Gender Fluid?

On occasion I feel as if the term “gender fluid” is a relatively new term. In fact those of us in the more mature age range remember when transvestite was one of the only words we could use to describe ourselves except maybe cross dresser. Then, along the way, the transvestite term was shortened to “tr_nny” which became a gender slur in some parts of the world. 

The reason I bring up the gender fluid term in today’s post is I heard it recently from an eleven year old person on national television. They said they didn’t know what gender they were. I quickly flashed back to my youth and knew I felt the same way. In fact, I have written extensively in the past the number of mornings I woke up not wanting to be a boy anymore. On the other hand when I was successful doing “boy” things I enjoyed it. Definitely gender dysphoria at it’s most severe. From a time before gender dysphoria was even a term. Plus, I can’t even imagine having such an understanding and supportive set of parents.

As I grew, served my time in college and the Army I prefer to think I “grew” into the transgender term too and out of being gender fluid. Once I experienced being around other so called heterosexual cross dressers, I learned there was a whole other level of individuals who loosely identified as transvestites. These persons were the impossibly feminine visitors to the mixers I went to. They just didn’t fit. Somehow they were out of place.

Soon I discovered I felt out of place too. I certainly didn’t fit in with the ultra masculine men in a dress crowd and barely tried to hang out with the “A” listers as I called them. I tagged along on the adventures they embarked on after the regular meet ups. I discovered a wonderful world of gay clubs along with the chance to live my life as a feminine being.

All of this decidedly terminated any chance of my gender fluid tendencies but not quite. Even though being feminine felt so natural, going out with friends cross dressed as a man felt good on occasion also. I guess you could say any traces of gender fluidity for me was becoming toxic.    

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and took advantage of several drastic changes in my life. I put my suicide attempts behind me and started hormone replacement therapy. Which once and for all forced my male self into his closet.

It also ended any lingering ideas of being gender fluid. 

I Escaped

Summer Picture Credit Cyrsti’s Condo


 For some reason the heat and humidity all went down here in Southwestern Ohio yesterday, just in time for a shopping day out Liz and I had scheduled with a friend of ours who happens to be gay. Similar to Liz, he is heavily into the Wiccan and Pagan culture. 

When meeting someone new in person, my gender dysphoria always kicks in until I can look someone in the eye for a reaction. In yesterdays case, I saw the briefest realization (I thought) of my transgender status but no negative reactions. 

Ultimately there were two stores we were heading to. The first was staffed by two clerks who paid me no mind as I wandered aimlessly about. Finally I took a spare seat to save my back as I waited for the other two to shop. I was in the market for a pair of ear rings but the prices were too steep for me. The only point of interest for me was a mirror in front of the jewelry. I couldn’t resist and took a quick look at what I could see of my image. I was so excited to see a distinctly feminine figure looking back at me. Plus, I was wearing my form fitting ribbed tank top along with my flared distressed jeans. All of which gives me the image of having more pronounced hips than I have. 

Then again too, the diet is working. Over the past three plus weeks I have lost (or released as they said) nearly 14 pounds. The ego trip passed quickly and soon we were off to the second shop which turned out to be close to an hour away in crummy traffic.

In direct difference to the first shop, the second one was much more reasonably priced than the first and was operated by two gay men. One was very sociable and even welcomed us at the door. I purchased a couple of inexpensive rings as well as a crystal necklace. There were no mirrors to distract me and, as I said was welcomed warmly. 

All to often, the afternoon was over and even though I was hoping for a lunch stop. We decided to head on home and eat.   

Summit Week

Three days of this week I was involved in watching and learning from the LGBT Aging Summit which was held virtually this year.

After I finally received the proper link to sign in, I had missed the keynote speech from an acquaintance of mine…a transgender woman of color. I did however after a fair amount of prodding, made it in for the next webinar on the current state of LGBT elderly residents when they come to the point of needing assisted care living. I wish I could write something positive about the prognosis but I can’t. At least, here in Ohio, the current laws do nothing to protect elderly LGBT women and men from possible abuse. 

Imagine for a second if you were in a nursing home and a “well meaning” subordinate begins to show up in your room with a bible and explains she or he is giving you time to repent before it is too late. Or when you begin to be ostracized by the other residents. 

As you can tell, nothing in the webinar gave me much hope for the future except for the people involved who were involved in positive changes. 

The second webinar I “attended” was actually a viewing of the documentary “Gen Silent.” It’s actually a decade old now and includes looks at the lives of a transgender woman slowly dying of lung cancer, an elderly lesbian couple who describe the early days of navigating life together in Boston, as well as a gay couple which features one in an assisted living situation with dementia.Β 

By now, you understand the documentary didn’t provide much joy and happiness for the future. Especially for me because my Dad passed on from dementia. It was hell.

Perhaps the biggest problem is, things haven’t changed that much for the LGBT community over the past decade when it comes to aging. We need all the advocates we can get!

After watching “Gen Silent” I felt extremely blessed to be in a relationship with my partner Liz. The transgender woman who was passing away was sadly dying alone after being shunned by most of her family. 

If you decide to follow the link and watch “Gen Silent” you may want to have some tissues handy.

We Don’t Transition Alone

Those of us who have a spouse who has been along for the transgender journey, very quickly we should learn the spouse occupies a very important position in our transition. 

I have always believed a spouses reaction to her partner’s new life is a crucial factor in if the relationship is going to survive. After all, the cis woman is stuck in the middle of what turns out to be often a very selfish endeavor. She gets to watch in person the gender transition of her spouse, for better or for worse. Just think of all the cis women who have been pressured to help in the cross dressing urges with clothes and make up. 

I write pressure because of the urgency to present as a realistic women as possible. Obviously it takes a special person to accompany her spouse down a feminine path and I have an example.

Her name is Veronica and her spouse is actually a nearby acquaintance of mine. Her name is Jade, and here is one of the most awesome messages I have ever read:

 “So when I first came out as trans to my wife, she was so supportive and amazing. The thing I remember most about that conversation was when she looked at me and said, “You know I’m not gay, but I’ll be gay for you.” I love you to the moon and back!”

Isn’t that great? Wow! This is Jayde:

I personally have been on both sides of the spousal situation, from very bad to very good. Which I will explore in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, thanks to Veronica and Jayde for sharing in this extraordinary post!!!

Is Pride Month Over?

It has been a very quiet month this year concerning Pride activities. In an usual year there are at least six “celebrations” in the Cincinnati-Dayton Ohio metro area. Due to the virus concerns this year, all were cancelled. Then of course, there are the continuing Black Lives Matter marches to consider.
Regardless of the lack of parades and parties, it should be time to stop and consider what Pride stands for anyhow. Many forget the original “Stonewall” riots a half century ago which started the whole LGBTQ movement and typically many of the gay and lesbian members of the community forget it was transgender women of color who were out front spearheading the movement. Once again, the transgender members were moved to the back of the line.Β 


Ironically, many trans people don’t seem to care. My theory is it is because many gay men and garish drag queens have essentially “hi-jacked” the experience. I felt if I saw one more drag queen leading a Pride parade, I was going to run and hide. After all, what did it mean to me.


Then things began to change (around here at least). Slowly but surely, I began to see more and more transgender people at Pride and even a trans woman as a parade leader a couple years ago. All of a sudden the whole process meant more to me. I even think my new board membership on a primarily gay and lesbian board was because they were seeking more transgender input.


The recent supreme court decision backing trans health care is yet another reason to be proud of who we are and proud of the legal organizations who support us.


Even if you are still in the closet, it is time for you to join the rest of us and feel good about who we are.Β Pride month is over but the feelings don’t have to be.Β 

Victory!

Every so often, there comes a time (or times) when we as a transgender community seem to be taking steps forward. Of course the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding employee protections for trans and gay workers is one of those moments. No matter how brief it is before we face another major ruling, it’s good to see one go our way! 

Then, there is the documentary on Netflix called “Disclosure“. It is written and produced by leading transgender creatives and thinkers who share heartfelt perspectives and analysis about Hollywood’s impact on the trans community. It’s directed by transgender filmmaker Sam Feder.
Of course Laverne Cox is involved too.
Lets not forget too the massive black trans lives matter march which recently. This is a view from New York City: Times could be a changing!

Out…to Dinner

Saturday night we met with a few old acquaintances for dinner at the upscale Italian venue we normally go to. 

I got dressed up as far as I normally do with my fancy patterned leggings along with a nice sweater and a new knitted neck cowl Liz just made for me. As we entered the crowded restaurant, I received the usual amount of attention my arrival usually attracts. No matter how you cut it, I am not the tallest woman in the room but there is very little I can do about my big boned body. To make matters even more interesting, for dinner I washed and moussed my hair with a different hair product which adds volume as well as curls. Seemingly my hair took on a life of it’s own. I had plenty of volume and curl.

Dinner proceeded smoothly until the very end until it was time to pay our bills. We had a new server who was struggling through our maze of orders and demands. Then, to add insult to injury our server had to try to decipher the different discount cards everyone carried. Liz and I had a ten dollar off email coupon she had emailed to her. It took the server two tries to get it right. In the meantime, we all noticed we had the same male name on our checks. It turned out he ran all the checks discounts under the name of the person at the table who very much didn’t want to be outed. It was humorous as the other very out transgender woman kept asking who it was. 

Needless to say the outed person was very upset but is such a basket case anyhow, so I for one didn’t care how successful or who he was in his male life. But Liz couldn’t help herself and came home and researched the cross dresser on Google. What Liz found out made sense. The person is from a small Indiana town and is active as an oil company owner and developer. It’s no wonder he makes a big deal of knowing the most closeted gay guy in America, Vice President Mike Pence who is also from Indiana. 

So, all in all it turned out to be an interesting evening. As I said before though, He doesn’t have to worry about me outing him. As you noticed, I didn’t even use his name in this post. 

To each their own. As long as they don’t hurt me.  

What’s Next?

Seemingly, the more I think about my past, the more I consider the future. Realistically speaking, most of my life lies behind me and I have written many times here in Cyrsti;s Condo concerning my fear of being “cared” for in a nursing home with a very transphobic staff. Hopefully society will continue to inch forward in it’s knowledge and support of transgender women and men. 

Then quickly my mind returns to thinking about my past experiences I can put in the book. Many are buried deeply in my mind to a point where I can barely remember them.

Currently, I am writing about the very few men in my life including the first one. My meeting with him was brief and happened the night of my first professional make over at one of the transvestite mixers I went to. I guess I could say I had interactions with two guys that night since the make up expert who worked his magic on me was the first. Indirectly leading to the second. 

During these mixers, I loosely tagged along with the “A” crowd or as I also called them, “The Mean Girls.”  Approximately five or six of them always formed a clique which very few others were ever welcomed into. It turned out on that magical night, not even did I tag along, I crashed the clique. 

Perhaps you noticed I said “crashed” and not joined. No matter how popular I became for one night, there was no way I ever wanted to become a permanent part of their exclusive group. 

Now, back to the evening.  As I said, the make up expert did a wonderful job on me and even I was amazed. It was my first experience with someone else (who knew what they were doing) doing my makeup.

As I have written about before, the clique of the most attractive cross dressers or transgender women (before there was such a word) went out to party at gay venues after the mixer. Early in the evening I had the usual unremarkable time tagging along. It was later on when I was approached by a guy in the last venue we went to. He asked me to stay and he would by me a drink. Since I was dependent on the clique to get me back to the hotel, I declined.

More importantly though, the clique was dazzled I was approached and none of them were. 

Sadly, the next day I had to go back to my usual male boring existence.

Crossing the Gender Divide

As I went back and read the “Double Edged Sword” post, I decided on a couple other thoughts I didn’t mention.

Looking back at the decade which is all but over, I realized the enormity of what I was able to accomplish.

Of course the trip across the gender frontier wasn’t all fun and games and I wonder if I would have made it at all without the help I received.

As I moved forward into the feminine world, I learned very quickly three lessons as my male privilege disappeared. One of which was my perception of how women treated other women changed. It didn’t take me long to realize smiling faces sometimes held  knives just waiting to be stabbed into my back.  Passive aggression was often as harmful as a man’s frontal assault.

Another big lesson came in the communication department. It seemed the better I became in my feminine presentation, the lower my IQ became. The first time happened when my car broke down and I had to call a tow truck. The whole scene was “helped” along when a well meaning sheriff showed up to help. To make a long story short, it turned out both of them had a better idea of how to get my car back to my house than I did. On the way home I finally just relegated myself to “dumb blond” status, as I was back in those days and started asking stupid questions about how the tow truck worked.

Even after that, I was a slow learner. Somehow, someway I would get myself into conversations with men in the sports bars I went into. I found out again and again how little I all of the sudden I knew. 

Being invisible in a crowd became a reality too. One time several cis women servers from a place I frequented quite a bit invited me on a “girls night out” with them. I was flattered and went along. Soon I found out how the most attractive of the crew received all the attention. I figured beggars shouldn’t be choosers though and relaxed to enjoy the gender banter.

Perhaps the most important lesson came in how I viewed my personal security. I was fortunate. One late night on the downtown streets of Dayton, Ohio I was semi accosted by two men looking for money. I got away with only giving them five dollars. From then on, I learned to check out my surroundings and always walked with a friend anytime I could. In fact one night when I went back to the same area (which contained several gay bars) my wonderful trans guy friend was nice enough to walk me to my car.

As I wrote in my last post, it was quite the decade. I wouldn’t wish being transgender on my worst enemy. On the other hand, crossing the gender divide was at times a scary experience and at others a terrifically exhilarating one.   

Tomorrow, on my New Years Day post I will follow Stana’s lead from Femulate and show you a before and after comparison.

The Past

As impossible as it is to dwell on any changes one could have made to change a life, we transgender folk seem to always do it.

Take away the fact we are trying to do one of the most impossible things to do in a life (changing a gender) and it turns out we trans people are always trying to figure out a way to have done it better.

One example is timing. Those who transitioned later in life, like me, always have the nagging ideas such as what would have happened if we would have attempted the big move earlier in life. 

The easy answer for me is I probably could have accomplished so much more. I spent so much energy and torment trying to live with my gender dysphoria. 

When you factor in all the outside factors such as family, society, etc, it just hurts my noggin to even think about it. 

My example is if I would have followed my first finance’s lead and told the Army I was gay when they came a knocking during the Vietnam War draft. She gave me the option of serving or her. As painful as it was at the time, if I had chosen her, I would have missed out on such tremendous life experiences as having my daughter and traveling over three continents in three years on Uncle Sam’s dime. Now I’m happy I didn’t choose her!

Still it wasn’t good enough. At times I resent the years I spent just trying to live up to the macho code. I can rationalize it all now though by thinking I was just ahead of my time. I was just waiting for the world to catch up. As far as transgender community goes, the good “ol” days weren’t so good. After all, I remember men being arrested for just dressing like women. 

I could go on and on about the torment of growing up as a boy wanting to be a girl but none of that does any good anyhow.

Maybe I should just keep thinking about how things are, not how they should have been. I am happy where I am now. If you ever would have asked me how it all would end up to this point, I would have not believed you anyway.

Dwelling on the past is useless anyway.