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

Friday, December 30, 2022

Love Hate Relationship

 In a bit of extension on yesterdays' post, today I have decided to write about my life long love-hate relationship with mirrors. In my family home growing up we had a fairly long hallway which happened to have a full length mirror at one end. When I began to cross dress at a very early age, I used to walk slowly up and down the hallway admiring myself in the mirror. I did it so much I an surprised I didn't wear a path in the carpet. Probably the only thing which saved me was not having all the time I wanted by myself to work on my feminine presentation. I cherished the all so brief periods of time I could actually be by myself. If the mirror could talk I could only imagine the stories it could tell. 

Mirror Selfie from the
Jessie Hart Collection

As I progressed through life, the urge to have a friendly mirror grew with me. In fact when I was apartment shopping with my first wife, the location and access to a full length mirror was always a deciding factor. Even though I never said anything about it to my wife. The truth of the matter was I was addicted in a way to my beloved mirrors. One of the reasons was the mirror only told me exactly what I wanted to hear. None of it became evident to me until I began to seriously push open my gender closet door and see if I could exist as my feminine self in public. The more I tried to adjust my appearance, the more the mirror would tell me I was already doing a wonderful job. What I didn't understand was I did become fairly proficient in changing my male self to a feminine person but all of that wasn't nearly good enough. In order to survive in the world as a woman, many times I had to do better than just blend into the background. Plus a part of me was telling me loud and clear how much fun would it be anyhow to just blend in with a group of women increasingly falling away from the art of dressing up.

Finally, after my well documented failures as a novice transgender woman or cross dresser, I began to be successful in finding a sweet spot in my search for a dependable presentation. I discovered I could fall back to a fairly intense business woman look or on other occasions fall back into a much more casual jeans, boots and sweaters look. Normally, if I followed my developing feminine instincts and stayed within one of the two looks I mentioned, I found I could magically navigate society as a woman. Ironically at this point, mirrors would begin to help me. I found when I was out in public, the occasional glance in the mirror would calm my gender dysphoria and give me the courage to push forward into the brave new feminine world I was exploring. 

It is important to note also, I had to learn the hard way to establish a truce with my mirrors. I came to the decision I didn't look as good as I thought I did. But on the other hand, I didn't look as bad as I thought either. At this point, all mirrors became a tool I could use to improve myself. In other words, my mirror became more of a reality check and my life really began to improve. Even though I still have the occasional morning battles with my mirror setting off my gender dysphoria, increasingly I am able to cope by thinking I am not as bad as I think. It's just the mirror playing it's tired mind games with me. No more love-hate relationship.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Gender Euphoria

Image Courtesy Matt Moloney
on UnSplash 

Every so often I grow weary of waking up in the morning and having to look at the same face staring me back in the mirror. Regardless of the softer angles and skin of my face which happened because of my hormone replacement therapy, I still see the same old me before I can apply moisturizer and a little eye make up to help. After a small period of time feeling sorry for myself , I tell myself life didn't have to be fair and move on with what I have to work with physically. Most days gender dysphoria is sadly here to stay. On occasion I do venture out into the public and test my chosen gender myself. It's a  chance to experience a touch of wonderful gender euphoria. 

Sometimes I feel I am cheating the process because I am fortunate to have Liz by my side for the overwhelming number of times I interact with the public at large. I always feel she shields me from any potential haters I may encounter due to my transgender status. In addition, she is always the first to use my chosen pronouns of she and her in public. This morning was one of the rare times I needed to go out without Liz.

After going through the lengthy process of cleaning the remnants of ice and snow off the car, I headed out on the short trip to my Veterans Administration clinic to be administered my latest Covid booster. In the past, I have not been treated very well at this particular clinic and have been mis-gendered several times. Normally just thinking of returning  there sets off my gender dysphoria.      

Happily this morning was different. Before I was called back for my shot, the nurse peeked out the door to make sure I was there. Once she did take a look at me, she very shortly came back out and called "Miss Hart". What a relief! So many times in the past I was called everything but my preferred pronouns. Including the all time worst, Mr. Hart. I have got to give her or the VA credit. Recently I have taken part in several VA surveys wanting to know problems and or solutions with the VA transgender care system. Since that time, in this clinic at least, I have seen a real improvement. Leading to a real dosage of gender euphoria when I was called "Miss" Hart. 

From then on, I felt better as I finished running some other errands and even stopped at a fast food place to pick up breakfast. When I did it, I flashed back to my early days of exploring a feminine existence. I went through drive throughs to see if I would be mis-gendered  or not. Most of the time I just left them confused. 

This morning I didn't care. I knew who I was and that was all that mattered. Everyone needs a little euphoria in their lives. Especially transgender women or trans men. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Getting Your Groove Back

During my early adventures out of the closet and into the world, I am fond of saying there were more errors than trials. In other words, I made many mistakes trying my best to figure out what I was doing and just fit in. More times than I care to remember I came home with my eye makeup ruined from excess crying and tears. Too many people were just cruel.

Jessie Hart
From my Boho Days


Amazingly, once I had a good cry, I was determined to do better. To learn from my mistakes as a feminine person and try again. My inner woman turned out to be my biggest fan. She pushed me forward and I finally began to learn from my mistakes. It took awhile but I figured out I needed to be more worried about how I looked for other women, who seemed to notice every detail about my appearance. In the past I spent more time thinking about my appearance as it related to how I thought a woman should look...as a man. The entire thought pattern led me down a path of trashy, attention getting outfits. The exact opposite of what I needed to be doing to make it in the world as a woman. It seemed I was destined to repeat what many beginning transgender women or cross dressers do. Dress trashy thinking your testosterone poisoned body would look good in a too tight and short mini skirt, in heels at the mall. I wonder now why the mirror kept lying to me and didn't stop me from going out dressed like that. It turned out, the mirror part of this post is strong enough I should write a separate blog post about it. 

At any rate, I was fortunately having enough success in my closet busting explorations to keep trying. After several mis-adventures with the wrong wigs, I finally settled in on a shoulder length blond style which seemed to work well with my Boho fashion inspired jeans skirt and flowing light weight top. Using the outfit as a base, my presentation success rate sky rocketed. Not only did I have to worry less about how I was presenting, I was suddenly thrust into a totally new situation. By getting my public groove back I found other people who were curious about me and even wanted to know me. All of that was so exciting but the problem was I needed to find the inner woman who wanted out for so long and let her express herself. I just sort of let her go and found out she was a pretty nice person who had been hidden all those years behind a false male personality struggling to survive. Once free, she thrived. 

My groove was back but the problem still remained what to do to clean up and close what was left of a male life which was growing more and more distant. It was about this time when destiny or fate stepped in for my groove. Tragically my wife and many of my closest friends passed away and I had lost nearly everything which was dear to me during the bleakest moment of my life. It turned out my shining star who stood by me was my feminine self. Surprisingly she was stronger than I ever thought possible. She was there all those nights when I was recovering and trying to figure out what to do next with my life. 

I am sure many of you have faced similar dark moments in your life too. Times when you have discovered how strong and resilient your feminine self was. Hopefully she was worth the wait.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Fantasy World

 

Image from UnSplash

As I look back  on all the time I wasted trying my best to survive in a male world,  I wish I could go back and reclaim just a portion of the time I lost. Just a little of the time I spent thinking about my next feminine adventure while I was still following a fake male life. I have written many times of how the stress nearly killed me.

Even worse than the stress perhaps was the hiding I did behind my feminine desires. All along (from the beginning) I thought girls had it easier than boys. My main playing card was the military service I faced for years before I finally had to serve. I always was of the opinion the military draft should have been an universal option for both genders.

Of course what I didn't realize girls (and later) women had their own set of challenges and often the gender grass wasn't always greener on the feminine side. I am sure my Mom would have put much more pressure on me to do certain things had I been born female. I am positive, I would have been pressured to go to the same university she went to and even join the same sorority. It was bad enough putting up with the pressure of being her son, I never took it into consideration how it would have been to be her daughter. At the least, I could weekly try to get dates even though I wanted to be pursued not the gender chaser as males were. 

What happened was, every failure in life I encountered as a man, I chalked up to not wanting to be a guy anyhow. I would retreat into my feminine fantasy world and not try harder. After all, wouldn't it be much more enjoyable to be a cheerleader than actually be on an compete for a spot on the football team. Back then I didn't consider all the passive aggressiveness which goes on with groups of women. I am sure the claws came out more than a few times when girls competed for spots on the cheerleading squads. 

Finally, it took basic training in the Army to force me out of my closet in some ways. Ironically it was impossible for me to hide behind my skirts and heels and compete in a total masculine world. It turned out I could compete and survive but the whole experience strengthened my resolve to finally attain a transgender status in the world once I completed my military service. I guess in many ways, the process made me a strong enough man to be a woman. I didn't know it then but I would need all the strength I could muster to pursue my gender transition goals later in life. 

Normally in my posts, I can point to some sort of positive which came out of my experience. However, I just can't on this post. The time I spent in my feminine cross dressing world was just a waste of time. I did learn the basics of putting on makeup and trying on panty hose but that was about it. The time I spent observing women which turned out to me interacting with them was all so much more important. 

The fantasy world was just a waste of time I can never get back. I found the hard way women do not have it easier than men.    

Monday, December 26, 2022

No One Does it Better

In the transgender vast blogger universe, in my opinion, no one writes a better blog than Stana at Femulate.

As an example, here is her fabulous Holiday greeting card. Virtual of course:

I know many of you here in the Condo also visit her on a regular basis, so I am speaking to the choir. But  I know what the demands of writing a daily blog present to a person, so I respect the work Stana puts in even more. Also when I think I have been a blogger for ten years now (or so) I have even bigger respect for people who have been doing it longer than I. Again that is Stana.

Happy Holidays to my favorite blogger!
 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy Holidays

 As I sit here warm and safe in what is left of our Artic climate watching "A Christmas Story" my favorite

Happy Holidays from Liz and I

holiday movie, I need to pause a moment and wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.

"A Christmas Story" always resonated with me because of several reasons. I suppose the next to biggest one is the fact the movie took place in about the same period of time which I went through growing up. Complete with the festive downtown department store Christmas windows with electric trains and other kids gifts such as dolls and BB Guns. The biggest draw from the movie was even in the earliest days of my existence, something deep down inside told me I would rather have the doll rather than the BB Gun. Ralphie, the young star of the movie was just the opposite and wanted the air gun badly. Unlike Ralphie I was disappointed when I was gifted with the gun. On the other hand I couldn't imagine ever admitting to my parents I wanted anything such as a doll for Christmas. 

The only thing I remember happening with the BB Gun was a couple of sparrows were terrorized and my brother shot me in the arm once. Who knows what would have become of a doll since the only siblings in the family were my brother and I.

I would be remiss if I wrote a Christmas post without mentioning all of you transgender or LGBTQ individuals who may have lost your families for any number of reasons. I have my own point of reference since my brother and his side of the family refused to accept my new feminine authentic self. I quickly moved on and it was their loss. Blood family or not, I hope you have someone to spend the holidays with, or at the least think about you.


Another Holiday photo I would like to share here on the blog is from long time reader and fellow blogger Paula Godwin from the UK. She writes the transgender "Paula's Place" blog.

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Being a Late Bloomer

 Or should I say a "late boomer" since I was born in 1949, I firmly fall into the "Boomer" generation. One of the things which disappoints me the most  is when a younger transgender person tries to say I (or anyone else) who transitioned later in life are somehow less trans as their younger counterparts. 

Happy Holidays!

First of all, what does less transgender mean to begin with? Just because I identified as a cross dresser or transvestite for nearly fifty years doesn't mean I didn't think constantly about if I could achieve my impossible dream of living a feminine life. Of course, all of us of a certain age remember the "dark ages" of the LGBTQ movement. There was very little information at all concerning our urges to put on our hose and dresses and do our best to look like girls. It was a lonely time in our very dark gender closets. Younger transgender women and trans men probably can't imagine a time with no computers or social media they could use to communicate with other friends. Many of you remember when Virginia Prince and her Transvestia Magazine was almost the only source we could turn to trying to educate ourselves to our gender issues. The publication even magically helped others such as me seek out and find others with like cross dressing interests. I remember how scared and excited I was when I learned there were monthly "Tri Ess" meetings going on which were close enough geographically for me to attend. 

I did attend and ironically did learn I was still different than many of the others who attended. There were those who seemingly used the opportunity to wear a dress to overstate their masculinity. In the days preceding "Urban Cowboy" and cis women smoking cigars, these cross dressers decided a big cigar, no makeup and a cowboy hat were their best feminine accessories. On the other hand, there were the attendees who looked impossibly feminine. I found myself between the two. Most certainly I did not identify with the cigar smokers but was not accepted by the so called "A" Listers. I had a ways to go with my feminine presentation but I was trying. Even though I didn't particularly appreciate their attitude, the "A" girls couldn't wait to expand the cross dressing party out of the hotel and into the world. I knew that was where I wanted to be, even way back then. 

I imagine when I did tag along, more than a few of the "A" girls looked down on me (an early form of being transer than I) but I persisted and learned. Slowly but surely I became accepted by a group in nearby Columbus, Ohio. Compared to a few of the others, I was still a late transgender bloomer even though I was just in my thirties. The whole experience gave me a regular outlet for my gender desires other than my yearly Halloween party. Plus being around the "A" girls really helped me to up my game and try harder to look more feminine. The only main problem I was having was I was happily married to a woman who knew I was a cross dresser but was careful to draw the line when I made any moves to advance to the next step which a few of my acquaintances were heading towards. A sex change operation as it was known back in those days. 

My excuse in those days for my stopping my gender progression was I was happily married to a woman I loved, plus I was rapidly advancing in a job I had worked hard to obtain. In other words I had a lot to give up. In essence giving up a life we transgender persons of a certain age have worked to build is one of the main gender transition problems we face. It all is in direct opposition to the hurdles younger trans people face. They face building a life in a sometimes hostile world while we face giving up the living privileges we have gained over the years. 

The key is understanding from all transgender women and men. Being a late bloomer is just another part of the process. 
 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Transgender Night Out

Photo Courtesy 
Clifton Mill

 Long ago when I was increasingly exploring if I could indeed live in the public's eye as a feminine person, I made a decision. I decided to attempt to visit and even enjoy taking in the Christmas lights and atmosphere at a nearby restored grist mill at nearby Clifton, Ohio. Furthermore, I decided to visit for the first time as a woman, my authentic self. 

Of course, once I made my decision, I had to decide when I could do it and more importantly, what I would wear. As luck would have it, I had an evening off from work when my wife was working at the bookstore. The coast was clear (so to speak) for a night out as a woman enjoying the Christmas lights with perhaps even a hot chocolate to enjoy. The weather for the night turned out to be a benefit also. The evening was clear and frosty without being brutally cold. Ideal for a warm, soft, bulky sweater, leggings and boots. All of which I happened to have in my wardrobe since the items were indirectly approved by my wife. In fact, one year, she had even given me one of my favorite sweaters for Christmas. 

Finally, my night out was upon me and I neglected to say one of the biggest advantages I had was it was dark outside when I left. Harder for prying neighbors eyes to see me. I myself was satisfied with the way I was presenting myself as a woman. Transgender or not. As I always thought, confidence is always a woman's best accessory. When you have it, strangers will at the least read it in you. They will have a tendency to accept you more easily as your feminine self. 

Once I arrived at the mill, it was crowded and I had to walk. Luckily, my boots were casual and easy to walk in. With my shoulder length blond wig I felt encouraged I could present as a woman just out to enjoy the Christmas lights at the Mill. While I was there, I became so encouraged with the outcome of the evening, I decided to stop by the Mill's gift shop to see if I could pick up a gift for my wife while I was there. I didn't find anything special so I purchased a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. The young girl who served me didn't seem to pay me any extra attention so I went away encouraged with my evening.

As is the case with any special night, the entire evening seemed to go by in a flash and all too soon I had to return home and act like I had been there all night for my wife's benefit. If it was late my trick was to already be in bed so she couldn't detect any telltale signs of makeup I didn't remove.  She was always smarter than I was so I am sure she could usually tell what I was up to. Much to my chagrin now, I always caught got sooner or later. Most likely because deep down I wanted to. Evenings such as the one I spent looking at Christmas lights were enablers for me. The more I was successful in trying to live a feminine life the more natural I felt doing it. In many ways I was just living my truth leading me to ever increasing goals in my gender transition. Very quickly I found myself in other more exciting transitions when I was going from cross dresser to novice transgender woman. 

My Christmas night out just furthered my gender cause. The overall feeling of how I was able to approach the evening and succeed. Gave me the confidence to seek out other nights out which I will write about in other posts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Trans Girl in an Antique Mall

Image from Christelle Bourgeois
On UnSplash

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was much more going on as I was searching out the perfect Christmas present for my second wife who is now deceased. After haunting a few regional antique malls for "treasures", I decided I could go it alone and surprise her with an ideal garden themed gift. First of all, I would like to explain what an antique mall is to those of you who may not be familiar. In our region of the US, antique malls are large to enormous buildings along or near major interstate highways. They are not to be confused with flea markets as most are full of quality antiques from many diverse dealers. Big and small. 

Before I sat out on my own to look for my gifts, I need to point out also I was the ultimate Christmas shopping procrastinator.  Literally, more times than I would care to admit I was the last hurried shopper on Christmas eve before the mall closed. But since I enjoyed the leisurely pace of wondering through a maze of terrific antiques, I always did my best to try to gain a head start on my shopping. Cross dressing and experiencing the process as my authentic feminine self just added to the pleasure. For the day or days I was planning to shop of course I needed to dress to blend and be comfortable, since I was going to have to do quite a bit of walking. So bulky sweaters, jeans and boots were the perfect outfits to fight off the December Ohio chill. Other than the wonderful selections to choose from, there was the problem of finances since many of the vintage garden items I was in the market for were quite expensive. 

Other than costs, the positives of the venues far outweighed the negatives. First of all, my chances were good for finding her that one of kind garden gift such as a vintage seed box from an old hardware store. They were rare and expensive but every now and then I could find one in my price category.  I was fond of referring to my shopping as garden binging as I slowly savored the feel of my feminine clothes as I made my way through the mall. I liked it to because of the laid back atmosphere. Except for the occasional floor clerk who would ask me if he or she could help me, I was rarely approached. I never had a negative response so I must have been doing fairly well in the presentation department. I know I felt confident as I shopped and the number of wonderful mirrors I happened to encounter told me I was doing fine. Back in those days at the least, I needed as much assurance as I could get when I saw my feminine reflection in an antique mirror. This was during the time when I was stuck between being a cross dresser and strongly considering if I could refer to myself as transgender and look at living my life fulltime as a transgender woman. 

The best part was I was able to spend the biggest part of the day as my feminine self, before my wife made it home and I had to be returned to my rapidly disappearing male self. I think now she could see through my gender charade and was waiting for the next foot to fall. But, in the meantime, I was able to find, hide and wrap more than a few wonderful Christmas gifts for her. Who knows, may be it was just my guilty conscience coming through when I went so far out of my way to seek out the perfect gift. After all, it was me who held the key to destroy our relationship by wanting to be a woman. 

In the meantime, I was able to learn from my antique mall experiences. I was able to step away from my usual regular clothing store/mall life and see if I could make it in the real world, perhaps even owning my own small vintage shop. In a different way later I was able to accomplish selling vintage items on on-line sites. In fact I was able to keep myself above water financially for quite a while. Mainly by selling the best gifts I had purchased for my wife before her death. It was the final chapter in many ways of our life together. I often wonder what it would have been like for her to join me in antique mall shopping.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Trans Christmas Shopping

Image Courtesy Waldemar Brandt
on Unsplash 

In reality,  all of this experience happened when I was primarily still a cross dresser still exploring advancing myself into the novice transgender category. Of course this is all important if you are into any sort of LGBT labels. I use them to further explain where I was on my long gender path.

Back in those days I was nearly at the maximum income  I would ever make. I had the spendable income which enabled me to spend money on nice gifts for my second wife who was really into Christmas. Traditionally I was a late shopper and would wait until the last minute to buy her the gifts I wanted. Along the way also I discovered I really enjoyed shopping for her when I was dressed as a woman. I would go to very upscale malls dressed to blend with the rest of the shoppers which allowed me to often wear my favorite black pants suit, along with my black flats and blond shoulder length wig. My outfit gave me the all important courage to move out of my closet and into the feminine world. 

One mall in particular was in Columbus, Ohio and featured an upscale garden store I was interested in. Among her other interests, my wife was very much a gardener. so it was a wonderful place to find her a special gift. I was always treated with respect there most likely because my money was green. Other places I went included green houses, antique malls and even a few oak furniture stores for gifts. Fortunately, since my wife worked in the retail book business, she was working many hours which allowed me to enter my feminine world and shop for her. I could knock out two major desires at one time. The desire to find her the perfect gifts as well as satisfy my new and wonderful desire to interact in public as a woman. 

One night in particular, both worlds came together spectacularly...almost. Over the years, I had tried to purchase my wife various oak furniture pieces for her living room including a large roll top desk with matching file cabinets. On the night in question, I just happened to stop by a store in Columbus to see if they had any matching oak pieces I could buy for my wife. By accident I found the perfect glass book case which matched her other oak pieces perfectly. The problem was here I was in my wig and pant's suit wondering how I was going to move my gift to our truck. Mentally I was still in male mode thinking I had to do everything physically myself. I was proven wrong when I made my purchase and found I didn't have to lift a finger. The store owner summoned two young guys to move the book case to my truck and even finished off with a big thank you Miss. I thought wow! I could get used to this. 

Once I arrived back home, it was a fairly simple task to slide it out of the back of the truck into the garage once I begrudgingly returned to my old unwanted male self. On Christmas Eve, the bookcase was a huge hit. Overall the entire experience made Christmas shopping so much more enjoyable for me. I could completely look for the special gift while expressing my desire to live a feminine life . I loved it! As we will get into in another post.  

Monday, December 19, 2022

It's Nice to be Wanted

 

Remembering Warmer Days!
From the Jessie Hart Collection

It is especially nice to be wanted during the holidays as an transgender person. Yesterday my wife Liz and I went to her circle's celebration of Yule. Being a special gathering I was invited since I am not a full member. The circle is heavily LGBTQ involved and actually the leader was our officiant at our wedding. Fortunately I found once of the guests was an excellent pastry chef of sorts and brought two trays of his home made cookies to sample. I am a huge lover of peanut butter cookies and the ones he brought were among the best I have ever sampled. 

The host also has two dogs which were very friendly and I felt again how much I missed not having a dog since both of ours passed away. Perhaps after we get our living arrangements straightened out, we can go to the animal shelter and pick out another dog to spoil. 

Since most of you already know my experience of being banned from attending what was left of our families holiday gatherings by my spineless brother who refused to stand up for me when I came out as transgender to him over a decade ago. I bluntly asked him if I was still invited and he just as bluntly told me no. So that was the last time we spoke. His in laws are very conservative bigots and I think he was afraid to face them with anything to do with me wanting to live as my authentic feminine self. I always felt if he and my sister in law were that shallow, I didn't need them anyhow and it turns out I didn't. I was fortunate, I fell into having an extended family which was far more cohesive than anything I had known in the past.

First of all, through my entire MtF transgender transition, my daughter stood by me and even embraced the change. So at least I had some remaining blood relation which supported me.  What I didn't anticipate was the amount of support I received from my daughter's in laws. Their support was nothing short of amazing to me. I was invited to any or all family functions as if nothing had changed. To add to that, Liz's ultra conservative late father even came to a begrudging support of me. So, all in all I came out of the holiday process in a better space than when I went in. It was nice to be wanted.

I should point out also, the group yesterday at the Yule ceremony the other Gay and Lesbian people there went through being ostracized from their families also. Thus, the group was more giving and happy when gifts were exchanged. The whole celebration felt to me as if I had found s new home. These days with the increasing number of LGBTQ centers around the country and cohesive social media contacts, it is very possible to locate other non-blood family replacements to attempt to sooth the pain of having no family for the holidays.

I hope through the holidays ( it is hard to believe Christmas is almost here!) you have some sort of family to replace the one so many of us have lost in the transgender community.


Friday, December 16, 2022

Holiday Errands

It is time to venture out into the world at large and run several errands with my wife Liz. 

Since she is

Photo from Jack Dylag
on Unsplash
now on her near to end of year vacation from work she has something close to eleven days off. As Liz is used to doing, she normally uses the time to push together everything we need to do.

The one thing I don't think she ever understands is how the simplest of errands can affect me. On occasion, just thinking of facing the public can set off my gender dysphoria. Even though it probably has been over a decade since I have been confronted concerning my gender, I still have flashbacks to the days when I was laughed at or questioned. My fear is with the current trend of anti-LGBTQ feelings I may be centered out for negative attention. 

Our first stop will be to a big box store which happens to have the best prices on the cat food our feline critters eat. I imagine they will be fairly crowded with holiday shoppers too involved in their own shopping to worry about me. Also, since my handicapped placard has not arrived back from the state of Ohio yet, the amount of walking I hope doesn't bother me much. Perhaps if I am quick about it, I can sneak a peek at the stores selection of holiday sweaters. 

From there it is off to the grocery store where I have never had a problem before. So I don't anticipate any issues this time. Certainly nothing exciting, except shopping for munchie ideas for the holidays. New Years Eve is out this year because this year the semi final national football playoffs are scheduled and The Ohio State Buckeyes are playing the Georgia Bulldogs in the late game. We are huge fans and will be in front of the television. 

Along the way today also, I may talk Liz into stopping for a light lunch depending what time and how hectic the day becomes because we most likely will make another stop at the pharmacy also.  

As far as what I am going to wear, I already have chosen my charcoal gray cable knit sweater for warmth and I am pairing it with my navy blue leggings and faux fur boots. The outfit should be warm enough for comfort along with showing off my developing hips. Plus at the same time be comfortable and not attract attention. From that point forward, an application of light makeup and brushing out my hair and I should be as ready as I ever will be to face the world. 

I just don't understand why after all these years I still have to put up with all my gender dysphoric doubts. I keep telling myself all the success I have had as my feminine self in the world after all theses should mean something. It does until I look in the mirror and all the old doubts come rushing in.  


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Transgender Life

Often I am amused when less than knowledgeable individuals or transphobes say we transgender women or trans men had a choice of transitioning our gender. Those of us who are in the middle of traveling a gender transition path know our decision was never a choice. Many times the whole process is a matter of life and death as is proven by the extremely high suicide rate in the transgender community.  

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives

Using my own gender path as an example, I can easily highlight the highs and lows of the journey. Highs included the times I tried and succeeded in breaking out of my own very dark gender closet. Early on, I was excited when I was accepted and even helped by clerks in clothing stores. Soon I learned most of the clerks were just doing their jobs and went out of their way to sell me something. From there I went on to seeing if I could present well enough as a woman to easily be able to prowl the malls around me looking for the occasional bargain. When the malls started to become mundane and boring, I decided to step up my journey by stopping different places to eat lunch. What I didn't realize was, how going face to face with servers and hostesses would expand my need to establish a real live feminine personality. As I climbed my gender affirmation staircase, for the most part I had more successes than failures when I learned how to dress to blend with the rest of the women around me. The less attention I created the better. 

When I was successful, there was nothing better in my transgender life. Even before I really knew what the term transgender was all about and how it fit in with me. On the other hand, when the lows set in, they were really low. I still remember vividly the nights I was laughed at and literally went home crying. Slowly but surely I recovered and re-committed myself to the goal of being able to present as a woman to the public without being stared at and ridiculed. Once I went through going back to the drawing board as many times as I did, I finally made it to a point where I had the confidence to go out as a transgender woman and exist in my own little world. Little did I know, my own little world would not stay little very long. My new and improved transgender life proved to provide the force to propel me forward. Sadly, the force was sending me straight on a collision course with my life as a man. 

Predictably as I was trying desperately to live parts of my life as a man and then as a woman, something would have to give. That something was my own mental health as I stepped up my attempts to sneak out behind my wife's back as the woman she disliked so much. The more I was successful doing it, ironically the more depressed I became. Leading me to a suicide attempt following a fight in which I was caught out in public by my wife. As with any other suicide attempt, I saw no other way out. 

Luckily I wasn't any good at self harm and the bottle of pills I took wouldn't have killed me anyway I found out later. Life is but a circle and if we are fortunate enough to live long enough to find out the bad times can reverse and become the good times. Most certainly a transgender life can be fulfilling if we are given a fair shot of being able to live it.     

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

More Gender Travel

 This is an extension of yesterdays post concerning many of the moves I had to make during my college and military days. As it turned out, these moves were not the only ones I was destined to take. As the years went by after I became a civilian again I ended up back on the road several times. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives

Before I did, in my hometown I founded and owned a small bar/pizza parlor for several years with a couple of friends. Until I lost it due to various factors such as an economic depression and in house theft. I just didn't know what I was doing. Seemingly the only real advancements I was making were my crossdressing strides. Finally given the opportunity to pursue feminine opportunities drove me further into an alcoholic driven desire to do more to look like a woman. Somehow I managed to hold onto reality, have a daughter and pursue a career in the commercial food business in the cut throat world of fast food management when chains were going on mega expansion binges. 

Following losing my tavern, I fell in love with and eventually married my second wife whom I was destined to spend twenty five years of my life with until she passed away at the age of fifty. Somehow I managed to talk her into getting married and moving with me from our native small city Ohio to the major metropolitan area of NYC. (New York City) I received a handsome raise for taking the job, rented a moving truck and off to a new world we went. Of course I managed to pack and bring along my feminine wardrobe, wig, shoes and makeup with us. I always mention she knew about my cross dressing before we were married.  Plus I was looking forward to moving to a decidedly more liberal environment so I could possibly expand my feminine pursuits. Along the way in New York my plan did work as I had a couple of occasions to attend transvestite mixers as we were called in those days. One in particular was successful when I presented so well as a woman I had to show my male I.D. to be admitted. I managed to survive NYC for nearly two years before I got the moving urge again and we moved back to our native Ohio. In order to do it, I had to promise to restore our old two story brick tavern into a loft style house While I was doing the work, it was very difficult to dress as a woman at all. So somehow I had to control my urges. 

Once we moved back, I managed to stay at a couple jobs locally so moving was not an option. Plus another option cropped up which tried to curtail my progression towards becoming my feminine dream. At the time I joined a local service organization and rose through the ranks as president. It was all good until I realized the more recognizable I became in the community, the more pressure I felt not to be discovered as a cross dresser. What did I do then? Decided to try to talk my wife into moving again. This time to rural Southern Ohio along the Ohio River. Again I was driven by the obsession to succeed as a man and push my feminine desires to the background. Once we settled into our new house out in the woods, it didn't take long for the old gender desires to creep back in and before long I progressed to doing shopping trips to the grocery store and shopping center dressed as a woman. The problem was I was becoming successful doing it and everytime I was, I needed more. 

The answer again was another move. This time back to a more metropolitan area around Columbus, Ohio where I knew there was an active transgender or cross dressing community. By this time it was difficult to tell exactly what was driving my frenetic urge to change jobs more...my gender dysphoria or the desire to improve my employment and finances. I managed to do both until after my wife passed away and I lost nearly everything I had worked for as a man but gained a life as a full time transgender woman.

Hopefully, my final move was made when I moved in years ago with my wife Liz in Cincinnati, Ohio. I always had enjoyed my trips to Cincinnati in my past and felt the move would do me good and was my destiny in many ways. Perhaps my lifelong obsessions will lead to a positive senior life and I won't have to do any more gender travel.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Alawys Going Somewhere

Image from Louis Paulin
On UnSplash

 Back in what I call my formative years, I grew used to trying to outrun my problems. Between college and my military service I literally was moved or decided to move on my own an average of every year and a half. It all started when I left home for college for a year and a half. Amazingly, during this time my gender dysphoria disappeared and suddenly I was free to live a somewhat normal gender life. I say normal because during this time I had several dates with girls from the East Coast who were much more sophisticated sexually than anything I had seen in my shy Midwestern upbringing. In fact, my Mom unknowingly set me up with my first sexual experience with one of her older (not a minor) students where she taught high school.  I think she was nineteen and I was eighteen, so I had a lot to learn. 

The school I went away to was one a group of Midwestern Ivy League schools for students on the East Coast who couldn't make it into the top notch schools or universities in their back yards. What happened was I ended up partying with my friends mainly from Philadelphia and Baltimore and not studying enough to maintain grades to not get drafted into the Vietnam War. After a year and a half I picked up and moved back home to attend a much more academically forgiving nearby university where I could thrive. Which I did by even making the Dean's List several times before I graduated. More importantly to me back then was the fact I was drawn back into my old cross dressing memories of home while I was able still to land a Disk Jockey job at a small local radio station which happened to be owned by a very powerful congressman which turned out to be very important to my future. For awhile I was quite satisfied with satisfying my cross dressing desires by putting on my feminine clothes when my parents weren't around just like the old days while at the same time attending to school while I built my self a career in the commercial radio business. 

Just when I thought I had it all together, Uncle Sam came along with several all expense paid tickets to work and travel in exchange for three years of my life. I was able to salvage my radio career with the help of the congressman I worked for but my cross dressing would certainly have to be on hold for the foreseeable future. My first move was a bus trip to beautiful (?) Ft. Knox in Kentucky for Army basic training. I didn't get to see any gold but I saw many fellow recruits going through tank infantry school. A nice way of saying they were headed to Vietnam to be cannon or grenade fodder for the war. Basic was tough but not tough enough to wash out any or all ideas I had of ever following my feminine dreams. In fact in many ways I think basic just made my dreams stronger because I couldn't wait to get out and live them.

Following Basic at Ft. Knox, little did I know the amount of travel Uncle Sam had planned for me. It all started innocently enough by getting transferred for advanced training at the Defense Information School in relatively close by Indianapolis, Indiana. It was close enough to my home I could drive back and forth for weekends and leave but not close enough for me to cross dress when I was home. It turned out I wasn't going to stay in Indy long before I was sent to Thailand along with my close knit classmates to help run a radio/tv station in Udorn which had recently been destroyed by a battle damaged F-4 fighter jet which crashed at the end of the runway killing all working in the station. Since we were Army working for the Air Force, we received extra pay to live off base. Of course living off base put me face to face with the Thai Ladyboy culture. As advertised, many were indeed beautiful but all I did was admire from afar. I was afraid of any stigma which would have been attached to me if I had tried to know any of the alluring creatures further. 

After my year in Thailand, I was trying hard to get assigned to Europe and work for the AFN Radio Network. I finally did make it but not with more moving around. What happened was I had two sets of orders. One verbal and one paper. I decided to follow the one on paper and report to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for duty in their information office. What turned out was I wasn't supposed to be there and was sent back home with another weeks worth of leave before I had to leave for Germany, where I wanted to go to start with. After all those convoluted military moves I finally had the chance to live out my dream of seeing Europe because once again I received extra pay to live off base.

I am fairly sure all of this moving affected me in many ways when I was honorably discharged from the military and through with school. More on how it affected my gender dysphoria in another post. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Woman Up

 Perhaps you have been told to "man up" and do something during your life. The best example I can come up with is going through basic training in the military. These days with the welcome influx of women in the military, basic training may be a different experience but in my days it was definitely not a coed experience. Since it was during the days of the Vietnam War draft days, I had no choice but to man up and make it through. Which I did. I ended up taking approximately twenty five pounds of fat

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archives 


off and replacing it with muscle. All of that was good I suppose but at the same time I was desperately missing my urge to cross dress into my feminine clothes. There were times when we were on forced full gear long marches the only thing which kept me going was dreaming of the times I had when I dressed as a woman. I had to "woman up" or hitch up my non existent feminine panties and successfully concentrate on the task at hand. 

Over the years it became evident to me the whole Army experience became a focal point in my life. I learned the hard way I could eventually overcome almost any obstacle on my way to living as a fulltime transgender woman, On occasion I was certainly terrified of crossing the gender frontier and losing my male privileges' but I went forward anyway mainly because deep down I felt so natural doing it. As I entered the second major transition in my life from cross dresser to novice transgender woman, the thrill I experienced when I succeeded and survived was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It felt like I had finally had woman-ed up I did what came naturally.

The problem was all my good feelings were directly challenged by my wife's desire not to live with another woman. The process became a prime example of being stuck between a gender rock and a hard place. I felt I had to continue to explore living as a transgender woman but she was standing in my way. In all ways she represented any chance I had of continuing to live what was left of my male life. Finally one of our fights became so bad she told me to man up and become a woman. She was prophetic in many ways. After a failed suicide attempt on my part and a sudden death from her, the doors swung wide open for me to finally allow my dominate feminine being to exist. As it happened, my life really changed and I had to hitch up my big girl panties or woman up to survive in a world I had only dreamed of. As I discarded all of my old male clothes, with the limited funds I had I had to make sure I was buying useful utilitarian clothes which i could be attractive in and still blend in well with the other women I met. 

It was around this time also when I decided I could retire on early Social Security pay as long as I sold the house full of antiques and collectibles I owned. Through a couple of on line services I used, I was able to exist and retire so I didn't have to attempt to transition on the job in the very conservative company I worked for. I guess you could say I missed being able to woman up by transitioning at work and dodging a major hassle other transgender women and trans men face. 

From that point forward, the biggest hurdle in my MtF gender transition was my decision to woman up and schedule a doctors appointment to see if I could begin hormone replacement therapy. When I found out I could, I was ecstatic. I could now woman up again and take another major step towards achieving my gender dream. In life though nothing remains static and now I remain ready for the next challenge I have to get ready for. Or woman up again. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

How to be Transgender

What a question...right? All of us most certainly have a different but yet oddly similar answer to the question. Along the way here on the blog we have created quite the niche with transgender women who have decided to complete their gender transition later in life. A commitment such as that requires quite the sacrifice. Often we have to give up long time family ties losing beloved former friends and family who refuse to accept our new authentic selves. 

Photo from the
Jessie Hart Archives

Along the way, we had to learn our own ways what it meant to enter a new and very foreign feminine world. I know in my case, often the whole process was terrifying. It occurred to me  I was giving up years and years of effort to be a person I never really wanted to be. I know none of that sounds different than the path you followed. Other examples include time in the military and the time and effort you had to put in to grow up fast as your transgender self. After all, we didn't have the benefit of a mother, sister or peer group to aid in shaping our new world. For me it was very difficult to learn I would never be able to recapture a past as a girl I never had. As I write many times, I was guilty of trying to dress as a teenaged girl stuffed into an oversized male body still loaded with testosterone. 

By living my mistakes I learned how to become my unique form of transgender woman. More than likely many of you did also. Many of us are fortunate to have been shaped by the cis women around us. For each disapproving spouse there are so many more who often begrudgingly come to accept the new woman in their relationship. I know with me, even though my second wife never accepted my transition to a transgender woman, she still shaped my transition in more ways than she ever knew. Her comment I was a terrible woman was an example. It came after a practically successful time for me when I presented as a woman. It turns out she wasn't referring to my appearance at all but more about the remaining male ego I still dealt with. It took me years to finally realize what she meant. I'm sure many of you, similar to me, considered yourself to be students of all things feminine. It was difficult to figure out what was good and what was bad for me and entered into how I felt I had to progress towards how to be transgender.

Many of us also who were raised in the pre-internet generation feel our gender growth was stunted in many ways. Leading us to feel we lost the chance to work on a gender transition earlier in our lives if we only had the information to learn from. Since we can't go back in time, we just became better in working with what we had to work with. Sometimes we pashed too hard when we tried to explore outside our restrictive gender closets and had to dial our goals back just a bit until we could get back on track and put our lives back together. 

Together was the key term. Since we have lived longer, the more gender baggage we had to consider bringing with us as we crossed the gender frontier. For instance I had to decided what I was going to do about my lifelong passion for sports. I ended up solving the problem by discovering and being able to socialize with several other women who enjoyed sports as much as I did. How to be transgender for me suddenly became a positive experience for me. On the negative side, my brother who I used to watch many games with vanished from my life when he and my sister in law refused to accept my new feminine self. Of course there were many more important baggage items to consider such as property, jobs and family to name a few. It all is the exact opposite to what young transgender folks face. Their problem is how do they face the future of difficulties with employment and benefits as they build their lives. It seems nobody wins. 

The bottom line is how to be transgender is never easy and is for gender survivors only.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Should We Stay or Go

Perhaps you have heard of former Navy Seal Kristin Beck deciding to de transition from Kristin (a transgender woman) back to their original male self Chris Beck. 

I have followed Beck for years. In fact I donated a few dollars to their political campaign many years ago.

Image Courtesy 
Chris/Kristin Beck


While I was not so disappointed they de-transitioned, I was disappointed when I thought what anti transgender activists would make of the move. We transgender women and trans men are under too much pressure to begin with. Regardless, it is everyone's personal prerogative to do what they desire with their gender. 

I'm sure in most of our gender journeys at one time or another we have thought about going back to our previous selves. If I go back to my early purges when I threw out most of my feminine belongings, each time I felt this was it. I would never have the desire to look like or be a woman again. It never failed, after a very brief period of gender relief, I would always go back to what turned out to be a return to a strong desire to replenish my wardrobe of feminine necessities. In fact, not only did I add new items to my "collection" I was able on occasion to add accessories from other cross dresser acquaintances who decided to purge at approximately the same time. One in particular had to empty out his secret storage unit before his unapproving spouse caught on. As I remember, I inherited a very realistic set of silicon breast forms I couldn't easily afford.  

As I slowly stair stepped my way up the cross dressing ladder. I became too serious and ended up quickly separating myself from the so called "hobbyists" who claimed they casually put on women's clothes as a hobby. I found I more closely aligned myself with the more serious cross dressers who were headed towards living fulltime as what was known in those days as a transsexual. I had no idea if I was able to give up my successful male life to do it but on occasion I felt so natural when I was in feminine mode, I didn't see how I could ever give it up and return to a fulltime male life. I remember vividly the parties I went to at a friends house in nearby Columbus, Ohio which usually always included an impossibly feminine person or two I could measure myself against as I tried to determine my gender status. 

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to go through the stress and tension it would take to go through a transgender transition in a very public eye. We all were witness to the overall debacle which was the Jenner transition. Now we have the Chris Beck de-transition to deal with. I hate to think both of these ill fated moves has determined what people may think about me. What we, as transgender people, need to prove is we are not going back to our old selves not even thinking how easy it would be. Plus I wonder, no matter what, if one could jump the gender frontier without having lasting memories of how easy or difficult it was to live our truths. 

I just hope de-transitioners finally find their happiness.  

Friday, December 9, 2022

It Feels Like a Dream

Liz on my left
from the Jessie Hart Archives

Today is my therapy day which happens two times a month. I have been fortunate in that I have had the same Veteran's Administration psychologist since the beginning for nearly ten years now. She has been by my side through several difficult times such as providing me documents I needed for my legal name change. as well as HRT.

Looking back at the decade, the whole feminization process seems like a dream mainly because of the hormone replacement therapy my therapist helped me to be approved for. Overall the process has been positive for me. An example was this morning when it was one of the days I change my Estradiol patches for my HRT. It's the time I have a chance to reflect on all the changes I have gone through. Although my breast size and hair growth has evened out, it seems it is time now for my hips to develop. I can really feel the difference when I put my jeans or leggings on. Some days I feel just like a teenaged girl going through puberty. 

Most likely it is because of the time I spent acting as if I was a successful man. All of the time I spent cross dressing as a guy I was dreaming of what it would be like to live as a fulltime transgender woman. Now that I am here, I know I have made the right decision. Not only do I live a feminine life, I have found a loving spouse to share my new life with. How fortunate can a person be? There is no way I thought I would make it this far in life to begin with and be with someone else again for the rest of my life. I thought my quota of people who loved me, such as my ex wives would be over when my second wife passed away. I was prepared to live the rest of my life alone.

I found out too, my successful transgender dream was far from me achieving it alone. I was fortunate to have found such wonderful people to help me along the way. Of course I already mentioned my therapist and my wife Liz but there were so many others who made my dream a realty by accepting  me for who I was. A prime example was when I first moved in with Liz and started to go with her to her Wiccan meetings. I was accepted into the circle with no strings attached. The entire process gave me the confidence to move forward in my life. I thank Debra among others for the help. Plus I cannot forget women such as Kim and Nikki who taught me so much about the feminine world and made it possible to live my dream. 

Lessons learned included realizingly living a feminine life meant so much more than just doing my best to perfect a feminine presentation. All along I knew women lived a much more layered and challenging life than a man but now I had to try to live it by walking and talking many miles in their shoes. 

Dreams are fleeting and often are mixed in with nightmares if you are not careful. Slip ups and set backs are always a part of the process. When the process involves gender dysphoria and changes, the dream becomes that much more challenging. But then again so rewarding when your dreams come true.

Finally thanks to all of you who read my blogging. Your visits and interaction make the effort so worthwhile. 

 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Trans Girl in a Gay Bar

It wasn't too long following my coming out of my gender closet when I began to try to go to gay venues to express my authentic self in a relatively safe space. There were several I began to frequent quite a bit. Then there were others I was made to feel quite uncomfortable in. In other words, if it wasn't drag night with a show, what was I doing there anyhow. Back in those days there was very little recognition in those places of what a transgender person even was. Not even a drag queen. The whole atmosphere of the music and discrimination led me to try out the big sports venues I was comfortable in. What did I have to lose?   

From the Jessie Hart
Archives. The wig I wore that night.

Even though, with a lot of persistence and a lot of luck I was able to establish myself  as a regular in several establishments where I could go in peace, watch sports on a big screen television and drink big cold draft beers. Actually it wasn't too difficult to establish myself because I was a one of a kind addition to their clientele. There were not many single women and/or transgender women who came in to enjoy a drink. I found out fairly quickly which venues leaned to the redneck side and hated me and the ones who didn't. Of course I made it easy by minding my own business and tipping well. My visits to gay venues became rarer and rarer and mostly were going to a couple small lesbian bars. One of which hated me and the other I found I was accepted for the most part or just ignored. 

Even though I nearly exclusively stayed out of the male dominated gay venues, there was one big one in downtown Dayton, Ohio I did go to on occasion to socialize with friends. By doing so I managed to have a couple memorable evenings. One of which occurred when I went to meet up with a transgender man friend of mine (who I had my first dinner out with a guy previously) and a lesbian friend of his. I remember now how long I labored over what I was going to wear and finding the prep time to get ready. I finally decided on going all black with a sleeveless black tank top, long black flowing skirt with a cut which extended up to my thigh, my black sandals topped off with my long straight black wig. Unlike several of my other outfits I had to make sure my legs were freshly shaved and my makeup was properly done. So time was of the essence. Once I finished dressing, the mirror was really singing my praises and out the door I went, savoring the feel of the summer night air on my legs and arms. For once I thought I had nailed the right outfit for where I was going. 

Once I arrived before I found my friends, I found the ladies room to make sure my wig was adjusted properly and make any last minute makeup adjustments. In the slightly dimmer light and soft surroundings the mirror was really singing my praises as I made my way out to meet my friends. During a time of experiencing mostly errors in the way I presented my feminine self, I felt very successful in this attempt. So successful I asked my friends to accompany me to my car after we partied so I had a bit of safety in numbers. The venue was in the same vicinity where I was accosted slightly when I was alone one night walking to my car. I learned the hard way, the safety part of my former male privilege was gone forever. I wasn't going to risk it again. I made it safely to my car and the evening was almost over following one more stop. 

Ironically, the big gay venue was destined to play another major role in my life as a transgender woman interacting with lesbian cis women. One of the two lesbian friends I partied with liked to attend local mixers with other lesbians in rotating venues. One month the mixer would be held at a regular venue and the next a gay spot. It just so happened I was back at the place I mentioned before surrounded by approximately twenty members of the lesbian group. As it turned out, one of my friends was trying very hard to attract the attention of another one of the attendees. However she was too shy to approach the other woman and finally asked me to do it. I was bold enough to do it and told her sure. Cautiously I approached and told her I had a friend who wanted to meet her. She basically ignored me but did take the opportunity to tell me no. As I took the bad news back to my friend, vaguely I thought this was a major moment in my life when I had been asked essentially to be a wing person for another woman. 

To my knowledge the big gay bar is still open but I have moved a distance away. Maybe my wife Liz and I can make it back up there someday to relive the experiences I had there. Unfortunately the  LGBTQ venue just down the street has closed. It was where Liz was with me when I took my first hormone replacement therapy dosage. Material for another blog post.