This actually was posted in 2021 in Cyrsti’s Condo but is still relevant today:
And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don’t all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren’t reading this at all.
Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.
Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women.
All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the “gauntlet” of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least.
I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it’s stand and brush it out.
Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.
I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way. which is nothing different in our overall experience. Once I decided to take the total leap of faith and transition into my authentic feminine life it was as if a giant weight had been taken of my shoulders. I was so tired of fighting my gender dysphoria.
Finding myself in a material world was well worth it.
It turns out the Cyrsti’s Condo post on using the women’s rest room received plenty of reactions.
The first comes from Emily :
“Using restrooms–confidence is the key. I forced myself to pursue crowded ladies rooms to build that confidence-not easy-takes a long time. do not be furtive as that is a dead giveaway. Emily”
I definitely agree confidence is the real key to using the restroom. Thanks for the comment!
The second comes from Paula who writes Paula’s Place Blog :
Photo Courtesy Paula
“I have never had any incidents involving rest rooms, but I do have a couple of stories, the very first concert my band played after I transitioned we found that we had two changing rooms, one was allocated for men, the other for women, out of a blend of modesty and embarrassment I was trying to find a loo to get changed in, I must have looked a bit lost and confused because as I walked past a couple of the girls in the band lent out of the changing room grabbed me and told to come in and get changed! The other was at the “local” of my best friend I had been going in this pub for years before my transition when of course I used the appropriate facilities, afterwards I started using the ladies rest room, nobody ever said anything to me, but I found out later that a couple of people did query this with the landlady ~ who straightened them out after all what man wants a woman trans, or not, Walking through their loo wearing heels and a dress while they’re at the urinal? The next time I was in that pub the landlady bought me a drink and came and sat with us, just to shut everyone up.” What a great experience!
Common sense such as your landlady showed is all too rare. And finally for this set of comments is Connie’s experience:
Photo Courtesy Connie
“I’ve never had a real problem using the ladies room. The first night I was out in the public, I was with about eight cross dressers from the local trans social club. They decided it would be funny (my initiation?) to have the female server follow me, a few minutes later, into the ladies room and yell out, “There’s a man in the ladies room!” I just ignored it, and went about my business. I was pretty sure it was a joke, but I figured it was where I belonged – no matter what anyone else might have thought. When I returned to the table, everyone was laughing at me. I gave them some time to get their yuks, and then asked if anyone there knew where my table was – the one where the ladies were sitting. I did have an incident during intermission at the theater, where I felt pressure (intended) to hurry in deference to the other ladies who were waiting in line. In my haste, I had tucked the back of my dress into my pantyhose. Another woman kindly, and discretely, let me know of my faux pa, and everything was just fine……until I noticed the string of toilet paper stuck to the heel of my shoe as I walked back into the lobby. You can really find who your friends are while using the ladies room. ;-)” I too have had the toilet paper on the shoe experience and fortunately had another kind woman point it out to me before I left the restroom. I always assumed it was a right of passage for all women.
Pride Photo Courtesy JJ Hart
One of the great restroom equalizers I have seen occurred during a pre-Covid LGBTQ Pride festival in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The park where it was being held had a free standing, permanent restroom for both genders. On the day of Pride, it was discovered hornets had taken over the men’s side leaving only the women’s side for everyone to use. All of a sudden everyone had to put their restroom biases aside and go to the same room. It was comical for me to see all the various personalities “mix it up” while they waited for toilet paper to be passed up and down the line. For once I had been on both ends of the restroom spectrum and didn’t care.
It always amazes me how the most basic need of using the restroom stirs up so much passion.
The city of Columbus in Ohio is known often as “C-Bus.” I grew up and lived for years approximately a half hour away in Springfield, Ohio.
One of the first places I used to go to attend transvestite or cross dresser mixers were in Columbus. It is a much larger city than Springfield plus it offered me a place to go where no one would recognize me. It was at several of those mixers I started to try to follow in the steps of the group’s “A” listers. I didn’t want to adopt their attitude in anyway. They were similar to the ego trips most likely seen in the cheerleaders where I went to high school.
What I did value was the chance to go out with them after the mixers were over. I tagged along when they left most of the group at the mixer and went out to various gay and lesbian venues to party. Needless to say I learned a lot about attempting to go out in the world as a novice transvestite/cross dresser.
As time went on, the group who staged the mixers went away and many of the “A” group who lived in the area began to meet at one of the members houses. If you are familiar with Columbus at all, the house was in a fully restored brick home in the German Village historic district. In other words, it was a great place to have a party.
One of the benefits of tagging along with the “A” listers was my wife and I received an invite to the parties which normally happened about once a month. Since I worked in the restaurant business, Saturday nights off were difficult to come by and the rare ones I did get were cherished. As you can imagine, my wife wasn’t totally on board with spending one of our rare Saturdays with a group of men in dresses. I had to mix in a powerful mixture of persuasion mixed with pouting to get her to go. Normally me going by myself was out of the question. I wasn’t trusted to be on my own in other words and she was right.
Normally the parties featured a wonderful who’s who of gender dysphoric people on a rapidly developing gender spectrum. Being transgender was still a new idea but being a transsexual wasn’t. It was still during the time when transsexuals were expected to go through what then was known as sex change surgery then disappear into society. Never to be heard from again. In fact, the person who organized the parties identified as a transsexual.
What fascinated me were the number of different individuals who attended. All the way from male admirers to transsexuals considering surgery to all the questioning people such as me. One night, a question I never considered was presented to me in a way I would have never considered.
On the night in question, my wife and I had the usual fight over what I was wearing. My dress was just too short for her liking. I hate to say it but she was right and her point was proven dramatically. One admirer (or a man who admired cross dressers) was a big guy, around six foot four and probably approximately two hundred sixty pounds. I wasn’t a small person but he towered over me.
What happened was he caught me in a hallway of the house in a position I couldn’t get out of. I learned quickly how tables could be turned on women in an instant as I was trapped. About the time I was starting to panic and he was reaching for my thigh I looked up and saw my wife looking at me from down the hallway. It turned out she had let the lesson play out as far as she thought it needed to and then loudly cleared her throat. When the admirer heard it, he quickly backed off and as I said my lesson was learned.
Of course, I had to hear about it all the way home. Partying down in “C-Bus” would never be the same again and I knew how quickly all women could be put in compromising situations they can’t escape from.
2016 it turns out was a big year as I progressed through my MtF gender transition. It was the year I completed my legal gender name change, My process turned out to have a couple different layers of paper work I had to go through because I needed to include the Veterans Administration in the process. Which meant I needed the help of my VA therapist to do it. She provided the timely paperwork to insure certain medications crucial to my transition continued, especially my hormone replacement therapy needs.
I vividly remember the day I was able to erase the “M” on my Ohio driver’s license and replace it with a “F”. Second only to the first time I needed the license to vote. The only legal document I have not gotten around to changing yet is my birth certificate which only fairly recently became legal to do here in Ohio. It’s my fault for procrastinating because the whole process turned out to be fairly simple after the gender bigots quit fighting it.
Over the years, my feminine name has proven to present quite the challenge. Early in life I chose the name of girls who I admired such as the one who sat across from me in study hall. Not that is as important today, her name was Karen which of course is not the most popular name these days. Anyhow, Karen had a short lived time in my life because there always seemed to be another girl/woman I was to become enamored with and adopted her name. For awhile.
Just before I settled into a steady feminine persona as I entered the feminine world, the name game became a little crazy. In fact I would buy wigs to match a certain name. An example was Roxy was always a blond while Darcy was always a red head. After realizing I was defeating the chances to establish myself as one unique person in public, I settled into using Cyrsti as my name. It was pronounced the same as Kristi but was spelled different to reflect light going through a crystal. This was all well and good as I began to be able to exist in the woman’s sandbox and the Cyrsti’s Condo blog was born.
Cyrsti was destined to be part of my life for many years, in fact all the way to my early sixties when I came out to my daughter. Her only real concern after wondering why she was the last to know I was transgender to what was up with the name (she disliked it) and what would the three grandkids call me. Since I was close to choosing a legal name change anyhow, the time was right for a revision.
This time I decided to stay within the family history for my new name. I chose my maternal grandfather’s first name (Jesse) and just spelled it different and added my Mom’s first name as my middle name (Jeanne). That way the kids could just call me “JJ”.
At that point, the biggest question was what would happen to the blog. Should I sacrifice all the years of posts and millions of hits I had and change the name? I decided not to and kept Cyrsti as sort of a “pen name” Just to confuse the issue more though I decided to use JJ Hart fairly recently when I began to publish on the Medium writers platform.
In the future, my goal is to retain a professional to help me with my blog ideas. When I can afford it. Perhaps they could advise me on what to do with my pen name versus my legal name. In the meantime, I’m afraid my schizophrenic name use will continue.
Pride month for the LGBT community should be a year around celebration. Once you reach the certain point of your life when you are comfortable as your authentic gender self, it’s time to celebrate yourself. In other words the tipping point of having total confidence in yourself. Confidence of course was the topic of a recent blog post which Paula commented on:
” Confidence is key. It took me a while to inhabit the world confidently as a woman of mature years. We missed out on a lot of the learning process, we had to compress so much into such a short time. But now, I find that I have the confidence to do things I would not have before, because I am not just confident in my femininity, but in myself. ”
As always Paula, thanks for the relevant comment.
Pride can be expressed in many different ways. You don’t have to go watch garishly dressed drag queens strut around in heels to participate in Pride. As you can see in the first picture of me at a pre-Covid Pride along the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio.
You can dress in your favorite jeans or leggings depending on the season or you can be the occasional cross dresser in your local bar. The important part is you are living your life as you feel natural doing.
I know also, many of you think you are impossibly stuck in your transgender/cross dresser closet and will never escape. There was a time when I felt that too. I was just able somehow escape the tragic situation I was in and sheer destiny led me out of my closet and into a feminine world.
I will say though I had to work very hard to put myself in a position for destiny to find me. I searched high and low on dating sites looking for someone. Either male or female to spend social time with and was a miserable failure. My Pride comes from from finally being persistent enough to find friends such as Kim and Nikki who I met in sports bar venues and had a great time. All the while I was learning valuable lessons on how to navigate a feminine world. Then there was Liz who responded to a online dating site, saying I had sad eyes.
Along the way, being a partier didn’t hurt me when I did attend various Pride events as you can see in the second picture which was taken in a very busy gay venue in downtown Cincinnati several years ago.
To make a long story/post short, have Pride in your journey. Even though it may consist of being able to exist in a very dark closet.
After three decades the Cincinnati Bengals are still in the hunt for a Super Bowl. In an exciting game in Nashville, the Bengals beat the Titans with a last second score. It all sets up a rematch with Kansas City next weekend in KC, Needless to say it has been very exciting for the whole town of Cincinnati.
On the other end of the sports spectrum were the Green Bay Packers (Wisconsin) who lost their game this weekend to the San Francisco “49ers”.
One of my favorite transgender women who I share photos of is Melonee Malone who is also from Wisconsin and a Packers fan. I always say she has transitioned really well. Here is her latest photo:
My partner Liz asked me the other day not to write anymore when it ceased to be fun. I’m sure anyone who has ever attempted to write a daily blog will tell you there are so many times when writing is the last thing I really wanted to do. Definitely not what I would call fun. So, you may ask why to I keep doing it.
The easy answer is the great majority of days I do enjoy writing, which I separate from fun. An example would be back in the day when I first started exploring wearing my Mom’s clothes then began using my meager funds to buy select items of makeup and/or clothes on my own. It all was so exciting and fun but all too soon it wore off. Looking back at it now, it was the first milestone in my life when I should have known my gender issues were far from being just wanting to wear feminine clothes. I wish I had realized there was so much more to just looking like a girl…I wanted to be one. As the fun began to wane, a sense of satisfaction set in when I thought I had achieved a certain level of excellence when I adored myself in the mirror.
As the years went by, I learned an even more important lesson. Not only did I enjoy the feminine world I was increasingly enjoying, the lesson was how natural the whole process felt.
Maybe writing is the same way. I started this blog hoping to help others dealing with their similar transgender issues. At the time, of course I had no idea that over ten years later I would still be writing as many times as I do. Along the way I have managed over 6000 posts and I wonder how I can come up with different things to write about. I enjoy blaming my friend Connie for the whole blogging adventure when we shared experiences with each other about our feminine lives on another transgender – cross dresser web site. I wish I could bring back a few of the exchanges she had with a few of the other participants who we ended up calling “trans-Nazi’s” They were the ones who felt they were better than you because they had more operations to prove their femininity. In today’s world, they would be the bigots who want to point out they are more transgender than you. Many just for the reason they started to transition earlier than you did.
Maybe there was very little fun along the way because crossing the gender frontier is such a deadly serious journey. Often at stake are families, jobs and friends. Very few of us also are lucky get through the process unscathed.
Whatever the process has been for you, I hope you have managed have a little fun along the way. The same is true for my writing. Even though certain days it is not easy to write and I hope I don’t recount the same experiences from my past very often. The problem is many of the happenings are tied together similar to a huge collage of my life.
On exceedingly rare occasions when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror it screams woman. Most of the time though, the opposite is true. In fact what I think is not printable.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when the mirror said, I was doing the right things in the gender department to live easily in a feminine world. Of course I was dubious because the mirror has lied so many times to me in the past.
Plus, recently I have been so secluded from the world. who would know anyhow? Because he was vaccinated Liz’s son had a mild case of the Covid virus and came out of it fine. So after he served his time in quarantine, he was finally free to buy another car. That’s where I came in. Since he hadn’t much knowledge in the car buying world, Liz wanted me to go with him. As much as I am far from being a used car expert, I’m not sure I wanted to go at all.
To make a long story short, I went and with no pressure (ha) agreed with Liz’s son the car would be OK to purchase. I also was pleasantly surprised when the gruff looking man who sold him the car was nice to me. Maybe the mirror didn’t lie to me after all. Maybe I had reached gender nirvana and I could finally take the trans out of my trans woman description. I know what you are thinking and I agree. He was being nice because he wanted to sell the car.
In the end run, it didn’t matter. The car was purchased and I had escaped yet another gender meeting I preferred not to do unscathed. Someday I will learn men in that kind of situation have a tendency to ignore women anyhow. Unless they want something. I hate to think I would be taken advantage of though. Just because of my gender. Just one of the problems of losing male privileges’. Or don’t try to “mansplain” to me why a car “works”.
Whatever it was, the guy gave me a shy wave and a grin . I hope all he saw was a woman accompanying her son on a car buying adventure.
Who knows? The guy at the car place got his money, Liz’s son got his car and in a off the wall way I got my chance to again conquer the world as a woman.
Maybe I should relax and take mansplaining as yet another step I have to negotiate the feminine world. On the other hand, the whole process infuriates me as it negates much of my life’s experiences. What would my mirror say? Very simply, this is what you asked for and worked so long to achieve. And, as I was told so long ago, there was so much more to a woman’s life than being the “pretty pretty princess.”
Along the way here in Cyrsti’s Condo, I enjoy reading other experiences from other transgender women who share a similar age to me. Five (at least) are transgender veterans and it seems I am learning of more trans vets daily. By reading their comments, what the typical person doesn’t realize I think is the wide range of care you can receive in various Veterans Administration Hospitals.
Also, trans persons in my age range (65-70 plus) go through being an educational experiment. Meaning, we are educating our medical providers about the needs of transgender patients. As it has turned out, I have been on both sides of becoming a self care provider. I do think over the years, more and more medical professionals are being educated to us. When I look back at my experiences mostly at the Dayton, Ohio VA center, they have many residents from nearby universities following around my regular doctors. I always take it as a good sign when a young college aged professional has the opportunity to see a transgender woman such as me be cared for.
Unfortunately I know all haven’t been able to have the same beneficial experiences. I know I am mostly speaking to the choir here but imagine if you have to fight through personal and or religious discrimination to even receive quality transgender care such as hormone replacement therapy. Which studies have proven to be mentally helpful to the mental health of so many gender dysphoric individuals. Alternatives such as Equitas Health are proving to be life saving medical providers for the LGBTQ community if you are lucky enough to live near one of their offices in the Midwestern United States.
Now, let’s go back to another major service the VA provides for transgender veterans…mental health care. Again, from the comments I receive, the care a vet receives varies widely from VA center to center. As I have previously written my original therapist at the VA has been with me all the way and has been completely sympathetic and proactive to my needs. Of course HRT meds come to mind but there was so much more such as providing paperwork to help with name and gender changes within and out of the system.
Plus, even though I had to educate my initial endocrinologists, my current “Endo” is also a wonderful provider who monitors and takes care of my needs.
Through all of this, I hoped I would be the rule, not the exception. But from many of the comments I receive I am afraid I am not. it is too late to cry over spilled estrogen when you are 72. Sure, such as many of you I wish I had worked my way out of cross dressing and into a transgender life much earlier than I did. It seemed my gender crystal ball was a bit cloudy and the life I so meticulously built and protected as a man was too good to give up.
I hope your journey across the gender frontier has brought you to where you want to be. No matter the years it took you to get there and the experiences you had with your health care.
I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.