Too Much?

It seems recently I have been overwhelmed by the possible amount of material I have received for my Cyrsti’s Condo blog. Believe me though, I am not complaining. Often I go weeks on end trying to come up with something to write about. Over the years I have somehow come up with over six thousand posts. Thanks to all of you such as Connie, Paula and Mandy who help out with content too. Then there is everyday life. 

For example, Thursday night Liz and I went to the Christmas party for transgender-cross dressers and their families. I had a very good time as most of the people around our table I had known for quite a while, Several were cross dressers from small towns in Indiana who were complaining how hard it was to remain in the closet where they live. On the other hand, we were able to sit close to the very accomplished 80 year old role model I have mentioned in the blog before. She has done an amazing job of being accepted in society as her true self. 

Liz did manage to take one selfie to share. I know it’s not the best quality but it is all I have.

Also on the plus side, Liz managed to win the “split the pot” lottery which everyone could pay to take a chance at. So we were able to recoup the forty dollar per ticket amount. 

This is just a small amount of items I want to share with you all and we will get to a couple new transgender women who are making a difference.

Plus, we have another couple of events coming up this weekend, one never knows what will happen to write about!

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.

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)

We Got Mail

I received two great comments about the Cyrsti’s Condo post yesterday which primarily revolved around accepting compliments and hair. The first came from Paula across the pond in the UK:

“I found that it was only when I abandoned the wigs that I began to truly be me, before that I was always playing a part, maybe it was two different parts, but still playing acting. When I could start wearing my own hair it became real!

I think the thing about compliments of common to a lot of Trans women; we were programmed like men, we were expected to give compliments not to receive them, it goes against all our conditioning to simply accept the compliment and say “Thank you”.

Excellent points Paula! As I wrote before, I was exceedingly bad at attempting to buy the right wigs. For the most part, I was either trying to go more blond or with more hair than I could pull off. 

Now, let’s check in with Connie:

“I was once told by another trans woman that I would never be able to transition successfully because I wear wigs – no better than a “professional cross dresser,” she said. Having a good head of hair is definitely a luxury for a trans woman, but it’s certainly not a necessity. I know that I am, at least, more of a lady than she is, and some people may be no better than a “professional bitch,” I suppose.
I receive compliments on my hair from time to time. Some may not know that I’m wearing a wig at all. A friend I’ve known for five years did not realize that I wore wigs until just a few weeks ago. She had invited me to spend a girls’ weekend with her at a nearby casino, and I must admit that I accepted the invitation with some trepidation. I was flattered that she felt accepting enough to be sharing a hotel room with me, a trans woman, not to mention that she also felt safe enough to be doing so. I wasn’t sure how I was going to conceal all of the causes of my dysphoria, including my bald head, and her touting the wonderful pool and spa that we could use did not help. I finally told her that I don’t swim because of my wig, and I don’t think she thought any less of me for wearing one.

It’s been years since anyone has seen my bald head. Even I will spend as little time as possible looking at it. If it’s not a wig on my head, there’s almost always something covering it – whether it’s a turbine or just a towel wrapped around it. I will sleep in a wig if there is a chance that someone may see me. I did it with my friend in the room, and I even left my eye makeup on for good measure. Everything else was covered up, too. ;-)”
Thanks Connie! I think Stana ofFemulate  blogging fame is another transgender woman  who does an excellent job with her hair and shows having your own hair is not a necessity for a successful Mtf transition. In fact it sounds like one of those “I’m more trans than you” statements. 

I’m sure too, since I have opted not to have any genital surgery some would think I am no better than a professional cross dresser too. Regardless, I have decided to do the very best I can! 
The picture above is one of me in one of the few wigs I bought I really liked.

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!

Going Out…to Be Alone

Every once in while, or especially after the transgender – cross dresser support group meetings I go to, I like to reflect back to the early days when I was exploring the feminine world. Overall I was trying to figure out when and if I could live full time as a transgender woman. 

Back in those days, for the most part I was having fun. These days I receive satisfaction from the rare days when I think I look my best. I know years ago when I went out, I liked to think I was going out to be alone. 

Let me explain. First of all, I was still grieving the passing of my wife and close friends. I was intensely lonely but was aware any or all of my forthcoming friendships would have to revolve around me as a different gender. Not an easy thing to do. 

Liz and I’s vacation picture from the “Royal Gorge” train in Colorado.

So I cross dressed all up and went to several of the sports bars I used to go to before as a guy. For the most part I was successful. For awhile I was able to spend an evening in my own little world, thinking no one would notice my secret. It worked when I let nobody in. 

As it turned out though, that didn’t work very long. I found several people who were attracted to me as a friend regardless of my secret. Essentially, they found a way into my solitary world. Ironically, the people most interested in me were all women and I quickly bonded with them. I did have a couple dates with guys which never seemed to work. 

Then I even went on several on line dating sites and found the person (Liz) I was destined to move in with and start a relationship which now is going strong at eight years.

Even at that point, I was still clutching at what remained of my guy self. He just didn’t want to let go. It took my partner Liz to kick me totally out of the closet. 

So now, I don’t have to worry about going out to be alone anymore. I am so fortunate. 

Cyrsti’s Condo Thought of the Day

“As I so often say, we are just like everybody else, some of us have faith, some don’t some of us are musicians some aren’t, some are tall some are short, we are everywhere and we are everybody. I recently looked at an old post of mine about yeast ~ I wrote about how yeast permeate every part of what ever it is added to, whether it’s beer or bread. In a way Trans people are like yeast, we permeate all of society ~ maybe it’s time society realized that we add something special, just like yeast, and celebrate us instead of trying to get rid of us ~ who wants an unleavened society?”

Paula Goodwin

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.