Fellow Trans Vet

 Georgette, a fellow “more mature” transgender woman sent this comment in from the “Medium” writing format.:

“I read most all of these Late in Life Transition stories, Not for any real knowledge, But to get some perspective of what took so many years for so many to finally make the jump Gender Wise,

I am one of the few that made that jump over 45+ years ago, Like so many others during my youth in the 50s-60s I couldn’t understand what was “wrong” with me,

I was accidentally outed when in the US Navy (69-74) around 72/73, I was sure my life was ended but the Navy surprised me and was not discharged,

Because of that I had to find out all I could at the time, TG was not in much use yet, TS and “Gender Identity Disorder” were just starting to be understood more,

The result was from 74-77 I quickly made all the Transition happen with the Final SRS in 77, And lived with my partner (Also Post TS) till she died in 2014,

Since coming back out to a much changed LGBT+ world, I have met SO many (Way too many) late bloomers,

Much of what I have heard from them is “If I had known back then what is known now life would have different”,

I have a hard time with relating to most all of the current TG/TS people that I meet,

I will read some more on your travels in all this.”

Thanks for the comment! I was in the Army from 1972-1975.

Calling all Doctors

Seemingly this week, all my doctors have ganged up on me. 

Monday I actually had to go to an in person appointment with the person who is called my primary provider in the Veterans Administration. Similar to a civilian’s family doctor. Our visit was a fun filled half hour as she went over my blood work, examined me and set up two future feminine related exams. The first is my yearly mammogram which I don’t particularly like but I consider a rite of passage. The second turned out to be a bone density scan. Bless her heart, my primary said all women my age should have one. Ironically both have been scheduled within days of each other in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday was my video visit with my therapist. This session seemed to go a little better overall but I can’t truthfully say I went into any very deep issues. I’m working on bringing more up to her but it is difficult for a person like me. 

Also yesterday was one non doctor related meeting, a Dayton Ohio Elderly Rainbow Alliance Board Meeting. It was very short as there was little  to go over. However coming up in September there is a presentation coming up down here in Cincinnati which I am going to volunteer to help with. 

Today is my video appointment with my new hematologist. It should be interesting to see her ideas on my iron levels. I have a tendency to run higher levels of iron which can hurt me. If the levels are too high, I have to have a phlebotomy (blood draw) to bring it down. The results of my latest labs were within range so I expect the appointment to go well.

Also today, sometime we have to squeeze in an appointment to the grocery store. 

All of this leads me back to the idea I had when I first came out as a transgender woman. How would life be once I couldn’t go back to hiding in a man’s world. Definitely material for another blog post. 
 

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. 

Naked Therapy?

Yesterday was time for my bi-weekly appointment with my long time therapist from the Veterans Administration. 

Football is getting closer! Go Buckeyes!

The session started with the usual questions. How is everything going and have I had any thoughts of harming myself. I answered truthfully. Everything is moving along fine and no I haven’t had any thoughts of self harm since the last time we talked. 

Since it was a video appointment I did do my beauty routine, pulled my hair back and was ready. I chose a short sleeved tank top which happened to be a beige patterned fabric. I guess on my old lap top camera it looked as if I wasn’t wearing anything at all because not too far into the session, she asked was I wearing any clothes? 

After the laughter died down, I assured her it was warm in our house but not that warm. 

We finished the session with me telling her maybe naked therapy was the wave of the future. She said I would be surprised all the things she sees since the VA started video visits.

Actually, from my experiences when I used to show up in person for my appointments, nothing would surprise me.

Transgender Update

Michelle sent in an update on the recent announcement by the Veterans Administration (VA) approving gender realignment surgeries:

” Here’s un update on the VA. I talked to several friends that work for the VA and help run clinics for trans people. One stated that it is in the rules and regulations that full trans care has been approved but will take time to get it written into the operating procedures. Apparently, several of the clinics here in Florida already have the personnel that specialize in trans care but the problem is that no formal trans exclusive clinics are set up. My friends say that it may take up to a year to get everything fully established. Here’s hoping it won’t take that long, but then again it’s the government.”

Thanks for the update!

As I have written before, a few of my dealings with the VA in the past have resulted in me being referred to an outside provider.  Which leads me to this point, where you are will probably dictate how fast the VA can react to this new ruling. 

For example, I know of two experienced hospitals here in Ohio which do SRS. Perhaps it would be easier for the VA to refer cases to them. 

We shall see. As you said Michelle, it’s the government. Personally,  as far as I am concerned, I am fortunate in that I don’t desire any radical surgeries to reaffirm my femininity.

Clutter

 I attended a rather lengthy webinar yesterday designed to help care givers deal with elderly parents or patients. Predictably, no mention was made concerning LGBTQ+ individuals. I did have a question in to be answered by email at a later date. We will see if the moderator ever answers me.  I doubt it but at the least I got my point across. At any rate, the whole adventure used all my battery power on my laptop along with the usual allotted time I use  to write a blog post.

Then today, I filled out a LGBTQ+ survey and filled out the on line vehicle license tags registration for our car. As always it took Ohio time to catch up and offer an on line service to residents of the state.

Speaking of Ohio, the Repugs in our legislature tried to pull a quick one and reintroduce a ban on transgender athletes in the state which was previously defeated. Fortunately it was defeated again and so far trans athletes in Ohio can compete.  As always, our transgender rights seem to be so fragile. 

The idea of fragile rights continues in this post as readers discuss the recent VA policy shift supporting gender realignment surgeries. First, Lisa P:

” It is good news, but we will see joy know that we have real progress when the next Republican Administration doesn’t dismantle the program. My advice to anyone who needs the help is to get it NOW, while the getting is good. Hopefully, this policy will remain in place, but one never knows.”

So true Lisa, thanks for the comment.

Then Michelle commented: 

“Remember that the article did state that the VA needs to find medical staff the can perform the procedures. Unfortunately, as with all government programs it will take some time to get it established. I’m with Lisa about if the republican party has anything to do with it, we will see that taken away. I’m also fully aware of the transphobe medical staff that the VA has down here in Florida.
As you said Cyrsti about having a hint of paranoia, I will be waiting to see what will happen. I hope to find out more this weekend when I meet with several members of the LGBTQ group that works in the VA.”

Hopefully this means if the VA can’t do the procedure themselves, they have to find someone to do it!

Please keep us posted! Also the person in the photo is Carla Lewis. I wore a similar shirt to a Columbus, Ohio Pride event several years ago. 

Big Changes?

 I recently received a comment from a fellow transgender veteran Michelle concerning the Veterans Administrations recent announcement they (the VA) would start supporting gender realignment surgeries.

I am a bit slow in sharing this as referenced in this post from the “Orlando Weekly”:

” During a Pride event in Orlando over the weekend, the head of the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced that VA hospitals would begin working on a program to provide gender-affirming surgeries to veterans.
Secretary Denis McDonough said he was starting a two-year-long process that would equip VA hospitals with the training to provide surgery to transgender veterans, calling the move “the right thing to do.”


Needless to say, this is exciting news for trans vets everywhere!


Thanks Michelle. 

Memorial Day

 Once again here in the United States, Memorial Day rolls around . Memorial Day is meant to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Most of you regulars know , I am a transgender veteran. A fortunate one in that I survived a very ugly, unpopular and destructive conflict known as the Vietnam War. I have friends who didn’t survive  or returned with psychical/mental scars which never healed. 

I always try to mention too, the inordinate amount of transgender veterans  who served in their closets while attempting to reclaim their masculine gender status. When I see the number of graves and crosses spotlighted in media news shows on Memorial Day, I wonder how many of them took their gender secrets with them to the grave. 

What really upsets me too are the number of people who see Memorial Day as just another day off to BBQ and not spend just a minute to remember those who served and lost their lives. 

Without them, we would all be lost.

The Needle or the Patch

Coming up on the nineteenth, I have my appointment with my endocrinologist. As I have written before, I am considering asking her about the possibility of changing my Estradiol delivery method from patches to injections. As with any other change, injections bring with them a whole other possibility of side effects. As a matter of fact, Michelle sent in this comment on the subject:

” You may want to check out this article:https://transcare.ucsf.edu/article/information-estrogen-hormone-therapy
The highlight paragraph is one that you mentioned:

Many trans women are interested in estrogen through injection. Estrogen injections tend to cause very high and fluctuating estrogen levels which can cause mood swings, weight gain, hot flashes, anxiety or migraines. Additionally, little is known about the effects of these high levels over the long term. If injections are used, it should be at a low dose and with an understanding that there may be uncomfortable side effects, and that switching off of injections to other forms may cause mood swings or hot flashes. Some trans women have encountered difficulties obtaining a consistent supply of injected estrogen due to ongoing problems with the supplier. Realistically, there is no evidence that injections lead to more rapid or a greater degree of feminization. In my practice, I generally avoid prescribing injections unless under very specific circumstances.”   

Thanks for the insight. Plus, as a matter of fact I did check out the article. So far, I have been lucky in being able to have a stable supply of patches through the VA and I have never had the problem of the patches not sticking. 

After talking the whole process over with my therapist this morning, the only benefit would be the possibility of quicker feminine development. So as it stands, I will probably just stay with the program I am on.

As soon as my partner Liz and I become fully vaccinated, I will be able to benefit from public feedback again. Which means so much.