Not my Mom, if she returned from the great beyond, it would be bigger news. This post is about meeting up with the woman who you might recall, harassed me a couple times about my hair. I made the comment at the time, she reminded me of how my Mom would have approached me.
Fortunately this time, I just had my trip to my hair dresser Friday, so visually I was ready for her.
When Liz and I arrived at the outside shelter house near a nearby lake, it didn’t take her long to approach me. To her credit, she was very positive about my hair which indeed made me feel better about our relationship.
Then, she asked could she tell me something and I thought now what? She paused and said how proud she was of me for living the life I wanted to. I was taken totally off guard. Finally I managed to blurt out the truth…I appreciated her acceptance but my choice didn’t come out of bravery or anything like it. I literally didn’t have the chance to be brave, it was either change my life or lose it.
A day later as I look back on her comment though, I feel now as if I finally found a sense of peace with my long deceased Mom. Whose approval is what I really wanted.
This actually was posted in 2021 in Cyrsti’s Condo but is still relevant today:
And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don’t all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren’t reading this at all.
Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.
Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women.
All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the “gauntlet” of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least.
I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it’s stand and brush it out.
Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.
I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way. which is nothing different in our overall experience. Once I decided to take the total leap of faith and transition into my authentic feminine life it was as if a giant weight had been taken of my shoulders. I was so tired of fighting my gender dysphoria.
Finding myself in a material world was well worth it.
It turns out the Cyrsti’s Condo post on using the women’s rest room received plenty of reactions.
The first comes from Emily :
“Using restrooms–confidence is the key. I forced myself to pursue crowded ladies rooms to build that confidence-not easy-takes a long time. do not be furtive as that is a dead giveaway. Emily”
I definitely agree confidence is the real key to using the restroom. Thanks for the comment!
The second comes from Paula who writes Paula’s Place Blog :
Photo Courtesy Paula
“I have never had any incidents involving rest rooms, but I do have a couple of stories, the very first concert my band played after I transitioned we found that we had two changing rooms, one was allocated for men, the other for women, out of a blend of modesty and embarrassment I was trying to find a loo to get changed in, I must have looked a bit lost and confused because as I walked past a couple of the girls in the band lent out of the changing room grabbed me and told to come in and get changed! The other was at the “local” of my best friend I had been going in this pub for years before my transition when of course I used the appropriate facilities, afterwards I started using the ladies rest room, nobody ever said anything to me, but I found out later that a couple of people did query this with the landlady ~ who straightened them out after all what man wants a woman trans, or not, Walking through their loo wearing heels and a dress while they’re at the urinal? The next time I was in that pub the landlady bought me a drink and came and sat with us, just to shut everyone up.” What a great experience!
Common sense such as your landlady showed is all too rare. And finally for this set of comments is Connie’s experience:
Photo Courtesy Connie
“I’ve never had a real problem using the ladies room. The first night I was out in the public, I was with about eight cross dressers from the local trans social club. They decided it would be funny (my initiation?) to have the female server follow me, a few minutes later, into the ladies room and yell out, “There’s a man in the ladies room!” I just ignored it, and went about my business. I was pretty sure it was a joke, but I figured it was where I belonged – no matter what anyone else might have thought. When I returned to the table, everyone was laughing at me. I gave them some time to get their yuks, and then asked if anyone there knew where my table was – the one where the ladies were sitting. I did have an incident during intermission at the theater, where I felt pressure (intended) to hurry in deference to the other ladies who were waiting in line. In my haste, I had tucked the back of my dress into my pantyhose. Another woman kindly, and discretely, let me know of my faux pa, and everything was just fine……until I noticed the string of toilet paper stuck to the heel of my shoe as I walked back into the lobby. You can really find who your friends are while using the ladies room. ;-)” I too have had the toilet paper on the shoe experience and fortunately had another kind woman point it out to me before I left the restroom. I always assumed it was a right of passage for all women.
Pride Photo Courtesy JJ Hart
One of the great restroom equalizers I have seen occurred during a pre-Covid LGBTQ Pride festival in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The park where it was being held had a free standing, permanent restroom for both genders. On the day of Pride, it was discovered hornets had taken over the men’s side leaving only the women’s side for everyone to use. All of a sudden everyone had to put their restroom biases aside and go to the same room. It was comical for me to see all the various personalities “mix it up” while they waited for toilet paper to be passed up and down the line. For once I had been on both ends of the restroom spectrum and didn’t care.
It always amazes me how the most basic need of using the restroom stirs up so much passion.
Perhaps you remember the days when “Victoria’s Secret” refused to even consider using a transgender woman as a model. In a 2018 Vogue interview the brand’s marketing director said no “transsexuals” would be used. These days times have changed:
From “USA Today”:
“Model and TikTok star Emira D’Spain is making history as the first Black transgender model to work with Victoria’s Secret.
“The best love is self love!” D’Spain captioned the video.
In the video, D’Spain showed herself getting ready for a day of pampering, styling herself in a red Victoria’s Secret corset, black miniskirt and jacket, and suede Louboutin boots. Then, D’Spain was off for a self-care day around New York City, where she bought herself diamond earrings and flowers.
D’Spain said the theme of self-love of the collaboration is an extension of the positive message she wants to convey in her social media content. “My entire platform is built on confidence and self-love,” D’Spain said in a statement to USA TODAY.
She continued: “I want to empower young trans women and men around the world to show them that the beauty and fashion industries are changing, especially if you are a POC. I am so grateful to work with Victoria’s Secret and hope this paves the way for those after me.”
Mark wrote in and asked a relevant question concerning the post on “Confidence”:
“So well done for talking about this .how have you coped/managed using toilets …around town and with friends at a meeting or work, Mark.x”
Sometimes I think I could write forever on my restroom experiences so forgive me if I repeat some you may have read before.
Very early in my days of trying the world as a novice transgender woman, I wasn’t very successful in my need to use the proper restroom which matched my authentic gender. On a couple occasions in the sports bars I frequented I was called a pervert, kicked out of one place and even had the police called on me in another. Through it all, I was able to find venues who supported me completely while at the same time my feminine presentation became better. As far as work went Mark, I had retired by the time I became serious about completing my transition.
It’s interesting to me I still have a picture of the first women’s room I used when I began going out. (above)
It’s also important to point out I never stopped using the women’s room, no matter what happened. The only exceptions were the lesbian bars I went to. In several of them, plus a few gay venues, the privilege’s of using the “room” were abused by gay guys and/or cross dressers and were revoked by signs saying “Real Women Only.”
I will add also Mark, for many years now I have not had any problems using the correct (women’s) restroom. I think the most recent was several years ago when Liz and I were headed on a bus trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The bus stopped on the Alabama/Mississippi state line at a road side rest stop. Needless to say I was not thrilled with the prospect of waiting in line with ten or fifteen other women in a foul smelling restroom but I knew I couldn’t hold my business until the next stop. I finally made it into a stall and when I left I ran straight into two women glaring at me while they waited. I hoped they were just mad because they waited but my restroom paranoia told me it was so much more so I quickly washed up and headed back to the safety of the bus.
As I said, the only other times I have even been in a men’s restroom in the past twenty years were a couple of times during drag shows when there were ridiculous lines of women waiting to go…real or not. I used the men’s room and laughed at all of those still waiting.
So Mark theses are just a very few of my restroom experiences. As I said over the years I don’t think of having any problems using the restroom but then again, there probably isn’t a time my past doesn’t haunt me.
FYI, transgender women are real women and these days I would not back down.
Yesterday as the Cincinnati Bengals won their game and will head next to the Super Bowl, I will admit I did shed a tear or two of joy. Of course I was overjoyed at the hard fought win but even more I was overcome at the memories of the thirty three years which have gone by since the last trip to a Super Bowl by a Bengals team As you can imagine, I have suffered more than my share of heartbreak when the Bengals found ways to lose I couldn’t even think of and were even referred to as the “Bungles.”
Being as perceptive as she is, my partner Liz asked me if my tears were because of the memories I had watching all the games I did as a guy. It was at that point I started to connect the dots and told her yes.
In many ways, looking back at all the years of hiding my transgender feminine being from the world, I wonder how I made it. All those years of going to The Ohio State University football games, drinking enormous amounts of beer while I tried to out macho the other guy by smoking big cigars. One example comes to mind when I had to relieve myself of a large amount of the beer I had just drank by going to what can only be called as a high tech men only portable toilet. The unit only had a trough like device for about five guys to go at once. Or as many as could squeeze in.
My dilemma quickly became my lack of enough hands. I had a plastic beer cup, a lit cigar and no hands to unzip and go. To solve the problem I pushed my way in holding my beer in my teeth along with my cigar and went ahead and peed. Either that moment was the most macho thing I did or at the least was the most imaginative thing I ever came up with. By now my mind was racing and I returned to the present.
As I cried though, all I could think of were all the wasted years I had doing my best to live a gender lie. How much worse could everything been if I had just followed my instincts and set out to live as my feminine natural self.
On the other hand, if you believe in the cup being half empty or full, I was able to live a remarkable life as a guy. and have such wonderful things as my beloved daughter to show for it. Even my time in the military proved to be beneficial as I was able to see and live on three continents in three years followed up by living in several diverse areas of this country when I was honorably discharged. The cup was half empty when I chased after myself but full when I was able to add all the experiences I did.
When you are able to live as long as I have, you begin to realize connecting the dots only proves life is but a circle. Learning from the circle has been the difficult lesson for me.
The city of Columbus in Ohio is known often as “C-Bus.” I grew up and lived for years approximately a half hour away in Springfield, Ohio.
One of the first places I used to go to attend transvestite or cross dresser mixers were in Columbus. It is a much larger city than Springfield plus it offered me a place to go where no one would recognize me. It was at several of those mixers I started to try to follow in the steps of the group’s “A” listers. I didn’t want to adopt their attitude in anyway. They were similar to the ego trips most likely seen in the cheerleaders where I went to high school.
What I did value was the chance to go out with them after the mixers were over. I tagged along when they left most of the group at the mixer and went out to various gay and lesbian venues to party. Needless to say I learned a lot about attempting to go out in the world as a novice transvestite/cross dresser.
As time went on, the group who staged the mixers went away and many of the “A” group who lived in the area began to meet at one of the members houses. If you are familiar with Columbus at all, the house was in a fully restored brick home in the German Village historic district. In other words, it was a great place to have a party.
One of the benefits of tagging along with the “A” listers was my wife and I received an invite to the parties which normally happened about once a month. Since I worked in the restaurant business, Saturday nights off were difficult to come by and the rare ones I did get were cherished. As you can imagine, my wife wasn’t totally on board with spending one of our rare Saturdays with a group of men in dresses. I had to mix in a powerful mixture of persuasion mixed with pouting to get her to go. Normally me going by myself was out of the question. I wasn’t trusted to be on my own in other words and she was right.
Normally the parties featured a wonderful who’s who of gender dysphoric people on a rapidly developing gender spectrum. Being transgender was still a new idea but being a transsexual wasn’t. It was still during the time when transsexuals were expected to go through what then was known as sex change surgery then disappear into society. Never to be heard from again. In fact, the person who organized the parties identified as a transsexual.
What fascinated me were the number of different individuals who attended. All the way from male admirers to transsexuals considering surgery to all the questioning people such as me. One night, a question I never considered was presented to me in a way I would have never considered.
On the night in question, my wife and I had the usual fight over what I was wearing. My dress was just too short for her liking. I hate to say it but she was right and her point was proven dramatically. One admirer (or a man who admired cross dressers) was a big guy, around six foot four and probably approximately two hundred sixty pounds. I wasn’t a small person but he towered over me.
What happened was he caught me in a hallway of the house in a position I couldn’t get out of. I learned quickly how tables could be turned on women in an instant as I was trapped. About the time I was starting to panic and he was reaching for my thigh I looked up and saw my wife looking at me from down the hallway. It turned out she had let the lesson play out as far as she thought it needed to and then loudly cleared her throat. When the admirer heard it, he quickly backed off and as I said my lesson was learned.
Of course, I had to hear about it all the way home. Partying down in “C-Bus” would never be the same again and I knew how quickly all women could be put in compromising situations they can’t escape from.
Ivory Aquino has been cast to portray Alysia Yeoh, the roommate and best friend of the titular superhero also known as Barbara Gordon, in upcoming HBO Max film Batgirl, as Variety reports.
Aquino’s character first appeared in a DC Batgirl issue by Gail Simone and artist Ardian Syaf in 2011. She will star opposite Leslie Grace’s Barbara Gordon. Both Aquino and Yeoh are transgender. This is the first time a live-action film adaptation of a DC Comics movie will feature an openly trans character.
In 2017, the Filipina actress portrayed transgender activist Cecilia Chung in the ABC miniseries, When We Rise.
2016 it turns out was a big year as I progressed through my MtF gender transition. It was the year I completed my legal gender name change, My process turned out to have a couple different layers of paper work I had to go through because I needed to include the Veterans Administration in the process. Which meant I needed the help of my VA therapist to do it. She provided the timely paperwork to insure certain medications crucial to my transition continued, especially my hormone replacement therapy needs.
I vividly remember the day I was able to erase the “M” on my Ohio driver’s license and replace it with a “F”. Second only to the first time I needed the license to vote. The only legal document I have not gotten around to changing yet is my birth certificate which only fairly recently became legal to do here in Ohio. It’s my fault for procrastinating because the whole process turned out to be fairly simple after the gender bigots quit fighting it.
Over the years, my feminine name has proven to present quite the challenge. Early in life I chose the name of girls who I admired such as the one who sat across from me in study hall. Not that is as important today, her name was Karen which of course is not the most popular name these days. Anyhow, Karen had a short lived time in my life because there always seemed to be another girl/woman I was to become enamored with and adopted her name. For awhile.
Just before I settled into a steady feminine persona as I entered the feminine world, the name game became a little crazy. In fact I would buy wigs to match a certain name. An example was Roxy was always a blond while Darcy was always a red head. After realizing I was defeating the chances to establish myself as one unique person in public, I settled into using Cyrsti as my name. It was pronounced the same as Kristi but was spelled different to reflect light going through a crystal. This was all well and good as I began to be able to exist in the woman’s sandbox and the Cyrsti’s Condo blog was born.
Cyrsti was destined to be part of my life for many years, in fact all the way to my early sixties when I came out to my daughter. Her only real concern after wondering why she was the last to know I was transgender to what was up with the name (she disliked it) and what would the three grandkids call me. Since I was close to choosing a legal name change anyhow, the time was right for a revision.
This time I decided to stay within the family history for my new name. I chose my maternal grandfather’s first name (Jesse) and just spelled it different and added my Mom’s first name as my middle name (Jeanne). That way the kids could just call me “JJ”.
At that point, the biggest question was what would happen to the blog. Should I sacrifice all the years of posts and millions of hits I had and change the name? I decided not to and kept Cyrsti as sort of a “pen name” Just to confuse the issue more though I decided to use JJ Hart fairly recently when I began to publish on the Medium writers platform.
In the future, my goal is to retain a professional to help me with my blog ideas. When I can afford it. Perhaps they could advise me on what to do with my pen name versus my legal name. In the meantime, I’m afraid my schizophrenic name use will continue.
Pride month for the LGBT community should be a year around celebration. Once you reach the certain point of your life when you are comfortable as your authentic gender self, it’s time to celebrate yourself. In other words the tipping point of having total confidence in yourself. Confidence of course was the topic of a recent blog post which Paula commented on:
” Confidence is key. It took me a while to inhabit the world confidently as a woman of mature years. We missed out on a lot of the learning process, we had to compress so much into such a short time. But now, I find that I have the confidence to do things I would not have before, because I am not just confident in my femininity, but in myself. ”
As always Paula, thanks for the relevant comment.
Pride can be expressed in many different ways. You don’t have to go watch garishly dressed drag queens strut around in heels to participate in Pride. As you can see in the first picture of me at a pre-Covid Pride along the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio.
You can dress in your favorite jeans or leggings depending on the season or you can be the occasional cross dresser in your local bar. The important part is you are living your life as you feel natural doing.
I know also, many of you think you are impossibly stuck in your transgender/cross dresser closet and will never escape. There was a time when I felt that too. I was just able somehow escape the tragic situation I was in and sheer destiny led me out of my closet and into a feminine world.
I will say though I had to work very hard to put myself in a position for destiny to find me. I searched high and low on dating sites looking for someone. Either male or female to spend social time with and was a miserable failure. My Pride comes from from finally being persistent enough to find friends such as Kim and Nikki who I met in sports bar venues and had a great time. All the while I was learning valuable lessons on how to navigate a feminine world. Then there was Liz who responded to a online dating site, saying I had sad eyes.
Along the way, being a partier didn’t hurt me when I did attend various Pride events as you can see in the second picture which was taken in a very busy gay venue in downtown Cincinnati several years ago.
To make a long story/post short, have Pride in your journey. Even though it may consist of being able to exist in a very dark closet.
I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.