It’s a Process

I love it on the days I don’t have to write a Cyrsti’s Condo post. On occasion it is so difficult to write a daily blog! 

Connie

Thanks to Connie, we all can enjoy a great post today:

“Transition is a process. The reason I had to engage in the process was that I had gotten to the point where I felt I was a fake, no matter what gender I was showing. Whether I was really an impostor or not could be debated, but I still felt that way when I would jump, back and forth, between being seen as a man or a woman. Ultimately, I chose to be seen as a feminine being who possessed some masculine traits, rather than what I had been fighting most of my life – being the man who was hiding feminine traits behind a more-macho facade. I don’t think I made for a terrible man, but I never could see myself as living up to expectations of what a proper man should be.

There’s a difference between being a gentleman and being a gentle man. I was always happy to be seen as a gentleman, as even the most manly of men could be one. I was never happy when I thought people were perceiving me to be a gentle man, however, as I felt weakened by it. Had I really been secure in my manhood, though, I don’t know that I would have felt that way. My gentleness has always been rooted in my femininity, so I was never going to feel secure about anything as long as I was seen as a man.

Living as a woman for the past few years has finally brought peace, and I am happy to be seen as a woman who possesses some masculine traits. While being seeing seen as a gentle man was disturbing to me, being seen as a strong and capable woman delights me. The advantages that came with my male privilege in the past have helped me to be who I am. The difference, though, is that my transition has caused me to use a different filter – a feminine one. The intuition was always there, but I had been using the wrong filter. Sifting through everything with the proper filter has been my transition, and seeing what comes out the other side is just as it should be (even if I must continue to run much of it back through regularly).”

See, I told you it was a great post!

“Book Em” Cyrsti

I have finally decided to start on my second book.My first E-published book is now out of “print” so it is time to attempt a bigger better one.

Of course the Cyrsti’s Condo blog is always a good place to start, since over the years I have accumulated over 5500 posts. Plus I have chapters I already attempted for book number two. So, my problem becomes having all these loosely connected thoughts floating around. I even have about ten ideas I have been collecting on my phone in a memo app I have. 

What’s a girl to do? This time I am using a loose leaf notebook to compile my ideas. For example, my initial chapter will include a glossary of terms plus a short bio. It amazes me how many more terms I have had to add since the first book was started nearly seven years ago. 

Initially, as I move along I am planning to insert new ideas into the binder under headings I think they belong under. Another example would be the chapter I am building under the pain of being mis-gendered and rest room usage. Both carry bad consequences. As I write more about them, now I can insert the extra content into the proper place in the binder and edit it all when I get ready to finish. 

The average book (according to Google) contains between 60,000 and 100,000 words depending on the genre. I’m writing a non fiction book so I have found most sources say the same thing.  lo short,  I am aiming to write at least 75,000 words. 

You may ask what will make my book different? For one I am steering clear of supposedly scholarly ideas on the subject of being transgender. Zeroing instead on the life aspects of our culture. In other words, what I try to go in the blog. 

There are several self publishing companies I am in contact with, plus I am fortunate in that my partner Liz is a book editor of sorts. Having her edit my book would save at least nine hundred dollars. 

My problems are staying organized and finishing the project. This time I want a paper copy of my book which I know will cost quite a bit. So along the way, I have to save up the money to do it too. 

I will keep you all posted.

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.

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

“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!

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!

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.

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!