Showing posts with label transsexuals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transsexuals. Show all posts

Thursday, June 20, 2024

A Spectator in my Own Life

 

Ohio River Image from
the Archives.

Many times during my life, I felt as if I was just a spectator in my own life, not an active participant.

Included were the times I fell in love with myself over the new feminine self in the mirror at home. The whole experience for years  was similar to the impossible dream I could never achieve.  The older I became, changes began to take place in how I viewed myself. Perhaps, some of the biggest ones came about when I began to meet other diverse people in the cross dresser or transgender community. At the time, I barely knew a transgender or transsexual person even existed and here I was actually meeting real life people I could learn from. I especially wanted to see and understand how two women I knew were going to go through the entire surgical gender surgeries to complete their gender journeys. I wondered if I could ever make the ultimate sacrifice to change my body or, did I even need to. It was until much later in life when I fully learned gender was between my ears and not my legs and living like a woman was good enough for me.

As I was initially out in the public's eye trying to survive as a novice trans woman, often I felt as is I was a spectator in my own life. The pretty girl in the mirror just couldn't be me but she was and what would happen next. What happened was, I immediately wanted to do more in my new exciting femininized life. In order to do so, I needed to begin to communicate with the world if I wanted to go any further. At that point I thought my spectator issues would go away but it did not.

The prime example with me being a spectator happened on the night I went to a sports/restaurant venue to see if I could blend in successfully with other single professional women. Despite being scared to death, I managed to survive even though I still felt like a spectator in my own life. Who was this person?  By this time, I was wondering if my spectatorship would ever go away and I could lead a so called "normal" life as a transgender woman. 

The answer came from repetition.  The more I was out in the world, the more I felt as if I belonged and my authentic self took charge. I no longer felt as if I was a spectator looking in on my own life. I suppose much of my change had to do with the balance of living over half a century trying to exist in a male world, with much a smaller percentage of time learning to exist in a world often not accepting to transgender women. Through trial and error, I was able to see what was working and set out to fix it. I am very stubborn and the same effort I put into my transition often slowed my progress down when I hit a rough patch. Such as how I was dressing. I needed to adjust my fashion away from what my old male self liked into what my feminine self thought was proper and then I started to blend and succeed in the world. At the same time, I felt less and less as a spectator and more and more as a participant.

Being a participant was impactful and fun and made me feel as if I had a real say in my everyday life into my future for the first time ever. It seemed living a life as a transgender woman was within my grasp and I started to understand what my acquaintances so long ago felt, except for the major gender surgeries of course. 

Then there was the major waste of time I needed to face in my life. I always say, if I could have just a small amount of time back when I was day dreaming of being a girl or woman, where would have my life taken me. If I had not been a spectator and took control could I made a bigger success of my male life, or would something else have happened to keep me on the same path I was on. Ironically, age brings on many questions and very few answers except for at the least, I ended up trying to change for the better. 

Maybe we all are spectators in our own lives and never realize it until it is too late. It seems transgender women and trans men just have better seats on occasion  Especially all the times we had to tear down our old life and rebuild anew. .

  

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Not the Only One

My Transgender Friend Racquel
from Texas

This is really an extension of yesterday's post. During the post I mentioned the times when I discovered there were actually others who shared my cross dressing dreams. In fact, they even had a label back in those days, we were called transvestites. 

In my post I even mentioned the "Transvestia" publication which I came to cherish so much. I was so amazed to see a nationwide network of like minded individuals. In a short period of time, I discovered a side group of sorts called the "Tri-Ess" organization for strictly heterosexual cross dressers who met in nearby Columbus, Ohio for socials or mixers. Columbus was only approximately a half hour from my home and I just had to check it out.

When I did, I was able to meet a smaller, diverse side group who had private parties in an exclusive Columbus location. As I became a part of this group, I really found how I was not the only one. The only issue I had was, deciding what exactly I was. I knew from experience I was much more serious about being a cross dresser than many of the others I met at the mixers. On the other hand, I still wasn't sure if I was as serious as a few of the transsexual women who were headed for gender realignment surgery. Or sex change as it was known back then. I still had too many huge gender decisions to make before I could ever make such a life changing choice. 

In the short term, I decided to align myself as close as I could with the transsexuals as I attempted to learn as much as I could about their lives. I only really knew two, so contact was very rare plus on most occasions my second wife was with me so I needed to be careful about how I acted. 

As the internet and social media came into play, the potential of knowing I was not the only one in the world with gender issues literally exploded. Along with the internet came a new understanding of the different layers of gender life. As I said in yesterday's post, the term transgender became increasingly known here in Ohio, which as always behind the East and West coasts. As I studied it, the more I was convinced transgender fit my status in life and I felt better for a short amount of time. I say a short period, because in no time at all, I was striving to be a better trans person and learn more and more about myself in the world.  

What I did learn was, even though I found others who shared my gender issues or even gender dysphoria, there were not many. In fact, before she moved to Texas, my friend Racquel was one of the few women in the LGBTQ world I stayed in contact with and Racquel often joined in with my lesbian friends when we partied. 

Recently, partially because of my mobility issues, my transgender outreach has been limited to my writing as well as virtual diversity meetings with the local Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association. As well as the occasional speaking engagement thanks to a friend in the trans community. When I am able to participate in an outreach, particularly to young people, I am able to see I am far from being the only one with gender issues and it feels good.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Gender Boxes


Image from the Jessie
Hart Archives.

When I was very young, my parents did what so many others do. They constructed a gender box and forced me into it.

As I grew up, I had no choice. I was a boy and was expected to do boy things. Even to the point of receiving gifts on Christmas I did not really want. My primary example came one year when I secretly wanted a doll or kitchen set and I received a BB Gun instead. I was the opposite from the "Ralphie" character in the "Christmas Story" movie. For you that don't know, Ralphie wanted a BB Gun in the movie in the worst way.

 As I grew and began to gain confidence in cross dressing as a girl, my gender box became smaller and smaller.  On most days, it was a struggle to just exist in the world as I knew it. The worst part about it was I never had a choice. It was like I was a round peg being driven into a square hole and being told to like it. I didn't like it and my struggles led to a worsening of my gender dysphoria and mental health. Perhaps the worst part about my situation in those days was I had no one to talk to about it and knew no one with similar gender issues. I was so alone in my little gender box.

As I struggled forward in life, I discovered there were others who were in their own gender boxes and struggling with similar problems also. I like to refer to those days as my "Virginia Prince" and "Transvestia Magazine" days. First I could not believe there were so many other cross dressers in the world and they even had a regular publication I could subscribe to. Looking back, I think "Transvestia" came every two months and I could not wait until I received my new issue. Just reading and gazing at all the other pretty transvestites in the issue made living in my box a bit more bearable. Especially when I learned there were regular "socials or mixers" being held in a location I could actually drive to. I was dazzled when I went to my first mixer and saw all the different people who attended. All the way from weekend cross dressers to transsexuals' heading for gender surgeries. 

Even seeing all those different people in their own little boxes did not help me with mine. Deep down I knew I still didn't fit in with most of the cross dressers I met because I was way more serious and certainly not with the transsexuals because I wasn't serious enough. So I remained in my little box, mainly trapped until the transgender term made it's way into the mainstream consciousness in Ohio. Once I heard or saw transgender, I knew it described me better than anything I had ever seen. Finally, I could take a big marker and write proudly transgender on my box.

From there, it was a matter of connecting the dots and removing the box altogether from my existence. Of course, learning to live a new life as a new gender was a major process and not one which was to be taken lightly. To make matters worse, sometimes I tried to jump into new gender boxes and missed my step and had to retreat to try again. Even still, life had taught me by this time, nothing was going to be easy when it came to escaping being pounded into the square hole I was in but when I did, I could be happy. 

I was fortunate in that I lived long enough to escape my gender box and enjoy a new world as a transgender woman free from many worries I used to have. The process was difficult but worth it.  


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Opening Transgender Doors

Image from Nathan Wright 
on UnSplash


What is the old saying, "When one door closes, another one opens." I think the saying is especially appropriate for transgender women or trans men.

Along the way, I have documented several substantial times when I slammed doors during my past and opened new doors. 

Probably the first time I closed a door was when I was going out with a certain set of party friends who ranged from cross dressers to transsexuals who were planning their genital realignment surgeries. I wasn't very interested so much in the cross dressers but on the other hand, I was very interested in the women who were going "all the way." I wondered if I could ever slam the door on the male life I had fought to live and open a new door into a feminine world. 

Luckily I was able to see different sides of the gender coin so to speak. One friend in particular was a firefighter in Columbus, Ohio who was gorgeous and near retirement. So she had the financial risk of a gender transition covered as did the other main transsexual woman I knew at the time. She also was gorgeous and had a very secure job as an electrical engineer. She was so good at living a woman's life, she regularly went on snow skiing trips, spending whole weeks as her authentic self. So, as you can tell, I had lofty role models to try to live up to. I knew they would be difficult to match up to as far as appearance and income plus neither one had a spouse to deal with. I loved my spouse very much and wasn't sure I was able to close the door on my relationship with her. 

Even still, I continued to observe and learn as well as set out to open my own transgender doors. It just took me longer than others to find a path of my own. I know all too many of our gender journey's are similar yet so far apart. It is difficult to leave the first door in our closet and find the other doors in the darkness. Once I was able to find the light and it wasn't the train at the end of the tunnel, I was able to progress quite nicely but not without trepidations. Of course I still had to deal with the usual problems transgender women and men have to deal with when they transition and close the big door. Sometimes closing the door is the easy part compared to opening the doors to different living situations with family, friends and finances. 

I think too many potential transgender folk believe the transition itself will cause the life problems to go away and they haven't thought enough about the all the situations they would have to face now when spouses and/or families want to leave them behind. Not to mention the prospect of losing long term employment and friends. All of the process led to opening very heavy doors and not having much of an idea what the future held. 

I was fortunate when I finally had the courage to open my final transgender doors and face the world. As I did, I could look back at all the times I was petrified to try a new life as a transgender woman. Every time I was so scared it seemed I made it OK which felt so natural and gave me confidence to move forward and look for new challenges. I don't think I ever forgot the two early gender role models I had in Columbus, Ohio so many years before but similar to my male life, I was able to carve out my new life as a fulltime transgender woman so different from theirs.

Even still, I have my doors to open as I face a challenging future with end of life issues. I am still paranoid concerning facing the problems associated with nursing care or assisted living. It will be quite the journey as I face the final door we all have to open and see what is on the other side.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

One Gender Size does Not fit All

Image from Grae Phillips 
on Geraldo television show.

 If the truth be known, all the way back when I was a kid struggling to understand what gender I was on any given day, I would have been known as gender fluid. 

Of course, gender fluid was a term which hadn't been invented yet. Anyone who was interested in cross dressing was branded as being a transvestite and even worse labeled as being mentally ill. In the middle of my gender vacuum, even I knew well enough I was not mentally ill just because I wanted to wear makeup and dresses. I hid my desires and hoped for the best, which mostly came when I was left alone to cross dress and admire myself in the full length hallway mirror at home. Most of all, I was trapped and could do nothing about it. Keep in mind, all of this was happening in the information "dark ages" before the internet and social media. The gender underground I was interested in came mainly from the pages of Transvestia Magazine and Virginia Prince. Even I knew the pages of the "National Enquirer" and other predecessors of Faux News who sensationalized cross dressers were not to be trusted.

Then came the barrage of so called reality television talk shows including, Donahue, Springer and Raphael. All of whom seemed to be pushing the theme of cross dressing husbands Except for the impossibly beautiful and talented "Grae Phillips" who put everyone else to shame. All of these shows probably did little or no good for my gender dysphoria except for publicizing the fact there were cross dressers of transvestites of all kinds at all. All I knew was I desperately tried to watch or tape every show I knew was coming up from my "TV Guide". My wife was trying to tape her soaps and I was trying to tape my talk shows and both kept us busy. Even though I still had to watch my shows in private attempting to learn anything I could about the outside world.

I did learn once again. my gender size was unique and did not fit all. In fact, I still felt out of place when I started to attend my first cross dresser - transvestite mixers here in my native Ohio. I discovered there were so many different levels of participation from transsexuals headed for gender surgeries down to the weekend cross dressing hobbyists.  For some reason, I was not part of either group and once again my gender size was not fitting in. The problem was, all of this happened before the transgender terminology was introduced. When it was and I started to have access to my first computer, I was able to research the term which was unknown to me. Suddenly I knew what had been missing my whole life, a gender size which fit me and I set out to discover more about being transgender. For me, it meant being part of a gender description which was somewhere in-between the spaces I had been in previously.

Even though my gender size did not fit all, finally I was able to locate my own niche to thrive in. Life became fulfilling, scary and exciting at the same time. I found out I was fine being who I was all along and it felt so natural. I was home. 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Transgender Lables

 

Hunter Schaefer at the Oscars.

Spoiler alert, this post contains unfortunate stereotypes. 

The subject I am attempting to write about is about what actress Hunter Shafer said recently. I paraphrase but essentially she said she had turned down many transgender acting roles because she did not want to be stereotyped as a transgender actress in the future. She wants to be known as a woman only. 

In the first place, we all should be as fortunate as Shafer is to possess as much passing privilege as she has. I am sure in any situation, no one is saying "Hey! That's a guy," 

Now, that is the easy part of the post. Secondly, does she have any responsibility to the rest of the transgender world to keep the trans part of her name?  No she doesn't but the whole idea of exactly who is a woman was brought up again in the public's eye. In my case, I have always thought achieving the title of woman is a matter of socialization in life. Just being born female doesn't guarantee a person will ever make it into womanhood. The same goes for birthing children. My second wife never gave birth but in itself, that did not make her less of a woman. To be fair, many males never grow into being men either. Often becoming the toxic males we read so much about.

Then, there is the subject of gender surgeries. It used to be, some transsexual women looked down on all of us who did not have any surgeries at all. Viewing any and all transgender women as little more than glorified cross dressers or transvestites. At the time, as I was exploring what I wanted to do with my gender life, I saw no problem with fitting into their stereotype, even though I resented it and thought it was wrong. As the years went by, I resisted giving up all my male privilege I worked so hard to obtain and had no gender related surgeries at all. If it makes me less of a transgender woman in some people's eyes, so be it. I was still able to navigate the world as a feminine person, or, as my trans friend Racquel said I passed out of sheer willpower.

Of course I don't know Hunter Shafer but I respect her opinion to be referred to as only a woman, not as a transgender woman. After all, who would not want the same privilege after waking up in the morning and looking like her? On the other hand, there are zillions of women who don't have the same passing privilege's as she does and Hunter has been able to bring into some sort of focus what being a woman is all about. 

As we all walk our gender journeys, we have to come to our own conclusions concerning womanhood or manhood if you are a trans man. It is certainly more than how we look or what restroom we use. It involves life itself. For the sake of discussion, I hope Hunter Schafer's next acting role is of a so called cis-woman, she has paid her dues. 

Sadly being transgender will always be a weight we all will have to carry throughout our lives no matter how we look or how many surgeries we have undertaken. Personally, I don't need an actress to inspire me to be a woman instead of a transgender woman. I have made the decision for myself. I am just me. Looks don't make a transgender person. Your soul does. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tearing Life Apart

 

Image from Darius Bashar 
on UnSplash

Sadly, before many things have a chance to change, you have to tear them apart and then reassemble the parts. 

In order for me to pursue a life as a transgender woman, it was necessary for me to essentially tear down my past male life and start all over again. This was painful for several reasons. The main one was I was giving up all the hard work I put into to surviving in a male world. Secondly, I needed to fight the male in me completely because he was totally fighting any gender change which was happening. 

It all started when I left the mirror as a novice cross dresser and went into the world. I learned the mirror was an easy challenge until I faced the public. Primarily because the mirror didn't move and neither did I so when I may have stumbled on the perfect look with my makeup and fashion, it all had to change when I needed to put it all into motion. Was I walking and talking like a woman? The whole process caused me extreme gender confusion when I was trying to separate the days when I was a trans woman with the days I was in my everyday working life as a guy. Perhaps the biggest problem I faced was dismantling one life and beginning another in the middle of the entire transitioning process. I felt everytime I was successful in public as my novice transgender self, I had to stop and return to a male world I increasingly didn't want anything to do with. 

Even though, I was risking all I had worked for in life including a loving wife and family and a good job, the fact still remained I thought I was living a lie. I just couldn't keep living a lie and continued to tear down my old life and prepare myself for a possible dream scenario where I could possibly live as a fulltime transgender woman. The entire process was cruel and unusual punishment to me and destroyed my mental health until I could get it restored much later in my life. In the meantime, I needed to find ways such as diverse gender mixers I was going to, to try to feel better. It seemed everytime I attended a party made up of everything from cross dressers to transsexuals, I learned more about myself and where I fit in to a new expanding LGBTQ community. Primarily the new term (transgender) which seemed to fit me the best. 

As I was busily considering tearing down one life, I had other serious others issues to contend with. Such as my sexuality and how was I going to be able to communicate in a new world as a trans woman. It turned out, I was overthinking the whole process and destiny would come along to answer my most pressing questions. You regulars know the story of how I found and was adopted by a small group of cis-gender women who taught me the basics of communication and how to conduct myself in my new world. And then there was my wife Liz who rescued me from very dark times, took me in as my authentic feminine self and eventually married me.

It has been such a long trip from standing cross dressed in front of the hallway mirror growing up and the ups and downs of tearing one life apart to start another has been scary. But eventually I made it.  

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Emergence

Image from Alfred Schrock 
on UnSplash 

During our long and twisted gender journeys we have points of emergence. 

I always prefer to explain to others I experienced more than one transition. I feel as if the first portion of my life as a cross dresser in the mirror was one part of my life and coming out as transgender was another. The whole process took me years too long to discover. Much too long observing transsexuals around me to see if I wanted to or even go the route they were headed. Ultimately I decided I did not want to undergo sex change surgery as it was known back in those days. Also expected or recommended was you needed to move away and assume an entire new life. I was selfish and never wanted to totally give up my past I worked so hard to obtain. Plus, I didn't have the life background a couple of my acquaintances had who had gone the gender distance by having surgery.

One of the people I knew was a soon to retire fireman with a good pension to fall back on and the other was an accomplished electrical engineer who would not have a difficult time maintaining a job. Not to mention, both were drop dead gorgeous. At the time, I was far from retirement in an industry which would have been nearly impossible to transition in. Also, I was very insecure about my feminine appearance. Even with all of those factors going against me, I still was intrigued by the possibilities my gender future presented to me. All I really knew was I needed to discover how my path would open a new world of emergence for me.

My potential emergence as a transgender woman was an exciting time for me. Discoveries were like no other I had ever experienced in my life. Directly and indirectly, I was exploring everything from my new feminine life to what would become of my sexuality. At the same time, I needed to consider a wife I loved very much who was dead set against me going any farther in my quest to be a transgender woman but never had any problems with my cross dressing tendencies. It was as if she never liked or even tolerated my inner woman. It was difficult for me to learn my new gender ropes when she was against me but I did. 

Along the way, diverse parties and mixers assisted me in my emergence. By doing so, I was able to test out how well my possible new world was working. I even had the rare time, my wife didn't come along to keep track of what I was doing. Needless to say, the times she wasn't with me led my times to be more productive. Primarily, I discovered negative interactions with a few men, all the way to positive interactions with lesbians I met. All lessons which turned out to be very important in my emergence as an out transgender woman. Ultimately, I decided against the surgeries but completely wanted the lifestyle. After all, my gender was between my ears and not between my legs.

Overall, my gender emergence was never easy but all worth it in the short and long term. In essence, an entire new set of life lessons. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Biggest Sacrifice?

 

Image compliments of Racquel.

When transgender women cross the gender border into a feminine world, we face losing many things. 

Naturally, we have to consider the three "F's" or Family, Friends and Finances. All major losses in our lives. In fact, they are so important I get a chuckle when someone says being trans is some sort of a choice. If indeed it was a choice to undertake such a radical life change, I would have certainly chosen an easier path. With easier sacrifices. 

In the early years of my life I was predictably naïve when I thought cross dressing in girls clothes was sacrificing just my male existence. It took me years of living, as well as accumulating white male privileges, to learn how much more I could lose. As far as the first two "F's" would go, I was fortunate in my results. I lost all contact with my only sibling, a brother but gained so much more through adding a bigger more accepting family through contacts such as my daughter and wife Liz. Thanks to women such as Kim, I was able to expand my friends into an accepting world of cis women who taught me so much about the life I wanted to pursue. I even had a close transgender woman friend (Racquel) who I would socialize with on a regular basis. Surprisingly, I found I had an easier time making friends as a trans woman than I ever did as a man.  In addition, Racquel and I had more than one interesting adventure at venues when rednecks played "Dude Looks Like a Lady" on the juke box eventually leading to the manager kicking us out that evening and not our bigoted tormenters. She is also the one who said I passed out of sheer willpower. 

As I progressed down my gender path to living more and more as a trans woman, I discovered more and more sacrifices I would have to make. One evening comes to mind when I was first coming out, somehow I found myself in a group of men. I found out quite early not to try to interact at all when I was ignored when I tried to talk and express my opinion. So much for maintaining my intelligence or any workable knowledge as a woman. One male privilege down to be sure but I found the biggest one was yet to come. 

The biggest privilege to lose was my access to personal security. I was always a fairly good sized man and could handle myself well enough to get by. The first time I encountered problems was when I was a cross dresser at a party of my friends in Columbus, Ohio. The attendees were normally very diverse and included anyone from transsexuals to lesbians to men who were cross dresser "admirers." One night I was cornered in my too short mini dress by a huge admirer and needed to be rescued by my highly disapproving wife. In an instant, the damage was done and I learned how easily it was for a woman to be overpowered and compromised by a much larger man. 

The other lesson I learned was the one I mentioned in yesterday's post. It happened when I left a gay venue cross dressed in my heels and hose and ran right into two men on a dark deserted city street. As I said, I was fortunate when I was panhandled for a five dollar bill and allowed to go on my way. These two happenings taught me valuable lessons on keeping myself safe in my new feminine world. All I was really doing was learning what cis-gender women grew up knowing their entire lives. 

So all in all, with a lot of help from the world and friends, my sacrifices turned out to be less severe than the process should have been. And, so worth it! 

 


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Carry on Baggage

My wife Liz (right) and I with
Brutus Buckeye in the
Ohio State student union...

Those of you who have transitioned genders or those who are seriously considering crossing the gender border need to figure out how much baggage they will take along. If you are into sports at all (which I am) this time of year is fun to me because of all the huge football games being played.

So for me, the amount of baggage to consider was considerable. I wondered if my love of sports would have to take a back burner in my life. Because, back in those days, the choices were basically black and white with very little gray. If you remember, there were really only two groups of individuals you could identify with. Those were transvestites (or cross dressers) and the transsexuals who were headed for genital surgical intervention. Plus, after the realignment surgery, you were expected to exclude your past, move from your home and family and start your life all over.  No room for any baggage from your previous existence. 

Today fortunately is different. Mainly because cis-women of all sorts these days have or are living more diverse lives. The lines between male and female genders have been blurred. 

In my case I found out the easy way how much baggage I could bring with me. When I basically gave up on going to gay venues for any number of reasons such as being overall rejected as a drag queen or hating the music. I found I much preferred going back to the big sports bar venues I used to enjoy as a guy. Ironically, I found I was discriminated to less in the sports bars where I could order a large beer and watch my favorite sports team dressed as a transgender woman. Outside of a few notable exceptions I was able to establish myself as a regular by minding my own business and tipping well. I also found I could use all the help I could get as I researched if I could indeed add sports to my baggage as a trans woman.

On a higher level, I even found I could meet other women who were into sports and become friends I could interact with on a regular basis. Over the years I had a great time with them meeting and arguing sports with our tight little group of women.  

When I learned I could take on the biggest baggage carry on I could imagine, the rest of my life became so much easier. I could concentrate on learning from my women friends who happened to be lesbians all I could concerning my new life as a transgender woman. Especially valuable to me was the fact I was finally able to validate my gender dream. In other words, I didn't did a man to be seen with to validate me anymore. 

As I said, the ability to establish my new life and bring quite a bit of carry on baggage with me made my transition so much easier. Hopefully, you will have the chance to validate your new self also and make friends in the process. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention my wife Liz who took a chance on me when she saw my on line profile. She is the cis woman who told me a decade ago she didn't see any maleness in me and why didn't I throw the rest of my male life away and live full time as a trans woman. Her validation naturally was tremendous.

As with any carry on baggage, you naturally will find items you didn't really need but having the time to live a new life to find out what you can't live without, is important as you move on. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

Secure Beginnings

 

1966 Transvestia Cartoon

This morning I read a post by a transgender man I follow on another writing format. 

The number one fact I took away from his post was how accepting his grandparent was when he was growing up. In fact, the grandparent took him to get his hair cut and purchased him clothes to match his authentic gender. After I read the post I responded by saying how good it must have been to have a supporting person in their life. 

Sadly, I was never able to take advantage of having anyone even knowing about or having any inkling about my gender issues. I knew without any shadow of a doubt, I was expected to be a boy in all aspects of my life. My parents were of the "Greatest Generation" which was the WWII and Great Depression generation. As a child growing up in the 50's, I was expected to fit neatly into a square male hole and survive the best I could. in a world I did not embrace.

The entire experience of being totally alone in the world as a boy who wanted to be a girl led me quickly to extreme cases of gender dysphoria. It wasn't until many years later when I learned of Virginia Prince and her "Transvestia" publication did I discover there actually other transvestites as they called themselves back then. Thinking back, I am fairly sure the publication was mailed out every two months and I couldn't wait until the next one arrived. Thanks to "Transvestia", I was able to learn about actual mixers which were close enough for me to go meet  other cross dressers or transvestites. As I began to see others in those mixers up close and personal, I learned how many levels of difference there were in a community which I imagined to be so similar. For example, the idea of the mixer being for only heterosexual transvestites only was quickly dispelled when too many of the participants disappeared behind  their hotel room doors too quickly.

Ironically, through it all, I still didn't feel as if I had found any sort of a home with others who supposedly were supposed to feel similar to me. Looking back, I think it was because the concept of being transgender had not been widely publicized at the time. I knew I did not belong with the cross dressers trying to deny their male selves or the transsexuals in the group considering radical gender realignment surgery. In those days, anyone who went down the surgical path was recommended to move away and begin a totally new life. As severe as my gender dysphoria was at the time. I couldn't imagine myself doing all of that.

It took awhile but I eventually stopped blaming my parents for ignoring my gender issues. Part of it was my fault for never attempting to tell them what was really bothering me, so I took the traditional male approach and just bottled it all up. I hid it all so well until the night after I returned home from the Army. I came home late from drinking my share of beer and found my Mom waiting up for me. We started to talk and along the way, I tried to come out to her. She followed her instincts and offered to pay for mental health counselling and I followed mine and never brought it up to her again. She has long since passed away so the best I could do to honor her anyhow was to change my new legal middle name to hers nearly five years ago. 

I needed to realize the "Greatest Generation" was good at providing and not so good at emotional support,  at least in my family. Once I accepted the facts of my upbringing, I really needed to work hard to not repeat the cycle of my upbringing. Once I began to feel secure in my transgender life, I was able to  do it.    


Thursday, September 7, 2023

It's All a Dream

 

Transvestia Cover from
the year I graduated 
High School

When I began my gender journey years ago, little did I know many of my dreams would become a reality. 

In the midst of being so young, all things were possible but at the same time impossible. Here I was so all alone in my very dark, isolated closet thinking I was the only one in the world who wanted desperately to be a girl. I would be years away from my first "Transvestia" Magazine where I learned there were actually many others like me called transvestites. Plus, from that point forward, I had other cross dressers to compare myself to. After all, there were so many others who looked wonderful and I could only dream of looking like.

Then, "Transvestia" opened the door to more one on one interaction with other transvestites by publicizing social mixers I could actually attend because some were close enough geographically to be there. I did go and was exposed to a whole new world I never knew existed. There were cross dressers trying to hide their feminine side with cigars and cowboy hats (way before the Urban Cowboy movie) all the way to the impossibly beautiful transsexuals' who I couldn't believe were ever male at all. Through it all, I still had the impression I did not totally belong in either group. I could dream of looking as good as the second group I mentioned, but getting there was going to take me quite a lot of work. 

Ironically, the mixers led me to networking myself to smaller groups of like minded individuals in Columbus, Ohio which was a much shorter drive to where I lived but far enough away I would not be recognized as a version of my male self. Back in those days, he was standing directly in the way of all my feminine dreams and making any progress difficult to maintain. In many ways, he and my second wife were allies against my authentic self who so much enjoyed the new interaction she was having at the small parties she was attending in Columbus. Those attending again included anyone from cross dressers admirers to lesbians to transsexuals headed for genital realignment surgery. I was able to learn from them all and wonder what future path my life could take. Following the parties, I would spend days daydreaming of the next one and would I be able to get time off of work to actually go. With or without my wife who was normally the only spouse who attended the small mixer. I could sense the whole evening was not enjoyable for her.

As much as my gender daydreaming threatened to disrupt my everyday life during the days following the party, I still found time to do my job well. As well as dream of my next move. Which was could I ever think or dream of considering a life as a full time transgender woman. The term was just being coined at the time and to me it meant a new freedom from the old belief transsexual's needed to complete their gender surgery, sever all ties, then move away and just disappear. Perhaps there was hope for me yet.

Through the small sliver of hope I maintained over the years, it was true I could have the life I had always dreamed of. I was able to carve out a life in what I considered to be a feminine dominated world. Gone were the days of trying to please my old male self with how I dressed and in came the days of dressing to blend with the majority of the women I encountered in the world.  It all led to me considering and beginning hormone replacement therapy and really changing my life away from my old male self. Basically as far as I could without surgery. 

What I really learned through it all is if you can manage to live long enough, life is but a circle and some dreams can come true if you can stay the course. Which essentially what happened to me.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Gender Copycats?

 

Image from Kelly Sikkema
on UnSplash

Just one of the major misconceptions transgender women and trans men face is we are just copying the gender we are transitioning into.

The majority of people never come to, or accept the fact we are not copying anything. We are just in the process of becoming our true selves. I know my first inkling I was doing much more than copying the girls I admired so much than just copying them. When I grew tired of just looking at myself in the mirror, I knew I needed to move forward or continue to be completely miserable. Or, I was quickly tired of just being a cross dresser long before the term transgender was ever invented. It is one of those times I wish I had known then what I know now.

As the years of life flew by, so did my feelings about being feminine. I grew more and more into being the newer transgender label. For some reason even needing a label appealed to me. Somehow the process made me feel closer to a group of like minded individuals. When I first began my search I was struggling to find such a group. The first mixers I attended which labeled themselves as being only for heterosexual transvestites, were far from being only for those people. I discovered a wonderful mixture of every sort of person from male admirers, to hetero cross dressers to very feminine and sexually ambiguous transsexuals.  Deep down I thought I needed a place to fit in but it was very difficult for me to do so. I was very frustrated to have come this far to still have no answers. It turned out I would have to live many more years until my major gender questions would be answered. 

Ironically, the only questions I had answers for were the fact any answers I found just led me to more questions. Was I really just copying the women I admired so much, or were my feelings much deeper than all of that. To arrive, I found I needed to explore more completely who I was as a person. Was I truly a transgender person and what did that mean anyhow. Fortunately by that time, the world was catching up with me and I found comparisons with other like minded transgender women who felt they didn't completely fit in with the world. Of course it was scary to leave my comfortable male past behind but I discovered a new incredible feminine life I couldn't live without. I finally learned I was far more than just a gender copycat which a part of an unapproving world said I was. 

Through my journey, I remained way too loyal to my old male self. Eventually, the gender pressure became too much and I needed to be man enough to leave my past behind me. I chose to live in the real world, the feminine one and not look back. I was not in anyway shape or form a copycat of anyone else. Once I really began to transition in earnest, I learned the hard part was behind me. My inner feminine soul was ready willing and able to take over my life as only she could. She was telling me in no uncertain terms she was reaping the benefits now of having to live in the background for so many years. 

One way to completely upset her is to say she is a gender copycat of any sort. She has paid her dues to be her own person.



Sunday, July 16, 2023

Endless Possibilities

 

Image from the 
Jessie Hart
Collection

When I was young, the only vocation I could think I wanted to follow was I wanted to be a woman. 

Somehow along the way, I hoped I would grow out of it. As the years went by, not only did the thoughts of being a woman not go away, they just became stronger.  Initially all of this made me even more frustrated with my life. Possibilities seemed far from endless. I was stuck living an unwanted male life. The only possibility I faced was making my male existence as successful as I could. So I followed traditional male activities and pursuits such as sports and having a successful profession. For years, it seemed I was going backwards towards my dream and/or goal of living as a transgender woman.

Before I did begin to look for my gender possibilities, I needed to learn more completely what the process meant to me. About that time was when the transgender term became known at all. Just having an idea of who I might be gave me a starting point on my gender development. The more I explored getting out of my closet and into the world, happily the possibility of opening more doors began to evolve. I started with the basics such as doing a portion of the grocery shopping all the way to going shopping for Christmas gifts. All as my feminine self. The more I explored, the more possibilities opened up to me. For once in my life, I was finding a way to feel more natural and complete. Deep down I knew I was right when I lived as my authentic feminine self.

All of sudden, I was starting to think I actually could follow the biggest dream of mine to someday live fulltime as a transgender woman. In other words, my sun, moon and gender stars were beginning to come together. Before I knew it, I was going to previously off-limits venues and thriving.  Issues such as one on one communications with strangers began to fade away when I learned living as a transgender woman meant so much more than just looking like one in the mirror. I can't stress enough (for me) learning the many and various layers cis-women live through. I called the process being allowed to play in the girl's sandbox. I was helped along when I was invited to "girls night out" parties as well as other gender specific activities When I pulled the feminine curtain back. I really progressed with the new knowledge I learned. 

If you have ever experienced being tantalizingly close to a lifetime goal and not achieving it, that is where I was. I could see what my life as a woman would be like but taking the final step would not be easy and was all so terrifying. My male self just didn't want to give up all the white male privileges  he had worked all those years to earn. At the time I viewed the process as similar to sliding down a slippery slope towards a steep cliff. When and if I fell off the cliff, I didn't know if I could ever return. Well, I never was able to return to my old male self and I have a series of friends to thank for making my landing as soft as possible.

Included in my circle of friends was my own inner feminine soul. I had no idea once I turned my life over to her, she knew exactly what to do. She had been waiting all those years for her endless possibilities to materialize.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Planned or Evolved

 

Image from UnSplash

Completing a gender change is a difficult experience, to say the least. 

Sometimes I think my path to a transgender life was planned, sometimes I think I just evolved. I think that because the more I planned, the less I accomplished. There were literally years which went by without much change at all, or so I thought. Those were the days when I thought I had perfected my wardrobe and makeup but then failed miserably when I went out in the public's eye and found out I still had a long way to go. In other words, putting the feminine image in motion was the plan but I found I needed to evolve into it. I needed to walk the feminine walk more than I had ever had. The mirror had to take a back seat to reality.

Along the way, I was able to plan on carving out precious time in my male life to explore the possibility if I could further explore a transgender life as a woman. I went to many mixers in nearby Columbus, Ohio which were attended by everyone from transsexuals to transvestites to male "admirers:. Somewhere in the middle of all those people was me. I guess I could have been described as a questioner who was just observing all the others to see where I fit. Through it all, there was no way I could plan my next gender move, I needed to evolve into it. 

It wasn't until much later in life until I tried to plan my future. Fairly quickly after taking my time in my MtF gender transition, the time was quickly approaching to pick up the pace. For one, I wasn't getting any younger and if I was ever going to try, I better do it. Plus another major issue was I was becoming better and better existing in public as a transgender woman. If in any way I was receiving negative feedback perhaps I would have felt differently about transitioning but it was different because I felt so natural the more I did it. The more I communicated and existed in the world as a trans woman, the less I needed to plan my next move. I could just sit back, relax and evolve who I was. 

Evolution eventually led me to beginning hormone replacement therapy and never formulating any plans to ever go back to my old unwanted male life. The hormones I was fortunate enough to be approved for helped me to evolve much further into a feminine life I wasn't prepared for. I learned quickly there was no way anything I had accomplished in life HRT opened pathways in my life I could have never planned for, I needed to evolve into as a new human being. 

Once I evolved I was able to be a better person as the stress of attempting to live between two of the main binary genders drained off of me. Even my long bout with having a prescribed Bi-Polar depression disorder became better. Probably because my consumption of alcohol went way down also,  All because I quit planning to change my gender and evolved into a transgender woman I could be happy with.    

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Name Game.

Lately it seems, every time we turn around, someone is adding another letter to the LGBT moniker.

LGBT has become LGBTQ and beyond even, which I am not going to mention in this post. Oh well, why not. There is also LGBTQIA. If you wonder what all that means, "Q" is for questioning "I" is for intersex and "A" is for ally or asexual.

I still wonder though, what happened to the "C" for cross dressers?

Maybe you have to complete some sort of reality school to "graduate" up into the main lineup of letters? Also what happened to transsexuals? Remember when the all powerful Transsexuals "ruled" the roost after they climbed the gender dysphoria ladder to surgery and then disappeared? Maybe some still do, but almost all of the trans women who have gone through surgery I know these days are nice and mellow women.

Then there are the poor transvestites. Remember them? I remember explaining to a few key people in my world what the term meant. It seems pretty harmless these days. All I wanted to do was to dress like a woman. Of course, all of that started to change when the transgender term came along.

Every once in a while, I take a look at the other letters to see what they still mean to me. Although I know it drives many lesbians crazy, I consider myself a lesbian because I am a woman and live with a cis woman. I was gay "questioning" but never saw the need or desire and "Bi" is pretty self explanatory.

Finally, I am not intersex and I live with an ally.

Hopefully, I covered all the bases...I think I feel better!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's Been Forever?

Yesterday I went to my bank to deposit some money. Out of the three tellers, I just happened to get the male one. Either he thought I was a vision of loveliness (probably not) or having a real live transgender woman in the bank was a relief from his normal day to day activities.

At any rate, the questions came fast, furious and friendly. Did I do most of my banking on line, was my day going good and was I sure there was nothing else I could be helped with?  I was almost embarrassed. After all, how exciting is a trip to the grocery store anyway?  Plus, yes I did live this way and just didn't put on makeup and women's clothes to go to the bank and run errands. He didn't ask that, of course.

I'm sure though, I shouldn't complain. It wasn't so long ago I was filled full of angst with the thought of even going out in public, let alone communicating with anyone.

As much as I want to be recognized as simply an attractive woman, more than likely, the idea of another person seeing me as a trans girl sometimes is just as satisfying.

In fact on Facebook, I just commented on a person's post who has complained about not wanting to be called transgender at all. She hates the community and pretty much all it stands for. That's all well and good, everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is akin to throwing the baby out with the dish water. After all, one of the big reasons no one knows much about the trans community is because of all the so called transsexuals who transitioned years ago and disappeared. And, like any other community, not all the peeps are pleasant.

We all grew up being someone. Just because that someone happened to be male doesn't make you or him all bad. With all the suicide going on in the LGBT community (especially the 'T') we need visible survivors to prove to the world we can make it and prosper.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How Many of us do Blackface?

I am sure many "Terf's" or feminists who want to exclude us out of hand from any feminine discussion, would also want to group all of us into one group (transgender, cross dressers and drag queens) into one category, and say yes.

Internally though, we know that is not true and the answer is so much more complex.  Blackface by definition is a form of  theatrical makeup by primarily non black performers to represent a black person. So drag queens by definition could fall into a similar definition. Primarily gay cis males who use forms of makeup to represent women.

From there on, the comparison gets murky.

Cross dressers, are primarily "straight" cis men who often are feeding a deep seated need to look like cis-women. You can draw your own conclusions if that is a form of "black face" or not. The old term "transvestite" can also be applied here, if you like.

Finally, when you consider transgender women, "black face" should not enter into the conversation at all.

Being over simplistic on purpose, trans women want to do much more than just look like cis-women, they want to live like one. The deep seated need to live a feminine life often takes over one's life, even to the point of ending a life if nothing can be done. Insert, transsexual here if you would like.

My difference between the two is ideally a transsexual woman (or man) deeply desires to have genital surgery to complete their gender identity, where as a transgender person is more content to live the life of a gender they weren't born into. With or without surgery.

At any rate, I thought the "blackface" discussion was a thought provoking one.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Life Turns on a Dime, Part Four

I call this time in the mid 1980's my validation time.

I was still struggling with the fact that dressing trashy versus classy was not the way to  go and teasing truckers on the interstate with a hiked up skirt was not going to work.  Plus I still couldn't get it through my thick noggin why it wouldn't.

Very basically a cross dresser dresses for what a man wants to see and a transgender woman (in order to survive in the world) must take into consideration what women want to see too.

After yet another viscous fight between my wife and I, she said "You make a terrible woman." Of course I was devastated!  All  the work shaving my legs and mirror worship just couldn't be wrong. Then she said, "I'm not referring to the way you look. I am referring to the way you act and think."

You would have thought even I would begin to get through my thick noggin what she was talking about and for once I was getting a glimmer of hope. On my trips out cross dressed, I was beginning to notice more of the world around me. About this time too, my wife would even go out with me to dinner in Columbus. So if I didn't "dress like a slut" (as she put it) I would have even more chances to live as a woman. The more I lived it-the more I loved it.

About this time was when transgender began to creep into the public's vocabulary replacing the all encompassing transvestites or transsexuals on either end of the spectrum. I began to think-could transgender be me?

Shortly we moved back up towards Columbus, Ohio and I became involved with one of the most diverse groups within a group I had ever seen or been involved with.

I was about to find another dime and have a real idea what validation really meant.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Cyrsti's Condo "Archive Post"

From 2011:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stuff!

OK girlfriends and guy friends...here is a miss mash of stuff (kind of like my closet!),
Number one is another site dedicated to "transequality". The "National Center for Transgender Equality" web site features great information and even a training piece. Check it out!
Way less serious news includes "The Village Voice" reporting that "Lady Gaga" is going to do a video with transsexuals. That is earth shattering! Really? Lady Gaga?
This soldier,who made the "Top Ten Chinese Crossdresser List" just blew me away!
"Back in the day", I had a friend who delighted in carrying "Mao Tsetung's" little red book. I really never believed he ever opened it, but it really upset many people... All he was looking for in our Midwestern town. Seemingly a thousand years later China is emerging as a world force and I thought we would feature a picture of one of China's former soldiers  Well, here she is!
What would "Ozzie" think! Yes that "Ozzie Osbourne". I don't really think "The Oz" is capable of a coherent thought but was he shocked when daughter Kelly ­tearfully dumped ­fiancé Luke Worrall when she found
out he was ­having a secret affair.
The heartbroken star finally ended her engagement to the model when
she discovered he was cheating with Elle ­Schneider, an identikit
blond.

But what Kelly didn't ­realize was that Elle was born a man - and is
now a pre-op transsexual.
Elle, 21, from Miami, revealed her secret to the Sunday Mirror, and
produced an ID card that shows she started life as Reynaldo Gonzalez.
Elle said she was open with Luke that she was born a boy and it turned him on more. Imagine that!
It seems (from my angle) this could be Kelli's fault. Her own transformation resulted in "Elle" and her looking like sisters. Maybe Luke thought that too?

Sink or Swim

Image from Trans Wellness Event.  Jessie Hart Archives.  Many times when I first entered the world as a new cross dresser or femininized mal...