Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An "Easy" Change

Yesterday, I was watching TV with my mom and we ended up watching some of Sarah Palin's appearance on Oprah. At one point, Palin made a comment related to abortion being "easy" and I said that I disliked people characterizing abortion as "easy" because it gives the impression that it's something that women just choose to do on a whim, that it's not a difficult decision that people struggle with.

While my mom did agree with that, she said she still feels that abortion is easy compared to dealing with the consequences of getting pregnant, either by keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption. She said she felt that as a society we don't want to deal with the consequences of our actions anymore; if there's something about our life that we don't like, we want to just change it instead of dealing with the things that happen to us. If something interferes with our life or the way we think our life should go, we want to just change it.

I do think women should be told all of their options when they get pregnant but I also believe that safe, legal abortions should be available to women who choose to have them. Getting rid or abortions or making them illegal isn't going to stop them from happening, it's just going to make them more dangerous and potentially deadly for the women who choose to have them, as they were before Roe v. Wade.

On a more personal note, my mom's comments got me to thinking about how they would apply to me. I can easily see her arguing that wanting to dress and live as a woman is me seeking an easy change because I can't handle being a man who's a little different. I'm not happy being a man so I'll just change and be a woman. Staying a man would be me dealing with my situation and becoming a womann would be me avoiding the situation by looking for an easy answer. While I don't agree that living as or becoming a woman is "easy," my mom's comments helped me understand her feelings better.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Employment & ENDA

As the current semester comes to a close, it's gotten me thinking about my job recently.

I consider myself lucky to be part of academia. Not only has it given me the opportunity to explore my gender and sexual identity and to speak to others about being transgender, but it is also one of the few careers where being transgender could actually be considered an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

I appreciate the opportunities that being an academic has given me and recognize the other advantages that I have. As a White American, I know that I do not face the oppression that my minority sisters face. Being in academia also gives me a lot more financial stability than many working class people face. A friend told me recently about a prison guard who made the decision to transition and was harassed by her fellow guards to the point where she threatened suicide and was quickly fired. I don't know if I could continue to be open about being transgender in the face of that level of harassment.

I guess I will find out for sure how much of an advantage or disadvantage my transgender identity will be in a couple of years when I finally finish my PhD and head out into the job market looking for my first professorship. I want to do as much writing and speaking about being transgender as I can between now and then. I want to make being transgender something I get hired for instead of something I'm hired in spite of. That of course assumes I'll get hired at all. With the economy the way it is, even colleges and universities may decide to hire someone who is a "normal" male or female, whatever that means, than have to deal with the issues related to hiring an openly transgender person.

Something that will help the employment of all gay, lesbian and transgender Americans is the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). While the bill has had a topsy-turvy history, the passage in October of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act that updates hate crime law to include disability status, gender or sexual orientation (Femulate) gives many GLBT activists hope that ENDA may be passed soon. I just hope ENDA actually improves the work-lives of GLBT people and employers don't just start firing GLBT people for other reasons, such as being late to work too often or random layoffs, that aren't directly related to their gender/sexual identity.

For more information about ENDA, go to Pass ENDA Now. One thing that does bother me is that the first result that comes up in a Google search for "ENDA & transgender" is this 2007 post from Americans for Truth. This is the kind of rhetoric that continues to make life difficult/impossible for transgender people in this country.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's in a Name

I'm often asked how I chose the name Lucy. I think most people assume there must be some deep, personal reason behind my choice, but the short answer is that I just liked how it sounded.

I tried out many names as I searched for the one that I felt was just right for me. At first, my choices leaned toward the more uncommon with names like Corrina, Annabelle and Viola. For a while, I used the name Sophie but it just never felt quite right. I also asked my mom on a few different occasions what she would have named me if I had been born female, thinking that I might use that name either for my first or middle name, but she would never tell me, probably guessing my reason for asking. As I continued to try out different names, I liked the way Lucy sounded; it felt like me.

Lucy is a name that's always been around me, mostly from pop culture. From Lucille Ball (and no, my name is not Lucille; it's just Lucy) to Lucy from Peanuts to Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess fame (who my mom is a HUGE fan of). The main character of the anime series Fairy Tail, which I am currently following on Crunchyroll, is also named Lucy.

Lucy from Fairy Tail

I also liked that Lucy is a normal, fairly common name but also that you don't meet a Lucy every day. I was able to maintain my uniqueness somewhat without people constantly asking how to spell my name or thinking that I had chosen it to make myself stand out more.

The simplicity of my name, though, often seems to be lost on restaurant workers. Many times I've had to repeat my name more than once when asked a name to use for an order. Now, sometimes I may not speak loudly enough for them to hear me but it seems to me at other times that they can tell that I'm male, even though I'm dressed and presenting as a woman, and so are questioning the legitimacy of the name Lucy. This feeling has been confirmed on more than one occasion when I have had to pick up an order for a "Lucian." The masculinizing of my name bothers me; you may not agree with me that I am a woman but when I tell you my name is Lucy, I expect to be called Lucy, especially at a restaurant. If I said my name was "Darth Vader," I would expect to pick up an order for "Darth Vader." I'm not as bothered when people I know still use my male name because I understand that it's a transition process but with someone I don't know at a restaurant, I would expect to be called by the name that I give.

A Few Thoughts on Shopping

I've been doing a lot of shopping recently. I've been really happy with the way I've been able to build my wardrobe. One of my first concerns about making the transition to living full-time as a woman was having enough to wear; I didn't want to wear the same things all the time. I'm very happy that I can now go weeks, if not months, without wearing the same thing twice :)

Not suprisingly, I never was much of a shopper as a guy. Guy's clothes just don't really interest me that much. I was always interested in women's clothes, of course, and always wondered how interested I would be in shopping if I was actually given the chance to dress how I want. I always had a feeling that I would be a bit of a clotheshorse.

I had the thought yesterday after buying a couple of new sweaters at Target if I've been spending too much on clothes recently. Again, shopping as much as I have been for clothes is still new to me, even if I am enjoying it. Then I paused and remembered that much of the shopping I have been doing these past few months has been out of necessity, not just a desire for something new to wear. I didn't buy those sweaters yesterday just because I felt like spending some money but because it has been chilly these past few days and I don't really have much to wear when it's cold.

I've been almost stubbornly open and public as a crossdresser. Unlike many other crossdressers, I was never really satisfied with just dressing up alone in my house. As a practical person, it was hard for me to justify spending money on clothes that no one else would ever see me wear. That's why I chose to focus on cosplay costumes because at least I would get to wear them at a convention. So when I decided earlier this year that I wanted to start dressing full-time as a woman, I literally had two outfits that I could wear. Two! Pretty much everything I have in my wardrobe now has been purchased since March.

I 'm happy with the progress I've made in such as short time but there are still some holes that I'm trying to fill in my wardrobe. I'm to the point where I can get by on a day-to-day basis (I'm not wearing the same outfit every other day) but each new situation reminds me of what still needs to be added. When it gets cold, I have to buy sweaters not because I'm tired of my old ones but because I don't have any old ones! Thankfully, though, those situations are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes by.

Bargain-hunting has been a blessing for me in building my wardrobe. Most of the clothes in my closet are from Target; their clothes are reasonably priced (they even have a good clearance section) and they fit my style. My style tends to be a little on the conservative side (I like the descriptors elegant and professional that friends have used) but that's just out of personal taste and not any feelings of how women should or shouldn't dress. Audrey Hepburn is my style icon and I love the styles of the 1950's and 60's.

Charlotte Russe is another store that has proven very fruitful, especially their clearance section. I've had the most luck there with tops; dresses and skirts haven't fit as well. I've purchased a few things at Wal-Mart, mainly because of the low prices, but the clothes there tend to be a little too casual/country for my tastes. I've also purchased a couple of dresses from Chadwicks and will definitely be purchasing more from them in the future because they have very stylish clothes and great bargains! And while I do love JC Penney's and especially their Worthington line, I haven't always had the most pleasant shopping experience at the store here in town, but that's a story for another time.

The next challenge will be next semester, which will be the first time I will teach an entire semester as a woman. I feel much better prepared to face this challenge, in ways beyond just clothing, than I felt back in March when I first made this decision.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving and the holidays

I'm currently at my parent's home for Thanksgiving. We will be having Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparent's house tomorrow with most of my family. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. We get along well and I am thankful to have such a strong relationship with my family but as I've often written about on this blog, times like this always make me very aware of the differences in our feelings about who I am as a transgender person.

The holidays in the past have always made me acutely aware of my feelings but I feel it's going to be especially hard this year because I feel I've made very important strides in understanding and expressing who I am as a transgender woman in the past year. I am now living almost entirely full-time as a woman and I am beginning to explore the possibility of becoming a woman through hormone treatment and surgery. The only time I'm not a woman is when I am with my family.

They are still unable to accept that I am transgender. They firmly believe that crossdressing is wrong and they have a very definite image of who I am, an image that doesn't include being a woman. So whenever I am with them, I feel like I once again have to hide an important part of who I am.

Some of the decisions I will be making in the future will make it more difficult to hide that I am a woman; I don't know how they will react to these decisions so next Thanksgiving they may not want to see me at all.

For now, I'm going to be thankful for what I have, time to spend with my family and the freedom to be who I am when I'm not with them, and worry about the future later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance

As many of you know, today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

A day like this always makes me pause and reflect. Not only pause and think about the 162 known trans people in the world who were killed in the past year but also to think about my own life as a transgender person.

I've made some important decisions and changes in my life in the past year, changes that make me much more visible as a trans person in the community I live in. I consider myself lucky that I've never really been threatened with physical violence because I am transgender, but I know it's always a possibility.

A day like today brings up the fears that I am sure all of us have. But we can't let these fears stop us from being who we are. It's only by being out there and being visible that we'll be able to become a part of everyday life. Many people today have still never really met a transgender person. It's only through personal experience that transgender people will become human to most people, instead of something weird they see on the news or read about online.

And it's only by becoming a visible part of everyday life that we'll begin to reduce the levels of hate and violence directed toward trans people.

Today is a day to remember those we've lost and continue to work on building a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot for Teacher

The title of this post is, of course, a nod to Van Halen. I don't really have much to say, long day, but I was just so happy with how this outfit that I wore to teach today turned out that I wanted to share it :)

I've got a busy couple of weeks coming up as the semester starts winding down. I'm trying to get as much done as I can before Thanksgiving. I remember when I used to look forward to the Thanksgiving break; now it's a reminder of how little time I have to get stuff done...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Speaking Engagements

I had the opportunity recently to speak to a couple of Intercultural Communication classes about being transgender. Before I share some of my thoughts on the presentations, I want to share a couple of pics of the new dresses I bought for the occasion :)

I wore the red dress to my first presentation and the blue dress to the second. Both dresses were purchased from Chadwicks, which is one of my favorite stores :)

Both presentations were structured in the form of an interview, which is a format that had been used in a speaking engagement earlier this year, with the Instructor for the course filling the role of interviewer. It is a useful format because it keeps the discussion on track.

Both talks began with definitions of transgender terms about which most of the audience was unfamiliar. I personally use transgender as an umbrella term to include all forms of cross-gender behavior, as many researchers do, and I also discussed what being transsexual means to me. Talking about being transsexual was interesting for me because this was my first opportunity to discuss this with a large group since coming to my own understanding that I am transsexual.

Both talks also featured long discussions of religion and dating/relationships. One class found the dating part especially interesting as evidenced by the furious shuffling of paper when the topic was introduced :)

When the floor was opened up for questions at the end, I was impressed by the level of respect from the audience. Some of the questions were very interesting, particularly one about raising children, but everyone who asked a question was respectful. The university I attend and teach at is very conservative so I can never be 100% sure of the reception I will receive when sharing my transgender identity with others. But so far I have found that the undergraduate students are mostly respectful, particularly in the context of the classroom.

I also feel that one reason I have received the reception I have is that I don't come across as angry when discussing transgender issues. I am passionate about discussing my own experiences and the treatment of transgender people, but it's not in my nature to be angry. I try to live by example and to me it's more important to be myself on campus and in the classroom than go off on some angry rant. I feel that the students pick up on that.

I hope to continue speaking to students on campus. As one instructor said, most of the students just don't have any personal experience with transgender people and I think that it's important to give them the opportunity to learn more about what being transgender means.

In the future, I believe I will structure my speaking engagements as talks instead of interviews so that I can be more focused on what I want to discuss. I also hope to start talking to groups outside of the campus environment. I believe it's important for everyone to have more exposure to transgender people, not just college students.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not a Mistake

The above clip is from an episode of The Tyra Banks Show in which Tyra interviews Isis King, the first transgender finalist on America's Next Top Model. Many of the other finalists raised concerns during the show about living with Isis and in this segment of the episode, Isis talks with Clark, one of the other finalists from that season, about her concerns. Clark, a self-identified Southerner and Southern Baptist, raises an issue that is often echoed by Christians who do not agree with transgenderism in general and transsexualism in particular which is that by wanting to change your body to match the gender you feel you are, you are implying that God made a mistake by putting you in the wrong body and this isn't possible because God doesn't make mistakes.

I use this clip as an example to discuss my feelings about this argument. I am a Christian, and was also raised Southern Baptist, and while religion will not be a major focus of this blog, it is an important part of my life. My transgender/transsexual feelings and my faith are important parts of who I am today.

In response to Clark's statement, Isis says "God doesn't make mistakes and I'm not a mistake." This is the same way I feel about my transsexuality. This issue was one of the major barriers I had that prevented me from understanding my own transsexual identity. I repeatedly heard and read other transsexuals say that they felt that God had made a mistake and that they had been born in the wrong body. But my faith had led me to believe that God doesn't make mistakes. It took a lot of self-reflection and prayer for me to reconcile these disparate feelings.

This reconciliation came out of my wish that I could one day just magically wake up a woman. I would constantly pray to either wake up the next day a woman or for the past to be changed so that I had been born female. I always felt things would have been so much simpler if I had been born female but I found that as I thought about this idea, I would spend a lot of time trying to think about how the events of my life could have been basically the same so that I would still be the same person, like the same things and have the same friends.

Then, one day I had the realization that if I had been born female, I would not be the person I am today. I might have been a very similar person personality wise and in terms of the things I like, but I would not have had the exact same life or the exact same experiences. And I realized that I like who I am. Even though I may feel that I am a woman and want to change my body to match that feeling, I like who I am as a person and wouldn't want to change that. That's when I had my epiphany.

God made me who I am and being transsexual is part of who I am.

He did not make a mistake, either for Isis or for me. Being transsexual is not "fixing a problem," it's just part of who I am. I was a man before and now I'm on the road to becoming a woman. Sure, it's not the same path that the majority of people take but that doesn't mean it's wrong. Being transsexual isn't a problem to be fixed or overcome, it's part of who I am.

I'm proud to be transsexual!

Now, this doesn't mean I won't have my doubts or concerns but it is something I'm feeling more confident about each day. All I know is that I can't do this alone. I love everyone who has been there to support me so far and I hope I will always have great friends by my side as I walk down this path. I also hope to someday have a partner, that special someone, who can walk this path with me. But that's a post for another time :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ripping the band-aid off

I went home today to celebrate my sister's birthday and every time I go home, I leave feeling stressed and upset.

I love my family and we get along for the most part but the more I move toward becoming a woman, the more I feel like there's an 800-pound gorilla on my shoulders weighing me down every time I see my family. The disconnect between who I am and who they see me as/want me to be is growing larger all the time.

I had hoped to talk to my sister today to feel out if she might be a potential ally in the family but I didn't get the chance. I had hoped to show her pictures of my Halloween costume as a way of gauging her feelings about crossdressing in general, since Halloween is sort of "safe" since everybody dresses up as unusual things for Halloween, but her computer was running too slow to load the pictures before my parents got there. And a couple of things my sister said while I was there made me question if she could even be supportive. Right after we sat down to eat lunch, she made the comment that my hair is too long and I need to get it cut. Then after I mentioned a woman's name, she asked if I liked her and after I said she was married, she asked if I have a girlfriend and if there's anyone I like. Finally, when we were playing a board game later, she said my fingernails were too long.

To me, these comments make it apparent that my sister has a very particular view of me as an average, if someone quiet and nerdy, guy and I don't know how easily being a woman will fit in this view. It doesn't mean she couldn't be supportive of my decision but it does give me pause about discussing the subject with her.

This is the disconnect that I mentioned before between my family's view of me and the truth. And I'm all alone in dealing with this disconnect; my parents want to ignore it or just hope it will go away and the rest of my family doesn't know about it at all. Trying to deal with this all on my own often leaves me frustrated and upset.

Sometimes I feel guilty about how nice and generous my family is to me, questioning if I even deserve it; if they knew that I want to be a woman, would they still be nice to me? At other times, I feel angry about having to hide who I really am. And many times I feel the same at once.

I sometimes feel like just ripping the metaphorical band-aid off and dealing with the consequences because that would be a lot better than trying to hide an 800-pound gorilla.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Halloween is often called a crossdresser's favorite holiday but that isn't the case for me.

First, I want to say that I do like Halloween, it's just not my favorite holiday. I have a serious sweet tooth so I always enjoyed trick or treating and getting a lot of candy! My favorite Halloween candy is Brach's mellowcreme pumpkins which, for those who don't know, are basically pumpkin-shaped candy corn. I also enjoy Hershey's almost annual special Kisses; I like this year's Candy Corn Kisses but I loved last year's Pumpkin Spice Kisses and hope they'll bring them back sometime. I also do enjoy dressing up in a costume but because I have the opportunity every few months to cosplay at an anime convention, Halloween isn't the only day out of the year that I get to wear a costume.

One of the main things I don't like about Halloween is getting scared. I don't like horror movies and could do without the 5 million commercials we get for them on TV at this time of year. I also don't like haunted houses or anything else that involves being scared so one of the main attractions for many people on Halloween isn't something I'm interested in.

After my sister and I outgrew trick or treating, it became my family's tradition on Halloween to turn off all the lights in the house, get the bowl of my Mom's chocolate spiders and sit down to enjoy a non-scary Halloween movie. Occasionally we'd watch something like Frankenstein or Bride of Frankenstein but the main movie we'd watch each year was Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I still have fond memories of that film and will be on the lookout for it on the movie channels each Halloween. I've continued the tradition on my own by watching a movie around Halloween, usually Young Frankenstein or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Even without enjoying being scared, most crossdressers still say Halloween is their favorite holiday because it's the one time each year that they can go out in public en femme. As a kid, I had a strong desire to dress up as a girl in some way every year but I was never allowed to because my parents were so against it. I only started dressing en femme at Halloween in college after I had already become more open about being transgender. So Halloween always led to a feeling of disappointment instead of being the one occasion where I could be free to be who I am.

Also, as I take my first steps toward becoming a woman, I am dressing full-time so being able to dress en femme in public is not a unique thing that I can only do at Halloween.

I do still enjoy Halloween and am looking forward to the party I will be attending this year but, unlike many other crossdressers and transgender people, Halloween isn't my favorite holiday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crossdressing and Relationships

The subject of this post is one that's been on my mind a lot recently. As I look to the future and begin to plan for my life after finishing my PhD, I realize that I don't want to be alone. It's going to be hard to dress full-time as a woman while moving to a new place, starting work at a new college or university and meeting new people. It will just make it even harder to do these things completely alone.

Now, the point of this post isn't to whine and complain about my lack of a love life; I am beginning to more actively seek out women, mainly through online dating at the moment. But as I take these first steps, I'm confronted with a recurring issue: how to approach my crossdressing in terms of dating/relationships.

I have made the personal decision to be open and upfront about my crossdressing. I want to find someone who will love me for who I am and who I can love for who she is in return, and I don't think that can happen if I keep the fact that I am a crossdresser hidden.

But is this the right decision?

I read an article this evening in the Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality titled "How Intimate Relationships Are Impacted When Heterosexual Men Crossdress," and the authors found that the main concern of women in relationships with crossdressers was that other people would find out. So maybe potential partners would prefer that I keep it a secret...

But that again brings up the issue of do I want to be with someone who accepts my crossdressing but wants to keep it a secret or do I wait for that special someone who embraces that side of me and encourages me to be who I am?

And I can't really blame my lack of success with women on my crossdressing. It's not like I was a lady's man who now can't get a date because I've decided to be open about being a crossdresser. It's been over 3 years since I went on a date and longer since I had sex.

I mentioned getting into online dating but of the women I have contacted, none of them have even responded. I feel sometimes like I don't even register for most women, like a "Mr. Cellophane" of sex. I'm a good friend and a good listener but there's a certain something I'm lacking, that spark of attraction.

Maybe I'm wrong, though, and I'm just not picking up on the signals. But at this point, I don't know if I can learn to be more aware of them...

Cosplay and Conventions

A couple of weeks ago I attended an anime convention in Dallas. It was my fourteenth convention and at every one, I have cosplayed.

Cosplay is an interesting topic on its own. It's a word borrowed by American anime fans from Japan and is originally short for "costume play." The idea itself was originally borrowed from America when a Japanese sci-fi fan attended a sci-fi convention in the US in the 80s and was impressed with the Star Trek fans walking around in their costumes but felt that Japanese fans could do just as well or better. So the concept was imported to Japan from American then exported back to American as cosplay.

Cosplay in Japan includes dressing in the costume of any pop culture character but in America, the term is still primarily used for anime characters and related Japanese pop culture characters, such as videogame characters, though you will occasionally see a Darth Vader, Batman or Harry Potter walking around an anime con. As an example, here is a picture of me cosplaying the character Tamao from the series Strawberry Panic at the con a couple of weeks ago:

Cosplay remains to this day a very important outlet for my transgender expression. Cosplaying at conventions was one of the first opportunities I had to crossdress in public. Conventions, for the most part, feel like safe spaces to me because crossdressing is accepted, to a certain extent (though I have had to deal with negative comments and reactions, these have been few and far between). The word "crossplay" is used to refer to people who cosplay characters of the opposite sex; an interesting side note is that the most common form of crossplay is women and girls cosplaying male characters, though my personal experience makes me feel that the response to female-to-male cosplay is different than the response to male-to-female cosplay.

Trying to explain my love of cosplay to others has often been difficult. People seem to want to reduce things to easily understandable levels, so they want to say "Oh, you do this just as a way to crossdress" or "It's not about crossdressing, it's about dressing up as a character you like, just like Halloween." The truth is a little bit grayer than that. While I do enjoy getting to spend a weekend dressed as a woman/female character, I truly love anime and appreciate the characters. I can't separate these two feelings. For me, it's the intersection of these to parts of who I am that led to me be a cosplayer. I wouldn't just walk around a con dressed as a woman, or at least I wouldn't call that cosplaying, and I don't really have any interest in dressing up as a male character. So if I hadn't been an anime fan, I don't know if I would be as comfortable as I am today dressing as a woman in public because I wouldn't have had this outlet for those feelings. Likewise, if I wasn't a crossdresser, I don't know if I would have ever cosplayed because I don't know how much dressing up in a costume would have interested me.

So I wouldn't really be who I am today if I had never cosplayed at a convention and I wouldn't have cosplayed at a convention if I wasn't who I am :)

I'm really excited about cosplay again, though. Because of money issues, I haven't been able to purchase any new costumes in over a year :( But now that I have a little more saved up, I'm looking forward to debuting some brand new costumes next year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Puppies and Ice Cream For Everyone!

As I was putting on my makeup to go out this evening, I was listening to the live stream of Chet Edwards' town hall meeting and I had a realization. Now, this may be something that others realized a while back but it just hit me today.

All the yelling and sign-waving really isn't about heath care/insurance.

The people who come to these town halls to yell and scream also gripe and complain just like the rest of us when their insurance rates go up or their hospital bill is higher than they thought it should be. It all boils down to the age old debate about how much power and involvement the government should have in the everyday lives of its citizens.

The people who yell and scream at these town halls would yell and scream about anything that meant the government would be more involved in their daily lives. If President Obama announced a plan tomorrow to help ease the suffering caused by the recession by giving everyone in America a free puppy and an ice cream cone, I guarantee that you would have people at town hall meetings yelling about how it should be their decision whether or not they get a dog and asking how private ice cream companies like Baskin-Robbins can hope to compete when the government is giving out free ice cream.

Again, not earth-shattering. Just something I realized for myself this evening.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

George Washington and Sarah Vowell

I came across this quote by George Washington while reading Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates (p. 244):

"All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."

This was Washington's response, addressed "to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island," to their question about whether the new United States government would uphold the freedom of religion they had enjoyed in Rhode Island.

I, personally, find his statement of moving beyond mere tolerance to be very progressive, even though we as a country haven't lived up to that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On Hold...

Well, a new semester is almost here.

Things haven't gone exactly how I had planned. The summer was excellent. The students were great and seemed to very easily accept me for who I am. They seemed to have no problem accepting me as a man who wears women's clothing. Even the one student who got very upset about receiving a bad grade on an assignment never made any reference, to my face, about how I was dressed.

I was able to enjoy four wonderful weeks of dressing the way I want to everyday, and I am going to cherish the memory of that time. It showed me that I can do it, that I can be who I am and not have to constantly worry about what other people are going to think. issues have led me to decide to put dressing full-time on hold. This is not a permanent decision, just a temporary one as I work through some issues. I want to preserve the positive memories of dressing full-time this summer and not have paranoia destroy the positive experience I had. But who knows. in six months I may say "Screw it! I can't take this anymore!" and start dressing full-time again. We'll see...

What does this mean for this blog?

Well, as you can see from the long period of time between the first post and this second post, I'm not the most frequent updater. I don't know if you can really call something with two entries a blog. But for now, I hope to continue this blog. Though I may not be dressing full-time, I'm still a transgender woman struggling her way through academia. Instead of being a record of my personal journey, it may begin to focus more on my research.

I don't know if I even have any readers yet or not (probably not) but I guess we'll see where this goes.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Hello and welcome to my little corner of the web.

I'll begin by telling you a little about myself.

I am a graduate student at a major university in Texas and am currently teaching an introductory course in Public Speaking.

I consider myself transgender, as you can tell from the title of this blog, but I know that's ambiguous for a lot of people so I'll expand a little. I am a crossdresser and have known about my desire to dress as a woman since I was a young child. I am in the beginning stages of dressing full time as a woman but I do not currently have any plans to pursue surgical options to become I woman.

I have been contemplating starting this blog for a while now and have reached an important milestone in my life so I feel that this is a good time to start.

The milestone is that I will begin teaching dressed as a woman on Monday!

We just recently started the second summer session at the university I teach at and I was very impressed with my students' responses during a diversity activity we did in class. Their openness and willingness to consider the challenges faced by people different than they are moved me to share my transgender identity with them. I had included transgender as a aspect of diversity that is not normally discussed and said that the reason I chose to include transgender is that I am transgender myself. I went on to say that professors often discuss diversity with their students and encourage them to be accepting of people different from them but are often reluctant to share their on diversity with their students.

I decided to go a little bit further with my students in class today. I discussed the fact that the examples used in the activity were hypothetical and then asked them how they would feel if it was more real, if, for example, I came to class in a dress. A few students said that it wouldn't bother them because I had already shared that with them and that as young people, they tended to be more accepting of difference. One student said that she would appreciate the experience and the opportunity to interact with someone who is different from her and another student said that college is a place to learn, not to judge people.

I was even more impressed with my students responses and attitudes today and it further cemented my decision to begin dressing the way I want when I teach.

So we'll see how it goes.

The point of this blog is to give me a place to record my thoughts and experiences as I begin this new phase in my academic career. I don't know if this will interest anyone else but for those of you who do stumble across this blog, I hope you find it informative and entertaining!