It’s a Material World

And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don’t all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren’t reading this at all. 

Picture after first hair appointment
Credit: Cyrsti Hart

Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.

Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women. 

All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the “gauntlet” of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least. 

I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it’s stand and brush it out. 

Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.

I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way.
  

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.

Teaching the Teacher

Yesterday was therapy day. I have mentioned many times here in Cyrsti’s Condo how long I have been with my VA therapist. She is my original therapist with the VA who helped me with my hormone replacement therapy program as well as the paper work to get my legal name change rolling. In other words, a long time. 

During most sessions she asks me about the blog and this session our discussion here on “Confidence” caught her attention. Yesterday, it really did when I quoted the conversation here by saying “Confidence is our one greatest accessory.” She was so impressed, she wrote it down. 

Most of the time I forget I have to backtrack with her and explain what I am saying. An example would be the process we transgender women and men go through to live a new life as our authentic selves. According to Connie, it’s a wall:

”  I remember much discussion, here on CC, about sitting on the wall (straddling the fence). That may be one degree past being up against the wall, but it’s where many of us end up for far too long. Once I had built up enough nerve to make the jump to the other side, I found it to be a soft landing – and I have walked confidently on this side of the wall ever since.”

I always referred to my “wall” as a slippery slope. The more I experimented living in a feminine world, sure it was scary but it felt so natural. Finally I made the decision to permanently put my male persona in the closet and live 24/7 as a transgender woman. 

Perhaps the teacher will learn just a little more to help the next novice trans person she encounters. I keep telling my therapist to consider just the smallest gender aspect of her life she takes for granted and reverse it. Another example would be when she wakes up in the morning. She has the gender privilege of knowing she is a woman. Most of us knew it too but had to really work to express it. 

It’s really wonderful when the teacher learns too. 

Finally an old picture. This picture taken after my first trip to a real woman’s  hair solon. A birthday gift from my daughter. from 2015.

Be Yourself

 Emma wrote into Cyrsti’s Condo with a wonderful comment on how to go about achieving confidence as you enter the feminine world:

” Indeed, I agree completely that confidence is our best accessory. But how does one gain confidence? For those of us who’re used to just living authentically what can we advise others?
I think there are a couple of things:
1) As you progress through the world, grocery shopping, doing the mundane things, look around and notice, especially those who you wouldn’t normally pay attention to. I know I’m drawn to those I admire, such as pretty, small, young. The truth is that the world is full of a huge variety of people. The message: people just don’t notice most others.

2) Do you remember the song “Almost Cut My Hair” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash? In it they sing about letting their “freak flag fly.” While we’re certainly not freaks it’s fair and okay to just put ourselves out there and be, as we are.

3) For most of us, no amount of makeup, padding, and other stuff is going to make us blend in seamlessly. So, get over it. Lose the excessive makeup. No one wears it, and just having all that on your face calls unwanted attention. Again, pay attention to the women you see and present in a similar way according to your own taste.

4) When it comes down to that moment of taking the first step out, consider this mantra that I used to repeat to myself:

“Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some kind of wall … on the other side of the wall is some kind of freedom.”

Get to the freedom. It’s worth it.”


As I said, a wonderful comment! Thanks Emma!


Once you get to the freedom, there is nothing like it. 

Out…and About

As you can see by the selfie, Liz and I did make it out last night to enjoy eating at one of our favorite restaurants. 

The food was good and I was able to show off my quite expensive dental work.

Aside from the woman who sat us, our server was adequate but friendly and referred to us as “ladies.” 

Also from yesterday, I commented on the heat wave going on out West. I mentioned Connie who lives in Seattle. Since Seattle isn’t used to such intense heat, a large percentage of the population doesn’t have air conditioning. 

Does Connie? Let’s find out:

“Well, the thermometer on our deck is reading 110, and it’s only 3:00 pm! The composite decking may be influencing the thermometer to read higher than the actual temp, but it showed 98 when it was in the shade earlier. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not working outside today, although we’re one of the 67% of residences that does not have AC here in Seattle, so being inside is not so great, either. I discovered that I’ve collected seven electric fans over the years, though. I wish I had that many fans left for my musical career, and I know what may still remain is not very electric anymore. 🙂

The worst part of this heat is that I have to wear a wig! Of course, I could go without it, but I don’t think the skin on top of my head is my (as you put it) most valuable beauty commodity.”

Stay cool all. As you can see I have my mane of hair pulled back to stay cool. 

Beating the Heat

 As most of the United States is suffering through intense heat, it’s time to pull out those tank tops you maybe haven’t had a chance to wear in awhile. 

In Seattle where Connie lives  the temperature  today is expected to reach well over one hundred degrees (F). 

The picture is of Connie doing her job pre-covid by keeping the plants beautiful (as she is!) in downtown Seattle, 

As uncomfortable as all the heat is, it does give us transgender women a chance to show a womans most valuable beauty commodity, our skin.

Around here in Ohio the temps are supposed to be near 90 and Liz and I are supposed to go out tonight. I have finally located my favorite sandals and now if I can get my feet public ready, I will wear them tonight. 

In the meantime, somehow- someway I hope all of you out West manage to get rain and relief from the heat.

Clutter

 I attended a rather lengthy webinar yesterday designed to help care givers deal with elderly parents or patients. Predictably, no mention was made concerning LGBTQ+ individuals. I did have a question in to be answered by email at a later date. We will see if the moderator ever answers me.  I doubt it but at the least I got my point across. At any rate, the whole adventure used all my battery power on my laptop along with the usual allotted time I use  to write a blog post.

Then today, I filled out a LGBTQ+ survey and filled out the on line vehicle license tags registration for our car. As always it took Ohio time to catch up and offer an on line service to residents of the state.

Speaking of Ohio, the Repugs in our legislature tried to pull a quick one and reintroduce a ban on transgender athletes in the state which was previously defeated. Fortunately it was defeated again and so far trans athletes in Ohio can compete.  As always, our transgender rights seem to be so fragile. 

The idea of fragile rights continues in this post as readers discuss the recent VA policy shift supporting gender realignment surgeries. First, Lisa P:

” It is good news, but we will see joy know that we have real progress when the next Republican Administration doesn’t dismantle the program. My advice to anyone who needs the help is to get it NOW, while the getting is good. Hopefully, this policy will remain in place, but one never knows.”

So true Lisa, thanks for the comment.

Then Michelle commented: 

“Remember that the article did state that the VA needs to find medical staff the can perform the procedures. Unfortunately, as with all government programs it will take some time to get it established. I’m with Lisa about if the republican party has anything to do with it, we will see that taken away. I’m also fully aware of the transphobe medical staff that the VA has down here in Florida.
As you said Cyrsti about having a hint of paranoia, I will be waiting to see what will happen. I hope to find out more this weekend when I meet with several members of the LGBTQ group that works in the VA.”

Hopefully this means if the VA can’t do the procedure themselves, they have to find someone to do it!

Please keep us posted! Also the person in the photo is Carla Lewis. I wore a similar shirt to a Columbus, Ohio Pride event several years ago. 

Multiple Transitions

 An acquaintance of mine on Facebook (Joni/above) recently wrote a post concerning an encounter she had with a cis female friend who all of the sudden  “slipped” up and called her by the correct pronouns which I assume was different because how Joni responded to it. 

She (Joni) responded the whole process just seemed to take a while with her friend to actually transition with her.

I believe there are multiple transitions involved with something as complex as a human gender change. Personally, I think I can recall of at least one major transition when I went from being what I referred to as a cross dresser to a fully out in the world transgender woman.

Unfortunately, we lose sight of how hard it is for others around us to make the transition also. Once again, n my case, I will use my brother as an example. He told me he would always know me and refer to me as my old self. Shortly after that I ended up moving away and we never pursued my gender change any further. On occasion, I do feel guilty I didn’t give him the chance to try to transition with me. 

So, as we proceed down this very complex and long journey, we find there is no easy answer to the amount of transitions we go through. Some transgender women go down the surgical path to what they consider “the final solution”  then again, some don’t. 

Along the way, somehow we have to consider those making the transition with us. Some never make the journey for what ever reason but some do. Making room for those that do is the essence of being an understanding transgender woman. It’s exceedingly hard to do on such an often lonely path we didn’t choose to accept but somehow find away to exist with. The whole process has a tendency to make us seem selfish.

As you can see from the picture, Joni has transitioned well. To my knowledge she hasn’t had any surgery but has been on HRT for several years. Congratulations on others around her accepting for her true self! 

Another Social

 As I perhaps have pointed out, there is another “social” scheduled for Thursday night in one of the local seafood restaurants. The event is hosted by the transgender – cross dresser group I am part of. The group also has support group meetings which are still virtual and I have not attended recently. 

So far it looks as if I will be attending by myself as Liz most likely will have to work over. 

I am looking forward to getting out of the house again and casually dressing up as I have dinner. I am slightly different than more than a few of the others because I don’t have to go all out to impress anyone in the group. I am planning to wear my favorite form fitting patterned tank top along with a pair of my khaki culottes and black flats. I am going to pull my hair back into a flowing mane and wear a pair of dangling ear-rings to get about as dressed up as I get. As  much as I don’t really care about the group, I do care about how the public perceives me.

The venue is slightly upscale so I feel, I  should be too. 

The picture is not what I am wearing but does show approximately how far hormone replacement therapy has changed me. Back then the hair was a wig and the rest was padding.  Now it is all me.

Transgender Information

Nina Humphrey from the “Credit Card. Com” website managed to navigate the confusing process of choosing between my two names and emails to reach me.

The problem is years ago when I completed my legal name change, I added another email with that name. With the time and effort I had spent over the years to build the Cyrsti’s Condo transgender blog, I didn’t want to start all over again. So on occasion, I encounter confusion when people try to reach me on the other email. An example was when I was accepted into the Trans Journalist Association. Emma needed to reach out on both emails to confirm my identity.  FYI, I am really excited to be part of the Association! 

Now, back to Nina. Here is part of what she wrote and a link to go to for more information:

We understand transgender individuals can transition without surgery or medical procedures by changing their clothing, pronouns, name and gender presentation. But money can often be a barrier for transgender folks, and getting accurate information about the costs of transitioning can be a hurdle in and of itself. 

For those who do wish to get surgery, the costs vary significantly depending on details like insurance coverage and location. We created a guide to help transgender Americans by providing expert advice on:

  • Gender reassignment procedures and average costs
  • How to budget for the costs of transitioning
  • Allyship to the transgender community

Here’s the link to our guide: 

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/gender-reassigment-surgery-costs/

She also added:

“It’s important to us that the LGBTQ+ community has the protection and support it deserves. Which is why we want to do our part and share valuable information that benefits both the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. I recently came across your page and I wanted to share our resource which I thought would be a valuable addition to your page”

Most certainly, finances are always a major factor when considering major gender surgeries. Thanks Nina, for your information.