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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Meg

T-Central first featured Meg in this post, back in October.  She continues to be a prolific blogger and holds true to her crossdressing "ideals".  I love her humor and her honesty.  For instance, this comment in a recent post:

It's a lot, but many transgendered males do not and will never pass as women.  It's a fact.  Some I've seen are breathtaking.  Some, not so much.  As Meg, I'm never sure if I'm turning heads, or stomachs.

So, today we'll let that one we call, Meg, have her say...

 - Calie


I haven't been out, dressed, a lot.  Maybe ten times, probably fewer than twenty.  I'm not counting the rite-of-passage trips, like a solo drive, or a walk around the hotel hall, or a few seconds in the back or front yard.

I’m counting trips where I got dressed and went out.  Trips where I went somewhere, where I saw and was seen.  I’ve been out shopping, for a manicure, for a makeover, to a party, for some gambling time in a Las Vegas casino, to a transgender group meeting, to a clothing swap....  I’ve been out alone, with a gg friend, with women I’ve hired to do my makeup and prevent me from going out alone, and (once) with my wife and a couple of friends who don’t know my dressing up was more than that one-time thing.  Readers of my blog know my biggest outing ever was a flight from Washington DC to Kansas City, then on to Topeka.

After every trip, I feel two things:
* euphoria
* regret

Finding myself back home, or back in my hotel, after spending time out dressed feels GREAT.  It's a high like no other. 

There's never a "crash."  Sometimes I really don't want to change back, and sometimes I can't imagine ever changing back.  Sometimes, I'm ready to change back right away.  Sometimes, I don't even think about it ~ I just kick off my heels and pull off my wig and start my... I'm not sure what to call it.  I like "transformation" when I change to a female.  It has a hint of something positive, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.  It has a hint of something magical, like a wizard transforming into a graceful animal.  I can't use that word for going drab.  Revert, maybe.

...I just kick off my heels and pull off my wig and start my reversion to male mode.

But I ALWAYS feel great.  Perhaps if I had a bad experience out I'd feel differently, but deep down inside, I don't think so.  I hope I don't find out though.

I never regret going out.

I always regret stopping short.

I spent a couple of hours over two nights in a casino.  I asked a waitress for drinks, I played different slots.  I would have preferred to play craps, but I didn't want to stand around the table in tight quarters with a dozen other people, where I'd be doing a lot of talking.

I went to a clothing swap.  Some other t-gurls were there.  Fifty or more g-girls were there.  One started a conversation and I enjoyed chatting with her.  I spoke to the woman doing manicures, and had one done.  I could have said to someone picking up an outfit "that's beautiful" or "you'd look great in that" or "I wish that was in MY size".

After the swap, a tire blew out.  I had to call Geico to change the tire (I was not about to change a tire in a dress and heels!).  I waited in my car instead of walking around the neighborhood a bit (granted, it was 100 degrees out).  I just got out of the car when the repair guy arrived and said "thanks for coming out."  I could have had a bit of fun, gotten out slowly, walked up close and tried my girl voice, just to see what he'd do, or say.

I've gone to local malls several times.  I've spoken to sales associates.  I've had my nails done.  I should have sat down and had a cup of coffee, or lunch.  I should have spoken to other shoppers in the stores.

I've also found clothing I like, but rarely have I tried anything on.

I was in two airports, a restaurant, the rental car counter, and the hotel lobby when I traveled to Topeka.  I did no unnecessary talking.  In drab, I kid with people suffering along with me on the security line.

I was at the Jon Stewart rally last October.  I wanted to walk around, and at the very least, confront people making fun of Christine O'Donnell (my costume du jour).

Each of those experiences has an unspoken ending: I didn't.  I should have.

There are some things I should have done but I didn't because I don't have enough experience thinking like a girl.  I see a skirt I like, I consider buying it.  Or not.  It took one of my makeup lady "girlfriends" to hold it up to me to see how it would look.  How many times have I seen a woman do that?  Hundreds.  Why didn't I think that I could do that now?  I don't think enough like a girl.  I think about all of the things I need to do to pass better.  Stand straight.  Remember my purse.  Smile at women.  Avoid smiling at men.  Take smaller steps.  Don’t touch my face or lick my lips.  Sit right!

There are other things that I know I can do, but I'm not ready.  I've never been in the ladies' room.  I've never sat down to eat by myself.  I've never started a conversation with a stranger, outside of a shop situation.

I should.  I don’t need to go outside my comfort zone.  I need to expand my comfort zone, until it encompasses the world.  I've done a lot ~ there's more to do.  And I need to be more comfortable as a woman, so I can forget all of the things I have to think about all the time (stand straight!) and remember all of the things I’ve seen women do and add them to my list of Things I Do Automatically.  And if I do them in drab mode, that’s OK.  I’d rather do femme things as a male than male things when dressed.

Sometimes, I'm not prepared.  Something will happen and I could react as a woman, but I'm not ready and I’m still focusing on maintaining my female persona.

So someone says something to me and I'm not prepared.  I respond stupidly or not at all.  Sometimes the closest thing to an appropriate response I can achieve is to smile.

After a patdown at the airport by a female agent, a man walked up and said “what do I have to do to get her to do that?”  My answer: I smiled.  I could have said something.  If he knew, well, he had a reason to say something.  If he didn’t, what could happen?  I’m surrounded by security people.  I’m safer than the President.  I didn’t.  I should have.

My former manager has a little magnetic sign on her office door.  "Destined to be an old woman with no regrets."  Alas, that isn’t to be my destiny.

My goal is to go out once and come home with no regrets.

That's real euphoria.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - The Wife

I discovered "The Wife" via a comment she left on another blog.  Then, as I always do, I followed the links to her site and found this fabulous website/blog authored by the wife, The Wife, of a crossdresser.

I don't know her name, where she lives, or what she looks like.  She does have a way to contact her via her site, so I asked her if she would like to write something for this series of guest posts.  What she wrote is simply beautiful and I have got to believe that many of you will read it and just wish it was written by your own wife or girlfriend.  Maybe print it out and just leave it on the kitchen counter?  If anyone is brave enough to do that, leave us a comment!

Since I don't have a picture of The Wife, I lifted this from her FAQ:

What do you and your husband look like?
Well, I’m a reasonably attractive curvy girl with brown hair, brown eyes, and fairly large tracts of land.  (And remarkably straight teeth if I do say so myself. lol) I’m a bit of a tomboy, so I tend towards jeans or comfy pants and a tee shirt or nice blouse.  I don’t wear a lot of makeup (I had a ‘competitive’ phase where I tried to out-girl him and it failed miserably) and I generally wear my hair in a simple ponytail.

My sweetie is smaller than I am, a delicately made little thing (and don’t think that hasn’t caused some grief over the years, let me tell you) who “can pass” for the most part.  His lady-self has a good selection of wigs, so the color and style changes day to day, but the natural hair color is dark brown and the natural eyes come in a very pretty shade of grey-blue, if I do say so myself.  His style when not dressed up coincides with my own – shirts and jeans – but Melanie tends towards the emo or gothic look when going out on the town.

Although she writes this from purely the view of the wife of a crossdresser, I do believe that all of our readers will enjoy this post and that includes spouses, crossdressers living with spouses, and transsexuals living with spouses.

The Wife and I share a philosphy.  In her words:

"I’m not big into policing people, so the comments won’t be moderated too stringently.  All I ask is that you respect one another and don’t be a jerk.  We’re all people here – have some dignity and respect, folks."

 - Calie 

As I sit here, my sick baby breathing snottily beside me, I'm attempting to muse on the state of crossdressing and being married to a crossdresser.  You'll have to forgive me for my informal tone, but I'm finding the idea of delving any deeper than I normally do on my own blog somewhat difficult.  I know that may seem strange to you, but in my family crossdressing is a natural part of life.  It just is.

Once upon a time crossdressing was dramatic and full of tension - the mere act of bringing up crossdressing enough to ruin a night or cause a fight - but now it's no more exciting or stressful than choosing what to eat at a given meal.  Sometimes there are special occasions - Halloween, for example, is like crossdressing Christmas for my husband - but in general his choice to wear a skirt, to apply makeup, to shave his beard and go from HE to SHE is just that... a choice.  A fancy.  A whim.  We've reached a point in our relationship where he knows that he can wear a skirt all week if he wants and not only will I not be bothered by it, I view it as commonplace.

There are limits, of course.  Rules.  Structure to our choices, outer boundaries to what and when and where, but generally he's willing to live within these loose confines in order to shed his masculine persona and don the girl he is inside.  It took a great deal of struggle to reach this place of equanimity. Many evenings were spent hand-in-hand with heightened emotions, discussing, debating, approaching and retreating, and compromising.  


Some folks feel that the state of compromising with your spouse once you've discovered that you're a crossdresser or transgender is the same as denying who you truly are and, after so many years of conforming to fit society's standards of what is "right", they are unwilling to forgo even the idea of eyeliner or underwear.  It is a battle for them, the right to shout proud and loud, "THIS IS WHO I AM!  DEAL WITH IT!".

I can't say whether that is true or not for most crossdressers or transgendered individuals.  All I can speak with authority on is my own family and in my family compromise is not a dirty word, it is how we live and how we love and how we show our respect and devotion to one another.  I respect my husband's need to wear a bra and stuff it with realistic silicon breasts and spend hundreds of dollars in clothing that society says he shouldn't be wearing.  I respect that these acts make her feel more whole, make her feel attractive, make her feel more herself.  And she respects my desire for a break from my wife and the fact that I am not primarily a lesbian.  She knows that when I say that I need my husband then it's time for the skirt to go in the hamper and his strong arms to hold me, versus my loving arms holding her.  It's a delicate balance and we still falter now and then, but on the whole, we've made it work for us, which is all that is important.

If it were not for my husband, I would not have my glorious, wonderful  little boy.  If it weren't for my wife, I would exist in a relationship where I would feel discomfort discussing the myriad of mysteries that exist for women, the strange intricacies of our female-stratosphere, the occasionally envious give-and-take we must struggle with in our patriarchal society.  I'm free to admire and envy Melanie - she can discard the clothing and walk like a particularly masculine sheep amid the wolves.  Perhaps every now and then a hoof is exposed, but only around the wolves who love us, who've heard tell of my husband's vast collection of attractive skirts.  I, on the other hand, can not vary my gender to suit my mood.  I am who I am and she who is occasionally he, can choose who she feels like being today.  That, I feel, must be very freeing... and very confusing.  For myself, I prefer being solidly female.  I like my chest.  It's squishy and nice to poke when I'm bored.

Hmm, I feel I've lost my way in this talk.  I'm feeling through the text, trying to find a neat, polite way to sign out, to close the post, but doing so is difficult and uncomfortable.  It feels false.  I suppose then, instead, that I'll leave my goodbye rather open-ended, mutable, and open to interpretation.  I'd rather leave with a piece of advice - a truism that I repeat every chance I get when referencing this complex and varied crossdressing/transgendered world we choose to exist in.

Simply put: If you are the SO/Spouse of a crossdresser/transgendered individual and you don't want to leave... You Don't Have To.  I know it's difficult.  I know it's complex and confusing and hard and you are facing a possible lifetime of confusion and angst.  But-but-but...if you love that person - not the gender but the PERSON - if they make you laugh, if they buy you your favorite food at the grocery store without having to be asked first, if they always kill the spider or climb up on a high, rickety ladder to hang the Christmas lights, if they hold your hand when you're happy and let you wet their shoulder when you're sad... if you LOVE THEM, then you can make it work.

If you want it, you can always make it work.

I swear.
Good luck.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Stana

What's a series of guest posts, focusing on crossdressing, without featuring one from my friend, Stana?   Stana is very well known in the T Community, both internationally via her blog, but also locally, via her outreach activity. 

Femulate has an incredible following, which is quite apparent when I look at where the readers of my personal blog, and even T-Central, are coming from.  I often refer to Femulate as a Mega-blog and I'm sure there are many of you out there who have visited Stana's Femulate site.  If you haven't visited Femulate, do it now!  It's a wonderful resource for fashion, and crossdressing and also includes Stana's daily activity updates and even a touch of her own brand of humor.

So, without further mindless babble from me, let's hear from Stana.

 - Calie

My Theory of Operation
By Stana (,

I identify as transgender, more specifically, a heterosexual male-to-female crossdresser, who crossdresses once or twice per month (in deference to my spouse). However, I readily admit that if I had the opportunity, I would crossdress 24/7 and live full-time as a female without surgery, hormones, or other body modifications. I likely would get electrolysis, but nothing more than that.

If I desire to live full-time as a woman, am I still a crossdresser? Or am I something else... something beyond a crossdresser, but not quite a transsexual mainly because I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male.

As a youngster, I participated in sports (baseball and football) and played "boy games" (cowboys, war, spacemen, etc.). I felt that I was a typical boy and I enjoyed doing "boy things," unlike many trans sisters, who as children, hated "boy things" and preferred "girl things."

I enjoyed boy activities... to a point. I was not your typical rough and tumble boy and I did not like to take part in any activities where pain was a possibility. For example, I liked to play football, but I preferred touch football and avoided tackle football. So, I definitely had a sissy streak in me and some of the other youths let me know it by taunting me and calling me names.

And I enjoyed creative activities (writing and drawing) and there were other activities, i.e., some that were downright female that I would have pursued, but I knew if I followed those girlish interests, I would be pushing the envelope too much, so I avoided them.

Despite my participation and enjoyment of boy things, other boys called me names like "sissy," "fairy," "faggot," etc., which indicated to me that I was not necessarily all the boy I thought I was because others perceived me as being effeminate. That perception may still exist, but as an adult, most people I encounter are polite enough to keep such opinions to themselves.

In my youth, it was not just a case of bullies using random offensive names to raise my ire. Even some of my friends told me that I was not acting like a boy at a 100% level and that I should do something about it.

I wondered if there was something in my speech or mannerisms that caused their reaction? I was not intentionally speaking or acting in an affected manner. Rather, I was speaking and acting in my natural manner.

The fact that even friends told me that something was amiss indicated that something really was amiss, but I was clueless. I had no idea what I had to do differently to be more boy-like. So, I continued acting the same way I always acted.

I did not and do not make any effort to be effeminate (or masculine, for that matter). I always acted in a way that was natural to me and my natural inclination was to act effeminately according to the "standards" set by our society.

I never felt I had a masculine or feminine side and I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male like the typical transsexual, who hid or suppressed their femininity in boy mode.

I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male because she was never trapped! I never suppressed my femininity because I never realized I was acting effeminately, so as far as I was concerned, there was nothing to suppress.

Back in college, I attended a Halloween party in drag. One of my classmates who knew me well was impressed with how my normal persona was such a good fit for my female Halloween costume. Until he saw me in drag, he never realized that my everyday persona was so feminine. That confirms what I always believed, i.e., "I" am the same person in boy mode or in girl mode except that "I" am a better fit in girl mode.

In conclusion, I am not a woman trapped in a male body; rather I am a woman with a male body and I’m OK with that. I realize that my body has nothing to with my gender and further that having a male body does not make me less of a woman.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Alice

Click on the Picture to Learn More
A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine strongly recommended Alice Novic's book, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age.  I read the book, absolutely loved it, and recommend it highly to not only crossdressers but to anyone who feels that they fall under the transgender umbrella.  The book is brutally honest, yet entertaining, and a very easy read.

Doctor Richard Novic is a psychotherapist, based in Southern California.  As Alice, she has a website, Alice in Genderland, with information on her book and a series of essays, Through The Looking Glass, that, in her words, "...explore issues like crossdressing, transitioning, relationships, and sexuality from the special perspective of a fun-loving transvestite psychiatrist."  Links to the essays, below.

"An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D." "Going on a Manhunt"
"Autogynephilia, Bisexuality, and Mr. Opportunity" "Jury Duty in a Dress"
"2010 and Most Is Well" "What Can We Learn From Gay People?"
"Communication, Compassion, and Creative Solutions" "Am I Gay?"
"Interview on Writing and Therapy" "Face and Hair Revisited"
"Interview on Self-Publishing" "Why am I a Crossdresser?"
"Shifting Gears" "The Mysterious Case of My Vanishing Purse"
"Seven Great Myths Among Us MTFs" "The Two Types of Transwomen"
"An Artist Out and Proud" "Crossdressers and Hormones"
"A Woman on the Verge of Transition" "Could Yours Truly Be TS?"
"Analyzing the Poison" "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"
"A Pillar and Part-Timer" "Shall I Bring My Wife Along?"
"Manhunt Over: Thank Goodness"

I'm honored that Alice has agreed to do a guest post for our T-Central series on crossdressing.  

 - Calie

Why am I a Crossdresser?

Well basically because it’s been the most fun, fulfilling way for me to live. After all, what are the options: Be a man who holds back from crossdressing? Be someone who makes it her life? These paths are great for some folks, but I’ve found happiness walking right down the middle.

But let’s take a step back and ask a few more fundamental questions. What is a crossdresser? I define crossdresser as a primarily straight man who is profoundly satisfied to imagine himself as a woman. Does profoundly satisfied include sexually aroused by? You betcha, but it’s also much deeper than that, as many of you will discover with experience and age.

Why does an otherwise normal, healthy male become a crossdresser or transsexual? One explanation, derived from animal research, I call the intersex brain. It suggests that something happens as we’re developing in the womb that causes the brains of CDs and TSs to develop along female lines and be inclined to feminine behaviors later on. For instance, if male rats are exposed to extra estrogen during one particular week during central nervous system development, then later in life they’ll show a tendency for lordosis, a female mating behavior that involves arching one’s back to bring attention to one’s buttocks—like a bird shaking her tail feathers.

An alternative, more disturbing, explanation of why someone becomes a crossdresser is that of autogynephilia. By this theory, crossdressing or MTF transsexualism occurs when a heterosexual male’s attraction to females (his gynephilia) gets directed at himself (auto). The main evidence for this so far is that we crossdressers tend to be aroused by the image of ourselves as women and that pattern bears a close resemblance to the auto versions pedophilia and amputee-philia. Yes, there are men who are attracted to the image of themselves as children or as amputees, strange as that might sound. (For more, see the writings of Ray Blanchard, Ph. D.) As far as when or how a male’s normal attraction to females might turn itself inward, no one knows.

Just like the intra-uterine environment, one’s childhood experiences can also have a profound impact on brain biology and behavior. But whether we’re talking about autogynephilia, intersex brain, or a yet unknown mechanism, no particular childhood events or exposures have been correlated with crossdressing or transsexualism. As a psychiatrist, I once even worked with a Latin man whose mother used to punish him by making him wear his sister’s skirts. Subsequently as an adult, he suffered relationship and self-esteem problem, but bore no predilection for petticoats.

Can crossdressing be acquired like an addiction? Yes, I first feared. No, I later learned. Yes in a way, I ultimately came to see. Yes, lingerie can feel like a tempting, euphoric thing. Once you break the ice, and reach into the panty drawer, you may never be able to stop.

But no, no regular straight man would find such pleasure in panties and be vulnerable to such a substance? I’m afraid not. Ask a few, in private of course, so you can be more confident you’re getting the truth. Most wouldn’t even be curious enough to try on women’s underwear. The experimental few who would, might experience a different kind of fabric and feel but not the euphoria that keeps us coming back.

Okay, I say as an M.D., but not everybody is at risk for alcoholism, yet it’s still considered an addiction. Maybe crossdressing is one that only we estrogen-tweaked pups are prone to. After all, once a one of us “borrows” his first bra, he may bring on a habit that can spiral out of control and jeopardize his marriage, job, and reputation. And that, my fine, feathered friends, is what defines addiction.

I must add two important caveats, though, that I believe keep crossdressing or transitioning from sharing the same category as cocaine. 1) Aren’t our people usually more stable and content after they’ve developed a crossdressing habit? 2) And if not, isn’t it more due to the harsh reactions wives and others might have to the habit, rather than the activity itself? Which is still very serious, though, and means that a person like me might find a few more lovers, but compromise my career, lose my wife, and still not find a husband, if I went woman full time.

Because we live in a culture in which crossdressing and transsexualism don’t put you on top of anyone’s wish list, most of us, at least at first, want to know Is there a cure? No, there isn’t, I must report, not at this time. I’m sorry, but there isn’t a cure for being gay or albino either.

Sure, with enough will power, support, and spirituality, you may suppress your more femme impulses, but then again, you might be able to go through life resisting your favorite sport or flavor of ice cream. There’d better be a great heaven, or you’d better get tremendous joy in living to please your loved ones, to make that worthwhile. Otherwise, I’d recommend getting as comfortable as you can with something others may find uncouth and casting your own small vote for change. You’ve got a lifetime to work on it!

Alice Novic, M.D.

To learn more about me than you’d ever dare ask, please see my smart, sexy memoir, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age (available now on

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Aeify

This series on crossdressing thoughts and reflections has produced some really excellent posts from some fine bloggers out there.  Today's post is not from a crossdresser, however.  This time we're featuring the thoughts and reflections of a spouse.  Her name is Aeify and you can read more about her by going to Aeify's blog, A Perfect Love.

I really enjoyed this post.  I think I've read it three times now!  I guess what I like about it is the obvious love these two have for each other.  I hope you enjoy it too.

 - Calie
Reflecting on the T-lifestyle

I have known my spouse liked to crossdress since before he even proposed. I was excited by the prospect of the "dressing" during our lovemaking on occasion. I rarely thought about it for great drifts of time in our marriage. I didn't want the dressing to stop, it just never occurred to me the extent that one of us might want it to occur. I never tried to keep it from happening, but I didn't encourage it either. 

Shame on me.

The year 2010 will stand out in my memory as the year we came even closer together as a couple. I learned more than I ever thought there was to know about crossdressing. I learned the word transgender and the difference between a transsexual and a transvestite. I'm not an ignorant person, I just didn't think I had a reason to know more than I did, which was shockingly little.

I learned, I have grown, I am continuing to learn. 

Not everything I have learned has been good. I have met people both in person and (mostly) online who did not have a spouse that was accepting when they learned their partner's "secret." I still can't fathom why you would throw away a relationship based on what your partner wants to wear, but that being said, I haven't hired a skywriter to announce P's news to the world either.
I am so glad that I have a spouse who loves me just the way I am. I am loved no matter how much I weigh, if my legs are hairy, if my hair is done or if I am wearing makeup. I am loved unconditionally and even my most insane She-Hulk crazy (I'm a little OCD...shh don't tell anyone) needs are attended to. How lucky am I to have a spouse that can help me with my makeup?

I wish health and happiness to all of you. I wish that each and every one of you has a partner who loves and accepts you just as you are. (Even if you are just about to tell them after many years!) 

There is one thing I would do differently if I could turn back time. I would talk more in the beginning about dressing. I would have looked up years ago and learned about the communities of love and support that were/ are out there. I would also have been more understanding of the one trans person who used to come to the gift shop where I worked to use the restroom. She came by some time almost every Saturday. I told P this story not too long ago. 

She would come right up the stairs and go straight to the bathroom. Our sweet-smelling unisex bathroom that was almost always available. She'd go in there, fully dressed but sometimes she wouldn't be wearing her wig. She'd come out and take a turn around the store, not meeting my eyes and quickly leaving. I always wondered why she didn't linger like most of the other ladies. The shop was designed to make you relax and slow down. Then while I was telling P about this I looked at her and we talked about how this was probably one of the very few restrooms in town where she was free and safe to go. (And it was nice and girly). I so wished that I had made more of an effort to be her friend, but I'm also glad she came.

I wish you all a happy holiday season!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Sally

A few months, ago, I put out a request for guest posts on the subject of crossdressing.  Sally Sapphire replied right away and, when I read her email, I immediately knew that we had an excellent guest post in the making. 

Sally has a couple of blogs and you need to check both of them out.  TGirl Revelations is her main blog and is well worth your time to visit.  

Her other blog really intrigues me because I'm a book nut, when it comes to transgender reading material.  This site goes well beyond the transgender theme, however, and includes book reviews and recommendations for anything that qualifies under the LGBTQ umbrella.  The title?  Bilibrary Bookslut.  Unique!  Be sure to check out Sally's Gender Identity & Expression Challenge 2011.

So, now read on and see just what Sally has on her mind.
 - Calie

Am I really a crossdresser? It’s the first question I asked myself when I saw Calie’s call for guest bloggers, and I admit it made me pause. It’s just a word, but it’s amazing how much power words can have over how we define ourselves. We live in a society that loves to label people, and which is never satisfied with one word when a dozen others can be used to eliminate all ambiguity.

What, I ask you, is wrong with a little ambiguity? Ambiguity is all about diversity – it allows room for variety, for those little quirks of expression and identity that define us as individuals, while still allowing us to share a sense of community.

Like so many of us, I’m most comfortable with labelling myself as transgender. It’s a safe, all-inclusive word that embodies complete and total freedom of expression.  Ironically, it’s also a word that was originally coined to label cross-dressers who were not pursuing sexual reassignment surgery. What I find I’m less comfortable with, and what seems to prompt so much debate, are the labels that fall under the transgender umbrella – Transsexual, Crossdresser, Transvestite , Drag queen, Genderqueer , Androgynous, etc.

Why, I ask you, do we allow words to make us so uncomfortable? It shouldn’t matter how, when, where, or why we choose to express ourselves. The fact that we are all expressing a gender identity different from the norm is what makes us special and unique, even while making us part of a broader community.

Personally, I am proud to label myself as transgendered. Beyond that . . . well, I really don’t see a need to define myself beyond that. Yes, I indentify very strongly with the woman inside me, and I am absolutely more comfortable in expressing her identity than in putting on my day-to-day drab façade.  In an ideal world, her expression would be a 24/7 reality. Does that make me more transsexual than transvestite? Does it really matter?

At this point in my life I simply don’t have the opportunity or the freedom to pursue medical and surgical modifications to express the woman inside me. Yes, I’ve thought about it, considered it, and I’ve even made an appointment for laser hair removal, but I’m not ready for the rest of it . . . and may never be. It’s not a lack of desire or commitment, just an acknowledgement of the restrictions of life. Does that make me more transvestite than transsexual? Again, does it really matter?

Coming out to my wife earlier this year was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it has also been the single most rewarding experience of my life. During that momentous discussion, it made me uncomfortable when she asked if I was just a crossdresser, and it made her equally uncomfortable when she asked if I was a transsexual instead. One term implied limitations or restrictions to my expression, while the other implied a permanent change in our relationship. Since then, we’ve talked a lot about how I express myself, and what it means to each of us, but we’ve deliberately chosen not to put any labels on it.

Is that, I ask you, really such a bad thing? Some people might see it as avoiding the issue, or as an act of cowardice on both our parts. At the end of the day, however, it’s that very lack of a label that provides us with free reign to have open and honest discussions about my identity, and to enjoy the expression of that identity, without putting arbitrary expectations around it.

There are nights where we each dress in our naughtiest lingerie, get elaborate with our makeup, and enjoy ourselves in the bedroom. I won’t deny that there’s a strong element of sexual fetish to the experience, but that doesn’t take away from the expression of femininity itself. There are also nights where I’ll slip into one of my favourite nightgowns, touch up the polish on my toenails, and curl up alone with a good book. It’s almost an unconscious mode of expression, as natural as taking off my tie at the end of a hard day at the office.

There are days where the wife and I will both do our hair and makeup, put on a skirt and a blouse, slip into our heels, and go out shopping as two BFFs. Sure, there’s an element of exhibitionism involved in wanting to ‘pass’ convincingly, but there’s also a wonderfully wholesome sense of satisfaction in comfortably expressing myself.  There are also days where we’ll go out in day-to-day drab, as husband and wife, yet still share our thoughts and feelings as if I were visibly expressing the woman inside. Again, it’s almost an unconscious mode of expression, and I love that it’s become so natural for us both.

I know that I’m happiest when fully expressing my femininity, and that I thoroughly enjoy the ritual of revealing the woman inside of me. I love the feel of my most feminine clothes, the taste of my lipstick, and the smell of wet nail polish. Being called ma’am gives me a giddy little thrill, and finding a perfect pair of heels in my size is almost an orgasmic delight. The feel of stockings rubbing together beneath my skirt is absolutely divine, and the simple act of adjusting a bra strap is a pleasure. At home, I avoid the mirror like the plague, afraid of the disconnect between identity and expression. When I’m out and about, though, I simply cannot pass up a chance to admire the woman in the mirror when I pass by.

So, I ask you, what does that make me? Am I a transsexual who can’t commit? A transvestite with delusions of grandeur? An ill-adjusted crossdresser? A drag queen without a stage? Am I just genderqueer or, perhaps, androgynous? Depending on who you ask, I may be none of the above, all of the above, or something completely different. Guess what . . . I’m OK with that.

Ultimately, we are who are, and we are what we make of ourselves. It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to accept that – and far too many drafts of this post to stop worrying about it. Personally, I don’t need to label myself to understand myself, and my wife doesn’t need to label me to appreciate who I am. That works for us, and that’s great. However, reading through the blogs featured here, I’ve also seen that labels can help friends to better identify and relate to each other. If labelling myself a crossdresser helps to make a connection with even one new friend, then that’s great too.

So, with all that said, please consider these my personal Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections. Should they reflect your own [insert label here] Thoughts & Reflections as well, then I guess we’ve made a connection . . . one that I hope you’ll share with us all. J


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Petra

I have many, many friends who proudly proclaim themselves as crossdressers.  Nothing more, nothing less, and I very much respect that. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be featuring guest posts on the subject of crossdressing.  Our authors are excellent writers and you will probably recognize most of them.

Our first post is from Petra Bellejambes.  Crossdressers like to....well....dress, and Petra knows her fashion.  She has graciously allowed us to display some of her favorite pictures with this post.  I'm sure you will agree that this girl looks just fab!  And, her writing ain't bad either!

Petra's blog is Voyages en Rose.

 - Calie

I am not a psychiatrist, but If I played one on TV, my character would wear a smart lab coat, belt looped at the back, and a sleek pencil skirt. The shoes would click of course, only borderline office appropriate.  Sexy/brainy eyeglasses and savage tousled dark hair recently set free from pony tail frame my face. My bright young complexion, only lightly made up, somehow unlined by the thorny problems I wrestle with daily. I would, of course, effortlessly and unknowingly drive male colleagues to distraction and female ones to smoldering furies of envy …

Rather flip and fanciful, yes. And precisely the attitude that exposes a fault line that for many exists between the Cross Dresser and much of the rest of the TG spectrum.

I am trying, today, to picture the (periodic) Cross Dresser through the eyes of the Transitioned, the Transitioning, and the resignedly troubled Non-Transitioner. There goes the Cross Dresser, seemingly happy to set sail en femme and explore new shores. A nice lark for them. And then the wind turns, and blows them timely back home. While you, the committed, with your ships burnt on distant rocky shoals are marooned, severed wholly or in part from your pasts, from family, former friends, perhaps even from the greatest loves in your lives, and god yes, even your children. Free yes to discover a new world, but lost to the old one. What prices you have paid.

I suspect that these are some of the sentiments that flash and flicker in the minds of those you who feel a genuine incongruity between your assigned gender and every thing you feel when you consider the relatively flighty plight of the Cross Dresser.

I suspect that these sentiments contribute in part to a label that I have heard applied to me, and others of my kind. Cross Dresser may not be a perfect label, but it is a label I wear. I wear it with pride too. I hear it cheapened sometimes with the application of a simple prefix.


Just a Cross Dresser.

The connotations of “just” trouble me just a little. “Just” connotes a state of incompletion, of inauthenticity, of partial apprehension of a bigger undiscovered whole. “Just” connotes that we Cross Dressers may have some nice feathers, but we haven’t earned our wings.

I am not the sensitive type, really. One can’t embrace honest discovery of their own gender complexion with very thin skin after all. And I do not mean to suggest that “just” is a majority sympathy or entirely dismissive sentiment. Perhaps it is just an accident of language, a convention of conversation. And to be fair, my female personae has been warmly met by strangers and well embraced by the very select handful of people intimate with the rest of my life. Without this embrace, my own embrace would be weaker, more episodic, less complete. And to be honest, perhaps a little more adolescent, fetishy and, O dear, maybe just a little icky.
But “just” does lurk. In point of fact, I used the prefix “just” myself once over a cocktail with a M2F acquaintance well en route. So I wanted to address “just” here today.

Well, earned or not, I do have wings, and they help me soar. My periodic adventures en Femme in the big wide open are a source of exhilaration. I achieve a heightened state of attenuation and receptivity to the world around me. And then yes, the clothes, the hair, the accessories come off. The makeup is scrubbed away and the nails are pried off. There I stand with all the surfaces re-arranged and congruent with my assigned gender. Beneath the surfaces though, something important has been touched, cultivated and nurtured. Something that lasts long after the tidy up and fold away. Something that gets expressed in the rest of my “male” life, and changes for the better all of my interactions with the world around me.

These periodic privileges, to use a shopworn phrase, complete me.

And perhaps here lies the essential difference between those who will not transition, by preference, and those who have, who will or, with a different hand dealt to them, would.

I do not feel any incongruence with my biology, my appearance, my bodily inheritances, or the most of the expectations that the world has of me as a result of my evidently masculine presentation. I do feel however that my inheritances are inadequate. Inadequate to the opportunities of experience and sensation that are available to us all, if we are but willing to shake things up a little.

I must share as well in all honesty that I am relieved. Any chap who slides into a pair of panties the second time and is ensnared by curiosity and a need that cannot be easily explained knows right deep down, in the oldest most instinctive, primitive, reflexive precincts of our brains that big, big questions are being posed: Why do I feel this way? Am I male? Have I been wrong all along? Where does this end?

And this we all have in common. Whether our explorations of self and of gender come from feelings of incongruence deep within, or from curiosity about things worn without, these questions we all asked of ourselves.

And so, to my well feathered sisters of the Cross Dressing variety, I tender encouragement here today. Encouragement to join me in forsaking use of this common prefix, “just”, when thinking of yourselves. If had kept these doors of exploration closed, well, you would be “just”. Just another guy. But in opening the doors, you made yourself bigger, better and more whole. Brave you. I hope that happiness is your dividend.

And finally to my brave friends, the reborn, the Transitioned, the Transitioning and especially those of you who at last measure will not, who cannot, and will yet find a way to live with your inheritances, I say thank you. You really inspire.

We, all of us, have an opportunity to make life beautiful. None of us, in this regard are “just” anything.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections

This coming week, we will begin our series of guest posts on the topic of crossdressing.  As with our similar Transition series, a few months ago, these are all very well written posts and well worth reading.

Stay tuned!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alex's Transphobic Hate Crime Video

My close and dear on-line friend, Alexandra Young left me this email:

I wonder if you could place a link onto T-Central to the Hate Crime video by Central Regional Police in Scotland featuring my interview? I think there is a lot for others regardless of gender on there worth hearing. I will place it on my blog as well.

The video is about 15 minutes long and well worth watching. 

Alex's experience brings to mind two very similar and unfortunate incidents that affected me.  One resulted in a broken bone that still affects me, physically, today and one in genital molestation.  Both happened while at school.  

I encourage our readers to share similar experiences or to just comment on Alex's video.

You can read Alex's Transition Thoughts and Reflections post here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dealing With Relationship Changes When You Transition

In October, Brittany did a fabulous post on her blog, A Day in the Life of a Texas Transsexual. It is long but very well written and, in my opinion, well worth the time to read it.  Rather than link to it, with Brittany's permission, I am publishing it as a guest post on T-Central.


Hello again everyone!

Transsexual people have to deal with many different things when they transition. Every aspect of your life is affected when you transition from one gender to another. Just living as a Transsexual in society is hard enough today with all the prejudice and ignorance that exists, but there are many other obstacles to overcome as well. The most important is no doubt keeping your job. I have known many people who lost their jobs when they announced to their employers that they planned to transition. Even if you are lucky enough to keep your job when you transition there are still many negative aspects that you have to deal with. The most difficult thing you have to deal with when you transition is dealing with all of the people in your life.

When a person fully transitions, every single person in their life is affected by it. Knowing that your transition will affect every single person in your life, and that you will most likely lose many friends and family members along the way, only makes it all the more difficult for the person transitioning. Add to that the possibility of losing your job, everything you own, your retirement, knowing that so much ignorance and prejudice exists towards Transgender people and it makes the thought of transitioning absolutely terrifying. It takes a huge amount of courage to overcome all of that fear -- but in the end you simply have no choice. You reach the point where your "bell goes off" and you either transition or you die. You reach the point in your life where you realize that you have to live your life and if you can't do that you would rather be dead. You transition knowing full well that most of the people in your life will never be able to understand why you had to transition and also that many of them - including family members - may never accept you.

When I knew I had to fully transition in early 2009, I fully expected to lose almost everything I had -- after all, I had witnessed this happen many times to many other people when they transitioned. I thought for sure that I would lose my job and that would in turn lead to the loss of my house, possibly my car and most other possessions. I also fully expected to lose most of the people in my life, including most friends and even family members.

When I transitioned I was very lucky. I was one of the very few who transition who was able to keep her job. I also kept most of my friends. I was positive that I would lose my parents but they kept me in their lives and did not turn their backs on me. My sister has known about me since approximately 1993 so I did not expect to lose her. I was also single and had no children, so I didn't have to go through the loss of my family like I have witnessed so many of my friends go through. Compared to most people who transition, I was very lucky indeed.

All of Your Relationships WILL Change!Even though I never lost many of my good friends or my parents our relationships were forever changed. I fully expected this, after all how could they not? All of these people now viewed me as someone entirely different from the person they thought they knew before -- and they were right to feel that way because they had really only known a small part of me for all those years. I wasn't even the GENDER they thought I was - at least not mentally! Although I knew these relationships would be forever changed, I never fully realized just to what extent they would be changed before I transitioned.

When I first transitioned I was really grateful that I was so accepted by most of the people in my life -- and that is still the case to this day. Every single one of those relationships did change though. Now I will try to attempt to explain how this 'change in relationship' has effected not only all of the people in my life but also how it has been from my own perspective.

Transsexual people need to understand that although many people in your life may have "supported" your transition, the reality is that EVERYTHING has changed in they way they now view you. Do NOT expect your relationships with anyone who knew you before you transitioned to remain the same! The way EVERYONE who knew you before you transitioned feels about you IS now completely different. To all of the people in your life, the entire relationship dynamic has completely changed -- because now those people realize that you are a lot different from the person they always thought you were.

When you first transition and you receive support from people you are very happy to have it, but after time goes on you suddenly realize that things really HAVE changed after all. These people meant it when they said they supported you when you first told them about your transition -- after all, you probably told them BEFORE you actually transitioned. You may have told them in person, by telephone, or possibly by email, but since it was before you transitioned you were still presenting as "male" -- you seem like the same person they have always known. These people had no trouble facing you or talking to you at the time since you looked and sounded the same way you always did. However, once you transition this is NOT the case at all, because you now look and sound completely different – you look and sound like a woman! Just knowing about these changes creates problems for you and everyone else in your life as well.

It was easy for a lot of people to fully accept you when you told them you were going to transition, but after some time goes by and you do transition these people have had more time to think about what was actually taking place. They come to realize that you are not the person they thought you were at all. In many ways, you now suddenly seems like a total stranger to them in many ways and as a result they don't quite know how to maintain the friendship. These people don't just suddenly "stop supporting" their friend who transitioned, but the relationship HAS changed they really don't know quite how to deal with all of it. In the end these people just slowly fade out of the life of the person who transitioned never to be heard from again. Even though these people may have "accepted" you when you first told them you planned to transition, after a while you suddenly realize that in reality many of the people who first accepted you really ARE gone from your life after all.

Drifting Apart...Many people who transition who were at first "accepted" by their friends end up losing those same friends in the end just because they had drifted apart. This is a very common occurrence with people who rarely see you or have never seen you at all since your transition took place. Drifting apart is not really anyone's "fault" at all -- it is just something that happens for many different reasons.

In a recent post I told about meeting some friends from Missouri I used to work with while I was attending a conference in San Diego, CA. For me, these were the same people I had known for years - nothing had changed my view of them at all -- they were exactly the same.

However, the exact opposite was true for them. I looked, sounded and acted completely different than the person they had known for so many years -- I was not even the same gender I used to be! They had no real "problems" with me, but they felt awkward when they were around me because the relationship had changed so much from the one they were familiar and comfortable with. Years before they would have said anything to me and been unrelenting with their jokes, but they didn't feel comfortable to act that way with me now since they viewed me as a woman - or at least someone in the process of changing into a woman. I appreciated the fact that they did this, because I did not want or expect to be treated the same way that I had been when I had to be "male" around them.

Until that meeting in San Diego, I had never given much thought at all about how or why my friends might have difficulty relating to me now that I had transitioned -- I had only been concerned about their acceptance of me. Most people in my life were shocked but had no problems accepting the fact that I am Transsexual -- knowing how to deal with that change in the relationship was/is the hardest thing to actually deal with -- and not only for them, but for me also.

The reactions of my friends at the conference in San Diego were perfectly understandable. At the time it was a little amusing to me to see their discomfort, but at the same time knowing that they were uncomfortable was also very frustrating. The more I thought about it the more I wanted their discomfort to evaporate. I knew that if I could spend some time (at least a few hours) with them that much of their discomfort would probably disappear but unfortunately we just didn't have the time to do that at the conference.

And THAT is the problem! It is simply impossible for you to sit down with all of your friends for long enough periods of time to where they all feel "comfortable" with you! In my case, most of my old friends are scattered all across the country or even live in Europe. They have trepidations about contacting me - and I have trepidations about contacting them also, because I KNOW they will feel weird hearing me on the phone, or seeing me for the very first time and I don't want to "thrust" them into that kind of situation. It is a difficult situation all the way around and there is no easy answer.

My point is that you need to realize these things will happen when you transition. Do NOT think that things will be the same way they have always been with all the people in your life - because they won't be the same at all. The reality is that everything HAS changed!

Maintaining The Relationship
In an earlier post, I pointed out that it is important that the person transitioning maintains the contact in these relationships. Email is one way to do this. Using social networks like Facebook is another way that enables people to stay in touch, see how you look and know what is going on in your life. Social networks help you to maintain those relationships, because your friends and family members can see pictures of how you look and hear what is happening in your life. Social networks are a "safe" way for your friends to see you and learn about your life from a "safe distance." Social networks do NOT solve all of the problems mentioned before though -- all of those problems still exist.

For example, think about how it would be to call one of your old friends on the phone. You are now using a completely different voice (in most cases anyway) and you don't know how your friend will react or feel about that. Also, depending on your history with the person, it may be somewhat difficult to talk about "old times" now - for the very same reasons I mentioned above when I met my friends from Missouri in San Diego.

Like I mentioned earlier, actually seeing you for the first time is also very difficult for most people - and that might be very awkward for you as well. Before their friend transitioned they may have called "him" several times a year or invited 'him' over for dinner, to go to a movie, attend a party, set 'him' up with a date, etc. Now that "she" has transitioned, the person they thought they knew before seems much more like a stranger to them and they do not know how to approach her. They don't feel comfortable calling her on the phone any more -- after all, would she now sound like a woman on the phone? THAT would be weird! They have never seen their friend dress, look or act like a woman either, so they never invite her out to lunch or dinner, to the movies, or over to their house any more. Just imagining "him" as a "her" is very difficult, but to actually SEE it would really be difficult to deal with and would no doubt be quite a shock. It is no doubt be much easier NOT to have to deal with that situation at all -- after all, most people will always take the easiest way out of a difficult situation if they are ever given a choice. As a result, no contact is ever made with the person who transitioned.

I know several people who supported me since I transitioned who live fairly close to me but have yet to see me in the flesh. I have talked with some of these people over the phone or by email and they always seem to want to get together, but it never actually happens. Some have told me things like, "We'll have to go to lunch sometime" but I know when I hear that it will most likely never happen. Unless someone says something like, "Want to go to lunch this Tuesday at 11:30?" you can bet that the "loose" lunch date will never actually materialize...

It is really hard to know just what to do in these cases. For example, I know that these people feel strange about me to begin with so the last thing I want to do is to just suddenly show up on their doorstep just to say hello - how awkward would that be..?!!! I have even had people tell me to call them before I came over - probably so they could be prepared mentally to see me for the very first time. The fact that they told me to "call first" before coming over is understandable, but it still is a bit insulting. Realistically, just suddenly showing up on their doorsteps may be the only option in the end that will enable all of us to get past this initial phase of awkwardness.

Also, life goes on. All their lives as well as mine. Maintaining contact with people I haven't spoken to since I transitioned is far down on my list of things to do because I have a lot going on in my own life at the moment -- and I'm sure they do too. As life goes on more people from your 'old life' just seem to fade away...

Some Relationships Cannot Be Saved
Since I transitioned full time I have never had anyone just tell me to my face that they wanted nothing to do with me. Even though this has been the case, I also know that many people where I work have problems with my transition. There are about 1200 people working for the agency where I work in Dallas. Out of that 1200 people, only about 150 of them attended the Donna Rose training right before I transitioned. This leaves MANY of those people with no understanding of Transsexualism at all and many of them DO have "problems" with me. Most of the people I work with directly do not seem to have "real problems" with me, but there are a few who I know do. These people have no problems working with me on a professional level but anything beyond that, like friendship, is simply not going to happen.

For example, one woman who was a fairly good friend of mine before I transitioned used to care enough about me to stop by my office and see how I was doing if she hadn't seen me for a while. She has not stopped by my office one single time since I transitioned. The other day I even loaned her a new CD for her to listen to that I thought she would like. Later that day I went by her office and found the CD on her chair - she'd left it there for me to pick up if I came by. She had gone to a doctor's appointment and had left early for the day. Instead of stopping by my office (which she walked right by on her way out) to drop off the CD, she left it on her chair for me to find. This way she could avoid me. I have never mentioned this to her and never found out if she even liked the CD. Frankly, I don't care. She has made it clear to me where I stand as far as she is concerned.

I have also never seen this particular woman in the women's rest room a single time since I transitioned so I am sure she actually goes to a bathroom an a different floor rather than use one I might happen to be in. She is very friendly to me face-to-face but she obviously has real problems with me. She will work with professionally but it is obvious that she no longer considers me a friend. She is a real disappointment, but I will not waste time worrying about her -- life goes on and I will only worry about my true friends.

People Who Have Problems With GRS
Another relationship that has suffered and changed since I transitioned is my relationship with my parents. My parents did not shun me when I told them I planned to transition. My dad obviously had problems with the fact that I eventually planned to have surgery but he didn't disown me when he learned I planned to transition. My mother was really supportive at first but as time went on I could feel her support start to dwindle. It is now very clear to me that my mother also has problems with the fact that I will have surgery.

Several people knew I was Transsexual for years before I ever transitioned. My relationship with every single one of those people changed after I fully transitioned - and that was something I NEVER expected at all! Some of these people also clearly have problems with the fact that I will have GRS. These same people seemed to have very few problems with the fact that I am Transsexual, but their support seemed to quickly fade once they knew for sure that I actually planned to have surgery. Even though they have no idea when that surgery will be, they still know it's coming and have had less and less contact with me ever since as a result. There are many people who have real problems with the fact that I plan to have surgery!.

My point in all of this is that even though I didn't officially lose many family or friends when I transitioned, the reality is that I really did. The relationship with every single person in my life has completely changed -- even if they already were already aware I was Transsexual. Because of this, in many ways I can't help but feel that I have really lost many of the people in my life since I transitioned.

I knew before I transitioned that my relationships with all the people in my life would be different, but I never realized just to what extent this would be true. It has been MUCH worse than I ever imagined it would be - and NOT in a good way. Be prepared for this when you transition. You will be very surprised and shocked by just how much that change will be after you transition.

Sometimes They Come Back
I have witnessed many of my friends lose their wives and kids once they transitioned. I know many people who transitioned after 20-plus years of marriage and went through (or are currently going through) some of the nastiest divorces imaginable. I have also noticed that the younger (0 to early teens) the children are the more likely they are to accept the transition. Children who are older (mid-teens and older) usually have the worst problems with the fact their father plans to transition to a woman. Many of these older children are not only embarrassed and ashamed that their father is transitioning into a woman, but many obviously feel a huge resentment because of how their mother is affected by the transition and the breakup of the family unit.

I have known several people who lost friends and family members when they first transitioned, but as time passed a few of those people came back. This is more common with family members than friends, which makes sense since family members are closer to you and are normally with you all your life.

I have known several people, for example, who lost their children when they transitioned but over time some of those children - if not all of them - eventually came back. In some cases I have even seen how these children have completely accepted the transitioner in the end and actually think of and refer to them as another mother and their relationship was closer than ever before. This level of acceptance is very rare (from what I have seen) but I have seen it happen -- so never give up hope!

Going Stealth

I have known Transsexual people who have turned their backs on all of their friends and family once they transitioned. This is pretty easy to do if you have little or no support from most friends or family members after you transition.

Things also change over time after you transition. At first you only wanted support from all of the people in your life, but after a while this isn't enough. You may feel you have support from the people in your life, but soon you realize that most, if not all, will never fully accept you as a woman because they have already "gendered" you as "male." This poses a big problem because you want and need to be fully accepted as a woman -- and this need, of course, only gets worse after you have had surgery and you ARE physically and legally female.

I completely understand how Transsexual women only want to live their lives as women and feel that having ties to anyone who knew them before they transitioned will only hinder them. They ONLY want to be viewed as women - NOT as Transsexuals. This is true in my case as well. I do NOT want to be known by everyone as "Transsexual" - I am a woman and I want people to only think of me and treat me as any other woman.

I have known Transsexual women who just suddenly "disappeared" at some point. They wanted no ties to the "Transgender community" at all. They did NOT want to be known as "Transsexual" by everyone who knew them -- actually, by ANYONE who knew them. They decided to "go stealth." They left all ties behind and started whole new lives where everyone who knew them would ONLY know them as women. If all the friends in your life ONLY knew you as a woman they would have no trouble at all accepting you as a woman. They would ONLY view and treat you as any other woman – which is exactly what most Transsexual people want.

Even my (ex) best friend went "stealth" on me. I had been her best friend and supported her through her transition from the very start to the finish. She had even given me credit for stopping her from committing suicide at one point when things really got bad for her. I was there for her every step of the way during her entire transition all the way through surgery, but as soon as she learned I was transitioning full-time she turned her back on me and I haven't heard from her since. Such loyalty… She obviously wanted to break all ties to her former life and I was a part of that life she needed to leave behind. She wanted no ties to the "Transgender community" and she probably considered me to be a part of that community. She also probably did not want to have to go through another person's transition -- after all, her transition had been hard enough. I still resent her for doing this to me at the time when I needed her the most -- because I never would have done the same thing to her. Still, I can understand WHY she felt the need to do it.

Like I said, I can fully understand why Transsexual people want to "go stealth." Having everyone in your life ONLY view you as a woman would be wonderful and it would solve so many problems. On the other hand, being stealth also CREATES a lot of problems as well. The main problem it creates is MAINTAINING that 'stealthiness.'

Being stealth years ago was fairly easy to do because it was much easier to hide your trail. All documents were paper-based and held somewhere in a manual filing system. Today this is not the case at all. Maintaining stealthiness in this day and age is almost next to impossible. Today documents are stored in digital format and can be very easily accessed by many different people all across the country. The Internet and digital databases make it very easy for people to "out" you at some point. For example, even though you can change your name and gender at the Social Security Office they still keep your original gender on file. I have also heard of Transsexual people who had been stealth for years who found that when they applied for Medicare that they were still listed as "male."

I do know some TS women who are stealth and married to men. In most cases their husbands know they are Transsexual but they also only view them as women since they never knew them before they transitioned. I have even met TS women who were married to men who NEVER knew that they were TS. Living in stealth mode is no doubt much easier for married TS women -- just the fact that they are married makes their stealthiness that much "deeper," because they appear to be no different from any other married couple in the eyes of society – I guess you could say that their husband is the perfect “beard.” Even though being married adds to your stealthiness, all the problems with maintaining that stealthiness still apply -- except now two people may be affected if you are somehow outed...

My (ex) best-friend once told me that transitioning was NOT the hardest thing to deal with for Transsexual people -- maintaining your stealthiness, on the other hand, is. In her eyes, if anyone knew you were Transsexual you were nothing but a "complete failure." She even thought that people who were TS fighting for the rights of Transgender people were complete failures just because of the fact that everyone knew they were Transsexual. Needless to say, she and I had some major differences of opinion on this issue...

People who are completely stealth (this is known as being "deep stealth") live in constant fear that they will be "outed" at some point and the life they had worked so hard to achieve will be ruined. I fully understand the want and need to be stealth -- but I certainly will never let stealthiness rule my life. I had to hide who I was almost my entire life -- because for years my life depended on me doing that -- it was a survival tactic. My days of hiding who I am are over! I am very proud of who I am now and it took years for me to come to terms with who I was and to feel that way. I REFUSE to go "back in the closet" again and forever worry that someone will eventually find out that I am Transsexual! I DON'T care if people know I am Transsexual -- I am very PROUD of that fact!

That being said, it is still possible to live with a very high degree of stealthiness. I can live in stealth mode easily enough when I am out in regular society. I can (eventually) live in an area where my neighbors have no "history" of me being "male" and they only view and consider me to be a woman. I can even have friends who only know me as a woman also. One day I may even have a job where everyone I work with only knows me as a woman. I can have all of that and actually be just as stealth as anyone who is in "deep stealth mode," but I will NEVER worry about being "outed." My world won't come to an end if at some point in my life someone somehow finds out that I am Transsexual. The greatest difference between me and someone who is “deep stealth” is that I won't live in constant fear of eventually being outed...

I would also have real problems hiding the fact of who I really was to someone I loved -- that just won't happen. I wouldn't want to be with someone who didn't fully accept me for who I am anyway.

I also have too much loyalty to ever turn my back on my friends and family and simply walk away never to be heard from again -- especially after they have supported me. There may be problems in some of those relationships now that I have transitioned, but they deserve better than me just turning my back on them. I will always do whatever I can to keep those friendships because they are very important to me and I care about every one of those people!

Developing New Friendships as My True Self
Although I will never turn my back on all of my old friends, right now I am at a point in my life where I need to create new friendships with people who ONLY know me as female. Even if some of these people know I am Transsexual, they still won't have the baggage or history of knowing me before as "male," and as a result, will accept me only as the true person I am.

I have recently made some new friends who fall into this category. They completely accept me as a woman and do not have a conflicting memory of remembering me as a ‘male’ -- and this is a rare and wonderful thing for me! These people have known me as my ‘true self’ right from the very start and it will be much easier to develop deep friendships or relationships with them as a result.

In previous posts I have mentioned that there are two types of surgery that I plan to have. The most important of all is gender reassignment surgery (GRS). I also plan to have facial feminization surgery (FFS) after I have GRS. Both surgeries are very expensive and very painful – but like I have heard so many times – “transition is both very painful and expensive.”

I have had people request that I discuss the different surgeons who perform both GRS and FFS. At some point I may discuss who and where some of these surgeons are located, but I will NEVER recommend one surgeon above another. If I did something like that it would no doubt create a firestorm of angry emails from people who disagreed with my recommendations. I have found that (in most cases) once someone undergoes surgery from one surgeon they will swear until the day they die that that person is the “best” surgeon in the world. I have seen people do this even if they had MAJOR problems caused by their surgeon. Because of this I will NEVER recommend one surgeon over another – even if I happen to think that some surgeons are clearly better than others.

In a previous blog post I stated that I would never divulge when or where I plan to have surgery (GRS or FFS). The reason for this is because there are too many people in my life who are bothered by the fact that I plan to have surgery. These people simply do not understand how important surgery is or exactly what it means to me -- or any Transsexual person for that matter. How could they? Only another Transsexual person would understand this. I have decided that what they don’t know won’t hurt them – or cause them to worry needlessly. I simply cannot risk someone reading this blog, finding out when I will have surgery and telling someone I do not want to know – so I won’t discuss my surgery dates or locations.

Although I do not plan to discuss the date or location I will have surgery, I MAY detail the experience afterwards on this blog. At this point, I haven’t decided for sure that I will do that, but I most likely will. I know that the details would no doubt bother and even upset a lot of people in my life, but the main purpose of this blog is to help other Transsexual people and if I decide that my experience will help them in any way I will write about it. Again, I won’t do that until AFTER the fact…!

Take care and enjoy your life!


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