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

Tuesday, July 5, 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. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Finding Safe Ground

 This actually is an extension to the post I recently wrote on being grounded as a transgender person. Before I write more I have a very relevant comment to add from TransGen through the "Medium" writing platform:

"I applaud your perspective. It’s intensely difficult to remain grounded as a transgender woman. There is so much noise all around saying there’s something wrong with us. Whether it’s an overt message on the news or from a hater, or it’s the subtle rejection of not being included in family gatherings or other group events. A look at a party or an oblique comment. We have to find that grounding voice that says, ´I’m okay as I am.’ I ponder that strength often. Especially during holidays, when once again I find myself excluded by my biological family. I dig deep over and over finding that ground and reaffirming that they simply don’t understand. Only those of us who have traveled this path of being the ‘other’ really know what it requires to remain grounded."

Thanks for the comment! Thinking back as I normally do about a post, I should have added a paragraph or so about finding safe ground as you transition. Looking back at my gender journey I can see many instances of when I reached safe ground. 



Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

Many are very predictable but others not so much. Very early as I began my explorations into feminine clothing, I
definitely was not on safe ground. Why? Because I always was worried I would be discovered. It wasn't until decades later when I could get to a point of doing away with any "impostor" syndrome I was suffering and begin to enjoy living as my authentic self. In fact, I don't think it was until after I learned more on how to dress and communicate as my feminine self did I find my way to safe ground. 

I guess too, I could equate the whole process to drowning. It seemed all the times I was struggling to learn and exist as a transgender woman would never happen, until all of a sudden a gender lifeline would come along and I felt natural. Plus more importantly my inner woman was screaming at me not to stop trying. 

She was right. Thanks to several very close friends I was able to find safe gender ground. In short I rooted myself in the safe ground I found away from all the loud gay venues I was going to and discover my true self in other lesbian or even straight bars. It felt so good to know I didn't have to give up everything I enjoyed, like sports, to transition. 

Photo by Ása Steinarsdóttir on Unsplash

These days my safe ground still shakes on occasion. Perhaps it is because gender to me has always presented itself as such a volcano. No matter how hard I try the past on occasion still comes back to haunt me. 

Perhaps it always will. After all it's been one hell of a climb and I am really afraid of heights. 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Grounded

 Perhaps if you are similar to me you also have to "ground" your transgender feelings. 

Liz (left) and I during a night out.

Over the years it mainly meant I had to uncover my "collection" of feminine clothing and makeup then find the nearest mirror to examine my handiwork. The problem quickly became when I started to explore the world as my feminine self, I encountered many people who didn't share the mirror's idea of how I looked. It was after these occasions of being rejected I had to go back to the drawing board and attempt to ground myself again. 

As I progressed down my transgender journey, becoming grounded became more intricate. For example, when I advanced to the point of properly presenting myself as a feminine person, the time came to form a whole new personage. All too quickly it seemed people wanted to actually talk to me. Staying grounded while I learned to communicate as a woman was difficult. Especially when I began to understand the nuances of communication between the genders. After a day, or even part of a day, it was exceedingly difficult to adjust my grounding back to my non authentic male self. The stress of attempting to exist part time in both of the binary genders was intense and one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. 

All of the stress finally led me to another suicide attempt and I decided to take the path which was more natural to me and attempt to live fulltime as a transgender woman. Once I achieved my goal, unfortunately the stress of being grounded as my authentic self didn't cease. Even though I felt I might have it better than the average transgender woman I encountered in support groups, I still had my moments of not feeling grounded. Perhaps it is because I still took all of a half a century to fully transition. Perhaps it has just taken me a bit longer than I wished to lose all the figments of who I was,

Now I am fairly sedentary and still don't get out much even after Covid. During the time I have learned to finally accept myself for who I am. I am no longer fighting to be a false male self . Even still, when we can, I cherish the times Liz and I can go out to eat. It's a time I can reestablish my feminine self and get grounded again as my true authentic self.

Hopefully your path has been easier than mine and you have discovered and live as you please.    

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Spreading Your Aura

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

Image from Katie Rainbow 
on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 1, 2022

Not the Man I used to Be

 I thought since our weather is headed back to yet another brutal period of heat indexed days over 100, why not cool off with a post from last winter. 

" Recently we had to endure a portion of the massive winter storm which blanketed the middle and eastern part of the country. We received over six inches of ice, sleet and snow. Following all of that temperatures plummeted courtesy of an Artic blast. Due to lack of planning we weren't part of the hoard hitting all the grocery stores, so we were quickly running out of something to eat. 

"Attitude" Photo
Courtesy JJ Hart

Not so long ago (it seemed) I would have had no problem scraping and cleaning the car. It seems forgetting all the years of aging combined with estrogen and testosterone reduction  has taken it's toll. Seemingly when I finished the task of cleaning the car, I was feeling good about the whole process. Even to the point of telling Liz who was against me doing it. She is fond of telling me my mind has not accepted the fact I am physically not the man I used to be. 

She was completely right in this case. After throwing caution to the wind and cleaning the car, I found and/or felt the pain in my back. In other words, I spent yesterday in pain and am not much better today. 

The whole deal proves once again how truly stubborn I really am. During the majority of my life, my perseverance has served me well. Of course the major example is my cross dressing past, building to me becoming a novice transgender woman. I have written many times of the error more than trial which went into my ever so slow progression into fulfilling my dream of being  able to live full time as a transgender woman. 

Then there was my time in the military. Since I was being drafted into the service, I chose the three year enlistment plan which helped me to be able to work in a job field of my choosing. No body told me how difficult the process would be and I went for it anyhow. I became one of just sixty persons in the entire Army doing my job as a radio broadcaster/DJ. That in turn led me to meeting and later marrying the mother of my only child. A very accepting daughter who I cherish more and more as time goes by. The military even provided me my first chance to "come out" to friends about being a transvestite. Through it all, no one tried to tell me any of what I accomplished was impossible. Not that I would have listened anyhow.

Coming full circle and having a hard time even moving with no pain, I at least wish I had listened to Liz and left the car alone. 

My back is telling me I am not the man I used to be.  Or then again, the man I never wanted to be anyhow. I just need to get past the remaining vestiges of what a much younger man is telling me to be. It's difficult because I dislike feeling worthless.  Whose to say also I have learned my lesson the next time a big snowfall hits. I feel like now I have."

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Parental Guidance

Can you imagine your transgender life if years ago you had the benefit of positive feedback from your parents? 

Photo from Noah Busher
on Unslash, Not of the author.

Most certainly it didn't happen with me. My parents  of the "greatest generation" age group did not have the knowledge tools and/or the emotional background to handle a gender dysphoric child. You have to remember also I was born in 1949 which lends a reference to the time period I am referring to. I can't speculate on what my Dad may have thought since I never had the courage to tell him. As I have mentioned many times, the only time I told my Mom was when I was out of the Army and she told me they would help me with psychiatric care. I found the whole idea to be totally wrong and distasteful to me because not long ago I had come out to a few close friends as a transvestite. I found the experience to be totally liberating and the last thing I wanted to do was go back. In typical form, the night we talked was the last time Mom and I discussed my gender issues the rest of her life.

So I can't even imagine having the opportunity to have been "Daddy's little girl" Or being able to play in my Mom's makeup without the fear of being in trouble. What if I was allowed to receive the doll I wanted as a gift for Christmas instead of the hated BB Gun. Furthermore what if I had benefited from the guidance a mother can offer to a daughter growing up. Could I have separated the good from the intense pressure I am sure I would have encountered as Mom wanted me to conform. It was bad enough as a cross dressing  boy. I am sure the grass would not have been always greener on the other side of the binary gender pasture. 

The other day when my daughter and I were enjoying breakfast, she asked me if I had always known I was transgender. I told her, from all indications yes. The problem was the knowledge of the term or even the invention of the word itself was far from being a household term when I was growing up. The whole idea was so foreign to me it took years to figure out yes indeed I checked all the transgender boxes and finally I had found something which I felt as if it fit me. 

I don't really know why but even with her complete acceptance I still am slightly shy when she asked me questions concerning my gender issues. Possibly it is because a portion of me still doesn't pull back the macho man curtain to her and let her see the true me. One of the remnants of what my Dad taught me. 

These days I am so envious of the transgender youth who are fortunate enough to have understanding parents. Some to the point of even being willing to move to areas of the country which are more transgender friendly. This extends to all the sympathetic spouses who are willing to transition with their loved ones. 

Definitely positive parental guidance should be praised and cherished.     

    

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Friends

 What are friends for? Right? As far as transgender individuals are concerned, friends mean quite a bit. 

Many of us go through a portion of our lives when we desperately seek out "replacement" friends to help us with how we look or even how we move as we attempt to live as our authentic selves. I remember many times in the blog when others have mentioned how badly they needed a cis woman to do their makeup. Over the years I found I was mostly self taught which sometimes showed until I learned how to not look like a clown. I say mostly because on a couple of occasions I did take advantage of a free makeover. Even then with my ego, I had to "face" the makeup person with absolutely no make up and more importantly try to understand exactly what he was trying to tell me about applying makeup.

Years before I sought professional help, I did beg my fiancé to help me totally cross dress as a woman. It turned out to be one of the most exciting times of my life yet one of the worst decisions I ever made. Later on I had to endure a very messy breakup with her before I went into the military. She told me to tell them I was gay and not be drafted or we were finished. It turns out she was holding my cross dressing desires against me. The wonderful end to the story is getting rid of her was one of the best decisions of my life. 

These days there are many ways to seek out help with cosmetics. Depending upon your finances, there are larger makeup chain stores to help you. I say finances because naturally, they will try to sell you many products. Some of which you may not need. 

Girls Night Out Photo. Courtesy Jessie Hart 
I am bottom row far left. 
Of course there are many other ways friends can help you down your path to living as your authentic self. I was fortunate to find several close cis women friends early in my transition when I was going out to be alone. In other words, I was desperately lonely so I still went out as my authentic self to enjoy what I had of life. Also I had recently gone through the loss (death) of my wife and several close friends, so I felt what else did I have to lose. 


My new found friends helped me to find life again and more importantly accepted me as my authentic self. As with most everything else in life, time moves everything in a circle if you live long enough. In my case I was able to finally replace the few long time friends I had acquired as a cross dressing man with equally as close friends I could socialize with. Being social again brought my life back to a place I could ever imagine.  

Transitioning certainly means more than coming out to family. No matter if you are able to find new friends through local LGBTQ groups or wherever, establishing a new world as your authentic self is often key to a healthy existence. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

For the Kids

 Another reason I write is my hope a few of my ideas might find their way to a stray transgender youth. At my age, youth includes twenty somethings or even younger. I do realize however to most of them I a

Photo Credit Jessie Hart
m a dinosaur. What I went through in my transformative transgender years is so different from theirs I understand it does not matter. For instance, the idea of  not having an internet or any social media is completely foreign to younger transgender women and men. What it meant was we had to contend with darker closets where we felt totally alone. 

Over the recent years I have had the opportunity to experience the feedback of younger trans individuals. Predictably most don't want or need my ideas and that is all good. 

Recently though, I was mildly surprised when a close family member who just turned 21 is attempting to come out as a transgender man. I say mildly surprised because they (preferred pronoun) have matured into a very androgynous individual. At first I was speechless when I was presented with the idea. Quickly I recovered and asked did they understand what all they were getting themselves into. I am fairly certain they do yet they don't. The power of youth allows us the luxury of making mistakes and then going back and correcting them. My example is another young local person I know who announced not long ago they wanted to be a boy.  She tried it and went back to being a girl. 

My problem with my relation is they are talking about pursuing gender realignment surgery. My thought is they need a chance to live as their preferred gender and then make the decision to go through such a major surgery. Plus there is the question of having insurance (which they do) and finding a skilled and reputable surgeon. 

Maybe I am over cautious because it took me so long to give up my cross dressing in a toxic male world and fully transition into a full time transgender woman. Many of you have read my excuses of why I didn't transition earlier and as a matter of fact I wish I had pulled the plug on my male life much earlier in my life. Most of my past just doesn't lend itself to current transgender individuals but then again a few key points still do.

The fact still remained deep down I knew I felt more natural as my feminine self. Advice is like a certain rear part of your body...everyone has one. I still ended up telling the person closest to this post's subject to put them in touch with me if they wanted to talk. I believe they will have a slightly easier chance of transitioning into a male world. Most of the trans men I know are completely passable as their authentic selves.   

As we all know, the transgender journey is never an easy one. Especially for those just starting down the path. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Transgender Bravery

 Some individuals call a transgender persons path to achieving living as their authentic self with terms such as bravery or even courage. Over the years I have been more likely to refer to me following my path as one of bravery rather than courage.


Courage I rather use to describe service members and/or first responders. It takes real courage to do what they do. On the other hand it takes bravery to take the first steps out of our tightly closed gender closets. For some, including me when the unbelievable pressure began to weigh on me, I just had to take steps to relieve the gender stress. If I didn't I would be nearly unbearable to be around. In fact my wife became quite adept at knowing what I was feeling and why. Most of the time all of it was a good thing except when I was suffering extreme gender dysphoria. She naturally became upset when everything she was doing was never enough. Sadly it never was. No matter what she did to give in to my cross dressing urges, she always drew the line at any suggestion of me being transgender. 

What happened was I increasingly pushed my gender boundary which led to possible discovery by family friends. When I was emboldened to do it, I guess you could say I became brave enough to leave the house and attempt to live a life as a transgender woman. An example was the night she was working and under the cover of darkness, I took off in my favorite oversize cuddly sweater, leggings and boots to take it a local Christmas light display which needed to be enjoyed on foot. The entire evening proved to be very successful as I even enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate I was brave enough to stop and order.

Then there were all times I gave up on the male gay bar venues I was being rejected in and started to explore going to larger straight venues. Sure I was scared but I wanted to see if I could be accepted as my new authentic self. As a began to go down this new path I needed to be very brave to have any success because I was scared to death. 

So, all in all I will accept the bravery comment. Mainly because I think it shows what I needed to go through to arrive at where I am today. There were so many times I thought living life as a full time transgender woman was definitely an impossible dream. During my brief time in the military during the Army drills we went through I learned what courage could be about. I learned to think courage was an intangible which showed up (or didn't) during times of great duress.  

Whatever you decide to describe yourself as, courageous or brave, basically we are dealing in semantics. Your transgender journey is yours alone and will never be described as an easy one.  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gender Puzzle

 As we follow our transgender journeys, we encounter many walls to climb over or run around. In my


case I have described my path as one of being similar to a mouse in a maze. When I would hit a wall, I just had to step back and try to overcome it...one way or another. Sometimes it seemed I was just hitting my head against a wall which would never move.

Normally I would usually discover I was just being stubborn about how I was approaching the matter. Another example would be when I finally decided the way to succeed in a feminine world was to dress for them and not men. Perhaps it's unfair to men but when I was dressing for them, I had a tendency to ending up more trashy than classy. Public doors really began to open for me when I quit trying so hard. 

Even still it seemed I was caught in the giant puzzle which was my gender. Once I began to succeed in presenting a positive feminine image, then I had to become very serious in building a feminine persona to go with it as I attempted to align my authentic self with my exterior image the world saw.

Problems came fast and furious at the beginning as I had to adjust losing my male privilege, During the rare occurrences I would be involved in conversations with men, I had to react quickly to becoming a second class citizen and basically wait to speak when I was spoken to. I will say now I am more self assured and confident in myself and will stand up for my point of view. I just rarely have the opportunity to do it.

The other main issue I had was picking up on and reacting to the different ways women communicate with each other. There were many evenings I went home thinking what that really what another woman meant when told me something basically with her eyes. An example was one night when I was approached by a guy at a bar where I was a regular. With only a glance I picked up on her visual warning to stay away. I also learned quickly not to necessarily take at face value what another woman was telling me. It was a good way to get a knife or claw marks down your back.

Once I had solved those pieces of the gender puzzle, then I was faced with perhaps the biggest challenge of all, what was this new feminine person I was discovering be like. After all, she had waited years for her turn in the world.  Since the stage was hers, what would she do with it. 

As it turned out, she was able to do more than she ever imagined. With the help of several other strong women, she was able to come out of her shell and seemingly fill in the last remaining pieces of her gender puzzle. Of course as I write that I realize my gender puzzle won't be complete until my final transition (death). All I can do is hope for the best.

Looking back, fulfilling my gender puzzle were equal portions of terror and excitement.  Terror at facing yet another wall and excitement at moving around it. Yes, there were plenty of tears shed along the way mixed in with smiles and laughter.

Neither ruined the puzzle.  


Friday, June 24, 2022

Catching Up

 

Picture taken at local military memorial 
pre Covid. Courtesy Jessie Hart

As predicted, my breakfast meetup with my daughter went well.  We connected well with not even the usual traffic jam taking place. As it turns out, she really has her hands full with two out of three of her children. I have always cherished all of them and as I always written, they have always accepted me. 

Plus, as I walked through the venue, no one gave me a second look. It's always beneficial when I can take it an amount of gender euphoria. 

I love her very much and can't wait for our next breakfast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Looking Forward

 I am now a day closer to my breakfast meetup with my daughter. Since she works a semi regular job as an education school secretary. it's exceedingly rare to find a time when we can get together. Making it even more special is the fact my partner Liz has made me a new pair of beaded ear-rings.

Past that, I am not planning on wearing anything special other than my jeans and a tank top. 

I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

It's Never Easy

Some days I think it is never easy being  transgender. Now I am involved in selling a property I have owned for years in my native town I grew up in. The problem being I will probably have to go through an attorney to do it. Most likely that means interacting with a whole new set of people who perhaps

have never seen another transgender person before. Fortunately I might be able to go back to the attorney I used years ago to probate the property into my name. This happened when I was first coming out and even then I didn't have any problems with the cis female attorney I went through. So, I guess it is just the point of having to do it again.

On the bright side, I am meeting my daughter for breakfast later this week. It's been awhile since we have been able to do our "parent/daughter"  meet up to just connect for a short time and enjoy each other's company. I have to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have such an accepting daughter and grand kids. It is so easy to take for granted. 

Going out with her and people such as my partner Liz helps me to regain any recent confidence I have lost, mainly since all of a sudden I am so vain about my appearance. It's ridiculous because it is now all age related . Since I am almost seventy three, there is little I can do now (except my regular skin routine) to randomly reverse the wrinkles I have earned.

All in all, it's just my internalized transphobia sneaking up on me. I had all those covid related years when I didn't have to worry about little if any interaction with the public. So now I have to hitch up my big girls panties and do it again, I have to regain my footing. 

Deep down I always knew my transgender journey wouldn't be easy. This should come as no surprise that you can run but you can't hide if you are transgender. As I am always fond of writing, crossing the gender binary is one of the most difficult tasks a human can undertake. In fact, from birth to the undertaker. our lives are so complex. 

So, as I read back over this post, I am just being a cry baby taking my frustrations out on all of you. As always, I appreciate all of you who read, subscribe and or comment on my posts!

Years ago, I knew what I signed up for and knew it wasn't going to be an easy path to take becoming a full time transgender woman. Every now and then I am human and it gets me down. But it's only temporary. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Dad's Day

 A little late with this post but in many ways it's  a relevant look at my past. Even though  I have never taken any sort of real survey. It seems to me from my many years following other transgender women or cross dressing blogs, our Mom's receive most of the credit and or blame for our gender issues. From makeup to fashion many of us followed our Mom's lead. 


Through it all what about Dad? In my case I still stand in awe of all he accomplished in his life. In addition to surviving the Depression and World War II, he took his high school education, built his own house and rose to being a Bank Vice President. It broke my heart when he developed dementia and slipped away. 

Sadly I was never able to talk to him concerning any of the important issues in my life. Especially my questions about gender. While he exceeded my expectations at being a provider, he was sadly very deficient in being emotionally available. 

It took me years to come to terms to my up bringing as a white privileged kid being raised in a semi-rural area in Ohio. I hit the ground running in 1968 during my first year of college when the Vietnam War was surging and I always thought my Dad was pro Nixon. I remember his disliking of when my hair started to creep over my ears and collar. His crew cuts and burr haircuts became a thing of the past to me. Even still, my Dad managed to not say much to me about his feelings.

During that time, my Mom had no problems filling the void, she was very vocal about "not wasting" the money they spent on my education if I was killed in Vietnam. True story. 

Sadly, my parent's relationship grew toxic as they reached fifty years of marriage. From the outside looking in I think my Mom grew restless about my Dad's increasingly sedentary lifestyle. There was only so much time she could sit around watching television. Even in their dream condo.

The older I become, the more I am curious to what I inherited from both of my parents. My Mom is the easier one to explain. I inherited her fire and ability to change which she had to do when she graduated from a fairly prestigious state university in Ohio and went against her family's blessings and married an high school grad with no real occupational direction. She wore her emotions on her sleeve so she was easy to figure out.

Dad was the exact opposite. It wasn't until much later in life did he let any of his feelings be known concerning his standing with Mom's family. Also sadly, I still have a very difficult time showing any emotion. In fact, I didn't begin to cry at all in my life until I began to feel the effects of hormone replacement therapy. 

Many of you know I made final peace with my Mom when I legally changed my name and chose her first name as my middle name and her father's name as my first. I did not forget my Dad by keeping my last name the same. 

It took me years after both of their passing for me to come to terms with how I was raised. Now I realize they did the best they could with what they had to work with. Times changed on them and they had a difficult time changing with them. A challenge I try to keep up with daily. 

In the meantime, thanks Dad and Happy Father's Day. I love you!   

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Impostor's Syndrome?

 Are you kidding me? Yet another transgender phrase I have to worry about? Just what does "impostor syndrome mean to you...if anything. 

To me it means when I am walking through a busy restaurant my partner Liz and I go to on a regular basis, will I be "exposed" as a transgender woman or all I am not seem to be. For Connie's benefit I used the "exposed" word sensing she is ready to pounce. 

Regardless of all of that, I do suffer from impostor's syndrome. I also wonder who was smarter or more creative than I and came up with the phrase. I used to refer to it as "transgender PTSD" or transgender post traumatic stress disorder. Mine was brought on early in my formative years when I was attempting to live as my authentic self. Of course most of my failures came as I was just learning the basics of gender presentation in public. All too often I tried to wear ill fitting clothes to match my clown wigs. In a sense I spent too much time being trashy rather than classy. All of my ill fated attempts led me to being laughed or snickered at and even having the police called on me when I used the bathroom. I suppose you have to be transgender or even a cross dresser to understand the mental trauma it causes.

I guess new phraseology and alphabet letters are the rule rather than the norm in todays LGBTQ society probably coming from all the new people discovering their new gender realities. Even locally in the small transgender - cross dresser support group I am a part of, there seems to be a rather sharp division between the younger and older members of the group. It's rather sad to me that so many get their "panties in a bunch" over situations we all should be united behind. Especially in today's society where so many people are attempting to erase us totally. 

So, when push comes to shove, I will have to accept yet another phrase as a part of my gender vocabulary. I believe also, resistance to change is often a sign of age. I am sad when I lose contact with several members of our group because they got their feelings hurt by someone else.

Virginia Prince

We need every person to be as united as possible to propel us into the future. Similar to me standing on the shoulder's of the Virginia Prince's of the cross dressing world, it would be wonderful if just one person could see me in the same light.

At that point I wouldn't have to worry about "impostors syndrome" again. Maybe I will have to wait to see what happens in my later years when or if I have to be admitted to an extended care facility. 

Perhaps I will never have to worry about it and the final transition will come peacefully. That's all anyone could ask.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Therapy

 My experiences with therapy started years ago. So long ago I barely remember when. However I do remember I built up the courage to tell my first therapist (a man) that I liked to cross dress as a woman. I remember too he basically glossed over my admission and began to write me prescriptions for such mind altering medications of the day such as Prozac and Lithium.  I don't remember much about the

Jessie with Brutus Buckeye

side effects of Prozac but I know I didn't like or tolerate Lithium well at all. Through it all, the medications didn't have an affect one way or another on my cross dressing. Plus, I felt the doctor must have felt worse talking about it than I did, because he never brought it up again.

Around that time was when I picked up my small family and began to move to various places around the country trying desperately to out run my gender problems. Following a year and a half stay in the NYC Metro area, we bounced back to our native Ohio, to a largely rural area along the Ohio River.  Near that time was when I began to seriously explore the world as a cross dressing woman. My wife knew of my cross dressing desires but never approved of me going out from our house which happened to be in a very rural area. Of course, the more I snuck out the more I wanted to. Which led me to being on a collision course with being caught by her. Every time it happened a huge fight between us took place. One time after a particular nasty altercation, I volunteered to schedule an appointment with a therapist who specialized in gender difficulties or dysphoria, I believe I discovered her information in an issue of "Transvestia" magazine. To do it at all was quite a task because of where she was located an hours drive north of us in Columbus, Ohio. 

Ironically she was a successful trip for all the wrong reasons. Fairly early in our visits, she told me there was no way she could help me with being a cross dresser or transvestite as it was known back in those days but she could help me with the vicious mood swings I was going through. In other words, she was the first therapist to diagnose my Bi-Polar disorder. Through it all, every visit I managed to take, I was prolonging the inevitable next fight with my wife. So all in all, my experience with this therapist was a success. At least the next time I was caught out and about cross dressed by my wife I could say I was trying to do something about it.

My next experience with a therapist came years later when I began my care under the Veterans Administration health care system. One of the main reasons I sought out their help was because I was severely financially challenged and unable to purchase my Bi-Polar medications on my own. Of course in order to be prescribed through the VA I had to be seen by a therapist. This was near the same time my wife had passed away and I was considering starting hormone replacement therapy, so in essence invisible doors were beginning to open for me since this was all in the early days of the VA accepting HRT work also. 

I was really fortunate. The therapist I was assigned is still with me today. A near impossibility in the VA system as I know it. More importantly too, she was willing to listen to me and accept the fact my transgender issues were completely separate from my Bi-Polar issues. She kept me on the medications which had been a success for me in the past and approved me for HRT meds. Fairly quickly she became one of the most important people in my life.

I am aware I could be the exception to the rule when it comes to therapy and many transgender persons resent the idea they need therapy before they can start HRT.  I know also several trans persons who either had a difficult time finding a therapist who deals with gender issues or being able to feel comfortable doing it. 

Hopefully if you have sought out therapy you have been successful finding one who helps you with your gender dysphoria or any other issue you may have,   

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Transgender to the Core

 When I was first beginning to open my cross dressing closet and see what the world had to offer, one of the main questions I was asked was when did I know I was transgender. Overall it seemed like a simple question that wasn't. 

Photo courtesy Jessie Hart 

First of all, the basic answer to the transgender question is I have been trans since birth. In fact though there are so many layers to this question. In order to answer it, I would have to attempt to explain the differences in being a cross dresser versus being transgender. To me, I spent the majority of my life cross dressing. Mostly as a man which totally confused most who bothered to care enough to inquire into my gender issues. It was difficult to explain why I was so sure I was never really a man, I was just going through the motions. Even though I attempted to balance all my gender issues for over fifty years, I became very adept at fooling the world. Sadly I was mainly only fooling myself. 

For some reason, in my mind something snapped and I decided when it was time to move on from being a cross dresser. To me, the major difference was doing my best to look like a woman versus exploring the world to see if I could follow my dream and live full time. 

As I went down this gender path, it became increasingly evident I could live full time as a transgender woman, Why? Because I sought out and found a small group of women friends who accepted me for who I was. Through the entire process, deep down I felt so natural. I have written a number of times of how a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. 

These days, I don't get asked questions concerning my gender much to not at all. I think it is because I have become so comfortable as my authentic self. I don't have anything to prove to anyone and if they don't accept me, so be it. I'm also fortunate to nearly always having my partner Liz by my side. In ways she doesn't understand she runs interference if I happen to encounter anyone negatively questioning my gender, 

As you can tell, I don't have any easy answers for anyone who wants to positively question my gender journey. It is confusing enough to try to explain my idea of why a cross dresser and a transgender person differ. In fact, there were many times when I started what I referred to as my second transition to a trans woman, I was wondering what I was doing. I had so much to lose such as family, friends and jobs. What kept me going through this difficult time was the transgender journey I was going through felt so natural. That alone kept me going.

So if you are thinking of transitioning and have major questions to answer, my only advice is to listen to your inner self. It will tell you if you are transgender to the core. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Missed Time

 One of the major portions of my life I missed out on were when  the parts of my gender dysphoria were  doing battle with each other. Many times my attempts to cross dress as a man totally disrupted my life. I became mean and nearly lost jobs because of my attitude. Ironically, I followed the same pattern over and over again. The internal pressures would build to express my authentic feminine self until I had to find a way to relieve it. I guess the definition of insanity being doing something over and over again while expecting different results applies to me here. 



Photo from Jessie Hart
Over the years also, I built up a strong resentment because I couldn't and didn't live the same lifestyle as the other cis women around me. A prime example was not being able to be given a doll at Christmas for a gift when I disliked the boy gifts I received. Plus at Christmas dinners, I wanted to be the girl in the black velvet dress with white tights and patent leather flats. Not the restrictive shirt and tie I was forced to wear. Not to mention my crew cut or burr haircut. 

Finally I learned there was nothing I could do about the gender pressure I was feeling but to give in. I had paid my dues trying to be a man and it was time to take my chances and establish my life as a transgender woman. From that point forward the pressure of trying to live in both binary genders was released and I felt a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. 

Even with all of the new found gender freedom, I still was resentful of all the girl time I missed growing up.  Take applying makeup for example. I suffered because I didn't have the input from my Mom or other girls my age when It came to the art of applying makeup. I struggled through until the times I was actually able to take advantage of a professional makeup artist who was able to produce magical results with what he had to work with. That's right he because I had the best results from a male. 

Then there was the whole dating ritual scene. I was very shy to the point of being afraid of girls and was totally envious of their lifestyle. It wasn't until years later, I found girls had it just as hard as boys, just in different ways. It turned out the gender grass was not always greener on the other side of the binary. Even still none of that helped me when I finally did start dating. Once again I was trapped admiring my dates appearance in all the places we went to. Especially the proms I went to when I was stuck in a restrictive tuxedo when my date was able to look so nice and colorful in her dress,

As we grow older and are fortunate to to be able to live our dreams, it's a total waste of time to dwell on the past unless you are learning from it.  As I wrote earlier in this post, neither primary gender has an easier life than the other. I am just greedy and would like back a portion of the energy I missed out on. How my life could have changed. 

On the other hand, I would have missed out on what turned out to a frenetic lifestyle when it turned out I was just passing through so many people, places and cultures. Finally I was able to shed myself of my former toxic male self. From then on, my missed time was not as important because I was building new ones as my authentic feminine self. 

It all felt so natural to me as I knew playing in the girl's sandbox was where I belonged all long.

Monday, June 13, 2022

It's Going to be Hot

This week where I live (in Southwest Ohio) we are trying to make a run at the extremely hot temperatures in the Southwestern part of the country. Tuesday thru Friday our heat index's will be over one hundred degree (F) with the usual local  oppressive humidity. We don't have an air conditioned house so a fan will be my best friend.

This morning I was feeling sorry for myself when I took the dog on his morning walk until I began to think of my life before I transitioned. Those were the days I couldn't even consider wearing a sleeveless top because of the hair on my arms. On the other hand, I could still shave my legs so cooler short skirts were still my favorite. 

Plus, one of my favorite parts of being a cross dresser was shifting my fashion to meet the changing seasons we live with around here. You have to take the good with the bad as far as the seasons are concerned. I believe overall Fall is my favorite season. The leaves change color, the days become cooler and it's time to go through the wardrobe and find items I can still wear such as leggings, boots and sweaters. It was fun being a cross dresser. 

When hormone replacement therapy came along, it basically changed everything. Fairly quickly one of the larger internal changes I noted was when my internal thermostat changed. All of a sudden, I was always cold when the weather changed. It became evident to me all the years I had doubted women when they complained about being cold were not making it up. I know I wondered at the time how HRT would work when the weather became hot and summer like.


This summer is not my first rodeo in the heat and I know now during the hot days I won't automatically feel cooler because of my years on HRT. The only thing it does do is drastically cut back on the body hair I have which helps me to wear comfortably summer feminine fashion. I have gone through my wardrobe  to find missing summer pieces to add to my wardrobe.   I have added a photo of one of those tank tops.

I would be remiss also if I didn't mention the power of HRT on how much make up I use. I vividly remember the bad old days of sweating the makeup off nearly as fast as I applied it, Once my skin began to soften due to the hormones' and my beard lightened with age, I found I could try to wear less makeup.  In fact now I only wear eye makeup, mascara and lipsticks. 

On the bright side we are supposed to get a short break from the heat this weekend. Which happens to coincide with our LGBTQ Pride event and the pub crawl Liz and I are considering going on.

To all of you who may live in the drought/heat stricken parts of country or world, I hope you can stay cool.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Out and Proud

 Next week for my partner Liz and I is LGBTQ Pride week, which at this point in time we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather. So far the forecast looks good for our try at going on the Cincinnati Pride Pub Crawl. Since we can't drink and drive the whole event will one way or another cause an extreme amount of effort and finances. So we want as much as possible, that all intangibles such as weather to be on our side. 


Last night though, we decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant which is conveniently located right around the corner from our house.  

Since we have been there several times, I didn't expect any pushback to my presence as a transgender woman in their venue and I didn't get any. 

In some senses I think the picture represents what I ordered the "Plato Loco." I believe in Spanish the translation is "crazy dish." but I flunked Spanish in college.

Actually I wasn't trying to look crazy with my smirk in the picture, Liz took it as I was eating a chip.

Regardless of any of this, I know I am very bad at sharing any pictures of my experiences. Hopefully I will have more to share this week after Pride.

As an aside this week the Veteran's Administration is celebrating the contributions of women veterans over the years. I am proud to say I have been invited to participate.