The Funniest Transgender Mean Girl

If you don’t have Peacock, there’s a good chance you’ve missed out on one of the best high school shows on TV right now: Saved by the Bell.

The reboot of the classic teen sitcom not only features most of the original cast, now as adults, but has a great cast of young actors playing current Bayside High students. One of those is Josie Totah, a young actress you might recognize from the film Moxie or Big Mouth. She plays Lexi, a popular girl and cheerleader at the school who is also trans.

Totah’s character is easily the funniest on the show, which is filled with hilarious characters and young actors. The series really knows how to balance her bitchy, mean-girl attitude and privilege with hilariously self-aware trans jokes.

Another highlight of the show is Lexi’s relationship with her boyfriend Jamie (the son of original Saved by the Bell character Jessie Spano). The two have been best friends since childhood, and Lexi regularly has to face her insecurities about the relationship.

The new season is currently streaming on Peacock.

The Good Old Days

 I have touched on the subject of my ex wife (the first one who is still alive) bringing up the story from my past when I wrecked a car. The wreck could have easily killed both my brother and I. My problem with my first wife was when she referred to me as “he” could have seriously injured both of us. It was one of those moments I wish I was quick enough to say something like “Yes HE did it but now HE is gone.”

In the grand scheme of things, the most I would have gotten out of her was a weak apology. As I began to think of it, the entire wreck was systematic of my life back in “The good old days.” In other words, the good old days weren’t so good. In addition to my gender dysphoria issues, I had the military draft hanging over my head for most of my high school days into college. 

During this time I was very self destructive. As soon as I became old enough to drive, it seemed trying to kill myself behind the wheel was the way to go. In fact I began to think I had a guardian angel riding with me when I was going to try something stupid.

Another problem with the good old days was I hadn’t been diagnosed as bi-polar yet. Once I was years later when I was honorably discharged from the Army, suddenly many of my unexplained depressive episodes were explained. In fact, the first relevant gender therapist I visited told me there was nothing I could do about my desire to cross dress as a woman but there was help available for my destructive mood swings. Her advice went a long way into explaining why I struggled so hard with my life.

I wish I could say the overall self destructive experiences I had in the good old days were over. In fact, the more I tried to not risk going out in public as a woman, the more I did it. By this time I had divorced my first wife and married my second. Little did I know I would be setting off on a twenty five year odyssey  which would include many peaks and valleys. 

Through it all, I managed to go on a frenetic job journey which matched my urge to out run my demons. We managed to live in such diverse places as the NYC metro area all the way to an extremely rural area of Southeastern Ohio. My demons were relentless though and of course trying to outrun them was a waste of time and energy. 

The good old days had become a blur except for the strides I was making in my feminine presentation. Many of which put me in direct conflict with my wife. She knew of my cross dressing urges before we were married. She never agreed with any ideas of me being transgender and naturally was afraid of me being discovered going out. Nothing was good enough for me and I ended up going out as my authentic self as much as possible behind her back.

All the lying I did made the good old days less than pleasurable but still I had to do it. It’s a shame such a time of discovery and learning in my life had to have such a unfortunate ending.

So, I guess the good old days weren’t so good after all. I’m just lucky I lived through them to experience my life now as a transgender woman. 

The Passing Lane

As far as I am concerned, the term “passing” as a woman has gone the route of so many terms describing cross dressers or transgender women such as transvestite. However for this post, passing fits due to the times I was referring to in my past. Also, while I am on the subject of terminology, the “You make a beautiful or at the least convincing woman” always used to set me off too. After all I didn’t set out to “make” anything. Especially a woman. I was just trying to express my true self. 

As I was doing it, lessons were hard to learn and I have often written about the times I went home crying after being laughed at, or worse. Each lesson though taught me to survive and/or pass as my true feminine self. I could also refer to the process as aligning my interior with my exterior self. When I was able to balance the two was when I felt the most natural.

Perhaps you remember also the post I wrote about the little girl who taught me a huge lesson when she told her Mom “Look at the big mean woman.” It turned out I had the hardest part down, she saw me as a woman but I lost the passing battle with the male scowl on my face. From then on, softening my facial muscles became a part of my makeup. 

Later on I met and became friends with another transgender woman who ended up giving me passing lane advice. Once a week we used to meet in a friendly tavern in a downtown Dayton, Ohio restoration district. Every now and then, a local lesbian group would meet there for a mixer. As luck would have it, I had a couple of friends in the group. Thanks to them or any number of reasons I was always accepted at the mixer. Even to the point of being asked to help one on my friends “pick up” another woman. Yes I was a “wing person” for the evening.

Normally, my trans friend didn’t participate much in the mixer and I had the opinion she was more into men than I was. I loved any attention from a lesbian which came my way. Which it did on occasion. I discovered a kissing spot upstairs in the tavern by the rest rooms and was able to take advantage of a stray “smooch” on occasion. After one of them, my friend said I passed out of sheer will power.

I knew at the time, I didn’t have her natural feminine looks but I did know I had the personality to overcome whatever I lacked. Ironically, as I learned to establish myself with lesbians, they gave me the confidence to move forward. Years later though I learned the hard way my acceptance wasn’t permanent when my partner Liz (who identifies as a cis-lesbian) and I went to a Valentines Dance here in Cincinnati. When Liz went to get us some refreshments, a person went out of her way to make my life miserable with gender slurs. It took awhile for me to hitch up my big girl panties and get over it. But I did.

Overall I have been fortunate to have been able to straddle the gender frontier for as long as I could. Entering the “passing lane” wasn’t easy for me since I had very few feminine characteristics. I got it done though. I made a path for my feminine self.  

Doors

Or, in the gender out door.  It seems all my life I have been trying to force my way in the out door when my gender has been involved. 

Of course, similar to many of you, my earliest explorations into a feminine life involved diving into my Mom’s clothing and makeup. The more I did, the more I felt the gender door I was trying to go through was closed to me. Still I persisted against all odds. The harder I pushed against the out door finally it seemed I could see just a little of what was beyond the door.  I guess you could say there was life outside of my gender closet.

The more I pushed, the harder the out door was to open. Looking back, I believe now the problem was I was still taking the whole process of transitioning into a feminine world too lightly. Even though I considered myself a student of watching the cis women in my life, my view was still clouded. I was so envious of their lives I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. The prime example is how I was so self centered on the appearance factor of being feminine, I missed the true layers of being a woman.

I then came to a point of no return. I was cross dressing as a man close to the amount of time I was spending as my authentic self. Most importantly I realized I was not challenging the out door enough and resolved to push through it and see if I could live my gender dream. I still remember the first night I resolved myself to seeing if I could blend in and present well in a venue I had frequented many times as my male self. 

To say I was terrified is an understatement. Literally, time stood still as I approached the door of the upscale restaurant/bar I chose for my personal coming out party. I am fond of writing an oxygen tank would have been my best accessory for the evening. Through it all, I was accepted and was able to find a seat at the crowded bar with several other women who were just getting off of work from their jobs at a nearby mall. Once I started to breathe normally I began to feel so normal. Once I had pushed the gender out door this far I felt I would never be able to return. 

I never did return. From that point on I set out to build a feminine life I thought  would never be possible. I made new friends who accepted me as my authentic self. My closest transgender friend even said I “passed” out of sheer will power. Which is the subject of another blog post. 

To make a long story short, I was able to shatter my gender out door and eventually start hormone replacement therapy. 

It was a long and difficult struggle. It took me over a half a century to get through the gender door but I made it.

No Restrictions

Yesterday was one of our trips up north to Dayton, Ohio for what amounts to my daughter’s Thanksgiving get together. It actually is put together by her Mother in Law.  Since the family get together is not my first rodeo, I knew what to expect. Fortunately, I am nearly totally accepted by everyone. Including my first wife who I maintain a cordial relationship with. 

With the embarrassing spread of food and the holiday, both Liz and I called off the strict diet we have been strictly following. I called it short term pleasure because it will be so much harder to resume the diet which we have pledged to do after the left overs are gone. 

However, thanks to the diet I think I was able to present myself well in my boots, leggings and form fitting black blouse.  I was able to only be miss-gendered one and a half times during the long afternoon. The mother in law seems to always comes up with the infamous he…she comment. At least she corrects herself in mid sentence. Always. The other time came from my first wife when she was describing a wreck I had which nearly killed my brother and I. I just let that slide because she is a little ditzy. 

Then there were the grandkids who accept me totally. What a treasure! I have three. One of which is highly androgynous and is a sophomore at The Ohio State University who took an exceedingly rare football beating from rival Xichigan. 

On occasion there are pictures which surface later. If there are I will share them with you. 

Giving Thanks

For many in the United States Thanksgiving is a bittersweet holiday. Especially in the transgender community. I am an example.

Over the years my deceased wife hosted the family for a Thanksgiving feast. Our door was open also to my employees who may not have a family to celebrate with. To put it all in perspective, one big turkey was never enough. Through it all, after my parents passed away, my extended family was my brother, his two sons and the kids of theirs (and mine) who followed. We had a big house I was restoring so we had a large space to set up in and all were still welcome.

For the most part these were fond memories until I transitioned. By this time my wife had passed away and the dinner had moved to my brother’s house. Before I showed up as my authentic self for Thanksgiving, I called and talked to my brother. He said in essence he would always refer to me as my old self and he would get back with me concerning having an invitation at all. He never did and I never looked back. After all his in-laws were all right wing Southern Baptists. I guess he didn’t want to stand up for me.

As I said, I never looked back. I found myself firmly entrenched in my partner Liz’s family plus I was welcome in my accepting daughter’s extended family. 

I know so  many in the LGBTQ community aren’t so fortunate. Too  many are ostracized from their families and previous friends. Now it’s not uncommon to refer to other “non-blood” folks as new family.

Whatever it takes, I hope you all are able to take a moment and celebrate your blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by Cyrsti’s Condo! I truly appreciate it.

The “A” List

As I was writing this post I considered calling it the “Alpha Female” At any rate, the whole post goes back to my earliest remembrances of coming out and interacting with like minded cross dressers. Or at least I thought they were. 

What I naively thought was all sp called hetero cross dressers would be one big happy family, happy to mingle with others in their feminine finery. I was in for a rude awakening. 

First of all, there were what I call now the “deniers” . I saw guys in dresses and heels topped off with a cigar (before it was cool) and a cowboy hat. They were doing their best to dissuade anyone they were fond of their feminine selves. I learned quickly I didn’t fit in with their group. I was serious in putting my best foot forward. Normally in heels back in those days. More on that later.

In the meantime, I was fascinated with the other attendees to the “mixer”. The group ranged from the cowboy hats (not Urban Cowboy) types all the way to impossibly feminine types who I didn’t detect any masculinity in at all. Ironically, even though I am impossibly shy around people I don’t know, I didn’t feel I really fit in with any of the small groups I was observing. Except for possibly one.

The group I didn’t mention was who I call the “A Listers”. Or they considered themselves to be the best in looks and the best in social activities in the group. While the majority of the group stayed huddled in the hotel, the “A’s” went out to gay venues to entertain themselves. Even though I didn’t perceive myself to be their equal in appearance, I certainly wanted to tag along when they went out. I was determined even back in those days to allow my feminine self to sample the world whenever I could. So I did.

For the most part, excuse the term, they were bitches and didn’t accept me much but I didn’t care. I was there for me, not them.

Ironically all of my tagging along worked one night. Earlier in the evening the main group brought in makeup experts for advice to anyone who wanted it. I through my makeup to the wind, pulled up my big girl panties and volunteered. The guy who worked on my looks performed wonders! Easily he did much better than I could have ever imagined. I thought now, bring on the “A’s”.

It turned out I tagged along per norm to the first gay venue we always went to then, even went to a second. The second place was more subdued and was more like the neighborhood taverns I was used to. As the “A’s” positioned themselves at the bar, I headed for the pinball machines. As luck would have it, It was time for Cinderella to turn in her heels and head back to the hotel. 

Before we left though, a guy approached me at the pin ball game and asked if he could buy me a drink. I ended up telling him no but the “A’s” noticed and that was important too. I was accepted by at least one of them for the very few times I could attend another mixer in the future. I ended up attending several parties at her house in Columbus, Ohio. Most of which with my wife so she kept track of me. All material for another blog post.

It is important to say I never felt a part of the “A’s” and as time progressed I learned why. The so called LGBTQ community doesn’t have much to do with the transgender part of group. In fact I learned the hard way how many of the trans group have a hard time dealing with each other.  Indeed we are a multi faceted group.

One thing is for sure all these years later, I just couldn’t fit in with the “A’s” and it’s one of the reasons I try to be accepting of both cross dressers as well as trans women.

Stairsteps

Over the years I have thought about my transgender transition as climbing a hill. then sliding down. Recently though, I have began to consider it as more of a trip up  a gender stairwell.

My first steps could have been the hardest. I had to live through the unmistakable urge to try on any or all of my Mom’s clothes I could squeeze into. This step produced many feelings including confusion, fear and elation. This step was destined to last many years as I desperately tried to understand ad hide my inner feelings’

The next step brought with it the realization I wanted to be so much more than look like that girl I was seeing in the mirror. I didn’t understand it fully at the time but I wanted to be the girl  staring back at me. All of a sudden, the feeling of wearing the clothes and the makeup faded away and a new deep longing settled in. 

Ironically the next several steps became steeper and blended in. As I became more experienced in the makeup arts and was able to build my own small collection of women’s clothing, I am of the opinion I paused on these steps to look around and see where I was located. I did know, as far as my gender issues were concerned, not one thing had improved. I still would wake up in the morning wondering if I wanted to spend the day cross dressed as a male or enter m more natural gender (feminine). Unfortunately, there was little I could do about it.

Years later, I was able to take giant steps and actually climb up and see if living a more natural life for me in a women’s world was possible at all. It was around this time the internet was taking hold and I discovered new exciting terms such as transgender. It was on this step also when I began to attend “transvestite” mixers and actually learn from people who were close to being just like me. I remember awaiting my new copy of “Transvestia” magazine. What turned out from this step was a deep encouragement to take another. 

The next steps were the Halloween parties I attended. They all taught me yes I could present well enough as a woman to possibly get by in society. I have written in depth about them here in the past but briefly I can write all these steps were doing were creating more doubts about my ability to continue living a false life as a guy at all.

As I continued up my stairs, the newest landing, found me increasingly exploring the feminine world. I was leaving behind any ideas of being “just” a cross dresser and began exploring again the wild wonderful world of living as my authentic self. Although there is nothing at all wrong with being a cross dresser. At this point,  new steps brought me into a new feminine world of communication as well as losing my male privileges. As I reached these lofty gender heights, I had many fears of losing what remained of my life. Through it all, it seemed I had built a back stairway to use as a gender escape back to my old male life. Which made things worse and life unlivable at times. 

This all brings me to my final step which happened nearly seven years ago. I decided to give up my partial male cross dressing and live my life full time as my authentic self…a transgender woman. It was around this time too I started hormone replacement therapy to transform my body.

Finally after years of severe gender dysphoria I was able to tear down my back stairway and never looked back.