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Transgender Reality : how to “come clean” with your wife or S/O

The question, from Nancy is “How to ‘come clean’ with your wife or S/O without ending up with a divorce or split !

How to “come clean” with your wife or S/O without ending up with a divorce or split.

Sit her down and say, “There is something important I have to say to you. It is difficult to talk about, but you are everything to me and I want to be honest with you.” Then briefly tell her what you want to tell her. Tell her what will or will not change and what it means to the both of you now. Do not predict the future. Do not make promises. Practice this with your therapist before you try it in real-life.

Here’s the truth. If you marry or partner with a person who is androphillic- that is attracted to men and masculinity- then you may very likely lose their attraction if you express yourself in a feminine way. If you marry a conservative person you may lose their allegiance if you reveal yourself to be a person who leads or wants to lead an alternative lifestyle. If you have a partnership built on trust and then reveal a secret that you have kept to yourself, or activities and behaviors that you have conducted surreptitiously, then you may well lose that partner’s trust. And, lastly, if your partner discovers these things on their own, the discovery is an injury and may cause a rift that is often impossible to repair. That’s the bad news. You probably know this already.

On the other hand, marriages and partnerships survive many challenges; from infidelity to periods of separation and serious illness. If you know many crossdressers or transgender people then you know some who are in good relationships which have endured and flourished as the transgender or crossdressing partner came out and expressed their gender. Most of those people compromise and put their partner’s desires first for many years, even decades after they come out.

Some people partner with conservative heterosexual women. Some partner with open-minded sexually adventurous women. In either case, the partner may be attached to their male partner’s maleness and disclosure, expression, and/or transition, may be challenging. However, there may be some things that we can do to maximize the odds that down the road you will still be in a loving supportive relationship.

Should you come out at all? I usually assume the partner will find out sooner or later.

When to come out? Early in the relationship is usually is best, but your relationship is unique and no one can tell you what is right for the two of you.

There are no rules about whether or when to come out to your partner. But I do have a rule about what to avoid. Never suddenly show yourself dressed and never suddenly show a photo of yourself dressed. Also, the partner finding out on her own – without you disclosing – is usually most difficult to overcome.

Here are some thoughts. Obviously this is a huge topic and I don’t’ want to take up too much space in the newsletter. I’ll be coming to CDI in March and we can talk about it then. If you are a good partner, then you probably already do a lot of what I suggest.

  1. Support and cooperate with your spouse. Listen. Acknowledge their suffering, anxiety, fear, loss.
  2. Cooperate and compromise – One only needs to attend one meeting at CDI to see how hard people work to cooperate and compromise with partners. A typical compromise is the case of a wife who supports their partner in dressing part time and attending meetings, but may not want to see their partner dressed as a woman. The more you understand and accept your partner’s limitations, the more likely you will stay together.
  3. Engage a therapist to help with the process. I have a front row seat on this and have seen countless times how helpful this can be. The therapist can help you develop a plan, get up the courage to come out, or restrain your impulses to come out. They can offer support for your partner and help your partner to advocate for their own needs and process their experience. Most importantly, see #4. The more supported and understood a partner feels, the more likely you will stay together.
  4. The relationship has many facets. How are you doing in other ways? Are you spending quality time together? Does your partner feel listened to and cared for and satisfied with the relationship outside of gender or dressing issues? Often partners come into my office and want to talk about other things that are bothering them before they can focus on dressing or gender identity. If your partner has been asking you to clean up your closet or bedside table for years, do it! If your partner wants you to put the cap on the toothpaste, or spend less time on the computer, do it. More action, attention, and eye contact, may be needed to have the best possible relationship. The more high-quality love and attention you can give, the more likely you will stay together.
  5. Sex. What happened to your sex life as a couple? What can you do to increase intimacy? Many people have excellent relationships. They regard their partner as their best friend and they spend lots of time together. Some have good sex lives, but more often the frequency and quality of sex has diminished over time. In particular, if you have a female partner who likes men and you have come out as female identified, this may diminish her attraction to you. If she is losing her opportunity for a sexual relationship then this may be a very serious loss for her. The more you do to make your sex life fulfilling before, during, and after disclosure, the more likely you will stay together.
  6. Patience, Patience, Patience. Working with a therapist can help you to assess realistic expectations for timing and timelines. It can also help you to cultivate patience and pace yourself. It may sound cliché, but it is true that you have had many more years to adjust and accept yourself than your partner has had. Too often people wait until they are about to explode with the need to express themselves before they come out. Then they have little patience for waiting for their partner to catch up. This is completely understandable – really, I have a lot of sympathy for the position of someone who tried to keep peace with their partner and lived in fear of coming out and so put it off until the urgency was overwhelming. The problem is that the urgency is detrimental to the relationship because of the pressure that it puts on both of you. But it is a common situation, so that’s what we have to work with. The less pressure you put on your partner, the more likely you will stay together.
  7. Sometimes, no matter what you do, how hard you listen, compromise, and love, the relationship cannot withstand the stress of coming out as CD or TG. That’s when it is important to have the support of people who understand – like the members of CDI.

Those are some thoughts based on a lot of experience. Thanks for the topic, Nancy!

Best to you all,

Kit

Dr. Katherine Rachlin is a clinical psychologist, gender specialist, and sex therapist in private practice in New York City.  Her website is www. katherinerachlin.com.   You can reach her at kitrachlin@gmail.com or 212-206-3636

Men in makeup

 

The quote that struck me the most was this: “These ‘beauty boys.’ As they’re sometimes called are not just being accepted into the mainstream beauty world. They are helping to give the cosmetics industry a much-needed makeover. Maybelline’s mantra – ‘Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.’ – called on women to fix their flaws with makeup tricks and to present as natural beauties. Male beauty gurus deconstruct that illusion. They recast makeup not as a supplement for natural deficiencies, but as a form of joyful creation.” (Page. C5)

This “form of joyful creation” cited in the article reminds me of the exuberant approach to femininity that may be characteristic of some crossdressers and also transgender women (especially early in transition). I believe that most women who have lived full-time as women for decades lose this special enjoyment. So certainly this new “form of joyful creation” could be the result of a new freedom to use makeup. After all, it is still taboo for men to use makeup and these “beauty boys” are renegade, even now. But my first reaction was that when the makeup was used to enhance male beauty it was “a form of joyful creation” and when used by women (of all genders) it was a daily obligation to cover their flaws, to make them feel more presentable and less bad about their appearance. And perhaps there is an intersection in this that finds a place in the membership of CDI. Who feels that they are not feminine enough? Not perfect enough? Not ready to present in daylight? And who is having fun? Letting themselves joyfully revel in makeup and clothing for its own sake? I will refrain from trying to answer these questions and just leave it as a question.

The multitude of feminine expression represented within the CDI membership can be divided along many lines. Do you use make up for joyful creation? Or is it part of an effort to reduce a sense of deficiency? Pleasure, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, fulfillment and frustration, all come into play in front of the makeup mirror. It is good to remember that this is not only an issue for crossdressers, but for women – regardless of their assigned gender.

Best to you all,

Kit

Dr. Katherine Rachlin is a clinical psychologist, gender specialist, and sex therapist in private practice in New York City.  Her website is www. katherinerachlin.com.   You can reach her at kitrachlin@gmail.com or 212-206-3636

 

 

 

 

Men in makeup

 

Ask Dr. Kit

“Those Lips! Those Eyes! That Stubble!” The New York Times, Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9C1

A curious article appeared in the New York Times this week. The article begins “My favorite person on Instagram these days is a guy who matches his makeup to his snacks.” There were four large photos of Skelotim in full dramatic makeup holding up the snack which inspired his look. Then the article went on to show two other emerging make-up-wearing men and to discuss what the emerging trend of “beauty boys”. After I read this article I wondered how it had been received at CDI. In the article there was no talk of gender identity, of transgender or crossdressing. It was about men in make-up, though we really do not know what the future holds for the men in the photos and weather at a later date any of them might embrace a more nuanced or feminine gender identity.

The quote that struck me the most was this: “These ‘beauty boys.’ As they’re sometimes called are not just being accepted into the mainstream beauty world. They are helping to give the cosmetics industry a much-needed makeover. Maybelline’s mantra – ‘Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.’ – called on women to fix their flaws with makeup tricks and to present as natural beauties. Male beauty gurus deconstruct that illusion. They recast makeup not as a supplement for natural deficiencies, but as a form of joyful creation.” (Page. C5)

This “form of joyful creation” cited in the article reminds me of the exuberant approach to femininity that may be characteristic of some crossdressers and also transgender women (especially early in transition). I believe that most women who have lived full-time as women for decades lose this special enjoyment. So certainly this new “form of joyful creation” could be the result of a new freedom to use makeup. After all, it is still taboo for men to use makeup and these “beauty boys” are renegade, even now. But my first reaction was that when the makeup was used to enhance male beauty it was “a form of joyful creation” and when used by women (of all genders) it was a daily obligation to cover their flaws, to make them feel more presentable and less bad about their appearance. And perhaps there is an intersection in this that finds a place in the membership of CDI. Who feels that they are not feminine enough? Not perfect enough? Not ready to present in daylight? And who is having fun? Letting themselves joyfully revel in makeup and clothing for its own sake? I will refrain from trying to answer these questions and just leave it as a question.

The multitude of feminine expression represented within the CDI membership can be divided along many lines. Do you use make up for joyful creation? Or is it part of an effort to reduce a sense of deficiency? Pleasure, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, fulfillment and frustration, all come into play in front of the makeup mirror. It is good to remember that this is not only an issue for crossdressers, but for women – regardless of their assigned gender.

Best to you all,

Kit

Dr. Katherine Rachlin is a clinical psychologist, gender specialist, and sex therapist in private practice in New York City.  Her website is www. katherinerachlin.com.   You can reach her at kitrachlin@gmail.com or 212-206-3636

 

A beautiful poem by a CDI member

 

Can you hear me ?

Ever since I was young I had dreams of being the opposite gender

Its taken me 30 to do anything about it

For someone who could be transgendered it has taken a long time for me to figure it out

But I cant be certain what is true or what’s absolute.

I have learned a lot about myself in the pasted 6 months.

But now after 30 years I am beginning to understand what I really I Am

For many years from curiosity, fear, confusion, and over thinking.

Traits that all humans have always have

Many ears ago I have had temptations about dressing like all the girls.

I was too afraid to try anything so I did the simplest thing

I simply compressed it.

At first my willpower was enough to compress it.

But it wasn’t enough.

The more I tried to compress it the more it fought to get out.

Like a virus inside me the more I compress it the more it fought to get out

Realizing that it was going to be with me for my whole life I made a decision to experiment

Ironically I did this to preserve my regular life

I figured it I do it once I would never have to do it again.

But I was wrong the more I did it the more it feed off it.

Like a drug the more you do it the more you depend on it.

There is a danger in secretes both in knowing and seeking out

Lots of time the things we think are absolute are untrue

Some secretes are meant to be hidden.

Secretes can ruin your life.

Coming out as transgendered is one such secrete

I wonder if I will truly be happy

I wonder If I will truly understand who I am

NEVER!

There will always be confusion and there will always be temptations

    Angela

 

 

Feeling Femme: in panties, with clicking heels, growing breasts

 

What is the one thing that makes me feel the most Femme ?  Panties! Panties! Panties!  As I have shared before, for the last year I have been wearing them under my male clothes 24/7.  Just knowing that they are there, and the silky feel, makes me remember that Michelle is always inside of me, just waiting to come out.  By acknowledging her on a daily basis, I accept that side of me.

I often go to Partners Café in New Haven, CT for Tiffany Leighs’s TG/TS  Social Diva night.  I usually leave my home dressed, drive to the event, then drive home.  The last two times, I have felt the desire/need to go out in public. Both times I left the Cafe earlier than usual and went to the Walgreen’s a block away, which is open 24 hours.  The first time I bought snacks.  The second time I also bought some make up for myself.  They also had some panties in a special sale bin. They were not my style but  enjoyed being able to look at them as Michelle.  It was the first time that I have ever bought anything for Michelle while dressed as Michelle.  It was both invigorating and liberating to just be a girl shopping for girl things.  I now know that I need to do that more!!!!!

Ann’s questions in the last issue  prompted me to reflect on some other things that really make me feel like a woman.  While panties are number one, there are three others.

I have hammer toes, and weak ankles.  I have been reluctant to wear hi heels for that reason.  I recently started wearing them.  One of the things I love is hearing the clicking noise they make when I walk in them, and knowing that I am the one making that sound.  While I don’t like having to shave my back and chest to look like a real woman, I love shaving my underarms.  It really make me feel feminine and sexy.  I plan to one day get rid of my body hair forever, but I think that I always keep my underarm hairs, so that I can continue to groom myself just like any other girl.  Last but not least, while I have yet to take hormones, my breasts have grown, and are more sensitive.  I am 64, and some gurls tell me that is why they are growing.  However, I have also noticed they are definitely more sensitive, and are part of the overall pleasure sensations I am now more aware of with the rest of my body.  I truly believe that  is doing this to me as a way of letting me know that this is who I really am supposed to be.  Having cute, sensitive, perky breasts, and seeing their form under my tee shirts, definitely makes me feel like a woman.

Thanks Michelle

Standing Tall After Orlando

Posted on
I supported AIM, the American Indian Rights movement, but I didn’t die at Wounded Knee.

I supported the civil rights struggle of the 1960s but wasn’t murdered in Mississippi. 
I supported the women’s second wave of the 1970s, grateful to not have been raped or burned either at the stake or in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. 
I supported the Black Panther party but wasn’t with Fred Hampton when he was assassinated by the Chicago Police. 
I worked hard against the imperialist war in Southeast Asia, but was not drafted and didn’t die in “friendly fire” or suffer the ravages of agent orange. 
 
Not long ago I tiptoed out the door as a crossdresser as the climate began to change and I was able to accept myself as a proud member of the (queer) human race. 
 
But now I find myself on the other end of the equation- as a target, in the sights, the next possible headline. I can “hide” my difference, of course, but I’ll be damned if I will. And I pray that now there’s someone supporting me and my sisters and brothers.
 Kay.

Musings of a Married Crossdresser

Posted on
  It has now been a year since 5/4/15, which is when I began wearing panties under my mail clothes 24/7.  While my wife and I still love each other, it has been a bumpy road, in that it has impacted my relationship with her.  I have often considered what I could do to help my relationship with her.  However, I don’t think that there is any way that I could go back to wearing men’s briefs.  My wife also made that decision easier for me in that even if I were to go back to wearing them, it would not change anything for her.  As she puts it, she no longer sees me as a man, and has no desire to be a lesbian.  Over the course of this year, I realize that I have been becoming more and more accepting of my feminine side, and allowing myself to express it even when dressed as a man.  The truth is that I am just allowing myself to be who I really am.  There are many reasons why I have not yet decided to present as a woman full time.  However, I also realize that when I dress as man, that I am just acting like a man, but when I dress as a woman, I am being myself.  
 
 The older I get, the less I care about who finds out about Michelle.  Over the last year I have had a number of shopping trips where I have picked out women’s clothes, tried them on in a dressing room, and purchased them.  That being said, I still try to be is inconspicuous as possible.  I arrive either early when stores are just opening.  I will also go shopping on a weekday, during the day, when I am on vacation.  I recently went to JC Penney for a week day trip.  I asked a sales person where I could try on a dress, and was advised to use the men’s dressing room.  She did not appear to be at all surprised by my request.  I have been to Old Navy, and Forever 21, both of which have unisex dressing rooms.  In both cases the people monitoring those dressing rooms were courteous and were not surprised by what I was doing.  I have also been to Savers, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and various consignment shops, where the salespeople were also happy to have my business.  It feels wonderful trying on dresses like any other woman.  I encourage any of you to give it a try.  Just try and find an out of the way location, where you can be less nervous, and give it a try.          
 
 About two years have gone by since I saw a video of a MTF transgender surgery that changed my life for ever.  At that time, I wondered if that was how I could look, and if that is how I should have been born.  A lot has happened over the course of those two years that has caused me to consider and reconsider whether I should have that surgery.  That decision has made me think long and hard about the concepts of sexuality and gender indentity.  There were many times that I thought that if I were to transition 24/7, then the next logical step would be to go for transition surgery.  However, while I ultimately now believe that I am transgender, and may someday want to live 24/7 as a woman, that is only how I view my gender.  Having had a variety of experiences while expressing my feminine persona, I now realize that ultimately sexually I am still attracted to women.  That being the case, there is no need for me to have transition surgery.  I just need to find a woman who likes to be intimate with someone who presents as a woman, but who ultimately is able to still perform sexually as a man.  My greatest  hope is that one day that woman will be my current wife, the love of my life.   
Thanks Michelle

 

Self Defense En Femme

Posted on

 

    A self-defense primer…long…but very relevant to all TGs. Read it a bit at a time.

Nikki, the author of this thoughtful essay, is an Accomplished Martial Artist and personal trainer with a Degree in Sports medicine who specializes in Body Transformations available for One-on-one or Self-Defense/ Martial Arts. Call 201-888-7357  (She offers personalized training for you as a male or en femme)

 

It all starts off so innocently… You are off with friends dressed to the hilt in stilettos and a nice mini dress to show off all the work you’ve been doing at the gym, feeling great and loving your feminine self and your look! Friends start to peel off in different directions as the parking lot starts to empty. Last call for alcohol sounds up from the bartender. Where did the night go? Dancing and enjoying the night out dressed as the women you truly are inside…but wow, it’s late!

It’s almost 3am as you start to walk toward the exit feeling a little tipsy. Guess I shouldn’t have had that last glass of wine. Hmm, you wonder, was that guy there the whole time staring at you? You take a few more steps towards the door, and yes, he also steps towards you. For a moment panic creeps into your mind! Okay, remain calm, it’s fine…he probably just was walking in your direction. Now you stop and say good night to your bouncer friend and give a quick look over your shoulder as he exits the building toward the parking lot, which you notice has gotten extremely desolate and dark. I guess a few more of those lights must have burned out. The street seems eerily quiet except for the clicking of your stilettos on the pavement. But it’s only a few blocks more to the subway as you notice a drunk in an alley out cold. You stop for a second to reach for your metro card…but wait, what was that sound? The click-clack on the pavement is not yours. So who, then? The sound traveling like the vibration of a bass drum echoes in the quiet night and by the pale moonlight and the few working street lights you can barely see!

The subway is only 3 blocks away. You begin to quicken your pace as you move to a brisk walk and then a light jog, but so do the footsteps behind you. As you go faster so do they! You’re in a race to the subway sign. Now you’re in a full-out sprint. Your heart is palpitating and your stomach is in knots. Damn that last glass of wine! You reach the stairs and a rush of blood from your running warms your face as you breathe a sigh of relief. Then you freeze as the lights shine on your worst nightmare! It’s him, the staring guy from the club. As he walks across the street you quickly zip through the turnstile and head down the stairs. Again your pulse quickens and your mind starts to imagine all those horror movies you’ve seen since you were a kid. But you try to calm down by saying he probably won’t even take the same train. You hear the footsteps again down the stairs and walking in your direction. He begins to whistle and say, “Hey Momma, been waiting to get you alone all night! Do you know what a guy like me can do to a gurl like you?” Now what do you do? Ignore him and hope he leaves you alone? Run for the stairs and hope you can find a cop? Or do you just quietly wait to see what his next move is, confident that you have the skills and the understanding to handle the situation!

Self-defense is as much an understanding of your surroundings (who, where, and what) as it is analyzing the situation and devising a plan to protect yourself from harm. This seminar will include lessons on awareness, courage, conviction, and if need be combat! Most people in a dangerous situation will panic (as in the above scenario). But in most cases a person who is afraid has also lost the fight. Why? Because that person has lost their ability to think and reason. Now you may think that if your potential attacker is drunk or pumped up on drugs this gives the person an advantage. But actually their perception is impaired, their motor skills are decreased, and their balance is limited because the substances are limiting blood flow to the brain and changing the brain’s chemistry; therefore, their ability to handle complex motor and hand-eye coordination skills—fighting—is severely limited. Now maybe you won’t be so afraid when some loud mouth drunk screams across the room at you.

Now what can you do to protect yourself? That’s a complicated question with a simple answer. Don’t allow the above situation to happen to you by doing the following:

  1. Always have a plan with friends before you go out to a club, a bar, or a party. It sounds simple but does require a little thought. Decide ahead of time where to meet at closing time and all leave together. As the Warriors basketball team says, there is strength in numbers. Plus from a psychological point of view most attackers will look for an easy mark like the woman above.
  2. We have already alluded to it, but always go out with at least one other girlfriend (preferably more if possible).
  3. When people are staring at you don’t look down. It is a mental sign of weakness and fear.
  4. When traveling to a new area, locate and make a mental note of police stations and any 24-hour gyms, delicatessens, diners, or retail stores. They are good places to get help or escape.
  5. Purchase mace or pepper spray and keep it with you at all times! If your state does not allow it to be sold, then you can create a valuable weapon in your purse by keeping two rolls of quarters in a zippered compartment and using them to hit an attacker.

These are just a few smart things you can do to help yourself stay safe and protect your right to have a good time.

If you found this article helpful, then please share it with all your friends. Remember, knowledge is power only when it’s shared.

Thanks Nikki

Transgender Identity in Orthodox Judaism

Posted on
A moving personal video account by Je’Jae Daniels and how one identity suppresses the other. Ms Daniels is also a multi-media artists whose works are shown in the 2nd hyperlink

“My work is seen through the usage of many mediums and forms. The subjects that I tackle are varied but I have a special interest in the intersection of media, culture, and identity.”

Je’Jae Daniels
(Pronouns: They/Them)
Artist / Designer / Media Maker

A magic carpet ride in 2015 for one CDI lady

Reflecting on 2015, I feel like it was the most wonderful year ever for Allison. Here is a recap of my significant milestones and some high points.

 

  •      Attending First Event was an unbelievable start to my year. Events were great and I had a wonderful roommate! However, through several seminars, I was hammered by the realization that I needed to reveal Allison to family, friends and colleagues. My commitment to do so would make 2015 my coming out of the closet year.
  • Soon after that, my wife of 4 decades read ”She’s not There”, viewed Bruce Jenner’s interview, and processed things with me and my therapist.  Over the next few months, she finally understood my dysphoria and agreed to let me express Allison openly when we both retired. So over the next 6 months I prepared for my new life.
  • I became a regular attendee at CDI-CrossGender Community which gave me a place to belong, a community of non-judgemental friends, and yes, a place to serve.
  • In June, I was thrilled to be a bridesmaid at my longtime friends Betty and Mischa’s wedding.
  • And that summer, many wonderful days sailing on T Time with transgender friends and others
  • My wife and I retired on September 2nd and I had a wonderful coming out party at CDI.  I could dress at home before going out, found that my life-long struggle with toxic shame evaporated and felt so free to be me.
  • Over the next 3 months, I came out to my children, my church pastor and Elder Board, former colleagues and lifelong friends.  While not all embraced my transgendered self, I did clarify misconceptions and felt relieved that I was no longer hiding my identity.
  • Along the way, I discovered SAGE, an LGBT senior center in midtown where I took dancing and acting lessons and made new friends.
  • That led to a solo lip-synch performance of “Dance 10 Looks 3” (better known as “Tits and Ass”) from the Broadway show Chorus Line.  The venue was benefit variety show at a small theater in the Village. I got lots of encouraging feedback about my costume and performance.
  • In November, I was elected president of CDI, affirming a role I had played for several months.  We have enriched CDI’s programming with Trans themed Movie Nights, Dinners out, speakers and mini-lessons.and facility upgrades like a professional photography studio setup for photos.
  • And all year long my body slowly feminized and by December, I was thrilled to finally be filling a 36B bra. What a rush it is to have cleavage.

The journey continues for me and I count it a privilege to have friends like you to travel with me.

Allison