Category Archives: Transgender Resources

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.

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.

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.

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/

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

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill   In the movie, The Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo two pills.  The Blue Pill lets him go back to his former life, no wiser.  Taking the Red Pill will show him the truth.  This reminded me of conversations I’ve had with a few trans* people and most recently with a lady friend of mine.  The question is, “If you could take a pill and you could eliminate forever your gender dysphoria, your desire to dress and present and blissfully be straight, would you take the pill?”  I know it’s a fun, intellectual exercise, but it also goes much deeper into who we are, the circumstances bringing us to where we are at this time, what we must do to survive, adapt and grow and who we eventually become.

If only I knew what was coming   I am sure if we were aware of the struggles, the heartache, the expense, the loss, the frustration and the dangers, we all might grab a handful of Blue Pills.  Everyone of us who was ever bullied, abused, tormented, injured or killed might take the blue pill.  Everyone who has been divorced, estranged, abandoned, thrown out or made homeless, might take the blue pill.  Everyone who has seen tears run down the face of your spouse, partner or significant other might take the blue pill. Everyone who has ever attempted or succeeded in suicide or lived years with depression, might take the pill.

I’ve learned so much   Over many years, what I and all of us have learned are lessons we would have missed and be poorer for it.  We have learned just how strong and enduring we are.  Whether you have come out or not, transitioned or not, still deep in the closet, you are overcoming something that is indescribable, if you are not one of us.  You would have missed the unique position of seeing life from two different perspectives. We would have missed the kindnesses from unlikely sources, the joy of new adventures and discovering a new life.

The Red Pill of the Blue Pill   Which pill would I take?  That’s a question I’ve considered and so has just about every trans* person I’ve met.  I believe most of us would take the Blue Pill.  I’ve heard the following statements from almost everyone I come in contact with, “No one wants this!  No one chooses to be trans*.”  I’ve said it myself.  However, Morpheus and I will not be sitting across from each other and I will not be offered The Red Pill or the Blue Pill.  None of us will. So we continue to grow and live and become who we truly are and we get better and better every day.

Gems from around the Web

Gems from around the web   I’ve been traveling, talking with wonder and interesting people and learning, learning, learning.  There’s a few things I wanted to bring to your attention that I’d love to have you check out I’ve discovered via the Internet.

Ginger Marshall   I’m connected with a lovely woman, teacher, resume coach and transgender health advocate named Ginger Marshall.  She is one of us, a tireless worker and an excellent writer who deserves a read.  Please have a look at her LinkedIn.com page. https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/361448602   You will be happy you did.

Transparent   The Netflix Show Transparent has become one of the most binged-watched television shows ever.  I confess I was one of those couch potatoes who watched the whole series.  As someone who came out to her family at the tender age of 57 years, it struck very close to home.  I’m pleased that my children are not remotely dysfunctional as the siblings on the series.  The trans* life, challenges, pain and pleasures are not constant thrown in your face, but subtly done and ever so poignant.  I found myself nodding my head and saying to Belle the Wonder Puppy, “The writers and actors got that RIGHT!”  What a blessing.  Please check it out.  You may be put off by some of the non-trans* parts, but those for us are spot on.

We Happy Trans* – 7 Questions   If you haven’t found the website, http://wehappytrans.com, have your fingers run, not walk to the website.  My favorite part of this informative and “happy” site is the section called 7 Questions.  This page accepts videos or written responses of trans* people answering the same seven questions. Included in the participants in one of my personal heroines, Jennifer Finney Boylan. Please check out these great and revealing videos, add yours and pass this on.

Pintrest.com   If you have not discovered Pintrest.com, here’s another great place to get lost in for hours and hours on end.  I’m going on record as saying, “I love it!”  Why would the old Irish transwoman say that?  I have communicated with many trans* people, gotten great decorating, fashion, shoes, encouragement, laughter and tears on this site.  The trans* community is alive and thriving on Pintrest.com.  I recently posted a touching piece from one of my Pintrest connections, Michelle Hackler, a transsexual grandma schoolmarm.  Please check out her Pintrest pages and also her posting on the Your Page tab.

That will do it for now.  I’ve got articles demanding to be edited.  I spent a week on a cruise with my family and the weather is finally getting cooler here in Florida.  So I’ll be back at it with renewed energy.  Please feel free to suggest topics, write Your Story and join in the conversation.

 

Passing Part 3 – The Finale

Passing Part 3 – The Finale   I know you must be tired of me droning on about this by now, but I swear, this is almost the last I’ll talk about passing.  It really should be titled something other than passing, because what I hope I’m stressing is the need to present yourself in a way that reflects the very best in you.  So, the last thing I will discuss is getting a second (or third, fourth or fifth) opinion on how you look.  Since we can’t see ourselves, we will need to rely on others to tell us what we are doing right, what can use some help and, if needed, what to avoid at all costs.

Our trans* friends   My first lessons on dressing, presenting and mannerisms was from my oldest and bestest trans* friend, Elayne.  She has been doing this for many, many years and studies all aspects of feminine behavior.  She taught me how to walk, how to point my feet and plant my heels.  We have over the years talked about undergarments, slips, bras, garters, stockings, pantyhose, thigh-highs, shoes and dozens of other topics.  She takes great care and is always fashionable and appropriate for any situation.  She inspires me everyday.  No matter how much you read or how many YouTube videos you watch, nothing beats the careful eye of an experienced friend.  Thank you, Elayne, for everything.

Unlikely sources   I know you will be shocked to read this, but I talk a lot and I talk to everyone. I’m not afraid to ask questions and seek advice.  I’m amazed at how many people will give me pearls of wisdom, just for the asking.  It happened to me one afternoon at the electrologist.  I asked my favorite beard-zapper about hemming a dress.  I was stumped on how I was going to pin it by myself and, girl, did I get advice.  We went from a hem markers, to wearing the shoes I’d wear with the dress while measuring, to hem heights for flats, low heels and stilettos.  What started out as a “straight pin vs. safety pin” question turned into a detailed discussion on getting the proper length of a skirt.

Make up advice   I’ve had good luck with the makeup folks at the mall.  This can be your local mall if you are comfortable there or go out of town.  Sit in the chair, get out your credit card and you will get a lesson in makeup and then walk away with a bag full of all you need.  The other good experience I’ve had is from my local Mary Kay lady or any number of other home-makeup companies.  Give them a call, explain what and why you’d like to see them and 99 times out of 100, you will get a friendly and knowledgeable person who will come to your home.  This is great because you can take all the time you want, try out a number of things, get some good advice and have all the products you need in hand when the makeup lady leaves.

Your cisgender BFFs   I’m blessed with great friends. You know the kind. The ones who love you enough to tell you what a huge mistake you are making wearing coral lipstick and too much rouge.  Have a dress up day with you BFFs.  Break out the wine and snacks, pull all your clothes out of the closet and try them on for your friends.  They will give you thumbs up or thumbs down.  Some may be brutally honest while others are tactful.  Ask their opinions.  If they love you, they’ll tell you the truth.  If you are like me and a petite plus size and you pull a white leather mini skirt out of the closet, you’ll hear about it.  Just be happy you still have the receipt for the white, patent-leather go-go boots.

Ask and it shall be given   I’m the type of person who will ask, “How do I look?”  My wife would be gentle and tell me, “You might want to try . . . “  I’ve got other friends who’ll blurt out, “You are NOT going out in that!”  The first tip I received from my daughter was, “Dad, you need Spanx.”  Harsh, but I love her.  Let your family and friends see you dressed, watch you walk, stand and gesture. These will be the best lessons you’ll ever receive.  Plus, you will become stronger together and they will see that, yes, this is who you really are.

What a difference five years have made

What a difference five years have made   When I first came out to my wife five years ago, she immediately jumped on her laptop computer, typed in ‘transgender’ and was shocked at what she saw.  She was inundated with pornography.  The good, safe sites were outnumbered ten-to-one.  Her first thought was, “All my husband wants is sex!” because that was just about all she was seeing.  I struggled for a very long time, finally convincing her that being trans* was who I was and that it was not sexual.  I remember clearly asking her not to jump on the Internet because what she was going to see a lot of has nothing to do with me.
The Internet is our friend   Today I Googled ‘transgender’ and there were page after page of safe links, information, news stories, articles and trans* resource material.  I’m sure if I continued to look, I would eventually find questionable and/or offensive material, but after four pages of hits, I was happy at what I was finding.  When the Internet was young and we were all dialing in at 9,600 baud into AOL, it was a sparse place for finding information of any kind.  Today there is an explosion of material fit for your mother and your children.
There’s sad news out there   Along with a lot of excellent resources, I found a lot of news stories that detailed abuse, violence and death of members of our trans* family.  With more recognition and awareness the wrong done to us is also news.  Additionally are details of the challenges we face as far as discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and social services.  The realities that we are ten time more likely to be victims of suicide and there is a high number of homeless trans* youth who have been kicked out of their homes for just being themselves.  We can’t expect to make strides in our recognition and acceptance without making the world aware of our struggles.

There is joy to share   Every few days there are reasons to celebrate and rejoice.  Just last week I came across a story in The Huffington Post, The Whittington Family: Ryland’s Story.  Please stop whatever you are doing and watch this amazing story here.
 
So much good to share   Where I was once terrified for anyone I cared about searching the Internet, now I am a contributor and an advocate.  I speak with members of our trans* community from far flung places and hear how the Internet is their primary link to our community and for information.  Where we were once isolated and alone, we are now connected.  Our community grows because we can reach out at any time, find safe and accurate information, find people with whom we can interact and get to know and also share our stories. 

International Transgender Day of Visibility

 International Transgender Day of Visibility   Monday, March 31, 2014, is the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), an annual holiday dedicated to celebrating transgender/gender non-conforming people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.  The holiday was founded by Rachel Crandall in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered holiday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourns the loss of trans* people to hate crimes, but does not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community.

Events surrounding the day include protests, actions, sit-ins, poetry events, social events and a variety of other activities that emphasize the importance of trans* visibility is in our communities locally and abroad.  International Transgender Day of Visibility exists to build community, celebrate what we have accomplished, and inspire future change.

The above is taken from the Season of Pride website and can be found at http://seasonsofpride.com/. Please visit their site, it is wonderful.

Visibility has been one of my personal goals as I’ve written about in the past.  I long ruminated upon what was to be learned from, and what was my purpose, when I embraced my gender dysphoria and began transitioning to my true gender.  I decided my main purpose was visibility.  I needed to leave the safe, but isolated confines of my home and go out.  I’m not one to march or picket, sit-in or protest.  I choose to make my statement by going to the grocery store, restaurants, museums, parks, plays and anywhere I desire.  As an older transwoman, I missed the pretty, young, petite stage.  The years have been kind to me, but it is still common for me to be made.  They stare at me. I smile and wave back.  We both know, but what they get to see is someone who is trans*, out, about and taking my rightful place in my community and the world.  Have I ever been frightened or wary?  Sure, but I can say it is less and less every time I step outside my door.  That does not mean that I am reckless as all of us should not allow ourselves to come into harm’s way, when we can avoid it.

I am lucky to be at a place in life where I can and do go out and live my life as I want.  I know many trans* people are not at that place yet, or will never be.  I also know that they offer us all the support they have available to give and for that I am eternally grateful.  So this Monday, March 31, 2014, I will not be at a rally or a protest.  I will not carry a sign or deliver a speech.  I support with my whole being those trans* people who do and will.  I, instead, will be the transwoman buying plants for her planter, having lunch at a sidewalk café with friends, picking produce at the farmers’ market and walking my little dog.  Not just one day of the year, but everyday.  If I’m looked at and made, I’ll smile and wave, but I will not be forced to be invisible.  I will not be forced to hide.  I will not be forced to be ashamed of who I am.  This is how I will celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility.