Jury Duty and the “Big O”

Overall I lead a very boring life. On occasion it seems I just sit around writing waiting for something remotely different to happen. This week  I hit the jackpot for all the right and wrong reasons. Plus, I am 72 and retired.  Now the wrong reason. 

Two days ago, my partner Liz’s son tested positive for the Omicron Covid 19 virus. Even though he had been vaccinated twice. Because of his age (24) and vaccination history, we hope his recovery is swift and does not spread to Liz and I. Plus, both of us have been vaccinated twice plus have been boostered. Either way I am now in quarantine for a least five days.

Then out of nowhere came a jury duty summons. In my entire life I believe I have only been summoned twice and never was required to serve. The only problem I have with doing it now is how bad my lower back is now. Sitting in any chair for much more than a hour is torture. I have been considering applying for an Ohio handicapped permit but my pride/ego has stopped me from going ahead with the process. Clouding the problem now is I am being assigned a new primary provider (family doctor) at the Veterans Administration. So now I am required to complete the process with somebody new. 

Also I was lucky. I went on the court’s website this morning and learned the county was cancelling most all of the lower level court cases due to the pandemic and my participation wasn’t required, for now. For obvious reasons I need to point out my hesitation to serve was only due to physical reasons and had nothing to do with me being transgender. In fact, as regular reader Paula once wrote in a comment, being transgender is only a part of who we are. We are so much more and so complex.

Putting all the negatives aside, this is a huge week around the Cincinnati,Ohio area and beyond as the Cincinnati Bengals football team attempts to win its first NFL playoff game in thirty one years. I am proud to say, my friend Connie out in Seattle will be rooting for the Bengals. Back in my dim past when Cincinnati was actually in the Super Bowl I actually broke a small bone in my foot celebrating a touchdown return during the game. It was difficult explaining why I was on crutches the next day to my bosses. 

So, as you can tell, my week finally shaped up to at the least be a bit different.  


Approximately every two weeks I have my scheduled appointment with my Veteran’s Administration therapist. Over the years I have drastically changed my expectations of therapy.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Many years ago when I visited my first therapists I thought they would be some sort of a mind reader or on the other hand, I would be paying another person to talk about me for an hour. My very first visit to a therapist is difficult to remember.  It was so long ago in the 1980’s. What I do recall is he seemingly refused to take me seriously about any desires I may have to dress or act in a feminine nature. The only thing I got from him were my first mind altering meds, without much explanation of why I was supposed to take them. Needless to say, it was one and done with him.

Several years later when my wife and I lived in Southeastern Ohio (near the Ohio River) I was compelled to seek out the services of another therapist. At the time I had learned of her from other attendees at several of the transvestite and/or crossdresser mixers I went to in Columbus, Ohio. An example of how rare the therapist was she was known as one of the only psychiatrists in the state who knew anything at all about gender issues. 

As it turned out, I decided to make an appointment for all the wrong reasons. At the time I was really dealing with my gender dysphoria and it was winning the battle. I bounced between extreme depression and euphoria. Of course the only way I thought I had to cope was to cross dress as a woman, ignore the deal I made with my wife not to be seen in public and go out anyway. Predictably I was eventually caught sneaking out and yet another bad fight broke out between us. So, getting caught motivated me to seek help and supposedly save our relationship.

The gender therapist’s office as I wrote took me an hour to drive one way, was expensive but was very worth it. After I described my terrible mood swings and cross dressing she told me there was nothing she could do to change my desire to dress as a woman but there was something she could do about my mood. For the first time in my life I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. At least part of my life made sense and again I was prescribed medications that actually worked. Armed with this knowledge I felt better and headed home. 

Unfortunately, similar to so many other times in my life and even though my moods had evened out, I couldn’t stay true to my word and kept leaving the house unattended. The gender therapist was right, she or no one could sway my increasing desire to discover a feminine lifestyle.

By now, many of you know my wife and I actually stayed together for twenty five years until her sudden death from a heart attack. Her passing tragically opened the doors wide open to attempt a final journey over the gender frontier.  

In order to do this, I chose the Veterans Administration health care system. In order to be accepted in the hormone replacement therapy program I had to be seen and approved by a therapist. The potential problem I saw was having my bi-polar status hurt the whole process. After all, being bi-polar didn’t have anything to do with me being transgender but I was paranoid someone else may not think so.

At the time, I didn’t know how fortunate I was to be assigned to the therapist I was. She understood both of my issues were separate and even had knowledge of the gender issues I was experiencing. No education on my end needed! 

The best part of the experience is we still meet after all these years.     

Now What? An Adventure in Sexuality

Way back when, even though I was trying completely to transition into a transgender woman, I had never given much thought to any potential changes in my sexuality. I couldn’t see myself being with a man except if he was validating me on his arm as a woman. All of those thoughts changed when I met the guy and his bike. For you purists I think he owned a classic Indian Bike. 

I’m sure through out the years I had some sort of tunnel vision about my feminine appearance. Even though I wanted male validation from how I looked, I could never imagine really being with a guy.

Of course gender and sexuality are two separate terms. For simplicity, gender is how your perceive yourself as a woman or a man (or somewhere in between.) Sexuality is which of the binary genders you wish to have sex with. Again allowing for desiring both genders is a possibility. 

Somehow growing up wanting to be a girl rather than just look like one didn’t allow me the idea of being sexual with my own gender. Looking back at my high school and early college years though, I think I did have a crush on one my closest male friends. A crush which would forever remain a secret. 

As life progressed and I interacted with my second wife while cross dressed as a woman, I had a  chance to experience what gender life would be like from the feminine side. On one of the trips we made together to a transvestite mixer we decided to stop at a tavern for a drink before we went. As we sat at the bar, a guy parked his Harley motorcycle by the front door and ended up sitting down next to my wife. He ended up having quite the conversation with her and ignoring me. So much so I wondered if she would end up leaving with him to ride on his bike. Of course I was helpless to do anything and let her take control of the situation. It was a feeling I would never forget when she didn’t go anywhere with him. Ironically, years later I would another interaction with a man and his motorcycle of my own.

I have written how quickly I arrived at the “now what” moment with him too. He was as sensitive as he was gruff looking and totally validated my desire to be a woman. I remember wishing at the time I didn’t have a wear a wig (and had my own hair) so I could beg a ride with him. But the wig I wore just didn’t fit that tight. I could only fantasize what it would be like to ride with my hands around his waist. But a fantasy would all it would ever be with him.

Later in my transition, I did have a few other opportunities to date other men. In fact one of my first dinner dates with a guy was with a trans man friend of mine. A couple other dates went relatively well but overall I had a difficult, even miserable time finding a date with a man. On the other hand it seemed I was finding my interest from women was reaching a all time high. At first it confused me until I learned to relax and enjoy it. I have written in depth about my success (to this day) with lesbians. On the other hand I was able to befriend several women and their husbands too. I suppose being a gender hybrid has it’s advantages.

To this day, now what never became a reality as I have never been with a man. Years ago I had a cis woman friend of mine who said get a banana and practice. Rumor has it, I did just in case. Or should I say “Justin Case”. I only know Justin wasn’t riding a motorcycle. 

The “A” List

As I was writing this post I considered calling it the “Alpha Female” At any rate, the whole post goes back to my earliest remembrances of coming out and interacting with like minded cross dressers. Or at least I thought they were. 

What I naively thought was all sp called hetero cross dressers would be one big happy family, happy to mingle with others in their feminine finery. I was in for a rude awakening. 

First of all, there were what I call now the “deniers” . I saw guys in dresses and heels topped off with a cigar (before it was cool) and a cowboy hat. They were doing their best to dissuade anyone they were fond of their feminine selves. I learned quickly I didn’t fit in with their group. I was serious in putting my best foot forward. Normally in heels back in those days. More on that later.

In the meantime, I was fascinated with the other attendees to the “mixer”. The group ranged from the cowboy hats (not Urban Cowboy) types all the way to impossibly feminine types who I didn’t detect any masculinity in at all. Ironically, even though I am impossibly shy around people I don’t know, I didn’t feel I really fit in with any of the small groups I was observing. Except for possibly one.

The group I didn’t mention was who I call the “A Listers”. Or they considered themselves to be the best in looks and the best in social activities in the group. While the majority of the group stayed huddled in the hotel, the “A’s” went out to gay venues to entertain themselves. Even though I didn’t perceive myself to be their equal in appearance, I certainly wanted to tag along when they went out. I was determined even back in those days to allow my feminine self to sample the world whenever I could. So I did.

For the most part, excuse the term, they were bitches and didn’t accept me much but I didn’t care. I was there for me, not them.

Ironically all of my tagging along worked one night. Earlier in the evening the main group brought in makeup experts for advice to anyone who wanted it. I through my makeup to the wind, pulled up my big girl panties and volunteered. The guy who worked on my looks performed wonders! Easily he did much better than I could have ever imagined. I thought now, bring on the “A’s”.

It turned out I tagged along per norm to the first gay venue we always went to then, even went to a second. The second place was more subdued and was more like the neighborhood taverns I was used to. As the “A’s” positioned themselves at the bar, I headed for the pinball machines. As luck would have it, It was time for Cinderella to turn in her heels and head back to the hotel. 

Before we left though, a guy approached me at the pin ball game and asked if he could buy me a drink. I ended up telling him no but the “A’s” noticed and that was important too. I was accepted by at least one of them for the very few times I could attend another mixer in the future. I ended up attending several parties at her house in Columbus, Ohio. Most of which with my wife so she kept track of me. All material for another blog post.

It is important to say I never felt a part of the “A’s” and as time progressed I learned why. The so called LGBTQ community doesn’t have much to do with the transgender part of group. In fact I learned the hard way how many of the trans group have a hard time dealing with each other.  Indeed we are a multi faceted group.

One thing is for sure all these years later, I just couldn’t fit in with the “A’s” and it’s one of the reasons I try to be accepting of both cross dressers as well as trans women.

Closets or Walls?

Source: Cyrsti Hart

 It was long ago it was when I first took the big steps and leaped into the feminine world as a full time transgender woman. To refer to it as only coming out of a closet was an over simplification.  It seems to me rather than coming out of a closet, I climbed enough walls to build a house. 

Of course, a closet is often small and dark and a house gives a person increased freedom to move around. When you are transgender, the house is never enough . The quest to being a woman is much more complex.

Examples? One of the biggest one I write about often is learning to look another cis woman in the eye and communicate. I learned quickly the subtle nuances of eye contact, vocal intonation and factors such as passive aggression. Lessons came fast and furious as I built the foundation to my authentic self. 

Even though as I built the foundation it felt natural, it was also terrifying. I was tearing down another house which contained the remnants of my male self. Over the years, I had worked so hard to cross dress and present as a macho male. I was successful. I gained a small family, a good job and all the trappings of a middle aged man. I was awarded the honorary title of “sir” whether I deserved it or not. I guess another example of impostor syndrome.

Now, lets get back to building a gender house. Obviously each wall involved quite a bit of work. Just moving from walking around and window shopping in malls evolved into interaction with clerks. From the shopping trips came having the courage to stop for lunch and attempt to order food and beverage. Looking back at the process now, it seems to have progressed fairly quickly. So quickly I decided for the first time to shed my inner image of being a cross dresser all the way to attempting to go to an upscale restaurant/ bar and interact as a woman. I will tell you jumping the wall was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life. 

As I continued to build and expand my house, there always seemed to be the “what’s next” problem. I was hanging out at a couple lesbian bars about this time. One was extremely non inviting, the other the opposite. The only reason I can see now for building this room was a desperation to be accepted which I wasn’t in the male dominated gay venues where I lived. Very early on, I closed the drag queen room in my gender house. What’s next quickly became going to large cis gender venues to watch sports and drink beer.  With my career in similar venues, becoming accepted by the staff was fairly easy. Be nice and tip well was my way to getting my foot in the door. In one of my regular stops I was even invited and went on a girls night out with several of the servers. Even though I was scared to death, I ended up learning key lessons interacting with other women.

Finally I came to a point where my house was built as far as I could get it. I had provided myself a quality second existence which rivaled my cross dressing male life. The next major wall I had to escape involved the major step of starting HRT or hormone replacement therapy. The problem was my wife of twenty five years who I loved deeply was deeply against it. Her rational was she didn’t sign up to be with another woman. 

Then, in a prime example of life changing on a dime, I was destined to see the doors of my walls swing wide open and I could make the lifestyle moves I needed to do to fully transition and live in a feminine world. 

More on it later.

Bond Girl

 This week end my partner Liz and I are planning to see the newest James Bond film. Thinking of going has brought back memories of the “Bond girl who was born a boy”:

Caroline Cossey, also known as Tula, made headlines as the first transgender model to pose for Playboy magazine. Prominent throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, 

Cossey worked with major fashion magazines and small brands, even appearing topless in denim ads. Her big break came with a cover spread for Playboy in 1981, which led to her role as an extra in James Bond’s film For Your Eyes Only

After being outed by a British tabloid in 1991, she made a comeback by posing for Playboy again, this time in a solo spread that dubbed her a “beautiful woman who was born a boy.”

Of course I couldn’t wait to grab a copy of “Playboy” to get my glimpse of this impossibly beautiful transgender woman.

Out in Plain Sight

Georgette sent this post into Cyrsti’s Transgender Condo. She is a fellow transgender veteran who served approximately the same time I did:

” What some of us did during our military time to try and satisfy that inner girl,

I was in the Navy from 69-74, My reason was I didn’t want to take a chance on being drafted and didn’t like the idea of people trying to kill me, Plus I was able to secure training and placement in Advanced Electronics away from all that killing but did require a 6 year enlistment,

I was never able to fully transform but always found some way to be myself away from others, While living off base from 72-74 I was getting more and more bold, But while just driving around I got stopped by a small town cop, He did not make a big deal at that time, But did report it back to my command,

I thought for sure that my life was over, But the base psychiatrist

 and Navy security people (I had a Top Secret clearance) were very understanding and was interested in any activities with others (think Gay), Went back to work and left Navy in 74,

For me to fully describe and come to realization what/who I was and a real game changer.”

Thanks for the comment!

A Transgender Gem

Jamie Lee Curtis and Ruby Guest home in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, October 14, 2021. ON PAGE CREDIT: Alex J. Berliner GUTTER CREDIT: ABImages

Last year, Jamie Lee Curtis‘s daughter Ruby sat down in the family’s Los Angeles backyard with her mother and her father, comedy director Christopher Guest.

Ruby had something to tell them. She was going to come out as trans. But she wasn’t able to.

“It was scary — just the sheer fact of telling them something about me they didn’t know,” Ruby tells PEOPLE, sitting down in their living room last week. “It was intimidating — but I wasn’t worried. They had been so accepting of me my entire life.”

So Ruby left, and then texted her mother. Remembers Jamie Lee: “I called her immediately. Needless to say there were some tears involved.”

In the Beginning

As I look back, my life has been filled with a number of dynamic ironies. Of course, due to my gender dysphoria, presenting and living a feminine life rated towards the top of my list.

For example, let’s take my military service for example. As you Cyrsti Condo regulars know, I went to high school and college during the Vietnam War days . Otherwise known as the draft era when the war was so unpopular participants had to be forced into service. While the idea of serving was not one of my goals at the time, steering clear of donating two or three years to the Army really upset me. Why? Even more than the prospect of leaving home and playing soldier for an extended length of time was the more daunting fear of not being able to express any of my feminine desires. Somehow I thought shaved legs and a mini skirt wouldn’t make it on a guy in the Army. 

Here is where the irony comes in. After I served a year of my three years in Thailand, where many of the pretty prostitutes were boys (no I didn’t do anything) I was sent to Germany to finish my three year tour of duty. In Germany I was destined to shave my legs, apply my makeup again, buy a wig and mini dress and attend a Halloween party.

How could I do this? Because I worked for the American Forces Radio and Television Service as a morning disc jockey in Stuttgart, Germany. By doing so, I was part of one of the most un-military units in the military at that time. In addition, since our broadcast unit was so small, we received extra money to live off base. Plus, close by was a big “PX” (mini shopping mall) where I could pick up some much needed items also. An example would be a wig.

As the party approached, I still remember the apprehension I felt. Prior to this Halloween, I never had the nerve to express my feminine desires in a public setting before. Plus, I needed a place to do my “prep” work. Here is where the woman who was destined to become my first wife comes in. I was able to borrow her apartment to shave my face, legs and apply my wig, dress and makeup. All too soon it was time to leave for the party.

The overwhelming majority of the people at the party were from a local medic’s unit which was also stationed nearby. So the only people I really knew when I arrived were my future wife and two others.

This all happened back in 1973 so there are no pictures and a whirlwind of memories. I only remember the amazement of several people concerning my costume and the rush of hands on my panty hosed legs. Back in those days it all validated my fragile idea of being a woman. 

Weeks went by after the party until one night as we were under in influence of great German beer, the subject of our costumes came up.  I was lucky. When it was my turn to discuss “costume”, I told the truth and said I was a transvestite which could have been enough to get me kicked out of the Army if anyone told. No one did and even more important, no one cared.

It turned out my most feared time of my life (being in the military) would turn out to be the most beneficial. I was honorably discharged, married my first wife, fathered a very accepting daughter and went on to use Veterans Administration resources I accrued. Including HRT. 

Life is but a circle. What I feared the most came back to help me completely.