sports fan and it was their way to keep me happier. As a transgender woman, I also managed to go to a few games but never opening day. As I aged, the problem became when I was unable to walk long distances to get to the ballpark and had nothing to do with me worrying about being accepted by the other fans in the stadium. Plus what remained of seeing the whole sporting experience in person as a woman just reinforced the fact I could take my love from one gender to another. 

I was lucky when I found and was accepted by a small group of women who were passionate about sports also. We regularly gathered at sports bars to watch our favorite teams play while we drank quantities of good cold draft beer. Good times were normally had by all, even though our teams lost. Perhaps the best part was, since I was part of a group of other women, no one questioned my gender at all. I had my validation as a person I so desperately sought. 

With one of my friends (Kim) a friendly competition developed over which professional football team we were fans of. Her family is from Pittsburgh, so naturally she is a Steelers fan which collided head on with me since I am a Cincinnati Bengals fan. Along the way, we became so close she invited me to go along with her family to a Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati. All of a sudden, I realized what such a major deal going to a real live National Football League game was when it came to my gender transition timetable. For most of my life, I wondered what it would be like to attend a game as my authentic transgender self and all of a sudden, the time had come. 

Back in those days, I had not started gender affirming hormones yet so all I had to wear was a barely fitting wig Kim and her daughter Hope had always seen me in. Hope was a bar tended/server at one of the venues I became a regular in and initially set up a meeting between her lesbian mom and I. Needless to say, I was terrified yet still excited to take another major step along my gender path. The door to my closet was opening faster than I had ever dreamed it would. Once I made it to the stadium, it was dark which helped my presentation and I went through the initial stadium security check points with no problems and my confidence began to build. We made it to our seats and no one gave me a second look, so I was happy. After all, everyone had paid a premium price to watch a football game, not a stray transgender fan in the stands. 

The only perceivable problem I was going to have was how much I could drink. I didn't want to chance going to the women's room if I could help it but I couldn't risk having to go during the long road trip home if I had to. So I compromised and just had two beers and made only one trip to the rest room where nothing happened. I got in, took care of business, washed my hands and got out. 

Per norm, the Bengals lost to the Steelers that night, so I took some abuse from the others in the group. Little did they know how just going was a complete victory and confidence builder for me and to this day, I can't thank Kim enough for including me.

These days, the Cincinnati Reds have a young exciting team who are fun to watch and my dream is to build myself up to the point where my wife Liz and I can see a game or two this summer. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Walking the Transgender Tightrope

 

Image from Johannes Plenio on 
UnSplash




I have never been accused of being coordinated at all which completely held me back when it came to me being able to participate in any sort of athletics except for football which often meant dealing with brute strength. 

Little did I know, I would have to develop my own sense of gender coordination to deal with my gender dysphoria. It turns out the better I became navigating the world as a novice transgender woman, the more balance I would need to survive in life. What happened was, the better I became with makeup and fashion, the more confidence I felt and in addition I was gaining the all important confidence to try more and more exciting yet terrifying experiences as my feminine self. 

Doing the more I could possibly hope for led me to trying to walk part of my life in my old male gender and part in my newer female one. My second wife even approved of a plan where I could have three days a week to leave the house dressed as a guy, go to a motel, cross dress as a woman and basically do whatever I wanted. Then dress back into my boring drab male clothes and come home. It didn't take long for me to become bored with this arrangement and I began slipping out of the house behind her back when she was working. Out of sheer willpower I needed to begin being more coordinated in how I was trying to run my gender conflicted life. There was really only one thing I knew for sure, I loved my feminine side and wanted to do more and more to let her out. 

Sadly, the whole process of trying to balance the two genders fighting for dominance within me was destroying my already bi-polar fragile mental health. I tried therapy and for years had only one therapist tell me the truth...there was essentially nothing I could do about wanting to transition into a transgender woman. I was what I was and I should accept it. Of course I wasn't smart enough to take her advice. I still wanted to save what was left of my long term marriage to my second wife while at the same time exploring what could be possible if I actually had the courage to transition into a fulltime world as a transgender woman. 

Finally, after falling off the tightrope more times than I can say, I could take the mounting gender pressure no longer and tried suicide as a solution. Just before my wife passed away from a massive heart attack, I thought I "purged" for the final time and got down from my tightrope. I grew a beard, gained a bunch of weight and overall was miserable but I gave it my best effort. 

I proved to myself I wasn't coordinated enough to navigate something complex enough as a gender tightrope and moved on to living a life as my authentic self. I am not one for regrets but if I allowed myself one, it would be I would have had the courage to transition earlier in life (before the age of sixty.) I would have saved myself so much time, effort and frustration as I attempted to balance my gender tightrope.      

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Patch Day

Image from the Jessie 
Hart Archives

I am on estradiol patches I change twice a week. The hormonal patches help to make me who I am and have been fortunate to be prescribed them for years.

Early on progress was slow as I was prescribed the minimal amount of hormones by my doctor. I remember vividly the night I asked my future wife Liz out on New Years Eve when I started my gender affirming hormones. It was a very big night. Initially I began my dosage on pills which as I said were very minimal in dosage. 

Even on the minimal amounts I still felt changes beginning to take place. Possibly because I was already in my sixties and my testosterone levels were decreasing anyhow so there were fewer hormones to do battle with. At any rate, I was beginning to see (or feel) changes primarily in my breasts. Before I knew it, I was experiencing problems finding shirts which were loose enough to not show my protruding breasts. Little did I know, there was so much more to come.

What happened was, when my doctor determined I was not experiencing any ill effects from the new hormones, I was cleared for a higher dosage. With a higher dosage came more changes which I needed to deal with and the changes forced my hand on when I thought I would need to go public as a transgender woman. At the time, as predicted by my doctor, my hair began to grow as fast as my new breasts. More importantly though were the internal changes which were beginning to take place along with the external softening of my skin and facial lines. 

Of course the internal changes were less noticeable in the beginning because I was still so obsessed with my feminine appearance. All the way to the point of thinking my appearance was the reason I went through with HRT or GAH. 

The more I became one with the new hormones which were allowed to invade my old male body, the more I began to understand the process. I really began to change when I switched my health care to the Veteran's Administration and began seeing a new endocrinologist who almost immediately changed my dosage from pills to patches so the new method would provide less wear and tear on my inner organs. At the same time, we discussed upping my dosage slightly as well as how I used my testosterone reducing medication (Spiro) at the same time. 

All of this was working together to provide me with significant internal changes. Suddenly, I could cry for the first time in my life as well as feel my world around me soften. I was more sensitive to temperature changes as well as noticing a big improvement in my sense of smell. Through it all, I even experienced my first feminine hot flashes which initially made me think I was going to internally combust. Little did I know at the time I was just going through another gender puberty in my life. As far as more external changes went, finally I started to develop hips for the first time ever.

Perhaps I am a little dramatic when I think my estradiol patches helped me to become the person I am today. Plus I never forget, how blessed I was with having the health to undertake such a radical hormonal shift in my body. I know so many who couldn't. I know also, so many other transgender women who prefer injections over patches to deliver their life changing hormones. For what ever reason, I have never had much of a problem having the patches adhere to my skin and seem to deliver an overall smoother dosage over the span of a week. That of course, is only my perspective.

Then again, there are those of you who naturally have a higher level of estrogen in your body and don't require gender afforming hormones at all to help you feel secure as a transgender woman. Whatever works, more power to you. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

The Road Less Traveled

Image from
Jessica Radanavong on
UnSplash

 Every now and then, even though I follow several very popular LGBTQ and Transgender sites such as Stana's "Femulate", I wonder how many cross dressers or trans folks there are in the world.

Sometimes I think there not very many but then again more than I think. My thoughts began relatively early when I began to experience the public as a novice transgender woman. A prime example was when I first began to go to the Veterans Administration for my health care. Included in the care were the basics allowing me to begin gender affirming hormones. During my first visits, I could tell I was the main educator to the VA staff who had never seen a trans person before. I knew then, I was on the road less traveled with my gender issues. 

Over a short period of time, I found differences in how I was treated started to change. I became less of an educator and my providers were more likely to understand my needs. It is important to note how well over the years my VA health team has treated me. Plus, over the years, I have received several other comments from transgender veterans such as this one:

" It was interesting to read of your experience with the VA. Shortly after I retired I began receiving primary care through the nearest VA clinic. I was able to select a female physician and made my first clinic visit presenting as a woman. I had already indicated that I was transgender woman on some on-line forms, as to avoid any confusion. And, my first name on all legal documents is Kimberly, so that kinda sets expectation, I suppose.


Anyway, I weighed in and was roomed by the RN, a lovely young woman. She lead me through the perfunctory questions that had to be asked, and used my preferred (she) pronounce when she introduced me to the doctor. The doctor was similarly courteous. I was a bit surprised when she asked when I had GRS and how long I had been on HRT. (I have had neither and at my age consider these would offer little net benefit for me). We did talk a bit about my transition goals, which are pretty limited at this point.

I had two routine follow up visits with this physician at the VA clinic. During these visits I was always treated with not just courtesy but genuine kindness and friendliness. I had very enjoyable conversations with the staff. Perhaps it helped that I was coming from a health care admin background."

Thanks so much for the input Kimberly! I know various other VA centers vary in their care standards especially when it comes to LGBTQ vets and primarily transgender veterans. If you have a different story, feel free to comment. 

It is said, any public relations is good even though it is not well meaning. During this time in our transgender history when so many negative laws are being proposed and passed in states such as my native Ohio, when the public sees me now, I know increasingly I am on the road more traveled. Sadly, gender bigots in the world are emboldened by their ignorance and somehow are encouraged to voice their unwanted opinions of me. 

My days of existing under the radar in a larger world has gone by the wayside. It seems every night on the news I see information on ill advised politicians  coming after me and my transgender friends. Even though I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a strong group of trans allies, I still suffer from the paranoia I feel when my road into the world becomes more traveled. 


Saturday, January 20, 2024

My Eyes are Up Here

 

Image from UnSplash

As I increased my knowledge of male to female cross dressing, I immediately learned the power of how my breasts appeared to the world. If I could attract the eyes away from my big shoulders to my breasts, I was successful. 

At that point I began to seriously experiment with how I could make my breast forms be as attractive as I could while on the very limited budget I was on. As I remember, stuffing my Mom's bra with socks was the only way I could go. Since my only feminine interaction was with the mirror in the hallway, having realistic breasts was mostly just in my imagination. It was about this time too, when I discovered and was very jealous of the teen aged girls around me who were suddenly sprouting their own breasts and wearing brand new training bras under tight sweaters. It was so unfair to me. So I set out to do much better with my own breast forms.

If my memory serves me correct, the next object I tried to use for breasts were foam nerf balls which were cheap and easy to come by. I still was far from satisfied with the results but it still was an improvement over rolled up socks. I needed to figure out what should be the next step in figuring out what to do about developing a better set of fake breasts. Along the way, I tried many ideas I read about mainly in the "Transvestia" magazine I received every couple of months. I know some of the cross dressers in the publication somehow were fans of using birdseed. Which I never ended up trying. Instead I went the water balloon route which went well until the predictable disaster happened to me when one broke. I really liked the balloon idea because they were cheap and I could use lukewarm water in them and approximate as close as I could to what I thought a real breast would feel like. Plus, I loved the way the balloons moved and bounced when I wore just the right bra. 

All was good with my new breasts until one night when I was headed to the women's room in one the venue's I was a regular in and unexpectedly one of my water balloons broke in the hallway leading to the restroom. The only good thing which came from it was no one else was in the hallway so I didn't have to explain to them I was pregnant and my water broke. I was able to pay my bill and quickly head for home. Finished with water balloon breasts forever.

My next step forward in the breast form department came when a cross dressing friend of mine in nearby Columbus, Ohio decided to purge all of his feminine belongings which included a nice set of silicone breast forms. I eagerly accepted the gifts and immediately stepped up my breast game. I ended up using the forms until I finally had the opportunity to join the women around me and have my own breasts thanks to gender affirming hormones. 

These days, even though I think my bigger body shape could support bigger breasts than I have been able to grow with the hormones, I think at this point in my life, I will stick with what I have in the breast department. 

It's interesting to me how much breast surgeries are being done these days for transgender and cis-gender women. In fact, I see big billboards around Cincinnati for plastic surgeons who will do the procedure completely for less than seven thousand dollars. I have the money saved but I think I could use it in better ways.

As it stands now, when someone looks me in the eye, they really do it.


Friday, January 19, 2024

Trip Number One

 

Hair after salon image 
Jessie Hart
Archives...

Way back when, one of the first priorities I had was coming out to my only child, a daughter. Of course I was properly scared to death the morning I told her at breakfast. 

It turned out all the paranoia I felt was unfounded when she wholeheartedly supported me. Which she does to this day. Outside of my wife Liz, she is one of my biggest transgender allies. Especially since her oldest child came out to her as trans, so she had some experience with the entire situation. 

When I came out to my daughter, I had a chance to let my hair grow out to the point where it could be styled professionally at a beauty salon. Which at the time seemed to be the impossible dream. It also was close to my birthday so as it turned out my birthday gift was a trip to her (daughter's) very upscale salon for a color and trim. 

Even though the entire idea of going to a women's beauty salon  really scared me, how could I refuse such a wonderful gift. Before I knew it, the time to meet her and go through with the visit was upon me. For my first visit my daughter came with me to essentially hold my hand, because I was almost ready to panic and run out the front door. But I didn't. As I nervously sat and waited with a cup of coffee, I wondered what was going to lie ahead and what color was I going to choose for my new hair. Since I had retired, I didn't have to worry about any negative responses from employers or fellow employees. Freed up from all that worry, I was able to worry about my choices.

Finally, it was my turn to be called back to my new stylist. Predictably, the salon itself was long and narrow with a single line of women in chairs being styled. Walking in front of all of them and feeling their eyes on me did not do me any favors when it came to my nervousness. After greetings were exchanged, the first priority was picking a color to change what was left of my dark hair which was my natural color. By mutual agreement between the stylist, my daughter and myself, we decided to go with a streaked light red and blond look. Plus, since my hair is naturally wavy, the stylist straightened it out. Which later on I found I didn't like.  

By the time all of this was happening, I thought I was getting a contact buzz from all the estrogen in the room. Through it all, I quickly discovered what I was missing by never being able to go to a woman's only space such as an upscale beauty salon. Before I moved, I ended up going back several times before I moved away to Cincinnati. Plus, the more I went, the more I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. 

It took awhile but I found and set up many appointments with a new stylist here in Cincinnati who happened to have a transgender son. Again she was very good at her craft and I enjoyed going to her for hair advice and stylings before she retired due to problems with her hands. With her though, the experience was singular because there were no gauntlet of women to walk past everytime I went. She had her own little cubical. 

I will forever be in debt to my daughter for her birthday gift so many years ago which brought me into the  world of beauty salons. From that point forward, I began to understand why women spend so much time and money on their hair.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Supporting Casts

 Recently I wrote a post concerning (among other things) the power of having cis-gender women friends to help your transgender transition along at key times. If you are similar to me, you started your gender journey in the mirror and dreamed of the day when I could enlist another more experienced woman's aid with my wardrobe and makeup. 

In response, I received this comment from "Anonymous" : " It’s nice to see the positive side, the genuine sense of joy in transition. I know I have felt euphoria as I have gained the confidence to comfortably present myself authentically to the outside world. It’s interesting that you mention feeling more comfortable in the company of women. That has been my experience. I am not attracted to men physically. Frankly, I prefer women as friends or if given the opportunity, as intimate partners." 

Thanks for the comment! 

For some reason, during my life I have always felt more comfortable around women, even though there were very few girls in the neighborhood I grew up in. In order to survive, I needed to develop strong masculine tendencies to basically keep the bullies away. Even though I was successful, I still for whatever reason, never really had many close male friends Maybe, it was a result of my inner feminine self. Or an overreaction to thinking I maybe gay. My own inner form of homophobia. In later years I wondered if the fear of my own sexuality would carry over into my own inner transphobia. Essentially when I feared what would happen if I went too far into living as a fulltime transgender woman. 

In passing the other day, I mentioned certain early cross dressers or transvestites' who were seemingly using cigars to back up their reliance on so called male stereotypes. to which I received this partial comment from Georgette who happens to still smoke cigars, even though she has transitioned:

" Why do so many people break everything down to a Masculine or Feminine thing, I get a laugh or no response from many part-time CD/TV that will say that they still enjoy all those "Manly" things, I started smoking cigars in my teen years and still do. It is a world of difference from smoking in general."

Thanks to you Georgette  for the comment!  I think too many people over-simplify the masculine and feminine thing. Including me. Sometimes I get lazy when I write and get ahead of myself. On the other hand, describing the differences between the two main binary genders becomes very tedious for me. As far as cigars go, they were part of my life when I needed to out macho another man, or at least connect with him. Before I transitioned and grew away from them, a good cigar was a priority of me so I understand where Georgette is coming from in her comment. 

As far as comments go, I always invite any of you to participate in the blog by commenting and I will try to add in your input when I can, Sometimes it is applicable, sometimes not. The same way I felt I couldn't use the makeup advice I was given very early on when I was a novice crossdresser. If the truth be known, I probably had more experience with makeup than some of the women I was with. Later on was when I discovered how much I could learn from the women around me about really being women. As Georgette said going much farther than simply breaking down life to a masculine versus feminine existence. 

It took me awhile to finally learn my second wife was trying to tell me the same thing when she said I made a terrible woman. Perhaps my problem was I was making a terrible person to begin with. It took the emergence of my inner female to recognize the difference with the help of a strong supporting cast.  

Friday, January 12, 2024

It's Your Journey

 

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives...


There are many different paths on our transgender journeys. Some are eerily similar some are very different.

On occasion, our paths align due to age considerations. We were the ones who grew up in the pre-internet days before it was invented as well as the social media which has become all so powerful. We are the ones who grew up in very lonely and dark gender closets which made it feel as if we were the only ones in the world who wanted to be another gender. At that point many of us chose to subscribe to Virginia Prince and then received our cherished and closely guarded issues of Transvestia. The magazine Prince published. 

Perhaps you are younger and experienced another journey through the internet. I remember vividly the days when my wife and I could afford our first computer along with the ultra slow dial-up internet. Almost immediately I found myself in trouble when my wife caught me corresponding with a like minded individual on a message board in a nearby town. She turned to be more computer savvy than me and learned to track my movements on our system. What I learned was, I needed to better hide what I was doing or stay off the message boards all together.   

At that point, I was using my issues of Transvestia to locate transvestite mixers close enough to me in Ohio so I could travel to them. When I did, I was able to see and meet other cross dressers who were following similar journeys as well as many who weren't. There were the ones who seemingly trying to out run their feminine desires by still acting super masculine in a dress and heels. I certainly didn't feel a part of that cigar smoking crowd. (Before cigars became cool for women). Then there were the future transsexuals on the other end of the spectrum. They were impossibly feminine and I felt were far out of my league as I was very insecure about my appearance as a cross dresser. Even though I wanted to be a part of their world, it was difficult to be admitted. I partially solved my problem with blatantly tagging along with the so called upper class when they normally would go out to gay venues and continue to party after the majority of the group had retired to their rooms in the hotel where we were meeting. 

It wasn't until many years later, after many errors and successes in the world as I tried the basics of living as a transgender woman did destiny set in and I was accepted by small groups of cis-gender women who allowed me to really learn the basics of existing in the feminine world. 

Over the years of writing a blog, I have been able to correspond with other trans women who were able to benefit from similar situations. Mainly when they were invited into "women only" spaces. It was during these times I learned the true essence of communication women use when no men are present. My obsession changed from appearing feminine to actually acting feminine. I learned how much I have changed when I go back to the earlies days of blogging to see what I was up to. 

Whatever your journey, I hope it has been a successful one for you. There are so many facets to consider such as family and spouses which lead to staying in some sort of a closet by choice. Which there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I will forever wonder what would have happened with me if my wife would have lived on. Would we have ultimately split up when she said she would never live with another woman or could have a compromise been reached for both of us. Pursuing gender affirming hormones for me was the breaking point which I was free to do after she passed. So as you can understand I am not putting myself up on any sort of a pedestal because destiny led my journey to living as a fulltime trans woman. Pedestals are very fragile and easy to break. 

Hopefully it has been your journey and you have been able to live it with a positive outcome.  

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Success Equals Confidence

 

Image from the
Jessie Hart Archives

As with anything else in life, when you are successful you want to try harder to replicate your success.  

An example happened way back in the day when I played with friends on a local softball team. One game we were behind in the last inning by one run when our team had the last at bat. To make a long story short, my best friend and I came up with back to back home runs to win the game. For several days, months and even years, we had bragging rights because of the back to back home runs. While I was never a good hitter, at the least my brief success helped me to forget how much I wanted to be sitting with the girlfriends and wives who were watching from the grandstands and concentrate on doing better when I batted.

While I was never able to achieve the success I experienced that night, I did other times under different circumstances. When I reached a point when I began to explore the world as a cross dresser or transvestite, I had a very difficult time with my appearance. I knew I wasn't in any sort of way a "natural" and needed to work very hard for any success I had when I left the mirror and ventured out. Many times I was stared at and even laughed at behind my back. Even with all of the negative feedback, I was able to have enough positive filter it's way in to keep going. Whatever success I found equaled substantial confidence. 

I discovered there were feminine privileges such as when I went Christmas shopping for my second wife one night at an Oak furniture store in Columbus, Ohio. I wore my nice black pantsuit. sensible makeup and blond wig. Then I discovered the perfect gift, a Oak bookcase but wondered how I would ever load it into the back of my SUV.. When I gathered my courage to go to the sales counter and pay, I was amazed to see two young men waiting to load my purchase for me. I thanked them profusely and was on my way back home. I knew my male self wouldn't have any problem with unloading her gift which she loved. 

The problem I then began to experience was I was gaining too much confidence too quickly. Every free moment I was planning yet another trip into the world. I was rapidly becoming a novice transgender woman which put me at direct odds with my wife. She didn't mind my cross dressing but hated any idea of me taking my gender issues to another level and start hormone replacement therapy. The final chapter of the story was never written because she suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. I will forever wonder what would have happened if she had lived. I know my success at living as a transgender woman was deeply ingrained and the problem we faced as a couple was similar to being between a rock and a hard place.

Most certainly, gaining confidence in living as your authentic feminine self is one of the most powerful accessories you can have. Much more powerful than that favorite dress or shoes, confidence can help you face the daily world with success.    

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Trans Process

Image from the 
Jessie Hart
Archives


Even though I write often concerning wanting to be a girl over the hated boy I had no choice over, the process just wasn't that clear cut.

I mean I didn't wake up one morning thinking Hey! I want to be a girl instead of the boy I was made to be. It was a process. The whole deal was beginning a sixty year (plus) gender journey. The path began innocently I thought,  with explorations through my mom's clothes and makeup to see what I could fit into and how I could look. At many points on the path I needed to process which stop signs I would obey and which forks in the path I should follow. It is important to note, not all paths were successful and I needed to backtrack many times. In fact, some of the stop signs I ran resulted in dismal failures and I needed to gather myself, get back to my cross dressing drawing board and get back in the game.

Often I wonder why I tried so hard to trust the process and try even harder on key issues I was facing such as my presentation. The answer is actually fairly simple. When I pursued and trusted the transgender process at every turn, the more natural I felt. I somehow knew deep down I was on the right path even though I had made some mistakes when I followed it. 

One of the important points to note is, no one sees the trans process, they just see the end result. You will get no passion points from most people who were not present when you were struggling as a novice cross dresser with your appearance or how you walk or talk. They weren't there to see the tears you shed when you failed or to be much of a peer influencer when you failed in your mind. Fortunately, the world has changed slightly in our favor with plenty of makeup tutorials and even entire chains of makeup stores to help us all survive in the world. But even still, all they see is you. No matter if the final product is the final product at all.

The disconcerting fact concerning the trans process is, it never seems to give up. Even in the final stages of our lives we face severe challenges to simply living as our authentic selves. Examples include being forced into a non forgiving assisted care living facility. As we know, it only takes one uncaring care giver to make a life miserable for an LGBT person. This extends all the way until death when gender bigoted family members refuse to honor our final gender wishes.

I suppose the most positive way to look at a lifetime of following the trans process is...at least it was never boring. All the times I was excited, yet petrified to follow my path will go down as some of the best and worst times of my life. 

Even though I have often questioned why I was somehow chosen to live as a transgender woman. Deep down I knew I had no choice.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Moving too Fast

 

Image from UnSplash

There were times during my transition when time moved so slow but then again other times went all too fast.

Most of the slow times involved the periods when I had to wait to cross dress again and again seeking precious small amounts of gender euphoria. I needed them to hold me over until the next time I could stare into the mirror and visualize my feminine self looking back. Improvements at the time were painfully slow. It seemed they only happened to just barely keeping me afloat in life. It turned out to be a decades long project to resurrect my true self which went into forced hiding many years before when I was a misunderstood youth. I was forced by society into being a boy when all I really wanted was to be a girl.

Sometimes I think I was fortunate to have survived the slow times in my life when I was so frustrated with my very limited chance to express myself. The very few chances I had were often dismal failures such as when I talked my fiancĂ© into dressing me head to toe as a cross dressed woman. First of all, I didn't think she did that good of a job and the whole experience came back to haunt me when I entered the military. To satisfy her paranoia about me serving, she told me to tell the draft board I was gay. Nothing wrong with being gay but I wasn't and I was not ready to out myself to the world. So out she went. I was prepared to face a long slow three years in the military (Army) by myself. 

It turned out, the three years I served did go by very fast. I was able to experience different cultures when I was stationed in Thailand and Germany. I was even able to come out of my gender closet very briefly to let a few close friends into who I really was. Ultimately I owe the three years to allowing me to meet my first wife who is the mother of my daughter who accepts me totally and giving me the chance to utilize much needed Veterans Administration health care when my business failed and I needed it most. 

The period of time when I signed up with the VA which entitled me to low cost bi-polar medications  and ultimately my hormone replacement therapy was a blur. Not only was I going through a very dark period of my life when I was losing nearly everything, I was exploring an exciting but terrifying time of life when I seriously began to live finally as my transgender self. Initially I set out to live a isolated self as a novice trans person, it proved impossible. I had always been a social person when I left high school and I found I still craved human interaction. My interactions started innocently enough when I began to be recognized as a regular at several of the venues. From there destiny did the rest. One of the bartenders who always saw me by myself set me up with her Mom who I still know today. Another social contact happened one night when another woman sent me a note down the bar. 

At this time, my life began to speed up, I was learning more and more about what my new life could be like. The women I was with showed me so much and I always say , I owe them so much. Without their input, I would have taken literally years longer to achieve my goals of living as a transgender woman. There were times I thought I was moving too fast but eventually determined the feeling was just because my old male self was being threatened with losing everything he had worked so long to accomplish. 

Very quickly I did catch up and look back at that time of my life as one big blur but the outcome was wonderful. 

On another sidelight...it's nine eleven. Never forget!!!!!


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Being Better

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart
Collection
Always attempting to be better than the next person was always part of my life. 

Nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents. If I received "B's" in a school course, my grade should have been an "A". If I made sports team, why wasn't I a starting player? These were just a few examples of how life went. I can't ever remember hearing an encouraging comment like way to go from my parents. Similar to so many other aspects in life, I figured it was normal and went on. Little did I know how being better would come back to haunt me later in life.

As I doubled down on my cross dressing efforts again I found nothing I did was good enough. The main problem I had was I was always playing catch up to the other women. They all benefitted from growing up around a peer group which judged them with basics such as makeup and wardrobe. Of course I needed to learn all of it on my own. 

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the entire transgender process was not only did I need to learn the appearance process on the fly (with no help), when I ended up going out in public, in order to survive I had to be better than the women around me. Perhaps one of the bigger compliments I ever received from my second wife came when she actually asked me to help her with her makeup one night when we were going out. Although she never said it, I knew I had somehow arrived in her eyes as a person who knew her way around makeup. 

It turned out, I was only scratching the surface. Before I utilized the benefits of hormone replacement therapy to grow my own hips and breasts, I resorted to silicone breasts and foam hips to give me a more feminine form. I simply wanted to be the attractive blond woman in the bars I frequented. It worked as I was noticed in a few of the lesbian bars I went to, as I was approached my other women much more masculine than I was. My confidence soared and I felt as if I was finally making in roads into looking better than the next woman. Even though I was transgender. Then it occurred to me I had to be better to just survive as trans. 

Through it all, my natural upbringing kicked in and I thought being better was just part of the game. After all, any cis woman could throw on any old shirt and jeans and go out and no one would question her gender. If I did the same, I would be busted or clocked instantly for being a man in a dress. As unfair as it was, I understood because I had been living with the rules my entire life. In other words, I was up to working harder to achieve my goal of living fulltime as a transgender woman. Which was becoming harder and harder with each step forward I took. I always understood women led a vastly different gender life as men but I didn't understand how much until I set out to prove I could do it every day.

I was primarily blindsided by the communication aspect of feminine interactive conversation. I needed to learn the basics of reading  someone's emotions through their eyes and not their words. Plus, let's not forget the power of a woman's passive aggressive nature. Too many times I remembered trusting another woman only to be stabbed (or clawed) in the back. The whole process taught me  quickly I needed to get better. A feminine public presentation was one thing but being allowed to play in the girls sandbox was another. 

In remembering my post from yesterday, I still need to remind myself of who and where I am as a trans woman. Just a small thing as a smile turned out to be a huge deal. But I was used to knowing I needed to be better. Picked myself up and went from there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The A List


 As I was writing this post I considered calling it the "Alpha Female" At any rate, the whole post goes back to my earliest remembrances of coming out and interacting with like minded cross dressers. Or at least I thought they were. 

What I naively thought was all sp called hetero cross dressers would be one big happy family, happy to mingle with others in their feminine finery. I was in for a rude awakening. 

First of all, there were what I call now the "deniers" . I saw guys in dresses and heels topped off with a cigar (before it was cool) and a cowboy hat. They were doing their best to dissuade anyone they were fond of their feminine selves. I learned quickly I didn't fit in with their group. I was serious in putting my best foot forward. Normally in heels back in those days. More on that later.

In the meantime, I was fascinated with the other attendees to the "mixer". The group ranged from the cowboy hats (not Urban Cowboy) types all the way to impossibly feminine types who I didn't detect any masculinity in at all. Ironically, even though I am impossibly shy around people I don't know, I didn't feel I really fit in with any of the small groups I was observing. Except for possibly one.

The group I didn't mention was who I call the "A Listers". Or they considered themselves to be the best in looks and the best in social activities in the group. While the majority of the group stayed huddled in the hotel, the "A's" went out to gay venues to entertain themselves. Even though I didn't perceive myself to be their equal in appearance, I certainly wanted to tag along when they went out. I was determined even back in those days to allow my feminine self to sample the world whenever I could. So I did.

For the most part, excuse the term, they were bitches and didn't accept me much but I didn't care. I was there for me, not them.

Ironically all of my tagging along worked one night. Earlier in the evening the main group brought in makeup experts for advice to anyone who wanted it. I through my makeup to the wind, pulled up my big girl panties and volunteered. The guy who worked on my looks performed wonders! Easily he did much better than I could have ever imagined. I thought now, bring on the "A's".

It turned out I tagged along per norm to the first gay venue we always went to then, even went to a second. The second place was more subdued and was more like the neighborhood taverns I was used to. As the "A's" positioned themselves at the bar, I headed for the pinball machines. As luck would have it, It was time for Cinderella to turn in her heels and head back to the hotel. 

Before we left though, a guy approached me at the pin ball game and asked if he could buy me a drink. I ended up telling him no but the "A's" noticed and that was important too. I was accepted by at least one of them for the very few times I could attend another mixer in the future. I ended up attending several parties at her house in Columbus, Ohio. Most of which with my wife so she kept track of me. All material for another blog post.

It is important to say I never felt a part of the "A's" and as time progressed I learned why. The so called LGBTQ community doesn't have much to do with the transgender part of group. In fact I learned the hard way how many of the trans group have a hard time dealing with each other.  Indeed we are a multi faceted group.

One thing is for sure all these years later, I just couldn't fit in with the "A's" and it's one of the reasons I try to be accepting of both cross dressers as well as trans women.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

And the Winner is Transgender

 

Amy Schneider, a trans woman from Oakland, will make her fourth “Jeopardy!” appearance Monday after winning three games last week during Trans Awareness Week

.After her victory on Friday’s show, she told Newsweek that she had been trying to get on the show for over a decade. 

“I’m not sure quite how long [ago I first applied], but I remember trying out when I still lived in Ohio, and I’ve lived in Oakland since 2009, so it has to have been at least that amount of time,” she said. 

Schneider also explained how her transition in 2017 might have helped her finally get a spot on the show. 

“The reality is that for the first few years of that, when I was trying out, I was, as far as any of us knew, a standard white guy,” she told the magazine. “And there’s just more competition for those slots on Jeopardy! They’re making a TV show, they don’t want everybody to look the same, and I looked a lot like many of the other contestants, and I think that definitely made it a little tougher for me at that time. I would have got on eventually — I was never gonna stop trying!”

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Another Top Transgender Star

 

Indya Moore started as a model, but they really made a name for themselves when they were cast as Angel on FX's "Pose." 

As a trans and non-binary person, they became a mainstream success, booking even more modeling gigs and eventually becoming Elle's first trans cover model

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Baggage

Photo courtesy Cyrsti Hart
 In a recent post I mentioned sports as one of the items of baggage I took with me when I crossed the transgender gender frontier. Obviously, undertaking such a difficult journey requires planning and experience to attempt a smooth trip.

The first lesson I learned was relying on an obsession with appearance was not going to work. Certainly projecting a feminine appearance helped open gender doors but didn't accomplish much when I was faced with one on one interactions with the public. In order to survive, I had to pack gender communication skills as well as trying my best to achieve a feminine voice. To this day, I am not sure I ever made any real strides with my voice. Even after attempting vocal lessons. 

I guess you could say I was traveling light and learning as I went during the early part o
f my journey. I discovered the hard way how women lead a multi layered experience. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned was losing my male privilege. I lightened my baggage extensively and quickly. All of a sudden I was excluded from male conversations. Even to the point of supposedly not knowing the quickest route to where I lived. All of that was easy compared to the danger I encountered when I made in roads to areas where cis women knew not to go. I was fortunate to have not been subject to violence. I learned quickly to park in lighted areas and not be cornered by over aggressive admirers in narrow hallways. 

All in all, it was a terrifying yet exciting time in my life.

So, what do you pack? What about your sexuality? In my case, I ended up with women anyhow so it didn't matter. On the other hand, these days, I know several transgender sisters who have made the journey and found men to live with. Plus with all the information available today I know several transgender individuals who were able to make the transition journey with their spouses. Finally, with all the surgeries and insurance becoming available, I know too several trans women who have found and established relationships with other transgender women through the increasing influence of social media.

Even though the gender crossing won't be easy with many hills and valleys along the way, the most important item to pack is your desire to make the journey. Otherwise, if you aren't willing to add or discard items along the way, the trip will be so much more difficult.   

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

More Comments

Old Trans Ohio Symposium Picture
 Connie sent me an email at Cyrstih@yahoo.com saying her comments to the blog were being rejected by Google. Since then, seemingly the problem has been corrected because her new comment came through just fine. 

Also I received another comment through WordPress  from Mark Earnest Johnson: "It is so much easier to open up anonymously, when the people reading your blog aren't looking at you as you find the words and try to force them out, when you can't see their expressions.

Introverts. We are the root of our problem. We want to be helped, loved even. But, we don't want to be bothered with people, and there are times when we don't even care if we are really understood and known.

Paying a therapist is like paying a plumber or painter, however. You are plunking down something for a particular service - to be listened to, heard, and counselled (given psychological treatment). When you don't disclose fully, it's like giving you doctor only part of the symptoms that forced you to make the medical appointment in the first place. If you feel you need to talk to a therapist for a particular reason, or reasons, the therapist should know exactly what those reasons are and what you really want to talk about. They need all the information they can get - and so do you.

As always, though, thank you for the insight and honesty."

Thank you Mark. I always have thought personally I communicate more effectively with the written word than the spoken one. 

And here is the new comment from Connie which just happened today: "I think, as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Part of a therapist's training is in getting reluctant people to open up. Some are better at it than others. The rest of their job, with the goal of helping people deal with the core problem, cannot be effective without the initial "coming out" stage. All I ever needed was to realize that being trans was never my problem; other challenges were only exasperated by my trans status. Once I took the "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" attitude about being a transgender woman (not that it's a joke to be trans, but it is full of many twists and irony), I was able to relax enough to work on the rest. I was diagnosed bipolar by one psychologist many years ago, but he was approaching it with the gender issue being the main problem. Well, being trans is NOT a problem that needs fixing. I do know, now, that the woman I am handles the ups and downs of my bipolar conditions much better than the man I tried to be was."

Thanks Connie. My bi polar diagnosis was always treated as a separate entity, fortunately. I always thought it wouldn't be but my current therapist has always treated me being transgender as a separate but equal issue. 

As you can tell, comments make the blogging world easier to navigate when you attempt to write a daily blog. I really appreciate it!



The Gender Waltz

Image from Clarisse Meyer on UnSplash Since the beginning of time, the two binary genders have done a special dance with each other.  Being ...