Friday, May 22, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor. Really.

Beth is my idea of what every GG should be.  She's friendly, she's outgoing, she does makeup for the T community (she's done mine!  Pictures here) and incorporates photo sessions.

She started coming to Christine and Pamela's soirees a while back and enjoys hanging with the "new girls."

Who could ask for anything more?

And her name really is Elizabeth Taylor.  Her website is Makeovers With Elizabeth Taylor and she does fine work: judge for yourself, and maybe give her a shout when you're in the DC area.  (And even cooler, her full name is Elizabeth Ann Taylor so if she decided to just use her middle name she'd still have a dress connection.)




Thursday, May 21, 2015

No Brainer

Yesterday's post should be a clue.

Sharon has been out in the t-community for much longer than I have.  She's been involved in support groups, Keystone, and more.

When I first met Sharon (at a soiree?) we started chatting and realised we had met before.  Kim (who I gave a shout-out to recently) organised a t-clothing swap.  She had a makeup artist friend (who, alas, has moved away) there and a dozen or so girls.  She convinced a photographer friend to open her house to us, and she took posed pictures of us ~ a new experience for some.

I was new-to-being-out and kind of nervous and didn't chat with many people.  This was in May, 2009.  I'm not sure I spoke to Sharon at all.  My loss.

Since becoming re-acquainted, we've met in every combination possible: my male and female persona have met her male and female persona.  She's come over to change before going out; small children at home make changing tricky.  We've met each others' spouses.

She's one of the good ones.






Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thought Piece

This is a kind of long essay from my friend Sharon.  It's well-written and worth reading.  She asks some interesting questions which I think will encourage different responses, depending on where you are in the t-spectrum.  It's on a subject close to Sharon, and I think instrumental to who she is ~ fitting to insert into the middle of my "who I am" series.



Transgender Support Groups: A History
By Sharon Rose

Once upon a time, there was a support group in the suburbs outside our nation’s capitol.  It   The group met in hotel rooms at first, and later moved to a church.  It advertised in a newspaper.  But it had rules to protect the identities of its members, and so it carefully screened new members with an interview before revealing the secret meeting location.  It was the early 1980s, and many of the members worked at the Pentagon, in the defense industry, or in various branches of the U.S. Government.  The meeting place was a safe place for those who were just beginning to discover their transgender identity and also for those who did not want to go to more public spaces.
The author, Sharon Rose
was a place for transgender people to socialize in private, to learn about themselves and others, and to discover that they were not alone.

            For over 30 years it continued to function. It held monthly meetings.  It put out a newsletter.  The group brought in guest speakers to help with various aspects of maintaining an alternate gender presentation (clothing, wigs, makeup, nail care, etc.), or members presented programs of their own. Each December they had a holiday gala at a local hotel with dinner and live entertainment. And a few members performed outreach, speaking with students at local universities or with religious institutions about what it means to be transgender. A small cadre of members performed key tasks and served on the board of directors.

            Members of the group traveled far and wide to attend meetings. Close friendships were formed.  But times began to change.  The growth of the Internet and the rise of social media meant that much information was now readily available by computer.  And Trans people could make connections online, and knew there were others out there like them.  And society was changing too.  The rising social acceptance of gays and lesbians gave transgender people hope that they too could be accepted.  More and more transgender people were going out in public.  Those who were comfortable doing so no longer needed to meet in private.  The group shrank in size as members left the group to join other groups or go out in public on their own.

            Other groups have been formed on Meetup.com and other social networking sites, and Trans people are connected on Facebook and other platforms as never before. They hold events in bars and restaurants, and those who are comfortable go anywhere they want to.  The possibilities to socialize are limitless.
           
            The questions I have are twofold. First, are traditional support groups a thing of the past?  Do Trans people need a structured organization with a one-size-fits all approach to provide information and provide a safe space for those starting on their Trans journey?  Or can they find most of the information they need online, and simply contact one of the newer social groups when they are ready to go out in public?  I suspect there may be some people who need help getting from point A to point B.  What are your thoughts?

            Second, what about providing outreach?  There is still much that Trans people can do to educate the general public. Do we still need it, and how can we do it?

            Like any small group, a Trans organization can only prosper if a core group of people are willing to work to get things done, and if others come forward to replace them when they leave or need a break.  But I believe that those of us who have come before need to pay it forward and help those who are just beginning to explore their trans identity.

            Ultimately, the organization is just a framework.  We can all connect on an individual level to help someone else, no matter how the group is organized.

            Dear readers, I want to thank Meg once again for allowing me to write a guest post on her blog.  I invite you to share your experiences with support groups in the comments section below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Introducing Your Hostesses

Pamela and Christine are part of our DC trans community.  A few years ago, they decided to open up their lovely home to the trans community for more-or-less monthly "soirees."

Since it was still difficult for me to get out, I missed several.  But eventually I made it to my first and it was a new and wonderful experience.

I was out in a relaxed atmosphere meeting new people and enjoying it.  Some of the girls already knew me, through the blog, which was cool.  But three important takeaways:

* I felt like I was at an elegant party.  I would have felt fine in an evening gown.  It was a place to dress UP and fit in, which was special.

* Every time I went, there were girls who had never been out before.  Christine and Pamela offered them a safe place to go OUT and they recognised it and ran with it.  At least one went from never going out to Christine's to Freddy's (a gay club some of the girls go to after the soiree) and then out after that.  That's kind of zero to sixty in five seconds.

* I never knew how diverse our community is.  There were girls and SO's of every variety.  There were girls in every stage and level, from casual dresser to transitioned.  It was wonderful!

The soiree has since outgrown their house and moved to another venue but I will always think of Christine and Pamela as the perfect hostesses.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dog/Doug

I know I've had Brian Anderson's Dog Eat Doug in here at least a half-dozen times.  I've probably mentioned that I don't like baby strips in general but I enjoy watching Sophie (dog) and Doug interact.  The cats that show up regularly are just... odd.  Maybe perplexing is a better term.

Anderson's blog and other strip is called the conjurers and it is also odd.  Or perplexing.






Great eyes

Is this worse for Doug or the kitty?

LOVE this one!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

If It Wasn't I'D DO IT ALL THE TIME

Once upon a time, Dennis was a Menace.  Then the big bucks that accompanied the Dennis the Menace tv show corrupted Hank Ketchum and Dennis became just another boring kid.  You can tell which Dennis you're seeing if you get your hands on some of the very old comics: look at his eyebrows.  In the Menace days, they turned down, towards his nose.  When he mellowed, they turned up in the middle, looking more benign.  So .\/. = menace and /..\ = dullard.

As I mentioned before, good CD cartoons are becoming scarce, even as we're in the news more and more.  I think these trends are related.

ALL THE TIME!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Speaking of Games

At one of the first game nights, our (now) friend Star noticed me, noticed Charity was with me, and told her that her partner was trans and asked if we'd like to join her (monthly or so) game days.

At Star's I can show up dressed or drab, and the other members of the group (including kids) don't really care.  There are usually one or more trans members at game days, and by now they mostly know "both of me."

It's a unique experience, and Star and Pooch are unique friends.