Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Funnies: Herman

I was looking for cartoons to post and remembered the first time I opened a book of Jim Unger's Herman panels.  I turned each page and laughed like an idiot and finally had to take the book to the register.  Many more followed.  Click or zoom to enjoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Cartoons

will be up soon.  I'm hoping today is a continuation of a (slightly) t-series.  Check back about 8am EDT.

Thank you,


I'm sorry.  It went from promising to disappointing.  I'll keep looking but I think the lack of t-related cartoons is a good thing.

Friday, May 29, 2015

There Are More

I'll finish my people who helped Meg grow next week.

But I want to say that there are many more who are too numerous to mention individually but are important nonetheless.

The girls at the soirees.  There are many, some I met only once and was in awe of for one or more reasons: their comfort, their poise, their situation, more.  One girl came to the soiree as her first time out the door and then went to Freddy's with some of the girls.  Pretty amazing.  And some of the regulars are pretty amazing too (like you, Cindy!).

My readers.  Some I've met, such as Marian and Mandy and Alana.  Some I've wanted to meet but it never worked out.  That doesn't mean it won't.  And I've learned a lot from readers taking my polls, sending me comments, writing me notes.  You're all full of surprises!

The girls I've met on my travels.  One in particular, in Colorado: when we met, she was counseling other girls and her girlfriend wants her to go full-time.  Five years earlier she had dressed for the very first time.  I find that amazing, along the lines of going to a church for the first time and being a bishop five years later.

Girls I've met through their blogs.  People like Halle and Alison and Annie (who has stopped blogging) and Kimberly Huddle.

There are two more I will get to Monday and Tuesday and that will be the end of this.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Future Is Here!

Next up on my Helping Meg Grow series: the internet.

Hey, if "the computer" could be a Time Person of the Year (1982), then this qualifies.

Before the internet, or the world of connected computers ~ networks like Delphi or smaller BBSs (bulletin board systems), transfolk were alone.

We were more than alone: we were weird to the point that we were SURE we were the only guys who'd ever want to willingly wear a dress or a bra or makeup.

Think back.  Odds are, when you thought about dressing you also thought that you could NEVER tell anyone about it EVER.

I'm talking to the girls who grew up pre-internet.

There would be little hints that this was not insane and you were not alone.  Maybe you saw an alternative magazine ~ some "adult" newsstands had them.  I remember seeing a couple of trans-related ads in the free sex-oriented ad mags in Las Vegas (I was just curious).  You might find an ad for the tiny handful of stores that catered to "transvestites," the only term they'd have for us.

I could never figure out why someone would go into a store where everyone immediately knew you were a tranny (even maybe someone who saw you enter from the street) so you could buy way overpriced clothing, rather than a women's shop where you could probably bull your way into a plausible excuse to buy almost anything.  Or go mail order.  Yes, they had the odd sizes.  Yes, you could try things on (wow!) but the costs (risk and financial) always seemed to high to me.

But it did mean you weren't alone.

Then BBSs showed up and if it reached a high enough client threshold someone would start a transvestite board.

Wow.  You're not alone.

The rise of the internet brought forth Usenet (which I've mentioned before).

And now, we know we're normal, we're not alone, and we can live a sane and safe life as we were meant to be.

I'm excited about the future: I plan to play a small supporting role.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Surprise and No Surprise

We went up to Baltimore last weekend.  After visiting the aquarium, we wandered around the harbor area and walked into the visitor center for a few minutes.  They had, among other brochures and books, a visitor's guide.

Surprise: they also had an "LGBT Visitor's Guide."

It was largely a regular visitor's guide with some ads geared towards same-sex marriage and such.  There was a short table of "TAG approved" places to stay.  There was also a box explaining what TAG approved meant: it meant gay-friendly.  There was an article about the GLCCB (Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore).

No Surprise: there was no T content that I could see, although there were three small business card ads under "trans" in the back: two were support groups for transmen; one was for tgirls but "anyone who varies from traditional gender expression is welcome."

Ah well.  Someday, people will figure out we ain't (necessarily) gay.

ps ~ today's Charity's birthday.  I won't say which one because I don't want y'all to know how young she is.

Monday, May 25, 2015


A special shout to four ladies I once worked with.

I told the story of surprising my old boss with the help of a former co-worker whom I came out to.  The co-worker is very conservative, quite religious, and open-minded enough that I felt it was OK to tell her about Meg and she helped me get dressed and we met our former boss for lunch on Halloween (hence the Boo!).

That was in 2008 and the story is here.  After reading, go to the very bottom (past the comments) and read the rest of the story in the next three posts.

The following year, I came out to my new boss at a new job and she was very enthusiastic about me coming in dressed on Halloween.  She was busy when I got in after dressing and I just went up to a co-worker (the office fashionista) who not only didn't recognise me but she proceeded to introduce me around the office as a new employee, fooling everybody.  That story is here, and also in four parts.

So a shout-out to four great women.  You all raised my confidence immensely and taught me t-girls were as welcome as g-girls.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Funnies: The Middletons

I don't think I've ever featured Ralph Dunagin's The Middletons.  It has a remarkably small cast (the main characters are Morris and Midge and their son, and their dog Bumper, who's only matched in meanness by Morris' mom.

I SAID she was mean

I wanna do this

Saturday, May 23, 2015

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 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


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


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.


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.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just Regular Folk

Although I haven't been there in quite a while, I have to give a shout out to the Meetup gamers group I visited several times.  Only Meg went, and no-one ever had a single word to say about her that was not in line with what they might say about any other member of the group.  No-one avoided her, or didn't want to play with her, or display any unfriendly manner.  In fact, I always felt welcome as a girl at the meetups.  I don't know what they said behind my back, but I'm sure it was all good.

They have irregular "girl gamer" nights and although I've thought about joining, so far I have not, for three reasons:
  1. I haven't been to any of their game nights since the "girl nights" started
  2. I don't want to change the dynamic of the group. I may not, but I may
  3. They're all way younger than I am.
But maybe one week I'll e-mail the organiser and ask if she'd mind if I join the next game day.  I'll point out that I'm somewhat different from the other girls (see (2) and (3), above).

As the first "civilian" group I spent some comfortable Meg time with, they have to go on the list.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

It's nice to know I'm not just writing for the black hole that is the internet.

Several people have written to say, basically, "what happened?" and I apologise for not saying something in advance.

So normally, life just kind of goes in predictable cycles and I go right along with it.  The last couple of weeks have been, well, different.

Monday, 27 April, Charity called me from work around 5, very upset.  A sister called.  Her father, who's been sick for a while, had taken a turn for the worse and she wanted to head to Alabama.
By the time she got home, I had a ticket on an 8pm flight to Birmingham, the closest airport.  She packed, I drove her to National, and she was in Alabama before midnight.

Why didn't I go?  At the time I really wanted to but now I'm glad I didn't.  It was a family affair; they spent a lot of time in hospital or making arrangements for her dad.  At the time I didn't go because I had committed to a full weekend in Hampton (2.5 hours away without traffic) with Number Two Son at the Technology Student Association.  I promised to drive him and three teammates down there and to judge a couple of events.

My big fear was that there would be a funeral over the weekend and I wouldn't be there to support Charity when she needed it.

There's no upside to any of this, but at least the timing worked out: he died on Friday (5-1-15).  The viewing wouldn't be until Monday and the funeral Tuesday.

The kids and I were stuck in traffic coming back on Sunday and I had to drop four kids off around the area.  By the time I got home it was after 8.  I unpacked, repacked, made a reservation for 6am the next day and 6pm return flights for Tuesday.  I got to BHM around 10 and we spent a few hours together before catching up with the family again.  She really had no "away" time for a week and seemed to need it.  We had some quiet time dining, shopping (she needed shoes), and getting manicures.

I only met her dad once.  He was ailing and weak but he showed me around his property, pointing out all of the different things that he was growing so he could can them.  Afterwards, he kind of had to rest up, but I thought I was pretty important that he'd put in that scarce energy to do that.  But now I think he'd do that for anyone.

Charity is doing better.  I did as short a day as I could on Wednesday when I found out she decided she needed to take the day off and I didn't want her to be alone.  Today is our fifth mensiversary... and we're still going strong!

Three notes: the cemetery was in a churchyard where they had the service (the town she grew up in is not quite a one-horse town but it is a one-hearse town: they recently got their second funeral home).  The service was run by three ministers, two southern Baptists who spoke a hundred miles an hour and used "father" the way other people would use "you know:" father, he's gone, father, to a better place, father, and although, father, his family father and friends, father, will miss him father...."  No exaggeration.  The third was with the VFW and did a graveside prayer.  There was also a singer who, during prayers, stood by the organ and took what I called the "heckler" role.  He punctuated each prayer with loud "Amen!"  "I hear you!"  "Yes!" and so on.

As a veteran he had a military presentation of the flag and taps.  Two soldiers wear dress whites, down to their white gloves, and move like mechanical men.  Taps is played flawlessly because it is a recording while the soldier mimes playing.  I don't mean to be disrespectful but I found it a poor climax to a nice service.

Finally, the next time you're flying think of this: I was on a 6am flight.  I caught a cab at 4am to get there on time.  At the gate, in front of me, was a couple and their three elementary school age kids.  They handed the woman at the gate their passes and she said "these are for the 6pm flight."  They turned around and walked away briskly without a word.  One of the adults had the worst day EVER, and your next trip won't be as bad as theirs.

Friday, May 1, 2015

But Wait! There's More!

I have several more people I want to write about but I have to take a trip to the other side of Virginia (absolutely no obvious girl weekend) ~ I'll be leaving in a few minutes.  And there's a family emergency that will likely require a second trip as soon as I get back, so I may be scarce at least until Tuesday.

In the meantime, take a look at the comments from Wednesday.  Several people, almost as many points of view.

I think I've done this before but I can't resist...

Ted Striker: Mayday! Mayday!
Steve McCroskey: What the heck is that?
Johnny: Why, that's the Russian New Year. We can have a parade and serve hot hors d'oeuvres..