Connect the Dots

Yesterday as the Cincinnati Bengals won their game and will head next to the Super Bowl, I will admit I did shed a tear or two of joy. Of course I was overjoyed at the hard fought win but even more I was overcome at the memories of the thirty three years which have gone by since the last trip to a Super Bowl by a Bengals team  As you can imagine, I have suffered more than my share of heartbreak when the Bengals found ways to lose I couldn’t even think of and were even referred to as the “Bungles.”

Being as perceptive as she is, my partner Liz asked me if my tears were because of the memories I had watching all the games I did as a guy. It was at that point I started to connect the dots and told her yes. 

In many ways, looking back at all the years of hiding my transgender feminine being from the world, I wonder how I made it. All those years of going to The Ohio State University football games, drinking enormous amounts of beer while I tried to out macho the other guy by smoking big cigars. One example comes to mind when I had to relieve myself of a large amount of the beer I had just drank by going to what can only be called as a high tech men only portable toilet. The unit only had a trough like device for about five guys to go at once. Or as many as could squeeze in. 

My dilemma quickly became my lack of enough hands. I had a plastic beer cup, a lit cigar and no hands to unzip and go. To solve the problem I pushed my way in holding my beer in my teeth along with my cigar and went ahead and peed. Either that moment was the most macho thing I did or at the least was the most imaginative thing I ever came up with. By now my mind was racing and I returned to the present.

As I cried though, all I could think of were all the wasted years I had doing my best to live a gender lie. How much worse could everything been if I had just followed my instincts and set out to live as my feminine natural self. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

On the other hand, if you believe in the cup being half empty or full, I was able to live a remarkable life as a guy. and have such wonderful things as my beloved daughter to show for it. Even my time in the military proved to be beneficial as I was able to see and live on three continents in three years followed up by living in several diverse areas of this country when I was honorably discharged. The cup was half empty when I chased after myself but full when I was able to add all the experiences I did.

When you are able to live as long as I have, you begin to realize connecting the dots only proves life is but a circle. Learning from the circle has been the difficult lesson for me.  

It’s Patch Day

Twice a week I apply new synthetic estrogen patches which help me match my exterior appearance with my inner gender feelings.

Approximately eight years ago I started my transgender transition journey very seriously by being able to begin hormone replacement therapy. Even though I was still living part time in both binary genders. Specifically, I was attempting to balance my old life as a man with my new life as a woman. Needless to say the entire process was very difficult for me and led to many other problems. I was miserable. Deep down I knew the answer was I couldn’t continue to live as a man any longer. Finally I faced reality and sought out medical help to start my hormonal journey.

As I write this post, or any others on HRT I urge anyone and everyone to seek medical advice to make sure you are healthy enough to do it. 

Of course I had many questions I attempted to have answered as I started my journey. I learned of a nearby doctor in Dayton, Ohio who would prescribe hormones, was accepting new patients and didn’t require a therapists’ approval. I made an appointment and nervously showed up in the office.

Very soon I had a prescription for the minimum dosages of Estradiol and Spironolactone which would inhibit my testosterone. As I remember, the only real advice the doctor had for me was I would grow breasts, my hair would grow on my head and my sex drive would go away. I accepted all of that and off I went to the pharmacy. I think now I was more nervous in the pharmacy than the doctors office. Especially after the one time the pharmacist made it a point to loudly point out did I know what taking Estradiol would do to my body. Regardless of her transphobic mini rant, at that point of time I didn’t fully understand all of the changes which were coming.

The biggest change came when the Veteran’s Administration announced it would begin helpomg veterans with their HRT needs. Since I am a veteran and use VA health, I researched what I had to do to qualify for the program. Even though I disagreed in principal, I had to go through a VA therapist to be initially approved. I was fortunate. My assigned therapist had a knowledge of  transgender issues and we are still together today. From that point forward I was able to purchase my meds through the VA and save money.

Since I was on a minimum dosage my changes were supposed to me minimum too. Except they weren’t, for the most part. Very quickly it seemed I was developing very feminine breasts, my body hair was thinning and yes the hair on my head really started to grow. It was time to quit wearing all my old guy clothes and start my life as a fulltime transgender woman which I was so ready to do. Except it was still so scary. You know what is said about the unknown.

As I fast forward till today, my experience with HRT has been a magic carpet ride. Over the years, my world has developed into a much softer place. Sure my breats have developed too as well as my skin has softened. I am more emotional and have a tendency to cry even when I am happy.

Overall, it’s been a fun journey I have been blessed to take. I used to think my bi-polar meds were the most important meds I take to maintain who I am. 

Now I think it’s the Estradiol.


 I went into the Cincinnati, Ohio VA (Veterans Administration) hospital  Friday for my Covid Booster. Normally when I go there I receive a mixed gender reaction. By mixed I mean, I can be called everything from she to being stared at and laughed at. Keep in mind, their clientele at the center includes a large rural Trumper area, so we aren’t dealing with some of the most advanced people in the world. 

The staff itself was very much neutral with me. Being careful to call me by name once I signed up for the booster. Ironically it was Christmas time at the VA with people passing out free bags of fruit and coffee. 

Since this was my third covid shot, I knew a little of what to expect. Or so I thought. I sailed through the

first day with no real effects, only to get hammered the second day. I called it the “re-coil” affect. 

At any rate, I ended up in bed watching one of my favorite Christmas movies “A Christmas Story”.  If you aren’t familiar, “Ralphie” the young central character wants a BB Gun in the worst way.  True to form Ralphie, almost immediately breaks his glasses with his new gift…a BB Gun. When the gun recoiled when he wasn’t expecting it to. 

In my corresponding youth, as badly as he wanted the BB Gun, I wanted a doll. Needless to say, I never was gifted with a doll. Plus, never in a thousand years would I ever had the courage to ask for one. 

I never broke any glasses with my gun but my brother did manage to shoot me with it. 

I would like to imagine in the future, gender roles could be loosened and  a boy could receive a doll and a girl could receive a BB Gun with no questions asked.  

Thank You

Thanks to all you veterans who served and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

I know fellow transgender veterans Michelle and Georgette have commented of past posts here in Cyrsti’s Condo. Again, thanks for your service. 

The Carla Lewis t-shirt above sums my thoughts up perfectly. I believe she had to leave the Air Force when it became known she was transgender. 

Just imagine how many others similar circumstances happened to. Or, then again, how many alive and dead served in silence. 

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!

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.

Fellow Trans Vet

 Georgette, a fellow “more mature” transgender woman sent this comment in from the “Medium” writing format.:

“I read most all of these Late in Life Transition stories, Not for any real knowledge, But to get some perspective of what took so many years for so many to finally make the jump Gender Wise,

I am one of the few that made that jump over 45+ years ago, Like so many others during my youth in the 50s-60s I couldn’t understand what was “wrong” with me,

I was accidentally outed when in the US Navy (69-74) around 72/73, I was sure my life was ended but the Navy surprised me and was not discharged,

Because of that I had to find out all I could at the time, TG was not in much use yet, TS and “Gender Identity Disorder” were just starting to be understood more,

The result was from 74-77 I quickly made all the Transition happen with the Final SRS in 77, And lived with my partner (Also Post TS) till she died in 2014,

Since coming back out to a much changed LGBT+ world, I have met SO many (Way too many) late bloomers,

Much of what I have heard from them is “If I had known back then what is known now life would have different”,

I have a hard time with relating to most all of the current TG/TS people that I meet,

I will read some more on your travels in all this.”

Thanks for the comment! I was in the Army from 1972-1975.

Calling all Doctors

Seemingly this week, all my doctors have ganged up on me. 

Monday I actually had to go to an in person appointment with the person who is called my primary provider in the Veterans Administration. Similar to a civilian’s family doctor. Our visit was a fun filled half hour as she went over my blood work, examined me and set up two future feminine related exams. The first is my yearly mammogram which I don’t particularly like but I consider a rite of passage. The second turned out to be a bone density scan. Bless her heart, my primary said all women my age should have one. Ironically both have been scheduled within days of each other in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday was my video visit with my therapist. This session seemed to go a little better overall but I can’t truthfully say I went into any very deep issues. I’m working on bringing more up to her but it is difficult for a person like me. 

Also yesterday was one non doctor related meeting, a Dayton Ohio Elderly Rainbow Alliance Board Meeting. It was very short as there was little  to go over. However coming up in September there is a presentation coming up down here in Cincinnati which I am going to volunteer to help with. 

Today is my video appointment with my new hematologist. It should be interesting to see her ideas on my iron levels. I have a tendency to run higher levels of iron which can hurt me. If the levels are too high, I have to have a phlebotomy (blood draw) to bring it down. The results of my latest labs were within range so I expect the appointment to go well.

Also today, sometime we have to squeeze in an appointment to the grocery store. 

All of this leads me back to the idea I had when I first came out as a transgender woman. How would life be once I couldn’t go back to hiding in a man’s world. Definitely material for another blog post. 

The “Flip” Side

The second part of my post I started recently which mentioned  being envious of missing the life I lived as a young boy who desperately wanted to be a girl.

All in all, my story isn’t much different from most of yours. Where we all differ is how far we went to conceal hiding our authentic selves in the closet.

During my youth in the 1950’s, information on any or all gender differences was out of reach to me. I felt all alone. I wanted a doll for Christmas, not the BB gun I was gifted  As it turned out, Christmas was just the beginning of my problems, Another example I remember like it was yesterday was when our family was on a vacation to Ontario Canada from Ohio. One day, as the trip was at it’s most boring we pulled up even and passed a car in which a young dark haired girl approximately my age was riding. Almost immediately I wanted so bad to be her. So badly I put my pillow over my face and pretended to go to sleep.

My desire to be a girl went far beyond going on vacation. During junior high school (7th thru 9th) grades where I went to school, I ended up setting close to the same girl in many classes and study halls. As I slowly began to develop a crush on her, I started to notice I was somehow different. I didn’t desire her sexually at all. I wanted to be her. So much so, I adopted her name when I hid behind my families’ back and dressed as a girl, 

Somehow I thought I would outgrow it, the ugly idea the whole idea was some sort of an evil phase. Still, I felt so alone in my cross dressing closet. 

Alone I would stay through high school until I finally shared my not so minor secret to the woman who was destined to be my first finance, In return for a couple nights of passion when she helped be to dress up she later was the person who rejected me when I was drafted and had to go in the Army, At the time the whole process was devastating to me but later turned out to be one of the best happenings of my life. 

Sure I had to put my feminine clothes away for my first two of three years in the military, ironically I was still in the Army when I came out to the first people in my life who accepted me. Including the woman who was to become the mother of my very accepting daughter. 

My life after the Army was an alcoholic blur for years until I slowly realized I was in reality a member of the new transgender group of people. More on that later. 


Serious therapist listening to her talking patient

Since my fairly recent post concerning my therapist, I have received several comments, including a lengthy one from my partner Liz. Among others things, she was concerned with me wasting my time essentially hiding myself from my therapist. 

Through my WordPress platform I received this comment from GirlieBoy:  “I know you are not asking for advice, but if you can’t open up to your therapist perhaps you should find a different one or just stop going…that is the one place it should be safe to open up. If you aren’t getting that, at least you should talk about that.”

Thanks! Liz mentioned that also. After all these years, I think I owe it to my therapist to at least bring up the subject of my expectations for her input.

Another comment came from Connie: “Well, I happen to be so cheap, ehr, thrifty that I have been completely open with any therapist I’ve seen. I don’t like to pay for something I already know, and I want to give all the info I can about myself, so that the therapists can use their knowledge of how to make my life better. Of course, I’ve also had to educate them on what a trans person really is about most of the time. Unfortunately, I’ve had no luck with therapists making my life better – except for the one I saw for grievance counseling after my mom died my mom my mom’s insurance covered it). He was from The Bronx, and had been a standup comedian before going into Psychology. The one thing he said, in his New York accent, that summed it all up was, “Fuck ’em, if they can’t take a joke.” I followed that with, “You mean that life is too serious to be taken too seriously?” He didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted to make an appointment for another session. 🙂

Thanks Connie, unfortunately I seemingly have lost the idea of free VA therapy somehow not being as important. When in fact it is. I had several different therapists I had to pay for out of my pocket and I expected more. Truthfully I didn’t get more, I just didn’t know what to expect.