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.

I “Doesn’t” Know It

From my Dating Days. Photo Credit Cyrsti Hart

The title above is a phrase from a former Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds baseball announcer, used when he didn’t know something. I borrowed it from him as I thought about today’s Cyrsti’s’ Condo post. My idea was to write about dating while transgender. 

Way back in the day in my earliest days of coming out of my closet into a feminine world, I had to decide who I was going to date since I had abruptly became single at the time and a widow. Very quickly I faced the differences between gender preference and sexual preference. At that time I had never even kissed another man. 

As it turned out, it would be a while longer before I did. I craved being with a man because it would validate my femininity in public but it seemed destiny  had another path charted for me as far as my sexuality was concerned. I did have a very few dates with men and a couple I enjoyed immensely when I sensed they were treating me as a woman. However those dates were few and far between.  

In the meantime, my contact with women continued. My first dinner out was with a friend who eventually came out as a trans man but was still undecided (?) when we went out. I hung out in lesbian bars and even left a mixed party I went to one night with a lesbian and went to an upscale club. Destiny has a funny way of hiding around corners when lifestyle changes are considered.

Through this all, I really had very little knowledge of how to date while transgender. In fact, I was still on the gender fence as far as which way I would go. I just knew my attraction to women had not changed during my transition. 

All of this leads me to my final attraction to and acceptance by a group of lesbians I met in a sports bar. Including my current partner of ten years Liz.

I have led a sheltered dating life. 

These days I see on social media many more alternatives to dating between various groups such as transgender women. Even now though I still see very few trans women with men. It seems to be the last frontier of dating. At times it puzzles me because transgender women are uniquely qualified to be with men. After all, we understand what men go through in life. 

As with so many other things in life, I know most men have a very fragile sexual ego. So I do know this one.

The “Flip” Side

The second part of my post I started recently which mentioned  being envious of missing the life I lived as a young boy who desperately wanted to be a girl.

All in all, my story isn’t much different from most of yours. Where we all differ is how far we went to conceal hiding our authentic selves in the closet.


During my youth in the 1950’s, information on any or all gender differences was out of reach to me. I felt all alone. I wanted a doll for Christmas, not the BB gun I was gifted  As it turned out, Christmas was just the beginning of my problems, Another example I remember like it was yesterday was when our family was on a vacation to Ontario Canada from Ohio. One day, as the trip was at it’s most boring we pulled up even and passed a car in which a young dark haired girl approximately my age was riding. Almost immediately I wanted so bad to be her. So badly I put my pillow over my face and pretended to go to sleep.

My desire to be a girl went far beyond going on vacation. During junior high school (7th thru 9th) grades where I went to school, I ended up setting close to the same girl in many classes and study halls. As I slowly began to develop a crush on her, I started to notice I was somehow different. I didn’t desire her sexually at all. I wanted to be her. So much so, I adopted her name when I hid behind my families’ back and dressed as a girl, 

Somehow I thought I would outgrow it, the ugly idea the whole idea was some sort of an evil phase. Still, I felt so alone in my cross dressing closet. 

Alone I would stay through high school until I finally shared my not so minor secret to the woman who was destined to be my first finance, In return for a couple nights of passion when she helped be to dress up she later was the person who rejected me when I was drafted and had to go in the Army, At the time the whole process was devastating to me but later turned out to be one of the best happenings of my life. 

Sure I had to put my feminine clothes away for my first two of three years in the military, ironically I was still in the Army when I came out to the first people in my life who accepted me. Including the woman who was to become the mother of my very accepting daughter. 

My life after the Army was an alcoholic blur for years until I slowly realized I was in reality a member of the new transgender group of people. More on that later. 

Therapy

Serious therapist listening to her talking patient

Since my fairly recent post concerning my therapist, I have received several comments, including a lengthy one from my partner Liz. Among others things, she was concerned with me wasting my time essentially hiding myself from my therapist. 

Through my WordPress platform I received this comment from GirlieBoy:  “I know you are not asking for advice, but if you can’t open up to your therapist perhaps you should find a different one or just stop going…that is the one place it should be safe to open up. If you aren’t getting that, at least you should talk about that.”

Thanks! Liz mentioned that also. After all these years, I think I owe it to my therapist to at least bring up the subject of my expectations for her input.

Another comment came from Connie: “Well, I happen to be so cheap, ehr, thrifty that I have been completely open with any therapist I’ve seen. I don’t like to pay for something I already know, and I want to give all the info I can about myself, so that the therapists can use their knowledge of how to make my life better. Of course, I’ve also had to educate them on what a trans person really is about most of the time. Unfortunately, I’ve had no luck with therapists making my life better – except for the one I saw for grievance counseling after my mom died my mom my mom’s insurance covered it). He was from The Bronx, and had been a standup comedian before going into Psychology. The one thing he said, in his New York accent, that summed it all up was, “Fuck ’em, if they can’t take a joke.” I followed that with, “You mean that life is too serious to be taken too seriously?” He didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted to make an appointment for another session. 🙂

Thanks Connie, unfortunately I seemingly have lost the idea of free VA therapy somehow not being as important. When in fact it is. I had several different therapists I had to pay for out of my pocket and I expected more. Truthfully I didn’t get more, I just didn’t know what to expect. 

Acceptance

“G” sent in a follow up comment to the Changing Gender Gears post:

“There’s nothing better than acceptance by cis women. I used to visit a shop in England run by two women who knew my story and were fine with it. They treated me as a woman from the get-go.. and passing through the glass wall that separates the sexes opened up the conversation to things that would never be discussed if I was a male. It was the best experience of my life. G”

Thanks for the comment! 

Definitely being accepted into the girl’s sandbox can provide a wonderful education. Good and bad. I have written many times how my acceptance by several cis women helped me over the rough spots as a novice transgender woman. 

Most importantly, I learned to communicate with other women on their level, which was a giant gender step. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the infamous “welcome to our world.” I never was able to explain I was always in their world but had no way to show it. 

Sure there were set backs along the way. Being stared at and ignored by some (men) and even being yelled at for using the restroom (women) nearly broke my heart on occasion. It never though, broke my will. I knew I had chosen the right path and had to stay on it. 

Finally, acceptance came my my. Some grudgingly, some not. It was so worth it when it did.

Demons into Angels

 “Back in the day” when I was strongly considering making the big jump and starting to live as my authentic feminine transgender self, I considered the whole process as sliding down a slippery slope. One day, I would just go too far, make the leap and put my male self into the closet. The more I explored the world as a transgender woman, the more I wanted to. 

Looking back at the whole process now, I have a tendency to .look at it as an interaction between my personal angels and demons. I suppose it all goes back to when I was growing up and I considered my transgender leanings as being demons. 

Of course, finally all of the “demon” thoughts began to change. Rightfully so, my mean old male self became the demon to kept me out of the world for all those years. As my feminine self took over, she certainly wasn’t an angel. She partied hard and for the most part had a good time. Perhaps she was making up for lost time. 

Each of us are individuals trying to make our own journeys as pleasant as possible. 

The quicker you are able to turn your male demons into female angels the better your life will be. Each of us has to seek out our own path to do it. 

Out…and About

As you can see by the selfie, Liz and I did make it out last night to enjoy eating at one of our favorite restaurants. 

The food was good and I was able to show off my quite expensive dental work.

Aside from the woman who sat us, our server was adequate but friendly and referred to us as “ladies.” 

Also from yesterday, I commented on the heat wave going on out West. I mentioned Connie who lives in Seattle. Since Seattle isn’t used to such intense heat, a large percentage of the population doesn’t have air conditioning. 

Does Connie? Let’s find out:

“Well, the thermometer on our deck is reading 110, and it’s only 3:00 pm! The composite decking may be influencing the thermometer to read higher than the actual temp, but it showed 98 when it was in the shade earlier. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not working outside today, although we’re one of the 67% of residences that does not have AC here in Seattle, so being inside is not so great, either. I discovered that I’ve collected seven electric fans over the years, though. I wish I had that many fans left for my musical career, and I know what may still remain is not very electric anymore. 🙂

The worst part of this heat is that I have to wear a wig! Of course, I could go without it, but I don’t think the skin on top of my head is my (as you put it) most valuable beauty commodity.”

Stay cool all. As you can see I have my mane of hair pulled back to stay cool.