We are Just People Too!

One of the more rewarding parts of being an “out” transgender woman also carries more than a small amount of responsibility. In many ways, we are “tasked” with proving to the general public we are just like anyone else they might meet…or are we?

Here is Michelle’s take on the idea:

“The news about the LGBTQ candidates that have won their respective positions in the political world made me hopeful that the American public is starting to see us as just people. For too long, many so called open minded looked at many of us as freaks but now they are looking at the community as individuals that have more to offer than what they have been brought up to believe about LGBTQ. I hope to see more openly LGBTQ people come into the light and escape their closets.”

I agree totally with the idea we need positive transgender role models. The more we have, the more chances we have to show ourselves to be similar to anyone else in the world. Assuming you want to that is. For one, I take pride in being transgender and at the same time I lived/live my life similar to so many others. My life certainly was shaped by my early years in the Army and by playing sports. Surely a surprise to many I have met who have somehow made their way past the personal walls I erected to protect myself. 

On the other hand, I have been little off center as far as the so called “normal” is concerned. In many ways, I used the process to protect myself. After all, my macho male personage was difficult to maintain. Plus, I was self destructive in nature and took too many needless chances. Some were successful, some not so much. 

In the end though, all the chances I took led me to being able to lead a successful life as a transgender woman and project to others I am mostly similar to them. Not a threat, not a freak. 

Just like everyone else, trying to get through this life alive.   

Bigger than Four Walls

 Most closets are made up of four walls. The same could be said about the four walls we transgender and cross dressers build around ourselves during our lives.

Unless you have been in our shoes, it is difficult to explain to others what we have gone through. First of all, the main problem we have explaining is none of being transgender is a choice. I finally became tired of people asking me when did I know I wanted to be a woman. My answer became, I always knew I was a woman. Then, I started not having to fall on the old compliment “You make a good looking woman” for validation. Because I was always waiting for the other shoe to fall and the person finishing their comment saying “For a man.” 

Plus, anytime I received a compliment concerning my appearance, it made my closet I was in so much more unbearable. Looking back, I didn’t understand every time my feminine self was reinforced, I tried to prove my male self so much more. The delicate gender balance I was trying to maintain was destroyed and I became a very difficult person to live with. Because it was tough to live with myself. The fact of the matter was my problems were created by trying to overcome my four walls I was creating. In fact, I had two closets, one feminine and one masculine. The masculine one on occasion was easier to exist in simply because it was the one I was born into. 

Finally though, I couldn’t take it anymore and had the chance to tear down all of the closets I had carefully crafted over the years. Naturally the entire process was the most difficult process I had ever attempted in my life and I didn’t start it until I was in my 60’s. Fortunately the world was changing a decade ago and thanks to the internet and social media, I was able to see others similar to me who had attempted and achieved successful Mtf gender transitions. 

Hopefully, if you are stuck in a gender closet of your own, you can find a way to be bigger than your four walls and break out.

More Gender Dysphoria

Ironically, thanks to Michelle commenting on a recent Cyrsti’s Condo post, plus a recent article I read called the “Joy of Being Transgender” by Riley Black in the on line “Medium” magazine, I have been positively subjected to a couple great ideas concerning gender dysphoria. 

First, Michelle’s comment:

“Here’s a thought that many of us might not think about. We have these moments that our GD (gender dysphoria) makes us feel good about ourselves and at other times we think the worst. I wonder just how many cis-women have almost the same feelings about their looks, mannerisms, relationships, etc.. I have talked to female friends about their feelings and find that many have similar feelings and emotions that I have. I know that most women don’t dwell on those thoughts but somewhere in the back of their minds it’s there. It started way back in early childhood when they were trying to find their niche in life and to some degree it has continued to later life. The only real difference between them and trans women is that time is more compressed for us.”

You are completely correct Michelle! Plus, anyone who doesn’t think cis women don’t go through their own brand of dysphoria is not facing reality. I have met very few cis women who don’t go through some sort of contortions to meet society’s standards. Examples would be diets, work outs, makeup etc. 

The second post I found is from Riley Black and is on the Medium site. Riley writes about the joy of the changes coming from her HRT. (hormone replacement therapy). As much as I try, I couldn’t find much of a spot to jump in and give you a brief idea of what the writer is striving to get to. She blends it so well. However, I will try:

“I wish I could go back to myself two years ago, freshly out of a long-term relationship and just prior to starting hormone replacement therapy as I tried to pull my life together in a tiny basement apartment. The best I can do is go back and read my old journal entries from that time. Dated December 30th, 2018:

I feel like my brain and body are not in total alignment. I can think of many reasons not to change, not to follow this. But every time I do something a little more femme — the corset, the dress, thigh highs — my body flushes and my happiness seems evident. I find myself touching my chest more, wishing there were breasts there, and looking in the mirror, trying to envision what I might look like. It’s hard to imagine. I see stubble and sharp angles. Not the most masculine, but not exactly feminine, which just makes the thought of tits filling out my tees seems ridiculous. But I won’t know until I explore a little more.

Fast forward to today. I’m not washing up in the shower, touching my chest and asking what having breasts might feel like. I know. They’re there, tangible evidence of what time and a bit of estrogen can do. “They bounce,” as my girlfriend likes to remind me.”

If you would like to read more, I have added a link above for you to try. One fact remains though, gender dysphoria remains  a very complex and personal issue.

More on Transgender Socialization

Connie responded to the Cyrsti’s Condo post on transgender socialization with a look of her own:

“It’s true, at least in my case, that living a gender-dichotomous life has required a different sort of socialization. My experiences have been three decades ahead of Ms Tanenbaum’s, and, as such, included even more of a self-induced socialization – especially during my formative years. Society was largely black and white on gender in the 50s and 60s. In those days, if one displayed behaviors that did not strictly adhere to society’s expectations, they would probably be labeled homosexual. As much as I wished I were a girl, I was more afraid of being seen as a gay boy. From what little I knew (or thought I knew) of gay people at the time, I was absolutely certain that I didn’t fit that mold – certain most of the time, that is. I often contemplated the possibility that I was, but would dismiss it because I was attracted to girls. But, then, I would wonder whether I were only attracted to girls because I wanted to be like them, or that I wanted to be “with” them.

Perhaps, the bigger question would be: If I were like them, would they still want to be “with” me? In real life, I was socialized male by default. In my own secret fairy tale life, I was astute enough to the socialization of the girls that I could appropriate femininity any time my male-self was not in demand.

There were so many times that I would come home dead-tired from football practice, but become completely regenerated by the chance to express my feminine-self when I knew nobody else would be home for an hour or two. Looking back on it, football was my release, while abandoning all male expectation in favor of my female-self was my relief.

Eventually, long after my football days, it was becoming dead-tired of just meeting male socialized expectations, at all, that led me to a more-feminine socialized existence. Inasmuch as “trans socialization” is being used as an argument against certain feminists’ accusations that male socialization invalidates a trans woman’s actual womanhood, I’m not sure it’s enough to change their minds. 

Personally, I’m not really concerned, anyway. For those who would judge me more by how I got here than by who I am now, I have no time for wasting. I had already wasted enough valuable time judging myself the same way.”

Thanks for the comment!

Non Binary Gender Discussion

 This comment on considering yourself “non binary” or not, comes from Connie:

“I know that I am not non-binary, and never have been. I have purposely lived toward either end of the gender spectrum for nearly seventy years, but never felt comfortable anywhere in-between. For those who are wanting to find comfort there, I can only imagine how difficult that might be. Of course, I absolutely know how difficult it has been for me to live as either a man or a woman, but I have always tried to be as unambiguous about it as I could be; people can usually conclude my gender by my presentation (whether they accept it, or not, is a different subject). To be non-binary in one’s gender (or genderless) identity, though, can only be made known to others by declaration.

Non-binary people don’t necessarily present themselves ambiguously or as androgynous. Some can be easily perceived by the average person as decidedly binary. As difficult as it may sometimes be for a binary trans person to project their true gender identity, non-binary people cannot rely on their presentation for others to see them as they see themselves to be. Mis-gendering must be a constant problem for those who see themselves as neither he/him/his or she/her/hers. They/them/theirs would have to be conveyed in some way other than physical presentation, anyway.

Somewhere between gender binary and gender non-binary, there are those who consider themselves to be bi-gender, or even pan-gender. Others may still be gender questioning. The only thing we can be sure about, then, comes from the adage: If you’ve met one trans person, you have met one trans person.”

Perhaps the difference comes with the younger generation. Several of the ones I have met recently have steered clear of the “transgender” label.  But as I said, a label is just a label. 

Damn Dysphoria

Yesterday we had a visitor to the house to finally fix our cable television. Turns out third time was a charm since the system seems to be working fine this morning.

In advance of the technicians arrival, I had to decide how I was going to prepare. Since I was going to be wearing a mask for safety, I reasoned I could take the easy way out and just apply a touch of eye make up. Which turned out to be fine since the person who fixed the system didn’t seem to look at me at all. I was the only one looking at me.

For some reason these days, I have been looking at myself longer it seems. Not so much out of vanity but more out of desiring to reassure myself of who I have become since I am not getting regular feedback in the world. By this time, my gender dysphoria was starting to really kick in. One time I looked in the mirror I saw myself as a barely feminized man and the second time I see a fully feminine trans woman. Deep down inside I know from long experience the mirror is just playing games with my dysphoria and I (in reality) land somewhere in between both images in my head. 

My surprise has been how much I need the public feedback to combat my dysphoria. I don’t need to go through the contortions of getting all dressed up to help myself feel better. I just need to have a cute encounter with a young woman bank teller to accomplish it.

Last week I finally did receive my stimulus check the old fashion way…by a paper check. I received it because since I am on Social Security for several years now, Internal Revenue doesn’t have a electronic deposit number on file for me. Getting a check though, was the good news. The bad news was, it came with my dead name on it. So, since I happened to have a deposit slip too with my dead name on it (which ties in with my legal name also) I felt I was covered. 
The girl was a classic. She looked at the name and then at me a couple times before I went ahead and outed myself. Anything for twelve hundred bucks! Right?? The teller didn’t miss a beat and said, there was no problem with me being trans, she was just concerned with the money finding it’s way into my correct account. It was overall a  reassuring pleasurable experience.

Even though Ohio is beginning to slowly reopen businesses, I am fairly sure we will not be heading out very much anytime soon. Leaving me again to be alone with my transgender dysphoria.

A Delicate Subject

As I am continuing to write different chapters in my book, one in particular has me slightly on edge. I have named the Chapter, “What is a Woman?” It’s one of the chapters I literally started years ago and I was surprised how much my ideas have changed. For one, I have mellowed out in my overall ideas. Even though my basic ideas have not changed. I  don’t believe biological females are born women. I also believe biological males are not born men. Both genders are socialized during their lives to hopefully become women and/or men. So where does that leave transgender women? If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck and look likes a duck…is it a duck? 

Naturally, we trans women find ourselves in a different place than biological women. We found our path to our own unique brand of womanhood a totally different way. Unfortunately, many of us were torn from the process. Personally I knew women operated on a more layered existence than men. Although times do seem to be changing slightly, it is normally up to the women to raise a family (including taking care of a man) kids and a house while often having to hold down a job. I can’t imagine the stress involved with living that kind of life. 
All of this takes me back to my cross dressing days when my wife accused me of just wanting to pick the “fun” aspects of being a woman and leaving the rest behind. I was guilty as charged. 

It’s true also that cis women lead a rather intense hormonal driven life. At puberty they go through the intense changes which basically stick around (with monthly periods mixed in for good measure) until menopause. Even though the binary gender known as cis women live longer than cis men, they face an old age made of of various illnesses such as brittle bones. I read somewhere that men live brief violent lives compared to long miserable lives for women. 

Regardless of all of that, I believe my journey on both sides of the gender fence has led me to quite a few unique perspectives. Plus, my addition of feminine hormones has given my emotions a feminine edge, or at the least more of a softer exterior to match an interior person who often longed for the feminine side of life. I don’t think HRT has made me anymore of a trans woman but has helped me to feel more of the world along the way. 
Bottom line is, for either binary gender, it’s not how you feel as much as how you interact with the world. It just so happened that everyday when I woke up in the morning, I questioned my gender and I forever will regret having to do that. Along the way, I had to find away to succeed in the male dominated world I was in and I did. Thus, I knew how I felt but was never sure how I was going to interact and maintain any of the life as I knew it. 

I am going to take the easy way out here and say a “female” knows what she is from birth and sometimes grows into a woman. A transgender woman is not sure sure of what she is at first. But once she does discover it, she has a much of a chance of growing into a woman too as the female.

Sean Hayes…As a Woman

In another twist to the gender spectrum, Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame is playing a woman. Not a drag act but playing a woman called “Lazy Susan”  In fact, this month Hayes will star in the film he co-wrote as the title character. The character (Susan) is a middle aged woman stuck in a teenage mentality. She constantly mooches money from her family. She shops at K-Mart and lives on blended ice cream drinks. Susan’s life suddenly changes and she finds a renewed purpose when she meets a new handsome man.  The plot evolves further when her mother cuts off her fiances and Susan has to find a way to survive adulthood on her own.
The true gender twist to this movie comes from the fact Hayes never plays Susan as a man impersonating a woman such as what happened in Tootsie. Unfortunately, don’t look for the movie soon in an independent theater near you. If everything comes back to normal soon, the production will premier on Broadway next winter and be released as a film next summer.  

Is Burger King Playing with Gender?

Perhaps you have heard (from the far right) fast food giant Burger King is offering a new vegetarian Whopper sandwich. 

According to right wing zealots, when men eat the new sandwich they can grow boobs, decrease the size of their genitals and become homosexuals. 

So, there you go, I now have an inexpensive way to cut back on my Estradiol and Spiro! 🙂

Russian Bride

From the Moscow Times:

“Authorities in Russia have registered one of the first transgender marriages in a country that positions itself as a bastion of traditional family values.

Erika Askarova and Viktor Manuilin’s otherwise ordinary wedding made national headlines after the

two postedphotographs from the registry office in the city of Kazan on Dec. 12. Askarova, 30, and Manuilin, 20, told news outlets that they decided to make their relationship official months after they both changed their gender.”

Reportively, Russia still classifies transgender people as mentally ill.