Stealth versus Invisibility

 I have re-written this post several times as I try to include all of you who are still living in your closets. Finally, I decided to go ahead and publish it because hopefully there will come a day when you too can live freely as your authentic selves. Now, here is the post:

I used to resent quite a few of the transgender women I knew who underwent gender realignment surgery then promptly went stealth. By “stealth” I mean  they went away to simply live their lives away from the remainder of the transgender community. Before you say the often irritated and jealous transgender community…I agree. In fact,  in many ways, I don’t blame them. 

Even so, to a large degree, there were very few trans women and men to follow.. No one to tell us it was perfectly OK to feel and act the way we do.  

Over the years, I have battled the urge to go stealth even though for the most part it has been available to me. Much of being able to go stealth has much to do  with my partner Liz as it does with me and any so called passing ability. Since I so rarely go anywhere without her, I am so very used to letting her lead the way with calling me the proper pronouns. 

Sometimes I wonder if being too invisible as a transgender woman once again is letting the community as a whole down. Or what the subject even means to the average transgender person just trying to get by.  

As I try my best not to be too in depth about the topic at hand, recently I had a chance to unfortunately witness yet another ugly episode of transgender infighting. To make a long story short, in the transgender – cross dresser support group I am in (or used to be), a disturbance erupted between two members basically concerning who was more trans than the other. 

Once again it seemed to me, the more things change over the years, the more they stay the same. I mean really, what does it mean if a person is more trans than another.

Maybe on the other hand, as a community we should protect the out and proud leaders we have gained such as Laverne Cox.   

The more out and proud trans people we have, the more chance we can defeat the evils of the stealth and the invisibility culture.  

A Fave!

Out of the many invisible Facebook friends I have, one of the ones who is not and I am absolutely fascinated with is Melonee Malone (no relation to Connie). In addition to being beautiful, she adds uplifting inspirational posts about surviving life as a transgender woman.

On this Labor Day weekend, here is Melonee: on a rainy morning in her native Wisconsin. 

Trans Survival in a Cis Gender World

No matter where you find yourself  in the coming out process, I am fairly sure along the way you may have encountered some resistance to changing genders. Mine came years ago when I was called a pervert in a women’s room I was using. Later on that same evening I was asked to leave the venue all together. From other happenings similar to that, I developed what I call “Transgender PTSD”.(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) On occasion, I still experience it today.  

How did I survive? Basically, everytime I had to go through extremely negative experiences, I shed tears and went back to the drawing board and tried to improve my exterior self to match my feminine interior self.  It was tough for me because I had very few feminine traits to build on after spending decades perfecting my macho act. Along the way, I still lived in fear of hearing the dreaded “Hey! That’s a man in a dress.” 

Gradually I did improve my appearance as I learned to dress for other women and to blend into where ever I was going. An example? If I was going to one of the upscale pub/restaurants I went to socialize I would wear a fancier outfit which would indicate I was a professional woman of some sort. On the other hand, if I was going to meet my lesbian friends at a sports bar we normally went to, I would wear a nice pair of jeans and top. All of a sudden, my life in the cis-world became easier.

When my life really became easier was when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). All of a sudden I went to the tipping point of no return. My face and skin started to soften as my hair began to grow along with my breasts. Relatively quickly I reached a very androgynous spot in my life. Finally cross dressing as a guy felt very wrong. 

I need to emphasize none of this was easy. I went through terrifying times all the way to feeling euphoric with my progress. Crossing the gender frontier could be a path I could follow after all. 

If you are considering following the same path, don’t go it alone. Find a therapist or a gender professional to monitor your bloodwork and hormones. Estrogen can be a good thing until it goes too high and can become toxic.

In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy the ride. Very few humans have the opportunity to experience both of the binary genders up close and personal.

When it happens for you, you too will be a true survivor.  

I Can’t Help It

Here in Cincinnati, Ohio in the Southwest part of the state, hurricane Ida remnants have passed on leaving us with beautiful pre-fall weather. I have some sort of genetic malfunction which tells me fall weather is football time. 

On top of all of that, one of the baggage items I brought with me from the times I cross dressed as a guy was my love for The Ohio State Buckeyes. I never went to school there but grew up approximately fifty miles away. 

When “Trans Ohio” still used to have an in person symposium, I regularly signed up to give a presentation. In it’s later years, the Symposium was held in The Ohio State University huge student union which of course didn’t break my heart. 

The Ohio State mascot is “Brutus Buckeye” named after the state tree. One year I had my picture taken sitting next to a life-sized bronze Brutus in the student union.

If you are a Cyrsti’s Condo regular you have seen this picture before, if not I resend it because Ohio State kicks off it’s regular season tonight against Big Ten opponent Minnesota. 

Go Buckeyes!

Another Idol

Andreja Pejic has always fascinated me as a beautiful androgynous woman who finally came out as transgender some time ago. Years ago I yearned to be just like her.

She was recently recognized as one of the most influential transgender models:

” Now one of the most recognizable transgender models in the world, Bosnian-Australian model Andreja Pejić started her career in the early 2000s as the world’s first completely androgynous supermodel, never conforming to gender norms and walking in both men’s and women’s shows for Jean Paul Gautier and Marc Jacobs.

 After undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2013, Pejić publicly came out as transgender, and has since appeared on the covers of many major fashion magazines. She even forayed into film in the 2018 crime thriller The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

This came from “Helen Boyd’s” post on Facebook.

The Naked Truth

One thing I have always wondered is, how far do you go with a potential partner before you disclose the truth about being transgender. These days there are so many variables to consider. For one, surgeries have come so far, a trans woman very well could be as “realistic” as a cis woman when it comes to genitals.  

I can’t imagine being a young transgender person with a full life to lead ahead of you. The younger you are though, I would imagine it would be easier to “back fill” a portion of your life when you were not living as your authentic self. For someone my age, it’s harder to try to hide a half century cross dressing as a guy.  

It’s easy for me to say but I would have to out myself and wait for the person to come along who didn’t care and loved me for me. 

As you may recall, I wrote a post concerning me outing myself to a bone density scan technician when he asked if I had been through menopause yet. I simply told him I was transgender and we moved on. 

When all of this happened, I had my clothes on. The mammogram was the only visit where I had to strip to the waist. I can’t imagine what would happen if I would have to take all my clothes off, as Connie did:

Photo Credit Connie Malone

“Years ago, when I first went to see a doctor as “myself,” the nurse had set up the exam room for a gynecological exam – complete with a speculum. Both the doctor and I got a good laugh when she removed the towel that covered the tray that had all of those instruments! 

I guess I was passing to the nurse, but I had already outed myself to the doctor, as I was sitting naked on the exam table at the time. :-)”

I guess you did out yourself! Thanks for the “naked truth.”

Another Transgender First

Vogue’s September issue is making history.

The US magazine chose eight models for the cover of the most anticipated issue of the year — including Ariel Nicholson, the glossy’s first openly transgender cover star.

The 20-year-old model posed alongside Anok Yai, Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, Kaia Gerber, Yumi Nu, Lourdes “Lola” Leon and Sherry Shi.

Shot in Vogue’s World Trade Center office, the diverse array of models were selected to represent “Generation America” on the historic cover, ahead of September’s America-themed Met Gala.

Ariel Nicholson cheers along with the other catwalkers in the cover shot, wearing a bright green Christopher John Rogers sweater and matching polka-dot skirt by the same designer.

Canadian Beauty

When Canadian YouTuber, actress, and model Gigi Gorgeous began uploading videos to her channel in 2008, she had no idea her story would capture the attention of American pop culture. After coming out as transgender in 2013, 

Gorgeous documented her journey through social media and viral videos, and she was the subject of a documentary called This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous (2017). 

Gorgeous has modeled for magazine covers and fashion spreads, in addition to partnering with beauty brands like Too Faced and Pantene.