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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

They Took my Cross Dressing Stash

Image Courtesy Anete Lusina 
on Unsplash

When I enlisted in the military rather than face being drafted during the Vietnam War era I ended up having an extra five months or so before I needed to report for basic training. This was back in the early 1970's. At that time also, I was working on a radio station near where I graduated college from in Urbana, Ohio. And, I ended up finding a job where a friend of mine was working in Bowling Green, Ohio. If you are not familiar, Bowling Green is the home of a fairly sizeable university, so there was a market for progressive rock radio as it was known back in those days. In order to take the job, I had to only move approximately one hundred miles north to Bowling Green. In the meantime, I found an apartment to live in with two other college students. I was up front with everyone about my having to leave in a couple months because of my date with Uncle Sam. 

The only problem I had was what was I going to go about my small but growing wardrobe /makeup of women's clothing.  Since I had my own room in the apartment so the issue became smuggling my "stash" out of my parents house and into it's new home in Bowling Green. I always say "Where there is a will, there is a way" and I was somehow able to accomplish doing the move without anyone noticing. Once I moved into my new apartment I was fairly careful to make sure I didn't leave out any of my cross dressing accessories for anyone to see. My plan worked well and when the college holiday break approached I planned to be able to pursue my past time in peace. All my other apartment dwellers were college students and they planned to be gone for nearly a month or so around the holiday season. 

One night, unannounced another guy who didn't go home for the holiday's showed up at the apartment. A night I had planned for myself to shave my legs, slide on my panty hose, dress, makeup and wig and enjoy the evening. As the evening progressed with this guy and after a few beers, I started to wonder if he would be totally degusted if I dressed in front of him. I finally decided to try it, secretly hoping he would find me so attractive he would want to take me out to one of the college bars downtown. After making sure he knew where the beer was, I slipped away to get ready. After I got my courage up and finished shaving my legs I went searching for my "stash" and discovered to my horror, most of it was gone. So much for any planned seductions I had planned. 

I never did find out which of my apartment "friends" or their girlfriends stole my cross dressing stash. The closest idea I could come up with was someone got into my room when I was home a couple days for Christmas. When everyone returned from their breaks I didn't have enough courage to confront the group about what happened. I should have because my mind set at that point in time was what was the worst that could happen? In a month I would be gone to the Army anyway. It was just another one of those "what if" moments in my life, 

What if I had the courage to cross dress as a woman in front of a stranger for the first time in my life and what if he liked it. I will never know because they took my cross dressing stash.    

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Undying Admiration

Photo from Davide Ragusa 
on UnSplash

 Or should I say the opposite, dying admiration. On the rare occasion I visit a cemetery., especially in the military section I wonder how many of buried service members took their deep dark gender secret of being transgender to the grave with them. Men in particular have a higher portion of transgender service because they saw the military as a way to denying the fact they wanted deep down to be a woman. Sadly many took that to the grave with them. 

On a lesser scale, there are those trans women in the closet who decided to stay there later in life. I can understand the inner turmoil which existed by staying in the closet for the sake of family, job, or even friends. I did it for six months for my second wife just before she passed away. I was so polished in my feminine presentation, you might say in many words I "de-transitioned" to do it. I became so bad off, I resorted to growing back my hated beard, gaining weight and drinking way too much. Terrible is the word which comes to mind when I think back on this period of my life. 

To be able to stay in the closet later in life can most likely be looked at in a couple ways. One of which is the thought pattern I have made it this far in life in the closet, why risk my life as I know it for such a radical change. All you have spent your entire life trying to build could be in jeopardy. Using a current term, you could put your entire life into the "hot mess" category. Spouses, extended family and property are just a few of the things which can be thrown suddenly into the junk pile. The other way is the complete opposite.

If you are not going to try to get out of your closet later in life, mortality is closing in and you may never have another chance. Sometimes relationships with spouses have become routine all the way to toxic, so a change could do you good. My own parents became increasingly toxic to each other somewhere following their fiftieth wedding anniversary and I often wondered who or why they were staying together for. 

These days it would not surprise me to hear of more senior citizen de-transitioners. Perhaps it is because many of given up so much, it makes no sense to go back. On the other hand, in my case I would never give my brother and his family the satisfaction of thinking they were right concerning my right to live as my authentic self. Plus, the fact I enjoy now who I am for the first time in my life can be factored in. I guess I can say those transgender individuals who never came out of their closets until death were better men than I never was.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Transgender Valentines Day

 

From the Jessie Hart Archives
my Valentine Wife Liz on left,


This Valentines Day I have decided to write about  loves I experienced during my life. I have been fortunate in that I have always had a cis woman who more or less put up with me. In chronological order, here they are.

The only woman who did not know I was at the least a cross dresser when we met and dated was my first fiancé. She ultimately became the only woman to ever attempted to completely dress me up as a woman from head to toe. As exciting as it was for me initially, the newness wore off and problems set in. I can't say my cross dressing led to our ultimate separation before I enlisted in the Army. During my interaction with the military draft board, she told me to tell them I was gay to get out of serving to stay home. If I didn't, she told me she would be done with me. When I refused, she followed through on her threat and I was done with her which was probably the best thing that had happened to me to that point in my life.  I was now on my own when I went off to Army basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

Ironically, my second big romance came courtesy of the Army in Germany. Once I was there for awhile during my two year tour, I met a WAC. Known back then as the Woman's Army Corps. We started to date to the point we decided to keep seeing each other after we were discharged from the military. She knew I was a cross dresser from the beginning of our relationship so I didn't have to worry about telling her my innermost secret. To make a long story short, we ended up getting along well enough to get married and she gave birth to my daughter. Who turned out to be my only child.  The relationship lasted nearly five years until I was literally knocked over when I met my wife to be of twenty five years. It was love at first sight and somehow, someway I knew I just had to establish a relationship with her.

After a lengthy courtship behind my first wife's back, I managed to win her over. Even when I told her I was a cross dresser also. I can't say the twenty five years were not at times rocky but for the most part they were interesting. Even though she fought completely any thoughts I was transgender, I still loved her dearly until her completely surprise death at the age of fifty from a massive heart attack. I was destroyed for years.

I was still very much dealing with a possible transgender transition when I met Liz and several others who helped me more than they ever knew. It has been over eleven years ago since Liz and I met and we were married last October at the urging of my daughter. Just one of the major things I remember about our relationship over the years was when Liz told me she had never seen anything but female in me.

Over the years of my life I have been fortunate to have been loved and to love several Valentine's which passed through. Perhaps being transgender made the process a little different of course I can't speak for others. But since I came from a family who wasn't known to show emotions and even speak of love, being transgender or not has made the love experience special to me.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you also and thanks for reading along.  

  

Monday, February 13, 2023

It's in the DNA

The last time I was asked when I knew I was transgender was by my daughter who correctly said "You always knew right?" She was asking primarily because of her own trans child and how to understand them. (They/them are their preferred pronouns.)  I told her I knew to an extent I have always known something was wrong with how I perceived gender. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives 

In my own personal gender research, I have read of the hormonal effects of the "DES" medication which was given to pregnant women in the time of my birth. If you are not aware, the medication "flooded" the wombs of women known to have problem births. By definition, "DES" is a synthetic form of the female estrogen hormone. The end result was it enabled the women to go full term and deliver healthy babies. My parents were on the verge of giving up and adopting a baby after a series of three still births until "DES" and I came along. As I researched the medication, the more I felt it could have a connection to my gender dysphoria. It could be why, all along I felt so natural anytime I attempted to research my inner feminine side. Perhaps the feeling had been always with me, including the time before I could even express it. 

The entire hormonal aspect of my life came full circle when I started on my own version of "DES" when I started more synthetic estrogen to my system through hormone replacement therapy. It seemed my body took to the hormonal process similar to how a duck takes to water. Changes to my body came fast and furious. An example was when I needed quickly to find looser shirts to wear because my breasts began to grow faster than even I imagined. I can not stress enough how natural the new gender process felt. I feel most people want to zero in on all the physical changes of HRT when in reality, the internal changes were just as big. Just as quickly, my new hormones calmed me down and enabled me to see the world in a whole different light.  In a word, my existence was "softer." 

The more I held my new world in wonderment, the more I wondered why the process happened at all and why it took so long to happen.  The more I questioned the more I came to realize I didn't have a gender choice at all. I was never meant to try to live a male life. Cross dressing as a man, as well as the rest of the lifestyle, probably took years off my life. 

Finally, as I was able to trace my existence at birth (or before in the womb) was because of my exposure to a synthetic estrogen, it all started to make sense. I never had a chance. No matter how hard I tried to please my family and friends, I was always a girl. It was in my DNA.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Exotic yet Obtainable Transgender Women

 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart
Archives


One of the prime reasons (initially) when I wanted to check out the feminine world, was I wanted the chance to dress in all the varied colorful wardrobes of other women. Little did I know the journey my desires would take me on. 

Similar to so many of you, I began by raiding my Mother's clothes and makeup. Right away I knew deep down I was doing the right thing for supposedly all the wrong reasons. I always use the "natural" word to describe my feminine needs. As my needs progressed with my age, I found I could attempt to cross several boundaries. Unfortunately one of the boundaries I needed to cross escaped me for years. I write about it often...the need to attempt to dress extremely tacky or trashy to feel more feminine. All it turned out to do was create too much unwanted attention. Once I survived this portion of my life, I could move on to another fun yet challenging phase of my life as a cross dresser. 

Becoming too serious about how I looked in public at times took the fun out of the process. Worry, worry, worry was all I did. Rather than being able to feel how an outfit looked on me, I was seriously zeroed in on if I was accepted as a woman. An example is the early evening when I went to a downtown street fair in nearby Dayton, Ohio. Before it became too dark, I took advantage of being able to wear my sunglasses to see if I was getting any unwanted attention. Once I found out I wasn't, I was able to relax and enjoy the overall experience. Just to feel the air on my bare arms was wonderful.

The more I learned of course the more I wanted to learn concerning my new found freedom as a transgender woman. Specifically when I did manage to set up a few dates with men who seemed to be interesting to me. I stressed on what to wear as I wanted to be more than the normal exotic transgender woman all the way to being subtlety obtainable. In other words, I knew I was already exotic to the men because they knew I was trans, I did not want to be perceived as some sort of a sex object like a trans porn video. Aside from being transgender, I was probably walking the same fine line as any other cis-woman. In case you are wondering, the dates never went past the first or second date, so I guess I was somehow a failure. Then again, I never labored under the opinion I would the woman the men would take home to meet their families. I knew I was some sort of a fling, I just wanted to be treated with respect. Which I was.

I can only say the world we decided to enter as women is a true art form. Walking all the various paths from being a saint or a sinner. Including being able to present well enough in the world to blend in with society at large.  As women today seem to be pulling away from the finer points of dressing up, it is more and more difficult to be exotic yet obtainable. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Neat Little Boxes

These days it seems, everyday a different term or even an alphabet letter comes forward to describe a different facet of the transgender or LGBT community. In fact the latest LGBT acronym has been expanded to LGBTQIA + to include Queer, Intersex and Asexual persons also. Often when I write the original four letters (to me) I feel remiss in leaving out the other groups but for the sake of simplicity, I leave it alone.

Image Courtesy Christine
Jorgensen 

I wonder also why we need such a selection of neat little boxes to identify with. Perhaps it is because we are learning gender has so many different variations to discuss. Again I will throw up my age as an excuse to be mesmerized by the newer facets added to the old school thought that there were just boys and girls growing up. Then we slowly became aware of people such as Christine Jorgensen  was the first to be widely known for undergoing sex change surgery  To put it into perspective Jorgensen changed gender in 1952 when I was three years old. As I grew up, the only vague terms I ever heard or read to describe at all what my gender feelings were transsexual or transvestite. 

The next main person I remember in my gender dysphoric life was Virginia Prince who I started to follow in the 1970's when I subscribed to her "Transvestia Magazine". Some publications give her credit for coining the transgender term but others don't. It doesn't really matter because in the seventies the transgender term became popular anyhow. I viewed it at the time for ideally describing me. I wasn't ready for any life changing gender surgery but on the other hand I knew my cross dressing was more than an innocent hobby. 

It was during this time I progressed into what I called a very serious crossdresser, even to the point of imagining if I could really be a novice transgender woman. I was trying to fit into two of the neat little boxes and I was having a difficult time doing it. My old male self was fighting back as I slid down the slippery slope to living my gender truth. To cloud my judgement too, this was becoming the time more terminology was being added to the system I was identifying with. Terms such as "gender queer" and "gender fluid" became popular subjects in support groups I was attending. "Gender Fluid" I felt could have really gone a long way describing how I felt when I was younger and totally confused. Just when I thought I had the box thing figured out, two of the biggest, most challenging box choices were still to come as I began to seriously pursue a gender transition. 

The biggest of them all came when I made the ill-fated attempt to live a life in both binary genders. To put it very simply, my feet ended up not fitting in either box and the process came close to killing me. The second was when I had to determine my future sexuality as a transgender woman. During my life I had never been remotely attracted sexually to another man so I wondered if I ever could. What happened was after a couple brief flings with men which resulted in no sex, I was able to settle back in with women friends. So I viewed myself as a transgender lesbian which I see more and more of in social media circles.

It took awhile but I finally figured out which of the neat little boxes I fit into. Until someone comes up with another. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Is Being a Woman an Illusion?

Image from Caroline Veronez 
on Unsplash

 Put in it's simplest terms, being female could be defined as the binary gender who can birth other humans and can have monthly periods. A statement many TERF'S or certain politicians would like us all to believe. As we all know, gender is much more complicated than all of that. Even the poor misunderstood drag queens have been pulled into the battle. They never wanted to be women to start with, just look like one. Politicians don't want to understand any of that.   

Now, for the moment, let's consider the old saying "Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice." I am fairly sure those of you who have ever interacted closely with women as a transgender woman or as a man, know a woman or two (or many more) who do not fit the old stereotype. I have seen many cis women who are so much tougher on so many levels. I have also seen many women who are able to cover up their toughness by trying a passive aggressive approach instead. It took many years for me to develop eyes in the back of my head to look for hidden claw marks from women who didn't like me for whatever reason.

Along the way, I have seen many transgender women (novice or not) who project extreme femininity. I remember distinctly one attendee to the monthly cross dressing/trans parties I went to at an acquaintance's beautiful house in Columbus, Ohio. The only time I saw this person was when she quickly changed into a lovely nightgown, lingerie set. Even though I thought her choice of wardrobe was out of place, I could not believe the amount of femininity she radiated. I was sure she was destined to "go all the way" to genital realignment surgery or sex change as it was known back in those days. Very rarely did I encounter a person like this. Of course I saw many men who transformed themselves into beautiful women but sadly their inner masculinity found a way to shine through. In other words, they almost were able to create the ultimate gender illusion but just fell short. 

Perhaps it was just because they were just like me and were living a part time life as a man also. In my case I had to take my whole study of womanhood to a whole other level. Similar to the other glamorous cross dressers I encountered, I wanted to do my best to look feminine. I wasn't a natural, so I knew I had a way to go. It wasn't until after another bitter battle with my second wife did I begin to understand I still had a long way to go until I could take the next step and totally undertake being a woman. What happened was the night before I had been mistaken for a cis woman at a transvestite mixer and my male ego was at an all time high about reaching a new goal with my feminine appearance. After the fight calmed down, my wife told me she wasn't speaking about how I looked as a woman. She was talking about I had none of the experiences it took to achieve womanhood. From that moment forward, I dedicated my life to understanding what she meant. It was difficult to study woman from afar but I did the best I could. Sadly, she passed away before I could achieve my goals. It would have been interesting to see if we could ever could have been friends as women. 

In conclusion, being a woman is not an illusion. It is an earned right we are all entitled to. No one is born a woman, we are socialized into the title. Transgender or not, learning what that means is the most difficult part. 


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Who is Hurting Who?

Photo Courtesy
Kim Petras 

With the deluge of anti-transgender Republican led political bills around the country, it's easy to forget those cis women who may be caught in the gender cross fire. I am referring to the many cis-women (born female) who don't particularly present well as women. Are they going to have to undergo some of or all of the idiotic regulations some one has to go through just to go to the bathroom. I have read some legislators are trying to require monthly records of a woman's period as a basis to judge their gender to compete in sports.

Imagine being an unsuspecting cis woman questioned in a restroom about her gender. Will she take a moment to think about and realize where all political transgender problems are coming from. It's so bad now even the right wing parrots who say they are running for president are mentioning the transgender community as major problems. 

Speaking of problems, the only one I see for trans folk is when they try to go naked in places such as women's changing rooms. As I have said before, I would not be caught dead with no clothes on in front of strangers and resent others who do and discredit my right to life as a proud out transgender woman. Recently, another example of what I am talking about occurred close to where I live in Ohio. A pre-opt transgender woman was naked in a women's changing room and was seen by a group of teenaged girls. Of course, all hell brook loose.  By "pre-opt" I mean the person had no genital realignment surgeries. 

Even with all the negativity in the transgender world, there are still positive signs if you look for them. Signs that point out transgender women and men are not going anywhere. We have always been around and always will be. Recently, I was watching a promo about the upcoming Grammy awards show on

Photo Courtesy
Jazz Jennings

CBS and noticed Kim Petras name mentioned. If you are not aware, Kim is a transgender singer from Germany who began her transition early in life. She is one of the fortunate young trans girls such as Jazz Jennings who have started young with a supportive family and stayed in the public's eye. Although with Kim, you have to search long and hard to find any information about her being born male when I searched Wikipedia and other sources. It's a good thing when she is only known as a singer without the transgender tag added on.

Obviously, as a community we trans folks have enough challenges coming up. Together we have to accentuate the positive such as we are as normal as the population at large. I say that because I never considered I was "normal" even though I identified as a transgender person.  

Perhaps if enough cis women are affected by the ridiculous number of proposed anti-transgender laws being proposed and people get to know other trans people, the tide will turn in our favor and we don't have to rely on celebrities such as Kim Petras and Jazz Jennings to do it for us.  

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Life Long Experience or Bad Ass Transgender

I have seen recently several profiles of new followers (thank you) who refer to themselves as "bad-ass" old ladies. At the time I felt Wow! it must be nice to think of yourself in those words. One thing is for sure, it takes the amount of life experience to make such a claim. 

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart
Archives

Certainly, many cis-women have the multi layered experiences to make the "bad-ass" claim.  It has always been my thought that to become women, girls have to go through quite the process. Just one example would be the child birthing experience. Of course most girls have to deal with the fact they shoulder most of the burden when it comes to becoming pregnant. It's still too easy for an underaged boy to trot off into the sunset when there is an unwanted child to deal with. 

Then women through out their lives have to deal with being perceived as being second class citizens in the worlds of being paid less and overall treatment at the hands of men. It wasn't so long ago women finally earned the right to vote and much later to even apply for and receive their own credit card. Bad ass women remember all of that. So where does it leave transgender women? Our life long experience should lead us to a position where we deserve to be bad ass women also. I vividly remember the early days of my gender transition into a feminine world when I rudely was rejected by men. In any and all conversations. Through it all it was evident when I reached a certain level of the presentation I was seeking, I lost huge amounts of my former hard earned male privilege. Primarily I lost my intelligence as well as my personal safety. Ironically, I knew it was coming and didn't miss any of it. What I gained was worth it because it all felt so natural.

None of this of course happened over night. There were so many nights out with my friends engaging the public when I was able to learn what I would need to know later in life to survive. I needed to survive my basic battles just to use the women's restroom as one of my prime examples. Those alone should make huge contributions to my claim of being a "bad ass" old lady. Except I am not. Over the years remembering how testosterone made me feel as well as the new feelings of estrogen in my body mellowed me right out. When someone mis-genders these days, even though it hurts me deeply, I try to take the upper path and educate them to their gender mistake. 

Life long experiences as a transgender woman have made me a better person. Not so much more of a bad ass. Who else is able to cross the gender frontier and live to write about it. Plus, to be bitter at all would negate a life long experience of learning. I do respect those who describe themselves as "bad ass old ladies" and prefer to make them my friend rather than an enemy.  One never knows what is going to happen next. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Sweet Revenge

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Collection

 I wish to thank everyone who responded to my recent post which dealt (among other things) with my self destructive attempts at self harm. Tragically it is a theme which resonates deeply within the transgender community. 

Now, since I survived a very bumpy road down my gender path. I like to think back and enjoy just a bit of sweet revenge. Too many times it would have been easier to turn around, purge my feminine clothes and wigs and go back to my male lifestyle. I could have reclaimed my male privilege and moved on like nothing happened. Through it all, I faced all the challenges, learned and finally arrived at the other end of a long dark tunnel. It all began in my very dark and very lonely gender closet as I suffered from gender dysphoria. As I continued my journey, there were too many false road marks to guide me and I suffered setbacks. It was during these set backs I resorted to deeply self destructive behaviors.  I took too many risks behind the wheel and drank way too much alcohol as I wrote about previously. In addition to all of those, I even lost a job when my gender dysphoric behavior got the best of me and I took it out on others. 

In desperation I made appointments with one of the only gender knowledgeable therapists at the time in Ohio. She was upfront with me when she said she couldn't help my gender issues but did diagnose my bi-polar ones. Which helped me immensely with a portion of the severe mood swings I was going through. The end result was once again I discovered there would be no magical cure to me wanting to be a girl and I was essentially on my own again. Back in those days, in the early to mid 1980's, there simply wasn't the information available to help any LGBT individuals, especially those with severe gender issues. In addition, I was guilty of expecting too much from my therapy. I was new at the process and just didn't understand the benefits and drawbacks. 

These days, as I come to the end of long series of appointments with my highly motivated and qualified Veterans Administration therapist, I have so many memories of the assistance she has given me over the past ten years. It was her who in many ways helped me in plotting my sweet revenge when she initially provided me the paperwork to begin hormone replacement therapy with the VA. Then she helped me again with paperwork which forwarded my gender marker changes which happened over seven years ago. By gender markers, I mean all the legal identifications I needed to process to change my gender legally through the courts and other places. 

Although, since I have been living for years now as a successful transgender woman , I still don't have all the revenge I so desired when I was younger. Back in those days, I couldn't wait to be prettier and drive a nicer car than my fiancé who dumped me with no warning before I was drafted into the military. Now, with my younger and prettier days behind me, I have mellowed to what is really important in life. My daughter, grandkids and wife who support me.  At the age of seventy three my own personal revenge is staying healthy enough to appreciate my gender journey and what I learned from it. 













 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Being Transgender Nearly Killed Me

Image from Alexander Grey
on UnSplash

Even though I was able to never convince myself I was going through any sort of a cross dressing phase, I finally moved on in my life. By moving on I should say I went through several of the other gender dysphoric questions I faced such as was I addicted to the clothes all the way to was I facing many more gender issues such as being transgender. For reasons only I could answer, being transgender was the scariest proposition of them all. Certainly, thinking I had a part time hobby of being a cross dresser was less threatening to me. 

Through it all, I never turned back and ended up moving more and more towards knowing the inevitable, I was a feminine person and had been one all along. Being the hard headed person I was, I continued to do my best to carve out a male life. But, the more success I had doing it just made me more unhappy. Somehow, someway deep down I felt there had to be more. Another problem I had was the more I tried to test the public as a woman, the more successful I was. The more I did as my hidden self, the more I wanted to do. An example was my wife and I finally came to an agreement I could go and get a motel room, change into my feminine self and explore the world one day a week. Even that didn't end up being enough to satisfy my drive to femininity. What I did was start sneaking out behind her back any chance I got and ending up trying to lie my way out of it if I was caught. Which I was on a fairly regular basis. The whole process was very stressful because in the rest of my life I had prided myself on my honesty. 

Still I didn't stop until I reached the point where I had falsely tried to convince myself I could live part time as both binary genders, male and female. To be brief, the process nearly killed me. I went to the point of being caught one night by my wife and we had a massive fight. I decided to sleep away from her on the downstairs sofa but before I did, I was feeling so bad I took a full bottle of my anti depressants and washed them down with a bottle of Jägermeister liquor. Fortunately the mixture didn't kill me and I don't think my wife ever found out I tried suicide. 

Since that attempt many years ago, with the help of therapy, medication and many close friends, I have been able to put self harm in my past. As far as my wife went, before her passing, I was able to grow a beard and go back to acting like I was a guy for six hard months. Her passing was totally unexpected and sudden from a heart attack and when she died it opened the door for my feminine self to finally be given a chance to take over. Not the ideal way to do it but the opportunity was there and one night I finally accepted the fact I was transgender and had been my whole life. Suddenly, all the other self destructive episodes of my life became clear. All the times I was driving recklessly trying to cheat death all the way to drinking way too much to mask my gender pain, all made sense. 

Most certainly being transgender nearly killed me but it didn't quite succeed. Leading me to a happy, satisfied life as a transgender woman living my truth. I will forever wish though I had not been so stubborn in hanging on to my old male life.   

Monday, January 30, 2023

Transgender Confidence

Image from Brett Jordan 
on Unsplash


I have always thought confidence was the most important accessory a transgender woman can have. More important than the most attractive dress or the prettiest most flattering wig. Of course your dress and wig work together in so many ways to provide an external image which matches your inner feminine self. Plus, confidence often proves to be so difficult to come by as well as equally difficult to maintain. It takes only a swift moment of being mis-gendered along with being recognized as a man in a dress to wreck your confidence. I know, because it all has happened to me too many times to count. I had spent literally weeks in gender heaven without even the smallest pushback to my new coming out presence in the world. 

Finally I learned my rejections were a moment in time and I went back to the drawing board and moved on. I kept my changes to a minimum and tried to analyze every small nuance of the feminine gender I was trying to assume. I knew deep down, I was a woman but somehow, someway I needed to cross the gender frontier and arrive at my destination. I can't began to tell you how many times confidence was fleeting due to a particularly brutal evening when I was out in public. I was fortunate though in that even though I was having bad times, there was enough gender euphoria slipping through to keep me moving towards my goal. Plus, even coming up with a goal was difficult because everytime I accomplished one goal, to keep moving, I needed to set another. There was also the problem of the ultimate goal of going all the way and living as a woman.

We all know humans are apex predators and not unlike sharks can sniff out blood in the water. So more than a few humans can sense something could be wrong when you try to change something as huge as your gender. Unless you have the supreme confidence to know deep down you are right in what you are doing, you could be in trouble. For me, often the supreme confidence came from feeling natural as my feminine self. So much more than just thinking I was acting as my authentic self because I wasn't acting at all. 

Where ever you are in your transgender journey, woman or man, I hope you have been able to develop the confidence you need to survive. As far as trans women go, the effects of testosterone poisoning is so difficult to overcome. On the other hand, once you have gone so far across the gender frontier, going back is often impossible to do. Inspiring more confidence and gender euphoria as you go.     


Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Brave New Gender World

 Recently I wrote a post describing briefly how big a deal gender actually is.  Coming out from one gender and living in another can only be described as a shock to the system which also takes a lot of work. I remember completely how many times when I first was exploring the feminine world, I was a dismal failure. No matter how many times the mirror told me I was doing well with my presentation, I found there was so much farther to go. 

Photo from the Jessie
Hart Archives 

One of my problems was putting my feminine image in motion. Walking the walk was very difficult for me. I needed to practice many many times walking in heels and/or other female footwear before I finally began to feel comfortable. Lessons learned included nearly breaking my ankle in a mall one day when my stiletto heel became stuck in a sidewalk crack. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice my complete embarrassment. Other times I practiced included walking around home and even late at night in deserted big box stores. I was trying so hard to develop a walk which fit what I was wearing without appearing too outlandish. 

Other problems I encountered were (as I always bring up) dressing to blend in the world. Once I did my life in my new chosen gender began to change. It was difficult deciding which wig I wanted to be my primary hair style. Which became ultra important as I began to see the same people over and over again. I was amazed how outgoing the world in general and other women specifically became when I saw them. During that same period of time also was when I had to seriously consider what to do about my voice. What happened was, I became bored with going to the same stores and malls where there was no real challenge to being accepted as my new authentic self.  What I did was begin to take the extra steps and began to stop in places for lunch. Once I did, after I behaved myself and tipped well, I fairly quickly became a regular. As a matter of fact too quickly in many cases. I simply was not prepared for the interactions I was finding myself in. My problem was I wanted to be friendly and learn more if I was doing my "woman thing" correctly. I needed to learn feminine communication skills along with trying to do the best I could with my voice as soon as possible. 

As far the voice went, I tried my best to mimic the range and tone of the person I was talking to. Then try to remember it the next time I tried to communicate with anyone. I tried to make the whole process habit forming which was all well and good until I had to go back to my old boring male self. Years later I did take professional vocal lessons at the VA (Veterans Administration) which I still use till this day to improve my speaking skills. Little did I know, just learning how to sound more like a cis woman when I was talking was only the beginning. As with nearly everything else they do as humans, women communicate in a much more layered, complicated system than men. I needed to go back to communication 101 and learn all the nuances of feminine communication. Including non verbal communication all the way to dealing with passive aggressive personalities. I knew going in to all of this brave new world I was facing, what women said versus what they meant were often two different things. Now I was seeing a whole different view of the process.

I can't begin to say how terrifying yet exciting my journey into a brave new gender world was. I believe I am a better person for the experience and certainly much wiser.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Second Supportive Circle



Recently I wrote a post or two concerning the individuals who helped me cross the gender frontier to live a life as a full time transgender woman. As much as I learned and appreciated their input, there was another group of cis women who accepted me plus helped me move even further into the feminine world. 

From the Jessie Hart Archives:
Min on left with myself and Kathy


More precisely, these women helped me to build upon my initial gender change results and took me to levels I never thought I could achieve so fast. Once I discovered the basics of communication, there were women such as Min and Kathy who started to invite me to girls nights out for special events such as birthday parties. Through it all, I was scared or terrified I would make a fool of myself but on the other hand, I wanted to desperately learn what all went on behind the feminine curtain. After all, I had waited my entire life to arrive at a point where I could be accepted as one of the girls on their special evening.  What I discovered was there was not much of a secret to be told. The women I were around were predictably more family orientated than men and of course didn't operate with the same amount of bravado. Looking back also, one of my biggest challenges also was to dress to blend with the women I was going with. 

Along with Min and Kathy, there were several more women who accepted me and helped me transition more than they ever knew. The Kim's, Jen's and Debra's (to name a few) made me feel at home in their worlds. During this period of my new life, I compared my gender learning curve to building a new house. Once I had established a firm foundation, I could enable my strong inner feminine self to do the rest. All of a sudden just getting out on Halloween parties became a thing of the past although I still went to them. 

Then there was the spiritual side to my existence. When I moved in with Liz, I followed her Wiccan path. In Debra's circle I was accepted by people such as Trish and Ed, who in turn introduced me to their friends and acquaintances. Very few people were even stand offish to me as I continued to build a circle of people who had never known my old male side at all. 

The second supportive circle even extended to the Pride celebration in Cincinnati where I helped yearly before Covid with a booth of information. Today as I look back I can't say enough good concerning all the people who accepted me as my new authentic self. Of course they knew I was transgender but none of that mattered. I was so fortunate.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Transgender Teamwork

"Shawna Wegner" is fighting a proposed bill in Arkansas which would force transgender women and trans men to use the restroom which was originally listed on their birth certificate. Now you can sign a petition to fight back. Every signature counts.

 No matter where you live, legislative bills such as this ultimately threaten our very existence. Please go here to add your name! 

Thanks!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Dream on Or Transgender Dreams

Image from Randy Tarampi on
Unsplash

 I am fortunate, rarely do I suffer from not being able to sleep. Normally do I not benefit from my eight hours of slumber. Some nights it is even very entertaining. 

Early in life I remember vividly the mornings I would wake up from dreams in which I was a girl. I was immediately disappointed to learn  nothing had changed with my gender. I wasn't the girl of my dreams. Sadly for me my girl dreams were vastly outnumbered by my numerous boring male dreams. These days, following living forcibly as a male for sixty years, my nightly experiences are becoming more mixed according to gender. I guess the more I spend time as a transgender woman the more my subconscious mind is accepting it and is beginning to build a backlog of experiences of me in a feminine world. 

These days, I have made it to to a wonderful mix of gender dreams when I would have one dream as a man and the very next as a woman. Now interestingly I have reached the stage of being a cross dresser. Often I have to go through being exposed as a man in a dress and subjected to the normal rejection by the public. Perhaps I am just reliving the time in my life when I was coming out of my hidden feminine shell. Often to the stares and outright laughter at the hands of an ignorant public. 

Through it all, I am still dazzled by my subconscious which is able to switch my genders at will and put me in impossible situations in either. An example was the night, I started by dreaming of running a perfect shift during a very busy night at a restaurant I was running then going to a time when I was wearing a dress which was too short. To the point I was embarrassed and was trying to cover up my bare legs. 

I wonder if I live long enough, if my time as a transgender woman will overtake my time as a man. Which will be tough to do since to equal experiences out I would have to be one hundred twenty years old. Perhaps what will make up for the difference in years will be the intensity of the experiences I have been living through. Perhaps all the years of learning to find myself as a transgender woman will come back in my dreams. It will be interesting to find out. 

Using my very weak mathematical skills, I have calculated I spend approximately one third of my life sleeping. Since I do, I hope my dreams stay interesting. They remind of a rich life I have been able to live. One as part of the male gender I never wanted and the other as part of the female gender I always wanted to be included in. More examples of living as my authentic self will be welcome as reminders of my old unwanted male self fade away. Finally my transgender dreams will triumph as well as I have triumphed in my gender wars in real life.  

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Transgender Safe Spaces

This afternoon is my oldest grandson's birthday party/dinner. Without hesitation, my wife Liz and I said we would attend. Not so long ago, my response would not have been so quick or so easy. Similar to so many of you transgender women and trans men, I went through significant stress finding a safe place to go to and explore the limits of my new authentic self. 

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart Archives

The first venues I tried were the primarily gay bars where I discovered quickly I really wasn't welcomed. After all the vast majority of the gay men in the space were looking for other men and only viewed me as another drag queen. If there wasn't a drag show scheduled for the night I was there, I was totally out of place. It did not take me long to seek out other so called safe spaces where I could attempt to learn to live my new life. 

A few of the venues I chose did turn out to be safe while others not so much. First I tried a couple of small lesbian bars I discovered in the Dayton, Ohio area. Both were former biker bars. One maintained that image for lesbians While the other was certainly more mellow and welcoming. The first place always made sure I never felt welcome while the other was the opposite. Primarily because it turned out my male self knew one of the bartenders. The only problem I ever ran into in the second venue was when I was forced into singing karaoke by a very masculine lesbian. I don't sing at all, so it was quite the challenge. It wasn't so long after that the place closed for good and I was forced to find other safe spaces to go to.

Since I was already the general manager of a very popular and busy casual dining bar/restaurant, I knew with some certainty what I could do to develop another safe space or two to go to. I found I was successful in locating a couple and decidedly not successful in trying to become a regular at others. So much so, I had the police called on me when I tried to use the restroom. I easily explained my situation to the cops and was sent on my way. I did manage to become a regular at three other sports bar type restaurants and even received rest room privilege's in the process. Plus when I finally established myself with a small group of friends I came with, I became ever more of a regular. I enjoyed my space spaces immeasurably and was able to grow my feminine self. 

Outside of a couple isolated instances, I never went back to the gay venues again. Where I never did really fit in. 

As far as my daughter's in laws were concerned, I write often concerning how accepted I was as a transgender woman. I think I was more concerned about how I would be treated than they were. After all I was carrying a ton of my old macho male baggage with me. Plus, speaking of safe spaces, I would be remis not mentioning all the current concern over a pre opt transgender woman in a woman's locker room without any clothes, I don't believe it's time for  any real input from me  Except from saying personally, I wouldn't want to show off my naked body in either locker room and I can't imagine someone doing it without backlash. Also, as a transgender community, we don't need any potential negative publicity. 

On a brighter note, I hope you all have found and developed your own transgender safe spaces.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

It Was a Team Trans Effort

Overall I have written several times on how a journey down a transgender path can be a very lonely experience. At a very early age we trans youth find we are on our own. We don't even have the benefit of peer influences to shape our path in areas such as make up and clothing. Especially in the pre internet days, our gender closets were very dark and lonely indeed. Because of all of that, many of us desperately wanted an understanding cis-woman to help us with our transition, mostly in the appearance department. In my case I found just because a woman I knew would help me with my makeup and clothes it did not mean she had any real expertise to help me. In fact, the first person to really help me with makeup advice was a male makeup artist at a transvestite mixer I attended. He worked miracles with me and even explained what he was doing so I could repeat the process myself. I went on to help my second wife with her make up on numerous occasions because I actually wore more make up than she did. 

Later on in life, when I seriously began to explore being a feminine person in the public's eye did I begin to find the peer support from other women who helped me transition into the person I am today. They have been so important to me over the years that every now and then I mention them here in the blog. 


Photo Courtesy Rachel


Along the way I received advice on buying a banana from Amy to practice how to pleasure a man all the way to a constant reinforcement that I belonged in the world as a woman from people such as Kim and Nikki. Who had very little to do with men at all. The experiences such as lesbian mixers all the way to woman's roller blade events were priceless learning sessions. Of course I wasn't accepted by everyone but  since I had my core of supporting friends around me, no one else mattered. In other words, my life experiences back then taught me the boundaries of what I could and shouldn't do. For the most part I had a great time as I had in depth lessons on how to blend in with a new terrifying yet exciting feminine world. 

As you can see, I was blessed with having a total supportive transgender team around me including a couple more people I can't leave out.  Rachel was another transgender woman I partied with often. She was the one who told me I passed out of sheer confidence. Which I always took to mean even if I was not the prettiest trans girl in the room, I was not going to let it stop me from living an authentic life. The other person who was so very instrumental in my MtF gender transition was my wife Liz. Eleven years ago she told me she had never seen anyone but a woman in me and I should quit straddling  the gender fence and start living full time as a woman. 

After such a slow lonely start, it was a total team effort for me to become the person I am today. I have been fortunate to have had so much help.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Engaging the Public

 Engaging the public as a transgender woman has always been difficult for me.  First of all, I am an inherently shy person  and secondly when I first reached a level of coming out as my feminine self, I had to begin to communicate with the general public. All of this added to me being increasingly shy. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
Archives

For some unknown reason, this morning was different. Since my retirement, I especially don't like to get up early in the morning. But as a favor to my wife Liz, I got up at 5:30 AM to go with her to a doctors appointment which was a half an hour away. As bribery, I made sure Liz knew we would have to stop for breakfast at a certain fast food place we enjoy. Plus we had to hurry because she had to be back as soon as possible to sign in to work which she does from home. 

In addition to getting up so early, we arrived fifteen minutes early and we had to wait in the outer hallway for the office to open. As we were standing there, a man came by with a crock pot full of some sort of food. I waited for Liz to say something and when she didn't I quickly said "Is it time for breakfast?" He laughed and said brunch and we were invited. Looking back I was amazed I took the opportunity to start a conversation with a complete stranger. I think this morning for some reason I thought the light makeup I was wearing matched how my hair looked and my gender dysphoria was not an issue and did not bother me. So I had as much right as Liz did to initiate a conversation.

Amazingly, I felt empowered to do it again when and if the opportunity arises. It felt good to shed my shyness around the public. Maybe if I was more into setting more new resolutions for the year 2023, I could have considered adding speaking up more to my non existent list. As I felt this morning, possibly engaging the public more will help me to continue to build my personality as my authentic feminine self. My excuse is the Covid years of relative isolation hiding behind a mask stunted any personal growth I had with the public. Plus, back in the day when I was first coming out, I enjoyed my time communicating with the public, for the most part. It could have been too I was caught up in the newness of it all. After all, the communication skills women required to survive in their world were so vastly different to me. Even with all the years I spent working with women, I found they shielded me from what they really meant on certain subjects. 

I have considered also that over the years, writing had become my preferred form of communication. To the point of hurting my verbal communication. Since I was afraid of using what I called my feminine voice, I softened my vocal delivery to a point of not being heard by some people. 

Now I hope to try to get out into the public more and practice my vocal skills more in depth. Adding yet another dimension to my overall public presentation. Years ago I did take a few lessons on developing a more feminine voice and think I still have the practice notes and homework I was given. I will have to find the paperwork and try again. Engaging the public was so enjoyable.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

Trans Imposter Syndrome

During the strenuous years of trying to achieve a passable feminine image, I never thought I would ever come close to feeling the  transgender impostor syndrome. In fact, I know for certain for the longest time in my gender transition it wasn't a term at all. Before we go any farther in this post, here is what the imposter syndrome means to me.

Photo from the 
Jessie Hart
Archives

My interpretation is when you have arrived at a certain point of your life which you have worked diligently to achieve,  all of a sudden you feel you don't belong for whatever reason. The closest example I can come up with was when I was promoted to a executive general managers restaurant position I had worked years to secure. Once I did get promoted I always felt I belonged there because of all the work I had put in plus all the success I had achieved. Ironically, I never felt the same when I transitioned to  a full time life as a transgender woman. 

As my life unfolded, I always wondered why I wasn't more satisfied with the results. I mean, hadn't I earned my spot in the feminine world by doing a ton of experimentation which led to learning  what worked and what didn't as continued my often lonely path to gender fulfillment. Even though through much of the journey I had my doubts if I was going to make it at all, still I pushed forward. The one thing I never considered was what would my ultimate gender destination look like. 

I also never considered once I arrived as a full time transgender woman, would I ever feel as if I didn't belong there. Most certainly I have paid my dues over the years learning the feminine life experience. None of the learning came easy but on the other hand it all felt so natural. The first nights I went out to  be a woman, not just look like one was the huge unveiling of what my life could be like if I continued down the difficult path I was headed. Again, after that first successful evening, I knew deep down I could never go back and sooner more than later my life as a male would be over. It was about that time, I began to feel twitches of what I later learned was imposter syndrome. Even though I knew I worked hard at making it to where I was in my gender journey, did I belong there. 

It wasn't until much later in my life when all the new internet/social media driven terminology began to appear did I notice the transgender impostor syndrome. I saw seemingly more successful and attractive trans women and men who had their doubts concerning their journeys also. So I knew it wasn't just my own paranoiac self taking control. In my times of doubt, I was fortunate to have my relatively new feminized body and my wife Liz's reinforcement to get me by. My coping mechanism was I had as much of a right as the next woman to occupy the space I was in.  The world could always use another woman and she was me. I just arrived by a different path.

For the most part, any trans impostor syndrome I suffer from is a figment of my imagination and a part of my past. To be filed and put away with so many other often unexpected circumstances from my long and eventful gender journey.