Monday, December 31, 2012

How Beautiful is This?

This amazingly touching and beautiful commercial came to me via the wonderful web site "We Happy Trans*" We see so many embarassing, demeaning depictions of trans people in the media. Ads where the trans person or their "ambiguity" is the punch line. This one makes me proud and gives me hope, and makes me cry...

And please explore Jen's terrific We Happy Trans* site. She is part of the lovely newer generation of trans people who are coming into a positive time where shame may become a useless thing of the past!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Floor Please?


It's been a whole/just 2 months since I came out to everyone and prepared to live my life full time as an honest "Me."  I look back and can't believe that I ever lived any other way! It has been fantastic at work and the people have been wonderful. I am amazingly more engaged with (almost) everyone in my life! On Friday I had lunch with a business friend and we just had simple girl chat and talked about friends and family, the holidays, work-life balance, manicures and coloring hair. What the heck did I talk about back in September at lunches? I Dunno!

Before I went to lunch, one of my co-workers, "B" got a call from a mutual friend, "J", who was unexpectedly early in the lobby of our building and taking B to lunch. B had to "stop off in private" before she went down so I trotted off to see J downstairs. As I headed out I asked B, "Oh, does J know that I've made changes?'"  B said, "No, but she'll be fine."  Well I get down there, step off the elevator and J's jaw drops and she rushes over and gave me a huge hug! She grabbed my face and looked me in the eyes and started to cry. We both stood there sniffing and weeping and carrying on until B came down and then the three of us hugged and wept and carried on! J's face and her energy reminded me so much of my departed Mom many years ago that when she said, "I am just so proud of you!" I just about lost it. It was so affirming and I felt so Loved.

The thing that makes me feel so Blessed is that the love and acceptance I got from J is what I've gotten from so many people. I cannot believe how lucky I have been! I know so very very many trans people who have had such suffering and so much pain. I had accepted that I would have that also, especially since it is what I always had in the past. But I haven't had that, and I feel like I've won the Grand Prize! Sometimes I worry that someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that there was a mistake and they need to take me back where I was. I also try to tone it down with my trans peers  because I don't want to come off like some boastful thing. I know that my experience is not typical,  but I think it's getting more feasible every day! It is possible. But again, my life is not typical.

So the loss? I can't run into work 15 minutes after I roll out of bed any more, but that's bad for your constitution anyway. I have also lost whatever tenuous relationship I had with my son and daughter in law, and grandson. And that is hard. I reached out to them and asked about us coming by to drop off Christmas and Grandson  Birthday presents. I said I would do Guy but that I wasn't going to get a haircut or have my nails soaked off. I would not be who I am everywhere else. My son replied quite flatly, "No." He said that any "dressing" was too much and they would not have their son exposed to me. 

I am "dangerous." 

I know I didn't raise a bigot so I guess he learned it somewhere else. I sent them a politely pointed email in reply saying how I felt and that they could expect me to keep reaching out to them. It also pointed out that I had tried to compromise and been rejected and that I had been patient and told that patience would not be rewarded. And I couldn't help but underscore that I have a conservatively estimated 150 people in my life who accept me including politically conservative LDS Moms, Marines and Harvard educated attorneys and that my son and daughter in law represented the only two total people who have flatly rejected me. That's a 98.7% approval rating and I consider that a landslide victory! Their total rejection does hurt. And I may not see my grandson, or the second baby they are expecting, for many years, if ever again, but I would have to say it is still completely worth it for the amazing improvement in the way I feel about life. 

Every growth journey involves some loss. The hope is that the tears of joy can balance out the tears of pain. So far for me the tears of joy are winning!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I posted this on my favorite Canadian newspaper blog. There is a bill in the Canadian Parliament to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and expression protections. The element of the bill that has raised the most "kerfuffle" is restroom access for trans people. Yup! The old chestnut of "Trannies in the Ladies Room!" (And, yes, I advisedly used the potentially inflammatory word "trannies" specifically due to it's emotional tone)  Conservative Canadians have drug out the imagined threat of sexual predators invading the women's restroom to carry out assaults on natal women and children. I am seriously looking for any record of any such assault having ever taken place!!! This search is becoming a hobby for me...  And I don't mean embarrassing Colleen Francis episodes where individual judgment and social comfort diverge, I mean actual incidents involving predatory behavior carried out by trans people in restrooms. So please, comment and re-post and help me find actual evidence!

I have been following Ottawa's progress on Bill C-279 with keen interest. I'm frustrated but not surprised to see it bogging down on the washroom issue. I understand the underlying feelings about allowing trans people into the Ladies room. What I don't understand is the rationale applied that there is a very specific threat of child molesters invading these spaces for predatory purposes. This meme keeps surfacing in North America and I just can't help but wonder what tiny kernel of fact can back it up?

Not long ago I spent a weekend of free internet time doggedly trying to find evidence that any trans person, or anyone pretending to be a trans person, had ever lurked in a restroom with criminal intent. All I could find were dozens and dozens of hits where people raised the dire warning of the impending threat of predators just waiting to be descend once they were given free rein. The closest I came was one young trans woman who used the men's  room for a semi-consensual encounter with an underage teenage boy. There are many jurisdictions where trans women are allowed to use the Ladies room. Why haven't those areas seen cases of trans or faux-trans people lurking in the washroom?

Well, what else did I find in my Google frenzy? A frightening number of trans women who had been harassed or assaulted for using the women's bathroom. One young trans woman in the U.S. was beaten into a seizure at a fast food restaurant for using the women's room. I found a website ( that provides a directory of safe places for trans people to relieve themselves. I found reasonable people using these incidents and statistics to push for accommodations allowing trans people access to safe facilities. So yes, I did find evidence of a persistent threat of violence at the door of the women's washroom. It's just not the one that legislators in Ottawa, or Tennessee or any number of places, are bellowing about. It's the threat that an entitled majority posses to a minority. 

So here, again, I implore anyone to show links to real factual evidence of dangerous trans people prowling restrooms. I'm sure someone will bring up the person in a Texas hospital who was confronted when using a women's room who also had a criminal record of sexual crimes. But that logic would also keep anyone who had ever written a bad check from using a bank or anyone who had ever caused a serious accident from driving. While those are attractive things to consider, no reasonable person would begin to consider keeping all brown haired people from driving because ONE brown haired person had caused an horrific fatal accident.

It is a sticky question, but how much of the question relates to the "Ick Factor" of honest discomfort and how much is a truly clear and present danger?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It has come...

Well it has certainly been quite a month! When we last left our intrepid heroine she had been revealed to her 112 co-workers as a Transgender Woman who was going to transition at the office. The days of "he" would be left behind and days of "she" would begin after a week of reflection and adjustment. And now we rejoin Dianne as the curtain rises on another episode of "Big Changes!"

It has finally really actually happened. I am living my life as Dianne and moving into a new world of my own making! My first day at work was thrilling with not one trace of the anxiety I had anticipated. The preceding week of post-announce pre-transition had been very healthy for everyone. I was able to be open and honest with my coworkers and they were able to see that this was actually going to happen and ask questions.

I made a point on the first day to dress in office proper attire but just a touch spiffier than an average Monday would warrant. This wasn't my first day at a new job, but it was my first day as a new me at the old job. So it was just about the same. Black and print dress, hose, heels, little black open weave cardigan. It is certainly what I would wear to an interview.

My manager and our HR director had arranged a meeting at 9:30 to "make sure we were all on the same page." I had joked that they wanted to make sure my stocking seams were straight but I knew that they really wanted to make sure I was presentable. This was reinforced as they each repeatedly commented, "Wow, you look pretty darn good!" I think they were a bit taken aback that the rumpled dumpy guy who had worn khakis and plaid shirts non-stop for 13 years had suddenly blossomed into a classy middle aged, manicured, well coiffed lady ready for a day at the office! I was presented with a new box of business cards with my new name and off I went to engage the world.

I made a point during the first week to frequently leave my little cube on the remote floor below and get out with people and interact. A very few people became suddenly fascinated with the baseboards when they passed me in the halls but I was chin up and shoulders back! Mainly what I got was acceptance. People made a point to tell me that they cared, that they could see that this was a me that had been hiding in the back shadows and that had finally come out in the open. They were happy for me and I was flutteringly ecstatic!

The thing that has touched me the most, that has made the biggest change in my life, is a thing that I am finding the hardest to absorb. It's something that I rarely dared to dream of and that I was worried might not happen. Something that seemed to be a hope as tenuous and delicate as a dewy spider web in the crisp morning light. Something that has come to me far sooner than I had imagined possible. I feel that people are accepting me as a woman. The women that I work with have begun to welcome me into their culture and make me a sister. It has brought me to tears more than once.

I have had lunches out with my gal friends and confiding chats in the hallways. I've been told about hormone issues and parenting problems and marital frustrations. After 52 years as some sort of a guy I can confidently say, "Men just don't understand. That's why I left the club!" I've been  told by a new friend that it is very important that I vote because of the number of women who soldiered on in the suffrage movement. I've been told by an old friend that I was always one of her favorites and now she knows why. I've had our resident "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" gal stand up, come toe to toe with me, look me in the eye and say, "I'm proud of you." I've gone to a city council meeting regarding a nondiscrimination ordinance and had my picture on the front page of the local paper and had people tell me they were proud that I was there. I've had a friend tell me that my dealing with my nature has changed her perspective on life.

I am amazingly more engaged with the people in my life. I'm not "tolerating" the Holidays as in the past, I am relishing them because I will be spending time with people I enjoy and who enjoy me "as me." Not people who need me to be in a role, but people who know me for who I am and love me for it, not in spite of it. I LOVE the people in my life.

It is an amazing irony that there are only two people in my life who have vowed to have nothing to do with me. My son and daughter in law have stated emphatically that they will not allow "Dianne" to have any contact with my two year old grandson because they feel it will damage him. They will not "act like this is OK." In a startlingly blunt last email from the daughter in law she commented that I "must be so lonely" because of this and then hopes I " learn to embrace who I am." I am incredibly far from lonely and am relishing an amazing sense of embracing who I am. I am finally finishing my adolescence. I am growing up to be who I have felt I was inside and finding an unexpectedly rich and rewarding life. I had no idea how simply depressed and limited I have been for so many years.

I feel like a month ago, the day I was transparently honest with everyone in my life, I was born.

It's my new Birthday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From the Land of Potatoes

I live in Idaho and our voting law states that you are "requested" to provide a government issued photo ID when you vote. With all the talk about Voting While Trans and the potential issues that T voters could face I decided to do my research. I had begun my full time transition an entire week before election day and, thus, had a photo ID that didn't look very much like "Me" anymore.

I learned that my ID might be refused, and that I could then sign an affidavit stating that I was, indeed, me and that I lived at my address and that I was registered to vote. I printed out some web pages about the laws. I printed out pages from the ACLU and wrote their phone numbers on the pages. I printed out the affidavit and filled out all but the signature and witness lines. I took these prepared truths and these ready facts and put them in a file folder, with a file folder label, and tucked it under my arm and went in to vote at my appointed polling place. I proudly walked up, stated my legal name and handed the volunteer my ID.

She took a look at it, looked at me... and handed me a ballot and pointed to an empty booth.

"But, Don't you, but..."

I was all prepared to defend my right to exercise my franchise and demonstrate my preparedness, all she did was look at my license and look at me and send me on in.

Hmm, does that picture really look like me? I mean, people I know fairly well have walked right past me without a hint of recognition, even with eye contact. Am I just one of the many trans gals who voted there that day? Or is it just no big deal? Was it just another opportunity for me to see that I am taking this whole transition and change thing just a bit more seriously than people around me?

Dunno! I voted and went back to work and then went home to watch the results. And I didn't even get to show off all my fancy papers and my diligent research...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Yesterday was the single biggest day in my life. Everything else either led up to it or will be a result of it, well maybe not, but it was important. Yesterday morning the managing partner, firm administrator and HR person at my firm informed my 112 co-workers that Dianne  will be coming to work and Dan will be stepping away as I transition into living my authentic life.

I will be officially full time.

I cannot describe the relief and joy that I feel from this! I don't have to hide any more, I don't have to evade social questions about where I work, I don't have to shop at the market 2 miles away because there are so many people from the firm that live near me. I'm just Dianne now.

My co-workers amazed me! I wasn't present in the meetings so that people could express whatever they felt, but right afterwards my cube had a crowd of people coming to hug me and congratulate me and tell me in the most sincere way that they support me. I got emails all day long, from co-workers, partners, attorneys. One male partner broke down in the elevator and gave me a great big hug because he was so happy! Emails poured in, people stopped me in the halls, I could feel the joy. Our managing partner said that he was very proud of the people at the firm because of the support and admiration they showed.

I carried a fist full of tissues all day.

The plan is that I will finish out next week as a guy that everyone knows is a proud Trans woman. Then on Monday the 29th I'm Dianne to everyone. A couple of people already started calling me Dianne "so they can practice." I had four or five people tell me, with pride and relief, that they had relatives or friends who are trans.

Through it all I thought of my friends who have gone before me. I thought of the thousands that worked hard and took knocks and made it easier for me. And now we'll all make it that much easier for the ones coming behind.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Prophetic Fortune Cookie

Recently I got a fortune cookie that said it all. It summed up my life up in just a few short punchy words of absolute truth.

"Here we go. Low fat, whole wheat green tea."

Google it. It seems to be a meme in the making. It became the theme for a camping trip with my wife as we simultaneously grappled with its Zen koan simplicity and its inscrutable depth.

So what did it mean for me? Well, on the 18th of October I will be coming out to all 115 people where I work. I'm a computer person who tries to keep my co-workers safe and happy and productive. Most of the time with success. But that's not the point of this post either...

I will be revealing to this group of 115 people something that has been at my very core of being for about half a century. Something that used to be a secret from everyone and a source of shame. I will be telling 115 people, many that I have know for 13 years, that I am a transgender person, that I am a guy on the outside and a gal on the inside. That I am "a woman trapped in a man's body" and that I need to finally come out into the daylight and live my life.

I'm a transsexual.  "Here we go."

But, how the heck am I going to do this?!? Well, I'm going to prepare a statement to be read to the owners who will solemnly acknowledge the social and legal precedent and discuss the need for a respectful workplace. Then later there will be a statement to the rest of the company under the guidance of our (wonderful) HR person, my supportive boss and the firm's CEO. Then I'll leave the room while they watch a nice little PFLAG of Denver video followed by a respectful workplace discussion and a Q & A time. How much you want to bet they will all be talking about me?

Then a week later I will be coming to work as Dianne. All the way, all the time. In front of everybody. In front of the last part of my life that doesn't know me as Dianne.

Strangely, that part doesn't give me the Worries half as much as "Coming Out." Because when I'm in front of them, and I talk to them, I will be asking for their compassion and support. It's going to be a leap of faith, jumping across the chasm and praying that I'll land on the other side. I'm sure there will be some people who just can't wrap their heads around it, at first, or at all. That's why there will be a short period of "still a sort of a guy" after the Big Reveal. To give people time to adjust to the concept before I'm right there in front of them. Every person I have come out to has said that they needed a week or two to adjust and digest. I'm pretty sure I would too!

So far there are only 3 people in my corner of the world who have stated that they will not adjust, adapt or accept. Since two of them are the parents of my only grandson I have deigned to be a gracious and understanding person and adapt to their limitations. With them, I will do what I can to look like a guy as long as I can before it becomes just too humorous. I'll slick my hair back in some kind of funky mullet and wear a sports bra and coveralls and use makeup to give myself a unibrow and stubble. I will be fun! We'll go to restaurants and I'll try to pass as a man. I've been doing it for years so it should be easy enough.

I can only hope that the 3 out of 50 ratio holds at work also. That would mean there would be 6.9 people at work who can't deal with me. Now if I could just pick which 6.9 people wouldn't talk to me in future it would be a great day! But there are a couple of dozen that I would absolutely hate to loose.

Now, "Low fat, whole wheat green tea"

Well that's the part I don't understand. That's the part that represents the whole rest of my life from here forward. The part where I don't have the answers. But that's the part that will be the adventure. 

OK, Here We Go...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Camping at the Lake

A real outdoorsy HookUp

Another watershed! We went camping as a couple of gals at one of our favorite places, Lake Wallowa in Oregon. It was a great trip for us to get used to two women in a tiny trailer. For the past several years it's been a woman and a guy in a tiny trailer so there isn't too much difference! We cooked outside, waved at neighbors and went for walks with not so much as a glance from anyone.

A friend of mine told me about her first "two gals" RV trip where a guy came up as they were setting up and said, "I've never seen a woman back up a trailer that well before." I must not back up as well as she does because nobody came by at all.

One of our traditions visiting the area is to go to an Indian jewelry place in town run by a woman whose husband runs the connected fly shop. While "the Mrs" would go look at jewelry I would go talk to the fly shop guy. No big surprise, I always felt a very strong pull to the jewelry side but I was still trying to deny, ignore, thwart, whatever that part of me. Well this time the two Mrs went in to the jewelry side and enjoyed shiny pretties and chatted with the owner. We Ewed and Ahhed and each picked out some nice things. I got a great necklace and earrings from a local Nez Perce artist. The owner recognized the "Original Mrs" but didn't seem to recognize me at all. I wonder why??? We had fun and spent too much and then went to lunch. The perfect ladies day out!

It was the first of what will surely be many more lovely trips as we adjust our lives to the new adventures.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Steps in The Journey

Changes. Small but significant changes.

Today I went to the main doctor in our city who has experience with trans people and hormones. She is now my primary care physician so she will help me maintain my blood pressure and general health while adjusting my hormones to get me where I want to be. In the past my general health has not been my main focus. Now every element of my general health is in focus so I can be the "Me" that I have waited to be!

A small step but a watershed moment, a right of passage.

Every step moving forward is a big step!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Funny things happen...

I was in my therapist's office waiting for my appointment. She was running late and that was unusual so I got myself a cup of ice water and relaxed for 15 minutes or so, after I checked my calendar to make sure  I had the right day and time.

Finally the door opened and she came out with a 20 something woman who looked over at me a bit surprised and said, "Hi, how are you?" I didn't recognize her at all so she filled in, "I'm Sandy's friend from school." I must have looked a bit blank while trying to remember a Sandy and a school. She saw my stammering confusion and continued, "Oh, I thought you were Sandy's Mom. Sorry"

I went in for my appointment and my therapist said, "Don't you get what happened?" I was still a bit fuzzy and she said, "She thought you were her friend's Mom." It slowly dawned on me what that meant and how this stranger had seen me. Wow! She walked by and recognized me as her friend's Mom, not some sort of guy who looked like a woman, but as a woman who was a Mom. Maximum unexpected affirmation for a sometimes clueless gal!

Ring, Ring...

I am very married. My wonderfully supportive wife and I are going through life's adventures together and helping each other along the way. Our wedding rings are a tangible symbol of this adventure and our goal of helping each other along through the journey.

We came together as full adults each having been married before. Our expectations and assumptions are (hopefully...) a bit more mature because of this. And we both know the power of symbols. Her ring has been passed through my family. It's not gorgeous or modern or flashy, but it has a history and has seen many years. My "Boy Ring" is a simple gold band that has become too large as I've lost weight. I have to be careful that it doesn't fall off if my hands are wet. And the symbolism of that change is not lost on me. A few months ago I bought a simple gold filled, cubic zirconia wedding set that looks better on a lady's hand. Very inexpensive but very appropriate. I make a point to always wear it when I'm out in the world and I very often get complimented on it. Not surprisingly those compliments always come from other women.

And that gets us to the heart of this posting. Women pointedly notice each others rings. They are a symbol of relationships, love, status, and family. A wedding ring announces that you are in the sisterhood. The shop lady, the waitress, the bank teller sees that you are living in the world in a certain way. Honestly, for me, breast forms and hair and makeup are clues to guide people to treat me a certain way. The rings are a deeper symbol that shows what is important in my life. This lovely posting by Lucy brought me to warm tears and touched me very deeply. Two people finding their way through complicated changes while being authentic. Because rings are a symbol to ourselves also. Right there on the hand that opens a door, or holds a glass, or touches the arm of a loved one. It sparkles in the light to remind us of the lights in our lives.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pearls, Pleasantries and Puzzlement

Here in the North West we have  a chain of grocery/household stores that include a very nice jewelry counter that often has great bargains on good quality sparkly things. I had a coupon for a little pearl and diamond pendant that interested me. I went in to get some groceries and to look at the pendant. After waiting for the shop lady to finish with another customer,  I decided to buy it. While we were “transacting” she and I chatted away. She asked if I was buying it for myself and I said that I was. She insisted that I let her gift wrap it because, “we just don’t give ourselves gifts. We do things for our kids and our friends but we women just don’t take enough care of ourselves.”  She was openly treating me as a sister and an equal. Very affirming! We talked about adult kids and grandchildren and taking care of parents.

While this was going on, over her shoulder, I was watching another woman going past with her cart full of groceries. She stopped in the walkway and openly and blatantly stared at me. Her wide eyed disbelief was as evident as the glaring noonday sun. Her husband caught up with her and she couldn’t wait to clue him in to what she had discovered, and he stared.  I couldn’t help but note the slack jawed shock of the couple and how it contrasted with the lovely bonding with the jewelry counter  lady.  The couple left, doubtless discussing their amazement. The counter lady and I exchanged further pleasantries and we finished up with a gentle handshake and mutual thanks.

I left with an untarnished warm glow and went about my day. Did the counter lady “clock me?” Who cares? She treated me as a co-woman and I treasured it. Did the couple learn anything? Who cares? They were likely shocked by Chaz Bono and Jenna Talackova and left just as puzzled as when they woke up that morning. Oh, and the pendant looks great on a silver chain I got for my birthday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Born to be Wild

What a silly thing! I was lounging in the yard today watching the evening creep up when I decided it was time for an adventure. I threw on a sweatshirt, tied up the legs of my cropped pants, put on my "gardening wig" under my helmet and headed off for a cruise on my tiny Chinese scooter. Earrings jangling in the breeze and big dark glasses on and away I went! What Fun!

I usually get a few glances in boy mode on my putt putt machine, not very macho at all, so it was fun to not get a second glance from people on the street. Just some middle aged post hippie gal out enjoying the evening! All I needed was a french bread peeking out of the shopping bag. Very European.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love what you don't Like

I play silly games with myself. Maybe you do the same, and maybe not. We have Fiesta Ware plates and bowls and I love the colors. Bright, cheery, vibrant and alive. I love them all, but I just don't like the yellow plates. I don't know why and who cares, I suppose. I've also set a rule for myself to not pick from the middle of the stack. Whatever is on top gets used.

Also, I tend to look at random events and try to read too much in to them. If it's a rainy day, or too hot, and I had planned outdoor activities but have to change plans, I tend to think that there is some message there. I need to learn to be flexible, or I need to see the beauty in the less pleasant weather. If I'm already cranky, I decide that the Fates are against me. Maybe because I had negative thoughts about someone, or I was too attached to a particular outcome. Or maybe because I'm trans...

For a long time I would apply this same thinking to the random event of getting the Yellow Plate. I would think I must be paying for some event or thought. Or that I was not good enough to deserve another color. It became a household joke when I would get the now DREADED Yellow Plate. It began to bother me! Then I began to see that it was a lesson after all. It was an opportunity for me to Let Go of my desires and preferences. I needed to learn the fallacy of attachment to an outcome, especially for something trivial. Now, after many many random plate deals, I kinda like the Yellow Plate. It's now my friend come to visit and it makes me smile.

I made a sandwich tonight. There at the top of the stack was the Yellow Plate, and it's partner the Yellow Cup.

Horray! My favorites have come to visit!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CeCe McDonald

I don't know how I feel about this event.  I am very proud of CeCe McDonald and the way she has carried herself through this ordeal. And I'm proud that so many people have shown her such support. And I'm proud that this young woman has taken responsibility for her role in a tragedy. But I am also disheartened, angry and sickened that she will pay with a significant portion of her youth for standing up for herself.

I pray fervently that she can come out of the remainder of this episode with at least a fragment of optimism and positive spirit.

Change We Can Believe In

Recent events have been showing us T folk in a positive light and it is amazing! Look at these things and feel good about where we now are in the world. We have Jenna Talackova as a media sweetheart for standing up to the Miss Universe Pageant, and to Donald Trump by extension (what a bonus!). There is a piece on ABC's "What Would You Do" where an average guy stands up for a trans woman who is being hassled in public. We had a National Geographic special, "Transgender America," that had the most touching and positive presentations of trans people that I think I've ever seen. And Heavens! the Nat Geo special waited for over 45 minutes before showing the trans woman putting on makeup, but even then it was someone putting makeup on her the day of her wedding! It was a story book portrayal instead of the common faintly (or strongly) tabloid views that come up so often.

When we meld this with Chaz Bono, Amanda Simpson being appointed to a senior Commerce Department post, and Mia Macy's landmark Title VII employment rights decision you have got to be positive. All of these things have been showing the general public that we are not "other." That we are just people doing our best to live life as we need to. Isn't that great?

Now here is my new plan to reinforce this change, and it's a page taken right out of a "Big Bang Theory" episode ("The Gothowitz Deviation" if you are just too geeky). Main character Sheldon decides to undertake an experiment where he "trains" the character Penny by giving her chocolates when she exhibits "good" behavior. Then he squirts another character with a water sprayer when he exhibits "bad" behavior. Straight out of the Dog Whisperer!

From now on I'm going to carry a pocket full of chocolates when I'm out and give a treat to anyone who is nice to me! I think it might be safer to forgo the other reinforcement in this operant conditioning project though. I doubt it would help the trans community if I go around squirting people who behave badly.

So if you are out and about and someone comes up to you with an expectant look, like they think you have treats, you may just be running into someone I've been training!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shh, Listen, We're here.

Well, it's been a while but let me tell you what I've learned.

I live in Boise Idaho, a very Red city in a very Red state. We narrowly escaped our own vaginal ultrasound bill and saw the strident non-discussion of adding the G, L, B and T to our state's anti-discrimination law. Both were shelved because it's an election year and none of our patriarchal legislators wanted to do anything controversial. They just stuck with their usual ethics scandals and attempts to defend their Family First images from their own boorish poor behavior. Nothing quite like the entitled class when it comes to bad decisions and scandals...

In the years that I've lived in Boise I have often felt very alone. I felt like I must be the only transgendered person who isn't being arrested or marginalized.

So I've hidden.

The repeated lesson was that I was alone and it was dangerous out there.

Now I've been poking my nose out a bit and looking for peers. It has amazed me to see how many people I have found just by taking a small risk! I've found a great T support group and met some wonderful people that I love being with. I went to a therapist and was invited to join another group of 10 or so that she shepherds. My laser hair removal gal asked me if I knew so and so and If I knew one of her clients that was getting married.

I keep realizing that we aren't really as alone as we think we are. We are all over the place. At every turn I hear about more sisters and brothers.

By our very nature we tend to be people who just want to freely be who we are and be accepted, and pretty much ignored. Most gals I know are very willing to not be noticed at all. But there are many of us, even in places that are not very progressive and not overly tolerant.

Trust me, I am totally not saying that we should all rise up en masse and march through the streets shouting for solidarity! But it's fun to imagine that if we did we would all be very surprised how many kindred spirits there are that are very close, who are being very quiet.

It gives me strength.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Before I get TOO excited...

It also included Patrick Stewart and Micheal Keaton... But that's better than Bella Lugosi and Larry the Cable Guy!
Such a Simple Thing   

Honestly, it can take so little to make me happy. I planned a day out doing errands and got a bit of a late start. It's spring and I had several "man chores" that needed doing on our rather large city lot. I spent too much of the day mending a hundred yards or so of our ramshackle fence and ended up near blisters and full of dust and dirt and literally had twigs stuck in my hair. So shower, shave, face and hair seemed to take forever. Undaunted (well, daunted but determined) I headed out to catch my favorite wig lady before she closed shop. I've known Kathy for many years but she hadn't seen me en full femme for almost 15 years. I went in and was greeted with a warm hug and a bout of reciprocal, "Don't you look great!" comments. We talked about hair and mutual friends and how I need to order another wig like what I was wearing even though it's been discontinued. At one point she said that she had seen me pull up and get out of my car but hadn't recognized me. She said that part of it was that she didn't "read me" as trans because I just looked like any other woman coming in to the shop. I almost teared up and told her that it was just about the nicest thing she could have said to me, I just want to reasonably blend in and go about my business. I know I don't "pass," I just want to "blend."

The rest of the afternoon was rounded out with other mundane stops, the drug store for stick on nails and TicTacs, Fred Meyers for on sale dangly earrings and the beauty supply store for a few odds and ends. The young lady at the beauty store helped me find some things and gave me some advice on a foundation primer mentioned on Makeup Geek. As I was checking out, after she swiped my discount card, I handed her my credit card. It has my boy name and the signature line is absolutely worn off. She took a look at the front and the back and said, "OK, your signature looks good, thanks" before I even signed my receipt. I was confused and said, "But it's all worn off and..." Then I realized that she was being sweet and sparing me from showing my drivers license that has a picture of some middle aged balding guy. She looked me in the eye and said pointedly, "I'm sure I've helped you before so I recognize you."  It was just a little thing but it made me feel warmly encouraged that younger people "get it."

Recently I've begun an entertaining mental exercise. When I'm out in guy mode I make a point of watching people and how they react to me. I imagine that I'm dressed and presenting as a woman and try to see if they are "reading me." You'd be amazed how often I get what I would think were judging glances or "hairy eyeballs" when I'm not even trying to be an invisible trans-woman. Try it, you can't help but laugh. Just be careful that you don't start thinking that people are reading you as a transgal when you're in boy drag!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There are advantages to being married to a T gal. My wife has been working through a bout of shingles running along a nerve from her back to her chest. This has given her a lot of pain for many weeks and clothes and underwear just plain hurt. Yesterday morning as she was getting ready she asked me if I had a bra that might be a bit looser and more comfortable for her. Well it just so happened that I did! She borrowed one of mine and set off for work feeling much better.

It's just handy to have someone with spare clothes around. We can't share much except earrings and makeup, but it's still sharing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Funny Thing happened on the way to the consignment store...

I was visiting Seattle recently and happened to be there the same weekend as a sale at a big gals consignment store called Two Big Blondes. Always looking for bargains, I headed over to browse. On the way I was leaving a neighborhood of very narrow streets in my very large pickup truck when I got to a spot where I would turn left (Eeek!) onto a major arterial street. As I got to the corner a tall, kind of butch, woman with grey hair was jogging down the sidewalk. I stopped to let her cross before nosing out where I could see the cross traffic. I had my window rolled down and my big sunglasses on enjoying the rare sunshine. I made eye contact and waved her on.  She paused mid street, smiled broadly and said, "Hon, you got one great head of hair!" I smiled back and thanked her. What a boost!

Eventually my GPS got me to the store and I parked down a side street where docking my truck was easier than negotiating the store's tiny parking lot. I got out and was walking across the street when a woman who was already in her car rolled down her window and stopped me to say, "I just want to tell you, that color looks fantastic on you!" I had a loose turquoise, teal cardigan on, and it did look great. I told her it was from Macy's and was on sale and we exchanged bargain bonding.

Now with two big boosts under my belt I headed in to the store to look around. As I rummaged, one of the shop gals paused to ask me if I was looking for anything in particular. I thanked her and said I was just browsing. She stopped just next to me down the rack and started chatting with a coworker. They were talking about a group of trans gals that had just left and the one gal said, "Wow, that group of drag queens was a hoot." The first woman commented, "They weren't drag queens, they were crossdressers. They don't perform in shows, they just go out dressed as women and do normal things." Well I don't know if she didn't read me or what, but it was great to overhear someone guiding someone else to understanding instead of making jokes at our expense.

All in all, a marvelously affirming day!                       

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Velveteen Tgal.

I had lived much of the common Dysphoric life with the denial, the hiding, the purging, the exploding out of the shell and the attendant disruption of everything and everyone around me. Over 15 years ago I broke my marriage, my job, and my comfort in an attempt to figure out what I needed to do to still the constant buzzing in my genderhood. I reached out in the preteen years of the internet and found information. I found articles and stories and other people. Real people who lived real lives dealing with gender issues. I thought I knew what I needed to do to fix me. I needed to move to Seattle and transition!

I had met some great people at the Esprit conference held in Port Angeles Washington. I had hit it off very well with a transitioning T-gal and a plan developed in my fevered brain to share an apartment with her and see if transitioning was my future. Off  I burst leaving a wake of disruption behind me.

In Seattle I met people and entered in to the rich transgendered community. I went to meetings at the Ingersol Gender Center, I socialized with the Emerald City Social Club, I even joined Seattle's only transgender dart team. I blossomed as a T-gal. I let my hair and nails grow. I had a new identity and it was  a heady time.

I also saw the sad side of many people and learned about marginalization, sacrifice and loneliness, mine and others. I read and I thought and I watched and listened. I wondered why I had to pick a side and stick with it. I wondered why confirmed transsexuals thought crossdressers didn't count. I wondered why crossdressers thought that transsexuals were crazy. I wondered what that meant about me. My ex wife made it clear that the amount of damage I left behind meant that I had darned well better pick the transition side and commit. Hmm, quite a bit of pressure from all sides.  With all this it was hard to see where I was, let alone where I needed to go.

After a year and a half in Seattle I had learned a lot. I learned that everyone had their own path and assuming some else's path was a hazard. I learned that loneliness is hard and I wanted to have a significant person in my life. I learned that it rained A LOT in Seattle and it was too big a city for me. I learned that my son needed me around...

Back to the Intermountain West I went. I spent the next 7 years in what I refer to as my "Monastic Phase." I got a good challenging job and my son lived with me and I got him through high school. Needless to say, there was little time for my fairer side to blossom, but I had things that needed my attention. Much of this time was spent wandering around the mountains of Idaho with my beloved dog by my side. The gender buzz was much less and I learned about it and from it. Once my son was on his own I had, for the first time in my life, time to reflect. And I did a lot of inward searching to see what I could see.

After a long while I met someone special, a woman almost as crazy as I was! Very early on I told her about my time in Seattle and my gender explorations. She was largely nonplussed and thought that it made sense to follow your journey in life and figure out what you needed to do. Oddly, (but commonly) I reverted to a secret private T life and would use her trips out of town visiting relatives to transform and revisit the odd magic that came from seeing my femme being come out. What was different was how I felt, there wasn't the shame and guilt as much as a caution and compartmentalizing. I was the same person regardless of what I wore, I just felt a sense of grace when I was en femme. The remaining buzz became a harmonious hum. And I knew that there would be no damaging my dear people this time.

Eventually I gained the courage to talk with my dear wife about wanting to reconnect with my transgendered people and my transgendered soul. I didn't feel the burning, all consuming confusion that I did so many years earlier, I just wanted to let Dianne out of the background and into the foreground. I told her that all boundaries would be respected. I would always ensure that no one felt overwhelmed or pressed or pained. Open honesty was the framework and foundation.

She amazed me. Through it all she said, "It's still "D" (my male name) and I trust him." She said that it made sense that I wanted to go back to Seattle and visit my friends and make sense of where I had been. I had not had any contact with these people for many years so I went to Seattle for a week "as Dianne" and reconnected. I had a wonderful time revisiting places and going to new places.

Seattle is a largely safe and comfortable city for trans people and being out and about felt good and honest. It also helped to clean out some mental cobwebs and let some sunshine into some old dark corners.

After I returned, my wife "V" talked with her good friend "R" and decided that Dianne needed a coming out party of sorts. So R and her daughter and nephew had us over for a marvelous dinner (actual steak and lobster!) and conversation. They are very accepting people and they had lots of questions. R's daughter is in theater so we talked about wigs and how she enjoys "transforming" herself and changing her appearance. I told them about the trans world and gave them some insight into gender and the social and political issues that people face.

The main thing that happened for me was that they acted as a mirror. They reflected Dianne back to me as a real person that they cared for. They have always been like family to me so that day D's family began to overlap with Dianne's family.

A few weeks later V was out of town with her daughter and I went to a local transgender group meeting for the first time in about 15 years. I met many new Tgals and we all went to dinner afterwards. It was so affirming to meet with sisters and enjoy their company. The commonality let's us start out knowing each other, then we can build the rest easily. The next day I had some shoes to return and some shopping to do for decent walking shoes for a planned outing with V and R in Seattle. No shoes for this 12 Wide gal so I went home to relax. As the evening came R called me, she knew V was out of town and thought I would like company for dinner so she invited me to join her and her daughter and nephew. I told her "Dianne was here for the weekend" and she said, "Well, we're almost at the restaurant so you'd better hurry!" I freshened my face and joined them for a lovely evening. We laughed until it hurt and everyone enjoyed themselves fully. What a great surprise for the day!

What does all this mean? It means that I'm real. Dianne, the girl inside the boy, is real. The people that I care about reflect me back and let me know that they care about me. Like the Velveteen Rabbit. I'm real because I'm loved.