I’m Sad

Perhaps you have read about the demise of the lesbian bars around the country. This morning I read  a place in Columbus, Ohio where I used to frequent a bit is now the last remaining lesbian bar in the entire state of Ohio. According to the “Columbus Dispatch” article I read, Slammers is one of only fifteen lesbian bars left in the nation.

Slammers/Columbus

I liked Slammers for any number of reasons including it was a “safe” place for me to go. Unlike the male gay bars I tried to go to. In lesbian bars I enjoyed the music and the fact I wasn’t treated as if I was a drag queen.  At the worst, I was just tolerated.

Then again too, as I have written about before, lesbian bars played a strong role as I sought to develop myself as a transgender woman. Along the way, I was asked to sing karaoke (or told to) by a super butch woman in a cowboy hat who I was never sure if she knew I was trans all the way to being asked to be a “wing person” for a lesbian friend of mine trying to pick up a date.   

It all was a simple choice for me. I felt natural and at home in the bars I went too, except for one lesbian biker bar I went to where they hated me. Plus “Wall Street” in Columbus was my first foray into leaving the friendly confines of the cross dresser mixer I went to. I joined the more ambitious “A” listers for trips to  the lesbian orientated dance club. 

Unfortunately, even then I could feel the demise of the women’s bar spaces as the two I went to in Dayton, Ohio closed. Competition proved to be too great from other venues who began to accept a more diverse clientele. 

Covid complications of course have also played a role in many closings around the country.  But there is a remaining venue in Northern Kentucky across the Ohio River from Cincinnati which partially bills itself as a lesbian which is open.

Still, a part of my transgender youth is missing and I am sad.

Pantene

The next time you buy shampoo or other hair care products, you may want to consider using the Pantene line. Here is why:

“A new Pantene ad celebrates LGBTQ families by featuring a transgender girl with her two lesbian mothers, MetroWeekly reports.

The ad tells the story of Sawyer, her mothers, and their family motto, “Everybody loves everybody, no matter what path you follow.”

Ashley, one of Sawyer’s mothers, described the significance of her daughter’s hair in the process of transitioning. “Once she told us that she identified as a girl, she immediately wanted to grow her hair out,” she says in the ad.

“I remember the first time she was out in the community wearing the clothing she wanted and her hair,” Ashley continues. “And she kind of was herself. And that was the first day where I saw her.”

For Sawyer, growing her hair out made her “feel good and confident, and it made my insides match my outsides.”

The ad is another recent example of corporate framings of the LGBTQ community in a positive light, which is especially significant given the spate of anti-transgender bills working their way through states such as ArkansasWest VirginiaTennessee, and South Dakota, among others.

Pantene posted a message about the ad to Twitter, writing, “Hair is a large part of our identity. And for LGBTQ+ youth like Sawyer, who choose to express themselves, their style, and their creativity through their hair style, it can help them feel seen.”

Fortunately I already have a bottle of Pantene shampoo in my shower. 

More Transgender Attraction

Connie commented on the Cyrsti’s Condo “Attraction” post:

“As I approach both my 70th birthday and 49th wedding anniversary, attraction is quite different than it was before. While I don’t feel lonely, I do feel a loss. I was lucky that my transition to living as a woman was accepted by my wife, but the relationship changed. We were friends before we married, and, while that part has only strengthened over the years, romance was placed on the back burner years ago. Of course, it’s much more complicated than just that, as there are other factors (many of them having to do with health) that I won’t divulge here. Love and companionship create a bond that can be so much stronger than physical attraction.
I could write of a multitude of occasions when someone was attracted to me as a trans woman. It has never been the case that I consciously attempted to cause any of them. I have been “hit on” by men (both gay and straight), women (both cis and trans), and even a trans man. In each case, I have asked myself what it was that attracted them to me. As far as I know, none of them could have been sure of my genitalia or the “authenticity” of my breasts. In at least a couple encounters, I’m not even sure they knew I was a trans woman. I’m not naïve enough that I believe they were all attracted to my sparkly personality, either.

I decided long ago that, although I can adeptly create the illusion that there is a female body beneath my clothing, it doesn’t matter – because I know there is not. The only way, now, that I would feel sexually attractive would be if I had female genitalia and breasts. The fact is that if I don’t feel attractive the way I am, then I wouldn’t be interested in anyone else who might be attracted to me this way, either.

I know it is largely due to my dysphoria that causes me to feel the way I do. Thank God I have a wife who values our love, companionship, and close friendship as much as I do. Those are pretty attractive qualities, in themselves, after all.”


Thanks for the comment! 

As I have said many times, my major contact with genders when I began to come out as a transgender woman came from cis women, mainly lesbians although one of my first dates was with a trans man. Although I like to deceive myself into thinking the majority of attraction came from how I presented myself, the reality was my attraction came from the fact I was different.

I am a firm believer in most cis women aren’t as grounded in a strict gender binary as men are. So my gender blurring was a plus to them.


Plus my attraction could have been my desire to live an authentic life on a cis woman’s side of the gender spectrum. 
To be certain there are no easy answers.

She Said What?

 Last night, being the glutton for punishment I am, I became involved in a rather lengthy discourse with a person on Facebook Messenger. 

Her profile stated she was a lesbian and her picture showed her to be a very butch one at that. 

Very quickly she asked if I was sitting down and told me she was considering a “sex change”. About that time I wondered if she had read my profile at all. She asked if I was a lesbian and I said yes, a transgender lesbian who has been living with my lesbian partner for nine years now. 

Then we exchanged pictures and went into the fact she had a doctor’s appointment in Denver in a couple days to determine if she could start testosterone patches. Having a mustache was her goal. I replied I have a very close transgender man friend who has attractive facial hair so she should too. 

Surprisingly, the whole conversation went easily until it was time to call it a night and go to sleep. I told her goodnight and turned my phone off. 

The real surprise came this morning came when I turned it back on and read her last message…good night “Buddy”. Buddy? Really?

If I ever hear from her again, I will mention how many years it has been since anyone has ever called me Buddy. 

If and when she apologizes I might actually ask her what pronouns she prefers I use. 

I should also learn never to set my expectations too high. At the least though, I received input for another blog post. 

Welcome to the Sisterhood?

 Very early in my Mtf gender transition, I was “ushered” into the sisterhood of cis women by several very well meaning women. Having said all of that, I learned too all women were not real happy with my showing up to play in their gender “sandbox.” I also learned quickly the feminine power of passive aggression. Or, I discovered to quickly learn a smiling face could hide a sharp knife heading for my back. 

Take the restroom acceptance for example. One night I remember vividly was years ago when a woman I met briefly at a sports bar was going to the ladies room and invited me to go along. The whole process caught me by surprise and I declined…that time. The next time she asked, I took her up on the invitation and conducted myself well. I took care of business, made sure to wash my hands, checked my makeup and hair and took off. Everything went well with the person who invited me but not so well with a couple other women in the venue. One of which ended up complaining to the manager. He ended up letting a couple play “Dude Looked Like a Lady” three times in a row on the juke box and finally asked me to leave.

Several weeks later though I got my revenge on the jerk after he got fired and two staff members met me in a neighboring venue and invited me back. A friendly attitude and good tipping got me by almost every time. Interesting enough, it was during this time I met another transgender woman who ended up moving away years later after we did some quality partying together at several different venues. One of which had a enormous bar area and a famous two dollar draft beer night on Tuesdays. Most nights, finding a seat was difficult but somehow we managed being the only trans girls in the crowd having a great time. It was in this venue I did meet the two lesbian women I was to become best friends with. And from there too we were able to branch out to a couple other spots in a restored restoration district and have a very good time there too.

I guess you could say I networked my way into the “sisterhood.” When I was going out to entertain myself and be alone, I was attracting too much attention to myself. When I was with my friends, I had strength in numbers and in fact had the chance to blend in with their lesbian mixers which I totally enjoyed.

I was welcomed into the sisterhood more than I was ever expecting to do.  

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. 

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.

More Election

Even with all the election angst in Washington which so effects the transgender experience, our representation under the LGBT umbrella in increasing. Even if it does have leaks.  An example was a link Michelle sent into the Cyrsti’s Condo blog: 

“At least 843 LGBTQ people currently serve in elected offices across the United States, constituting a 21 percent increase since June 2019, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s “Out for America 2020” census of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer elected officials.

Particularly pronounced increases were seen in the number of LGBTQ mayors, with a 35 percent year-over-year jump; the number of bisexual and queer-identified people, with increases of 53 percent and 71 percent, respectively; and the number of transgender women serving in elected office, with a 40 percent year-over-year rise.”

Locally, here in Cincinnati, Ohio an openly lesbian woman convincingly won the county’s Sheriff election over a rump supported republican challenger, 

Even with the increases, there is still so far to go. Here is more information from the NBC News post:

““While LGBTQ people are running for office in historic numbers, we remain severely underrepresented at every level of government — and that must change,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement.

According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults say they are LGBTQ. According to the Victory Institute, just 0.17 percent of roughly a half million elected officials are known to be LGBTQ. The Victory Institute says that in order for LGBTQ people to achieve “equitable representation,” there would need to be 22,544 more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in elected office.”

Thanks for sharing Michelle!

Do You Pass?

Recently, “passing” seems to be a term which may be finding it’s way out of our main vocabulary as transgender folk or cross dressers. Then again, maybe not. These days, if you can afford it, or your health allows it, you now have several different avenues to achieve passing privilege. There is surgery including facial feminization, breast augmentation all the way to genital realignment available for those who can afford it or have access to good insurance. Plus, let’s not forget electrolysis to get rid of those pesky facial beards. It seems to me, after you go through all of that, you damn well better “pass”. 

Personally, I feel hormone replacement therapy has helped me to present favorably in a feminine world. But that is just me.

Sadly, though, just passing doesn’t bring happiness to many. A transgender friend of mine years ago once told me I passed on sheer willpower. Which I took to mean if someone had a problem with me, they could go to hell. While that was true in many instances, I still suffered the same paranoia other novice cross dressers or trans women felt as they began their journey into the feminine world. I could fill several blog posts alone with my adventures waiting for a stall in women’s bathrooms. 

During my endless searches for quality posts to share with you, I found this one about a transgender woman in the UK who ran into problems just trying to try clothes on in a store. It;s called “Joni’s Story” and you can find it here. Joni is below.  A brief synopsis of the lengthy post looks into how Joni was rejected from a women’s fitting room and how the episode led her to an unwanted public life and a search to fit in with the butch lesbian culture. 

The end result of passing of course is how you feel about yourself. Sadly, no matter how much work some people have done on themselves, they still have difficulty finding a gender piece within.  

The Girl in the Grocery Store Line

It’s been awhile, so I don’t really remember if I did or how long ago it was when I posted here in Cyrsti’s Condo of an experience I went through years ago. It was during the time I was living a dual gender existence after my wife passed away in 2007. 

Increasingly, I was spending my life out as a novice transgender woman and one of my favorite things to do was go to a sports bar and watch football, mostly with my two cis women lesbian friends. When I did it, either I ordered a bite to eat where I was, or stopped on the way home to pick something up. 

For some reason, one early evening, I decided to stop at one of my regular food markets I went to as a guy more than a girl. I figured since it was a Sunday, none of the regular cashiers I normally dealt with would be there. Of course I was wrong and ended up right in a line I didn’t want to be. I didn’t have a choice because it was the only cashier lane open. If I wanted to buy something to eat, I had to hitch up my big girl panties and hope she would not recognize which me she was dealing with. It didn’t take long for her sly smile to let me know what was going on. However, she didn’t say anything and I paid and left with my well earned food. 

It turned out, it wasn’t until the next time she saw me (as a guy) was when she decided to speak up. She simply said I looked good and would have no trouble if I decided to “go that way.” Needless to say I was floored and could only come up with a weak thank you in response. 

Deep down inside, the girl in the grocery line probably never really knew how much confidence she gave me during a time of deep transgender confusion. 

From Allies to Accomplices

 A transgender ally is a person who supports trans individuals and trans rights. Now a well known transgender activist wants to experience evolution from allies to accomplices. Her name is Geena Rocero (below) an award winning producer, model and trans rights activist. 

Let’s take my partner Liz for example of a person who is a transgender accomplice. Initially (9 years ago) she played a major role of finally shoving me totally out of a part time cross dresser life into a full time transgender existence. An accomplice who has helped me in the world in so many ways. For example, an ally will support pro-trans causes and candidates but may fall short in helping us with rest room issues and/or pronoun usage. In more cases than I can count Liz leads strangers on with my gender by calling me “she or her” So, if you are currently an ally and are looking for an easy way to do more, find out for sure what pronouns your friend wants to use. It can go so far in helping her cope with an existence in her/his chosen gender. If you are dealing with a masculine identifying transgender person. 

Also if you are an accomplice, you have to be prepared for setbacks. Unfortunately, most of the time, all you can do is lend a supportive ear. In my case, I am always prepared to fight my own battles when and if they arise. Ironically, Liz and I do quite a bit of hand holding in public, so I can never really be sure if a persons problem could be coming from us being lesbians and not in anyway because I am transgender. 

In conclusion, if you are an ally or an accomplice bless your heart! You are some of the kindest and most understanding people in the world and we need you!