30 November 2010

A weight loss milestone

When I stepped onto the scales last night, I was pleased to find that I was down to 72.5kg (my scales work in 0.5kg steps). This is something of a milestone for me.

Last time I made an effort to lose weight was a couple of years ago. I got down to 73kg a few times in 2008 but no lower.

I realise that this is going to sound odd but a few months ago I found an old spreadsheet that I'd started years ago, where I had started to chart my weight from the rare occasions where I had written it in diaries over the years. Over a few weeks, I updated the spreadsheet using newer diaries, giving me a record of my weights all the way from 1990 to now (with some very long gaps). I've varied all the way from a high of 92.5kg in 1994 to a low of 68.5kg in 2006.

Looking at this graph makes me far more aware of my weight variation over the years, and is how I realised that getting below 73kg was a milestone. The last time my weight was below 73kg was in late 2006. The next milestone for me will be getting below 71kg. The last time I was below that was in mid 2006. The really big milestone will be getting below 68.5kg, as that will make me the lightest I've been in my whole adult life.

It's amazing how much a graph on the computer has focussed my attention on my weight. I'd never before realised how much my weight fluctuated, and I'm now far more conscious of it. Hopefully it'll help me to keep focus and get my weight to where I want it, and keep it there!

29 November 2010


After the negativity that I experienced on Saturday morning, I was surprised to realise that I was quite happy by the end of the weekend. I received a great deal of support on facebook and on the forums where the negativity occurred, not only from friends but also from some people who I barely know but who look like becoming genuine friends. The number of affirmations of my character, my parenting and my right to be who I am has been overwhelming. To all of those who supported me, whether you commented or not, I sincerely thank you.

I made a comment on Saturday that I've come to realise isn't really true. I said that I wasn't hurt by the comments aimed at me. I think that for more than a day, I was telling myself that I wasn't hurt by it, but I eventually realised that I was. Hurt not so much personally but by the fact that people can be so spiteful, hurtful and negative towards someone that they don't even know, on the basis of a personal or institutional bias.

By the time that I realised that I was hurt by what had been written, I had already been overwhelmed by the positive comments from so many people that I realised that, in the whole situation, I have come out ahead. I have had considerable support from a number of people far outweighs the negativity of one twisted person. I have gained friends for being honest and I have a few more people following my blog including at least one who had never heard about crossdressing from the crossdresser's point of view before. I'm happy to know that I am educating people about transgender issues, and hopefully increasing the level of acceptance within the community.

28 November 2010

Dealing with hate

[name], I forgive you for your thoroughly unchristian comments and pity you for the abuse that you have suffered to have had such a hurtful and hateful attitude ingrained into your very being.

I will pray for you, that you might come to know the love and compassion of Jesus Christ our saviour.

It's not the sort of thing that most people would usually expect from me, but it's what I wrote in a forum on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and was considering getting dressed en femme and going out shopping. While still lying in bed, I turned on my internet tablet, had a quick look at facebook, then opened blogger. There was a comment awaiting moderation, so I opened and read it.

The comment was posted anonymously in response to my post Out and about with my son, and basically said "Why don't you stop doing that and just be a normal man" (the answer is, of course, that that just isn't who I am. It would be on par with telling a female executive that she should be uneducated, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen), indicated that in the poster's opinion, crossdressing equals homosexual (a change from the assumption that all crossdressers are transsexuals, I suppose, but just as wrong), and that they considered me to be a bad parent because my son is exposed to my crossdressing (a loving parent, in a stable marriage, who works to provide for that family is a bad parent? Compared to what?). In my not-entirely-awake state, I thought churchianity idiot (or similar) and deleted the comment. In hindsight, I wish that I'd kept the comment so that I could have published it, to show just how misguided the author is.

I then went on to have a look at the forums on a web site that I frequent. I was shocked to find a post in there, in a thread about blogs, that was written in a style very similar to the blog comment, saying similar things. In part, the poster said that I was "sick and should be stopped." Except that this time, it wasn't anonymous because the site doesn't allow anonymous posting. I didn't immediately know how to react.

Sadly, combined with my usual lack of sleep, this rudeness threw me off balance enough that I abandoned my plan to dress and go out.

By the time I went back to the forum to post a response, a few other forum members had responded, variously defending me and/or criticising the other poster. I asked myself the question "what would Christ do?", then posted the above comment.

I believe that the best response to bigotry and hatred is forgiveness and pity. Preferably delivered with a smile. It's not worth dragging yourself down to their level, and if nothing else, it'll confuse the hell out of them. :)

25 November 2010

Wednesday op shopping

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was tempted to go out shopping on a Wednesday to the op shop where my sister-in-law's mother (I'll call her E for convenience) volunteers. Well, yesterday was the day.

Before I left home, I realised that I was nervous. Really nervous, like I used to get every time I went out. Nervous to the point that I was a little shaky. I was assuming that I was nervous about how she might react to me, but the nerves settled down almost as soon as I turned out of my driveway and drove off down the road. If that sounds odd, it's not, really. I work from home, and often get people showing up without appointments wanting to talk to me. I think that what I was nervous about was probably far more to do with being seen leaving home than what would happen while out shopping.

I drove straight to the suburb in question, parked in a convenient carpark and walked straight into the nearest op shop, where E was behind the counter, which was located about half way back through the shop. She was chatting with another volunteer who was putting clothes onto racks near the counter. I browsed along the dress racks at the front of the shop, finding nothing of interest. I did a couple of laps of the front half of the shop looking for skirts, then realised that they were just past the counter, towards the back of the shop. I found 2 skirts that I was interested in, turned to E and indicated that I wanted to try them on.

Some op shops insist that you show the staff before trying clothes on, so I make a habit of doing it in most of them unless I'm sure that I'm not expected to ask. She pointed me to the dressing room and said something along the lines of "Yes, try them on." Sadly, they were too low waisted for me, so I put them back on the rack and paused to look at something near the counter. The lady putting clothes out made a comment about hating getting old, and I turned around and looked at her, smiled and said "It's better than the alternative." I looked at E and smiled at her as she agreed with what I'd said, then casually wandered out of the shop and down the street to the next op shop.

So the big question I'm asking myself is did she recognise me? There was no indication that she did, and the colour of the wig that I was wearing is the closest that I have to my own hair colour, so probably the most likely to be recognisable. To some extent, her lack of reaction makes me think that she didn't recognise me, but then I think that I look so similar that she must have recognised me but not known how to react. For now, I think that I'll just assume the latter and wait and see if there is any feedback through the family. If she says something to my sister-in-law, I'm pretty certain that I'll know about it fairy quickly, whether it's good or bad!

22 November 2010

Repairing torn nails

I had read a thread on Beauty Heaven some months ago on how to repair torn nails. It's something that I've tried before without much success. That was, up until yesterday when I repaired a nail that was torn over half way across.

I have recently had small tears on the sides of 2 nails, and had used nail glue on both of them. The glue would set in the narrow gap of the tear and I'd file the roughness off the top, but the glue wouldn't hold and I redid them over and over for a couple of weeks. The nails each ended up with a groove across the top of the tear and the glue wouldn't dry there. It only seems to dry in between things. The glue also wouldn't go to the very edge of the nail, meaning that there was always a bit sticking out to snag on things. Yesterday afternoon, one of those nails snagged and tore.

After thinking about the suggestions in the Beauty Heaven thread, I applied glue in the tear and over the top of the groove, then put a piece of tissue across the top of the glue and pushed it in with an orange stick. The glue saturated the tissue and then dried and hardened. Yay. :)

I trimmed and buffed the edges of the paper away, then repeated with another piece of paper that I had cut to follow the edge of the nail. With a little bit of experimentation, I've managed to repair the nails right to the edge, so that there is nothing to snag, and filled in the grooves.

Hopefully I'll have some time to shape and paint my nails soon, and I'll see if the repairs are visible. I'll have to wait and see if they tear through the repairs.

In the above photo, the row of pale spots across the nail are the visible remains of the tear after it had been glued and filed. The edge of the nail at the bottom of the photo has been filed a bit too much from trying to remove the snagging edge of the nail before I tried using the tissue.

21 November 2010

Going wigless

My own hair is actually longer than most of my wigs. Yes, I have a couple of waistlength wigs that are longer than my own hair, but all the others are shorter. I've been wanting to go out without a wig for a while now, but I have quite pronounced widows peaks, which annoy me because they make it virtually impossible to create a hairstyle that will not only look feminine but will stay that way if the wind blows my hair around.

I decided that I'd try Minoxidil to see if I could get the hair to re-grow. It's a topical application (ie rub it onto the bald spots), which has to be used twice per day, which I'm finding quite frustrating because it not only needs to be done twice a day, but it also isn't supposed to be covered with a hat, wig etc for at least an hour after application. That means that most mornings, I have to go out in the sun without a hat for a while, which I don't like doing because of my fair skin.

I've also come to realise that the solution that the 5% Minoxidil is diluted in are high on the list of the products that should be avoided where possible, namely alcohol and propylene glycol. I now have dandruff around the perimeter of the area that is being treated.

Does it work? Maybe. I have light vellus hairs all the way from the widows peaks to my brows, and struggle to see whether any of the hairs in the treated area are any different to the ones further down my forehead. I've been using it for several months, and I've decided to complete the pack that I bought and make a decision then on whether to continue or stop. I'm about half way through, and I can see a few short stubby hairs here and there that might be non-vellus but they're not long enough or dark enough to be sure.

If, when I get to the end of my supply of Minoxidil, I decide not to continue using it, I'll probably look into hair transplants. The area to be done is not very large and if transplantation means not having to apply harsh chemicals to my scalp twice a day, I'll be much happier.

Either way, I'm setting myself a goal of having enough hair on my widows peaks to get out en femme without a wig before the end of next year.

18 November 2010

A little down on weight, a lot down on sleep

Back in September, I mentioned that I'd dropped 10kg in 12 weeks. In the 8 weeks since then, I've dropped another 2 or 3kg. How much I had lost didn't really sink in until I went to wear an outfit on Tuesday night that I hadn't worn since last summer. Back then, I was wearing a belt with a buckle, done up in the second longest hole of 5. Last night, I put the belt on, buckled it to the shortest hole and found that it was too loose. I finished up borrowing a smaller belt from my wife. For comparison, I've put the photo from last night above a photo from January.

In spite of my apparent feminine shape, I still have something of a spare tyre, which I want to lose. It's certainly not as bad as it was, but it's still some there. To prove that, I was going to post a photo but I really don't like the way my belly looks naked! The reason why my waist looks so small and as gives the impression that I don't need to lose any more weight is a combination of a considerable amount of padding on my hips and butt and a body shaper that pulls in the flab.

While I'm starting to get my weight loss back on track, my sleep pattern is still badly screwed up. It's not uncommon for me to get home from a cafe night, upload photos from my camera, crop a few, post them to facebook, email some, then do some other stuff like composing blog posts before heading off to bed after 3am. If I'm lucky, I have a late start and can get up at 9am. The following day, I might have to be up at 6am, and get to bed around midnight. It's not just the lack of sleep but the variation in when I go to sleep and get up that makes it almost like permanent jet lag. :(

At least I got a few compliments on my waistline and blonde wig from others in our group. I also got compliments on my pattered tights from others at the restaurant. They are still the most consistent ice-breaker with other women. :)

15 November 2010


For over 10 years now, I've used an epilator to remove facial hair fairly regularly. Why do I do it? Simple, really. I don't like facial hair. I don't like the way it feels, and it always makes me itch, as does body hair. I'm not certain but I think that I'm allergic to my body hair. Let it grow and the skin that it rubs against always comes out in a rash. Removing facial hair also means that I don't need to use heavy makeup to hide beard shadow. The lack of beard shadow as a male doesn't really bother me, and nobody has ever commented about it.

Most people have experienced hair being pulled out one way or another, such as by the glue on a band-aid, by waxing or by using an epilator, and assume that removing facial hair that way must be incredibly painful. The first few times, it was quite painful, as is the first time after I've gone a few weeks without doing it. The more often it is done, the fewer hairs there are to remove and the finer the hairs are, making it much less painful.

The big downside is ingrown hairs. If you remove hair without using some sort of ingrown hair treatment, you'll probably end up with ingrown hairs. How many and how bad varies from person to person. I've tried a few different products over the years, and have been using Nad's Ingrow Solution for at least 5 years. If I get slack and don't use it, I get ingrown hairs. If I use it consistently, I don't. These days, I have far more trouble with my legs after waxing than my face after epilation. If you're wondering why I get my legs waxed instead of using the epilator, the main reason is time. Doing such a large area simply takes too long and I don't start because I know how long it will take.

After all this time, I've found out that it is a controversial topic. I've been told quite vehemently by self appointed experts that epilation of the face is something that "nobody should ever do". The main reason given is torsion, where the hair roots get twisted and the hairs no longer grow straight, causing ingrown hairs and making it difficult or impossible to do electrolysis. Another reason occasionally given is that it can cause scarring. I guess that if the hair was strong and heavy, that could be true but I can't say that I can see any skin damage from the epilator since the first few times, when I was pressing it too hard and grazed the skin. At this point I'm not having trouble with ingrown hairs, I'm not seeing twisted hairs, I can't see the value in getting electrolysis done when regular epilation is such a cheap and easy alternative and I don't believe that my skin is being damaged by the process. If I was going to experience these problems, I would have expected to see them by now!

I know some people who don't believe that ther hairs become sparser or thinner with regular epilation, and who always experience ingrown hairs no matter what they do to try to prevent them. Everybody is different, and I'm quite happy to continue doing what works for me.

14 November 2010

Out and about with my son

Somewhere along the line, my son has decided that it would be a bad thing to go out with me when I'm en femme and it's probably my fault. A couple of years ago, he was misbehaving while I was getting ready to go out for a cafe night. From memory, I think that the issue was that he didn't like what my wife was planning to prepare for dinner for them while I was out, and was having a tantrum about wanting something else instead.

I don't remember exactly how I said it, but I asked if he would prefer to go out for dinner with me instead of staying home. The idea was completely impractical because he goes to bed around 8:30, and I typically don't get home from a cafe night until after 10pm. Add in the fact that it was a Tuesday night during a school week and he absolutely hated the idea. I think that he thought that I was threatening to punish him by taking him out with me, and at the time that might have been true.

Unfortunately, the side effect of that is that ever since, any suggestion that he might go out somewhere with Alice has been met with immediate rejection. He doesn't apparently have a problem with me going out en femme, but doesn't want to go with me, even if it was to somewhere such as a shopping centre where he has no reservations about going with me when I'm dad.

I'm still trying to work out if I can turn his attitude around, and if so, how. I've got him to see op shops in a positive light by taking him there on the rare occasions that my wife is away and I have to take him with me when I do banking on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. We browse the boys racks and pick him up a shirt or two each time, but that's always with me as dad. Perhaps one day I'll suggest that Alice can take him op shopping and his interest in op shopping will outweigh his dislike for the idea of going out with Alice. I don't know.

I'm not going to push him into going out with me en femme, but I'm hoping that at some point in the future he'll choose to say yes. It's a shame that nobody that I know seems to have fancy dress parties, as that might have provided a good opportunity that isn't threatening to him. Of course, Alice would have to dress up as something or somebody. I'd have to think about that if the opportunity arose.

13 November 2010

A transsexual in denial. Not.

I've heard the question "What's the difference between a crossdresser and a transsexual? asked as a joke quite a few times over the years, with the answer being a period of time, usually 18 months or 2 years. As a crossdresser who has no intention of ever transitioning, I find this so-called joke remarkably insulting and inappropriate, particularly because it is usually told by transsexuals and pre-supposes that every crossdresser will eventually realise that they are in fact transsexual and will transition to living as the opposite gender. Worse, this attitude confuses people outside the transgender community, who see such statements as confirmation of a misconception that they already thought was a fact, that all transgender people will transition.

I've been on the receiving end of abuse from someone who believed that I was doing a disservice to my wife and son for being in my family. The assumption was that at some point in the future (presumably sooner rather than later), I would abandon my family to transition so I shouldn't have been there in the first place. Another person was very upset when they found out about me, asking how they were going to explain to their son, when he gets older, why my son has two mothers. The answer is that he doesn't, and won't. Much as I'd probably enjoy spending a few consecutive days en femme, there are many reasons why I don't expect to ever live as a female continuously. It's simply not who I am.

This reinforcement of an incorrect stereotype is divisive to the transgender community, and yet I continue to see similar negativity expressed by all sorts of people who really should know better.

In a google search of blogs on crossdressing recently, I found one transsexual who believed that there were gay male drag queens, transvestic fetishists and transsexuals, and that the first two should stop trying to take advantage of civil rights gains by the latter. The author effectively denied the existence of crossdressers, implying that we are all fetishists or transsexuals.

Another blog that I stumbled upon appeared to claim to be authored by the partner of a crossdresser, and be in the form of an advice column. I read an article where that author advised that a father's crossdressing should be hidden from a young child, because what the parents do in their sex life is not something that a child should know about. The pre-supposition that crossdressing was purely a sexual thing also appeared to indicate a belief that crossdressers are all fetishists.

I'm at a loss to understand the motivation of either of those bloggers. I'm not sure whether they're impostors deliberately trying to spread misinformation, psychologically troubled or simply well meaning but incredibly misinformed. I can't think of any other alternatives.

This confusion between crossdressers and transsexuals reminds me of an incident that happened at a Seahorse NSW meeting many years ago. I was told by another member that I was a transsexual in denial, while my wife was standing alongside me. The logic used to justify this statement was that I made too much effort with my presentation. "If you were really only a crossdresser, you would be as unpassable as the rest us." Coming from someone who dressed like a street prostitute and openly acknowledged that fact, that was quite a remarkable statement. She simultaneously insulted every seahorse member present while saying something that could have potentially been damaging to my marriage if my wife had been as misinformed as some of the people I've mention above. Ironically, my presentation has evolved, matured and improved considerably since then.

It makes me so much more appreciative of my wife and the other people around me who accept me for who I am. I'm far from perfect, but I try my best.

12 November 2010

A touch of tint

I mentioned recently that I was considering getting my lashes tinted, as I used to do years ago.

Mindful of how intense and dark they used to turn out, when I got it done last Saturday, I had them done brown rather than black. Unfortunately, the young trainee beautician didn't do a very good job, and even though the woman who used to do it years ago checked and went over it, they turned out very pale and many of the lashes were missed, including the fine lashes at the inside of the top lids. Only about the middle third of the bottom were done at all. I'll get them done again next time go in for waxing but I'll be letting them know that I was disappointed and why.

I'm yet to decide whether I'll get them done brown or black next time. If it's done right, I'd probably want brown but if it's done as badly as last time, I'd want black.

Maybe I'll just get them done black. Worst case I look like I'm wearing black mascara for a few weeks. :)

11 November 2010

How being out could affect family

I was talking to my one of my brothers the other day, and mentioned that I had decided that I wouldn't get directly involved in politics unless I was completely out, as I mentioned a few days ago.

His response quite surprised me. As close as I can remember, he said "but that would destroy the lives of everybody around you". Considering that I thought that he was the most accepting of my siblings, I'm still trying to process the implications of this statement.

The main reservation I have about being out as a crossdresser to the community in general is that I don't want my son to be harassed or bullied at school because of me. When I first wrote about crossdressing and politics, I was concerned about the impact on both my wife and son. My wife doesn't appear to care either way, and I get the impression that she doesn't think that it would make the slightest difference to her either way.

In many ways, I suspect that the implications for my son would be exposure to bigotry from other parents, more so than from other children. The children at his school are from a range of ethnicities, and I'm not aware of anybody making an issue of that. Similarly, there are parents who are single, divorced, in same-sex relationships, etc, and these don't seem to result in bullying of the children. One of my friends, Christina, transitioned when her son was quite young, and her son is half Maori, giving rise to the potential for racial abuse as well as abuse for having a transsexual parent. As far as I know, neither of these were ever issues for him through his school years.

I was left wondering "If people around my son knew about me, would it actually affect him?"

With that in mind, while the three of use were together in the car, I asked him about bullying in his school. The response from him, echoed by my wife who takes him to and from school most of the time and talks to other parents more often than I do, was that there really isn't an issue at his school. He added that he had heard rumours that there are problems with bullying at the OOSH (Out Of School Hours) group, which he doesn't go to.

I'm still pondering the implications, as the indications appear to be completely the opposite of my brother's belief.

10 November 2010

wifely knowledge

I have been asked this question a couple of times in person, and I recently saw the question asked of another blogger and thought that people might be interested to know how and when I came out to my wife.

I was always very shy at school, because I knew that I was different and was petrified that someone might find out. Consequently, I ended up being something of a loner and a misfit. I also had a crush on one of the most attractive of the popular girls in my year, which was fairly widely known. That shyness carried over into my time at university, where I still thought of myself as a misfit even though I suspect that others might not have seen me that way.

The result was that I never had a girlfriend all the way through school or uni. I had my first girlfriend in my mid 20s, and she was almost 10 years older than me. The term cougar would have been the perfect description for her, if it had been around at the time. She pursued me and I let it happen because I was flattered by the attention. It was a disaster of a relationship, and when I admitted to her that I was a crossdresser, she took it as a personal insult, claiming that it made her less of a woman. I tried very hard to make the relationship work, including the only significant purge (disposal of female clothing etc. in an attempt to stop crossdressing) that I've ever undertaken, and getting my hair cut short for the first time in about a decade. It didn't make any difference. In her mind, I was a transsexual and it was only a matter of time before I'd transition. The relationship ended, and I was far better off even though I didn't feel that way at the time.

After that disaster, I made the decision that I was going to be open with a potential partner very early in a relationship. If they couldn't accept it, we could both move on without having spent too much time in a relationship that wasn't going to work.

A few months later, I met the woman who was to become my wife. We met in a small outdoor food court area, and spent a couple of hours chatting. I walked her to her car, and as I watched her drive away, I found myself thinking "I could marry her." That was not something that I had ever thought of anybody before, and I was surprised to have thought it. We went out to a movie a couple of days later, then I didn't see or even hear from her for a month. I rang her mobile but it went to message bank. I left messages, she didn't respond. I'd all but given up when she got back in contact with me. Apparently her phone hadn't been working. We went out a few times and I decided that I had to tell her.

I was trembling with nervousness when I told her, but I knew that I had to do it before the relationship progressed too far. Her response was an incredible relief. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something like "Oh, is that all. I thought maybe you were bi." She later told me that she knew that there was something about me but wasn't sure what it was.

I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the discussion that followed, she told me that she could accept my crossdressing if I could accept her hobby, which I could. We've been together for over 11 years now. I'm not going to pretend that we haven't had disagreements, but my crossdressing has never been at the centre of any of them, or used against me. The reality is that we are both fundamentally lazy and our arguments tend to be about domestic chores not getting done.

My wife hasn't merely tolerated my crossdressing, either. Before we were married, we were trying to save up the deposit for a house, and during that time she talked me into spending $350 on a wig that I couldn't really afford, because she knew that the one I had didn't suit me and that I really wanted a better one. Not long after we were married, I wanted to have a professional makeup lesson and she went along and did it with me. When I wanted to get my ears pierced but was terrified of how people would react, she told me that if I wanted it done, I should just get it done, so I did and virtually nobody ever even said a word. When I wanted to go to Seahorse meetings in Sydney, she went with me to every one of them. Being interested in crafts such as beading and knitting, she has made me jewellery and clothes. We also share some clothes, particularly dresses that I buy at op shops, including this one, as I predicted back when I bought it.

09 November 2010

Op shop temptation

I was visiting one of my brothers on Saturday night and my sister-in-law mentioned that her mother volunteers at a particular charity op shop on Wednesdays. I think that her volunteering there had been mentioned a few years ago but back then, I wanted to avoid any possibility of having her see me browsing through female clothes.

It's a shop I know fairly well but don't go to all that often. It's one of about 5 op shops that are all within about one block on a suburban shopping strip and I usually browse through all of them if I'm in the area for work.

I must admit that I'm tempted to make an effort to go there next time I'm out en femme on a Wednesday. I have no idea if she'd recognise me, and if she did, I have no idea how she'd react. :)

It's funny to realise that in the space of about 3 years, I've gone from wanting to hide to wanting to see how someone who knows me would react to finding out.

08 November 2010

Crossdressing and politics part 2

Back in August last year, I posed the question Is Australia ready for a crossdressing politician?

My conclusion back then was that if I was ever going to get directly involved in politics, I would have to be completely out about my crossdressing. My position remains the same today.

For those who hadn't guessed it, I am a member of a political party, but I'm not out to any members of that party. I'm a political moderate with slightly liberal (left) social and slightly conservative (right) economic leanings, which puts me neatly in the overlap between the two major political parties in Australia, the Labor Party (left) and the Liberal Party (right).

I got an email on Saturday morning, advertising a State Council and Annual General Meeting, which is to be held in a few weeks time. The venue is literally about 10 minutes walk from my home (maybe 15 minutes in heels :) ), in a club that I am a lapsed member of.

Some people will guess what I'm considering doing. I doubt that it will happen, but the idea of renewing my club membership (so that I can simply walk in the door, flash the card and keep walking), and pre-registering for the meeting (and requesting that the name tag have my first and second initials and my surname instead of my boy first name - my boy and girl initials match), then turning up en femme is quite an appealing idea in a funny sort of way.

In spite of how out I am to many, many people now, the thought of turning up to a meeting such as this one en femme makes me incredibly nervous. At this point, it's a case of "I'd love to, but I'm probably not ready for that just yet." Will I ever be ready for that? I don't know.

In the next few days, I'll have to decide whether to start preparing for this. Done the right way, I'll always have the option of wimping out and going in boy mode instead of in girl mode. The big question is whether I want to go at all or not, as these events can be rather boring...

Of course, if I did go, the local branch members would finally get to find out why I never go to their meetings when they're scheduled for Tuesday nights. :)

07 November 2010

Cafe nights

I was looking at some of my recent blog posts, and realised that some people reading this might not have any idea why I go out to cafe nights every Tuesday night, and one Wednesday night every month.

I've mentioned plenty of times that it happens, but I think that the closest to explaining why was probably the post I've been tagged in March last year.

As far as I know, the cafe night concept originated in Brisbane, being organised by someone I've never met, and I only know as Bernie.

The idea is to have a group outing that happens consistently, on a regular basis, in the same location. The purpose of this is twofold. It is to provide an outlet for those of us who are out enough to want to get out regularly, and by doing so make the events happen at all. Far more importantly, it provides a known safe destination for inexperienced and infrequent crossdressers and timid transsexuals, some of whom are taking their first steps out in public.

The Brisbane group go out every Wednesday night, while our Newcastle group go out every Tuesday night. The Central Coast group go out on the first Wednesday night of each month. There are other groups, including a group in Western Sydney who go out every second Monday night and a group in Sydney who go out on the final Friday night of every month. I'm told that in the early days of the Brisbane cafe nights, Bernie often dined alone, just to ensure that if anybody else turned up, there was someone for them to meet.

Back in February 2008, I was one of those infrequent crossdressers. I had been to monthly meetings held by the support group Seahorse NSW, and to a couple of their restaurant nights between 2001 and about 2004 but the meetings were in suburban Sydney, over 2 hours drive each way from our home. The distance was an effort at first, but add in a young child and rudeness from some of the other members and I simply stopped going. Between 2004 and early 2008, I dressed rarely and went out even less.

I was involved in a work related court case in 2008, and the stress had me almost suicidal at Easter. I spent a lot of time that Easter with my son, reminding myself that I had to be here for him. Whenever I was up to it, I went to the cafe nights to escape for a while. I also went out a few other times, to local shopping centres etc.

Without the cafe nights, and the people who started them, I would probably still be hiding in my closet, getting out furtively a handful of times each year. For that, I feel that I need to make a special mention of two very special people. The first is Pip, who, as previously mentioned, passed away early last year and is sadly missed. The other was a great friend to Pip in her last few years, and was the other of the two instigators of the cafe nights. Her name name is Linda Karen (aka LK), and even though she always says that starting a cafe night in Newcastle was Pip's idea, her role in starting and establishing them was also very important. It was Pip and LK who dined together and tried different restaurants before settling upon the one that the cafe nights have been at for over 3 years now.

Somewhere along the line, and I'm not sure that I could identify exactly when, I changed from being one of the infrequent crossdressers who was venturing out into the scary world outside to being one of the core group that keep the cafe nights going. I set myself a goal at the beginning of this year to get out on average no less than once every 5 days, and an underlying assumption in that was that I intended to get to every Newcastle cafe night. So far, I have been to every cafe night even if my average hasn't quite met my goal.

I believe that the cafe night concept is an important one, being a form of support group that doesn't require incorporation, committees etc. It is also important because it gets transgender people out into the community, not only helping them to get out, but also allowing others in the community to see and interact with us.

From personal experience and from talking to others, I know that most crossdressers who are in the closet are paranoid, believing that they will be ridiculed by other people if they dare to go out. The experience from going out to cafe nights over the past few years is the exact opposite. We have had people strike up conversations for all sorts of reasons. One of the best conversation starters has been my lace patterned tights, which I wear from time to time. I've lost count of the number of times women have complimented me on them.

I'd love to see similar groups start elsewhere, and I'd also love to know if any similar groups already exist elsewhere. While I think that there is a place for traditional support groups that meet in private, I feel that cafe groups are far more effective at getting people out of the closet and accepted in the wider community.

06 November 2010


I had started this post with an observation that showed that a couple of people have quietly rejected me, but by the time I composed the next few paragraphs, I realised that anybody reading it who knows me and the people concerned might read this as a personal attack on them. It isn't, so I've removed the original first few sentences and will just say that the observations I've made here are quite generic. They could be applied to people I know, or to some of the people involved in this story about a boy who went to preschool in a girl Halloween costume.

It's interesting to note that the least accepting people are consistently active in a church. I'm heading into walking on eggshell territory again here, but I'm going to make a comment that is something that I've been aware of in some churches for over 20 years now. I see a big difference between what I call Churchianity and Christianity. While Christianity means thinking "what would Christ do?", Churchianity means thinking "what does the church tell me I should do?"

Even an atheist can understand the principles of loving your fellow man and such, that Christ was supposed to have preached, even if they don't believe that the man ever existed. A Churchian, in contrast, seems to have lost sight of the underlying principles behind Christ's teachings.

So I'll continue to turn the other cheek and hope that one day they will see that they have failed to follow the teachings of Christ and will mend their ways, or that they at least won't harass other people merely for being different.

Hopefully before people start sending me hateful messages for attacking churches, they'll stop to ask themselves whether the guidance given by their church, and every other church that claims to be Christian, faithfully follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Really? Every church?

05 November 2010

Melbourne Cup day evening

Yes, this post is quite overdue, since the outing was on Tuesday night, and it's now Friday.

Work has somewhat overrun my entire life recently, and I'm typing this when I know that I should be madly typing work related stuff.

Tuesday night was something that I'd been planning literally for months. The dress is pure silk, and I bought it at an op shop back in early August for $15. At the time, I commented on Facebook that I needed to lose some more weight so that it fits better. I've lost 5kg since then, and the dress now fits much better. Since it is sleeveless, I planned to wear it once the weather warmed up, and the Melbourne Cup evening in early November seemed like the perfect time, as August is early spring while November is early Summer here.

Great theory. The weather was cold and threatened rain.

Since the dress is quite light coloured, I decided that I would avoid black everywhere except my lashes and eyeliner. As planned, I also wore my new blonde wig, with the fascinator that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

On Monday night, I trimmed the fringe of the wig a bit more, and found a blush and eye shadow set that had never been used, from a much larger set that I've been using for some time. I was happy that the shades complemented the dress and decided to use them, along with a light grey and a white that I've used before. Having had no time to try them out, I discovered that the blush was very soft, and my blush brush consistently picked up too much. It took quite some effort to get the blush from looking like a clown to something close to what I intended!

My plan for accessories changed while I was getting ready. I had already decided that I wouldn't wear a necklace, as I had only black cord types rather than silver chain. I was going to wear silver spiral earrings but my wife had recently made some delicate long beaded earrings that were in colours that went beautifully with the dress, and I ended up borrowing them instead. I had a brief panic about finding a handbag, until my wife mentioned that we had some stuff that we got recently and hadn't really sorted, which included some handbags. I quick look through turned up a red and maroon handbag that was a little small but went quite well with the outfit.

I didn't end up buying grey shoes to go with the dress, but instead wore some synthetic maroon shoes that I bought from Payless shoes a few years ago, as they were a good match to the darkest of the pink shades in the dress. Looking at the photos afterwards, I think that that is probably the thing that I'd most like to change about the outfit. I think that a pair of light grey kid leather or suede heels would have complimented the dress better than the slightly too shiny maroon. I'm also thinking that finding a grey bag to match the shoes would be a good idea.

Unlike the last couple of years, the restaurant where we were was fairly quiet, like a normal Tuesday night rather than being crowded and busy as it usually is. Something of an anti-climax. I felt a little bit silly being essentially the only one there dressed up in something resembling a day at the races outfit, but it was the right day for it and nobody else seemed to care.

If I was invited to a summer wedding, I'd probably put this dress at the top of my list of options, particularly with grey shoes and bag. So far, I've never been invited to a wedding en femme. That's something that I know others have done and I'd like to but I'll just have to wait and see if I ever get invited.

I'd love to be a bridesmaid, but I don't think that will ever happen! :)

01 November 2010

So near and yet so far

It seems like only yesterday that it was the beginning of the year and I set myself the goal of getting out en femme on average at least every 5 days. It's amazing to realise that 10 months have now gone by, and that while I haven't quite made that goal, I'm not as far behind it as I could have been.

As at today, it's the 305th day of the year and I have had 57 outings. That means that I need 16 more outings in the next 61 days to make par. I need to average more often than every 4 days for the rest of the year. There are 11 cafe nights over the 2 months, so I need at least 5 other outings. With my other commitments, it's a big ask, but not impossible.

As expected, October was a rather difficult time, but as mentioned, I did get out shopping on the 21st as well as getting to the 5 cafe nights during the month. That means that I didn't quite make average for the month, but I was fairly close.

The 2-day work trip to Mudgee finished up being a rather long one day trip on Thursday instead, and I took some time on the Friday to recover and try to get some paperwork done. The latter was a dismal failure, as was the plan of spending a fair bit of the weekend on paperwork. It just didn't happen. In fact, Sunday virtually didn't happen for me. I got distracted with a computer issue and wasted almost the entire day.

Sadly, that wasted day also means that I didn't do a makeup trial for my Melbourne Cup outfit, or do the final trimming of the wig that I plan to wear. I'll probably try to trim the wig and choose the makeup colours tonight, but I'm disappointed with myself for not being organised enough to do a makeup trial as this wig is a shade I've never worn before and I really don't know whether I'll be able to get it all right, or whether I'll abandon it at the last minute, pencil over my pale brows in black and change to my new brunette wig, which also needs a little more trimming, as can be seen in the photo from the once that I've worn it so far.