“Hair” and Gone

My final visit to my “magician” has come and gone. As I previously wrote about here in Cyrsti’s Condo, I am going to have to find another hair dresser to go to. Sadly my regular stylist retired. I found out during my final appointment she is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Which causes pain in the hands. 

As we said our goodbyes, I almost teared up (damn hormones). As you may recall, she, my stylist, is the one with a transgender son. As always, she worked her magic with my hair and I went upon my way.

My hair grows relatively fast, so I will be on the outlook for another stylist. 

Now, onto another topic. fellow Blogger Mandy Sherman  wrote in with a comment about my trip to the auto repair shop: 

“Good for you about going to the shop en femme. My mechanics know me, so doing that wouldn’t work well…although I go in capris, a blouse, and flats when the weather is warm. Such fun!” 

Thanks Mandy! I thought it was a good time to explain a couple things about me for any of you new comers to the blog. First and foremost, I am a full time transgender woman. Using hormone replacement therapy very much blocked any return to being a male I ever had. These days, I would have to find a way to bind my breasts and tie my hair back to minimally even look male at all. The best I can hope for is to be androgynous…if I ever tried. 

I am fortunate though, because I never run into anyone I knew before my Mtf gender transition. They have to accept me for what I am. 

I like to say, I am a little slow…but not stupid. I knew totally when I entered into the feminine world, all of it wouldn’t be a great time. That is why I heard so many times from my cis women friends when I transitioned, welcome to our world. 

As I sum this up, I need to say, I would never give up anything I have earned crossing the gender divide. 

To quote another familiar phrase, “What a long, strange trip it has been.” And let me add, a wonderful one too!

Too Much Wasted Stress

Well. my trip to the auto store to get the oil changed turned out to be very uneventful.  In fact the guy at the counter barely looked at me as he made small chat about the vastly newer car I brought in to replace one of our ancient ones. I thought at the time he was somehow afraid to look at me but as the afternoon progressed, no one else paid me much attention either. It was highly satisfying just to blend into society and not be outwardly read as a transgender woman.

Last night I continued my string of good luck by going to one of the socials put on by my cross dresser – transgender support group. Anymore it is fun for me to just sit back and watch some of the more flamboyant cross dressers out themselves. However, it’s a very inclusive group anymore since sitting close to me were two acquaintances who are scheduled to go under the surgeons knife in the upcoming month by undergoing genital realignment surgery. Both have a lot more courage than I have! Not so long ago, we had a person close to the group pass away from complications after her surgery. 

Onto another topic. This afternoon is the final appointment with my hair dresser I love so much. It seems her husband is getting another job and they are moving out of town. 

I have found the older I get, change is harder to accept. Now, in the not so distant future, I will have to find another hair dresser. 

All in all, if that is all I have to whine about, life is good.    

TDOR Revisited

As predicted, last night’s Transgender Day of Remembrance here in Cincinnati was a somber quality event. The speakers did a very good job of relating their personal trans experiences growing up. All five speakers were of color which represented the great majority of slain transgender people so far in 2019.

Over 200 people attended. 

The goal for next year of course is not to have to have a TDOR at all. Maybe all these senseless crimes against our community will end. 

Trans of a Certain Age

If you have been following my three part series about my life lived mostly in the gender closet, perhaps you saw a glimpse of your life too. 

Connie did, and here is her comment. *Please note we share several similar experiences because of our age.

“For those of us trans women of a certain age, there was no way to know anything, other than some confused notion that being a boy for us seemed to be different than it was for the other boys. Whatever might have been drawing us toward being the other gender (there were only two back then, you know), did not seem to be enough for us to be like the girls, either. Not only was the knowledge and language yet to be formulated by the professionals, let alone society in general, our young minds had no means with which to express ourselves, either.

I must have been about three when I felt the need to express my feminine side. While my mother was busy doing something in the living room, I went into her bedroom and climbed onto the bench in front of her Art Deco vanity. The low counter top and mirror were easily accessible for even a child of my size, and, after clipping on a pair of shiny earrings and applying a not-inside-the-lines coat of lipstick, I remember admiring myself in the mirror. I was so happy with myself that I just had to share it with my mom. I can still taste the soap and feel the harshness of the washcloth on my face as she admonished me for doing something boys just are not to do.

Knowing there is something different about oneself certainly is not a choice. Being ashamed of being different could be a choice, but, like with many things in childhood, the choice is often made by adults who place it upon the child. For decades thereafter, any conscious effort I made to express my feminine-self was a choice to do the wrong thing – or so I was made to think of it. It was also a choice I made to suppress my feminine-self for many years, and another choice to finally”give in” to it again. It wasn’t until I had the revelation that my choices were all about what I was doing, and not who I was, that I found a peace within myself. I then made one more choice, that being to transition, because I really had no choice at that point.

I now turn around that question of when I knew, when asked by a cis person. Their answer is always that they always did, or that they never even had to think about it. Then I tell them that I was always who I was, as well, but I was so painfully aware and have had to think about it almost every day of my life. I’m still waiting for that day when I don’t think about my gender identity, but it’s so much easier to think about it, even dismiss it most times when I do, because I made that choice to accept myself as the woman I was born to be (and to live it, as well).”

Thanks Connie for yet another thoughtful heart-felt comment!

Are you Man Enough

Part three of my transgender coming of age post revolves around the toughest part of my life.

Backtracking just a bit, to the point when I discovered there were more than just one type of cross dresser. It was the most enlightening point when I went to my first “mixers.” As I wrote before there were everybody from macho crossdressers to wonderfully feminine creatures. Of course, cliques were formed in the overall group. Basically, the more feminine group went out and partied after the meeting while the others stayed in the hotel. 

Very quickly I determined I was going to tag along with the group which went out and partied. Ironically I didn’t quite fit in with most of them either.  They were basically the “mean girls” of the group. So I did my best to look like them without acting like them. My biggest moment came the night about four of us went to a late night tavern and to the surprise of everyone a guy tried to pick me up and not them. 

While all of this was exciting, it tended to make my life so much worse on a day to day basis. It was difficult to wait until the next experience. I began to wonder if I could exist full time as a transgender woman. Plus, what really happened was I took all of my frustrations out on my wife.

She was supportive of me being a cross dresser to a point. But drew the line when I went too far. Tremendous battles followed. Both of us valued the relationship too much to give it up without a fight. 

One of the biggest fights came after the time I was mistaken for a cis woman when I went to a mixer in New York. After the fight, my wife came up with one of the most profound statements of my life:

“Why don’t you be man enough to be a woman.”  Naturally, I was floored. She had built up to the moment by telling me several times I would “make” a terrible woman. It took me years to understand she was right. On some occasions I could approximate what a woman looked like but was far removed from understanding what being feminine was all about. 

After all, females are born but women are a learned societal deal. 

What happened next was the gender dysphoria pressure was increasing so much I started to go out beyond the agreed to parameters of our relationship. I was allowed three days a week to go out as a girl. When my wife got a job which included working some nights…I was out the door close to the time that she was. So, on certain weeks (depending on my schedule) I could be out five days out of seven for a few hours a day. 

Again, all this did was increase the internal pressure on me. Finally to the point when I took a whole bottle of pills one night. Obviously, they didn’t kill me, so I decided on taking a different approach. I grew a beard. 

Included is the hated “before” transition picture.

I was very unhappy and it was about this time several personal disasters occurred for me. I lost three very close personal friends in a two year period before the biggest shock of all. My wife died unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack. 

I was lost. But from all the turmoil gradually came the idea I was free to be the real me. I was under Veteran’s Administration health care and it was about that time the VA announced it would cover hormone replacement therapy. Unbelievably, all the doors seemed to open for me. I was even old enough to semi retire and not have to find a job I had to transition on. 

My moral to the story is a life can change in an instant. I am a prime example.  

Welcome to Hell

As I continue my Cyrsti’s Condo post from yesterday, the best place to pick up the story is when I was honorably discharged from the Army. All of the sudden I had this incredible sense of freedom. 

As in all freedom’s though, this one carried a price. It all started with the naive notion I could continue to come out to others as a transvestite (the common term for a cross dresser) in the mid 1970’s. As I have written about several times, I was soundly rejected by my Mom and from there mostly headed back into my closet. 

By “mostly” I meant, only my wife really knew anything about my cross dressing desires except for a few Halloween adventures when perhaps I looked a little too accomplished as a woman in front of a few of my friends. Amazingly though my normal macho exterior I worked so hard for carried the day.

As you can probably guess, the yearly Halloween adventure and dressing up at home behind closed doors wasn’t nearly enough. The formula was fairly simple. The more I cross dressed the better I became at it and then I felt more and more natural which led to more gender confusion. 

Virginia Prince 1940

About that time I learned of Virginia Prince and her Transvestia Magazine. I quickly learned I was not alone and I felt it was time to meet others like me. I also found there were mixers going on within driving distance of me. 

As I attended the mixers, I learned quickly there were layers of different people. All the way from the cross dressers who were desperately trying to hold on to their masculinity by smoking big cigars in drag all the way to impossibly feminine figures.  This created yet another quandary for me. Where did I fit in? 

I was far removed from most of the macho cross dressers but was curiously attracted to the fabulous feminine creatures. Of course at that time (and in many instances still do) I ended up in a middle niche I carved out for myself. 

The problem this all created for me was it caused me more extreme gender dysphoria pressure. My answer was increasing my alcohol consumption, getting a divorce, losing a business and moving from Ohio to the New York City area. In other words, I was out of control…sort of. Out of the chaos came another marriage to a woman who knew of my cross dressing desires and who I was destined to be married to for twenty five years. She passed away quite unexpectedly from a heart attack at the age of 50. 

The problem with all of this was, slowly I was coming to grips with the fact I was probably more of a new term I was learning more about. Could it be I was transgender?  

Being transgender meant all kinds of potential problems and changes. 

The pressure became so intense it led me to try to commit suicide.

More on that in my next post.

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!