Up Close and Personal

 Roberta Close was the first transgender model to pose for Playboy Brazil, was voted β€œthe most beautiful model in Brazil,” and joined the ranks of β€˜90s supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista on the runway in 1991. 

She walked for designers such as Thierry Mugler, Guy Laroche, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and published an autobiography in 1998.

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.

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.

Transgender History

English model April Ashley is credited as the first successful transgender model. She was born in Liverpool, England in 1935 and underwent sex reassignment surgery at age 25, making her one of the first Brits to have the procedure.

After moving to London, she began booking gigs left and right with notable photographers. She also did runway and editorial work, appearing in high-profile magazines. After being outed by tabloids in 1961, her career was cut short. She has since been honored in an exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool and released an autobiography.

I Escaped

Summer Picture Credit Cyrsti’s Condo


 For some reason the heat and humidity all went down here in Southwestern Ohio yesterday, just in time for a shopping day out Liz and I had scheduled with a friend of ours who happens to be gay. Similar to Liz, he is heavily into the Wiccan and Pagan culture. 

When meeting someone new in person, my gender dysphoria always kicks in until I can look someone in the eye for a reaction. In yesterdays case, I saw the briefest realization (I thought) of my transgender status but no negative reactions. 

Ultimately there were two stores we were heading to. The first was staffed by two clerks who paid me no mind as I wandered aimlessly about. Finally I took a spare seat to save my back as I waited for the other two to shop. I was in the market for a pair of ear rings but the prices were too steep for me. The only point of interest for me was a mirror in front of the jewelry. I couldn’t resist and took a quick look at what I could see of my image. I was so excited to see a distinctly feminine figure looking back at me. Plus, I was wearing my form fitting ribbed tank top along with my flared distressed jeans. All of which gives me the image of having more pronounced hips than I have. 

Then again too, the diet is working. Over the past three plus weeks I have lost (or released as they said) nearly 14 pounds. The ego trip passed quickly and soon we were off to the second shop which turned out to be close to an hour away in crummy traffic.

In direct difference to the first shop, the second one was much more reasonably priced than the first and was operated by two gay men. One was very sociable and even welcomed us at the door. I purchased a couple of inexpensive rings as well as a crystal necklace. There were no mirrors to distract me and, as I said was welcomed warmly. 

All to often, the afternoon was over and even though I was hoping for a lunch stop. We decided to head on home and eat.   

What Have we Learned?

 As I made the final gender transition from male to female, hormone replacement therapy was one of the keys to living more comfortably as a transgender woman. I have mentioned many times the wondrous effects as my skin softened, my hair grew on my head (and stopped growing on my body) and my breasts grew.

None of that came even close to the largest changes I was destined to experience on the other side of the gender frontier as a transgender woman. 

As I learned to perfect my outward feminine appearance, my life began to change. Perhaps the first example I encountered was when my car broke down and I had to call a tow truck as well as deal with a well meaning sheriff. I found out very quickly I didn’t really know the best route home to my own house. Later that month was the first time I was actively shunned from a group of guys mansplaining to each other guy stuff. I knew then my life was changing forever and yet it felt natural. I should have been dealing with it for years.

I’m on the Bottom Left. My first Girl’s Night Out.

All along, before she passed away, my wife was telling me I didn’t really know what being a woman was all about. Until I seriously went down the path to learn, I found she was right.   

What else did I learn? Mainly how important communication is (or isn’t) is between the two main binary genders. I also learned how important it was to learn to understand the unspoken communication between women and of course how much effort should be put into blending. In other words, walking the walk and talking the talk. 

I don’t know if I couldn’t have accomplished this gender trip on my own. I was able to form close friendships with several cis-woman. Even though they didn’t outwardly teach me anything, I was observing and learning how they dealt with life.

Jumping genders is not for the faint of heart. It is a mostly error of trial and error until you get it right. Plus, I am not so sure I ever got it right. 

As an old transgender girlfriend told me years ago, I didn’t pass as a woman easily. I passed out of sheer effort.

Nearly daily I learn I still do.

Conquering Gender Dysphoria, A Life Story.

 As I was previously writing about, my post Army years became an alcoholic blur along with a mad dash to attempt to out run my gender issues. As my authentic feminine self continued to push for acceptance, my male self took the usual way out. Act as macho as I could and keep changing jobs and places to live. I was trying desperately to outrun the truth. Along the way, I lived in such diverse places as the metro NYC area all the way to rural Southeastern Ohio along the Ohio River and West Virginia. 

All in all I managed to be successful in my career as a restaurant manager and salvage my marriage with more than a couple close calls as I was not telling the truth concerning where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. It all started innocently enough when I started to volunteer to do the family grocery shopping. In fact, one of my best days occurred when a bagger in the grocery store was blatantly flirting with me.  It could have been because of the fashionable mini skirt I was wearing. By fashionable I mean many women during that era wore their mini with oversize sweaters and flats. However, the end result was just to embolden me do do more cross-dressed. 

Time moved on until I got caught by my wife and agreed to seek counseling from one of the only therapists who dealt with transvestites back in those days and she was far away in Columbus, Ohio. This was all before the transgender terminology or lifestyle became prevalent.

When the transgender terminology made it’s way to me, it didn’t take me long to suspect I indeed was trans. What took me longer was to do anything about it.

In the meantime, I was desperately still hanging on to the idea I could keep my feminine self in the closet. I ended up trying to live part time in both genders and it nearly killed me. After I failed active suicide attempt I shoved my girl self back into the closet for the final time. It wasn’t so long after I did it, my wife of 25 years passed away. Which opened the door for me to transition.

Even though this seems like a blur to me and it is impossible to write about all the learning experiences I went through as I decided to cross the gender frontier, it was actually thirty years of my life. I am counting post military until I started hormone replacement therapy. 

HRT was an entire other story. 

One final question, did I finally conquer my gender dysphoria? Probably not. I will probably die with it even though I have been fortunate enough to live fulltime as a transgender woman for nearly a decade now. 

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. 

Sign of the Times

 The post I was going to write today was in many ways a continuation of the post I wrote yesterday, plus a look into the near future. Tonight we were going to go to the transgender-cross dresser support group social at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. 

All of that was before Liz found out she was exposed to a person who was exposed to a positive covid person not long ago.

Of course that puts everything on hold until Liz gets her Covid test Sunday, which is the earliest she can do it. 

In the meantime, if you haven’t been vaccinated…do it!