It’s Not a Choice

One of the most frequent questions I used to get when I met a stranger was, when did I know I was transgender. 

After many years of fumbling around with the answer, the most correct one finally came to me…I have always been this way. 

Now, having said that, certainly there were milestones in my life I could look back on which confirmed my gender dysphoria.  

As a youth, for some reason I never gave much thought to why I wanted dolls for Christmas instead of BB guns. I also didn’t really know why my attraction to girls in school seemed to be different than most of the other boys. 

I don’t remember acting on any of my cross dressing or girlish desires until I was ten or twelve. In fact, I had a paper route which I used the money from to primarily buy feminine clothes and makeup. When I did, I could stay out of my Mom’s wardrobe and makeup. All I had to do was find a good way to hide my stash.

As I grew more accomplished during my high school years, I was also able to keep the bullies away by playing sports, working on cars and dating the occasional girl. All of which just seemed to widen my internal gender gap.

Very soon out of high school (in college) it looked as if the Vietnam War would make a major influence in my life. As it turned out I was drafted out of college and had to face the problem of not being able to do anything about my gender issues for three years. For you purists, I enlisted for three years to be able to better choose my Army job.  As it turned out a good choice when I landed a job in the American Forces Radio and Television Service. 

Why was that important you ask? Because my job landed me in one of the least military areas in the Army. Thanks to that and a Halloween party in Germany, I was able to dress as a woman and eventually come out as a transvestite for the first time to my friends and future wife. 

For awhile I thought I had won the lottery as some of my gender pressure was dialed back. As it turned out though, the true struggles were just beginning.

I will get into those in the next post as well as explaining how fighting my gender dysphoria nearly killed me. 

It took me years to learn it was never a choice. 

Veterans Day

Most certainly, being a transgender veteran means I pay closer attention to Veteran’s Day. And, I appreciate the thanks I get for my service. Vietnam Vets like me didn’t get many when we were discharged from the military. 

It’s ironic though, the person who may have benefited the most from my service in the Army, never thanked me for my service. That would be my daughter. You could connect the dots and determine she may not be around at all if it wasn’t for the connection between her mother and I (she was also in the Army) when we were in Germany. For what ever reason she can’t seem to remember. 

Thanks to Connie, Liz and others for their thanks!

This is always the time I thank all you other veterans. I know many of you were not forced to serve (the Vietnam draft) but went on your own accord. The ironic part of all of this is, the percentages of transgender military members is probably much higher than anyone has thought. Think of all who paid the ultimate sacrifice and were in the deep closet. 

Also I consider too the tragic transgender military ban orchestrated by our “cadet draft dodger” in chief. It shows again how far we haven’t come. 

On a positive note, thanks to all who took the time and effort to serve!

Political LGBTQ Successes

Regardless of all the anti LGBTQ hatred being spewed from the White House, there were positive results in elections this week.  In Kentucky, the home of such notables as Moscow Mitch McConnell, the Democratic nominee for governor managed to narrowly defeat the solidly trumper Republican incumbent. Which hopefully bodes well for the upcoming presidential election.

Around the country, After a string of successful general and special elections, the number of LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S. today stands at 698 — the highest number ever, and an increase of nearly 25 percent over last year, according to the Victory Institute, which tracks openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer elected officials.

While in Virginia:

From the New York Post:” Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to be elected and serve in a state legislature, was reelected to her Virginia seat on Tuesday.

Roem, a Democrat, bested her Republican opponent Kelly McGinn by a 57-43 margin.

When she was elected in 2017, Roem beat a longtime GOP delegate who led efforts to restrict bathrooms to transgender people.

Her opponent that year, Robert Marshall, sponsored a “Physical Privacy Act,” which was modeled after controversial bathroom legislation passed in North Carolina in 2016.

“Danica inspired trans people across the nation to run for office,” Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund said in a statement.”

Reasons being given for the increase are more people are running, more are getting elected and more are coming out of the closet who are already serving. 

Now all we need is a solid front from the “L,G and B’s” to help the “T’s” in our struggles.

A Different Transition

Well, as expected, the weather around here in Southwestern Ohio is making a dramatic turn from fall to winter. 

Fall has always been my favorite season of the year and I am always sad to see it go. Why? Primarily I have always liked the fashions and maybe on a separate level, football has always been my favorite sport. Long ago I decided just becoming a woman should not stop me from enjoying part of my male life I so loved.  Also, fall has always meant a time of deep change to me. Somehow I always have equated fall with my gender transformation.  

Perhaps it had to do with Halloween’s effects on the season too.  Long suppressed gender feelings of being a girl were reawakened.  Plus, the successes of going out on Halloween in a feminine costume just urged me on to go farther. 

One thing led to another and all of a sudden I was at the tipping point of living full time as a transgender woman. 

It seemed too, fall was a great fashion time to present as a woman. As I did, I learned the basics of shopping for myself, experimenting with makeup and adding the proper accessories. In doing so, I found I needed to communicate with the public, which in turn taught me the very different basics of gender communication. 

I know I am giving too much credit to the season because the gender learning curve for me lasted for years, not months. But I vividly remember the joy when the weather cooled off and my makeup didn’t melt off. 

In the meantime, as Mother Nature transitions into winter around here, there is plenty of time to enjoy boots, warm fuzzy sweaters and soft leggings!

Trans Visibility

It’s election day and I am proud to say I haven’t missed many elections over the years. I am sad to say I have witnessed a couple of very bad presidents in my lifetime. Nixon was one. I think you can figure out the other. 

I am not going to dwell on politics though in this post. I have a couple of comments to get to as well as the experience of voting for the first time as my feminine transgender self. I was a little nervous when I did it but on the other hand couldn’t wait to produce my brand new driver’s license which said “F” in the gender category, rather than “M”. The license was scanned and nothing was said. I was just given my ballot to cast. Wow! It felt good! I guess now, the bad part is voting as a woman has become very mundane.

Both comments indirectly touch on the mechanics of getting to the mundane part if you are considering exploring a life as your true self (transgender) or just feel an affinity to dress as the opposite gender (cross dresser).

The first comes from Dawnautom who reads most of my posts on the WordPress blog platform:

 “Over the years I’ve talked to hundreds of transgender people all over the world most loved it when they could get out as them selves but a few found it felt to weird to be out in public like that. We’re all different in how it affects us, some it has no effect on others spend their whole life in the closet. 

 I’m happy for you that your able to get out and be your self, I think the biggest problem we face is self love and confidence ones you master that everything else is down hill ( so to speak ).”

Looking back, I can see how someone would think it was weird to go through a sudden change of gender privilege . In fact, at the last cross dresser – transgender support group meeting, a young trans man was explaining the difference approach society uses when dealing with different genders. 

The second comment comes from Connie:

“I believe that many, if not most, trans women go through a stage where their choice of feminine presentation is based on what they think a man would find appealing. I would take that one step further and say that it is often the case that the man they are seeking to please is themselves. After all, especially when one is closeted, the only man who will see “her” is “himself.” Presenting oneself as a bit of a slut in public, though, does not necessarily garner the kind of attention her inner feminine-self was looking to receive. 

There’s a reason that moms warn their children about this kind of woman – not marriage material. It’s not that marriage is the goal of every trans woman, but it is that more-conventional kind of woman many of us transition toward. Gender dysphoria, I think, is on a spectrum and can vary for each of us, just as gender does itself. Gender expression can be a manifestation of one’s perceived gender, the dysphoria, or both. For me, it’s been as though my perceived feminine-self were the angel on my right shoulder, while the dysphoria sat like the devil digging his claws into the left. The more I listened to the sweet words of the angel, though, the less of a hold the dysphoric one had on me. I still like to wear my high heels, but the devil does not make me do it! :-)”

I agree gender dysphoria is also on a spectrum along with gender and sexuality. Good point!

Thank you both for your thoughtful comments!

Thank You!

Thanks to all of you who have made comments here in Cyrsti’s Condo or perhaps are new visitors to the blog. It means a lot! This includes those of you who comment through Facebook. 🙂

As far as the weekend went, we had another Cincinnati Witches Ball committee meeting to go to plus the ever exciting weekly trip to the grocery store. Both went without a hitch. I switched up my outfits by wearing my paisley soft leggings I love so much with my long red sweater and boots of course. 

As I mentioned in my last post, the two “C”s (Comfort and Confidence) mean so much when combating my gender dysphoria. Again, as I mentioned, I didn’t realize how deep my dysphoria ran.  Perhaps it all stems from a few highly unsuccessful  feminine trips in the public eye years ago when I first began to explore a new scary but exciting world. Basically, this was back in the 80’s when times were very different.  Most of my problems were self created to be truthful.

Basically, I made the mistake of dressing for men and not women. Specifically, I dressed too trashy and drew too much unneeded attention.  I was stubborn though and figured since I didn’t get to go out much, I needed to go all out and get the most bang for the buck. All of it resulted into too many mini skirts and high heeled days. 

The only time I was really successful was when I dressed professionally and happened to blend with other cis women dressed the same way. 

Which leads me full circle to the night I went out to purposely be a woman and blend in with other women getting off work from a local upscale mall. I was scared to death as I made my way to the upscale bar and ordered a cocktail. The first lesson I learned was, I lived. The second lesson was (after I relaxed) was I lived and actually felt very good doing it. The problem was I felt so good I knew I would experience more problems going back to my male life. 

Little did I know, years later I would still be experiencing much of the same feelings. 

Enough of me though. Thanks again to all of you for visiting!   

Say it Ain’t So!

It doesn’t seem possible but Christmas is right around the corner and parties are already being scheduled.  In fact, I have one coming up on December 19th.

As soon as I found out, I did what most other cis women would do. I scheduled (or tried to) an appointment with my hair stylist.

I found out the soonest I could get in was November 22nd. Not my ideal choice but I found out it was the best I could do. Because I learned she was moving out of town and closing down her business.

She is the one who has a transgender son and is so understanding to the trans cause.  Plus, more importantly, she does such a great job.

Now I have to find another stylist or just let my hair grow out again.

I probably will do a little of both.

Normal?

Saturday was one of those rare days when I felt relatively “normal.” Before you jump to conclusions, I know the concept of “normal” is highly subjective.  To narrow it down, to a gender dysphoric person normality is being able to navigate society without being stared at or unnecessarily being singled out. 

To arrive at the point I achieved yesterday, first I had to feel secure in the way I looked. I wore a pair of my favorite leggings, boots and a nice sweater. I felt the outfit was slimming and showed off my legs. Also, I was able to mousse my hair Friday night after my shower, enhancing my wavy hair. All in all, for once I felt I made the most of what I had to work with. 

As far as makeup went, the less is more look worked well without my glasses. And, while I am on the subject of makeup, Friday night when Liz and I went out with the cross dresser – transgender group, another trans woman asked me if Liz did my makeup? I was stunned. I have always done my own makeup. I know too, sometimes it looks like it. Despite being a “natural” lesser makeup person, Liz used to be an Avon beauty consultant. So she does know enough to tell me if I look like a clown. Overall, my goal is to externally project as a “lipstick” trans-lesbian. Hows that for putting a label on everything?

As the evening progressed, we stopped for dinner at an upscale Creole Restaurant we have been meaning to try out for quite a while. All the cooking is done from scratch by a chef trained in New Orleans by Emeril Lagasse. The food was great and we were served by a woman who seemed only concerned about overselling us on appetizers and drinks. One way or another, It’s always nice not to be noticed. 

From there, our Witches Ball group was meeting for coffee at the coffee chain Connie hates…I will let you use your imagination. It’s always good to get together with these friends who accept me for me. 

So, all in all, the day was a reaffirming day as far as my gender dysphoria went. 

I wait for it to go away all together but so far it shows no sign of leaving anytime soon.    

Another Halloween

Another Halloween has came and gone…almost. I have seen a few places around here in Cincinnati which are having theme parties this weekend which are loosely Halloween based. After all, some people I know would want Halloween celebrated year around. 

One of those is the “moderator” who I have mentioned extensively here in Cyrsti’s Condo. She is the one who got bounced from the board (and all her activities as social director) of the established cross dresser-transgender support group I am a member of. I am rather proud of the fact I have taken the high road in the whole affair. In fact, at Monday’s meeting, I was prodded to give my true feelings on the subject. But just shut up.

Since, to my knowledge, none of them read my blog, I can do it here.  I really only have a couple problems with the “moderator”. I think she is and has been a little frenetic in the way she approached having “socials.”  Her invitations began to take on the idea of when you went out, you were going to meet her. Leaving the “group” idea out. In other words, the socials became Stacey’s and not Crossport (the group.) I think in her mind though, she was simply going out and inviting anyone else to join her.

On a bigger stage, I think her biggest problems came with her attitude concerning transgender safety as a whole.  Since she hadn’t had much of a problem with going public with her transition, she figured society had changed and no one else should have a problem either. While times have changed, we all know they haven’t changed that much. I think she was ignoring the people in the group going through heart wrenching times with spouses and family. 

Finally, I think her total willingness to to throw caution to the wind and give out her personal phone number to anyone who wanted it was ill advised. 

Going full circle back back to Halloween, Liz and I actually went to two themed events, so life was good. My costume was simple, I dressed as a witch. Complete with long flowing skirt and spider accessorized witches hat. My goal was simple, to be viewed as a woman dressed up in a simple costume. 

Plus the actual Halloween evening was so nasty weather wise, there weren’t even very many Trick or Treaters. 

I do hope where ever you are, you accomplished all your Halloween dreams!