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.

Mo, Mo, Mo

No, it’s not the beginning of a new Christmas song, it’s my version of saying “more, more, more.” Why you may ask? It’s because of my posts entitled “Are There more Trans People?” and”Integration.” Both Connie and Paula responded with comments.

Connie’s comment included background on the picture she shared from ten years ago which you can see again by going to the post. And much more:

“When I went to your site, this morning, I scrolled down the page, only to see a large, old pic of me in-between pics of Janet Mock and Angela Ponce. All of a sudden, that old Sesame Street song, “One of These Things is Not Like the Other” started playing in my head. Then again, maybe I have more in common with them than I give myself credit for.

When the picture of me was taken, Janet was in her mid-twenties and Angela was still a teenager. While I, in my late fifties, was still only contemplating the possibility of my own transition, the two of them were already well on their ways. I doubt that their individual gender dysphoria were any greater than my own, though. What they did have was more opportunity and, may I say, privilege to express themselves than did I at a young age. Those of us trans women who waited until a much later age to come out may have been inspired by a younger generation, but the baggage we accumulated along the way has made it more difficult to do so. How many of us have dealt with the woulda-coulda-shouldas when we look at these beautiful young trans women who have gained such status? I would have to guess that there are still quite a few older trans women who are still in the closet, contemplating that very thing.

No, I don’t think there is a higher percentage of transgender people in the world. There might be a case for more, if non-binary individuals are taken into account, but that is a subject for another discussion. When it comes to those who are assigned a gender at birth but who identify as another, the only difference I see is that they are more able to express themselves now than could be done in the past. As for myself, I can say that, had my earliest attempts at expressing my true gender identity not been quashed by my mother, the world could have known of one more trans person sixty-five years ago. I didn’t stop being a trans person, though, even if it took me another half-century to begin to show the world that I was – and, more importantly who I was.

Another topic for a different discussion is the claim that there is a trans movement designed to turn children toward being trans. These people, making that claim, would tell you that this is, at least in part, the reason for an increase in the number of trans people.”


It is my opinion, the earlier trans kids can begin their transitions the better, because they are able to take puberty blockers which enables them to “blend” in easier as their preferred gender. However, I do take into effect it’s very early in life to being making such a huge decision. It is also my understanding though the effects can be reversed if the treatment stops. It’s a difficult, complex subject. 


Paula’s comment is slightly different:


“I think you’re right in that it is not so much that there are more of us, but that we are more able to be out, and are more visible. At a recent training session I was surprised to find that in the UK there are more trans men than trans women, and more non binary people than either. We are experiencing a lot if attacks on trans women, but need to move our own campaign to focus more on getting rights and recognition for all.”


It is probably just a matter of time before non binary people receive a higher level of visibility and acceptance. 


Thanks to both of you for your comments.

Are There More Trans People?

Sometimes it seems to me there are more transgender women and men these days. 

I back up my theory with two reasons. The first is due to the impact of social media and the internet. I still am amazed about the amount of material I run into as I research possible blog topics. Of course, at my age, I go way back to the days of Virginia Prince and her Transvestia Magazine being nearly the only sources of information for novice transvestites. Now of course, there are nearly too many outlets to mention where you can find information on trans people,  

Janet Mock (below)

As an example, I just Googled “transgender” and received 173 million results. One of which one of the top trans activists Janet Mock. Indeed we have come along way!

Another example I can use is Angela Ponce who we featured a couple days ago here in Cyrsti’s Condo.  She competed in Miss Universe in 2018 as Miss Spain. I can only imagine some of the feminine back stabbing going on behind the scenes with such a gorgeous contestant competing who was also transgender.

My second reason is an extension of the first. Overall, we are so much more visible because we all have a better idea we are not alone. Plus, as we have pointed out in the blog, it is increasingly easier to carve yourself out a place in the world.

So, there are probably not more transgender people in the world. Just more who are visibly finding their way.  No longer do we have to worry about transitioning and disappearing. 

None of this though takes anything away from how difficult a gender transition can be. Let’s not forget how gender dysphoria can tear away at a soul and how the whole process of learning another gender can tear relationships (family) and employment apart.   

Maybe, just maybe, if there are more trans people, they can have a chance to be happier.

Integration

Every once in a while I giggle (to my self) when I notice one of the cross dressers I happen to be around becoming a little too “outgoing” with an outfit or actions. I add “to my self” because in the past I have gotten into trouble with my thoughts. Why?

Years ago, I was told by my deceased wife I didn’t have any real idea of what being a woman was all about. All I wanted to do was to be the “pretty, pretty princess.”  You know what? She was right.

My disclaimer here is…it’s fine to be the pretty princess but don’t think it is representative of living in society full time as a transgender woman. It just isn’t.

Fortunately these days, there are many paths opening up which can aid your integration into mainstream society. 

Both Paula and Connie have comments.

From Paula:

“I fear that all too many of us spend way too much time with other trans people. I didn’t go through all this so I could join an exclusive club! I want to enjoy my life as a woman out in general society; making music with my friends, watching some Rugby and just generally getting on with life.”


I agree, I know now I spend the majority of my “social” time with non trans people. 


And now from Connie:


“I would encourage anyone who wants to put themselves in the mainstream to find a Meetup group in their area. Just about any subject or activity that may interest you has a group you can join. The first one I joined was a women’s dine-out group. I messaged the organizer, beforehand, just to let her know that I was trans. She thanked me and said that it was OK with her. I did then ask her to not tell the others, because I wanted to attend without any preconceived notions. I proceeded by joining other groups that were not gender-specific. There are lgbtq groups, as well, but I avoid them. I would rather come across another member of the lgbtq community among a mainstream group. Over the years, there has been only one woman who objected to my being a part of the group. She expressed this to the organizer, who told her not to attend if she didn’t like being in the same room with a trans woman. Her loss, not mine!

Volunteering is a great way to find acceptance within a group. Kandi tells of many experiences she has through volunteering in her Kandi’s Land blog. I’ve not done as much volunteering as I’d like, but it’s not because I’m worried about my trans status – maybe a little laziness, though.

Finding a job may be more difficult than working one, but I don’t think there has been anything more affirming than gaining the trust and appreciation of an employer, not to mention that I work totally integrated with the public.

The day I made the decision to live totally as my true-self, I did just that. Part of that decision was that I needed to stop doubting myself, if I were to expect anyone else to not doubt me. Of course, I was totally cognizant that some may doubt my womanhood, but the onerous is on them to either accept me or stay away; I exist, and I have the same right to be anywhere and do anything as do they.

There is a process involved in getting oneself to be confident enough to begin a transition, but I think that, unless one is willing to jump in all-the-way, the transition (at least, socially) may be unnecessarily fraught with pitfalls. I enjoy living in the mainstream now. All I can say is: Jump on in; the water’s fine! :-)”

“Meet Up” groups are a great way to go! Liz and I have been to many. I have only been refused once. To a lesbian only group. Like you said, their loss, not mine. 

Plus, while I am on the subject of you (Connie), here is your picture from a decade ago! (above)

Ghost Hunting

Liz and I went back to Roh’s Opera House in Cynthiana, Kentucky Saturday night for another ghost hunting adventure. If you are a fan, you may know Cynthiana is the home of the “Walking Dead” television show writers. 

The Opera House itself is an interesting blend of spirits, for the most part positive which is why I like to go there. Staying up all night is another story. It normally takes me a couple days to regain my equilibrium. In fact, I ended up missing one of the cross dresser-transgender support group meetings I go to.

I will be making up for that by going to the Christmas party with Liz this year. It is the only evening I really concentrate on getting all dressed up for. 

Of course, Saturday night was all casual, with jeans and tennis shoes. I also like to go because I automatically get addressed by all the right pronouns. During four trips with the group, I have only had to correct one guy…once. 

For all of you who want to become more accomplished in the world as a transgender woman (or cross dresser) you may want to consider joining a group of civilians and establishing yourself. By civilians I mean a group that has other interests in mainstream society. 

The best example I can think of is a cross dresser in the group I am part of. I have never heard her refer to herself as transgender and is close to 80 years old. As a woman she is a deacon of her church and serves on the board of directors of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team women’s auxiliary. She is simply amazing. 

Others I could mention are Connie who works as her true self, Paula the musician and Mandy the traveler. I am sure they would all agree, it is a process and something normally doesn’t happen over night. 

As far as my overnight experience went, I wasn’t miss-gendered by a spirit. So I guess it was a success. 

Laverne Cox

Perhaps you have noticed the ultra gorgeous transgender woman Laverne Cox on any of the Smirnoff Vodka holiday television commercials.

As I understand it, this is actually the second year she (Laverne) has been in Smirnoff commercials. The brand also happens to be a big LGBTQ supporter.

In addition to her commercials, Laverne has been named beauty ambassador for the Matrix hair product line.

What a great ambassador she has become for transgender women everywhere!

Transgender Essence

This week I had an appointment with the doctor who prescribes my bi-polar medications. She is normally very pleasant, business like and the visit only lasts approximately 15 minutes.

On this day though, she had a student with her and I guess needed the extra time with me.  I am happy to say I haven’t had many problems with depression or anxiety lately. She surprised me when she brought up my Mtf gender dysphoria being a factor in feeling better. Undoubtedly I said it was.

Then she questioned dysphoria as being a part of the essence of being transgender. About this time, I noticed the student staring intently at me waiting for an answer. Sensing a time to educate two civilians, I used part of my time to explain my problems with gender dysphoria during my life. Quickly I decided  trying to reflect totally on the true essence of being transgender would have bored everyone in the room. Plus, the truth of the matter is all of our essences are different. An example would be, we have two new attendee’s in our support group who are just coming out of the closet. Just think of all the exciting yet terrifying times ahead for them. 

I also told her the experiences I have had recently with compliments on my hair. And how Thanksgiving for me was a time to step back and reflect on the good things in my life. 

Finally, I pointed out I haven’t had any extreme surgery and aside from my HRT hormone regimen, what you see of me is what you get. Even though it has literally been years since I have received any negative feedback from the public, I still have a tinge of paranoia in certain situations and probably will have till I die. 

In order to wrap this up as simply as I can, I feel the essence of being transgender is living with the knowledge of being on both sides of the gender fence. As my doctor said this week, undoubtedly I have seen a tremendous amount of living in my life. 

Over the years, recently I have come to appreciate it!

A Hair Better?

It all started with the compliment I didn’t know what to do with from my ex wife on Thanksgiving. It continued with Connie thanking me for the compliment I gave her after the picture she sent in. And, I was complimented on my hair today by my therapist. 

I am guessing but I think my inability to respond to compliments or give them goes back to my parents. Growing up, I can not remember a time when I received a compliment which wasn’t tied to a qualifier. In other words, you (me) did good, but…

I think also, I have a difficult time with feminine based compliments because I think the “qualifier” is still there. An example would be looking good as a woman for a transgender person or a man. 

Truthfully though, I am on cloud nine (where ever that is) following all the compliments I have received on my hair. The qualifier this time is being fortunate enough to still have a full head of hair to not have to deal with wigs anymore. Unlike Connie, who looks great, I was usually hit or miss in the wig department. Mostly miss from quite a few fashion mistakes. I have always believed I was really able to navigate the feminine world as a transgender person after I began to grow my own hair.

Plus, I feel as if I am being repaid hair karma from my time in the 70’s when I was in the Army and had to have short hair when everyone else I knew had longish hair. Of course I also completely envied the hippie girls with all of their long hair. 

If I knew then what I know now, I would have complimented more women on their hair. I have come to the understanding now why so many women rely on their hairdressers for an occasional boost. Figuratively and literally, it makes us feel better about ourselves. 

The bad news is now I will have to find a new stylist to do my hair. My current one had to retire due to carpal tunnel hand problems. 

I will miss the pampering I received every two months when I went to the salon and all those pesky compliments which came my way.

Life is nothing without change though and finding a new stylist will be exciting in it’s own way. 

New life based challenges are good too when you are 70 as I am. There is still plenty of time to get better. I hope!