Your New Name — and Moving Forward

So_True38

The best IT consultant I know has observed that, too often, IT professionals know what the right thing is to do and yet it doesn’t happen. For example, they work in a programming department whose programmers rush off and write program code prematurely — before being clear on the requirements. This is a bad idea. Requirements should precede the writing of program code.

And yet, the savvy folks are hesitant to start enacting process improvements, and they try to nudge the non-caring people around them into a sort of consensus. Unfortunately, the non-caring people around them are typically a major part of the problem, so the “change” process gets bogged down. The person who could (and in my opinion, should) be taking the lead — feels frustrated.

I’m not saying you should start to pretend you’re the boss. But you ARE the boss of how YOU do things. And doing things in a logical way that you’re able to explain — that should get you rewarded, not reprimanded. Otherwise, you’re working in an unhealthy environment anyway, so — maybe it’s better if you leave.

Feeling that they’re held back by the ignorance of others is a common lament, especially for principled, smart people. They know how to make things better and yet they’re surrounded by people who passively resist, and who plod along and do things in a particular way because, hey, it’s always been done like that, don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, and all the other pretexts that people use to defend the status quo. Ayn Rand wittily referred to that mindset as promoting “the Divine Right of Stagnation.”

My brilliant consultant friend implies that if you wait for others to be sufficiently encouraging, it’s going to be a very slow, frustrating process for you. His point is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to do the right thing. Probably that’s very similar to what MLK has said. And, I agree.

IMAG1669For example, when someone comes out as a t-girl, she’s likely to be sensitive as to how receptive those around her are, and she starts lobbying them to be more receptive yet. That’s good, but that should be only a relatively minor of the process. Having the courage of your own convictions goes a long way, and so does conveying that by living accordingly. By contrast, coming across as timid or overly accommodating tends to encourage opposition.

My recommendation is to plan the journey and move along. If that means that you leave some people behind, then you do. Some of my friends and family, whom I thought likely to be reasonable about me being a t-girl … they ended up being UNreasonable, and vice versa. You don’t know how things will play out, until you proceed.

By saying “proceed” I am including “be safe.” If you’re in a hostile culture, with dangerous, homophobic bullies around — then leave. No, it’s not easy, but it’s often the best way.

At some point, my own mom was (understandably) having a hard time with the concept of her thought-to-be-son always having really been her daughter instead.

photo (14)Even so, I didn’t need her permission to be who I am, and to live as such. When it became abundantly clear to me that I was no longer providing information to her but that I was basically arguing with her, I stopped. I went on with my life and I reduced the interaction with her as much as I needed to, to keep it from holding me back. I did the same thing with other people.

Coming out as a t-girl is hard enough already. If I were to add more and more impediments along the way, at some point then I’ve made my own journey impossibly hard — and that’s my own doing.

For example, if you think your brothers and dad would never accept you being a girl, and from here on out, Thanksgiving and family holidays would be hell for you, then …

a). You don’t know until you try, and you can’t just assume the worst about them
b) If your worst suspicions come true, then you don’t have to put up with abuse. If someone makes Thanksgiving and family holidays hell for you, or even just awkward, then they shouldn’t be there, or you shouldn’t be there.

For example, this last Christmas, I had a wonderful time. I checked into the Treasure Island Casino Hotel in Las Vegas for two nights and enjoyed being in an open-minded culture. And yes, I was alone — but not lonely.

Moving forward doesn’t mean that you stop loving the people you leave behind. They’re welcome to catch up, and sometimes they do. My own mom did, and I’m glad. But by the time that the relationship resumed at a more-normal level of interaction, I’d moved along very far in my journey, and that’s the approach I recommend.

idea01I’m in the IT business (amongst other things) and some of my clients are very conservative, e.g., in the construction industry. And yet, I moved ahead. When there were two contact people at a client company, one more open-minded than the other, then I focused on the former. In general, things went well, as to the people who deal with me professionally. And whenever they didn’t, then I still kept moving along anyway. The same approach applied to my personal relationships.

A key point is that I’m not pretending to be Cinderella or the Tooth Fairy and that I’m asking everyone to please humor me by playing along. The most reasonable conclusion about my situation is that I do, in fact, have female brain wiring. If you consider brain structure as more fundamental than body shape ‘down there,’ then I’m fundamentally a girl. Everything else is less-essential, and many less-essential things can change. And for me, they already have.

The era is, fortunately, past when being a t-girl can with any reasonable premise be thought of as meaning that there’s something wrong with the person. Being a t-girl is simply a genetic anomaly — it has zero reflection on a person’s mental health and moral standing.

So_True3Of course, the most ignorant members of society would disagree. However, what they think — that really matters very little in the grand scheme of things. If you find them holding you back, then it’s time to change things, whatever it takes, so that you can keep moving forward — from living like a pretend male to living as the girl that you actually, fundamentally are.

One example pertains to changing one’s name. It’s a step that many t-girls look forward to, but for them it’s in the future. My recommendation is that once you’ve decided on a new name, then that’s your new name, period. Congratulations, you’ve changed your name. Everything else is secondary.

So, it’s never a question of “I want to change my name to Karen” but simply “my name is Karen.” If it’s appropriate then the t-girl might then add to what extent the legal paperwork and social context are aware of Karen, but that’s secondary.

Announcing the new name to the most receptive people is a good next step. So is getting a new email address.

I used to think that things became official when the judge signs the paperwork and in a sense it does, and yet in another sense, it also doesn’t.

imag0801I started referring to myself as “Tanya” and pretty soon almost everyone was dealing with me as such anyway. The judge’s signature became almost an administrative detail in practical terms.

In fact, ironically, a wise friend commented on my new name in a way that got me to thinking that perhaps Tanya is sort of overly informal for my official name, so I made my official name “Aquitania” instead — though I go by “Tanya.” By then, there was so much momentum behind “Tanya” that it wasn’t an easy change of direction.

When you keep pushing in a particular direction, things tend to move in that direction — especially when you remove from the process those who hold you back or who push in the opposite direction.

Tolerating impediments delays the process of coming out, and delaying it makes it harder. It’s awkward in the middle, very much like being an awkward teenager again. Get it over with.

If I were to come out again, I’d do it sooner and faster — and I’d leave far more people behind.

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Passing vs. “Being Clocked”

In automotive culture, when you’re speeding and a speed cop measures your speed as being out of bounds, some English-speaking cultures refer to that as “being clocked.” It’s a sort of “gotcha, now you’re in trouble” thing. Somehow this has found its way into transgender culture so if a transsexual girl, for example, tries to come across as a normal girl and she fails to do so, then she’s “been clocked.”

When you’re not clocked, that’s referred to as “passing.” The adjective for someone able to “pass” to a sufficient degree, whatever that means, is “passable.”

Every idiot male who’s ever placed an ad to trawl for a t-girl on Craigslist seems to have discovered that word (though punctuation and spelling still remain undiscovered).

Many t-girls never come out because they are convinced they will not be able to “pass” to a sufficient degree (whatever that means).

One such t-girl is someone whom I like and whose blog I like to follow. She seems to have a sharp mind and a strong desire to come out and live as the girl she is, but the counterforce is stronger yet. Since she’s blogged in an open context I’m assuming it’s OK to quote her anonymously:

“I have no courage to transition … my biggest fear of all is never passing and just being seen as some freak monster.”

Much as we can sympathize, we can also analyze the assumptions behind that statement.

The “never passing” is a more complex form of “not passing.” So, let’s just begin with “not passing.”  The girl thus seems to consider two basic options:

  • a) passing
  • b) not passing and just being seen as some freak monster.

However, there is a third option — one that’s by far the most likely:

  • c) not passing and NOT being seen as some freak monster.

I live my life every day in the latter category, and nobody has offered me any haunted house freak-monster contracts. My Halloween outfit is always that of a hot stripper, and when I’m dressed like that the sort of house that many people seem enthused to take me to is a cathouse, not a haunted house.

When a t-girl uses “passing” as a measure of success, life is very stressful and it’s almost like being a con artist — perceptive people become a problem. And then when one is “clocked” that’s a huge disappointment for the t-girl and no doubt that ruins her moment (or event, or mood, or day) and this is probably not lost on whomever just clocked her, which (if it’s a mean person) is then relished.

Ironically, t-girls who dread being clocked have inspired an informal cottage industry of idiot males who stare intently at t-girls and then get a smug sort of knowing leer as soon as he figures out the girl is a t-girl — as if that’s some major cognitive achievement and as if she’s actually trying to hide something. In many cases, e.g., me, she isn’t. This sort of behavior makes the guy look SO lame, and it’s typically the dimmest-witted males who do this.

As to hoping to pass, or even caring, I use a different approach — basically I simply presume that I don’t pass. I’m 6″ tall with large hands and feet, and my face has too many male features to generally make me pass.  And that’s just fine by me. I’m a t-girl and if people can see it, so be it. Being a t-girl is a genetic condition, not a mental problem or a moral failure.There’s no reason to hide it.

In some sub-cultures, news to that effect hasn’t quite managed to filter down. It’s stuck in line behind the news that:

  • Being gay is OK (yes, even if they wanna get married),
  • Domestic violence isn’t OK (yes, even if she’s “running her mouth”)
  • Evolution is neither a hypothesis nor a fact, but a theory (which means it has approximately the same scientific validity as the theory of gravity).

Some sub-cultures have only recently accepted that the earth isn’t flat and that it’s also not just six thousand years old. There’s a lot of information processing backlog there, folks. Such places are best avoided, period — by t-girls and for that matter, by anyone who prefers intelligent interaction.

Before we pick on the US small-town and/or Bible Belt mentality too much, it’s a sobering thought that some entire countries have a prevalence of cultures that are vastly more anti-reason and anti-rights yet. You would find these by looking north and east from the Ukraine, or south and east of the Med. Enclaves of Western-culture exceptions are few.

Anyway — what I strive for is to look good, to be happy and to be friendly to nice people. That works well for me. If someone thinks I’m a cisgirl (normal girl) then as the interaction becomes more intimate then that actually becomes awkward — because I’d feel the need to “out” myself before things go too far.  One girl was hitting on me and I felt the need to make sure she knew I’m a t-girl in case that affected her opinion (it didn’t, and she’d already figured it out).

So, for me, “passing” can actually be a problem.

Here’s an example from yesterday: I was at a junkyard, and I’d gotten a ride there with a friend — and so my morning schedule was constrained and I didn’t wake up soon enough to put on ANY make-up. And, yes, I wore nice clothes, but they were invisible underneath my dirty jeans (Gloria Vanderbilt designer jeans, but still) and shapeless sweatshirt (under which were some large fake boobs that were probably hard to discern). I also wore some black and dusty combat boots and a dirty cowboy hat — not exactly Ms. Fashion Show.

After eight hours me of getting yet more dusty and dirty as such, one older gentleman smiled at me with a look that I recognize only too well — he was basically falling for me. I didn’t particularly care, one way or the other. I was there to remove and buy used BMW parts, not pick up anyone. So, I waved and smiled back. He beamed and asked if I’d gotten all decked out to come there today. Wow, if he thought this was me “decked out” then if he saw me without the hat, with make-up, and hot clothes and jewelry then he’d probably like me even more. Especially on Halloween!

Anyway, I said a vague and friendly thing in reply, and I could see from his expression that his brain was going into overload. My voice is not bad but it’s not exactly “silver bells tinkling” so that was his cue that I’m a t-girl, and I could see him reprocessing a lot of his prior observations. From then on he was silent and looked puzzled and a little sad. That’s fine. If someone doesn’t like me for who I am, they don’t like me, period. I focus on those who do.

As I learn to look, sound and move better (for ME, not for others) then passing more and more will lead to more and more such scenes — unless I happen to pass 100% of the time and I doubt that I ever will. And, not passing is just fine with me. It basically has to be so, because I’m a t-girl and there’s a limit to how feminized I can hope to ever be. Even if I were visually perfect, it might take me years to learn to speak, dance, move, walk, run, cough, laugh, sing, etc. as a girl and doing so perfectly might take forever.

Meanwhile I’m openly a t-girl and if someone has issues with it, they can take a hike. Most of the time, though, enough people are super-nice to me, and life is good. Some people have issues with who I am but that makes them narrow-minded. It doesn’t make me anything negative, and certainly not .. how did she phrase it? … some freak monster.

A t-girl who needs to pass all the time so as to be happy is basically holding herself to an impossibly high standard, and if that’s her prerequisite for coming out, she’ll never do so.

Science has shown that t-girls are born that way. Disliking them makes as little sense as hating gays or tall people or albinos. Yes, gay people can act straight, tall people can slouch, and albinos can douse themselves with tanning lotion, but really they should do so because THEY want to, not to so as to humor the worst segment of society and to basically grant the most negative premises of one’s most narrow-minded adversaries.

Similarly, t-girls can pretend to be otherwise, but why would we? To prevent bigots from feeling uncomfortable with reality? Frankly, I’m OK with bigots feeling as uncomfortable as they deserve. I’m not their problem.Their bad ideas are their problem. And it’s THEIR problem –not mine.

That said, some t-girls dress and put on make-up in a way that is overly sexual or girly relative to the rest of their look. Although they’re 100% within their rights, and there’s something to be said for the Burning-Man “anything goes” approach to social critique, a fashion faux pas does tend to raise eyebrows even in non-narrow-minded cultures. Imagine, as an example, a cisgirl in her 40s who’s dressed as if she were a 16-year old going clubbing. It’d look more odd than hot — and she’d get funny looks.

The stares that a t-girl gets (and might take personally) might well be due to her simply violating female dress code norms — and she’d get the same reaction if she were a cisgirl.

In case you were wondering: as a t-girl, I am fundamentally female, and so, yes, female pronouns — and if someone needs to be guided or reminded, I’m OK with that.

A logical approach goes a long way.

MLK Day 2015

Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_WashingtonToday was an interesting day for me philosophically, it being MLK day. I’ve quoted MLK every now and then in my writings though I don’t agree with everything he said (or for that matter, with everything anyone else ever said, either). Still, what a great man and he changed the world much for the better.

As to the world populace in general, I think many people who try to learn from the past still fail to do so, because they focus on superficial aspects, e.g., skin color, and they don’t focus on the philosophical essentials that a situation might have that’s parallel to another situation.

For example, many of the problematic issues specific as to how gay people were generally treated in the 1970s and 1980s had a lot of overlap with how black people were treated in the era before the 1970s, and many of the problematic issues specific to how transexual girls like me were treated in the 1990s and 2000ss had a lot of overlap with how gay people were generally treated in the era before the 1990s. And, how black people reacted has parallels to how gay people reacted and that has parallels to how transgender people reacted.

So, there’s much history to learn from, for t-girls and others. 🙂

Being Chivalrous to the Nice, Strong T-girl

I am starting to wonder if maybe being a t-girl isn’t better than being a cisgirl a.k.a. “normal girl.”

One reason: I have had the opportunity to see and understand (and dislike) male culture (as a generalization) from up close as I was trying (and failing) desperately to live as a guy. And, thanks to the perspective afforded by contrast, and due to admiring and liking female culture (initially, from afar, and now while integrated within it), I also understand female culture perhaps more than many cisgirls do.

One observation I have made is that there’s a tendency to be a lot more thoughtful and benevolent … in a word, nice —  in female culture. I know I’m generalizing, but it’s a generalization based on a lot of first-hand data.

Nice things that most girls would do as part of normal life would qualify as a major step and source of pride for most guys. And yet, when the latter happens, it’s a very pleasant thing to experience.  There was an example of that today, at a junkyard.

If you’re wondering what a tall, blonde t-girl part-time escort, stripper and model is doing at  junkyard, let me explain.  And BTW, here’s what I look like nowadays, on a very, very good day. No Photoshopping, but great make-up and a great photographer:

g_L0A7528Here’s how I looked two days ago, with a lousy photographer (me, using my phone camera) and no make-up except for some eyebrow pencil and some shaded suntanning lotion:

2015-01-15 18.37.06Notice the muscles? Yes, having the wrong hormone be dominant during puberty will do that. I also enjoy swimming, surfing and windsurfing, but I’m guessing my puberty-time testosterone overdose is the main reason why my arms are so muscular.

Even though I don’t like my arm muscles, they are sometimes useful.

When I was trying to fit into guy culture, one part of guy culture that was viable and desirable for me to pursue was … fast cars. I desperately tried to fit in with guy culture and I failed, and I tried to find a way to be less-shunned in my role as guy. Running around with a ball in my hand or hitting it with a stick … bad idea, especially in South Africa, where I grew up. Beating each other while boxing … not for me. All the other self-destructive and otherwise-destructive things that guys liked, I hated. Gawd, how I tried to fit in. I even tried fishing, once (and yes, I hated it).

Now, I realize that girls do play sports that involve balls, and we also box, and we also fish, and I don’t denigrate that. It was the SO-male way of doing all these things that I couldn’t get my head wrapped around.

Anyway, fast cars were the most interesting-to-me way of fitting into guy culture.

I’m not saying that I got interested in cars only to fit in with guy culture. I genuinely enjoy technology and I’m probably as pro-Western-culture a girl as you can find. I love techie stuff. My late dad had two engineering degrees, and he liked to chat about techie things, and I paid attention.

At age 14, I was dismantling, repainting, cleaning, and reassembling bicycles that I bought and sold.

At age 18, I could fix problems in my own car well enough to keep it running without taking it to a regular mechanic.

At age 19 or so, I could take out transmissions, do clutch jobs, rebuild automatic cars to stick shift, paint, and do fiberglass work.

At age 20 or so, I could point out mistakes that a professional mechanic was making, and one specific job that had a flat-rate time of 3 hours, I could do in 16 minutes. I had my own little junkyard, half a dozen cars, a parts warehouse and my own auto repair shop, car rental business and car sales business.  My personal car was so souped-up that as it approached top speed, you could watch the speedometer needle crawl methodically all the way off the dial, past any indicated speed. I was going maybe 125 miles per hour as part of my normal freeway driving, at least once a week, in a car for which I’d paid $500. Ironically, I now realize, I approached fast car culture as a girl would, not in the blood-and-guts way that most guys would. I didn’t go for huge, heavy V-8s. My car was refined, polished, high-tech, light and fast and it looked like any normal family car until I stepped on the accelerator pedal, in which case its taillights dissolved into a receding blur. Even my secondary fast car, my 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, was the six-cylinder model with the 225 cubic inch engine but it had a massive Weber side-draught carburetor. With that light engine, it cornered like it was on rails.

Nowadays, I own and drive 1980s BMWs and Mercedes. And, they need constant attention — and parts. Fifteen years ago, my little 1987 BMW 325 needed a steering rack and just the part alone cost me more than $400, and that wasn’t even an original BMW part.  “Wow, I should be in the BMW used-parts business,” I thought. I had made money in the used-parts business in South Africa, so why not here? So, I floated a corporation, went through all the stupid government paperwork … and for the last 12 years, I have been managing an official, legitimate BMW and Mercedes used-parts business.

Here’s a picture of that little 325:

imag4313Being car-savvy and being strong (not buff — strong) leads to some funny stories. A nice and pretty girl (who is very near and dear to me) needed the automatic transmission replaced on her BMW convertible, and so I helped with that. For part of the work, I didn’t have the specialized tools. These are amazing transmissions, with an aluminum casing — hence very light, maybe 90 pounds or so.  And the transmission type is a ZF 4 HP-22. I could probably write you a 4,000-word technical essay on that type of transmission and not run out of things to say. It’s legendary.

Anyway, with the nice girl watching, I picked up the transmission from my shop floor (carefully, since I don’t want to throw out my back) and carried it to my car, and then she & I drove to the BMW repair shop to pay them, to do this one special procedure.  At the shop, there were two young-ish guy mechanics and they looked at the transmission in the trunk of the car, lifted it up together, and carried it in together, then put it on a table and looked at it. One of them said it’s a manual transmission. The other one said nothing.  Gently, I pointed out that it’s an automatic. As we drove away, the nice and pretty girl (who knows perhaps as much about these transmissions as I do) thought it pretty ironic how I picked up and carried the transmission by myself, and that I knew intimately what it was and many technical specs about it, and these two guy BMW professional mechanics chose to carry it together, and didn’t even realize it’s an automatic transmission, wow. So, yeah, there’s much irony in my life.

My escorting business is making no money because I’m always saying “no, I don’t sell sex, I sell time — and besides, no — I don’t do what you’re asking for — and you really should read ads before you respond.”

My custom software development business is doing OK … not great, but OK. It pays the rent and the utilities and most of the bills on time, but that’s about it.

My used-parts business is not doing well either, but it has the most potential. And, the “buy low and sell high” premise works. So, this weekend, with my favorite junkyard having a half-price sale, I’ve just spent the last two days of my life there — removing parts (precisely and carefully) from cars and buying them at affordable-for-even-me prices.

I hate being grungy, though. I hate being dirty, too. And, direct sunlight. So, I tie my hair in a ponytail, and I wear a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved sweatshirt, and jeans — but they are Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans, so they fit VERY well, and I also wear satin underwear — and just underneath my grungy outerwear, I wear an elegant top and pretty yoga pants. Nobody can see them, but I like knowing they’re there. So, yes, even there, I’m all-girly.

Not that I don’t get weird looks all the time. I know that I don’t look like a normal girl, and so, yeah, it’s no secret.I’m a t-girl, not a normal girl. I know that. Everyone without a white cane can see that. And yet, some guys think they’ve mastered a cognitive breakthrough by realizing I’m a t-girl and their smug leer will make your dog puke. It’s pretty tedious to observe.

Most guys are at their very worst behavior when their buddies are around and it’s a macho environment, so … it’s not a t-girl-friendly place (except for the junkyard employees, who are super-nice to me, possibly because I spend thousands of dollars per year there, or possibly because I’m nice, or possibly because THEY are nice, period).

cropped-imag7640So, today, a friend and I removed a rare and special BMW 6-cylinder engine and transmission from a rare and special BMW model. He doesn’t mind lying in the dirt, and I do, so you can guess how the division of labor panned out. And yes, don’t be surprised — I do have guy friends and I do genuinely like them. I just don’t understand how they think.

The way my friend wanted to remove the engine and transmission is the traditional shade-tree mechanic way — you open the hood and then yank it out the top, hoping you don’t drop it or mash too many expensive things along the way. But, I explained to my friend, that’s not how folks build these cars. I used to personally work in an automobile assembly plant. Granted, I worked in the cost accounting department, not on the assembly line, but I liked visiting the latter and observing cars being built.

So, to be safe and efficient, I like to take the engine and transmission out the bottom. Wow, did I need to do much persuasion as to that, today. But, I prevailed and the plan worked beautifully. The plan also involved movable platforms and large sheets of plywood to make this all work, so when the technical work was complete, I stood in line to pay for the engine and transmission, while my friend was packing load after load of plywood back to his pickup truck.

The 6-cylinder engine and transmission are, as you can imagine, heavy and massive. And, they were both hanging from a massive chain, from a heavy and massive wheeled steel gantry that I was pushing slowly uphill towards the cashier’s booth, while in a long line of customers, waiting for my turn to check out and pay.  I was also managing two pushcarts full of tools, smaller parts, paper towels, vinyl gloves (yes, I like clean hands), plus a towel and sheet, plus items by which I keep track of what goes where.

While I was standing on line, two guys with really filthy hands were standing by a nearby hand-washing station on which a large sign proclaimed “out of order.” This didn’t bode well. There was no soap, no paper towels and hardly any water. The hand-washing station would trickle out just enough water to change the black, dirty, greasy mess on their hands into a wet, black, dirty, greasy mess. Still, the guys tried anyway and they ended up in a really messy situation. I was amazed that they didn’t wear disposable vinyl gloves, or bring hand cleaner or paper towels.

I know that being filthy like this doesn’t seem to bother most guys, yet in this case, being extra-super-filthy did.  So, I had empathy with them and I dug into my stash of cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness loot and brought out a roll of fresh, clean white paper towels, and I tore some sheets off and handed them out.  If you ever wanted to understand the difference between stereotypical guy culture and stereotypical girl culture, that scene is all you need to remember.

The guys seemed appreciative and, now cleaner, they vanished somewhere, and everyone else including me continued to shuffle towards the cashier’s booth. In my case, I hoped the people behind me liked the view of my butt in my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans as I was straining just about as hard as I could to move this 10-or-more-feet tall, 10-or-more-feet wide heavy wheeled steel gantry with its massive chain from which hung a massive engine and transmission. Sometimes I marveled at my ability to keep the thing rolling uphill and not downhill. Normally, my friend would have been helping me but he was off somewhere carrying sheets of plywood. And I didn’t wanna lose my place in the long, slow line, so I kept straining my t-girl muscles and making progress, silently marveling at the dozen or so guys all standing in line behind me with nothing better to do — and yet nobody helped.

And then, finally, someone DID! As I was straining, the load lightened. I looked to my left, and one of the gentleman whom I’d helped out with the paper towels had found enough chivalry to help me, and help he did.

He and I rolled the big contraption steadily up to the flat ground by the cashier’s booth, and I was most grateful, and this very cynical t-girl got to have a small part of her hope for male culture re-validated.

A good day, indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Good Days

2015-01-15 16.44.08I enjoy looking at, especially, one website that has a lot of material coaxing t-girls to come out and be true to their true nature, written by a not-totally-out t-girl herself. The site has very sexually explicit content and I think it’s subject-matter appropriate, but not all my readers are 18 or older so I won’t publish the link here. Her name is Seattle Jasmine and if you find her website by yourself, then it’s up to you how to proceed.

Anyway, it’s especially fun to look at this particular website in the past tense, and how I feel when doing so is perhaps how General Patton or Winston Churchill felt when watching WW II movies. Indeed, I did make the transition. I am living the dream she mentions. I am now living 24×7 as a girl. I’ve experienced the things the website tells t-girls to go experience. And, I function cheerfully as a girl inside and outside the bedroom, and people deal with me as a girl and most people are super-nice.

2015-01-15 18.36.48For example, in the last 48 hours, I went to maybe a dozen businesses in the Reno-Sparks area, and as part of normal life, I purchased several services and items, and interacted with maybe 20 people, and I loved how I got called “Ma’am” almost every time, and the one exception was a nice gentleman who knows me from my pre-transition days and when I corrected him, he was most gracious.

My voice and attitude are probably a huge part of the reason I’m treated as a girl. I feel so fundamentally and openly feminine that I’m confident as such. I walk, move, speak etc. as the girl I am. I’m starting to realize how even subtle facial expression and little nuances of movement and style can have a major gender-differentiating effect.

2015-01-15 18.40.10A key issue that’s SO different from my pre-transition past is that I am now so obviously and radiantly happy. I’m confident, chatty, and cheerful, and it creates a sort of warm social glow around me that I sense and that I enjoy and to which most people respond very well. I feel like the girl in a perfume ad would probably feel.

I should hasten to mention that all of this is happening in a context where I’m cash-flow wise so broke that it’s quite a challenge to make ends meet. For example … grrrr… .do I even admit this …. my new clothes come mostly from Walgreens’s $12 specials, or used clothing stores. Were I awash in cash, I’d simply take a) a picture of me now, b) a picture of how I wanna look, and c) a truckload full of money to some skilled plastic surgeons and say “here, turn this into that.  Wake me up when you’re done.”

2015-01-15 18.46.41Instead, my actual life is sort of like playing a game at a skill level where you’d better know what you’re doing because you’re working with very few resources. It’s sort of like telling someone “here, you have a mirror, some chewing gum and a roll of duct tape. Go invade Spain and call me when you’re done.” I mean, I enjoy a challenge, but wow. So, for me, it’s not just been about coming out but also doing so with very limited money.

I used to think that if I had a time machine then I’d go meet some great historical figures, but perhaps that would be number 2 on my list. First and foremost, I’d go further back in time and transition openly to the girl I basically am — and I’d do so way, way, way sooner yet. And then I’d go tell Cicero “thank you” while I look like a younger and hotter blonde.

2015-01-15 18.48.20

Me, Doing Just Fine, as a Female IT Geek

I am having a weird day. My mom is generally wonderful but her computer skills are the equivalent of someone who will accept candy from strangers and then get into their unmarked van just because they said they’re good guys and it’s time for her medical examination besides. Geez, mom.

Anyway, she recently did something or other again and so today her computer is having a meltdown and I’m kinda burned out on being called for reasons she considers urgent and I don’t, so I’m not as available to her by phone as I used to be. Conversations on the subject are mutually stressful, and this morning there was one more like that. I hate mother-daughter conflict. Grrr.

Meanwhile, while my mom was having her email crisis and mother-daughter crisis and adding to my stress level, my biggest IT client, with 30 or so people affected by the problem, was also having an IT issue. My software didn’t cause it, but my software is the messenger of the underlying problem, so it looks like my software is messing up. Analogy: part of the road has vanished, and the traffic lights show “red” in every direction, and so the car I built can’t proceed and the passengers are saying “fix the car, Tanya.”  Grrr.

Anyway, I have a good business relationship with the infrastructure people at the client site and so I worked with their local hardware guru to get the actual machine running again, which is sort of like saying “please fix the road” but then a vendor’s infrastructure software was down too. So, next I had to do the equivalent of working with the traffic light vendor so that every intersection no longer has a red light in every direction.

I know the vendor is located in Alabama which is kind of as “Deep South” as you can imagine, but they’re really nice people. Their support guy, Chuck, is especially nice. And, here I am, a t-girl whose new feminized voice is not the attribute she’s most confident about, especially when I’m already stressed out. And so, now I have to have a deeply geeky conversation with a Deep South gentleman who’s maybe 60 — and on this conversation depends the productivity of my main client. Grrrr.

So, while waiting for Chuck, the support gentleman, to call me back, I listened to some Susanna Hoffs music since her voice has extra-inspiring resonance, and resonance is my voice’s weakest attribute. Plus, I did some extra voice exercises to be ready for the call.

If someone thinks I’m male, then pretty soon the generally female way that I have of speaking, resonance or no, is going to be pretty disconcerting to that person, so it’s actually less confusing for both parties to proceed on the premise that I’m female, though granted — I’m a t-girl and I had a hormone problem starting at puberty. Before puberty, people called me “ma’am,” no problem. I wish I could just go back to that.

Nowadays I have to work hard at sounding like “ma’am.” Most days I sound kind of in the middle between “Sir” and “Ma’am” to male ears. Ironically, to female ears I sound a lot more like “ma’am.” Anyway, people guess and often they guess “male” even though I’m trying really hard to manage the resonance, pitch, spacing, pacing, phrasing, tone, vocabulary and the other half-dozen attributes so as to make my voice sound, well, as female as I fundamentally am.

I used to not be able to speak at all, period, so if I could learn that, then probably I’m also smart enough to learn how to sound like a female. And, since more than half the time people naturally guess I’m a female, I’m certainly making progress.

Anyway, the gentleman called. I answered the phone, and it was a scratchy connection. He guessed, and called me “Sir.”  Grrrr.

Well, dammit, if someone mistakenly thinks I’m the reincarnation of Genghis Khan then I’m not going to humor that person and play along for the remainder of that conversation or relationship. Fact is, I really am not a reincarnation of Genghis Khan. Pretending to be isn’t really polite. It’s dumb, and misleading.

I’ve had to make peace with the premise that being a t-girl means that I am, in fact, fundamentally a girl, even if I was born with a male-shaped body parts ‘down there’ that would suggest otherwise, and even if I need voice training so as to sound female. My issues, at worst, make me look or sound goofy. They don’t make me male. I sound girly enough that at worst I’m sort of in-the-middle-sounding, at the point where it’s really anyone’s guess. And when I’m self-conscious, then ironically, I sound less female. Today was a weird and stressful day for me anyway and so, yes, I felt self-conscious.

Going along and pretending to be “Sir” just to humor Chuck wasn’t a good option.  So, I said “It’s not Sir, it’s Ma’am” and through the bad phone connection, he said “I’m sorry, Sir, I didn’t hear what you’re saying?” Grrrrr.

Maybe I channelled Susanna Hoffs’s spirit just enough, because I then said in the most female-sounding voice I can muster: “you just called me Sir, but it’s Ma’am” and he apologized and from them on “Ma’am” it was, and I sounded all girly from then on and we got the problem fixed pronto.

On to the next crisis.

 

The Balance between Good Rednecks and Evil Rednecks

I live in a small rural town where the first day of deer or elk hunting season is more exciting, for many, than Christmas or New Year’s Day. The ratio of pickup trucks to sissymobiles is high. A flamethrower or a nice flatbed trailer is a status symbol. I understand that culture. I’ve lived here for 20 years.

Sometimes I make plans to move to Las Vegas (and some of my stuff is already there, in storage, as part of the move) and then I postpone them again.  I’ve been in the process of moving to Las Vegas for a long time.

I like the little town where I live, even though the other night it was 2 degrees, and I don’t mean Celsius. Of course folks here have a concealed carry permit and a revolver and a pistol and an AR15 and a shotgun, as do I. That goes without saying. But, how many speedloaders does one keep with the revolver and how quickly can one cycle them? That’s the sort of question worth discussing here.

If one doesn’t own a pickup truck then one had damn better own a Jeep, and I don’t mean any of that sissy new stuff Chrysler made. I mean something with an AMC or older engine in it, and if the Jeep still has a good paint job on it, it had better be primer or flat black or camo.  So, yeah, I also still own a Jeep like that, and I wasn’t kidding about the guns. If I violated these basic rules of citizenship they might deport me to a nearby big city, and I won’t like that. Don’t get me wrong, I walk around in high-heeled stilettos here sometimes. I’m not grungy. I’m just aware of what works here.

People here know me here, and they like me, and if someone threatens me with violence he’s probably someone new from out of town (which is anyone who’s lived here for less than 5 years) and he’s likely to get beat up by a local protective-of-me redneck guy more quickly than I could shoot him or that the local PD would arrest him, which means … pretty darn quickly.

Still, big cities are fun to visit, and today I went to a nearby big city, and had my long blonde hair done, all nice and straight with flippy ends like I’m a 1950s housewife or a dental hygienist. I had a fresh set of fake eyelashes glued on. The pink Hollister top and the chickey black leather jacket that I wore accentuated my huge fake boobs A LOT.  Plus, my black skirt looked nice, and went with my black cowboy boots. I don’t look all that pretty, but today I looked hot. (I don’t confuse the two).

I felt so good that at 5 p.m. I didn’t wanna go back home to the small town where I live, so I treated myself to dinner and three cups of coffee at a local big casino in the big city. As I walked towards the restaurant, I saw signs welcoming the Wild Sheep foundation. If you think these are tree huggers or animal rights folks, you’re mistaken. The reason people like having wild sheep around is not for hand-wringing reasons but because come hunting season, they wanna have something interesting to shoot at.

So, the folks looks a lot like the folks in the little town where I live, but these people came from other small towns and I’m not allowed to take my gun into the casino so I was unarmed, and getting kinda nervous because the only thing worse for a homophobic redneck than a t-girl, is … a hot-looking t-girl with long, flippy blonde hair, long eyelashes, huge fake boobs and pretty cowboy boots, and she shows up while his friends are around.

In case you’re not clear on what homophobia means: it’s basically where someone feels an attraction to someone else and he thinks that makes him gay and it bothers him — so he tries to be mean to whomever he is attracted to. It’s basically the asshole-adult version behavior of the little elementary-school boy who is mean to the little girl on whom he has a crush. So, if someone homophobic is attracted to me, then he goes into an internal meltdown and if his friends are around, he feels the need to act mean towards me to hide his embarrassment. That’s how many t-girls get beat up or killed. So, looking hot to a homophobe can be dangerous.

Imagine, then, how I felt about my safety as I walked back to my car. By then it was already dark. I’d parked in a quiet, dark-ish section of the parking lot, which is normally not a great idea but when there isn’t a redneck convention going on, the place is very safe, and I didn’t realize there IS such a convention here until I got inside. And it didn’t occur to me that I had better go back and park in a safer area.

After all, it’s not like these people are violent trained killers. Oh, wait, that’s actually precisely what they are. Anyway … mostly rednecks I meet know me and are nice to me and protect me. So, I feel sort of conflicted about them. It’s sort of like Wizards. There are good ones and evil ones.

As I approached my feminine-looking little gold-colored 3-series BMW, I saw three redneck guys in their early 20s standing near the front of my car, chatting cheerfully and enjoying cigarettes. I didn’t know any of them, which means one of them (if I go by past odds for redneck strangers) was quite likely dangerous to me.

An acquaintance of mine is an evil redneck. He used to be married to a close friend of mine. He’d love to go hunting, of course he drove a pickup truck and had a collection of guns, and he’d yell mean things out the car window when he drove past people who were openly gay … he’s an evil redneck. The way he’d start his offensive diatribe was with the phrase “what the …?”  I’m not omitting an expletive. He really just said only those two words. They are the magic phrase of the evil redneck going into active-asshole mode.

I decided the best approach was to consider these guys to be invisible, and to walk past quickly, NOT say hello, not smile and not make eye contact in a way that socially engages them.

Walk past, get into the car, back up … don’t drive forward, back up, leave. Survive the day.

Before they saw me, the conversation literally involved the Jeep flat-six engine and how reliable it is. That kind of caught me off-guard. See, I really do own a Jeep and I didn’t know Jeeps ever came with a flat-six engine. Did they mean flat-six as in the Porsche 911 boxer air-cooled engine, which is certainly a model of reliability? Or was flat-six redneck-speak for straight-six, which, yeah, of course, Detroit made many of them, and some of them were famous for reliability. Heck, I’ve owned a couple of Plymouths with Chrysler straight-six engines.

So, instead of concentrating on being safe and walking quickly and getting the hell out of there, when seconds count … I was a ditzy blonde and I slowed down, and listened, and pondered what they were saying, and I almost asked them in my chickey voice which flat-six engine they meant.

Then I heard it: “What the …?” … and then I heard one of the other two rednecks say: ” … easy … !” Meaning: “don’t do anything stupid, Stupid, just keep your mouth shut and let her go.”

So, for the good gentleman who kept his dumb-ass friend in check long enough for me to walk past and start my car and back up and drive away …  thank you.  The terms “gentleman” and “redneck” are very much not mutually exclusive, I know, and tonight I saw one more example.

As long as there’s a good Wizard to be a counterforce to every evil Wizard, the universe is a safe-enough place.  As long as there’s a good redneck who says ” … easy … !” when an evil redneck says “what the …?” then my life is safe enough.