Thursday, April 30, 2015

"I Meant Everybody"

Instead of focussing on this post, I spent a long time looking for the original charter and e-mails.  I don't know what happened to them, unless I used a different e-mail address at that time.

Several years ago, I received an e-mail invite via Meetup.  It was from Kim Pratt, asking if I wanted to join a clothing swap.  Some time before, I listed a few preferences; I think that was the only one that wasn't specifically t-oriented.

Again, I wish I could have found the original e-mail.  The salutation said


and it went on to assume we were all women as it described her vision of a clothing swap.

She also wrote "everyone is welcome."

I wrote back and said "well, I'm not sure I'd be welcome" and told her that I was a crossdresser but I had clothing to swap and I liked the idea of getting "new to me" clothes.

She wrote back immediately and pointed out that she specifically said "everyone is welcome" and she meant it.  We wrote a bit, she put me at ease and I went to a swap.  I think I went in drab to the first one; I don't recall.  I've gone in drag and drab over the years.  Kim has given me some dresses that didn't fit her (or her daughter).  She took me out to a nearby store to shop and then let me do my makeup at her place so we could go all the way up to Baltimore to a small trans get together, my first ever.

Kim Pratt did more than she'll ever know to help Meg meet and greet the world.  She never failed to treat me as a friend or girlfriend as appropriate.

She's a wonderful woman who runs the swaps mostly so she can get clothing to give to charity.  She sometimes has a special target, a particularly needy woman or family, that she's collecting clothes for.  Although we can all use some extra money in these times she never makes money on these swaps and in fact gives of herself more and more every time.

Kim Pratt is a mom, wife, veteran, friend of the t-community (her swap co-leader is trans), and one incredible lady.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Is It Just Me?

Am I the only person in the community who hasn't watched the Bruce Jenner interview yet?

I've heard good things from Steven Petrow, the LGBT-focussed columnist at the Washington Post. 

The local T group has had a lively discussion of the interview. 

An idiot wrote an article for the WaPo: "Trans people need an icon. But Bruce Jenner is the worst possible choice" which is COMPLETELY wrong.  People need to see that even members of their own family (the Kardashians ~ everybody's family) can be transgender.  Until then, it's not real.  I mean, the number of conservative voices who ranted against gays and then said "my child/grandchild/other close relative is gay and I'm rethinking" grows every day.  For the record, I didn't know Jenner was associated with the Kardashian clan and I only have a vague knowledge that they're only famous because they're well known, like Jello or Sarah Palin.

The interview is on my DVR.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

They Don't Know It...

Starting back in 2004, I got involved in some political meetups.  I don't think we ever did much good for the candidates but I met quite a number of like-minded people.

I really don't remember what sort of joke I made originally to my friend J, but it might have been a "I should have worn a skirt" and responding to laughter with "hey!  I have really good legs" at a meeting where people attended in a dressy mode.  I joke around like that a lot, often to gauge how they'd respond to an outing.  I was deep in the closet so that wasn't as much a consideration as my enjoyment of getting a laugh.

When J said she was going to throw a Mardi Gras party, and costumes were welcome, I called her and said "I'm not much for costumes.  Do you have any suggestions?"
Meg, E, J and a couple of guys

I guess my joke made a bigger impact on her than me because she said "you said you have great legs.  Why not wear a skirt?"  I said "I just might."

So Mardi Gras was my second makeup lady attempt, my first time out I think, and definitely my first time out among friends.

I also had an opportunity to out myself to a shopkeeper for the first time.  I went into a little Indian-oriented clothing shop and picked out a top and told the woman working there it was for me.  She suggested I try it on (which I did).  I put my male shirt on before leaving the changing room and she was disappointed that I didn't show her how it fit, but I heard voices and wasn't ready to be THAT far out of the closet.  It turns out it was just a radio, but I didn't know that.

When I got to the party, J didn't recognise me but immediately fell into the "new girl here" mode.  E, who I knew fairly well, was talking to someone and as she chatted she kept scanning the room.  Twice she stopped at me but kept going and I finally went up to her and identified myself.

There were a few people who knew me there, including my state representative.  He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him who I was and it was way after he left that it occurred to me that I should have gotten a picture with him.  If this happened today, I probably would have gotten a picture of us with my arm around his waist. :)

But thank you, J and E (and a few others) who let me know that Meg was real, and not just a caricature of my male self.

Meg and a new friend

Monday, April 27, 2015

Stana (formerly Staci)

I've been reading Stana's blog for a long time.  I remember that blog having a different name quite a while ago, then it disappeared and reappeared as Femulate.

Read her blog if you're not already a reader.  Dig into the archives, you'll find a lot of gems.

Stana is who I want to be when I grow up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

More McCoy

A couple of weeks ago, I used Glenn McCoy's The Duplex comics to illustrate a weekday post.  I have quite a few Duplex cartoons in the queue; here are some to brighten up your Sunday morning. 

Actually, I do The Duplex a lot.  The other day I was wondering if I could pick a favourite comic.  I think this would be up near the top.  Sometimes, I find a musician or group and say to myself "wow I like everything by them," but it's rare.  The Duplex is the comic equivalent.  Although I think I've never seen a P. S. Mueller cartoon I didn't love.

Click or zoom to enjoy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Some Recent Cartoons

An Ink Pen, Pickles, and a couple of Lilas.  And the second Lila reminded me of the Stone Soup I had to add.  Click to enjoy.

Please victimise me!

Like mine.  Who could resist?

I'd love to be a bridesmaid.  OR a flower girl, with little heels.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More About Teddy

I was anxious ~ in addition to the prospect of going out and meeting someone new, she was VERY late.  I had to pick her up at a train station and after a long wait she said she'd still be a while.  My day was limited and I tried to not think about how my day out was slipping away and instead focussed on the thought that she was standing me up and my whole day out would be a bust.
     Eventually we met, and we stopped at a nearby CVS to pick up some makeup I might need.  She
Visit 2 ~ Meg the Model :)
came with her own makeup case so we were well-stocked and I had some to use next time.
     After doing my makeup, she advised me on dresses and helped me pick one out.
     She did my makeup brilliantly. She knew little contour tricks and when she was done I felt like this was the proverbial "your mother wouldn't recognise you" situation.
     We went to a nearby shopping center to look at clothes.  She wanted to stop at the 7-11 near my house for cigarettes.  She got out of the car and I did the same. She seemed surprised and said "you can wait in the car" and I said "no time like the present" and followed her into the store.  It seems no-one recognised me, or my car, and we drove on.
     And I spent so much energy on presentation that it never occurred to me to take any pictures outside of my house!
  • I was driving a car wearing a dress, makeup, wig, heels and Teddy asked to hear my girl voice.  I declined, because I was embarrassed.  I remember thinking "look at how I'm dressed, about to go face the world and I can't say something in a girlish voice?  This is ridiculous."  It is, it was, but I didn't.
  • in Marshall's or someplace similar, we split up while looking at clothes.  At one point she came up to me and held a skirt up to me to see how it would look.  I felt flushed and thought I was going to pass out until I remembered there's nothing unusual about holding a skirt or dress or blouse up to a girl.    
  • she did my makeup twice.  She's the only artiste I invited back.
  • I believe it was Teddy who said I should use a brush to apply lipstick.  I asked her why and she said it was more feminine.  She was right.  There's something sexy about applying lipstick with a brush.
  • the second time, we went to a mall and she wanted to stop to eat.  My mind told me I'd feel trapped if I was, say, in a booth and some one (or, worse, a group) was trying to hassle me.  I declined.  I could not get myself to sit in a restaurant... then.  I have done so since.
  • Teddy asked me if I had a suit.  I was surprised; I could think of no reason to get one.  She said I should.  A while later I did and I discovered I REALLY like femme suits.  I was surprised, and I wish I had places to wear them.  I think I have an equal number of boy and girl suits, and I never wear either.
  • Teddy encouraged me to buy a pair of cute ankle booties.  They weren't my style, really, but once I got them home I LOVED them.  Alas, they caused me a bit of pain and I had to set them free.
     Teddy is great and I'd recommend her to anyone.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Not the First

First a Margaret postscript: in her job, she had an employee who transitioned.  I always thought she was very lucky, to have a manager like Margaret.

When I was ready to go out, I decided to have someone do my makeup and help me choose an outfit

Teddy's Handiwork
and escort me shopping for a short trip.  Craigslist was the obvious place to look.

I had a few answers to my first ad and some opted out after corresponding and some agreed to help.  I chose one, she came over (for one, I went to her place), we went out.

Each outing was different; each time, the results were different.  And prior to each there was a long list of demands by my then-wife (she would be away with the kids).  Most were nonsensical but I agreed to all to keep the peace, although in reality I had the upper hand: she had no way to "penalise" me if I didn't agree. However, it was the right thing to do.

Teddy was my third makeover lady.  I don't believe I went out the first time; it was just makeup and photoshoot.  Four months later, I had a makeup lady do me up for the Mardi Gras party. Teddy's first visit was the following day, then almost two years passed before we did a repeat.

Teddy was the best and most memorable.  I would have enjoyed just hanging out with her, in drag or drab.

She lives in DC and I'm still not sure what her primary job is.  She's an entertainer/actress/comedienne/writer.  She sends out a little astrology blast every new moon.  She does makeup and works with the gay community, although I don't know the details.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

First Aside: Usenet

I mentioned yesterday that I met Margaret on Usenet.  I also met another woman who will be on this list there.  Once, at a breakfast before a tech seminar a woman at my table said "your name is familiar" and she recognised me from a Usenet group.  I also met a couple of local people first on Usenet, then in person.

Usenet, for the youngsters out there, is a group of tens of thousands of what are called newsgroups on tens of thousands of topics.  It's open in the internet tradition ~ anyone could start a group in one branch, but others required the collective wisdom of the users to vote up or down.

On Usenet, you could find thousands of groups just on various technologies (like for questions on installing windows NT) or culture (I hung out at soc.culture.jewish) or interests (  I hung out on once my first was born and on rec.humor and subgroups a LOT.

Alt was the wild west section where you could find,, and a bunch of adult or adult-ish stories, including .  I read quite a few; most were bad, even by my low standards.  Most of the rest varied between horrid and unreadable.  There were a couple of authors who wrote enjoyable stories.

Usenet still exists and you can get it on your home computer but most people have moved on to on-line discussions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Time

Almost 23 years ago, I "met" Margaret on-line on something called Usenet.  She was looking for a list of "women's rules for men."  I can't recall if I had it or if I knew how to find it (it's similar to this) ~ it's really the same thing, isn't it?  But I sent it to her, off list... back in the day people actually included e-mail addresses; spam and address scraping were unknown.  My full address from the 1990s can still be found on the googles, if you know where to look.

I never specified my gender and my first name is ambiguous enough that people could assume I was male or female depending on their bias.  I tried to gear my writing more towards being mistaken for female, but who knows how it was perceived?

We chatted a bit.  Margaret was (is) an intelligent, creative woman and I enjoyed our conversations.  I don't know what inspired me to tell her about my girl side, but I did, fairly early on.  Perhaps she made the this-is-a-girl assumption and I corrected her with a "but I have my girl side."  I somehow knew it was safe to tell her ~ safe from the point-of-view of keeping our friendship.

For the record, I knew her for YEARS by her very unique middle name before I ever found out her actual first name was Margaret, and I was Meg before I learned her name.  The connection is coincidental, but if I knew I'd probably say "I chose Meg because of my friend from out west."  It needs less explanation than the real reason I chose Meg.

She was very understanding and accepting.  I was very surprised, and pleased.  I didn't know ANYONE would EVER show her level of understanding.

Then she surprised me further and sent me a "care package."  She knew it was beyond my current comfort zone to actually go out and buy girl stuff so she sent me a box containing some makeup items (some samples, some things she bought) and a bra which I still have.

We met once just a few years ago when she came east for business.  I was in drab and in awe of her.  She is a wonderful lady.

I don't know how Meg would have progressed without her, and although I'm sure I said thank you, I never said thank you for throwing that switch the moved Meg from a siding to the main line.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Something Different

I want to start a series on People Who Have Helped Me Be Meg. There are quite a few, and if you THINK you might be on the list and you don't want to be, leave me a comment (labelled PRIVATE) or send an e-mail and I'll leave you off the list.

Mostly, I'll obfuscate names anyway or use initials.

I'd like to do one a day.  In these posts, I try to always be careful with my phrasing and content, but I really want these to be perfect so my schedule really depends on Thalia (my muse).  And if she leaves me blank on someone, I'll know they didn''t belong and move on but I can be stubborn and think maybe I have the wrong approach which will slow me down.

We'll see how this goes.  I don't know myself.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

He's Still At It!

I try to be careful and put pictures I've used in a folder cleverly labelled "used."  Many times, I'm rushed and I think "I'll remember what I used and move it later." 

This never happens.

So I'm not sure I used the first One Big Happy.  It's from 2010.  The second is from last week.

Click or zoom to enjoy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Keystone Conference, 2015 (cont'd)

More from Sharon:

I also spent time on the Helping Hand committee.  My good friend Jenny Jensen chairs that committee.  Each morning at 10 a.m. we had teatime in the Dog and Pony Lounge, where new attendees could stop by for moral support or to learn more about the conference.  We helped quite a few people, including a 16 year old M to F and her mother.

If you have not been to a conference, and want to go, I can strongly recommend the Keystone
Nicole Maines Knocks One Out of the Park
Conference.  Here are my top 10 reasons to attend next year’s conference:
1.      Well run conference with a variety of educational seminars to help with your inner and outer image.
2.      Warm and friendly hotel staff at the Sheraton Harrisburg
3.      Outings to restaurants and casino.
4.      Inspirational speakers
5.      Makeovers and feminine image consultants
6.      Professional photography
7.      Conveniently located within two to three hours’ drive of several east coast cities
8.      Reasonably priced
9.      Gala dinner and dancing with live music
10.  Make new friends and reconnect with old friends.  You are not alone!

One of the highlights was Saturday night’s keynote speaker.  Nicole Maines. She is 17 years old and is a senior in high school.  She made history in January 2014 by winning a landmark transgender rights case in Maine.  This is the first time that a state court has ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.  Nicole has spoken on Trans issues.  At the young age of thirteen she was a keynote speaker at the 2011 GLAD banquet held in Boston, MA. In 2012 Nicole and her family received the Roger Baldwin Award, the Maine ACLU’s highest award for civil right advocacy. In November of 2014 Nicole was named one of Glamour Magazine's 50 Inspiring Women of the Year when she was chosen to represent the state of Maine in the series "Hometown Heroes: 50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference".  Nicole told us her story.  She is an engaging speaker, and her energy filled the room and inspired us all.

I had a good time reconnecting with some of my friends from past years, and as always I appreciated the opportunity to spend three days en femme. I am already looking forward to next year.

Thank you, Sharon.  I hope the stars align and I can join you next year!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Keystone Conference, 2015

I didn't make it, but my friend Sharon did and she agreed to write up a bit about her visit.  Part one is today; part two tomorrow.

The 2015 Keystone Conference:  My Home Away From Home
By Sharon Rose

This was my seventh year attending the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, which is organized by TranscentralPA, the Transgender Education Association of Central Pennsylvania.  The conference has grown in size each year.  As always, they had interesting and inspirational speakers, a wide range of seminars, and fun outings.

I have written in the past in great detail about my conference experiences, so I am not going to do that again here.  I did attend some new (to me) seminars.  One of them was on personal defense.  I learned some safety tips, and after returning from the conference decided to purchase some pepper spray.

Another was titled “Transgender in Cuba, Reflections of a Changing World”.  It was a workshop by Mariette Pathy Allen about her recent trips to Cuba to document the Trans Community there.  Here is the writeup on that from the conference booklet:

This workshop presents photographs from my new book, "TransCuba". I will narrate experiences and stories based on my four trips to Cuba, and interviews with some of the women in the book. This is an amazing time in the evolution of the treatment of gender variant people all over Cuba. You'll be surprised and moved and come to a new understanding of the lives of these remarkable, resilient women, and one man).

Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over 35 years. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing throughout the globe. Her first book "Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them" was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community. Her second book "The Gender Frontier" is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in mainland USA. It won the 2004 Lambda Literary Award in the Transgender/Genderqueer category. She received the Pioneer Award at Fantasia Fair in 2014.

Daylight books published Mariette’s new book, “TransCuba”, in April, 2014. This book is bilingual, containing several essays, interviews, and 70 color photographs. There has been a lot of online publicity for “TransCuba”. Photographs from the book are in a solo exhibition in Havana, which will travel around Cuba.

When I was in college I took my first steps to explore my Trans identity.  I would go to the university library to read books that depicted Trans people in a positive light.  Mariette’s book “Transformations” was one of the few I could find that fit that description.  I would read it in the library, too afraid to check it out.  I introduced myself after the seminar and thanked Mariette for all of her work.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Hi, friends.

I'm still deep in the heart of taxes and probably will be until late Wednesday.  I don't truly object to paying taxes but the have to make it extremely complex to ensure we don't know how bad we're being raked over the coals compared with the fat cats (aka, the guys who donate millions to the candidates).

I expect to be back Thursday with a series that will probably last a couple of weeks, followed by how my new voice is working out.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Still in the Duplex

Yes, I still have a number of The Duplex cartoons to share.  Click or zoom to enlarge and enjoy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sounds Like Meg?

I was going to open with "For me, voice is the holy grail of dressing" but it doesn't really deserve a place above, say, a more girlish figure or finding killer shoes that are really comfortable.  I thought of changing that to "my great white whale" but although it's something I'm very interested in, it's not an overriding obsession.

So let's skip the superlatives.

I have tried other voice programs, and I've looked on the interwebs, but that was before I moved out of my house and it was difficult to find private time to practice.  I tried practicing during my commute but it was always iffy.

I did get the first lesson in the EVA app from Kathe Perez ~ I didn't work at it hard enough because I had to be at home to practice.  I wanted to see what the second session was like but there was a long delay and then it didn't want to work properly on my phone.

I remember trying something that was repeated on many sites on the web.  People swore by the technique but all it did for me was give me days of sore throat.

One guy had a really scary technique wherein he pushed his voice up an octave or more, which also lifts the Adam's apple.  Then he pressed hard below the muscle to keep it raised.  I don't know how delicate that bit of anatomy is, but it seems like a good way to damage something related to something you might enjoy doing, like breathing or swallowing.

As far as current techniques/programs go, this is the last I'm going to try.

I'll try to be diligent and practice and I'll report back on my progress (or lack thereof).

And if I can get it down, I will add femme voice to my femme-ish presentation at work.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do Re Mi Fa Sol La T

It's been an expensive month.  Last minute tax investments and my potential federal and state deficit will total about $9000.

My car decided it needed a couple of grand in repairs for a defective part that was replaced for free in earlier years (I'm not happy, Toyota!).

Our trip to New York wasn't much but it's just One More Thing.

So to celebrate all of the things I HAD to buy, I got something for me: yesterday, I purchased Kathe Perez' voice program.  I won't have a chance to try it until probably next Wednesday (see taxes, above) but I kept putting it off and I really had no good reason to.

Here's to the start of something new and wonderful (I have high hopes).

Chico to woman singer: you sing high.
Singer: yes, I have a falsetto voice.
Chico, laughs: That's funny.  My last pupil, she had a falsetto teeth.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Want Answers

The Washington Post had an article the other day:

Debate rages on over transgender elementary school student in Stafford [Virginia]

Guess what the parents are upset about?  Good guess. 

You are correct.

They aren't upset about how this little girl is going to be treated by her classmates.

They don't care about the trauma she's being forced to put herself through, to do what other kids are doing simply: being herself.

It doesn't bother them that this is going to be expensive for the family, and involve shots and doctor visits and possible surgery.

The article begins:

A dispute over which school bathroom should be used by a transgender child in Stafford County is sparking calls for guidance from lawmakers in Richmond and has spilled over into the Virginia House speaker’s heated primary battle.

Further in:

“We have now opened the door for any predatory individual — student, teacher or anyone in between — within our school system to claim the gender identity to enter the restroom or locker room of the opposite sex to prey upon our children behind closed doors,” [Erick Kingston, a Fredericksburg parent] said, 

So here's the question I want answered: how many instances of this actually exist?  

This is the trans version of voter fraud: it doesn't exist, and people panic about it only to burden people they don't like.

And I'm sick of it.  And I'm sick of the media reporting this as if it's an actual honest issue to worry about.

While I'm looking for answers, remember Indiana?  If their new "religious freedom" law is not for discrimination against the LGBT community, what is it for?  Governor Pence stated the antecedent but hasn't answered that question.  No-one in the Indiana government has (except to say outright that it will allow Christians to not serve our people).

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Falling Off the Girl Wagon

Although I mentioned "urges" as a rationale for dressing, there is not a compulsion.

Last week, I listed pretty much all of my day-to-day girl wardrobe but over last weekend (three days) I had on either a boy or girl polo shirt with a white cotton tank underneath, white cotton panties, somewhat plain socks, jeans, "passable" sneakers.

I took a short trip with my wife and boys to visit my mother and other relatives and, as much as I love being femme, I don't know if they would.

So I didn't.

I even left my purse at home and changed back to my plain purple phone case.

I guess we all do what we have to do.

I did take comfort in the fact that if I wanted to be dressed 100% male, I'd have to go shopping to do it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday

Last week, Woot had sneakers.  Men's sneakers.  I was surprised but I know my next purchase will be a little more flamboyant than what I just bought.  I won't be buying these Pumas though.  They only come in medium widths.

I really love the blue

I just got back from New York last night so this is a bit of a light post. But it is Monday and there's always The Duplex.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Duplex

I do enjoy Glenn McCoy's The Duplex.  I hope you all do too.  I'm going to be posting Duplex cartoons for the next six months.

Just kidding.

 Click to enlarge, or zoom in.

Enos and his dog live in a duplex.

The bunny ones showed up around last Easter

Saturday, April 4, 2015


A few days after I posted a Meaning of Lila, John Forgetta published a slightly different version.  I can't decide if the new one is an improvement; I do realise that by changing just a couple of words at the end he changes Boyd from fetishist to philanthropist.  I did think the former was out of character, but so is the latter.

Also, nothing to do with CD Saturday but Shoe did a version of one of my favourite all-time puns and here there's no doubt: the Mother Goose and Grimm version is better.

Click to enlarge.

The 2009 Version: excited to dress up

The 2015 Version: excited to help

Brilliant, start to finish

Extra "at" and extemporaneous and the "sort of" detracts.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Next Time!

Keystone, the closest trans-conference has come and gone.  My friend Sharon sent me a couple of photos I'd like to share with you.  She has a LOT more pictures, but is wary of sharing pictures of the other guests so this is all I have.