Sunshine Day

Pre Weight loss photo. Credit Cyrsti Hart

Sunday turned out to be a wonderful day for several reasons. 

First of all, it was another beautiful autumn day with highs in the mid 70’s (F) 

Also, for some unknown reason, Liz’s 23 year old son invited us out to lunch. It was one of those days when my gender dysphoric self gave me a break and I thought my feminine self was able to shine through. Ironically, even my face is thinning out again, which accentuates my cheek bones. Other than that, I chose a nice pair of leggings and lightweight lacy top. I even got real fancy and wore a pair of earrings which I try to do on occasion to insure the holes in my ears don’t grow shut. (They haven’t). All in all, I felt good which always is the number one accessory a transgender woman can have. 

Once we arrived at the restaurant we had gone to for years, we found out they were closing early due to staffing issues so we had to hurry our lunch. It vaguely occurred to me to go somewhere else but I didn’t say anything and we stayed. Ultimately we ended up taking most of our food to go. The disappointment came when there was very little public to see or to be seen.  Even though all my attention to detail with my appearance seemingly was wasted, the whole experience was good for my soul.  

Also yesterday another rarity happened.  The Cincinnati NFL football team went to their arch-rival Pittsburgh Steeler homefield and won for the first in like fifteen years. So life was good again.

With my birthday coming up in the not so distant future, I should be able to talk Liz into a special night or two.

Transgender Ally’s

Saturday was National Daughters’ Day. Along the way here in Cyrsti’s Condo, I have not been shy writing about my daughters acceptance of her transgender parent. 

I was fortunate when not only did my daughter accept me, she wanted to help me. On occasion she tried to go too far. She was going to help me with my wardrobe and appearance. As I recently wrote about, she gifted me an appointment to her decidedly upscale hair salon. As I said before she came with me and added another layer to me being equally excited and terrified. I distinctly remember the second time I went back for a cut and color and suffered the “sticker shock” of being presented a bill for 175 dollars, not including tip. Due to financial considerations, it was my last visit there! Plus, I moved away. 

Of course my most influential dealing with allies came when I started to actually present my feminine self to the world. I made a couple of cis woman friends through my dealings at a local sports bar I went to and met my current partner Liz on an on line dating site. Liz essentially became my most influential ally when she told me to live totally as a transgender woman because she had always seen me as a woman. 

Over the years though, not unlike almost everything else in the transgender world, allies have come under scrutiny. It’s become more difficult for potential trans allies to comprehend the intricacies of pronoun usage as an example. Plus just imagine if you were on the outside looking in and trying to understand the always evolving alphabet in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Then again, what if your child is trying to tell you they are gender fluid? 

Somewhere along the way I think we have lost some of our perspective on what an ally actually is. As in everything else in our world, being an ally evolves too.

In the meantime, I love my daughter Andrea and my partner Liz very much! 
  

It’s a Material World

And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don’t all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren’t reading this at all. 

Picture after first hair appointment
Credit: Cyrsti Hart

Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.

Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women. 

All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the “gauntlet” of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least. 

I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it’s stand and brush it out. 

Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.

I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way.
  

We Got Mail

 The first comes from “Georgette” and mentions coming out in the pre internet Dark Ages:

“Ah, The coming out in the “Dark Ages”,

Yes it was difficult but hasn’t it always been difficult now and back then,

For me enlisting in the Navy during the Viet Nam era really formed my lifetime career in electronics/computers, And because of my outing during that time it set into the motion of what/where/when I needed to do after the Navy,

I have some now call me brave and a pioneer of sorts, But really it was a do or die, If it didn’t all work out I had no “Plan B”, Not sure what would happen, One thing that it did for/to me was it made me grow a hard exterior emotionally, Oh sure all the pointing/ whispering/laughing at me hurt inside but I was determined because I saw a future where I could be the real me,

These are my only help for all the newer/younger ones now, You can live a happier life and hopefully a longer one as yourself,”

Yes it has always been difficult! Thanks for the comment!

Now on to Connie who commented on the “History” post: “

I can relate, except that I quite enjoyed being a defensive end. Taking on the block of a fullback or pulling guard on a sweep play, and then forcing the running back to go inside – only to be tackled by a linebacker or cornerback – was analogous to my life. It was a struggle, and took all my energy to deal with it, but nobody really noticed my efforts because the glory went to someone else. I never minded, though, because avoiding the spotlight was safe. Still, I could take quiet satisfaction in knowing I’d done a good job.

 Besides, it takes a lot of discipline and toughness to hold one’s ground like that, and the physicality of it all helped me to take out my frustrations in an acceptable manner. 

As far as the cheerleaders go, I remember them teasing me from the sidelines that the blackout under my eyes looked like my mascara was running. Little did they know that there were times, after a game, when I went home and applied my mascara flawlessly. ;-)”

Thanks Connie!

History

Pre Covid Picture. Credit Cyrsti Hart

Many transgender women and men resent their restrictive upbringing not living as their authentic selves. I prefer to think of it as far as I am concerned as the days of cross dressing as a guy. Even though for the most part I was successful, all too often, the whole effort was so very stressful. The entire time I had to hide my resentment. Back in those days (the 50’s and 60’s) there was simply no one to reach out to.

These days of course are different except for the fact some of the young transgender population don’t understand how a seemingly increase in older trans women and men coming out somehow is bogus. They don’t realize how difficult it was to come out in the “dark ages” of being transgender.

Then there is the
effect of testosterone poisoning. The infamous result of puberty often is too much for many of us to overcome. No matter how any hormones you take, there is nothing you can do about your size or bone structure.  On the positive side, many of us learn to dress ourselves to still accentuate the positive and survive the feminine world. 


One idea to look back on your male history is to look at what he did do for you. For some of us, he kept us safe from the bullies. He acted the hated macho role well and did enough to get by. He was able to somehow internalize the confusing feminine feelings. He didn’t want to be a defensive end on the football team. He wanted to be a cheerleader. 

For better or for worse, my history is one of survival. I went to proms and dated when I had to all the way to getting married and having a daughter. I even was forced into the military through the Vietnam draft so I could add it to my “male resume”‘  

Being a historian myself, I have embraced the positive aspects of  being forced to live a period of my life in a foreign gender. Through it all, I learned what it is to live both sides of the gender fence. 

History now tells me it is as difficult as it sounds.

Stealth versus Invisibility

 I have re-written this post several times as I try to include all of you who are still living in your closets. Finally, I decided to go ahead and publish it because hopefully there will come a day when you too can live freely as your authentic selves. Now, here is the post:

I used to resent quite a few of the transgender women I knew who underwent gender realignment surgery then promptly went stealth. By “stealth” I mean  they went away to simply live their lives away from the remainder of the transgender community. Before you say the often irritated and jealous transgender community…I agree. In fact,  in many ways, I don’t blame them. 

Even so, to a large degree, there were very few trans women and men to follow.. No one to tell us it was perfectly OK to feel and act the way we do.  

Over the years, I have battled the urge to go stealth even though for the most part it has been available to me. Much of being able to go stealth has much to do  with my partner Liz as it does with me and any so called passing ability. Since I so rarely go anywhere without her, I am so very used to letting her lead the way with calling me the proper pronouns. 

Sometimes I wonder if being too invisible as a transgender woman once again is letting the community as a whole down. Or what the subject even means to the average transgender person just trying to get by.  

As I try my best not to be too in depth about the topic at hand, recently I had a chance to unfortunately witness yet another ugly episode of transgender infighting. To make a long story short, in the transgender – cross dresser support group I am in (or used to be), a disturbance erupted between two members basically concerning who was more trans than the other. 

Once again it seemed to me, the more things change over the years, the more they stay the same. I mean really, what does it mean if a person is more trans than another.

Maybe on the other hand, as a community we should protect the out and proud leaders we have gained such as Laverne Cox.   

The more out and proud trans people we have, the more chance we can defeat the evils of the stealth and the invisibility culture.  

Another Transgender First

Vogue’s September issue is making history.

The US magazine chose eight models for the cover of the most anticipated issue of the year — including Ariel Nicholson, the glossy’s first openly transgender cover star.

The 20-year-old model posed alongside Anok Yai, Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, Kaia Gerber, Yumi Nu, Lourdes “Lola” Leon and Sherry Shi.

Shot in Vogue’s World Trade Center office, the diverse array of models were selected to represent “Generation America” on the historic cover, ahead of September’s America-themed Met Gala.

Ariel Nicholson cheers along with the other catwalkers in the cover shot, wearing a bright green Christopher John Rogers sweater and matching polka-dot skirt by the same designer.

Life

Looking ahead to the week I have coming up,  I began to think of my life as a whole. As I have mentioned before, I have two specifically female related medical procedures coming up. A mammogram and a bone density scan. Hopefully, I will have no issues. If I do with my breasts, I am sure my days of dealing with hormone replacement therapy are over.

But when you come right down to it, it’s all part of life. Since I have nearly reached seventy two years of age, it is easily to realize life is but a circle. For all the lows, there are highs. 

Some would argue transgender women and men add a unique struggle to their lives. Of course I am biased and would totally agree. Crossing the gender barrier is brutal for the greatest majority of transgender people. It’s not beyond life to throw you a curve ball. You have to start all over with a new life without your former family or even job.

It’s no wonder I receive so many comments praising me on my “bravery”. When I wasn’t brave at all, I was just doing what I had to do to survive my life after a suicide attempt. I will say though, life became much easier after I managed to match my external cross dressing desires with my internal feminine being. It turned out all those years of thinking I was a guy cross dressing as a woman, the opposite was true. I was a woman cross dressing as a man. My only regret was it took me so long to accept the truth.

As I enter the twi-light of my life, I know I am blessed to have had a couple women along the way who guided my life. Especially my second wife who once told me to “Be man enough to be a woman.” I wish I had been profound enough to say it as I was busily trying to destroy our relationship. Then there was my partner Liz who finally kicked me out of my closet.

Of course, one of the less profound things we humans do…is die. 

I just hope the funeral directors get my pronouns correct.

The Trans “It” Girl

Muse to pop art designer Stephen Sprouse, blonde beauty Teri Toye was the center of attention in New York’s ‘80s nightclub scene. A certified It girl, she stumbled upon a career in modeling by accident after befriending Sprouse and walking in his punk fashion shows. 

She signed with Click Models and walked for designers such as Chanel, Thierry Mugler, and Jean Paul Gaultier. In 1987, Toye disappeared from the New York modeling scene, only to resurface again in 2009 for the launch of Sprouse’s book. 

Nonetheless, she was a force to be reckoned with and made waves for transgender models to come.