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

Friday, April 15, 2022

A Transgender Change of Pace

Last night my partner Liz went to bed early taking the dog with her and leaving me with the cat to be entertained. Predictably following a good dinner I soon fell asleep watching the television with the cat on my lap. I didn't really mean to do it because the whole deal would make it harder for me to fall asleep later on. Instead of staying downstairs with the cat, I decided to get ready for bed anyhow.

Of course, as soon as I hit the bed I was wide awake and my anxieties were closing in quickly. After an hour or so I finally quit fighting my phantom fears and decided upon a change of pace. I thought about all the pleasant memories Liz and I have had in the past when we went on mini vacations north of Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio. 


We began to explore certain venues in Columbus when I was participating in the statewide Trans Ohio Symposium. For several years I presented hour long meetings on subjects such as transgender veterans all the way to the needs of elderly transgender women and trans men. After the seminars were over, we took the opportunity to party.  And party we did! 

One of our favorite venues is called Club Diversity which is located just a short Uber drive south of downtown. It's a unique place in an old Victorian house and even featured a live piano player on most of the nights we were there. The picture was taken at the bar. 

As much fun as it was getting hit on by gay guys at Club Diversity, equally as fun was eating a famous burger up the street at Thurman's Caf√©. Their burgers are so good they have been featured  on the Food Channel television network. 

Unfortunately the Trans Ohio Symposium doesn't exist anymore so Liz and I have to save our precious pennies to make the trip up to Columbus for more fun and games all on our own. Columbus is a progressive LGBTQ community with a huge Pride parade so good times were had by all and I know I can't wait to go back. 

I need a transgender "change of pace!"


Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Name Game

 I received several responses to my post about attending a virtual seminar on wills, trusts and end of life options. Two mentioned what a person could go through if their life insurance policies needed to be corrected if the insurance does not reflect a legal name change.  

At that point my mind began to wander back to the days when I was legally changing my gender markers, or name. I can't speak for many of you but I went through many different feminine names before I sat down with my daughter and came up with an agreed upon name which would be easy for the three grandkids to use. 

After quite a bit of thought, I decided to choose a name which reflected pride in the family. I decided to use my maternal grandfather's name and femininize it slightly. From Jesse to Jessie. Perhaps the more interesting choice came when I chose my middle name, Jeanne. Jeanne was my Mom's name. As you may, or may not remember she had no understanding of what I was trying to tell her when I told her I was a transvestite way back when I finished my military duty. When the new name was all said and done, the grandkids could call be "J.J.".  Even though my Mom didn't accept me, I decided to still honor her by using her name. After all, without her perseverance I wouldn't be here today.

From the Jessie Hart Collection

As it turned out, the name choice was the easy part. I had to set out to secure approval by the local legal entities. Where I lived, I needed to pay to put a classified ad in the newspaper informing anyone who cared what I was up to. Locally, the process was fairly non expensive, around fifty dollars. After thirty days, I needed to appear before a local judge to have the name change approved. At that point I considered the process could become a little tricky because I knew the judge to be very conservative. However, all my worries were baseless and he quickly signed off on my new name. After the papers were signed, it was a fairly easy process to have my social security name changed as well as my driver's license updated to a new "F" under gender. 

In my case, since I have chosen to be under the Veteran's Association health care, I needed to and couldn't wait to have my name change and gender updated on certain VA forms I dealt with on a regular basis. It was at that point my VA therapist jumped in and provided me with all the necessary paperwork I needed to make sure I could accomplish what I needed to do in a timely matter. Which can be a factor when one deals with the VA. 

What I haven't done yet is take advantage of the relatively new ruling in my native State of Ohio regarding the changing of gender on a birth certificate. By nature I am a procrastinator so I am just  going to make it a priority.

All of this brings me full circle back to the two small life insurance policies I have. I know for a fact one says I am male and the other says I am female. At some point in time I am going to have to get the one resolved. Or maybe both. The entire process proves once again how being transgender is a lifetime process and one which is so complex. As soon as I have more information, I will be sure to share it with you. In the meantime:

The " name game" is just a facet of the whole transgender experience. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Life or Death

 Once you are born, the fact is someday you will die. Tomorrow I will be attending a virtual training seminar from our local elderly support group . The training pertains to living wills, wills and trusts. I already have a living will provided by the Veterans Administration  but I don't have anything else. At my age I have felt for awhile it is important to leave a will behind for my partner Liz and/or my daughter Andrea. 

Years ago, before I lost it all to an attempt at starting my own restaurant I did have a fairly sizeable nest egg built up for the future. These days I still have two small life insurance policies worth enough to satisfy my final wishes and have a party afterwards. 

Photo by Logan Weaver
On Unsplash

Ironically, yesterday the need to accomplish all of this became important again when I learned of the passing of one the board members of the transgender - crossdresser support group I am a member of. Sadly she never came out to her family and the group members initially were told not to refer to her by her feminine name in any messages which may be seen by her family. 

Of course I am fully out to the only family I have which still matters and I could care less what the others think. Especially after I am gone and cremated. But I do have to stop procrastinating and get a will drawn up since being transgender does throw an extra factor in to the whole process. Extra proof to the non believers you are trans until you die. 

Perhaps of more importance to me is adding my wishes into the living will. I already have the "no heroic measures" line added but I am afraid of potential problems cropping up with my physical gender versus my mental gender. Since I have had no surgery done to my genital's, to the casual medical observer I am still a biological male. In fact I was told that the last time I was admitted into a hospital. The point I am trying to make is, I don't want my gender to be a point of contention for Liz or Andrea to have to deal with. Or no heroic measures are needed to deal with a gender bigot. 

One would think following the completely unexpected passing of my wife years ago, I would have done something before now about it. Since I am seventy two years old my biological clock is certainly ticking. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will learn valuable information on setting up a will. Just another step in preparing for the uninventable.   

Monday, April 11, 2022

Finding Yourself Through Gender

Ironically my post on having writer's block produced several very wonderful responses. The responses followed up on what should be a re-occurring theme. No matter how hard you try to assimilate yourself as the authentic gender of your choice of more importance is being yourself. Many times I have written how important it was to me to be accepted by other cis women during my transgender transition. 

All this time I have concentrated on confidence being your number one asset when you enter the world but being yourself could be more important. This first comment comes from Jamie Aileen through The Medium writers platform: 

" Learning to be a woman is so much more difficult when you are 70. But first, I want me to be just me!"

The second comes from Medium also from Logan Silkwood who is a transman and naturally approaches the subject from a different angle:

"

Yesterday, I looked in the mirror and saw myself briefly: an effeminate gay man. It’s a rare but lovely thing to get that validation from myself. In those moments, I realize I don’t need men to see me as a man. I simply am one. I’m me. ūüŹ≥️‍⚧️"


Specifically you novices are probably thinking this is all well said and good as you look forward to what seems like an endless road to a gender transition. But if you can, try to keep in mind you are finally receiving a very rare but difficult opportunity to shape a new human being who just happens to be you.  Second chances are so rare in life. 


From the Jessie Hart Collection

Yesterday, my partner Liz's son took us out to eat in our favorite Mexican restaurant which happens to be right around the corner. This is one of the few pictures we have taken recently before the margaritas arrived. Even though I think I show every bit of my 72 years in the picture, once again we had no problems being served. My gender wasn't questioned and no I wasn't I.D' d to prove I was old enough to drink. :) So in essence we were left again to just be ourselves. What's helping me now is with our diet and the effects of HRT, I can wear more form fitting clothes and not look like a clown.


In many ways I am the direct reversal of Logan.  When I look at a picture or a mirror I no longer see a very masculine man but on the other hand, I see a rather masculine woman who as you can tell wears very little makeup. 


The tragedy is I went through so many years of testosterone poisoning to get to where I am today. I can't say I can quote Helen Reddy and her song I am Woman but I can quote me and say "I am me."  

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Gender Sponge

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

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

After a Mary Kay makeover
Jessie Hart Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Friday, April 8, 2022

Transgender Writers Block

 You regulars know I have very few days when I don't have a post to share with concerning the transgender world at large. Every once in a while I need a day off from my writing to step back and consider where I am with my writing. 

First of all, the one thing I don't do nearly enough is thank all of you who read my work here or on the several other social media platforms I write for. An extra thanks goes out to all of you who participate on my posts by commenting. It all means the world to me. 

Photo Jessie Hart Collection

My last "day off" from writing a post came after my latest therapy session. Since I have to complete my session in private on my lap-top, the battery is nearly drained following every session. So, I have to wait until I can recharge the lap-top before I can write again. 

While it is true I could write ahead and schedule posts to be active, lately I haven't thought I had enough material to bother trying. 

Sometimes I wonder also how much material is there to write about at all?  If the truth be known, there should be plenty to write about. In many states including my native Ohio, politicians are trying to potentially erase our very existence. Since so many of us face the problems of coming out at all, I am hesitant to keep mentioning the obvious. 

The obvious should be, a sizeable amount of transgender women and men are out and finding ways to carve out a new life.

So, when I am suffering from a transgender writers block I try to remember all of you who have been kind enough to comment on my previous posts, Hopefully my mistakes will help you  not make as many. I  highly regret the days when I was a thirty something cross dresser trying to pass myself off by dressing as a teen aged girl  My excuse is it took me awhile to learn true public validation as a feminine transgender woman came from other women. Not men. 

Through it all I became a "gender sponge". Everything, no matter how small became important to me. Finally, my :studies" led me to am impossible situation. I was trying to live with one foot in my pretend male life and the other in my more increasingly more natural life in an expanding women's world.

By now you may be thinking where was the transgender writers block? It actually occurred a couple days ago. All it took was a day away from writing to cure it.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Transgender Muses

 One topic I can't seem to quit writing about were the lack of transgender examples and/or muses who stayed in public and provided a pathway for the rest of us who were so desperately questioning our gender. 


One of the very few I can remember was Jennifer Finney Boylan (left) a very accomplished author of  fifteen books In addition, From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide. She was co-chair of GLAAD’s board of directors from 2013-17.

The problem is, I go back much farther than this. All the way back to the pre-internet days, known by many as the dark aages of information sharing.

I remember the days  when  "men dressed as women" were rounded up and arrested outside of gay bars in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Obviously the last thing I wanted to happen.

So what was a novice transgender girl supposed to do. For me, this was around the time when I learned of Virginia Prince and better yet her Transvestia Magazine. Virginia, among  other things was a proponent of "heterosexual cross dressers" or transvestites.


Virginia Prince 
 To put her age into perspective, Virginia was born in 1912 as compared to my 1949. Most of her biographies I have read, list her as a transgender activist. Others deny the claim she started the widespread  usage of the transgender terminology. None of that mattered to me  as I waited for my issue of Transvestia to arrive. It was my only connection  to the outside world which featured other transvestites as we were known back in the day. As I  remember, each issue featured a model cross dresser who for the most part I could attempt to copy and look like.

Soon I discovered  something even more important to me than the featured model. I discovered in the back of the issue a list of upcoming mixers hosted by a group called "Tri-Ess"  The organization is still active Here is their mission statement from their website:

"Tri-Ess is an international support and social group for straight (heterosexual) cross dressers and their partners, spouses and families. Our organization has provided over 50 years of cross dress service." 

Amazingly, the closest chapter to me was in Cleveland, Ohio which was within driving distance. For the first time in my life I could go meet like minded persons and see what my life could be. 

The first mixer I attended scared me completely but I was able to observe and meet a wide variety of supposedly straight cross dressers. After all, who knows what went on behind all those hotel room doors. Regardless, there were everyone from those impossibly feminine attendee's I called the "A Listers" all the way to the cigar smoking crowd who seemed to be trying all too hard not to leave their masculinity too far behind. Perhaps it would stray so far they could never retrieve it.

Through it all, I still didn't gain any contacts I would call "muses" The closest I did come was a couple of the "A Listers" who were from Columbus, Ohio which was much closer to where I lived. Eventually I became somewhat close to one of them before she moved on to the ultimate gender realignment surgery. As was the norm back in those days, we both went on our separate ways.

As I look back at the years gone by, I suppose I could say my wife of twenty five years was my muse. Before she passed on, we used to fight over my desire to become a transgender woman but more than she ever knew her lessons to me on how a woman was so much more than appearance began to ring true and make so much sense. 

It took awhile for me to fully comprehend what she meant but once I learned, she helped me to become the person I am today. She was truly my main muse and sadly I can't thank her. It's too late, she passed on years ago. Gone but never forgotten.  

Fear as a Transgender Motivator

 Recently I wrote on the subject of how difficult it was during my MtF gender transition. Every time I thought I had taken a step or two forward, I was sent backwards when my high heeled pump became stuck in a sidewalk crack and ended up sending me into a decidedly unfeminine situation. 

Through it all I was so alone and left on my own to judge my appearance and mannerisms. Similar to so many of us crossing the gender frontier, all I had was a mirror which seemed to never want to tell me the truth. Looking back, fear and trepidation of what the public was going to think of me curiously kept me going. When I was laughed at or even asked to leave a venue, my setbacks just led me to try harder to be successful. 

The entire process was exciting yet terrifying. Interestingly, we transgender women and men all shared similar but all so different experiences. Take Connie for example:

" By the time I finally made it out to be a visible part of the outside world, I had become so afraid of the thought of never leaving the safety of my locked room that going out was more a relief than anything else. The scenarios I'd imagined would surely come to fruition turned out to be much worse than anything I've ever actually experienced.

Connie Malone

 Of course, I really did know that would be the outcome. I'd read Dale Carnegie books, and I was fully aware that 99% of the bad things you think are going to happen never really do. I was also familiar with the Al Franken character, Stuart Smiley, and his inept life coaching tagline, "You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You." Throw in a favorite quote of mine from Oscar Wilde - "Life is too important to be taken too seriously" - and my fears were subsided by the thought that I'd rather have died laughing (even being laughed at) than having been found, alone in my locked basement room, dead in a pool of my own tears.


As I like to say: If ya can't leave 'em laughing, at least leave 'em guessing. That's how I relax and enjoy the ride! :-)"

I agree 99% of the bad things never really happen but it was the one percent which kept coming back to haunt me. 

I finally figured out most of the percent I was failing came from setting myself up for failure. A prime example was one venue I tried time and time again to visit where I knew I wouldn't be welcome instead of going to another venue close by where I had already established myself.  The whole process led to the time I had the police called on me just for using the restroom. 

As I eventually became wiser to where I could go, I was able to begin to relax and build the new feminine person I was always destined to become on a firm foundation. From there forward I didn't have to rely on fear to motivate me.


Sunday, April 3, 2022

Scared to Death

 One idea I do my best to dis-spell is the idea my Mtf gender transition has been anything but easy. I believe some people are led to believe it was from many of my posts. Most certainly I experienced more than my deserved share of quality experiences but on the other hand many of the experiences required me to be extremely courageous to even attempt. Plus, if the truth be known, some should not have been attempted at all. 

I believe the  most scared I have ever been happened the first night I had determined I was not going out as a cross dresser. I was going to try as closely as I could to see if I could be accepted as a feminine person. If not a woman, the closest I could come. Over the years I have not been shy writing a description of the evening. To make a long story short for those of you who may remember, I ended up sitting in my car in the venue's parking lot a half hour before I could summon the courage to go in. Once I finally decided to go forth with my plan, I knew all I had to do was get past the hostess stand and grab a seat at the bar. 

Furthermore, my grand idea was to dress as a professional woman to blend in with the other women who frequented the place when they were done with work at a nearby upscale mall. For the evening I chose my black pantsuit, black flats and long over the shoulder straight blond wig. To finish my look I did my best to add a tasteful reasonable makeup application. 

Photo:
Jessie Hart
Collection

As I wrote, my plan was just to find a seat at the bar which had seating on three sides with two big ornamental wooden posts at the front of the bar. I was lucky, I managed to secure one of the only seats remaining by chance next to one of the posts. I remember sliding into the bar stool and all the while wishing I was invisible. Of course I wasn't and very soon I was waited on by what turned out to be a very friendly bartender who turned out to be one of my regular servers as I returned many times over the years. 

Surviving the first experience only emboldened me to try more. The problem was, the more I tried different venues to see if I presented well enough to get by, the more I found just weren't accepting. In a couple I was asked to leave and even had the police called me in one place. None of it was easy as I explored the world. 

The world though was different back in those days. The public was more likely to be more vocal to their resistance of having  a transgender woman in a non gay venue. In fact, it was difficult to be accepted as anything more than another drag queen in many male gay bars. To make matters worse, the term "transgender" was new too.

As I look back on my explorations I wonder what drove me forward. My best idea is I was driven internally by the strong desire to explore living a feminine life. The more I lived, the more natural I felt so I knew it had to be right.

I can't stress enough how good it feels to have managed to survive all my life experiences and come out the other side, alive, well and living full time as a transgender woman. I also can't stress enough how frightened I was on so many occasions when I was exploring my journey. My message is to try to relax and enjoy your own gender journey. It can be so worth it to be yourself. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Mean Streets

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When you get down to it, many streets or parking lots just aren't safe for women. All women, cis  or transgender. Yesterday when I was going back to my parking lot alone, I keenly felt the pressure of walking two blocks down an urban street alone. To my benefit, the time I was doing it was just before dusk so there was still plenty of light. Along the way I began to wonder why I didn't see (or notice) any uniformed police presence. Usually, the Cincinnati Police has an LGBT Outreach unit they send. Perhaps they decided to be present at the Transgender flag raising ceremony the same morning at City Hall.  One thing is for sure, I noticed nearly no one during my walk.

I don't move so well anymore so I couldn't move quickly if I had an incident. 

My paranoia proved to be just that and I made it to my car without an incident. There was a time years ago when I didn't. I was still very much a novice when it came to being in a feminine world. I still didn't realize how much of my male privilege I was giving up as I transitioned to a transgender woman. One of the biggest was my personal safety. No longer could I ignore parking in poorly lit parking lots or streets and it came back to haunt me in the worst way.

One night (late) I was coming out of one gay venue in downtown Dayton, Ohio I used to visit on occasion. When I left I was confronted on the sidewalk by two guys wanting money. Luckily I was able to defuse the situation by giving them my last five dollar bill and they let me go on my way. From then on whenever I went back there I made sure I was not alone. I remember vividly the first time I asked a trans man I knew to escort me to my car one night when I left a big gay club. Lesson learned which was reinforced on the night I have written so much about when I was physically threatened by a man at a party I attended. 

As I wrote, none of this is new to a cis gender woman. They grow up living in a world where they are in physical danger at some point in their lives.  One of the most important lessons you need to learn as you begin to navigate the "mean streets." 

None of this is meant to make you paranoid.  It is meant as a gender warning. Just as if you have faced a point in your MtF gender transition when you were treated as a second class citizen , potentially losing your personal security is even worse. 

As many cis women will tell you, welcome to their world. If you are careful, you can negotiate the mean streets just fine as your authentic self. Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can bully your way out of it. Plus, I know some transwomen who carry firearms to protect themselves. Even with my Army weapons training, if I did, I am afraid I would shoot myself before anyone else. Instead I choose to not be alone on the mean streets if I can help it. I am fortunate in I usually am with Liz who is very familiar with Cincinnati and knows where to go and where to stay away from. 

As they used to say on the old "Hill Street Blues" police show, let's be careful out there!

Friday, April 1, 2022

A Brisk Day Downtown

 Another Transgender Day of Visibility has come and gone. As I previously wrote about I helped "man" the table for three hours for the Transgender - Cross dresser support group I am part of. It was held at the downtown campus of the county library. A portion was set up in the library and a portion was set up outside in the parking lot. 

Weather wise, the day was less than ideal. To say the least, the weather was brisk. Regardless,  there were plenty of participants who attended from the community. In addition,  there also were speakers and several entertainers. 

Surprisingly, even with the gray cold day attendance was still good. Although after the presentation most of the group moved to a warm place inside the large library where they had catered refreshments for us. I went in with a friend and as we thawed out As we chatted, it was difficult not to notice the complete diversity of the group.

My friend and I were on the older (more mature) end of the spectrum but it ranged from several pre teen transgender girls and boys all the way through many in their teens to us old people. As we enjoyed the food and warm friendly climate, my friend looked around and said how wonderful it was to be part of a majority for a change. So true!

To further the thought, the library even had a feature of the several "scary" books alt right politicians and preachers would like to ban. Of course it was wonderful to see such an outpouring of support. 


If you know anything about the politics of my native Ohio, it is important  to note the state has pockets of LGBTQ support. Take Cincinnati where I live for example. For the Day of Visibility, the transgender pride flag was flown over City Hall. 

I am not going to ruin this positive post with all the negatives which still face the transgender community. Even though the weather didn't cooperate, the people did.

It was good to be out and proud. And by all means...visible! I think many times when I am out with my partner Liz, I blend too well and end up not representing the transgender community at all. I guess you could call it a version of stealth. It's one reason why on occasion I prefer on occasion being an example of what can happen if you are able to live long enough to accomplish your gender goals and live as your authentic self. 

I fear some people just see the end result with me and not the fifty plus years to get here. 

A brisk day downtown brought it all back into focus for me. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Another Look

 Recently I wrote a post concerning the rash of anti transgender bills around the country. Especially Florida's so called "Don't Say Gay" legislation. Through out the post I didn't even mention the backlash against transgender athletes. The cases in so many states against the athletes are so ridiculous because the legislation is started and backed by politicians who have never met a transgender person in their lives. Plus, even rarer is the person who has gone through, or is going through hormone replacement therapy and knows the drastic changes HRT can cause to the body. I know in my case, subtracting the testosterone and adding synthetic estrogen has had a dramatic effect on my strength and muscle mass.

Lia Thomas. Trans swimmer

I never was a completive swimmer but I can only imagine the differences hormone replacement therapy would have on my overall performance.  Of course none of that seems to matter to the gender bigots who are fighting to keep transgender athletes from competing. Where it all will end is anyone's guess. 

As it turned out, trans athletes weren't the only part of the equation I missed. Here is Connie's take on the subject: 

"Those of us who belong to the genus, Transasaurus Wrecks, are not given much attention these days. Other than bathroom bills that usually fail to become law, there are not many of these legislations that pertain directly to us. Of course, this doesn't mean that we are not affected by what is trying to be done to young trans people.


For a while, after hearing stories of young trans people who are comfortable in declaring their gender identity and who have accepting parents and schools, I was so envious and happy for them. I couldn't have even thought of being able to do that at their age. However, despite the pain of growing up thinking I was some kind of freak, I don't know that I could have lived with having such freedom, only to have it then taken away (or even having to live with the threat of it being taken away). In fact, even at my advanced age, I know that I would end my life, rather than have to go back to living a male existence. Long-term care facilities scare the hell out of me. I suppose I might do as my mother did over the last year of her life, rationing morphine so that she had a stockpile large enough to kill an elephant. She didn't want to go to a nursing home to die, either, although not exactly for all the same reasons as I do.

Along with what you said about the cat out of the bag, the same applies to us individually as it does for us as a community."

Thanks for the comment!  As you regular readers know, I also am scared to death of being forced into an unforgiving gender situation in a nursing home. Being placed in a situation of going back to living as a male may drive me to a morphine solution also. 

In the meantime, I have a lot of living to do and this week which contains the "Transgender Day of Visibility" means a lot to me. Tomorrow I am one of a very few volunteers to help my Transgender - Crossdresser support group during the formal observance. It's my chance to be visible and take another look at the trans community around me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Journey to Where?

 Just when I think the transgender community is making strides forward, there comes a giant step back. 

Photo Courtesy Google

This time it is Florida trying to out do Texas (as well as a few other states I won't mention) as the most anti LGBTQ state in the union. By now I'm sure you have heard Republikkan governor DeSantis of  Florida signed the "Don't Say Gay" bill yesterday. In essence, the bill tries to restrict schools from teaching any sort of LGBT material at all. 

It's sad the number of bills being introduced around the country which will eventually try to inhibit our right as transgender women and men to exist at all. Obviously a very un-American idea.

It's also tragic the number of all transgender or gay/lesbian people this will drive back into their closets. Growing up with any sort of gender or sexuality disorder is difficult to begin with. Being in a dark closet makes it worse. 

The only positives I see are the various pro LGBT organizations which exist on a national level which are powerful enough to fight these bigoted bills in court. Once the transgender cat is out of the bag, one way or another it will be difficult to force it back in.  

It's also difficult for me to write about what's left of the political system. Somehow over the years we have let the educational system decline to the point of just "dumbing down" large portions of society. Then, some are influenced by out right lies by a major news network I won't bother mentioning. 

This Thursday is the "International Transgender Day of Visibility." I will be writing in depth on what I will be doing to be extra visible. I know also so many of you are still in your closets and are unable to get out and be seen. 



In the meantime as I will mention again and again it is so important to know who you are voting for. Even it's just for a school board seat. It's going to take a grass roots effort on our part to maintain any gains we have made.

By doing so we can tell the world not only is it OK to say Gay, it's also OK to say transgender. 

It will make our journey to where, a successful one. Where you can lead a safe life.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

A Piece of Clay

Through out life there is the argument of nurturing versus nature being the major influences on how we develop as human beings. In other words, an example could be which parent did you more closely identify with and did that decision have an impact on your gender decisions later in life. So many of us in my age range grew up with distant fathers whose generation leaned towards more of a provider roll, versus an emotional one. For example, my Dad was always a wonderful provider but emotionally distant. 

My Dad was also very much a self made man rising from the depths of the depression,  serving in WWII all the way to retiring as a bank vice president. What does this have to do with nurturing as a parent, he just wasn't able to embrace that part of parenthood which left my Mom to do it. Perhaps at that point I became more interested in how she applied her makeup and presented herself to the world rather than being allowed to tag along with my Dad as he built his own house. 

All of those reasons sound like an oversimplification to me. I'm sure my slightly younger brother as well as the rest of the neighborhood boys one way or another were raised the same way and didn't turn out to be transgender, or at the least have gender issues. 

My First Girls Night Out, I'm on the top left.

On the other hand, our highly unique lives have given us a chance to see both sides of the binary gender spectrum. As difficult as it was to carve out a fairly successful life as a pretend man, in many ways it was terrifying to make the transition to live full time in a feminine world. The more I did, the more I learned I had so far to go. Partly because I felt men were basically much more simple to figure out than women. Men dealt in power systems built on job successes all the way to athletic ones while women dealt with complexities in life revolving from personal relationships all the way to family issues. As I was invited along to my first "girls nights out" I truly discovered how the genders operate on different ever changing  ways.

How the entire process works in positive ways for many transgender women and men is that we have a chance to re-invent ourselves. How many humans have an opportunity like that? It's similar to the cup being half full or empty. Sure it's painful to lose old family or friends but the opportunity to build new relationships (and better) ones is always a possibility. In the end we are just a big piece of clay to work with. 

How we work that clay of course is up to each of us. In many ways we are gender hybrids which is the reason so many people don't understand us as transgender women and men.  If we work our clay right, maybe they will. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Are You a Role Model?

 With the Transgender Day of Visibility rapidly approaching, it is time to think of why you might be visible or have been during certain periods of your life. There is also the chance when you were visible you may have been a role model to someone. 

I wish I could use Georgette as an example. She has led an incredible life of being a transgender woman and commenting about it to me. Without all of the facts in front of me, I can only say along the way she has been living as a stealth woman all the way to being out.  I am sure during her journey through life she has been a role model to someone. 

In my case, I have tried to be a role model in my writings as well as my current infrequent visits to the local transgender - cross dresser support group meetings. 

Photo Courtesy 
Jessie Hart

You may argue being a role model is possible by simply outlasting the next person in life. If you do, you are right. On the other hand, you never know who is considering coming out in their own life as transgender and you impact their life. The very same thing happened with me not long ago when a friend of Liz and I child came out as a transgender man. I knew her growing up but had no clue he was going to join the "tribe". 

In other ways, being a role model can simply be a reaction to being in the right place at the right time. I know when I was growing up I would have been so impressed if I could have been able to know another person with similar gender dysphoric needs. As a tribe, we transgender women and men are still relatively scarce and not immune to harassment.  In fact I was just reading on Facebook of when a close acquaintance of mine and her wife were made fun of when they went out to eat a brunch yesterday. It's so tragic example of how all is not well for transgender people everywhere. Ironically, she lives quite close to me but across the "border" where liberal acceptance to anything remotely different is rare. Even though all eyes were on her, she probably will never know whose life she may have impacted. One never knows when a questioning transgender person is watching you. 

Being a role model does not have to be a complex experience. You don't have to volunteer for anything, you just have to be in the present. Of course the more you have transitioned and the more you "fit" into your authentic self there is the chance not many people will notice you anyhow. Unless you are in Seattle where Connie joked if you see three women together in dresses, they must be cross dressers. That's all good too. You can be a cross dresser and be a positive role model also. 

Don't stress out being a role model, just live your life being as positive as possible and good things will happen. You just never know when. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Awards in the "Nati"

 It's always nice to be awarded for my blogging efforts here in Cyrsti's Condo and on the Medium writers format. 

Actually I have received two awards now on Medium. The first was for my desire to write for the LGBTQ community and the second was a bit of a surprise. Recently I was given an award for fashion. 

As you regulars know, I don't spend much time writing anymore concerning what I wear. In fact, if I spend much time reviewing many of my older blog posts, I spent much more time explaining what I wore to do my best presenting my exterior self in a new (to me) exciting feminine world. 

At that point I began to think was there such a thing as transgender fashion? Quickly I began to understand there was. If you follow Stana at the Femulate blog who may be the ultimate transgender fashionista or me who is comfortable in jeans and sweaters, we all have the same thing in common. A desire to blend in with or even out do our cis women acquaintances. Many times we have to be better to even be able to exist as our authentic selves. In fact, my two wives on occasion both asked me for help with their make up. My current partner Liz doesn't need any help because she was a former Avon sales person. 

Let us not forget hair as part of our overall appearance and there is a definite reason most all cis women spend so much time, effort and money on their hair during a lifetime. As an example, all the responses I received from my post on wigs. Easily one of the most well received posts I have ever received, thanks to you all!

Speaking (or writing) of people writing in and commenting which is a relative rarity compared to how many "hits" or visits I receive. Even rarer is when I receive a comment who does live, or has visited  the metro Cincinnati, Ohio area. Take this comment from Velma for example on the post I wrote on "toxic masculinity." 

FYI, the "Nati" is another term for the city of Cincinnati where I live. It is also known as the "Queen City." Another slang term which once was  used was "Hamil-tucky" which refers to our border with Northern Kentucky. With all the recent development in the metro area, the term is becoming very outmoded. .Before I regress any farther here is Velma's comment:

" I was compelled to write after I read your profile and found you lived in Hamil-Tucky County, Ohio.My sister used to live there, and I LIKE Cinci, but, yeah, I have seen THAT side of The Queen(?-really-?) City.

I have seen plenty of same here in NC. Here we gots 'Carolina Squat' pickups.
Too many men merely mimic their best idea of what the image of MASCULINITY is, appearance wise, rather than being who they truly are.

It seems that these men are simply posturing to each other to 'gain rank/standing inside their work group.
And, the PAYOFF IS......?
As the saying goes:
"All HAT and no cattle".
Or, how's about:
'everyone is transmitting machismo, but no one has remembered to turn on the receiver.
The question begs it self: Are the women paying attention to such image and posturing?
Doubtful."

Thanks Velma! Your comment brings up a great point, by having the biggest pickup truck are men dressing for other men? Well yes they are! I agree with you Velma, most women don't get the connection. A comment for another post.

Also thanks to "Medium" for the award!

  

Friday, March 25, 2022

Toxic Masculinity and the Trans Girl

Over the years when I was trying my best to exist in an ultra masculine world, I encountered too many men who would have been described as being toxic masculine. In essence they were the ones who tended to dismiss women as basically only emotional people who were only good for sex and/or having kids. 

I can truthfully say I wasn't an active part of their mentality but on the other hand was ashamed when I went along with their childish actions. I had two excuses. The first was in the business I was in I had to manage to the best of my ability a group of macho redneck cooks in a kitchen. I had to appear tough. The second was on the other hand I had to manage a group of mainly female servers, hostesses and bar tenders. Even then I was studying women intensely to learn how they really maintained in society so in many ways it was a labor of love. I learned my guys in the kitchen worked better when I could manage them as a team and the women worked better when I understood they were going to form their cliques anyhow, so adapt to them and hope for the best.

Further more I had to watch for frontal confrontations from the men and passive attacks from the women. Lessons which would serve me well later as I transitioned genders.  

Lessons I wish I had paid attention to didn't take long to happen. One night very early in my transition I found myself with a group of men discussing a topic I considered myself to be well versed in. Very early they shut me totally out as if I was never there at all. I thought it was one of my first opportunities to learn first hand what my life was going to be like as a transgender woman. I was right and on the other hand, my lessons learned from my work world worked well too. 

I also learned quickly the amount of  non verbal communication women use. It is no wonder most men say they can't understand women when they can't pick up non verbal cues. 

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Ironically I had to change my stereotype of what a toxic man even looked like. When I began to explore the world, I attempted to stay clear of any man who looked like the macho type. not unlike my former self. It got so bad I couldn't even try to buy tickets for a sports event from a street "scalper" because they thought I was a cop. Slowly but surely I learned many of the "macho" men didn't seem to care much about me at all and weren't going to verbally attack me. My theory was they were more secure in their sexuality than the normal man. 

Of course recent political activities have made it possible for toxic masculinity to come out of the shadows and even thrive in some areas. Unfortunately the trans community, women and men, has been potentially the hardest hit. The attacks aren't just coming from cis men, they are coming from cis women as well.    

The future is not a given for anybody. Especially not the trans girl.  As always we are going to have to be better and fight for what we have.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Wigging Out

 Recently I wrote a post which detailed a few of my trials and tribulations I experienced with wigs before I was able to grow my own hair to a feminine length. Ironically, one of the first things I noticed was all of the sudden I had to somehow see the back of my head to check out my hair. No more easy out by using a wig head and stand. 

I received plenty of responses by readers who commented on their own wig experiences. Including Monica who currently is up to owning five wigs. I am sure at my height of "wigging out" I owned many more than that, so I understand the attraction. After all, wigs are a natural extension of our makeup and seemingly (at least for me) there was always another wig which would take me to the promised land and I would become the attractive feminine person I always wanted to be. Plus, I feel I was attempting to overcome the days of financial challenges when I couldn't afford much at all when it came to a hairpiece. 

It turns out, I wasn't alone when it came to being a struggling novice transgender woman on the search for the best possible hair. As has happened many times over the span of our lives, Connie and I share quite a similar history:

"At the age of 34, I was married with two young daughters. We’d just bought a house, and I was anxious to fix up the unfinished basement to make an office for my part-time business, as well as shelving for storing all of those seldomly used things, such as holiday decorations. I’d already put a door with a lock on it for my office, and then, late one night, I started organizing things on the shelves. When I got to the Halloween box, I took a peek inside. There it was: that black wig, along with all sorts of makeup. Now, I had worn that wig a few times on Halloween before, but it had been part of a monster-type of costume when I had. On this night, though, it brought back every memory of my feminine-self. I took the whole box, along with an old mirror that was in the basement, into my new office and locked the door behind me. Doing the best I could with what was available, I put the wig on my head and made up my face. Looking at myself in the mirror, I remember whispering, “You can do so much better than this.”

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone




Money was a little tight after just having had bought a house, but it was probably more on my mind to rebuild a feminine wardrobe and accessories as cheaply as possible out of my renewed guilt. My wife had a basket full of makeup that she’d given up on, so I could easily take what I needed from that. I ordered a dress, a pair of heels, and some undergarments from the Sears catalogue, which I could discreetly pick up at the store’s will call. A new wig, though, was more difficult to find without, I thought, outing myself. Somehow, I discovered that K-Mart sold wigs, so I got what I determined to be the best one that was available at the time. It was brown in color, just as my mother’s wigs were, and somewhat contemporary in style (as contemporary and stylish as one might expect to find at K-Mart, anyway). I remember shunning the blonde wig, at the time, as I thought it to be “overdoing it.” I bought that wig, along with a set of wrenches as an attempted cover, and thus began my return to the pursuit of womanhood."

Thanks for the comment! It's amazing to me how the slightest trigger object can lead us back into fond memories of our feminine pasts. Mine was a long blond wig I fell in love with and managed to buy for my then fianc√©. She wouldn't wear it but of course I would. That hairpiece managed to stay with me for many years. Even surviving my time in the military and several ill fated "purges" I attempted when I resolved myself to never cross dress again. That really worked out! I haven't cross dressed as a man for nearly a decade. 

I can't make the point enough. I am so lucky to have been able to grow a full head of hair. Now I have to get back to a salon and let a hairdressing professional take care of it. Before it begins to appear as if I have been wigging out.  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Transgender Freedom

Is there something called transgender freedom?  Some I sure would argue no, which I believe I would have to agree with. You may ask why if you read my recent post on transgender boredom which I actually experienced after going out two nights in a row without experiencing any negative feedback, So, by now you are thinking what is the problem.


The problem is I have never been able to accept success much at all. Especially with my gender issues. Once I arrived at a certain point in my transition, I always thought there had to be more. In my pursuit to find more, often I found myself in over my head. A prime example was the night I was in a sports tavern I thought I was safe in and several men decided to make my life miserable by playing "Dude Looks Like a Lady" over and over again on the juke box until the manager asked me to leave. I got my revenge weeks later when he got fired and several servers found me down the street in another venue I was a regular in and asked me to come back. I look at the experience two ways. First of all, it was a big hot mess of excitement and terror to do what I did at all and secondly I was lucky nothing more than my feelings were ultimately hurt.

Shortly after that I was able to work with my new found transgender freedom in new ways. By doing so I found a new circle of friends including the one I write about all the time. As it turned out, the others were different and interesting to be around too. Those were the friends who came so close to inviting me to a bachelorette party and included the motorcycle guy who took a liking to me. To make long stories short, the bachelorette party never happened and the motorcycle guy moved away shortly after his failed marriage to a wild woman in the group who was a hairdresser and exotic dancer. The one thing you never know about your freedom is when it is going to give you a gift or take it away. 

Little did I know, all of this sudden freedom I had acquired after my wife passed away was going to lead me to new and wonderful feminine transgender experiences. This was when I went through what only can be called a period of advanced trans experiences.  Or, for those of you who prefer abbreviations, ATE. To be sure I eagerly "ate" up all the culture I could as I was learning how it was to communicate and live full time as a woman. Little did I know how right my wife was everytime she told me there was more to being a woman than becoming the "pretty pretty princess" a couple days a week. Once again, it wasn't until after she departed and I started to play in the girls sandbox  did I discover how right she was. I sustained many scratches and set backs before I earned my spot in the sandbox. The photo you see above was from that period in my life.

It was approximately this time of my life when I took my friend Connie's advice and started writing about my experiences. My goral then as it still is all these years later is to provide help and input to anyone I can through my blog. 

Even though I have reached a point of boredom in my public presentation, I still don't consider my transgender freedom to be a done deal. At this point of my life I still have my final years to look forward to. I am fairly sure that once again I will have to fight for my gender freedoms again. On the positive side, I will be used to it. 

And, while I am on the subject, those of you just beginning your journey. Rest assured the trip will be worth it. Just take advantage of all the stops along the way to catch your breath and continue when you can. 

Your freedom as your authentic self awaits. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Photo Shoot

 This is one of those experiences which came from being in the right place at the right time, which never was one of my strong points during my gender transition. Plus, it happened approximately seven years ago so I have a difficult time thinking it ever happened at all. 

It all started innocently enough when Liz and I went to what can only be described as a working artist/crafters mall. It was/is located in a vintage brick shoe factory in downtown Cincinnati. My partner Liz is a quality crafter and was keenly interested in what the many shops had to offer.

As we slowly made our way through the venue, we came across a photographer and her friend who just happened to be putting together an album of the different types of women they could find. Then their effort would be judged in Chicago by another group. Before I knew it, they were strongly suggesting I should become a part of their photo shoot. 

Of course I was flattered they wanted me to be a part of their compilation. And thought it was a great idea to include a transgender woman as one of the different women who can be found in the world. But then the doubts and misgivings began to filter in. What would I wear to the photo shoot? How much makeup should I wear were just two questions I had. My fears were not justified though when they gave me instructions on what to wear, including makeup.

In a short period of time, I found myself being photographed by a real live professional. While I loved the attention, I was scared to death! How would the pictures portray me and how would my gender dysphoria react. Before I knew it, my time as a photography model was over and I headed home.


It took a couple weeks before I saw the results and I was indeed disappointed. Somehow I thought I would look better but what you see is what you get. I used to have the exact pictures they shared with me but try as I might I can't find one. So, the one I shared in this post is close to the same time period of my life.

None ot it mattered as the entry they put together and sent on to the Chicago competition didn't win anyhow. 

My input wasn't over though as I as well the other models were invited to a gallery presentation here in Cincinnati. When I went, I promptly made my presence known by spilling a glass of wine all over the catering table.

Even though we didn't win any prizes, I will always remember my all too brief role as a photo shoot model in 2015.