Showing posts with label transgender woman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transgender woman. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2024

Somewhere between Heaven and Hell


Image from Sara Kurfess
on UnSplash

Very recently I received a comment from "J" asking me about my experiences coming out to my immediate family. After giving the comment some brief thought and I came up with this explanation, my coming out to family was somewhere between heaven and hell. 

To begin with, I had it relatively easy coming out since most of the important members of my family who needed to know anything about my transgender issues were not around. My parents, as well as many of my uncles and aunts had all passed away, leaving me only my daughter and my slightly younger brother to tell my truth to. 

The heaven and hell came in with both of these two close family members, it seemed as if destiny was showing me both sides of coming out. To begin with, I chose telling my daughter first at one of our breakfast meetings we often scheduled to catch up with our lives. One very nervous, scary morning, I chose to tell her I was indeed transgender. I will never forget her reaction which initially was a resounding why was she the last to know. Keep in mind by this time in her life, her Mom was long divorced from me and her Step Mom (my second wife) had recently passed away. So I guess she resented neither one of them telling her the depth of my gender issues. It certainly wasn't their fault because even though they knew I was a cross dresser or transvestite, even I resisted the idea of me possibly being transgender. In the meantime I was trying my best to hide any feminine desires I had from the rest of the world. Evidently, I did a good job and I was also amazed the cross dressing subject never came up with her. When she asked me why was she the last to know, I had no answer.

From then on, she gave me more support than I could have ever asked for. My daughter initially offered to take me on a shopping trip which I politely declined and then since my hair had magically grown to the point of being able to be professionally styled, she offered me a styling at her upscale spa and salon for my birthday. A gift I just couldn't turn down and after conquering my fears of going to the salon, I learned why women were so in love with their salon visits. I loved mine and I was in heaven. To the day, "J", my daughter has provided me with the heavenly acceptance I needed to make my male to female gender transition so much easier.

Now, the hell part comes in with my brother and his extended family. As luck would have it, I told my brother just before Thanksgiving over ten years ago. I wanted to know if it was OK if I attended as my authentic self or not. Before I asked out of respect, I knew the answer I would be given. My brother's in laws were all right wing leaning Southern Baptists, many of whom I always argued with during family get togethers. 

After some brief discussion with his wife, my brother sold me up the creek and said essentially it would be better if I did not attend the only family get together we planned for the whole year. The dinner was always the most important get together for my second wife and she did all the cooking a preparation for it for years after my parents passed away. So the rejection hurt a lot. I moved on quickly and haven't talked to my brother since. Which describes the end of my hellish experience of coming out to family.

Plus, I was lucky, I had my wife Liz and my daughter's extended family step in to fill the holiday void. And, I turned out better in the long term. 

I don't know, maybe destiny just wanted to show me the heaven and hell of coming out to family. While I didn't have the quantity of people to come out to as being transgender, I certainly was able to experience the quality of seeing both sides of the rejection/acceptance spectrum.

Thanks for the comment! I hope my experiences help. I value all your comments and questions! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

What is Holding you Back?

My Hair. Beaded Trans Hair Clip
by Liz T Designs on Etsy

If you are still in your gender closet, tentatively looking out, what is holding you back is a big question. 

By now you are thinking there are very many big variables holding you back from leaving your closet behind and living as your authentic self. Examples include the possibility of losing spouses and or family, jobs and finances and even your home. Any way you cut it all the chances are major losses which can become lifetime setbacks. Been there, done it. 

The worry concerning all of the variables I mentioned kept me in the closet for over a half a century so I am no stranger to having one foot in my closet for years. It is the one big regret in life I have is I spent so much time and energy on my gender issues. In addition to losing portions of my life I could never get back, the whole time I was engaged in a terrible struggle with my mental health which I attempted to resolve with medication and therapy. Not to mention the time and money I spent trying to over medicate myself with alcohol. Many times when I was drinking, I felt over confident with how I was appearing to the public when I flipped my cross dressing script (in reality I was a woman cross dressing as a man) and went out in public thinking I was a man cross dressed as a woman. It took me years to figure it all out.

My excuse was I was still experiencing some sort of benefits from keeping one foot planted firmly in my male life. I had a good marriage, a loving daughter and a job with increased potential. In other words, I was living a very good example of the ideal male dream. The problem was becoming the more I gained, the less I liked the idea of what I was doing. But, even still, it was enough to hold me back as I dreamed of the possibility of someday living a life as a fulltime transgender woman. 

As with any thing else, success often comes with pressure and I was feeling it from several different sources. At the time my second wife was against any idea of me beginning a transgender path on gender affirming hormones, my job was adding pressure to do better continually and make the company more money. At the time, the pressure became so much I couldn't take it anymore and I tried the suicide I write so much about. I tried to take an overdose of my bi-polar medication and it luckily didn't work. 

From there I tried to retreat and live again totally as a man and bought my own restaurant. Both ideas turned out to be a total failure as my close friends and my spouse all died around me. All of a sudden, with nothing to lose, I found myself with nothing holding me back from my transgender dreams. I had reached the age of sixty and really was at a crossroads again in my life. I could go on living an unhappy male existence or begin a life I always wanted. 

For once I took the right path and started hormones so there would be no turning back in my decision. Plus, I wasn't getting any younger, so the time was right for me to make the jump off my gender cliff and see what happened. It turned out, the only thing holding me back was myself and the fear I head of rebuilding a new life as a transgender woman. Even though I thought I had completely thought out all the possibilities of such a move, it turned out there were many I didn't consider which is a topic for another post I will be writing soon.   


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Live Action Week


Alzheimer's LGBTQ Shirt 

For some unknown reason, I have had several scheduled and unscheduled appointments come up this week. One on top of each other. 

One of the scheduled appointments was today when my wife Liz and I had our yearly maintenance taken care of on our fairly new heat pump and hot water tank. Since the equipment is new and the work is already paid for in our contract, we did not expect many worries/.Which is exactly what happened. What I did not expect was the work which showed up without notice in our front yard this morning. It turns out, our internet provider picked today to replace service on our street which is all underground. 

To prepare to face all these expected and unexpected workers in our world this morning, I went ahead and shaved closely last night. The only other thing I was going to do was tie my hair back and try my best to be out of the way the best I could. It worked fairly well, since the two workers who needed to come in the house were courteous and did not mis-gender me one way or another.

Coming up in a couple of days, I will have the opposite happen to me when I need to go to my local Veterans Administration clinic to have my hearing checked. For the visit I plan to try out the new makeup I just purchased and do the best I can to present well as a transgender woman. Since I have had no real problems at the clinic recently, I don't expect any this time either. It will still be interesting since I need to interact closer with a receptionist to make another appointment with my primary provider, which is what the VA calls my family doctor. I have blood work to request for my endocrinologist and another nurse practitioner who monitors my psych medications. It seems like every six months or so everyone wants a shot of my blood to examine so I might as well get a head start on the process. 

Finally, for this month I have another Alzheimer's diversity committee meeting coming up and for the time being, it will be another virtual get together which is much easier for me. As always, I urge you to contact your local chapter if your are having potential or current dementia problems in your family. I have found the Cincinnati/Dayton groups to be very pro-LGBTQ+ friendly in their approach to me. 

I am sure I will have more to add to this post after my upcoming visit to the VA but for now, I hear the equipment working in the front yard so I don't have much faith in the internet staying on. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Being a Gender Victim


Image from UnSplash

Many years ago during my years of searching for my true gender self, I spent many hours and days being a victim of my circumstances.  In other words, I felt sorry for myself wanting to follow a feminine path in life. 

Primarily, thanks to input I received from my second wife, I began to pull myself out of the victim category and accept the way I felt. My wife kept telling me I didn't know anything about being a woman (which I didn't) so I needed to find out what she meant because she was not offering any help. Sadly it wasn't until many years later following her passing away, did I learn what she meant. Obviously, since she can not speak for herself, I think she was expanding on the times when she called me "The pretty pretty princess." Those were the days when I obsessed on how I looked as a cross dresser and not how I felt as a novice transgender woman. Had I not been so narrow minded in my quest for femininity, I think now I would have spent way less time feeling sorry for myself. Why couldn't I have hobbies such as golf rather than dressing as a woman.

My life turned out to be a double edged sword about that time. Not only was I facing pressure on the home front to learn more about the basics of being a woman, at work through promotion after promotion, I was feeling increased pressure to perform there also. To help me along, the many managerial training sessions I attended gave direction on how not to be a victim.

Finally, I slowly learned to attack my problems head on and not run from them. Often by putting on a dress and feeling sorry for myself. Slowly but surely, thanks to no small part to the women I worked with, I began to look beyond how they looked into how they acted and reacted with life. The whole process made me a better person and prepared me for a future living life as a transgender woman. I was becoming so much more than "The pretty pretty princess." At the same time, not being a victim was making life so much more complex. On one hand I was making strides with my makeup and fashion and on the other I was becoming very successful in my work. In fact, it was not becoming unusual for my wife to ask for my help with her makeup when we were going out to an upscale event.  Usually, after I did help her, she felt better and I was jealous I wasn't the one in the pretty dress. 

Throughout the entire process, I found I had more courage than I had ever thought possible. Perhaps the time I spent in the military prepared me with the confidence I needed to move forward and not be a victim to my gender issues. Every time I conquered a goal I thought was unachievable, I felt more natural with my life and my mental health improved. 

I put being a victim behind me and set out to be an out and proud transgender woman.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Mom Approved

Image from Kelly Sikkema
on UnSplash
Very few transgender women or trans men have the benefit of an approving Mother. I can't imagine my Mom ever providing me the fashion or the help to become the girl I strongly wanted to become. 

My parents were members of the "greatest generation" who went through the great depression and WWII. Both of those major events certainly shaped them into individuals who were strong on providing for a family and weak on emotional support. Which was exactly what I needed. My Dad's family was very male dominated and my brother and I were expected to follow in his footsteps. Wanting to be feminine at all did not fit in to the advance family plans my parents had for their eldest son. I was expected to grow up, go to college and marry into my social class or higher. Quickly I was discovering, I had different ideas.

Even though I was busy playing sports and working on other male activities. I can't say I excelled at any of them but I tried my best. One thing is for sure, I was on my own because there was no way I could ever bring up my true gender feelings to my parents. Especially my Mom, who often took the lead in raising my brother and I. So, I was solidly hidden away in my dark lonely closet until I could break out much later in life. 

Through it all, I still sought out my parents approval. My Dad was very difficult to out due because he was very much the stereotypical self made man. He built his own house and rose to a bank VP position with a high school diploma. He served in the Army Air Corps in WWII, so at least my military duty in many ways corresponded to his. My brother on the other hand thanks to a high draft number, never had to serve at all. It took until I was out of the Army for me to try to come out to my Mom. One night after drinking with my friends, she was waiting up for me (before I could move out into my own place) and I blurted out I was a transvestite. I don't know what kind of a reaction I thought I would get but it was anything but the negative one I received. She recoiled and immediately volunteered to pay for therapy which in those days was the approved method for dealing with gender dysphoria. I basically said go to hell and that was the last time it was it ever brought up to her. And I never came out to my Dad either before his death at the age of 86. 

It took my daughter to break the chain of family disapproval of transgender issues and help with our over all family mental health. Growing up, my oldest grandchild (a girl) kept showing signs to my daughter she was having issues with her gender. When she was mad at Mom, she would say things such as what if I liked girls instead of boys. Since all three of my grandkids knew I was transgender, threatening my daughter with gender issues was pointless. Now my eldest grandchild goes by the "they" pronouns, has a partner and goes to The Ohio State University. Needless to say, I am so proud of my daughter and her family. It shows how much can change in a generation or two in a family. 

Even though my Mom never approved of my feminine soul and I never had her input on my cross dressing desires, I understand now she was just a product of her generation. During her later years, she was a little difficult to deal with, so as I said, we never discussed my gender issues again. I wish now I would have given her the opportunity. 

To make up for it, I adopted her first name as my new legal middle name when I changed my gender markers years ago. It was the best I could do to bury any lingering resentment I may feel. Maybe somewhere now, I am Mom approved as the daughter she never had.   

Sunday, February 18, 2024

You Can't Buy Love

Image from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

 One of the first lessons I learned when I was first brave enough to date girls was spending more money equaled to more dates with certain girls. Sadly, the plainer the girl, the less potential spending was going to happen. When I flipped my gender, I found out how evil it was.

As a transgender woman, I was or am not the prettiest woman in the room. As such, I never managed to have many dating interactions with men who most of which just saw me as some fetish object. They wanted the first date to be a motel room. I drew the line at any sketchy first dates and demanded a meeting in a public place of my choice. What happened then was a predictable amount of being stood up on possible dates. While I did have a couple meaningful dates with men, often they were unscripted moments in the regular venues I went to often. One night in particular happened with a man called Bob who treated me completely as a woman and I loved it. He lived far away and was married so there was no chance at any further involvement. 

Through that period of my life I was questioning my sexuality also so any dates with men added to my possible knowledge. The farthest I ever went was very brief episodes of heavy petting or making out. From it all, I learned I still preferred the attention and company of women. With the help of a few female friends I learned the meaning of what it meant to be to be a transgender lesbian. In order to do it, I found I didn't have to have a lot of money spent on me to be happy. I was more into spending more money on my feminine self to attempt to improve my public's appearance. I ended up saving every extra penny I had to buy that next extra wig I didn't really need to be more attractive than ever before. At least in my mind. As I acquired more fashion and makeup, slowly but surely was acquiring more acquaintances to try my new fashion out on.   

Which leads me to another woman I don't mention much anymore who is Amy. Amy is the woman who recommended me practice with a banana to get ready for my intimate moments with men. So as you can tell she wasn't shy. One day in particular  with her comes to mind when she invited me over to her house for a spaghetti dinner with friends. I didn't really ask who else was coming, I jumped at the chance to enjoy a home made dinner. Fashion wise, Amy had only seen me in my short denim skirt days, so I decided to wear one over to her house again not thinking who else would be there. It turned out she also invited two men so the group included a cis woman, a transgender woman and two men who were seemingly ill at ease with me. I made the decision to join Amy in the kitchen and serve the men their delicious Italian dinner. I decided if the men were going to be ill at ease with me, I wasn't . I enjoyed the meal, helped clean up the mess, stopped to socialize with Amy and left the men behind. Just another learning experience.

I finally was able to slow down on expenditures on fashion and makeup and spend more on my personal interactions. My experience with dealing with both sides of the binary gender spectrum helped me to truly understand what buying love really meant. I understood both genders often expect intimacy in return for how much money you spend. The last woman I ever dated me as a man suggested to me we go to an expensive steakhouse for food before our first date. I politely saw through what she was up to and declined and we went to a more reasonably priced venue of my choice. Probably dooming our relationship from the beginning. She was quite attractive and a diva to begin with so I figured she thought she could do better than me and our brief fling ended after three or four dates.

Since we live in a money driven society, buying love is hard to do and even more difficult to resist as a transgender woman.  

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Gender Expectations


Image from the 
Jessie  Hart

Early in my transition to a fulltime transgender woman, I thought my expectations would be relatively simple. 

My simplistic approach led me to believe achieving perfection in my knowledge of makeup and acquiring the feminine clothes would be all I would need to survive. Little did I know, when I went public with my cross dressing, I would encounter so many other issues to solve. 

Another problem I had was my cross dressing theory all  was wrong and directly backwards.  All along, I was a woman cross dressing my life away as a man, plus I had no idea how my new time as a transgender woman would put me so completely on a public stage with men and women. The time I spent trying to cross dress for my male self proved to be totally wasted for the most part. Those were the days of trying to dress sexy and failing miserably. 

As with any female who grows into womanhood (all don't), I needed to learn to play in the girls sandbox. As I came closer to perfecting my appearance the best I could, each time I thought I reached a milestone, I found there were many more to come to achieve my goals of living my own version of womanhood. Even though I may not be the prettiest girl in the room, I still could rely on other aspects of my personality to succeed. Similar to any other woman I had met in my life. Like my transgender friend Racquel told me I passed the public out of sheer willpower. I was just being the authentic me.

One part of the entire coming out process which really intimidated me was how I needed to present differently to each binary gender. As I always mention, men had the tendency to steer clear of me and women had a tendency in their own ways to challenge me. Communication in the world to survive became key to me. As far as men went, I think there were very few who were secure enough in their own masculinity to approach me. Plus, since early on I was usually alone, I would try my best to give the impression someone else was coming to join me. One of my favorite "props" was my cell phone. I used it to act as if a friend was on the way and I was saving a seat where ever I was. Then, when I did develop a small group of women friends, I did my best to blend in and not stand out of the crowd so to speak. 

Through it all, I can't write enough on how insecure I felt for years in public when I first came out into the world. When I couldn't wear my sunglasses to judge the public's reaction to me, I tried to perfect my peripheral vision to see the best I could if I was creating an impact by just being my authentic gender self. The whole process turned out to be a multi-layered experience. Similar to what my second wife told me about absorbing the life skills women need to survive. For years I was na├»ve and didn't understand what she meant since I had literally obsessed studying the world of women around me I so admired. I never considered all the ramifications of coming out as a transgender woman would mean. 

Once I did discover my truth, I did have others around me to assist in my journey. Together they all helped to make my expectations more realistic and achievable.      

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Catching the Trolley


The Trolley Stop, Dayton, Ohio

Since one of my college degrees is in History, I always have been a fan of historical restoration.

When I was considering my male to female gender transition, a portion of the baggage I was looking at bringing along was my love of history. All the way to the point of where I lived, an 1860's brick building I restored myself in my home town. To do it, I taught myself many of the basics of plumbing and electricity. 

One of my inspirations in my restoration was in close by Dayton, Ohio in a area known as the "Oregon District". Home to many beautiful Victorian homes. Included in the many residences was a commercial strip of businesses along a brick street which had been there for years and years. Plus, it just so happened, many of them were old taverns. 

I know I write often about my fondness for going to the large sports bars when I transitioned since they provided me with a more pleasurable experience than the local gay bars did. While it's true I did go to the sports venues quite a bit, there was another place I went to also. It was called the "Trolley Stop" located on the strip I was telling you about in the Oregon District. The "Stop's" building was constructed in 1839 and is believed to be the oldest continually operating tavern in Dayton. As well as being known for it's drinks, the kitchen features cooking made from scratch. 

Since I was a customer before I transitioned, I knew what to expect and thought with a little work I could be accepted at the "Trolley" without much problem. I was right and in no time at all, I became a regular with one of the fulltime bartenders. With that accomplished, I was awarded with restroom privileges and others in the tavern being nice to me. I rarely had any problems. I could enjoy two of my passions, history and living a life as a transgender woman. 

My fondness for the venue grew except for the fact the restrooms were upstairs and when I consumed a few cocktails, navigating the steps became quite the challenge for me in my heels. Until I quit wearing them when I knew I was going to the "Trolley." 

Along the way, I ended up meeting my small group of friends there. Including my transgender friend Racquel. To the casual observer, I am sure we seemed to be quite the group. On occasion also, the venue hosted lesbian mixers which were always quite fun for me. In fact on several occasions I was able to steal a kiss from an admiring lesbian woman. 

Now, since I moved fairly far away to Cincinnati from the Dayton area where I lived, I have not been back to the "Trolley Stop" for years. Hopefully the venue and all it's fond memories will out live me. 

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. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Jealousy Issues

Image from the Jessie Hart 

Many times during my life, my relationship with women or even girls went from being envious all the way to being out and out jealous. Christmas was a prime example when I had to sit back and watch my girl cousins in their pretty new dresses and outfits while I was stuck in my boring shirt and tie feeling something like a stuffed sausage. Not to mention the gifts they received versus my unwanted boy toys. The best I could hope for was to receive a small amount of cash for a gift which I could use to sneak out and buy me makeup or other feminine items.

When I was younger, I always held out the hope my life would change for the better but it never did around women until much later. 

In middle school when the puberty hormones began to kick in for both genders, my feelings of jealousy began to increase also. Here I was developing unwanted angles to my body as well as extra facial hair while the girls around me were gaining curves was sometimes unbearable. Testosterone poisoning was ruining my life and every night I would go to sleep wishing I could wake up with all the attributes the girls around me had. Of course that never happened and life went on the best as possible.

On top of all my other gender envy, the Vietnam War began to be a very real risk for me. Spending time in the military away from my all too brief cross dressing time in front of the mirror was a reality I never wanted to face, until I did. In addition, how fair was it, the women around me never had to face such a bump in the road? I kept thinking why me until I was drafted and went ahead and served my time in the military the same as my Dad before me and as my friends around me. Tragically, I knew a few friends who only returned in boxes. Proving death was a very real threat.

Even though I was still very jealous of the women around me, I attempted to channel my envy in a positive manner. I say try because I know now looking back how I failed. There were so many times, I didn't bother to notice or take the effort to mention how attractive my wife looked. All the time I knew how insecure she was and I should have stepped up to help her, more than I ever did. Looking back, I was too jealous of her because she was living the life I wanted to live. Then she was gone (passed away) and I never had the chance to recoup my losses. 

In place of my jealousy issues, I tried my best to learn more and more about a woman's real life and why I never should have been as envious or jealous as I became. I never took a moment to stop and realize the other gender grass wasn't always as green as I thought it was. As I pursued a life as a transgender woman on gender affirming hormones, I discovered a new world beyond one with all the white male privileges I took for granted. Such as just having a portion of my daily respect automatically given to me because of my gender. The main privileges were job advancement and personal security. 

Cis-women on the other hand have to go through the intense hormonal changes their body goes through to prepare them for possible motherhood. Periods and later on, menopause are just a few of the problems women have to face more dramatically than men. I always thought too, it would have been better to have been the gender which was the prettier one as well as the pursued one as men always needed to be the one to ask someone out. I so badly wanted to be the one who was invited which was partially because I was always so shy around women or girls. 

Fortunately I don't think my jealousy issues ever reached a toxic level. More or less I just retreated into my gender shell and hoped for a better day to come. Which it did when at the age of sixty I finally came out full time as a transgender woman. After a lifetime of studying women, I think I took the shorter path to my gender freedom, while at the same time putting all of my gender envy behind me. In many ways each of the binary genders has their own weights to bear as they go through life. 

The best we can hope for is, the process makes us stronger. 


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Upping your Game


Image from Brian Kyed on

As I followed my winding gender path towards living a life as a fulltime transgender woman, there were many times when I needed to up my game if I wanted to keep going.

Along the way, there were simply too many blind curves and dead ends to count. For some reason, I hitched up my new big girl panties and proceeded forward. Sometimes it was just a touch of gender euphoria I experienced which kept me going. For some reason, one of the euphoric experiences I felt was one of the nights I went to a diverse private gender party in nearby Columbus, Ohio. For the evening I decided to match up my black tights with my black shorts, loose black net sweater and red wig, I was aiming for an upscale casual look and was confident I achieved it. What escapes me now is what my wife was doing that evening because I am sure she would have disapproved. No matter what outfit I put together to wear. I just know for whatever reason, she was not there. Leaving me free to explore and explore I did.  

At the party, I was always used to upping my game because often there were the prettiest of the pretty people attending. I knew I couldn't out do them but just did not want to embarrass myself either. It turned out I didn't at the party which turned out to be a look into the future for me when it came to my sexuality. During the evening I met and got along with a lesbian who was attending for the first time. In fact, we got along so well, we decided to leave the party and go downtown to a well known lesbian venue I had been to many times. Nothing really happened between us and we returned to the party. The importance of the meeting was I proved to myself I could conceivably live a life as a transgender lesbian if I upped my game enough. If I did, I wouldn't have to ever worry about attracting a standoffish man again. Who, for the most part ignored me or treated me as some sort of a fetish object.  

As it turned out, just when I thought I had reached a successful stopping point to rest in my gender journey, something else came along and again and again I needed to up my game. I didn't realize until much later I was building a whole new person and needed all the help I could get. I found I was doing so much more than just doing my best to appear as a woman, I needed to communicate with the entire world as one also. On occasion, the only clarity I had was I knew I needed to keep going and some day I might be able to live my lifelong dream of living a feminine life. 

Ironically, I was able to find my way thanks to a close group of lesbian friends I found and was accepted by. In addition to my other life lessons I learned the basics of being a woman who did not need the validation of a man to thrive in the world. Thanks to them, I was able to keep upping my game and progressing along my gender path as I was losing all of my male privilege. 

Perhaps, most importantly, I didn't have to worry about my sexuality anymore and was able to eventually marry my wife Liz who identified as a lesbian also. She really helped me to up my game and succeed in life as a trans woman. 

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

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.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Making Lists

Image from UnSplash

 Every once in a while I receive a question about how I transitioned into a different transgender world. 

For a time I made mental lists, outlining where I would go and what would I do. Before I became involved with lists, I needed to decide once and for all I was indeed a transgender woman and had transitioned from being a very serious cross dresser or not. Once I did, my existence became so much more complex. In essence I had to decide a new path for the rest of my life. What would I do about my family, friends and finances. It was all so easy and fun and games when my only worry was how I looked in the mirror. After I decided to do so much more, I really needed to make my mental lists for the gender challenges I was suddenly facing.

The first lists I made involved where I was going in the world. I needed to challenge myself and do extra trips away from the usual women's clothing stores and seemingly safe gay venues I was going to. My expanding life was all too predictable and provided me no chances to expand my new feminine perspectives. Clerks in stores were just interested for the most part in my money and the gay venues just mistakenly thought I was a drag queen. One big exception were the lesbian bars I discovered. I went primarily to two of them. I was hated in one and accepted in another. The lesbians in the second bar were intrigued by me and I was even asked one night to sing karaoke by a large butch who wouldn't take no for an answer. Since I am a terrible singer, I sang in a low background voice and somehow made it through my musical challenge. I crossed the evening off of my lists and made a mental note to attempt to never see her again. Which I did not. 

On occasion, my activities collided head on with me hiding all of this from my wife. When my wife needed to work her retail job at night, many times I would use the time to head out the door and explore knowing I would need the time to be home, take my makeup off and appear as if nothing happened when she returned. Many times I was not successful and a huge fight would ensue when she saw vestiges of eye makeup left behind. Somehow we were able to make it through the skirmishes and most of the time I made it home before her.

Many nights it was difficult to pull myself away from my list to keep from getting in trouble. I remember vividly the night another butch said to me she should take me home. I had no idea if she knew the truth about me and what she was bringing home but I was out of time and couldn't wait around to find out. I couldn't imagine what excuse I would have had to come with for my wife if I had explored the evening farther. I had to rip up my list and forget it, for a time. 

From the confidence I had built up in the lesbian venues I went to, I then listed sports bars as my next challenge. I had always enjoyed going to sports bars to drink beer and watch the big screens when I was a guy and wanted to see if I could do the same as a transgender woman. Fairly quickly I found I could and I needed a new list of goals to conquer. 

By this time, I was ready to try gender affirming hormones and plan ahead to the strong possibility of being able to discover a fulltime life as a trans woman. During this time, I was checking skills such as public communication off of my check lists and set out to try to conquer a brave new feminine world. Finally, my new life became second nature and I didn't need any more lists at all. 

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

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, January 6, 2024

Gender Euphoria

Image from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

When I consider the balance of my gender life , I sometimes try to break down the amount of time I felt dealing with my gender dysphoria versus the rarer moments of gender euphoria. In my down times of dealing with my gender issues, euphoria for whatever reason kept me going. 

Similar to so many of you, I experienced many nights of dread, not knowing where my life was heading as well as wondering why me and should I just give up and try the impossible, to purge all my feminine clothes and makeup then give up on my feminine self. Following the first couple of rather expensive purges I went through I gave up on the useless practice. Mainly because I felt so natural when I was exploring my true self. Even though I started out in the mirror being my only friend fortunately my life's destiny was directing me the correct way. 

The path I chose was very bumpy along the way and involved many wrong turns. There were many decisions to be made such as what to do about my family, friends and finances not to mention one big sexuality. Did I follow the main thought pattern of the day and transition then disappear and start a new life with a man? I followed my instincts and allowed my new life to play out complete with all the effects of gender dysphoria and euphoria. 

Mainly, since I was far from what I called a "natural" when it came to presenting well as a woman. To say the process was intimidating was a big understatement.  Finally, with quite a bit of work and attention to detail, I acquired the confidence to go out and succeed in public. I stress confidence because even though I thought I passed well as a woman, I was still a transgender woman attempting a public life. I'm sure many times, my acceptance was just because people (mainly women) were just being nice to me. Or were just curious why I would want to change my gender. In the meantime, my inner battle between dysphoria and euphoria continued unabated. Some mornings when I first looked in the mirror I saw a vaguely feminine person and was satisfied but on others, the masculine image I saw sent my gender depression soaring. 

As my transgender explorations continued, so did my reliance on gender euphoria to get me by in my life. Probably, the biggest impact occurred when I decided to begin my journey on gender affirming hormones. Formerly known as HRT. In the absence of any surgeries I was not planning to aid my development in my brave new world, I decided on hormones to aid in presenting better as a transgender woman. When I did, I was able to experience more gender euphoria than I ever thought possible. My body softened, I grew breasts and extra hair and I had many unexpected internal benefits also. To simplify the process, I call it when my world began to soften. My old testosterone edge went away and a new better life began. There is one disclaimer to the hormonal process. The entire medical hormone procedure should never be attempted without medical supervision because the process can be harmful. I was just one of the many who tolerated the hormonal changes well.

My biggest example of gender euphoria happened recently when I was visibly prepping my body for a medical procedure I have to go through (colonoscopy). Most of my body hair has long since disappeared but there were a few stray hairs which needed to go away. As I was examining my naked body from the neck down, all I saw was a feminine body, complete with breasts and hips. Of course I stopped at the waist. It was enough to feel good about the changes the hormones have caused over the years. 

My euphoria later in life has seen most of the old dark gender days shrink far into my past. With just the most severe memories coming back to haunt me I am good to go. Plus, it took me awhile to recognize there is a middle ground to how I feel about dysphoria. It is never as good or as bad as it seems. The key for me was to use my dysphoria as a powerful motivator and learn to appreciate the all too brief moments of euphoria which kept me moving forward towards my impossible dream of being able to live a life as a trans woman.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Sizing Up the Crowd


Image from Uwe Conrad 
on UnSplash

One of the earliest lessons I learned when I first began to attempt to present as a realistic woman in the world was how I was always on stage. It presented a problem since I had always been very shy around people.

It didn't matter because both men and primarily women sometimes went out of their way to size me up. Plus, while I am on the subject, I was very insecure about my size as a novice cross dresser or highly questioning transgender woman. Initially I made the mistake of walking slightly hunched over to hide the fact I was nearly six foot tall. Then I realized there were plenty of other cisgender women around me and I could stand up tall and project confidence to the world. I learned the hard way that people were similar to sharks and could sense another person's insecurities so I needed to do better in all aspects of my presentation as a trans woman. 

One of the key insights I learned quickly was quite naturally, the world I was trying to enter was run by women. So I needed to figure out how to effectively play in their sandbox. On the other hand, men were out since they had a tendency to ignore me anyhow. If a man did pay attention to me, he would normally treat me as a lesser individual. When men paused to size me up, my reaction was to quickly keep moving. I did have a few very rare interactions with men but didn't feel particularly secure with the experiences. 

Women were a different story. When I started my male to female gender transition I received more attention from women than I ever had as a man. As I soaked in the attention, I thought most of the women were just curious of why I was in their world and became amused when I needed to encounter the everyday issues they did in a feminine world. Such as personal security, hot flashes etc.. They would  simply smile and say welcome to their world. Little did they know how badly I wanted to be in their world. Being included in a group of women helped me not to be singled out for attention. When the group I was in was sized up, I was simply part of the group and not an individual. 

The group of women I was a part of just happened to be lesbians so I faced a unique situation when it came to what sort of crowd was sizing me up. On several occasions we would attend lesbian mixers, so blending in met a nice pair of jeans, top and in season boots in the winter. In terms of the society I was trying to fit in with was I attempting to present as an attractive lipstick lesbian. I was successful on occasion attracting super butch lesbians and in fact, one of my first dinner dates I had with a man was  a trans man. We stayed in touch and often he made fun of me for being scared to death on our date. Which I was!

Scared or not, over time I became experienced in sizing up the crowd and bracing myself for the impact I would make. Somedays I receive little or no response to my public appearances. When nobody seems to notice me I know I sized up the crowd and won my gender struggle. Other times, when the room I am in goes silent and I am stared at, I know I wasn't so successful. At this point in my life, I am used to all sorts of reactions, so I can move on quite easily. 

Even still, I am aware of the public crowds I face and do my best to size them up and react appropriately. No longer am I so shy.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

I Wish

Ralphie from the
Christmas Story Movie...
 Christmas is perhaps the peak holiday of the year to wish for things you may never receive. 

I always thought my wish was the impossible dream . It was to wake up in  the morning and leave my old male self behind. If I had my way, which I never did, if anyone asked what I wanted as a gift. I wanted so badly to be gifted a doll or a toy kitchen to play with. I was so deeply hidden in my boy life, all I received as gifts were boy things such as BB Guns. If you are a fan of the movie "A Christmas Story" as I am, I was the direct opposite of the child star "Ralphie". In the movie, he wished and hoped for a "Daisy" BB Gun, which he finally received. I, on the other hand was gifted a Daisy and all I really got in return was shot in the arm by my brother. 

In those days, I did quite a bit of wishing I was a girl. When we went on vacation one year, I spent the boring times on the interstate highway looking for, then admiring teen girls in other cars. Especially a dark haired beauty I remember who I really wanted to be. I ended up putting my pillow over my head and existed somehow until we stopped the next time. In fact, my whole life was just existing until the next time I could sneak around and put on my feminine clothes. 

I don't know what I was thinking but I was never sure what my older years would be. The only certainty at the time was the likelihood I would have to serve time in the military because of the Vietnam War which seemingly was endless. I just knew my search to be my authentic self would have to be on hold at some point. I say search because I was never certain what the ultimate gender question with me would be. 

As I have detailed in several earlier posts, when the holiday shopping season turned out to eclipse Halloween as my favorite holiday. I learned so much about my feminine self during this time of the year while at the same time I was gifting others. The end result was I could indeed at least live a life as a transgender woman if I wanted to. All the wishing I had endured in my life could finally end and reality could set in. 

It all turned out I was gifting myself with the ultimate gift I ever could receive. Before you think such a gift was selfish, it was a desperately needed gift I needed to even survive. Attempting to live in a world I never wanted was killing me, literally.  It wasn't much longer when I decided to write about my life in the hope it could help others who may have gender issues. 

This Christmas, I hope you are able to celebrate the holiday as you see fit, religious or not. I know this is the most difficult time of the year when LGBTQ+ and primarily transgender individuals suffer. Too many of us have lost family (including me) for just being ourselves. Sadly, all I can really do is wish you the best and as always thanks so much for taking the time to stop by Cyrsti's Condo. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Owning It.


Image from the Jessie Hart

Long ago I learned the hard way the power of owning my public appearance as a novice transgender woman or very serious cross dresser. 

I was tied too closely to my mirror and didn't realize until it was too late how it could lie to me. Examples included how the mirror told me I was an attractive woman who could go anywhere just to be bounced almost immediately by the public. Many times I would come home in tears wondering where I went wrong. Finally I came to the conclusion I was putting my feminine priorities in the wrong place. In reality my mirror was not in my house but was in the public's eyes. When I learned to dress to blend in with the other women around me, I began to own my existence as a transgender woman. No longer did I have to worry as much about being laughed at in public. 

Also, when I owned my life as a trans woman, I gained the all-important confidence I needed to follow and improve my right to exist in the world. If someone had a problem with me, it became their problem, not mine. The biggest pressure I faced was needing to communicate with the world as my transgender self. Suddenly the process went way past how I sounded into what I was saying. Owning the new gender world I was in meant learning to operate on an entire new spectrum involving an internal look at how the two main binary genders (male and female) communicated. Quickly I learned why men and women couldn't connect on the basics of communication. I learned also both genders put up a sort of invisible barriers when it came to talking to each other. Ironically, I began to be asked by each gender why their spouses or partners didn't understand them. 

I truly didn't find out why I had a key insight into both genders until I was allowed by other women into their world of life and communication. I learned the power of non-verbal communication as well as the seismic power shift between the genders. Basically the process is very simple. Men deal with power systems such as money and athletics when women deal with a more passive aggressive world. I was fortunate in that I was aware of how women formed smaller cliques (not teams like men did) and reacted passively aggressively to those with power. Such as management. When I was in my male management days, I learned the hard way if I wanted something done with my female staff, first I had to sell it with just a few key women on the staff.  Dealing with an alpha female was much different than an alpha male in more than the obvious ways. The ways I needed to learn if I was ever allowed to completely be welcome in the women's sandbox. I needed to win over the alpha females first.

I made it when I paid my gender dues and was able to own my life. The confidence I live with now is but a side benefit.

Much More than a Phase

  Civil War Cemetery image from the Jessie Hart Archives.  When I was first experimenting with wearing woman's clothing, I worked long a...