Menopause?

Pre Menopause Picture. Source Cyrsti Hart

As I have been whining about here in Cyrsti’s Condo, today (Friday) was my second big medical appointment for the week.

Today was my bone density scan, typically given to elderly women and men. My provider (doc) told me I needed one because I was a woman which was nice I guess. 

Fortunately, my partner Liz could get the day off and go with me. I wasn’t dreading the visit as much as I was trying to find a parking spot and not have to walk a long way in the hot morning sun. The Cincinnati Veterans Hospital is in a very congested area and parking is always at a premium. Since Liz went, she could drop me off at the door and come back when I was finished. 

I did fairly well finding the room I needed to check in at and actually didn’t haven’t to wait very long before my name was called. A young male tech came out and off we went. Along the way he asked me what I did in the service and he was fascinated when I told him the “American Forces Radio and Television Service.” I told him I actually was a disk jockey over in Southeast Asia, serving in Thailand just after Adrian Cronauer of “Good Morning Vietnam” Robin Williams movie fame. Since I was laying on the x ray table by then, I couldn’t tell by the look on his face if he believed me or not. 

By then it didn’t matter because the machine was doing it’s work and he asked if I had been through menopause yet. Of course I was flattered and then finally outed myself by telling him I was transgender. I had gone through many other things but menopause wasn’t one of them. 

The good news is/was my bones are good and strong. 

I’m sure I was one of his (the tech’s) more interesting patients of the day!

It’s Never Easy

 No one ever said life was ever going to be easy. Once again the mammogram proved it. If you have never been through a mammogram, just imagine someone taking your breast a squeezing quite a bit. Since my maternal grandmother passed away some time ago from breast cancer, I have been directed  by my health care providers to have a mammogram done every year. 

The good news is my results came back all good for another year. As I told my therapist yesterday how ironic would it be if I had complications and would have to lose my feminine breasts I have waited so long to have. 

Mammograms though, are just a small portion of the transgender experience. Here is a brief inspirational look at transgender life I saw on the “Kira Moore’s Closet” blog:

Ouch!

 Well, part of my week has come and gone. Completed are one trip to the dentist, one virtual visit with my therapist and the mammogram. The mammogram went a little worse this time as my breasts are still complaining a day later. Plus, I have not heard back on any results. In this case, no news is good news. 

If all this fun wasn’t enough, out of the clear blue sky I was able to sell my old car which had been sitting on the street doing nothing. A guy came along and left a note on our other car about buying cars and I immediately called him. On the phone he struggled with my gender as most do and kept calling me “buddy”. I didn’t care, I just wanted him to buy the car. In person, he struggled with me too. In fact he ended up only dealing with me on a final price and left the rest of the transaction to Liz. 

Now, one of the few remaining pieces of my past as a guy is gone and I feel good about that.

Of course my fun filled week still has a bone density scan coming up on Friday. I have had one before and don’t remember it much. Since I don’t, I feel as if it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

What I hope to do Saturday is take Liz out for a steak dinner and celebrate our tenth anniversary with the extra money I made on selling the car. 

Up Close and Personal

 Roberta Close was the first transgender model to pose for Playboy Brazil, was voted “the most beautiful model in Brazil,” and joined the ranks of ‘90s supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista on the runway in 1991. 

She walked for designers such as Thierry Mugler, Guy Laroche, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and published an autobiography in 1998.

Life

Looking ahead to the week I have coming up,  I began to think of my life as a whole. As I have mentioned before, I have two specifically female related medical procedures coming up. A mammogram and a bone density scan. Hopefully, I will have no issues. If I do with my breasts, I am sure my days of dealing with hormone replacement therapy are over.

But when you come right down to it, it’s all part of life. Since I have nearly reached seventy two years of age, it is easily to realize life is but a circle. For all the lows, there are highs. 

Some would argue transgender women and men add a unique struggle to their lives. Of course I am biased and would totally agree. Crossing the gender barrier is brutal for the greatest majority of transgender people. It’s not beyond life to throw you a curve ball. You have to start all over with a new life without your former family or even job.

It’s no wonder I receive so many comments praising me on my “bravery”. When I wasn’t brave at all, I was just doing what I had to do to survive my life after a suicide attempt. I will say though, life became much easier after I managed to match my external cross dressing desires with my internal feminine being. It turned out all those years of thinking I was a guy cross dressing as a woman, the opposite was true. I was a woman cross dressing as a man. My only regret was it took me so long to accept the truth.

As I enter the twi-light of my life, I know I am blessed to have had a couple women along the way who guided my life. Especially my second wife who once told me to “Be man enough to be a woman.” I wish I had been profound enough to say it as I was busily trying to destroy our relationship. Then there was my partner Liz who finally kicked me out of my closet.

Of course, one of the less profound things we humans do…is die. 

I just hope the funeral directors get my pronouns correct.

The Trans “It” Girl

Muse to pop art designer Stephen Sprouse, blonde beauty Teri Toye was the center of attention in New York’s ‘80s nightclub scene. A certified It girl, she stumbled upon a career in modeling by accident after befriending Sprouse and walking in his punk fashion shows. 

She signed with Click Models and walked for designers such as Chanel, Thierry Mugler, and Jean Paul Gaultier. In 1987, Toye disappeared from the New York modeling scene, only to resurface again in 2009 for the launch of Sprouse’s book. 

Nonetheless, she was a force to be reckoned with and made waves for transgender models to come.

Staring into a Blank Screen

 Over the years here in Cyrsti’s Condo I have written about my battles with the mirror. Very early in the process of cross dressing I was positively in love with my girlish image. 

Later on though, as I started to journey out in public as a feminine person, I learned the hard way how the mirror can lie. 

This morning as I caught myself staring into into a television screen which wasn’t on, it jogged my memory all the way back to my past days of learning with the mirror. Slowly but so unsurely I was learning to blend and to dress for other women, not men. My problem was I went overboard dressing to accentuate my so called positives. I listened to all the women who told me I had great legs and went too far with mini skirts and heels. The results were predictable and sometimes even clownish. 

Ironically, at the same time, I had nice clothes too. The night when I first decided to go out and blend in with professional women getting off of work in an upscale venue went as well as could have been expected when I calmed down and started to breathe. For the occasion I chose a black pantsuit, flats and straight blonde wig. For once the mirror gave me all the right signals. 

As the years passed on, I learned I too had a better chance of passing as a transgender woman if I was wary of what the mirror was showing me. Along the way I began to treat it as a blank television screen. Never giving it too much worth. 

I still go through wildly fluctuating gender dysphoric mood swings when I look into the mirror. Sometimes I see too much male, other times I see female. I have learned (again the hard way) the answer lies somewhere between the two binary genders. On those days, I am satisfied to live as an androgynous person. Hormone replacement therapy has given me that much.

For now I am slowly learning to exist with the television off and spend more time with my writing and other pursuits. As far as the mirror goes, I have a meetup to go to with Liz tonight, so I will have to revisit myself along with my old friend.

Sometimes I think I have come a long way from the confused boy dressed as a girl in the mirror over fifty years ago. Other times, he is still with me. 

Tracey “Africa” Norman

“I’ve always said that the person that walks through the door first leaves the door cracked,” said Tracey Norman, the first African-American trans model to achieve prominence in the fashion industry.

After a six-year tenure during the 1970s as the face of a new hair dye for Clairol, Norman changed her last name to Africa. She went on to model for major fashion magazines and beauty brands such as Avon and Ultra Sheen. In 1980, she was outed during a photoshoot, causing her career to hit a standstill.

She has since made a resurgence in the drag ball industry and rejoined Clairol in 2016.

I “Doesn’t” Know It

From my Dating Days. Photo Credit Cyrsti Hart

The title above is a phrase from a former Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds baseball announcer, used when he didn’t know something. I borrowed it from him as I thought about today’s Cyrsti’s’ Condo post. My idea was to write about dating while transgender. 

Way back in the day in my earliest days of coming out of my closet into a feminine world, I had to decide who I was going to date since I had abruptly became single at the time and a widow. Very quickly I faced the differences between gender preference and sexual preference. At that time I had never even kissed another man. 

As it turned out, it would be a while longer before I did. I craved being with a man because it would validate my femininity in public but it seemed destiny  had another path charted for me as far as my sexuality was concerned. I did have a very few dates with men and a couple I enjoyed immensely when I sensed they were treating me as a woman. However those dates were few and far between.  

In the meantime, my contact with women continued. My first dinner out was with a friend who eventually came out as a trans man but was still undecided (?) when we went out. I hung out in lesbian bars and even left a mixed party I went to one night with a lesbian and went to an upscale club. Destiny has a funny way of hiding around corners when lifestyle changes are considered.

Through this all, I really had very little knowledge of how to date while transgender. In fact, I was still on the gender fence as far as which way I would go. I just knew my attraction to women had not changed during my transition. 

All of this leads me to my final attraction to and acceptance by a group of lesbians I met in a sports bar. Including my current partner of ten years Liz.

I have led a sheltered dating life. 

These days I see on social media many more alternatives to dating between various groups such as transgender women. Even now though I still see very few trans women with men. It seems to be the last frontier of dating. At times it puzzles me because transgender women are uniquely qualified to be with men. After all, we understand what men go through in life. 

As with so many other things in life, I know most men have a very fragile sexual ego. So I do know this one.

Transgender History

English model April Ashley is credited as the first successful transgender model. She was born in Liverpool, England in 1935 and underwent sex reassignment surgery at age 25, making her one of the first Brits to have the procedure.

After moving to London, she began booking gigs left and right with notable photographers. She also did runway and editorial work, appearing in high-profile magazines. After being outed by tabloids in 1961, her career was cut short. She has since been honored in an exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool and released an autobiography.