Why Bad Tranny?
Even though the title may be suggestive, this site is not about sex.
It's called Bad Tranny because I feel like that's what I am. I'm a proud Trans woman who refuses to acquiesce to political correctness. I am often at odds with the 'community' because I don't abide the victim mindset that so many seem to have. I just don't see the point in trying so hard to be offended by people who aren't really trying to offend us.
So much of the established community are more interested in policing the community instead of making a difference in the real world. I think if we put our best face forward and show everyone who we come in contact with that we are just regular people who happen to be transsexual, then the acceptance will take care of itself. Pretty radical stuff huh? ;-)
People need to see us as strong, confident, and capable, not as weak and constantly offended by something. Who wants to walk on egg shells around us all the time? Well this is my site and it's guaranteed to be free of political correctness. I have no agenda other than reporting on my life and transition as honestly as I can.
This is my blog. The journal of my transition from fraud to fabulous.
Sheesh, I must be the worst blogger ever. I'm a blogger that never blogs.
Well, this post isn't much of an entry either, it's more of an announcement. I have been conceptualizing a Youtube show called 'the Ex-Men' and I need a partner (or two) to help me make it happen.
The concept is pretty basic. Two (or 3) trans women discuss the issues of the day in an irreverant fast moving half hour. It will be weekly episodes with 'specials' as current events demand.
I had a partner in mind, but she doesn't want to be openly trans so I need a new girl that fits the following qualifications;
2. fully transitioned
3. camera friendly
4. hilarious, opinionated, smart, and a pop culture junkie
5. LOCAL (I live in Concord CA, and we will be filming most of the episodes in my home studio)
I believe this is going to be kind of a big deal so I need someone with big dreams who is good to go.
If you think you could be my girl, then contact me through this website and let's chat.
I know I haven't been contributing much to my blog but I've been reasonably prolific on the forums and Facebook over the last year, so I don't feel like a total lazy ass. Most of the stuff I've been addressing lately is related to this new weird censorship movement in the trans community. It's bizarre and I'm afraid we're only a couple of months away from actual book burnings so it's definitely going to get interesting. We do live in interesting times after all, but that is not what I'm thinking about right now.
What I'm musing about today is why any of us go through this awful process of transitioning at all. It has been very difficult for me and when I look around, it occurs to me that I may have even had it easy compared to some of my sisters. As hard as it's been, I can certainly imagine how it could have been much harder. My heart goes out to all of the transitioners, but especially to those gals who have seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way. There are all kinds of things that can derail a transition not the least of which is a decidedly masculine presence. I grew up as kind of a femmy boy but even I had considerable testosterone poisoning by the time I pulled the pin on the Tranny Grenade at 42. Luckily I had some resources that allowed me to deal with looking like a dude, and I dealt with it with extreme prejudice. It only took a couple of years for the whispers to stop. I'm one of the lucky ones though. What about the gals who don't have the resources and who were cursed with a large masculine frame that a pro athlete would envy?
I'm sure those gals feel the same way I do and like me, they are going to do it regardless of what they end up looking like. That's the way it is you know, once you realize that there is a way out of the bondage you've endured for a lifetime, you can't get out fast enough. So they do and they end up trading a life of privilege as a large imposing man to a life of scorn as an obvious transsexual. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Well, clearly nobody. I honestly don't think any of us are in our right minds. I think the decision to transition is made somewhere so primal that it can't be intellectualized. There is no advantage to transition. There is no reason whatsoever to do something that completely dismantles your life and very likely alienates you from everyone you know. No reason at all. ...except for one; Freedom.
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to explain this, but we are all simply trying to be free. Imagine going to the beach in a tuxedo you couldn't take off. It's fun to be there but volleyball would be so much easier if you could kick off your shoes. It would also be nice to get in the water for a minute, maybe catch some rays. Sure you could sit in a nice comfy chair with a drink and watch everyone else. That has its own appeal right? It's comfy, you can get a nice buzz, you can watch the girls and/or the guys frolic in skimpy clothes. I could easily spend a couple of hours doing that. Then what? Then nothing, you go home and wonder why you're wearing a fucking tuxedo. That was my life. Always watching, always on the outside looking in. Drinking too much, watching too much, and never really living. I knew there was something I should be doing, but I frankly didn't have the courage to do it. Hell I didn't even have the courage to face it. The day I finally kicked off my shoes was a point of no return for me, I knew then that it was only a matter of time before I was in appropriate beach wear.
There is really no way to explain what it feels like to be profoundly uncomfortable in your skin. The easy answer is to say I felt like a woman, but that doesn't seem right to me. I don't know what I felt like, but I can say for sure that I felt like an outsider. I felt like a perpetual student, always on the lookout for new lessons on how to fit in. Always denying myself any desire that would threaten my acceptance as a regular dude. It was a lonely and pathetic existence. So my transition was truly liberating in a way that makes all of the difficulties of that transition totally worth it. That's the deal. As bad as transition can be, our lives before it were even worse. I know that seems hard to believe but if you take away the trappings of a life that appears to be great, then you can see that what's left is just a person who is desperately pretending to be great. We don't transition because we hate our lives, we do it because we want to feel something real as the person we really are.We want to express something real. A real emotion, a real laugh, a real attraction. Something that is not shrouded by the veil of a facade built up over so many years that we barely remember who we are anymore. We transition because we want to feel the sun and the wind and the sand on our skin, without the protection of a disguise made of lies and confusion and anger.
Transition is hard but we do it because a life unlived is even harder. I'm not a big cryer but some things can definitely spark the water works and one of those things is thinking about those people who wasted their lives being afraid of who they really are. If you have the capacity for empathy then I want you to think for a moment about someone who is looking back on a long life with crushing regret. There are wonderful things to be had in this life, but you have to be real or they are as hollow as a chocolate bunny. It's funny how mundane the most incredible experience can be when you are trapped in a life you can't feel, yet the most mundane thing can be so joyful when you are free.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the 'community'. Not the LGBT community, but the Transsexual community. Specifically the M2F community. I think they're mostly full of poop. It seems like every time I meet someone who calls themselves an "activist", what I'm really meeting is a hyper sensitive tranny who has an emotional breakdown if someone calls her a tranny. Every now and then I run into these people who have a whole list of words and phrases that they would like people to stop using. They don't want comedians to make jokes about transsexual people. They don't want movies or TV shows to even mention transsexual people unless the context is flattering or better. Heaven forbid they show a drug addled tranny prostitute with serious mental issues. You know people that actually exist. The sad fact is many of the girls in my 'community' are nuttier than day three of an orchiectomy marathon. I don't know why this is exactly. I know that it's really difficult to grow up feeling like you're in the wrong body but not having the courage to say anything about it. It's probably even harder to grow up WITH the courage to say anything about it. I also know that some of the T-girls dealing with mental issues that have nothing to do with being Trans and everything to do with needing serious chemical or psychiatric intervention. For some reason and I don't think I will ever understand why, but our community seems to attract people who desperately WANT to be transsexual but definitely are not. When you consider that nobody sane would want to go through a gender transition unless it was something they could really feel, it follows that some people who transition are actually insane instead of transsexual. This is something I never considered until I was deep into my own transition. This is a tough road and anybody who says otherwise is suspect in my opinion. I know several trans women personally and every single one of them will tell you that it's a rough life. Transition makes everything harder. Everything is a damn struggle because everybody looks at you a little differently. Your bosses think you're crazy, your family thinks you're crazy, hell every now and then even I think we're crazy. The motivation to change your life comes from something so deep that it can't be described. It's basically a burning desire to stop hiding, except that's not quite right either. It's like you would trade in everything you have for the questionable privilege of simply showing the world what you feel like inside. It's bizarre. This is not a decision that can be rationalized because there is no good reason to do it. It is a decision your heart must make because your head would never do it. It just doesn't pencil out. So why would someone who doesn't yearn to be free do something as crazy as transition? I honestly don't know, but they do. They do it and then they spend years trying to justify it to themselves and everyone else. I'm beginning to think that these people who are always sooooooo offended by words and jokes are really just trying too hard to get the world to accept their crazy decision. It's the only thing that makes sense to me. Why else would somebody spend so much energy finding ways to be offended? i don't think they feel comfortable with themselves and what they are. There are many trans women who simply go to work every day and advance the cause of acceptance by just being decent people. Unfortunately the loudest voices in our community tend to come from those that are the biggest drama queens, and unfortunately they are the same ones that claim to speak for all of us. Well they don't. If you ever encounter me I want you to know that you do not have to walk on egg-shells. You don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing. There are no words that can hurt me anymore so please just be yourself and ask me whatever you want to know. I want to make you feel comfortable and I want you to learn about us. I know that I'm the one who is different and I want you to enjoy our time together. I will make jokes and I will tell you everything that I feel comfortable telling you, but if you[re rude to me, I will be rude right back. When I leave you will not see me as one of "them". You will see me as a real person who is not much different than you. Maybe I'll run into you again, maybe one of my sisters will but the most important thing to me isn't that you liked me. It's that you knew I was real. A real person with real feelings and no agenda other than to be accepted as such. You see the hardest part about transition is that sometimes people forget you're human.
Well it looks like it's been proven that a longtime member of one of the forums I frequent (and an ex friend) is and has been a total fraud. This person has been pretending to be a transsexual woman for years and I think last year even went so far as to pretend to have SRS. So they have been advising other girls who have been in transition for quite some time when they themselves are probably not even transsexual. They could actually be a 15 year old kid for all we know. I am ashamed to say that this person was a huge influence on me back in 2009/2010 when I was at the very beginning of my decision to move forward with my own transition. Imagine how stupid I feel when it turns out that every single picture this person has posted of themselves is actually of someone else. Basically I was totally taken in, or 'catfished' as they call it now.
Andrea James has been busy of late uncovering and publicly outing TS frauds on Facebook and I applaud her efforts. The community is apparently infested with people who have nothing better to do than pretend to be someone they're not. It's a problem when somebody establishes a measure of respect in the community and ends up advising other TS people on things that they actually know nothing about. It seems like a no brainer to out these people as soon as they are discovered but what I find perplexing is the level of support the frauds get from the very same community they've been duping. People actually come to their defense and say things like "what's the big deal?" or "what does it matter?". Personally, I like people to be who they say they are, and if they can't muster the courage to be honest about their own identity, then why would anyone give their opinions any weight at all?
I find that the more people I meet who are not closeted and who deal with a ton of BS every day just for the privilege of being themselves, the less tolerance I have for closeted people. Yes being out is tough, but at least I'm living my real life right out in the open. What's even worse than the closet cases are these people who completely invent themselves on the internet. They're not just living a secret life, they're living a complete fantasy life and trying to convince us they are real. Sometimes we even believe them. My frind April actually uncovered this particular deception and starting now, I have a zero tolerance for dishonesty in my life and I will shine a light on liars and frauds wherever I find them.
So Friday night I was hanging out with a new friend who happens to be Trans. Well hanging out might be phrasing it a bit optimistically because I was kinda low key due to still feeling crappy from my recent surgery. Anyhoo, she was here at my place (Chateau de Tranny) and we were chatting away about the struggles of transition along with how great it feels to actually be doing it. She is very early in the process and she is in that uncomfortable space that I remember so well. She is small in stature (lucky beeotch) but she is still clearly masculine looking in many ways. Her hair is longish and cut rather feminine (beautiful hair) but her skin is still testosterone tinged, meaning it has that ruddy maleness that hormone therapy will eventually mitigate. She basically is stuck in between genders in a way that is at once liberating and frustrating. Because of her size and great hair she is not immediately masculine even in jeans, T-shirt and no makeup, yet because she is so early in her physical transition, she isn’t likely to be read as feminine in close contact. This is a place I remember well because it was less than a year ago when I could have been read either way at any given time. In fact before my first round of FFS (over a year ago) I was in the exact position that my friend finds herself in now. It was a time that I describe as the Sir, Ma’am, Sir comedy, when people were struggling to get it right without offending. In those days I was not exactly cross-dressing, but not exactly butching it up either. In the beginning I didn’t really care how I was gendered by the public and I kind of enjoyed the whole gender queer thing. Of course I was openly transitioning, meaning I would tell anyone who asked what I was doing, and for a while I had a lot of fun with it. It wasn’t long before I stopped having fun and began to get impatient and that’s one of the things I was talking about with my new friend. She is feeling lots of things, from freedom, to impatience, to frustration, to fear, to joy and she was wondering how much of that is normal. Well of course I told her that it’s all normal, and none of it is normal at the same time. There is no guidebook for what a TS person will experience during transition. We all bring our own unique experiences and prejudices to the journey, our own set of personalized luggage if you will. One of the things that make us unique is how we dress. One of her concerns before coming over is how she should be dressed. Now that may sound kind of silly but this new Trans Girl prefers to wear jeans, T-shirts and minimal makeup, and she was afraid that she would offend me by not femming it up when she came over. She was also wondering if that was normal for a transsexual to be well, a bit of a tomboy in the fashion department. I just laughed and told her it was as normal as anything else we do. I myself have written extensively on my rather pedestrian fashion sense. I wear jeans on the weekend, and slacks at work. I rarely wear dresses and it’s not because I don’t like them, it’s mainly because keeping my legs looking good for dresses is just not worth the effort.
This turn in the conversation got us talking about clothes and the misconception that many people have about transsexual women. By many people I’m referring to the cross-dressing community that often gets lumped in with us in politics and discussion forums. Because I’ve been transitioning for over three years now and because I have a higher than average profile due to this very blog, I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend several transsexual women in various stages of transition. Most of us have very little in common, but NONE of us have a particular interest in women’s clothes other than wanting to look like regular women. Don’t get me wrong, most of us like to shop and most of us want to look as attractive as we can but that is all in the service of having people treat us the way we feel. If I don’t feel like a dude, then why would I want to dress like one? It’s in this sense that I totally understand cross-dressers and why they enjoy playing dress up on the weekends. If they feel like something other than a man, then it’s fun to dress up and pretend to be a woman if only for a few hours. I cross-dressed for about a year before I realized I needed to transition and I can attest that cross-dressing can be a lot of fun. I can also attest that my transition had nothing to do with cross-dressing. Nobody I know who is actually transitioning has wardrobe in their top ten reasons for doing it. Every T-girl I know would trade in all her skirts and heels for the simple pleasure of being accepted as a woman instead of something in between. If a genie popped out of a bottle with a magic pair of burlap boxer shorts that would make the rest of the world see me as nothing short of a woman, then my VS account would be closed that evening. I care nothing for the trappings of femininity, other than how they make me look, I do not need feminine things to make me feel feminine. As far as I know, I’ve felt feminine for as long as I can remember. This is a characteristic shared by every Trans woman I know. Speaking for myself, I have just come back from a second round of FFS along with some further body modifications in the pursuit of one simple goal; To look like a woman with no effort. I want to pop out of bed and walk outside in sweats and a T-shirt with no makeup and have the world view me as exactly how I feel myself to be. I don’t care about panties, or hose, or bras, or camis or anything else that the cross-dressing community concerns themselves with. I only care that the world sees me for who I really am. I think any person who is considering transition should seriously think about their motivations if they are motivated at all by a particular style of underpants. Transition is no joke, and there aren’t enough pretty panties in the world to make the hard times any easier. There’s nothing wrong as far as I can tell with having some kind of clothing fetish, but I can promise you that any thrill you might get from wearing a bra under your shirt and tie is not going to shield you from the slings and arrows of a public transition.
So my new friend and I have a quick dinner at a local restaurant. There she is, in the glorious middle. Her T-shirt has a feminine cut to it but otherwise non-descript. Her jeans could be smaller because she has recently lost a lot of weight. Her hair is tossled, her makeup is light. I notice she gets a couple of looks, but as we talk I look at her face, in her eyes, there’s no pretense. She isn’t hiding from herself or anyone else. What is she? She’s a real transsexual in the midst of a real transition, that’s what she is. Another brave person who is tired of living a life that isn’t hers and has made the permanent decision to show the world who she really is, and stiletto heels aren’t necessary to get this done. On second thought maybe a wardrobe change might help after all. She may not need any foundation garments, but a suit of armor definitely couldn’t hurt.
I’ve just come back from another trip to Guadalajara for some further feminization surgery. I was laid up in the recovery house for a couple of weeks without much to do so I spent a lot of time surfing the net. There is a particular forum that I’ve been pretty active on for quite a while so I spent a lot of time there, but I also spent a lot of time everywhere else. Reading through forums, and blogs, and of course Facebook for hours on end, and then lying flat on my back in bed unable to sleep or even move very well for many uninterrupted hours. Basically I had a lot of time to think about my life and transition over the last few years. It’s been an interesting and introspective time and I’ve learned a few things about myself and about the Trans community in general. I can say without a doubt that I am extremely happy that I decided to pull the pin on the Tranny Grenade back in 2010. It definitely blew up and rearranged my life, but it has been mostly for the better. Mostly. My career is going to need some attention, and that one kind of snuck up on me because it took about a year for it to have any impact on my job. Aside from that, and the same struggles with ‘passing’ that nearly every Trans woman experiences, it’s been a mostly positive experience. Being free to relate to women as something other than a dude has been an amazing experience and the relationships I have with them now easily makes every struggle worthwhile. I love that there’s no more sexual tension or misunderstandings, …or expectations. In many ways my transition has been a joy. There has been plenty of pain, and I can’t say there won’t continue to be, but there has been more joy for sure, so on balance I think I’ve been pretty lucky.
I used to think there was a kind of composite Transsexual experience, that we all sort of experienced the same stuff with a few differences to account for individual circumstances. My recent time spent reading through the words of countless people who identify as Trans women have shattered that illusion. There does seem to be a common narrative, but it seems like a full half of people who identify as Trans have a story that I don’t recognize, or even understand. I was also confronted with a realization that kind of surprised me. After reading so much it started to become apparent that some of these people were just plain fakes. Now I’m not naïve about the big bad internet but I guess I was a little bit naïve about the appeal of being transsexual for people who have other problems. It never occurred to me that somebody would WANT to be a transsexual to the extent that they would literally invent a persona and pass themselves off as someone who is going through the same stuff I am. I consider myself a fairly empathetic person and I can generally understand someone’s perspective but this is something I just can’t wrap my head around. Why have an online life that has no connection to your real life? Why form relationships with people that you can literally never meet because they think you’re somebody completely different? It’s a bizarre deal and there is apparently so many phonies that it’s really having an impact on my desire to interact with anyone on the net that I don’t already know. Which is probably all for the better anyway because now I can spend my time writing here on my awesome blog instead of wasting my good pearls on other forums.
I’ll have some thoughts later on a segment of the Trans population that has an unnatural obsession with women’s underwear. It’s creepy and uncomfortable to talk to them and I wonder sometimes if transition is going to make them happy at all.
Yikes has it really been a year since I've updated my blog?
It has only recently occurred to me that there are people who have been reading my journal here and are actually curious about what the hell is going on. Well to those people I apologize for being such a lazy ass but oddly enough I'm not near as fascinated by my own transition as I used to be.
There are some new developments that are certainly worth an update though so here it is.
As I write this it is 10:30pm on May 27th. I am sporting a nice wine buzz after a long Memorial Day weekend and I'm not looking forward to going to work tomorrow. Ah yes, work, it seems like just a few posts ago I was raving about how much I loved it, and how lucky I was that they were accepting of my transition. Well times are a changin' because things at work are deteriorating quickly. They are clearly not as accepting as I thought and in fact are making moves to marginalize me. It's not exactly a shock to me, as I expected as much, but I have to admit that I am a little surprised at the callousness of some of their actions. No matter, I will eventually figure out the situation, it's just a little sad that twelve years of service didn't buy me much respect. I learn a new lesson about transition nearly every day and I think the lesson that keeps recurring is that people have a very difficult time with it in general. Most people simply don't know what to think. I really don't blame them. I mostly don't know what to think about it either.
In the meantime, I am planning another trip to Mexico for some further feminization work. I have to go back for follow up on a concern that I have, and while I'm there, I'll be getting a few more things done. I finally got the surgery date confirmed today so I bought the plane tickets just a few hours ago. I'm very excited to get closer to my goal of 99.999% convincing as a woman. I don't like the idea that people still see me as something different. I totally understand it, I just don't like it so I'll be doing everything I can to achieve a near perfect presentation. I want the way I feel and the way I look to be congruent. Not too much to ask right?
In regard to content on this blog, I have been fairly prolific on a TG forum so I will be cross posting some of my better stuff on here very soon. I think some of it is worth recording for posterity, and if it's here, then I know it will always be part of my story.
Wow what an amazing couple of weeks. July 12th 2012 is my new birthday because that is the day the judge signed my Decree Changing Name & Gender, otherwise known as Form NC-230. That was one of the best days of my life and I was shocked at how awesome it felt to hold that document in my hands. Many months ago somebody was asking me about the legal name change process and I said I didn’t really know anything about it yet and I wasn’t worried about it either. “I’ll get it figured out eventually” I said. “It’s no big deal, just paperwork”. Boy was I wrong. I was literally giddy as we walked out of the courthouse. (‘we’ being me and my awesome lawyer friend Jaye who was doing a little Pro Bono charity work) I felt like I was on the verge of tears or laughter at any given moment for the rest of the day. My next two stops were the Social Security office and the DMV and I was totally okay about the prospect of long lines and glum public servants, except the lines weren’t long and the clerks weren’t glum. The lady at the SSA office was positively delightful and the guy at the DMV was equally cheerful. The experience couldn’t have been better really, I don’t know what I was expecting but I had no idea anything could have been done so quickly and friendly in those particular organizations. All in all, it was a great day by any measure.
So my name and gender are legally changed and my transition is now complete. Well, it’s complete as far as the State of CA is concerned, but I still have a long way to go according to my body. I’ve been at this for what feels like forever (two and a half years) and I keep forgetting that I’m still very early in this transition. Sure I’ve been on Estrogen for awhile but I’ve only been testosterone free for a couple of months. My hair has been growing out for a couple of years but it’s really only just now beginning to fill in and look more feminine, (instead of like an aging rocker) not to mention all of the hair I lost at the scalp advancement scar which follows my new hairline from ear to ear. I notice my face looking slightly more feminine every few weeks or so, due to the slow healing of my FFS and my nose looks like it kind of shrinks about 10% every month as it heals. Everything is going well, it’s just going really slow and I’m looking forward to the day when I won’t be hyper aware of every little masculine thing about me.
I’m also looking forward to not being called a man. Throughout this whole process you gather strength the way a snowball gathers snow while rolling downhill. Every day makes me stronger in some way or another but it’s amazing how demoralizing something so simple can be on some days. At this stage of my transition, I’m passing pretty well, and I would even say that many people I meet might even be surprised to learn of my immediate past. However, I’m also at the stage where it is still not uncommon to be recognized as a transsexual. I don’t really mind if people notice, I fully understand what I look like, and I don’t have any delusions about my place in the world, but… sometimes it kinda hurts. A few weeks ago I was sitting in a hallway looking down at my laptop and a couple of women walked by, slowing down as they passed me and I heard one whisper to the other as they turned the corner “that’s a guy”. Hearing that made my heart slow down a little, why do people whisper so loudly? Back in the day, that wouldn’t have bothered me at all, but lately, it seems to hurt more, even though it doesn’t happen that often. That’s the paradox isn’t it. If it happens all the time, you become immune to it, but when it only happens occasionally it stings every time. So there it was, something about me looked so unmistakably masculine that a complete stranger noticed it in a passing glance. What the heck was it?! Well I think I know. In the position that I was sitting, with my head down over my laptop, the top of my head would have been the most prominent thing they would have noticed. The top of my head is also probably my most masculine feature right now. Even after some scalp advancement surgery I still have an unmistakably male hairline due to years of testosterone poisoning as well as losing a ton of hair during surgery. Thankfully it is not permanent and in fact is already growing back quite nicely, but I may indeed have a full year post surgery before I’ve lost most of my defining male characteristics forever. Another year.
These last two years feel like they’ve flown by, but this year, the most significant year of my transition seems to creep by as slowly as, …well as slowly as hair grows.
Wow it has been a long time since I updated my blog. I was thinking the other day about why I don’t feel compelled to write so much lately. It seemed like I was always making mental notes of experiences to add to my little journal but that hardly ever happens anymore. It doesn’t really make sense because the last couple of months have been literally full of bloggable experiences. I had some drama while trying to get my FFS scheduled at the beginning of the year. I managed to get the money together and get it done, and there was about 4 weeks there where life was moving pretty fast. Still nothing struck me as something I must write about. My saucy lawyer friend helped me to get my name and gender change paperwork filed at the local courthouse so all I have to do now is wait for the gavel to drop on my new legal name. That was an ordeal that was begging to be blogged about but I didn’t even think about it. Now I’m back at work and living as Melissa full time for a whole two weeks now and it’s not until today that I’m thinking I should maybe write some of this stuff down. Maybe it's because so much of my transition is public now. Back in the day everything was happening in private or in my head and I wanted to share my experience with people, but mostly record it for myself. These days my transition is right out there like live theatre. Pretty much everything I'm experiencing is being experienced by everyone else in my life. My boss was telling me once that things at work might be sensitive because "nobody has dealt with anything like this before". Well, neither have I! My friends and colleagues are experiencing everything for the first time right along with me. I thought I was openly transitioning before, but all I was really doing was just openly talking about it.
I was telling a friend the other day that I’m surprised by how emotionally exhausting my life has been lately. January just marked two full years of this transition and I really thought that the hard stuff was behind me. I have no idea why I thought that except I had been through some pretty hard stuff already. The first day I walked into the office as my new self, might as well been the first day I ever walked outside cross dressed. Even though I had been “out” for quite a while, it was incredibly difficult to get out of my car and walk into the building. This wasn’t playing dress up for a night on the town, this was the real deal and I had to be accepted as a professional person by people who have only known me as a “man” for many years. I’m not ashamed to say that I gave serious thought to just leaving and trying again the next day, but if this transition has taught me anything it’s that you have to be true to yourself. I am Melissa, this is the new me, this is the new normal so let’s get on with it. Of course everybody was wonderful and now two weeks later, I can finally start to imagine this as actually normal. It’s no picnic though because I’m terribly self-conscious about my still healing face. My nose, chin and jaw are still swollen and the scar along my hairline is awful looking, not to mention extremely uncomfortable and itchy. I lost a LOT of hair during and after the surgery so my hair is thin as well as damaged and since I can’t just wear a hat every day, I’m dealing with all of this healing and re-growing right out in the open in front of everyone. I’m not exactly looking my best and everyone is incredibly supportive, but I can’t help but be kind of sensitive about how I look. I suppose it’s just vanity and this will ultimately be a good experience for me, but right now I need to find solace in my countless blessings and once again re-calibrate my patience. Life takes time.
It was back in January 2010 that I decided once and for all what I had to do. I can’t believe it’s been two whole years already. Time is funny like that, in some ways it feels like a flash but in others it feels like this transition has been going on forever. 2010 was a busy year, I started therapy, started hormones, started really working on my body, started electrolysis, and started coming out. That was the year when I abandoned all pretense of being “straight” in my personal life. I stopped pretending to like girls, and I stopped pretending to be masculine. That was also the year when I really started pushing the envelope with the cross dressing. I had done a little bit in 2009 but I was already getting bored by the whole experience and I would have quit cross dressing altogether if my therapist hadn’t told me that “gender is a lived experience”, and a feminine presentation was part of the work I had to do. So I did it. I was a terrible cross dresser but I stuck at it and eventually I started to understand what it was all about. It’s about owning who you are. I have always been very self-conscious about my face so I eventually gave up trying to look female and just became comfortable in my own skin. By the time we rolled into 2011, I was quite comfortable being almost anywhere in a very androgynous presentation. The more comfortable I became, the more confusion I caused to waiters and clerks etc. I think these days I actually feel like I’ve shed my skin, like a Cicada or something. I feel like there’s nothing masculine left and after my FFS is healed I honestly don’t think anyone who doesn’t already know, would ever know.
I started coming out professionally in the summer of 2011. I told work friends, and family, and clients, and then …October came along and I really came out at work. By the time November was over I was 100% out to my boss, his boss, HR and everyone else who had a pulse. What the hell happened? I gotta tell ya, this was not what I had planned but I just went crazy or something and basically started telling everyone who would stand still long enough that I was a tranny. It’s like years of hiding just sort of bubbled over and exploded. Luckily, everyone was okay. Our HR director was very helpful and understanding and basically just said “we would work it out”. I was surprised but this whole experience really got me thinking about how we always tend to expect the worst from people. My dad, who isn’t exactly thrilled about this whole thing, said something pretty profound during one of our coming out conversations. I mentioned that I didn’t plan on transitioning in my current job and he asked why not? Well, I said because I don’t think they would take it very well, and he said; “Why don’t you give them a chance to make up their own minds? They might surprise you”. He was absolutely right of course. They did surprise me and I was forced to learn that people have a much greater capacity for understanding and compassion than I gave them credit for. So that’s just one more thing to add to the long list of things that I had wrong about transitioning. This process is so bizarre and mind bending that the only thing that I know for sure anymore, is that I don’t know a damn thing about a damn thing. Every time I think I know how something is going to unfold, it ends up being just one more thing I was wrong about. I am not just learning a lot about myself in this transition, I’m also learning a bunch of life lessons that I’m sure will serve me well in the years to come. Everything changes in a few weeks with my FFS and then I start a new chapter of my life, and that chapter will be titled; How to succeed in business without embarrassing your poor bosses. I do feel a little guilty for putting them through this along with me, but I will make it up to them for sure. For the price of a little heartburn for a short while, they get a dedicated and grateful employee who will never forget the understanding they showed me during a very difficult time of my life. I’ve never been one to get sentimental over a job or a company but I just can’t help but feel extremely lucky to have these people on my side. I would have argued strongly against staying at my job just a year ago, but now I can hardly remember why. In my field, I could work anywhere, but I truly can’t imagine working anywhere else.
“You look more feminine and pretty than I’ve ever seen you look”.
That’s what my friend Jenni said as we were headed across the bridge to the city. We were both looking forward to a great time, and I was feeling much better about myself than I was at last year’s event. So now it’s four in the morning and I’m still on the verge of tears, because I guess I had my first official breakdown yesterday at Santacon. It was totally unexpected because I thought I was emotionally okay with this whole transition by now. In the beginning, I cried a lot. I cried during the whole time I was bouncing back and forth between accepting myself, or continuing my life as it was. I cried when I finally gave up and said out loud to no one, except some trees, that I was a transsexual. I cried when I started the hormones …and I think that was about it for the emotional theatrics. There may have been a few assorted tears about one thing or another, but mostly happy tears and I really thought the hard part was behind me.
So much has happened in the last two years that I can barely remember what I felt like in the very beginning. It’s been like a snowball that started real slow and eventually picked up speed and keeps getting bigger and faster, at an exponential rate. The last six months have probably been the most eventful so far. I basically finished coming out to everyone as trans including everyone at work, and I have the date scheduled for my FFS. I am now a real life transitioning transsexual and I feel like a walking billboard, or tranny information center sometimes, and I’m totally okay with it. Like I said, I really thought I was in a good place emotionally. Now I’m starting to wonder. It’s never really bothered me that people looked twice, or snickered at me, or whispered so loud that everyone within fifty feet could hear. (whispers are supposed to be quiet!) I’ve kinda always reveled in it, and was proud to let my freak flag fly. But now it’s different for some reason. My presentation improves every week, and so many of the little things that make up the life of a tranny really do get easier over time, but there is one thing that seems to be getting harder. I remember when it was all about “passing”, when all I cared about was putting together a convincing presentation. I rarely passed up close but somehow it didn’t bother me. People knew what I was, and for the most part they were polite about it. There wasn’t any reason to whisper because it was obvious. I don’t recall getting my feelings hurt ever, and I was generally under the impression that my feelings couldn’t be hurt in that way. “Only somebody I cared about could hurt my feelings”, I would proclaim to my poor friends who I’m sure have been through quite an ordeal over the last year or two. Well yesterday, I crossed a new milestone in my transition; hyper sensitivity. I am closer now than I ever was to the holy grail of “passing” up close and in broad daylight. I’m closer, but I’m still not there, and it is really starting to hurt. I used to love it when people would want to take their pictures with me, or I would see someone across the street pointing their camera at me. It didn’t bother me at all, I was in San Francisco and I was part of the scenery, a real live tranny! Well yesterday in a line for the restroom, a girl came up to me and complimented me on my dress. (cute, short, saucy, Santa tramp outfit) What a sweet compliment I thought, and I was starting to think that maybe today wasn’t so bad and then about a minute later, she came back with two friends and said she just had to get a picture with me. That was crushing. Right out of the blue I felt like there was a sign above my head; Real Live Tranny, and I felt really self-conscious for the first time in many months. This time, it hurt much worse than it ever did. I don’t blame the girls of course, they were very sweet and they had no idea it was so painful for me. It was Santcon after all, and everyone was dressed up. I could have just been a regular dude playing around as far as they knew. Here I am getting my picture taken between two girls who were laughing and giggling, and I can’t remember ever feeling so alone.
Before you think I was just over reacting, let me clarify that it was just that kind of day. From the minute we walked out of the parking garage, I felt like a spectacle. I just seemed to notice a lot more people noticing me for some reason. More double takes, more pointing, more quick head turns as I looked their way. More whispers. Maybe it was the time of day, (noonish) maybe it was the gathering of thousands of people who were not all from my beloved Bay. Nobody was mean to me, I didn’t notice any hostility or dirty looks, I was simply VERY aware of being read as a tranny. After a while, it really started to get to me, and as much as I tried to keep smiling it was just getting harder and harder. The most painful times were when they didn’t read me right away. I was standing in the crowd at Washington Square waiting for the Naked Santa, um exposition, and some guy walked up and started flirting with me. The usual “where are you from” stuff and yadda yadda, and then I could see him suddenly realize what I was, and he just turned around and walked away. I wasn’t even attracted to him (too short, too skinny) but it hit me pretty hard that I was so hideous a creature that he couldn’t even take a second to say “gotta go”. This kind of thing would have never bothered me in the past, but then again I don’t think anyone would have been fooled even for a minute in broad daylight. So is that the problem? ALMOST passing? Whatever it is, I don’t like this stage and I’m eager to move on to the next one. My FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) is supposed to be in April, but I’m going to try and get it pushed up as early as possible. Yesterday was a vivid example of what my life will be like if I don’t get my face fixed. If I ever want to get out of the Castro, or the fetish zone, then my face MUST look female. There is a reason why I’m delaying my professional transition until the FFS and now it’s the same reason why I think I’m done “cross dressing”. I simply don’t want to be a freak. I want people to take me seriously as a person, as a woman, and I can see now, that will never happen as long as I look like a man.
I’ve been thinking. Since I’ve started coming out as trans at work I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how accepting everyone has been. Oh, I know, those of you who have been following my progress are probably wondering why I haven’t gotten another job yet. That was the plan right? Get another job at a trans friendly place and THEN transition. Well, what can I say? I told someone recently that plans are best drawn in sand because that’s about how permanent they are. I started this whole process with several milestones in mind but they’re all blending into one another. I wasn’t supposed to start telling people I was a transsexual until next year. So much for that plan, I’ve been yapping about being a tranny since the summer! Basically, none of my plan is going according to plan, but everything is still going much better than I expected.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I work in construction. I haven’t been in the field and done any “real” work for well over ten years now but I still manage and share an office building with a lot of alpha male types who I was sure would not be okay with my transition. In fact, I almost didn’t go through with it at all because I was scared of the reception I might get from the people I work with. It was way back in 2009 when I finally realized what my problem was and let me tell ya something, that was a tough year. I had a promotion, a project bleeding money, AND my own gender issues to deal with, and I’m sorry to say I dealt with it by drinking lots of wine. I don’t know why wine instead of my beloved Jack Daniels but for some reason I was on a “two buck Chuck” kick and I was buying that stuff by the case. Well, needless to say, the wine didn’t help much and when I noticed that I was starting to break into bottle number two on a pretty regular basis, I decided I should probably lay off the wine for a few days. I also noticed that I was gaining weight like crazy, even though I was riding my mountain bike at least 40 miles a week. I got up to probably 230 lbs. and when the New Year rolled around I had made the decision to completely forget all this tranny crap. I had been cross dressing with friends and I was openly bi-sexual and I was having some fun I guess, but to say I was unfulfilled would be an understatement. I just figured that being a tranny wasn’t the answer and I wasn’t going to ruin my life doing something so outrageous as changing my gender. It simply wasn’t an option. “I know how I feel, but I’ve made it this far and I can keep going just fine.” Then I had the accident.
Sometime around the middle of January I was involved in a pretty bad car accident. I was driving home from an out of town meeting and somebody turned in front of me and I hit them at about 50 to 60 miles an hour. I don’t know exactly, but I was going at least that fast and it didn’t seem like I slowed down much when I stood on the brake. I wasn’t hurt at all, but my brand new truck (4 days old) was almost totaled. The other truck was completely totaled and rolled over on its side and it was quite the scene there in the middle of nowhere on a two lane highway. I was completely stunned. In the span of 30 seconds the most violent thing I’ve ever been involved in happened, and was over. When the police and firemen got there they couldn’t believe that no one was hurt. The guys in the ambulance almost forced me to go to the hospital with them because they were sure I must have been hurt somehow. I felt fine. I could have gone dancing. The crash didn’t affect me at all physically, but it changed everything mentally. For the first time I realized that life is short. I know we all say that, but I really understood it while I was standing there on the side of the road. I realized that I have been living my whole life in fear. I have been afraid to be honest with myself and others about how I really feel since I was old enough to pretend. How could I have wasted so many years being afraid? That night I cried, and swore to myself that I would stop being a coward and I would be true to myself and live an authentic life, whatever that was.
That wreck was a real inconvenience, because it took them five months to fix my truck and I had to pay for my own rental car because the other guy didn’t have insurance and my coverage included everything EXCEPT rental cars. I don’t know if you’ve priced out rental cars lately but they are expensive, but as I look back on it now, I’m thankful for that wreck. I can’t say for sure what would have happened but I know I would have wasted at least another year pretending to be happy if I hadn’t had that epiphany on the side of the road.
It’s Labor Day. The last day of a four day weekend for me and I’ve been stuck here in the house for the whole time. Thursday night I had a special electrolysis session where I go to the dentist first and have him numb as much area around my mouth as he can. Then I walk next door to my electrologist (Angie) and she works on the hair around my upper and lower lips for a couple of hours. I plan these sessions for long weekends because working so long in such a concentrated area tends to leave my mouth looking pretty bad.
For the first couple of days the swelling is so bad that I literally look like a character from a Simpsons cartoon. Then the swelling goes down and I’m left with a couple of days of what could only be described as kind of a scabby fu-man-chu goatee. It’s not attractive, to put it mildly. A guy that I’m dating invited me to the pride festival in Oakland and I wanted to go soooo bad, but there is no way in hell I’m letting anybody see me like this. Especially a guy who I like kissing. So I stayed hidden at home all weekend long. As I sit here surfing a gazillion TV channels, …again, it occurs to me that this transition is a long ugly process. Why in the world would somebody put themselves through this? I ask myself that at least once a week. Not because I question the decision, but because I’m amazed at how thrilled I am to be doing it. There is nothing fun about this whole process, at all, so why am I having so much fun? There’s no doubt about the commitment required to complete the transition so I have much respect for anybody that’s done it. Along the same lines, if anybody thinks that we just decide one day to change our gender and it’s as simple as that, than they simply don’t know what they’re talking about.
I equate this to a long painful march to freedom. Imagine if you spent most of your life in a prison, and one day somebody tells you there is a path to freedom, but you have to walk it barefoot and it’s gonna hurt. Each step is very painful, but each step brings you one step closer to the rest of your life. Every now and then you step in something warm and wonderful and relaxing, and sometimes you step in something warm and not so wonderful. Each agonizing step makes you question the wisdom of taking another one but you know that you must, because the alternative to the pain is the prison. Pain is better. Pain is something you understand but freedom is only something you’ve dreamed about. One more step, one more step towards your dream. What is freedom worth to you? What are you willing to do to be free? What’s more painful? Living a lie, or the long walk to the truth? Yeah it hurts, …but it’s worth every step baby.
This has been a crazy year for me already and we’re barely halfway through it! Back in January I got my ears pierced and decided that this was going to be my big coming out year. Well, I can tell you for sure that I had no idea how big it was really going to be.
It was around last summer when I started my HRT and basically shifted into androgynous mode full time, except for work. If you saw me anywhere on the weekends it would be quite obvious to you that I was either a cross-dresser or a total queer, depending on what I was wearing. Sure I got a few weird looks at Home Depot but for the most part I was a little bit surprised to see that nobody seemed to care. Maybe a little disappointed too that not a single one of my imagined fears came to fruition. No threats or glares or anything uncomfortable really, but there was one thing I didn’t expect; joy. Yeah, I can’t put into words how incredible it feels to be free. I don’t have to pretend to be a dude anymore. I can walk the way I walk, and stand the way I stand, and talk the way I talk without worrying about somebody calling me a fag or saying I walk like a girl. I have visceral memories of being in high school and consciously minding every step because some guy once told his friend loud enough for me to hear “this dude walks like a girl” as they walked behind me in the hall. I was mortified, and literally spent years trying to correct it. Guess what, once I dropped the act, my natural way of moving slowly started to return, and I’m so relieved that those years of pretending weren’t able to fundamentally change who I am. So now I’m totally out, or so I thought. Sure I was out to my social circle and those that I encountered while out and about. After about 6 mos on HRT I started to tell anyone who would listen that I was actually transitioning. I was like a wrecking ball of honesty about being a tranny. Except …for a few notable exceptions; my family and my job.
Obviously changing genders is a huge undertaking and when I started HRT, I decided that I would manage this process the way I would manage a project at work, with careful attention to the schedule, and dogged adherence to the plan. That original plan included a phased coming out schedule, with the first phase being social, and the next phase being professional. By the end of last year, I had basically finished the social phase, but there were some things that I hadn’t considered. First of all, there was an element of my social and professional lives that definitely overlapped, and secondly, I hadn’t considered my family at all yet. So, needless to say I had a ways to go before I could honestly say that I was totally out as anything. That’s when I proclaimed 2011 as my big coming out year. I got a head start and came out as trans to a couple of my closer friends in the office. Then January rolled around and I came out to my cousin, who is probably my closest family member since we’ve practically lived together our whole lives. I was on a roll but I wasn’t picking up steam yet. Each new person felt good, but everything was still very calculated so the sense of joy I felt was essentially as measured as the process was. Baby steps, I would say to myself, I have plenty of time and there’s no reason to be in a hurry. I was working the plan, but then I encountered another issue that I hadn’t expected; impatience. I totally overestimated my own ability to stay on schedule. The more I was out in my personal life, the harder it became to be “in” at work. I revised my plan again; I would come out as trans to colleagues who worked at other companies, and a few more select people in my office, and as just gay to everyone else at work. That was working out great for a few months. I was admitting my trans status to carefully selected people and was proudly queer to everyone else. It wasn’t totally honest, but at least I didn’t have to pretend I was straight and normal. I really did feel free, but I still hadn’t made any advancement with my family. The first was my sister. She and I have never been really close but we’ve always loved each other and I’m very proud of the woman she’s become. She contacted me about coming down to CA and bringing my mom up to the Bay Area to visit for a couple of days. Well then, there’s something you should know about your big brother. So I told her everything. She was much more surprised than I expected her to be, but nonetheless she was about as supportive as I could hope. Next in line was mom and my opportunity came just a couple of weeks later when she called me while I was waiting for my electrolysis appointment. I have a strict routine that I follow before I let Angie work on my face for two or three hours. It involves a few shots of 151 and a couple of vicodin. Needless to say, I was very chatty by the time mom called, and it went much better than I expected. She had made many remarks while I was growing up about how I’d better not be gay, so I pretty much figured that telling her I was transsexual would be the end of whatever relationship we had. Well, I was wrong and she turned out to be reluctantly supportive. The last one in line was dear old dad. Now he and I were also never that close (notice a trend?) but I’ve always had a great deal of respect for him. He is an honest, hardworking guy and he would do anything to help someone who needed it. A good man to say the least, but he and I weren’t able to find much common ground while I was growing up. It’s ironic but I really believe that my family relationships would have probably been so much better if I could have been honest with everyone, including myself. Anyhoo, telling dad was a breeze and he said he was surprised but it really didn’t matter to him as long as I was happy.
For those keeping score, not a single person who I came out to reacted negatively in any way. Everyone was very supportive and again I found myself questioning my obviously irrational fear all of those years. It occurred to me that coming out to other people has never really been the issue. The honest truth is people have been far more accepting than I was. That’s right; I wasn’t able to admit who I was until I could finally accept myself for who I was. It sounds crazy but since I’ve learned to love myself, telling other people that I’m trans is shockingly easy, almost too easy because now I’m really picking up steam. So much steam in fact that I’m beginning to come out as trans at work at an alarming pace. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, my Melissa page is spreading like wildfire through the office. Do I care? Not a bit, in fact I’m thankful that it’s happening because history has shown me two things in this regard;
1. I don’t have the guts to come out without being provoked and
2. Nobody seems to give a damn about it.
The only problem is I’m way off schedule. My carefully managed transition is beginning to get a little out of control and I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it. Obviously I’ll be revising my plan, but I’m still at the mercy of my HRT program, so I can’t move up the date for my Facial Feminization Surgery. I think I will just be prepared to revise my plan every six months or so. How about that? I started with a two year plan one year ago and now I’m down to a six month plan. It’s been a crazy year so far and I’m very excited to see what the rest of it brings.
I am at a weird place in my transition. I can’t really explain it, but it feels kind of like I’m caught in the middle. In a way I am because I’m only halfway through my program and I can’t really move on until I have a few things finished. I figure about this time next year I’ll start taking the steps to completing my transition which for me means changing my name and living full time as a woman. Of course there are a number of things that need to happen before that can happen. Not the least of which are completing (or mostly completing) the hair removal on my face, and finding a new job. I also plan to have FFS (facial feminization surgery) before I take the plunge as well. So I guess technically, I am definitely in between stages of my life. I’m okay with it mostly, but I have to admit that I do get a little impatient sometimes. Especially lately when it seems like I’m also in between genders.
I don’t know when it happened but when I go out wearing cute jeans and a tight top with my hair in a loose ponytail, and absolutely no makeup, pretty much half of the people I meet think I’m a girl. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but it definitely took some getting used to. I mean, it wasn’t very long ago when I would go out in a dress, wig, make-up and heels and people would still call me sir. I’m not sure if this new unintentional “passing” is because of my attitude or the HRT. There is no doubt that I feel so much more comfortable in my skin these days and that’s gotta make a difference so it’s probably about 50/50 I guess. Yep, right in the middle. The weird thing about all of this is the bathroom. Now bathrooms are always an issue for TG people for one reason or another but the general rule is, you use the restroom of the gender you are presenting as. If you’re trying to pass as a woman, then use the women’s restroom. Lately it hasn’t been so easy for me. Case in point, I was in the city a couple of weeks ago having “the” meeting with a business associate. I came out to him as trans and told him about my plans to go full time next year and basically enlisted him as a trusted ally. The meeting went fantastic and I realized once again how lucky I am to live in this area and have such amazing friends. Anyway, after the meeting I went downstairs to use the restroom. Now I did have a cute outfit on, but I definitely wasn’t trying to pass as a woman so I went into the mens’ room. On my way out, I bumped into a guy who was coming in and after he took one look at me, he stepped back and looked at the door and said “whoa, did I walk into the wrong one?” I smiled and said “Nope, it’s the right one honey.” And walked away and literally floated back up the stairs.
Yes I’m at a weird place in my transition, but I’m not complaining. Just one year ago, I couldn’t even imagine passing as a woman even if I was in full drag. Now I’m passing sometimes without even trying. What a ride.
Why am I sitting here at my computer on such a beautiful day? It is absolutely gorgeous outside and here I sit banging away at my keyboard like some weird hermit philosopher. That’s just how it is for me I guess. I never seem to be able to write when I want to, only when the words want to, inspiration only hits me every now and then, so when it hits, I’d better pay attention. Today I’m thinking about my transition. I was up late last night reading a lot of blogs by T-girls in various stages of transition and even some cross-dressers. I felt a kinship with very few of them. It is fascinating to me that we are all so different even though we have such a huge issue in common. A lot has happened to me in the last couple of years since I “discovered” my little problem. I was extremely naïve when I first began researching my feelings, but now I can hardly remember what it was like to be so confused. The transition path that I have been traveling feels like the most natural thing in the world. That’s why I was so interested in the blogs that I found from those that regret transitioning. At first I couldn’t imagine why someone would regret making an effort to find themselves but after reading I began to understand how someone could inadvisably stumble down the wrong path. Obviously a gender change is a huge event. This isn’t a new hairstyle, or even a major change in lifestyle, it is a complete departure from everything you’ve known. How could someone do such a thing by mistake? Well, I think it would be much easier to do than one could imagine. The spectrum of gender expression is so wide that it would be quite easy to confuse feelings with fantasies. I say I was naïve and it was mainly because I had somehow miraculously lived forty years without ever being aware of any TG community. I never even considered the concept of men who feel compelled to cross-dress and I certainly wasn’t aware that they existed in such huge numbers. It’s no secret by now that as a young boy I wished I was born a girl, but it is a complete mystery to me why I never seriously explored cross-dressing. Oh there were little episodes here and there, but I’m talking about three, maybe four times spread out over twenty years and except for once it was just part of bedroom play with my then wife. When I first began scouring the internet for answers, I found dozens of websites and forums devoted to cross-dressers. At first I was delighted to find people like me, but after a few months I began to realize that they weren’t like me at all. I was actually quite disheartened that I didn’t share the prevailing experience of wanting to cross-dress throughout my life, and I thought this meant that maybe I was wrong again about who or what I was. Remember, I struggled for many years with the idea that I was gay, and then finally came out, only to realize that I wasn’t attracted to gay men. How’s that for a mindbender? So now I find out that I don’t really have gender issues either? Yikes, what in the hell is wrong with me then? Looking back, I feel very fortunate to have been so naïve and confused because it was that confusion that drove me into therapy. I have always felt like an imposter as a man, but I really had no idea what that was supposed to mean and I was hoping that a therapist could help me understand myself a lot better. I didn’t know that a letter from a therapist was required before I could start an HRT program, so when she asked me if that’s why I was there, I quite honestly said no. I was there because I wanted to be sure I’m not crazy before I started doing something crazy. After the standard twelve sessions I had my letter and the comfortable knowledge that not being a cross-dresser didn’t mean I wasn’t a transsexual, it just meant I wasn’t a cross-dresser. To this day, after ten months on HRT, I’m still not a cross-dresser. Thankfully I never had that issue to contend with, because I can imagine that it would really screw up your perceptions about who you are. It’s my understanding that the overwhelming majority of cross-dressers are straight men who somehow feel compelled to explore their own subordinated femininity. Some of them are rather manly men who are very closeted and terribly conflicted about the whole thing. Some of them aren’t really exploring femininity they just get a bit of a sexual charge out of wearing women’s clothes. Honestly there seems to be an endless variety of men who cross dress and they all seem to have their own reasons for doing it so I don’t pretend to understand them, but I can’t deny that I find the whole thing fascinating. The whole concept of a “gender spectrum” is as interesting to me as it is foreign to those fortunate souls who were born with no issues about their gender or sexuality. How wonderful that must be to grow up as a normal heterosexual man or woman. I am finally proud of who I am, but indeed, my life would have been so much easier if I wasn’t born so “special”.
So I was watching TV the other day and that commercial comes on that has all of these allegedly fictional characters in a support group complaining about how no one believes they exist. I think it’s a pretty funny concept and it got me thinking about a very dear friend of mine who is also not supposed to exist. A few different “know it all” types on a few different internet forums have proclaimed with hilarious certainty that there is no such thing as a female cross-dresser. Well, I guess someone forgot to tell Danni because she is most certainly real. In fact she’s so real that for the rest of this article, I will only refer to him in the masculine because that’s how I relate to him. The first question I get when I tell people about him is, “Is he a trans- man?” and the answer is no. Danni is a cross-dresser who lives his life as a woman, his birth gender. Most of his friends only know him as female and he is known only as female in his professional life. The description so far may make you wonder why I insist on using the masculine pronoun, but that’s only because you don’t know him like I do. He may look like an attractive woman to the world, but his eyes tell a different story to me. His eyes are deep and fascinating and I can get lost in them for hours as they alternately reveal and conceal the reflections of a tortured soul. Danni is indeed an enigma, but there is no question that cross dressing women exist and walk among us.
I met him a couple of years ago when I was just on the verge of self-acceptance. At the time I was still toying with the idea that I may have some deeper gender issues and I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with it. We sort of bonded right away over our mutual dysfunction and I was literally drunk with excitement over meeting someone that I could finally be open with. Remember, I used to believe that I was bisexual and I honestly thought that Danni presented an opportunity to be “out” at home and still live as a man everywhere else. Yes I thought I’d found the holy grail of deeply closeted trannies, a lifestyle loophole; A girl who wanted to be a guy, but more importantly, wanted me to be a girl. I could live my life normally and still indulge my femininity, and I wouldn’t have to come “out” to anyone except those that we deemed to be safe. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, and the sad truth is that’s exactly how I felt. It was all about me and what an amazing turn of events it was for me, and I’m pretty sure Danni must have sensed my misplaced mania and he basically disappeared for a few months. He stopped returning my calls and emails and I was heartbroken. After a few weeks I started thinking that there must surely be other people out there like Danni and if I was lucky enough to meet one, then I would be lucky enough to meet another one, and this time, I would be more relaxed about the whole thing. And then I started thinking about that “whole thing”. What exactly was I looking for? A beard? Someone to help me fool the world? Someone to help me find ways to go on pretending? Over the next few months I did some deep soul searching. I spent hours and days and weeks thinking about my life and who I have yet to become. I started writing about my past, and in that process uncovered memories that actually made me cry from pain that I had long forgotten. Pain that has been buried by the sands of time, an almost visceral pain that can mercifully be forgotten, but apparently never goes away.
I began to slowly realize that recruiting an accomplice was about the most selfish thing that I could ever do. I have spent a lifetime trying to make relationships with women work and during that time I have hurt more women than I want to admit. My intentions were always good because I wanted nothing more than to be a normal, straight, man. Unfortunately, suppression on that level inflicts emotional damage to not just me, but everyone close to me. My attraction to men was easy enough to hide, but sex is such a small part of sexuality that pretending to love women was literally changing the shape of my character. I have had some wonderful women standing beside me but I was too cowardly to let them in, to show them who I really was. My biggest regret is allowing fear to steal so many years from me and those I’ve loved.
Danni eventually contacted me again and by that time, I had come to the conclusion that I could not plan my life around hiding anymore. I was a transsexual woman and I was going to start revealing myself to the world. Danni was a blessing in drag, because he accepted me as Misty from the very beginning. He introduced me to some of his wonderful friends and they were also completely accepting and seemed to welcome me into their circle as a girl. This is pretty awesome stuff for someone so early in transition and as I look back on that experience, I’m really thankful because it was the acceptance and encouragement of Danni and his incredible friends that helped me to see that I was indeed on the right path. Believe it or not I was still not sure back then if I wanted to even start HRT. So much has happened, and I’ve progressed so far in the last couple of years that it’s easy to forget how confused I was at that time. I guess you could even say that I was pretty much at the nexus of my confusion. All of these different issues and feelings had pushed their way to the front and were each battling for my acknowledgement. I had already accepted that I was bisexual by that time, and I think Danni and I both entertained the idea that we could have a romantic relationship. We fooled around a bit sexually, and over a few months of sporadic dating, discovered quite a lot about ourselves and each other. During this time in fact I credit Danni with singlehandedly making me totally gay. I’m just kidding of course, but before I met Danni I was convinced that my attraction to men was only physical and my attraction to women was emotional, so that essentially meant that I was unable to have anything more than a sexual relationship with men. It was just sex, right? Well, not exactly. We can apparently convince ourselves of almost anything and the truth is almost always the first casualty. The truth is, I love men romantically and women emotionally. Danni was the lone catalyst for this discovery. I had been very successful in limiting my interactions with men so as to not allow even the slightest bit of romance to enter the picture. It was just sex, no flirting, no snuggling, no talking even. After all, why bother? I only wanted sex right? Then along comes Danni. He looks like a woman most of the time so my defenses were not up. We got close, and flirted, and snuggled and talked, a lot. There is something very special about him, he is all man under that feminine skin. It was him that made me realize that I had been fooling myself all those years. Looking into his eyes and feeling what it’s like to have a man looking back at me stirred something inside that I had been denying for a lifetime. The whole idea of being bisexual sort of hinges on the fact that I would be sexually attracted to both sexes and truth is, I’m not. It wasn’t unusual for me to long for something masculine when I was with a woman, but I never wanted anything feminine when I was with a man. Being with Danni on the other hand, was almost like a cosmic prank. Everything feels right except for his body. It was weird to look into his eyes while we were making love and see a man, but feel a woman with my hands. I can’t really explain the feeling in a way that would be easier for you to understand, but I suspect he knows exactly what I’m talking about. Being with Danni made me realize that I can indeed have a romantic relationship with a man while facing the stark reality that a woman’s body is not sexually exciting to me. This cross-dressing woman who some say doesn’t even exist has literally changed my life, and for that I will always be grateful to him.
I occasionally read the blogs from other T-girls and there are a few special gals out there that humble and inspire me. One of them is Debra Mckenzie. She’s a bit younger, a bit cuter, and a bit further along in her transition so it’s easy to see why she inspires me, but her courage in facing down the slings and arrows of this outrageous decision is also extremely humbling and that courage, that stern conviction, that determination to live a life completely whole, is contagious. Her strength makes me want to be stronger. So right about now I’m sure many of my regular readers are asking themselves “what’s Jerica got to do with our favorite tranny?” Well, she recently wrote something that got me thinking about my childhood.
My life has been kind of segmented into sections of discovery and denial. Throughout most of my 20’s and 30’s, I was determined to answer the taunts of my childhood by becoming as masculine as I possibly could. I’ve written at length about the struggles of overcoming my essentially feminine characteristics and struggling to “pass” as a man before I finally gave up as I turned 40 and began to slowly embark on my current path of transition. This means that a nearly 20 year chunk of my life was completely out of step with my spirit and who I really am. I’ve said that those years are wasted, and sometimes it’s difficult to believe that they weren’t but I also believe that those years of struggle and futility were necessary for me to understand who I really am. I can now argue with conviction that my diagnosis is absolutely real. This is not a whim or a flight of fancy, this is my awakening. There are many things that fascinate me about this self discovery, not the least of which is what I call the dark years. Those 20 years between my discovery and my acceptance. Yes, I became aware of my nature as a preteen. I’ve documented my desire to play with the girls instead of the boys and the heartbreak of ultimately being shunned by both. The girls stopped wanting to play jump-rope with me because I was a boy after all, and the boys didn’t want me playing kick-ball with them because I was a, well, I was a …sissy.
There was a distinct moment in time when my life could have gone either way. I knew I wasn’t a girl, but I also knew that I wished more than anything that I was. The kids were calling me a fag, but I don’t think any of us knew exactly what that meant, I know I didn’t. I kinda thought it meant that I was like a girl so I didn’t really mind until around 4th grade when the girls started to say it too. It was right about this stage of my life that the slightest bit of support from someone, anyone, could have saved me from the dark years. I knew that I was different but I wasn’t really afraid of it yet. I mean, I was totally aware of what I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to act, but I would have had no problem being open and authentic about who I really was if just one single person could have given me hope or showed me another way. That window was only open for a couple of years before I was swept into the typical arc of boyhood and learning to be a man. I soon realized that regardless of how I felt, there was no option but to “man up” and fit in with the guys. I fell in with a more liberal crowd in my later teen years but by then, the damage had been done. My innermost desire had been completely sublimated by my intense and sustained effort to be nothing but an average straight, masculine, man.
The dark years have been explored in this blog, but the preteen years are even more interesting to me. I like to imagine what would have happened if I would have known or heard about someone who was like me, or if I would have had an older sister who liked to dress me up, or anyone who recognized my difference and tried to help or understand me. What if I would have grown up in a city or a more progressive area instead of an extremely rural part of the south? In the end, these questions are just for fun but I think it is worthwhile to remember my dreams and fantasies from my more innocent years. Because I was so young, there was no sexual component to my desire to be a girl. I stole a pair of my little sister’s panties at 5 or 6 to play with a neighbor girl and I don’t remember why exactly, but I know for sure that there were no sexual feelings. I think it was simply me wanting to wear what girls wear and there was nothing else that fit. I do remember them being very tight and uncomfortable, but I can’t remember another instance of cross-dressing. I never reconciled my desire to be a girl with wearing girl’s clothes. I don’t really know why, it seems like such a logical step but I didn’t consciously cross dress until my late 30’s. There is another very curious thing that bears mentioning. I was an imaginative kid, I read a lot and I spent a lot of time alone daydreaming, and my one recurring daydream about my future is quite interesting indeed. I used to imagine myself as a full grown woman walking down a city street. I never imagined a teen girl, or a cheerleader, or a beauty queen or anything fun, just an image of a fashionably dressed woman walking confidently down a busy city sidewalk. Is that strange? I also imagined that someday I would spend a year pretending to be a woman so I could write a book about it. In my young mind, that was the only way I could do such a thing. I’m totally normal; I’m just living as a woman for the book! Why didn’t I imagine myself as a young girl? Sometimes I think I would love to try that regressive hypnosis therapy, where they hypnotize you to remember lost memories. I think that might answer so many questions, but then again, there may be things I don’t want to remember so the whole prospect of it seems kind of scary.
I recently found some old pictures of me taken at the time when I was most authentic, before I was scared, before the self hate, before I learned that boys shouldn’t try to be pretty. Up until I found these pictures, I had totally forgotten about that time, but these pictures brought back a flood of memories and I actually cried as I looked through them. The picture I’ve attached below is especially interesting. I don’t know how old I was exactly, but I remember those shorts very well. They were my favorite shorts because I thought they made me look cute. They were short and tight and the color really set off my tan legs, and by the next summer I was told by either my mom or dad that I shouldn’t wear them anymore because they looked too feminine. That was the beginning of the end of my innocence. In this picture, you can see how happy I was, but you can also see something that would end up changing the course of my life; the disgust of my father. You can see the way he’s looking at me that he didn’t quite appreciate this femmy boy. These pictures capture that moment in time when I was most real, but it wasn’t very long before the pressures of heteronormativity (yes I just invented a word) forced me into an uncomfortable suit of masculinity that would take me years to get out of. By the time I got into 6th grade I began battling a weight problem that would plague me until I finally came out to myself as trans only a couple of years ago. I’m not posting this picture to indict my dad as somehow being a bad father. It’s not his fault that he reacted the way he did, he was just as much a product of his environment as I was. I don’t blame anyone really for not accepting me, how could they know? But what would my life had been like if somebody did?
So the last two weekends have been fairly interesting for the simple fact that nothing interesting happened at all. Um, I guess I should elaborate on that a bit. I go out with friends pretty much every weekend and we typically gravitate towards tranny friendly environments for obvious reasons and it seems like something dramatic (or traumatic) happens every time we go out for one reason or another. I should say that my friends are all genetic females and they’re all incredibly patient and supportive as I advance through the early stages of my transition. It wasn’t too long ago that my dear friend Jenni had to endure sitting in a car with me until we finally just left, because I was too afraid to get out!
So, every time out seems like an adventure as I slowly become more comfortable with being out and blending in. Oh that’s an important point by the way. A couple of years ago, I was actually more comfortable going out, even during the day because I accepted myself as a crossdresser. My makeup was horrible and my fashion choices teetered perilously close to unfortunate, but I never really expected that I would be thought of as anything other than a guy. It was enough for me to try and be attractive, being mistaken for a woman wasn’t even a fantasy yet. A funny thing happened as time went on. I gradually morphed from a somewhat slutty crossdresser into an actual real life transsexual complete with long hair and an HRT program. At some point over the last 12 months, my presentation goals have totally changed. I see myself so differently now, and these days I consider each outing to be practice for my impending transition. I will be living full time in the next 12 months and it has become so important to me to be accepted as a female that I’ve actually become more anxious about interacting in public now than I was almost two years ago. I think it’s because I was merely wearing a costume back then, and now I feel like I’m naked. It seems strange to talk about, but when you consider that I’ve been wearing a mask for my whole life, it starts to make sense. I’ve written at length about never feeling comfortable as a boy but I eventually got to be very good at faking it. So good in fact, that my whole existence became a sort of performance. I learned to hide behind a stoic mask of masculinity. My costume was made of scars and muscle from various manly pursuits that were required by the role. There were wardrobe malfunctions to be sure, but most of the audience was completely unaware that the actor was broken inside. The mask was effective and it was also comfortable and convenient when life got stressful. When I started crossdressing I didn’t take off the mask, I just put makeup on it. Now things are so different. I am really learning how to drop the act, it’s a role I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember and I’m finally learning to go off script. I’m improvising baby, and it’s exhilarating. My mask is becoming less and less necessary every single day as I continue to explore and find my authentic self. My daily wardrobe choices are becoming more androgynous and my female presentation is totally influenced by my desire to pass or blend in as a woman. It won’t be long before my life as a male will be just a memory and my old costume will be gone forever.
As you can imagine, dropping the act and going out as nothing but me can be a tiny bit terrifying. I honestly feel more comfortable presenting as female so that isn’t the problem. What? Then what the hell is the problem!?! I know it’s confusing, imagine what it’s like in my head. The problem is how I’m perceived by people, or at least my perception of how I’m being perceived. You see, I’m not nervous about being seen in a dress or makeup, I’m nervous about being thought of as a crossdresser. Oh is that all! I know it sounds silly but there’s a huge difference in my mind with somebody thinking; “that used to be a man” and, “that’s a man”. I know because of my age and advanced stage of testosterone poisoning that I may never be able to live in “stealth”, but I would be satisfied if people would identify me as “once” a man rather than “as” a man. I think it’s a reachable goal, but I have to admit that I’m in a very sensitive place in my transition right now, and losing my trusty old mask doesn’t make it any easier. Anyhoo, back to the beginning of this article; the last couple of weekends have been notable because they were so normal. I went to two different restaurants, with normal straight people, on two different occasions, with two different sets of friends, and I felt pretty damn normal. Someday soon, nights like these won’t even be worth talking about, except for the wonderful friends I’ve somehow been blessed with, but right now, at this stage of my transition, these nights are exactly what I need. I could tell that some people read me, but I could also tell that most of them were completely oblivious to the tranny in their midst. I’ve never felt so free and natural and all I was doing was having dinner with friends. It wasn’t that long ago you know, when I didn’t think I would ever be able to successfully transition, and now thanks to a couple of mundane evenings, I actually think I’m well on my way.