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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Computers: Safe & Stealthy

Yesterday, at a lunch with several trans friends, we had a discussion about the need for two "selves", or "spirits" as Halle might say, within one computer. Our male self and our female self. If the computer is shared in the household, with the family, it may not necessarily be a good thing for the kids to discover that Dad or Mom have another identify representing the opposite gender.

A few weeks ago, Lynn Jones, of the fab Yet Another T Girl Blog, sent me a guest post, and I was reminded of this when we had the conversation yesterday. It's worth reading, since Lynn is arguably somewhat of a geek and may actually know of what she speaks, and it's a subject we have never touched on at T-Central.

If you’re reading this,chances are it’s on a computer, or a smartphone, and, you will be leaving some fingerprints, as it were. Now, for most of our day to day web searching, we’re probably not too bothered. If I Google for a local restaurant, I’m not fussed if my co-worker sees that, or my kids see it in my search history. But, if I searched ‘how to come to terms with being trans’, or ‘how to apply false eyelashes’, I’d probably be a bit more concerned.

So, how do I keep my search history and Internet use apart? That’s the question I’m hoping to answer in today’s post. It will be a little technical, but with a spot of web searching, you’ll no doubt find your way around, pretty quickly.

I’d like to add that these aren’t massively in depth, you will need to do some extra searching and possibly a bit of thinking, over what is right for you. I’m not here to tell

you what to do, but to sow some seeds, and get you thinking.

Still with me? Let’s get started!

The Basics

We’ll start with the basics; browsers. You can probably list off a few of them: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. Picking one is a bit like choosing a car. They all pretty much do the same thing, but they do some things better than their rivals, and other things not so well. But, all of them, do leave some history behind and flushing your history at every turn can become a bit of a pain.

Tip One: A Second Browser

So, here’s Tip One: use a second browser. If your Internet world revolves around Chrome, or IE, download and install Firefox or Opera. You could delete it from the desktop to make it a little harder for people to find. By using a second browser, you are keeping your Internet use separate.

Sure, you’re still downloading things to the same desktop (be careful of that), but if you have two social media profiles - one for ‘her’ / one for ‘him’ - this keeps the two apart. It will also mean as browse the web, any adverts that pick up where you’ve been, are likely to be kept in their respective browser.

Now, anyone poking around your desktop, may stumble across this and if they launch it, maybe they’ll find something they didn’t expect.

Next step: Search for another browser and install it to your system.

What about Smartphones?

There are also extra browsers for smartphones too. Android has Chrome, which is preinstalled, but there’s also Firefox, Boat, Dolphin, Opera and Lightning, to name but a few. Apple’s iPhone comes with Safari as standard, although there’s also Dolphin, Opera and Chrome.

You can get app locking software, which will stop an application from being opened, unless you can enter a passcode. These are great for keeping your kids - or relatives :-) - from installing junk software. They are also great in protecting your second browser, from unauthorized access. If anyone asks, tell them it’s for Internet security, like banking or suchlike.

Tip Two: Portable Browsers

Most software, and certainly on WIndows and Apple Macs, needs to be installed. By that, I mean you download a program, and then run a SETUP program, which puts all the right bits in all the right places. This is okay if you want to keep a program on your computer, but there are occasions, when you can’t load stuff onto a computer. Maybe you don’t want to leave any junk behind, or maybe you are not allowed to put software on. Say, like a computer a work.

Some bright sparks worked out a way of making some software portable. If you search for ‘Portable Apps’, you’ll find various programs, that can be kept on a USB pen,, or kept stashed on a hard disk.

How does this apply to you? Well, software from a portable app, doesn’t really show up on a computer. There’s no desktop or Start Menu links. You have to go digging for it. So, for our purposes, we could download - say Firefox Portable - and do one of three things with it:

  1. We could let the portable program expand itself to a folder buried deep in your documents. This makes it harder for people to find it.
  2. We could expand the program into a folder on the desktop and then ‘zip’ that folder up with a password and rename it, to hide it further.
  3. We could let the program expand itself to a USB drive (and you’ll need a fast one, for this). This lets you stash the USB stick somewhere safe.

Next Steps: Try searching for ‘Portable Apps’ or ‘Portable apps for Macs’ for more information. Once you’ve found an app you like, give it a spin and see if it works for you. When you’re happy with it, find out how to hide the folder deep within your existing documents, or even a USB pen.

Tip Three: Encryption

There’s been a lot in the news about people encrypting their smartphones. You can, should you feel the need, use something like TruCrypt, to create a hidden and encrypted folder, on your computer. Here, you can keep all your photos and Portable Apps, safe. Just, don’t forget the password!

Once you’ve got TruCrypt up and running, you can go ahead and expand a Portable App into it. When you close down TruCrypt the browser will effectively vanish from your computer.

Next steps: Search TruCrypt and read up on the subject, to see if this is for you.

Tip Four: Hidden Users

When you log on to your computer, you are using a ‘user account’. It’s a way of keeping all your settings and preferences away from another person. This is a great way to allow a computer to be used by different people, but not mess up everyone’s wall paper.

If you don’t fancy installing extra software, or using a USB pen, this is another option for you. We’ve already read that It’s best practice to give everyone in your family their own profile. It means everyone's bookmarks, or favourites, are kept apart, and there can be no accidental logging in to the wrong Facebook account, either.

Tim, those muffins you baked last week looked awesome. Oh, sorry. Did Barbara use your account again?” :-)

Macs, Windows, Linux and Chromebooks can all have extra profiles. Why not create one that sounds a bit computery? Maybe ‘backup’ or ‘systemX’? Given it a strong password, that you can remember, and you can log in as this, rather than your regular account.

The upside of this, is that your computer’s security will take care of keeping your data and Internet use hidden. You can also hide this account, so it cannot be seen during the normal log on process.

The downside, is that you may have to log in and out, to jump between different profiles. That is, unless you’re willing to master something like ‘Run As’, which can be tricky.

Next Steps:

Tip Five: Virtual Machines

Without going into great depth, and this is probably something for the wizkids out there, you could run a second ‘virtual computer’ on your existing one. This doesn’t mean wiping your existing machine, or installing extra hard disks. Instead, you use something like VMware Player, Parallels or VirtualBox. These programs allow you to run an extra operating system - like Windows, or Linux - on your computer at the same time. I’m paraphrasing here and a good Search through Google, or otherwise, will tell you more. Anyhoo, this lets you keep a dedicated computer to yourself, so there’s a low risk of someone getting into it.


The thing with any of these tips, is that they are just that: tips. They’re not cast iron solutions and someone with good IT skills, will find a way to get around what you’ve done. Maybe someone will find the Portable App, or maybe you’ll leave the USB pen lying around. We’re all human and we all make mistakes.

It’s also worth mentioning backups. It’s about exciting as tax returns, I know, but if you’ve built up a collection of photos, or emails; do think about how to keep them safe. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iDrive or OneDrive, can all be used to store your files on-line. If you’re troubled by the idea of them being accessed, services such as Backblaze, Carbonite, Crashplan or  SpiderOak (there are others), can help you encrypt and keep your data safe off your computer (

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Stereotyping of Transgender Women Continues

Those who are not able to experience first hand what it is to be transgender can not understand the gravity of the error being made when they say that a transgender woman "was a guy". For most if not all, transition was just a changing of the outer packaging. The "guy" everyone saw was just an actor in a theatre of their own life.

Does the media distort just what being trans is all about?  For the most part, sadly yes, although it's getting better (I do work in the media so perhaps I am a bit biased).  Christen says a lot in, The Stereotyping of Transgender Women Continues, a relatively short post, which includes a video. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When did you make the gender switch?

Virtually everyone reading this T-Central post has already read Stana's post on her mega-blog, Femulate.

She was recently honored with a well deserved award in the amateur radio community.  Although she was honored as Stan, she gave her acceptance speech as Stana.  It showed a lot of inner-strength to present as the woman she is to a stereotypically conservative group excepting to see a male.  It all worked out.  If you haven't congratulated Stana, please do by reading, When did you make the gender switch?, and then file a comment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Border Territories

Similarly, I've often declared my sexuality to be Kinsey 1½. Because neither 1 nor 2 (on the Kinsey scale) has ever felt quite right either.
Straight, but not quite.
Bisexual, but not quite.
Male, but not quite.
Trans, but not quite.
Cis, but not quite.
Non-binary, but not quite.

Binary.  Non-binary.  Sort of binary.  In between.  Whatever.....and that's not a bad thing.

I think this is where Jonathan is headed in his post, Border Territories.

Monday, May 23, 2016

It just goes to show......

There's an old joke that gets trotted out every so often in the community, "What's the difference between a cross dresser and a transsexual? ~ About three years"  Well for no particular reason I was looking back on some of my old posts and found this from November 2011.....

And what did Paula write about in 2011, and what has it to do with that old joke that has been around the trans community forever?  Read, It just goes to show......, to find out!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rebirth of a Smile

How fast a smile can disappear
Trace a backwards course from ear to ear
Eyes cast downwards the lament begins
Played on the worlds smallest violin

That's the first verse from a lovely lyricist (and the smile comes back).  Rebirth of a Smile is from Anna, the Secret Poet.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

As We Get Older

Nursing facility doors slam shut for transgender Iowan
Nursing homes and rehab centers' failure to accept transgender people a national problem
The Des Moines Register
By Lee Rood
May 19, 2016

Diana has a few words about a subject we don't think much about.  The scary ramifications of where some of us could be, As We Get Older.

Friday, May 20, 2016

the chicken or the egg

To me it’s the most obvious thing in the world that my gender identity was shaped much before my sexual identity was. What happened is that eventually upon meeting, the latter came into conflict with the former. This causes an unconventional situation but not the stuff that paraphilias are made of. 

More from Joanna on a subject she feels very strongly about.  As usual, from Joanna, her points are well stated in the chicken or the egg.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Today's Triumph: Confusing a Psychiatrist

She asked whether our child is my biological child or B's biological child.

I said yes.

After further questioning I said that our child is my biological child AND B's biological child.

She was ever so confused and I don't think she worked it out.

She thought she understood. She said she did.

But her confusion only increased when the answer to "Did you use some kind of surrogate?" turned out to be no.

Clare has confused a lot of people and, in her case, that's a good thing!  She discusses this in, Today's Triumph: Confusing a Psychiatrist.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hair, happiness and heels

For whatever reason, I've often felt like an outsider. Not rough & tumble, for one group. Not studious, to be with clever ones. Too 'boyish' to hang with the girls and, honestly, I didn't fit in with them either. I certainly wasn't part of the cool kids. The kind people, they are the ones I remember fondly.

It looks like Lynn has done two posts in one.  The first deals with happiness and includes some very candid and emotional thoughts triggered by a podcast featuring, of all people, Tom Hanks.  I love posts that share thoughts from the heart, and this is one of them.

The second half of Lynn's post is about the hair and the heels....mainly the hair.  Lynn, like Lucy (from the last featured post on T-Central), did some experimenting with wigs at one of her TG group meetings.  It was a fun time and, frankly, I'm jealous!

Hair, happiness and heels is from Lynn's long running Yet Another T-Girl Blog.

Oh, and is it just me, or does Lynn have one of the prettiest T-Blog logos in Blogistan?

Monday, May 16, 2016


For all women it can be the bane of their life but more so for trans ladies. Do you grow your own hair, are you at the stage where you are follically challenged so options are limited or do you prefer wearing a hairpiece and even then do you stick to one style or do you chop and change as the mood takes you.

A Morgan is Lucy's soulmate and the author of this blog.  Lucy is transitioning from male to female.  At this point in Lucy's transition, she's in that in-between mode, still presenting part time as male.  Wigs are a necessity right now prior to Lucy growing her hair out.  This post discusses their experience with a wig designer in Hong Kong.  It's well worth reading, Hair!, if you're shopping for a wig.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Big Reveal

A misleading title? Possibly, because what is being revealed is so wonderfully ordinary, which could be what makes it big and important. No matter, it seems a good idea now to give you all a report about what is going on chez Halle currently; three months into living as myself; one quarter of a year.  So here it comes.

So what's been going on with our (and my) good friend, Halle?  The Big Reveal tells it all.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Christen's Testimony: The Story of My Life

I did my best to be a good actor! I did as many male things as I could over the remaining years. I participated in a few sports but found that I was happiest in such endeavors as hiking and sailing and loathed any male team sports.  I found solace in individual activities which removed me from any gender specific environment and from people. 

Christen gave a talk recently to her local Baptist Church.  Now, that took some courage!  She's posted her talk in, Christen's Testimony: The Story of My Life.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I am a Monster

It’s me, Katie.

You may know me already.

I’m sweet and a little flirty. I love dresses and high heels and makeup. 

Unfortunately, I am also a parasite.

Wow, just wow.  This is one of the most powerful and well written posts I have seen in a long time.  It's from Katie, writing for Crossdresser Heaven.  You MUST read I am a Monster.   So sad, yet so true for so many of us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

IPL Hair Removal - Update

Overall I am very impressed with the results of my IPL experiment.  In total I have zapped myself about 4 or 5 times.  The directions are that you are supposed to wait 2 weeks between zaps.  I have followed those directions for the most part.  From the start til now I could probably have zapped it a few more times, but I have been lazy!

Is the purchase of a LumRx IPL hair removal system worth the cost?  Read Nadine's experience with the product in, IPL Hair Removal for the answer. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Gender GP

If you could wave a magic wand, and change one thing about the treatment of transgender people, what would it be?

Vivienne interviewed a medical doctor who treats, among others, those who are transgender.  The doctor's name is Helen Webberley, a General Practitioner from the UK.  One of the questions Vivienne asked Dr. Webberley is the question above.  Read The Gender GP for the answer, from the fine blog, Bluestocking Blue.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bared Soul

It pains me, you must understand, that being Stefani brings me little joy. It’s a burden that I’m learning to make peace with, but not a gift I can treasure. The ironic truth is that to find peace and happiness, I have to give up the illusion that Stefani doesn’t exist. I am Stefani. To deny her is to deny myself, and to deny myself is to live a lie. The truth, in all its agony and glory, is magnitudes more desirable than to live behind half-truths and complete lies.

Stefani wrote this post a bit over a week ago.  It's a post that should draw comments but I have yet to see one.  This girl wants romance, yet she feels that being trans will never give her what she so desires.  We all know that IT never goes away, and Stefani now realizes that too.  What do you think?  Read Bared Soul and consider leaving a comment.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

There and Back Again…

I said in my last blog that I was going to visit Dr Curtis to start the medical process towards transition.  It was an interesting meeting, I’m not sure I enjoyed it as I felt very nervous. Dates and the order of my journey so far just flew out of my head and I felt that I gave a very muddled account of myself.  In fact, when I got the report I didn’t open it for several weeks as I was sure it would be a label of ‘deluded bloke’ rather than ‘gender dysphoric transwoman’. 

It took a few weeks, but Rhi did oven that envelope.  Were the results good or bad?  To find out, you need to Rhiannon's post,  There and Back Again…

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Man's Man !

I started looking at some of my trans friends, specifically the ones that are ‘Part time’, still in hiding from their work, friends, family and sometimes even their wives. When they are not expressing themselves as feminine, they exhibit that same ‘Man’s Man’ kind of attitude. Not the over the top attitude of a typical bully to frat house jerk, just an expression that they are a MAN, with no hint of femininity.

I'm sure many of you will relate to this post from Jess.  A Man's Man !, is a short blog post but says a lot.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Crysti's Transition - Phase 1 through 7

Perhaps you read many cross dressers/transvestites who seem to cling to a specific article of women's clothing. (Like hose for an example.) I am not saying it is right or wrong, to each their own, but I just didn't. I wanted to look the best I could, but increasingly being a woman was overcoming looking like one in my mind. Sure shaved legs and panty hose felt great for a while until the world awaited to see you as a total person.

Crysti grew up in a world without an Internet and without a whole lot of information on being a crossdresser/transvestite or a transsexual.  She started off crossdressing, but it went on from there....all the way to transition.

In seven short posts, Crysti leads you through the process of discovering herself.  The links to all seven poses are below:

First in a Series

Transition Part II 

Transition Part III

Transition Part IV

Transition Part V

Transition Part VI

Transition Part VII 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rethinking late-onset transgender narratives

In a world where people just accept that people change genders rather than discover their true gender…it is much more easy to accept a sudden change in your colleague, Bob. When Bob comes to the office one Monday morning and announces he’s a girl then you think nothing of it because you know that people change genders. But when you believe he was always a girl trapped in a boy’s body you start thinking about Bob in the past. “But he used to love slagging off women…he used to love football…he used to etc. etc.” Bob is kind of on trial.

I read this and thought......interesting......and left it at that.  Rethinking late-onset transgender narratives is well worth reading, however.  And, really, we still know absolutely nothing about why we are the way we are, so perhaps the theory proposed here by Felix Conrad should be interesting....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lori's Update

I almost forgot just how good it feels to get things off my chest, to write first and foremost for an audience of one... me.  But I also miss the connections that I had with the blogging community, and the many trans friends I gained during that time.  There are but a handful of people from that time that I still communicate with on a regular basis, and I'm sure it's just because we're all busy.  We get so distracted by our daily business that it's easy to forget to stop and increase your value between each other. 

She's back!  Lori has not blogged for what seems like ages.  Read what T-Central's founder has been up to in An Update.

Monday, May 2, 2016

If you don’t know where you’re going…

On a bad day I’m overwhelmed by the frustration of effectively having to live with two identities. I’m sick and tired of inhabiting different worlds and having to choose between the two depending on circumstances and having to remember who knows about Ruth, who I’ve yet to tell and for whom she still remains a secret. I worry increasingly about tripping myself up and being outed inappropriately.

If you don’t know where you’re going…it can lead to a bad day, which is the subject of this post.  While not really a negative blog post, Ruth discusses a list of personal issues and feelings someone with gender dysphoria has to deal with on a bad day.  The quote, above, is just one of them.  Can you relate?

I want to thank Rhiannon, for suggesting Ruth's post be featured on T-Central.  Thanks, Rhi!

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