Category Archives: Transgender Info

Hormone Therapy for Transgender

hormones

Hormone Therapy for Transgender   There is so much we could talk about hormones.  Almost all of us have thought about them, are using them, want them or have given them up.  We do what we need to in order to get our hands on them.  Some of us go to our endocrinologist, gender med doctor, family physician, healthcare provider, local clinic, cross the border to buy them, use herbals, creams and lotions.  Some of us get blood work done quarterly (I’m one) and review with the doctor or never mention it and monitor progress themselves.  We use pills, patches, shots, and topical applications.  It is a polarizing topic and one that will continue to be discussed as long as we are taking them.

Hormone Patch (234x250)

 

They are important to all of us   You may take a testosterone shot and someone else jabs herself with estrogen.  Every one of us is effected whether we use them or not.  My Trans-men friends love the feeling of strength and power they get from testosterone.  I love the calming effects of estrogen.  We both want and need to see the physical changes our respective hormones produce in us.  It’s important for us as we reveal who we truly are.

Spironolactone-Bottle-Sandoz

 Spironolactone   Equally import to us women is ‘Spiro’.  That wonder drug that blocks testosterone.  It helps to get, “more bang for the buck” as my gender med doctor told me and he was so right.  I see the effects of testosterone poisoning in so many young cisgender boys and men and I think what a pleasant world it would be without all of this hormone-soaked macho bravado.

How does it affect your thinking?   I was having a wonderful chat with my GF in New England, Melanie.  She asked some terrific questions.  I’m listing them here.

I would like to know when women go on estrogen does the way you think change? Do you have strange dreams? Do how you see other people change?

Great question   I want to open this up to all of us so you, too, can share your experiences and knowledge. I’ll start the conversation.

I would like to know when women go on estrogen does the way you think change? Speaking for myself, it does change the way I think.  I find I’m less aggressive, competitive and less likely to anger.  The world is a much happier place to me now and, I’ve been told, I am a much more likable person.  Those who knew me before I started hormones and Spiro tell me I’m so much nicer to be around.  My son’s mother, my ex-wife and my oldest friend told me when we were married, she always wondered what would make me happy.  She didn’t think it would be this, but she likes what she sees.

Do you have strange dreams?   I don’t know if I have any stranger dreams since I’ve been on hormones.  I’ve always had pretty strange dreams and that doesn’t seem to have stopped.

Do how you see other people change?   I will say yes, absolutely.  I no longer envy women like I did before and I’m not angry for being born in ‘that’ body.  I’ve gotten more accepting and I am trying to be a gentle, loving soul.  I credit hormones with giving me the physical and mental changes I needed.  Because of hormones my anger and frustration has gone away.  I’ve achieved acceptance from family, loved ones, friends and acquaintances.  I truly rejoice in seeing myself as I’ve always imagined.  How can we not see others differently when we look through new eyes?

Hormones   That’s our discussion for now.  Melanie, thanks for those questions.  You are the best.  You’ve got my $0.02, now let your thoughts and voices be heard.

wish i could be a woman too

All About Loneliness and Depression

wish I could be a woman too   Just last week I received a one-line e-mail, no subject, from an AOL account.  It simply said, “wish i could be a woman too”  This e-mail had an immediate impact and has followed me for days.  For many reasons, old and new, I empathize with this person.  Most of us can, because we’ve been there and this is or was us.  There came that moment for us when it all became too painful, too bewildering and too consuming that we all had to say or type or write the words or even scream them, “We are not the people we appear and we are prisoners in our own bodies and our hearts and souls are in pain”.

Loneliness   There are few soul pains as cruel as not wanting to be the gender you are, hating the body you see in the mirror and being unable or afraid to tell anyone.  The added sadness that you have lived with this secret for a year or decades.  The agony of seeing others who have successfully made the transition while you must hide your true self.  We’ve all been there.  We all reached that point where we had to tell someone.  We could no longer contain it and had to say, “wish i could be a woman too”

I am so happy she reached out   I am so glad this person wrote to me.  I responded, but have yet to hear back, and I may never, but for a brief moment, this person, one of our sisters, reached out and got a reply.  Maybe this was enough and she will go about her life. Maybe it is the start of her liberation and transition.  Everyone’s transition is different and perhaps hers is just coming out to herself and knowing who she really is inside.  Wherever her journey takes her, I wish her well.

Please reach out, we’re here  We need to remember when we had our, “wish i could be a woman too” moment.  This goes for ALL our sisters and brothers.  We also should rejoice, remember and thank those to whom we reached out.  At our low moments, we found someone to connect with.  I encourage all those out there, those who are looking to connect or those who are willing to speak with someone just finding their way, reach out. Please find each other.  There are many places out there where you can connect with someone, but if you are here and need to connect with someone, I’m available.  E-mail Cate.OMalley@MatureTransgender.com, I would love to hear from you.

Coming at you in 2016

Coming at you in 2016   Over the holidays, I was blessed with the opportunities to talk to a number of my friends, old and new.  Most are our sisters in the Trans* community, with a few cisgender friends thrown in for equal time.  I get so much from our conversations, e-mails and pizza-night chats.  I want to share their insights and experiences, pleasures and pet-peeves and what is decades and decade’s worth of knowledge.  I’ve learned so much from them and it’s too precious not to share.

Is it just gender stuff?   No.  We talk about everything from pedicures to wigs and everything in between.  A girl can only complain about Spanx so many times.  Clothing, makeup, wigs, shoes, travel, food, football, weather, camping, farm-life, herding cattle, cooking, sewing, hats, scarves and you name it.  It’s all shared lovingly and never a dull moment.

That includes you too   This sharing is open to everyone who reads this blog.  Those who have commented and especially our friends who have included their stories on the tab Your Page.  If you haven’t shared up to this point, this is a sincere request to join our conversation and let us hear from you and share your experiences.

How do I get in on this?   Easy.  Simply reply to this post.  If you like, share your story on the Your Page tab.  You can e-mail me directly at Cate.OMalley@MatureTransgender.com.  If you want to chat on the phone, drop me a line at my e-mail with your number and I’ll be really happy to talk to you.

Hurry up!   Don’t delay. We are eager to hear from you.

She’s the father of two

She’s the father of two   Recently, I was reading The Huffington Post, one of my favorite places on the web.  Along with the name of the author of an article, there is a one-or-two sentence biographic statement.  I saw the above headline regarding the author of the story I was reading and stopped short.  What a wonderful addition to this woman’s bio.  Being a parent is one of the really important things in life, if not the most important.  Being Trans* will never negate being a mother or a father.  It made me hope to see more and more references like this in the future.

Me too   Immediately after reading She’s the father of two, I said, “Me too!”  I have a son and a daughter and I’ve never thought of myself any other way then being their dad.  Being their dad is amazing and I can’t think of anything I’m more proud of or that I’d rather be.  I love Ben and Rachel and I love being their dad.

What should I call you?   When I came out to my son and daughter, they both asked, “What should I call you?”  My response was, “Call me dad, or whatever you are comfortable calling me.”  Regardless of how I present, my gender expression or how I define myself, it does not change the facts.  I’m a father.

Hi, I’m Cate O’Malley, Ben’s dad   This should be a simple introduction.  I’ve used it and it does tend to make the uninitiated a bit uncomfortable.  It’s a statement of fact, not a way for me to poke fun nor do I say it to get a rise out of someone.  I’m Ben’s dad.  It’s a simple, truthful statement.

Times are changing   If I’m a transwoman and the father of two, then there are transmen who are mothers.  There are agender people who are fathers and mothers.  It’s an undisputable fact.  Until there’s a different word, the person providing the eggs is the mother and the person providing the sperm is the father.  Until those designations change, and it seems unlikely, then I’m a father, and damn proud of it.

Too Many Definitions?

Too many definitions?   When I began to realize I was not your vanilla, white bread, peas in a pod kind of person growing up, I had very few choices in which to categorize myself.  The three big ones at the time were straight, gay and lesbian.  If there were more definitions then that, I didn’t know about it.  It was the early 60’s and we were in a simpler time and place.  In all honesty, I was too interested in girls in angora sweaters, beer and rock and roll be too worried about labels.  I knew I was different, but didn’t know what to call it, so I didn’t call it anything.  Please realize I grew up in a very small, Ohio farm community where the pigs outnumbered the people, smack dab in the middle of a rural-agrarian culture which valued the status quo and frowned up diversity.  There was no alphabet soup of gender identities, sexual orientations and personal expressions.  Oh, how its changed.  These days we need a two-volume reference guide just to keep up with all of the new categories/definitions/identities/whatever you want to call it.

How many gender identities do we need?   The cornerstone of social media, Facebook.com, where you can have thousands of friends without ever having to spend time with any of them in person, made a big splash last February 13, 2014, by adding fifty-six new gender options instead of the old fashioned male and female.  This way you wouldn’t be hemmed in by the old fashioned binary.  In order to keep you up to date, here they are:

Agender

Androgyne
Androgynous
Bigender
Cis
Cisgender
Cis Female
Cis Male
Cis Man
Cis Woman
Cisgender Female
Cisgender Male
Cisgender Man
Cisgender Woman
Female to Male
FTM
Gender Fluid
Gender Nonconforming
Gender Questioning
Gender Variant
Genderqueer
Intersex
Male to Female
MTF
Neither
Neutrois
Non-binary
Other
Pangender
Trans
Trans*
Trans Female
Trans* Female
Trans Male
Trans* Male
Trans Man
Trans* Man
Trans Person
Trans* Person
Trans Woman
Trans* Woman
Transfeminine
Transgender
Transgender Female
Transgender Male
Transgender Man
Transgender Person
Transgender Woman
Transmasculine
Transsexual
Transsexual Female
Transsexual Male
Transsexual Man
Transsexual Person
Transsexual Woman
Two-Spirit
If these don’t fit – Fill in the Blank

That’s not all folks!   Here again, as an old-timer, I remember when there was gay, straight and bisexual.  Early on, bisexual was considered by many as someone who hadn’t made up their mind yet.  We now know differently and embrace our bisexual brothers and sisters.  However, and you know there would be a however, those three didn’t provide an accurate definition.  More definitions were added and added and added.  Below you will find a list of terms I’ve compiled while surfing the World Wide Web.  Everyday there are more and more.  This is what I’ve got so far.

LGBPTTQQIIAA+: any combination of letters attempting to represent all the identities in the queer community, this near-exhaustive one (but not exhaustive) represents Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally
Agender: is a term which can be literally translated as ‘without gender’.  It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity.
Advocate: a person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a group
Ally: a straight person who supports queer people
Androgyny: (1) a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity; (2) occasionally used in place of “intersex” to describe a person with both female and male anatomy
Androsexual/Androphilic: attracted to males, men, and/or masculinity
Asexual: a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any group of people
Aromantic:  is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Aromantics do not lack emotional/personal connection, but simply have no instinctual need to develop connections of a romantic nature.  Aromantics can have needs for just as much empathetic support as romantics, but these needs can be fulfilled in a platonic way.
Bigender: a person who fluctuates between traditionally “woman” and “man” gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders (and sometimes a third gender)
Binary Gender: a traditional and outdated view of gender, limiting possibilities to “man” and “woman”
Binary Sex: a traditional and outdated view of sex, limiting possibilities to “female” or “male”
Biological sex: the physical anatomy and gendered hormones one is born with, generally described as male, female, or intersex, and often confused with gender
Bisexual: a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender; often confused for and used in place of “pansexual”
Cisgender: a description for a person whose gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex all align (e.g., man, masculine, and male)
Cis-man: a person who identifies as a man, presents himself masculinely, and has male biological sex, often referred to as simply “man”
Cis-woman: a person who identifies as a woman, presents herself femininely, and has female biological sex, often referred to as simply “woman”
Closeted: a person who is keeping their sexuality or gender identity a secret from many (or any) people, and has yet to “come out of the closet”
Coming Out: the process of revealing your sexuality or gender identity to individuals in your life; often incorrectly thought to be a one-time event, this is a lifelong and sometimes daily process; not to be confused with “outing”
Cross-dressing: wearing clothing that conflicts with the traditional gender expression of your sex and gender identity (e.g., a man wearing a dress) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification; often conflated with transsexuality
Demisexual: is someone who doesn’t typically feel sexual attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person. The bond may or may not be romantic in nature.
Demiromantic: is similar to a demisexual, the individual doesn’t feel romantic attraction “unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.”
Drag King: a person who consciously performs “masculinity,” usually in a show or theater setting, presenting an exaggerated form of masculine expression, often times done by a woman; often confused with “transsexual” or “transvestite”
Drag Queen: a person who consciously performs “femininity,” usually in a show or theater setting, presenting an exaggerated form of feminine expression, often times done by a man; often confused with “transsexual” or “transvestite”
Dyke: a derogatory slang term used for lesbian women; reclaimed by many lesbian women as a symbol of pride and used as an in-group term
Faggot: a derogatory slang term used for gay men; reclaimed by many gay men as a symbol of pride and used as an in-group term
Female: a person with a specific set of sexual anatomy (e.g.,  46,XX phenotype, vagina, ovaries, uterus, breasts, higher levels of estrogen, fine body hair) pursuant to this label
Fluid(ity): generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality, fluid(ity) describes an identity that is a fluctuating mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, gay and straight); not to be confused with “transitioning”
Fluid-sexuality: describes an identity that is a fluctuating mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, gay and straight); not to be confused with “transitioning”
FTM/MTF: a person who has undergone medical treatments to change their biological sex (Female To Male, or Male To Female), often times to align it with their gender identity; often confused with “trans-man”/”trans-woman”
Gay: a term used to describe a man who is attracted to men, but often used and embraced by women to describe their same-sex relationships as well
Gender Expression: the external display of gender, through a combination of dress, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally measured on a scale of masculinity and femininity
Gender-fluid: describes an identity that is a fluctuating mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, gay and straight); not to be confused with “transitioning”
Genderf*ck: Deliberately sending mixed messages about ones sex, usually through ones dress (e.g., wearing a skirt and a beard).
Gender Identity: the internal perception of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves
Genderless: a person who does not identify with any gender
Genderqueer: (1) a blanket term used to describe people whose gender falls outside of the gender binary; (2) a person who identifies as both a man and a woman, or as neither a man nor a woman; often used in exchange with “transgender”
Graysexual :defines the term as a magical place between asexual and someone who is sexual” and something more fluid between sexuality and asexuality.  Those who identify as graysexual might also identify as gay or straight or any other sexual identity inside or outside of the binary.
Gynesexual/Gynephilic: attracted to females, women, and/or femininity
Hermaphrodite: an outdated medical term used to describe someone who is intersex; not used today as it is considered to be medically stigmatizing, and also misleading as it means a person who is 100% male and female, a biological impossibility for humans
Heterosexism: behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people, reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more “right” than queerness, or ignores/doesn’t address queerness as existing
Heterosexual: a medical definition for a person who is attracted to someone with the other gender (or, literally, biological sex) than they have; often referred to as “straight”
Homophobia: fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, or discomfort with queer people, often focused inwardly as one begins to question their own sexuality
Homosexual: a medical definition for a person who is attracted to someone with the same gender (or, literally, biological sex) they have, this is considered an offensive/stigmatizing term by many members of the queer community; often used incorrectly in place of “lesbian” or “gay”
Hypersex(ual/-ity): a sexual attraction with intensity bordering on insatiability or addiction; recently dismissed as a non-medical condition by the American Psychiatric Association when it was proposed to be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5.
Intersex: a person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the labels of female or male (e.g., 47,XXY phenotype, uterus, and penis)
Lithromantic: described a person who experiences romantic love but does not want their feelings to be reciprocated.  A lithromantic person may or may not be ok with romantic relationships.
Male: a person with a specific set of sexual anatomy (e.g.,  46,XY phenotype, penis, testis, higher levels of testosterone, coarse body hair, facial hair) pursuant to this label
Non-gender: a person who can not be identified as male or female without chromosome testing, or a person whose chromosome test is inconclusive.
Outing [someone]: when someone reveals another person’s sexuality or gender identity to an individual or group, often without the person’s consent or approval; not to be confused with “coming out”
Pansexual: a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions
Polysexual: similar to pansexual, may be attracted to some gender variant people but not have the capability or desire to be with some others.
Panromantic :is romantically — but not sexually — attracted to others regardless of sex or gender.
Queer: (1) historically, this was a derogatory slang term used to identify LGBTQ+ people; (2) a term that has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality “norms”
Queerplatonic Relationships: are not romantic in nature but they involve very close emotional connections that are often deeper or more intense than what is traditionally considered a friendship.
Questioning: the process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation, investigating influences that may come from their family, religious upbringing, and internal motivations
Same Gender Loving (SGL): a phrase coined by the African American/Black queer communities used as an alternative for “gay” and “lesbian” by people who may see those as terms of the White queer community
Sexual Orientation: the type of sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to; often mistakenly referred to as “sexual preference”
Sexual Preference: (1) generally when this term is used, it is being mistakenly interchanged with “sexual orientation,” creating an illusion that one has a choice (or “preference”) in who they are attracted to; (2) the types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in
Skoliosexual: attracted to genderqueer and transsexual people and expressions (people who aren’t identified as cisgender)
Straight: a man or woman who is attracted to people of the other binary gender than themselves; often referred to as “heterosexual”
Third Gender: (1) a person who does not identify with the traditional genders of “man” or “woman,” but identifies with another gender; (2) the gender category available in societies that recognize three or more genders
Transgender: a blanket term used to describe all people who are not cisgender; occasionally used as “transgendered” but the “ed” is misleading, as it implies something happened to the person to make them transgender, which is not the case
Transitioning: a term used to describe the process of moving from one sex/gender to another, sometimes this is done by hormone or surgical treatments
Transsexual: a person whose gender identity is the binary opposite of their biological sex, who may undergo medical treatments to change their biological sex, often times to align it with their gender identity, or they may live their lives as the opposite sex; often confused with “trans-man”/”trans-woman”
Transvestite: a person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (“cross-dresses”) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification; often called a “cross-dresser,” and often confused with “transsexual”
Trans-man: a person who was assigned a female sex at birth, but identifies as a man; often confused with “transsexual man” or “FTM”
Trans-woman: a person who was assigned a male sex at birth, but identifies as a woman; often confused with “transsexual woman” or “MTF”
Two-Spirit: a term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders
Zucchini: is the name for a partner who is involved in a queerplatonic relationship, as in “He’s my zucchini.”

Did you find something that fit?   While putting this list together, I read them all and depending on the day/hour/minute, phase of the moon, season of the year or any other minor or major fluctuation in the universe, I may identify with one or more of these terms, only to change later.  Gender is fluid and on a continuum and that makes it the most interesting and exciting journey. What it really boils down to, and we don’t need a list for this is, we are all individuals, precious in our own way and deserving of respect, acceptance and love.

P.S. If anyone is looking for a zucchini, hit me up.

Those crying in the night

Those crying in the night   I recently heard from one of our trans* sisters who shared that she has been having a difficult time lately.  She recently came out to a few people and is still in the early stages of discovery, awareness and learning to live authentically.  She spent a lovely weekend presenting as her true self and as she was changing back to “guy mode”, she found herself sitting alone and crying.  Crying because, for a few short hours, she felt real as her true self and now she was going back to hiding, denying and pretending.  I felt her hurt because I, like most of us, have been at that spot where not being who we really are is so painful and lonely.

A Tampa hotel room one December   The first time crying in the night for me was seven years ago when I went to a Christmas party for trans* people in Tampa.  I had a marvelous time and didn’t want the night to end.  Like our sister, I found myself sitting on the foot of the bed, weeping my eyes out, long black streaks of mascara and eye liner oozing down my cheeks.  I didn’t want to go back to pretending I was a man.  My soul ached, my eyes burned from makeup and tears and I felt so terribly alone.

Seven years later   Since that night, so much of my life has changed for the better.  I no longer feel lost and alone and I don’t have to  use Merlot and Ativan to allow me to sleep. However, I don’t ever want to forget how much I, too, ached to be who I really am.  I don’t want to forget what it is like to lie, pretend or sneak around just to let myself feel like my true self.  I don’t want to forget the desperation, anxiety and fear that came from not living honestly.  Most of all, I don’t want to forget the pain we all have felt just by being trans*.

Those families crying in the night   Because I remember my tears, I can mourn the loss of those no longer with us.  The ones who were unable to cope with the pain and fear, bullying and the loss of all hope that pushed them to take their own lives.  Because I remember my tears, I will speak the names of our trans* brothers and sisters who were taken from us by violence and hate.  Because I remember my tears, I will not forget the agony of the families and friends of those lost for their pain, suffering and tears will never disappear.

Those crying in the night   I have so many reasons to be happy.  I have family, friends and someone special who love and care about me.  I am living my life as I want and as who I am.  I don’t hide, pretend or lie to be my honest self.  It would be so easy to not care about those who suffer every day.  It would not take much work to ignore the reports of those lost to hate and suicide.  How simple would it be to not even think about the families, and friends of those lost.  I cannot forget.  I cannot forget my journey.  I remember my tears.  I will not forget those lost or taken from us. We must never forget.

Trans Survey

The 2015 U.S. Trans Survey Is Coming August 19th!

It’s the follow-up to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was released in the 2011 report:Injustice At Every Turn.

Much of what we know about trans people in the U.S. has come from this study, and it has been an important source of information about who we are for advocates, policy makers, and the public.

But first and foremost, the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey is our community’s survey. It is a survey for all trans identities, including trans, genderqueer, and non-binary people. It is for us, about us, and by us. As the community’s survey, the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey data set and results will be available to community advocates, organizations, and researchers for years to come.

http://www.ustranssurvey.org/

What I see in my mirror

Cate Kitchen
What I see in my mirror   During the past few weeks, we’ve all seen, read, heard and thought about Caitlyn Jenner.  To say her photos on the cover of and in Vanity Fair are spectacular would be an understatement.  I won’t be catty and talk about the $100K she’s reported to have spent on making her body look so good or the resources of Vanity Fair or the fact Annie Leibovitz could photograph a mud puddle and make it look like paradise.  If I was in the same position in life, I sure as heck would spend every cent too.  I also know and have seen evidence that Caitlyn’s efforts and exposure is helping bring awareness for all of us trans* people.  All that being said, I’m sure I am not the only transwoman in the world who has seen Ms. Jenner’s photos and taken a long, hard look in the mirror at the image staring back.
Late bloomer   Being a late bloomer and having begun my transition in my late 50’s, I missed being the sweet young thing with raven hair, ruby lips and a killer figure.   The Universe decided I would be witty and charming instead of rich and famous, so the unlimited funds to finance all the feminine changes possible will never be there.  So here I am on the south end of middle age, a few extra pounds, a modest supply of laugh lines, silver hair and lots of miles.  I’m making the best of what the good Lord gave me to work with.
Ego – Fragile!  Handle with care   Many of us, and my name is near the top of the list, have fragile egos.  I remember being told once, “You’ll never be pretty.”  That bothered me for days.  I was just spreading my wings and learning to put my look together and it was a shock to be told, after years of dreaming about it, I wouldn’t be a pretty woman.  I’ve since learned I am indeed beautiful and I love the way I look.  It took me a long time though and I won’t deny it.  My mirror and I are back on friendly terms.
Sneaking a peak in the mirror   So, did I take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror following the arrival of my issue of Vanity Fair?  Guilty!  Am I the only one in the world who would do such a thing?  Probably not.  Should I have been so vain or jealous?  Human nature, boys and girls.  I also admit I occasionally have to remind myself after walking about the University of Florida campus on a spring day, that I, too, am beautiful and sexy and just as interesting as any woman alive.
What I see in my mirror   When I’m starting my day, the few times I’m not running around like a crazy person because I’m late, or when getting dressed for an evening on the town, I always smile at my image in the mirror.  I still spin to see my skirt flair.  I never miss a chance to strike a coquettish pose and I do  love the way I look.  I work hard at it and I’m happy with the results.  Be gentle with yourselves, my friends, we’re all beautiful in our own way.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

TBTS-Cover

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves – A Resource for the Transgender Community, Edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA   Over a year ago, I heard of a project to write a comprehensive resource guide for the trans* community based on a ground-breaking book from 1971, Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS), By the Women’s Health Book Collective, a book by and for women.  Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (TBTS) follows in the footsteps of OBOS in that it is for trans* people by trans* people.  I received my copy a few months ago and it is the only book I keep on my desk.

A Resource for Us   When I began my journey and I was reading everything I could lay my hands upon, I wanted a book like this.  I would think of a question and then wanted to find an answer or an article or talk to someone.  The Internet was hit and miss back then and I couldn’t find very much concise information.  I was also still deep in the closet, so having a support group of people I trusted hadn’t developed then.  On-line information is much better now, but I still cherish my books and keep a small, but important library in my den. If I’m researching an article, get asked a question from a reader, friend or acquaintance, or just want an answer for myself, my library is where I start.

Anecdotal Information   In my early discovery days, when I was in deep-stealth mode, I wanted so very badly to talk to others to find out if they were thinking, feeling, fearing and longing for the same things I was.  Did they lie awake at night agonizing about being in the prison the wrong gender had placed us?  A book like TBTS, with its huge number of trans-written, trans-answered questions would have been a lifeline and the voices I needed to hear back then and still need to hear today.

A Fitting Legacy   As a recently-wed husband in the 1970’s, I remember seeing Our Bodies, Ourselves and reading it with interest and delight.  Here in 2015, and beyond, OBOS continues to bring it’s vital information and messages to new generations of women. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is serving in the same way the trans* community of which I’m proud to be a member and the book will aid the generations to come.  I know it will be indispensable to trans* people everywhere.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves – A Resource for the Transgender Community   I urge everyone who reads this to get a copy, assist the organization, donate a copy of the book and share all that you find.  Here is the information where you can read about the project, buy the book and assist the organization.

The book:  Trans Bodies, Trans Selves – A Resource for the Transgender Community,                                    Edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA                                                                                                    Oxford University Press 2014                                                                                                                                 ISBN 978-0-19-932535-1 (paperback)

The website:   http://transbodies.com/

The organization:   Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization                                                          dedicated to education and empowerment of transgender                                                                    communities. The major goal of the organization is to provide free                                                    copies of the book to organizations and individuals who would not                                                  otherwise be able to obtain it. We gladly accept donations. Make a                                                  donation by credit card or contact info@transbodies.com to send a                                                  check.

The cost:   $39.95 plus shipping and handling

Availability:  Books can be purchased from the website, directly from the publisher,
independent bookstores and www.amazon.com in paperback or a Kindle edition

Any day is a good day . . .

Any day is a good day, when I’m wearing a dress!   Not long ago I was at a convention and was riding down the elevator when one of our sisters got in.  She was tall, Asian, drop-dead gorgeous, impeccably dressed and had the most perfect long legs I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to hate her immediately, but I was too in awe.  (I’m often described as ‘cute, with a nice personality’ and we all know what that means.)  I said hello and asked how she was doing. She replied, “Any day is a good day, when I’m wearing a dress.”  She is so right.  In the beginning and over the years I’ve been like everyone.  I dressed once or twice a year.  Then it got to once a month.  I’d often under-dress, just to be doing something.  As I progress to full-time, I still get a thrill every time I put on a dress.

The reality of everyday living   The cruel mistress, life, forces us to mow the lawn, take out the trash, change the oil in the car and one hundred other mundane, but necessary tasks. My grungy work clothes, paint-spattered t-shirts and sneakers come out on the weekend so I can take care of business.  No one is going to pressure wash the driveway in heels and hose.  However, having been born and raised in the 1950’s and 60’s, my mother was of those bullet bra, cocktail dress and patent-leather pumps wearing women.  “No matter what,” she explained to my sisters, and me too, unbeknownst to her, “always wear a little lipstick and a squirt of cologne.”  She wouldn’t hang up the laundry on the clothes line (remember those?) without a touch of bright red lipstick and the ever-present scent of Taboo.

The lessons passed from generation to generation   Skip ahead to the early 2000’s, to my beautiful daughter and at-the-time college student in Zoo Technology.  She would brush her hair, apply makeup, check herself in the mirror and then run off to jump on alligators, handle venomous snakes and feed monkeys and African animals.  All of it important work that needed a beautiful, talented and fearless woman with her makeup in place.  As a dad, I’d see the chaos left in the bathroom and wonder why it had to be thus.  Now, as I prepare for work or going out, and as I scramble to make it out the door, I look at the mess all over the bathroom vanity and I understand.  My lovely daughter, you have my most sincere apology for complaining about the mess.

The little things that got me through   Remembering many of the things I learned from observing the strong women in my life got me through the rough periods when I was still so deep in the closet, light couldn’t get to me.  A little lipstick would change the whole way I saw myself at times.  A pair of panties instead of my tighty-whitey’s always felt good under my jeans.  If a dress-up day isn’t in the cards, there are always ways to get you through.  It just takes a little creativity.  Try it, you’ll feel much better.

Any day is a good day, when I’m wearing a dress!   I’d love to find the woman I spoke to in the elevator so I could thank her.  In less than a minute, she sent me a clear message and reminded me that anything I did that helped me on my way to where I am today was a very good thing.  To all the wonderful people from whom I learned, either unintentionally (Thanks, Mom) or my new and experienced sisters who have shared and cared, I am ever so grateful and I thank you.  Now I’m off to fertilize the roses, where’s my Chanel No. 5?