Third issue of the online magazine I published in the early 1990s
DECLARATION OF PURPOSE
“This journal exists to promote the concept that each human is a unique individual, intrinsically entitled with an equal right to pursue his own destiny as far as it does not inhibit others in that same right. The Subversive shall serve as a ready forum for the free expression and exchange of ideas that do not violate this mandate, in the belief that tolerance grows from a familiarity with variety.”
Melanie Anne Phillips, Editor
For those who wish to contribute articles, stories, personal experiences, information, jokes, or whatever Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to:
Melanie Anne Phillips
150 East Olive Avenue
Burbank, California 91502
Only original material will be accepted unless quoted in the context of an original work or submitted with credit to the original author along with permission to reprint the material.
NOTE: It is my desire to make this publication available free to all who wish to read it. However, due to copyright laws, any overall license would allow unscrupulous individuals to excerpt portions and use it for their own personal gain. Therefore, should you wish to upload this publication on your BBS or simply generate hardcopies for support groups and friends, please write me about a free specific license for your purpose.
WHERE TO FIND THE SUBVERSIVE:
The Subversive is available FREE as a download on America Online, Compuserve, Genie, several servers on the Internet and various BBS around the world.
Letters to the Editor
Subj: Re: The Subversive #2
To: Melanie XX
Thanks hon so sweet of u and the writing is very good, would luv to read u in a book… hope to do that soon..
From: Eve b
To: Melanie XX
thanks for sharing your beautiful life with all of us. just wish i could have even your down moments to me would be great. please enjoy and keep up with your dreams.
Melanie Anne Phillips, Editor
Tradeoffs: the name of the game. Few things in life are both 100% good and independent of anything else. So, you always have to take the bad with the good, and give up good things to try to get better things. Remember Monty Hall and “Let’s Make a Deal”? Do you want the box or what’s behind door number three? Well, that’s life for you! You’ve got a sure thing that isn’t exactly what you want. Its not bad, mind you, just not utopian. Then along comes this temptation for something that holds the POTENTIAL to fulfill many more of your overall criteria, but the downside risk is, you have to give up the sure thing first. Sound like the old story of the dog, the bone and the reflection in the pond? The grass is always greener? There’s no place like home? Well, society would be destabilized if no one made commitments and everyone left to follow their dream, so the fair tale always ends with the individual losing everything if he tries for the brass ring. Yet sometimes the grass IS greener, and sometimes its a good thing that there is no place like home, ’cause one of those is enough. And sometimes (and this is a societal nightmare) you can move from a good situation to an even BETTER situation without losing a thing! But, sometimes you can’t.
Do ya wanna take a risk? I do. You look at the safe gamblers and they wager just a bit and play out of their winnings and overall they usually come home slightly ahead on the average. They seldom strike it big but they NEVER lose it all. But what a mamby pamby way to go through the only life you’ve got: playing it safe and close to the vest. No, not me. I would rather be a spectacular failure than a small success, so I take chances. But I still wanted to hedge my bets, so every time I added something new, I wouldn’t give up the old.
It is exactly this attitude that almost tore me apart six weeks ago. I went for it all and came up short (or so I thought at the time). Every time opportunity knocked, I just added one more activity to my list of things to do, never realizing that the infrastructure has to be serviced. Behind my back all the obligations I had made had piled up to the point I had no time for myself: Melanie was strangling in success.
Finally the strain was too great: there wasn’t even room to turn around – every waking moment was pre-sold. Still, I could not decide what to lose, WHO to lose. My solution was to avoid choosing who to hurt, by running away from it all and hurting EVERYONE, so no one would feel I had deserted them specifically, and then maybe they wouldn’t reject me, but just pity me and leave me alone.. I was ready to throw in the towel and fly off to Never Never Land, cash in my chips, buy the farm, milk the damn cows! BUT – I got lucky one more time. Those around me told me to wait must a moment, give myself some space and see what happened. So I took a moment to catch my breath. And I realized that DAVE had made these obligations: MELANIE had not. And though it sounds like a cop-out, it’s absolutely true. I would NEVER make those kinds of obligations today in the first place. They were all made to protect myself from rejection by giving away the store to others. But I no longer feared rejection since I had finally accepted myself.
Still and all, I didn’t feel right about cutting anyone off completely, as to THEM, I was still the same person who had made the commitments and THEY had honored their part. That’s when the inspiration hit: maybe telling everyone to back off a little bit would make the space I needed and STILL not play favorites because I was spreading the backing off of obligations equally around. So, Mary and the kids help with the housework now, I work four days a week instead of five at my primary job for the same amount of pay, I broke up with my occasional lover who was becoming an obligation and limited our relationship to letters and occasional visits. I shifted the Gender News into a new format as a Monthly, I closed my sideline small business of seven years and moved it into my garage because the overhead was killing me and waited for the smoke to clear to see the results of what I had done.
Is the grass greener here than where it was a month ago? Damn straight! It’s positively chartreuse! Now I have the time to unwind, the time to be creative, the time to clear my mind and just experience without thinking about it. For the first time since I first seriously considered transition, I am at peace.
So what about the future? How can I avoid filling up all my time with new obligations? Simple! Instead of starting out creating Lose/Win situations so others will accept me, I start out with Win/Win situations that are fair to everyone. And if I can’t find a Win/Win solution, I won’t make the obligation. And finally, if I’m forced into a corner and can’t find a Win/Win situation and can’t back out, then its gonna hafta be Win/Lose. That way I look for a fair solution first (which keeps me from turning into a selfish Ice Bitch) but if cornered, will fight like a vixen.
Well, I guess I’ve about talked this one to death. But the most amazing thing to me is how we all seem to do so many things we don’t like and worst of all NOT do things we REALLY like just so people will like us, just so we can keep what we have, just so we can go through life and lie on our deathbed discontent and say in our last breath: “If only….”
And now for the second installment in a serialized presentation of the book:
RAISED BY WOLVES:
A TRANSSEXUAL DIARY
Melanie Anne Phillips
The pages beneath, chronicle my 18 month journey from a life as an apparently normal husband and father to that of an apparently normal woman. In the hope of capturing the immediacy of this emotional trip into the unknown, I shunned the retrospective approach, opting instead for a daily Diary.
Each entry was made on the day the events actually happened, expect as noted. And each is filled with the raw and unpolished thoughts and feelings that held me at that moment.
Of course, this leads to a somewhat meandering story, as well as contradictions in my point-of-view and personal emotional outbursts that I’m sure will make me squirm once this is published. But anything less would be less than truthful. And if this document is to serve any purpose as either a tool for tolerance and understanding or as an inspiration to those contemplating any major life-change, then it must be completely honest.
September 1, 1989
A most unusual day. I had already scheduled to meet with Bill again today, as well as my weekly trip to the doctor. But late last night, when I was signed on to the “Feminet” computer bulletin board, Barbara Chambers, the sysop, came on-line to tell me she would be in Burbank on business today, and would I like to get together? Of course!
The Feminet board is the top system in the nation for communication among gender dysphoric individuals, so I was singularly thrilled to meet her face to face, instead of just on the network. I made arrangements with Mary to handle my extended hours as Melanie, which she graciously agreed to.
I arrived at Bill’s and he had finally raised the courage to appear as Julie in front of someone else. He looks a little like Agatha Cristie! When I heard over the phone that he would be Julie, but didn’t have a wig, I surprised him with a blond jobby I had bought, but never worn. He was thrilled, as he intends to come to the support group meeting as Julie, a big step for him!
Julie made lunch for me, but since I was late, we had little time for more than gossip before he went to the doctor for a vasectomy, of all things, and I went to my doctor for my hormone shot.
While I was at the doctor, I got a referral to an electrologist. I have had such mixed thoughts about losing my beard. As I have mentioned, it has been a shield and mask to me to bolster my insecurity as a male, and losing it would be tough to deal with. And yet, I just cannot feel truly female until it is gone, not to mention the practical benefits in dressing! We shall see…
As soon as I left the doctor, I went to meet Barbara at the airport. I arrived just exactly at the time we had agreed on. She had travelled as a male to see a specific client, which is the only time she is not in female mode anymore. So I had the singular honor of seeing her in more or less her original persona, although the physical changes made her noticeably feminine even then. (I wonder if the same will happen to me, and how I will deal with it?)
We came back to my house so she could change, then went to the Black Angus for dinner. I expected to feel very nervous (and also perhaps elated with an adrenaline high) during my second ever outing as Melanie that was not by myself – and the first time I would actually be ordering things at a restaurant and truly living the role of a female. …Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING! The experience was very pleasant, but because of the conversation, the meal, and the company; not because of any excitement. In fact, I felt so totally at ease as Melanie that I frequently forgot all about my outside appearance and became lost in the conversation.
Sure, there were many times I was aware of an inappropriate gesture or tone of voice on my part, and yet, I felt more… I dunno… “comfortable”, I guess, than I have ever felt before. And that, I suppose, is the real truth of the matter. Being Dave is not bad, not bad at all. But being Melanie is better, much better!
So life goes on, and so do I. Where and how far? I do not know. But still, I do not want to stop or return to what I was.
September 2, 1989
Today was my second support group meeting. This time, I was a lot more prepared – and not nervous at all. In fact, I spent the hour before I got ready making chocolate chip cookies for the pot luck!
Mary and I had gone to the store earlier, and she helped me pick out the right ingredients. Then, she was very supportive allowing me, to dress in the other room, closing her eyes when I had to pass by to get something. No freaking out on her part . As I left, I asked her if she wanted to see what I looked like, as I had done a knock-out job on my make-up and outfit. She declined, but said (surprisingly) “Maybe next time…”
Still, there was no nervousness driving to the group. But, strangely, I couldn’t get into feeling like Melanie. I kept feeling like Dave in drag. The wig felt dead and lifeless, more like a mop than hair; my make-up like plaster and greasepaint. Overall, I felt like a clown. I began to worry that perhaps I had crossed the line and run out of steam on my path – that somehow, it had worked out of my system.
I found a spot to sit, and noticed that Bill had indeed come as Julie. I smiled at his courage in finally going in front of a group as his alter-ego. I was also happy that I had been honored as the first to see Julie yesterday.
During the next few minutes, I was amazed to find that my feminine gestures had become second nature. In fact, whenever I even consciously checked what I was doing, I discovered that I was completely consistent with a feminine image. I still felt like a truck driver, but I think (in retrospect) this is because I feel the hair is a cheat and the make-up covers the real physical me, even as it mimics or represents (or presents) the real mental me. And besides, I’ve heard that genetic women often have days when they feel like disgusting blobs for no apparent reason. All in all, it was an awful feeling!
I spent some time in conversation at the kitchen table with Julie and several other friends I had met last month. My real kick was when someone near the table asked who made the cookies, and another girl answered, “I don’t know, but they’re GREAT, aren’t they?!” It’s amazing to fall so easily into a mental attitude where the culinary arts become a status symbol and a badge of personal pride.
During the “rap” portion of the evening, Julie and I both spoke of the events that had occurred in the month elapsed since the last meeting. The speed at which we had “progressed” as well as the openness with which we related our story were met with more than a few raised eyebrows, but with even more supportive smiles.
One woman, the wife of a TV who is supportive of his “hobby”, was very nearly incensed by our admission that we had actually kissed. This is largely due, I suspect, to her own fears of what a similar scenario would mean to her if it had happened to her husband. Such a situation would be intolerable to her, and lead to the dissolution of the carefully structured and balanced lifestyle she had crafted. But, in fairness, there is much truth in her warnings that this would throw a serious monkey wrench in Bill’s (and Julies’s) relationship with his wife. Which is why he and I had already agreed that such an incident would never recur.
Later in the evening, Julie shared her driver’s license picture with another TV so they could see what each other looked like “in real life.” I offered mine, specifically to break Bill of thinking of me only as Melanie, and hopefully deflate the attraction he held for me. This was a difficult decision, as I need to explore much more fully my intimate feelings toward men, and I myself am greatly attracted to him. In fact, even as I was showing him the photo, I was aware that I may never again have the opportunity to experience a relationship with a man I can truly trust, Probably not with one I am so strongly attracted to, and certainly not in the near future when I need it the most.
It must have worked, since the next two times he referred to me in talking to the other TV, he called me “he”, a mistake he had not previously made on any occasion. It hurt, but I knew I had done what was best for Bill and his wife, and my love for him, whether it is sisterly or more than that, is sufficient to put his needs before mine.
I arrived home, checked massages on my computer gender bulletin boards, and went to sleep.
September 6, 1989
Two nights ago, Mary made her first breakthrough in dealing with the physical changes brought on by my hormone use. Up until this point, she had refused to even see my arms or legs uncovered, as the thought of my being smooth and hairless was pretty much revolting to her. Therefore, it was with some shock to me that the following transpired.
I had strained my shoulder muscles moving heavy boxes over the weekend as part of our packing to go to the house on California Street. Mary had already rubbed some ointment into it the previous night, in the dark, so she didn’t have to see anything. I, of course, felt rather dirty and ugly that she couldn’t even bear the sight of me. This is particularly disturbing at the time, as I am desperately trying to bolster my self-image as a fairly attractive and feminine woman. Instead, I ended up feeling like a leper.
Well, this time I said it was rather foolish to go hide in the dark; how about if she just didn’t look past my shoulder and she did it right in the comfort of the well-lit living room. She agreed. As she was rubbing the salve in, sitting behind me, she had to lean a little forward to get it on the front of the shoulder. I told her was kinda ridiculous to hide like this. I felt like the Elephant Man. How about if she just took a look at my chest and got it over with? She said she had been thinking the same thing herself. So I turned around and she looked. Her only comment was, “That’s not any more than a fat man would have…” I said, “Not yet…” We left it at that, but later, she said, “I still hope you’ll change your mind. If it doesn’t get any worse than this, though, I think I can handle it.” I told her it was my intent to go substantially beyond what I currently had.
The next morning, for the first time since she knew I had shaved my body hair, she did not leave the bathroom when I came in to undress for the shower. She stayed busy with her make-up and we didn’t talk about it, ut she never flinched or left. Nothing else was said, but she obviously is coming to terms with this.
Last night, I had dinner with Mark, my long-time friend from my USC film school days. He had been the first I had told when I began to go public two months ago. I had kept him informed in person and by phone of the latest information, but the last I had spoken to him was on the day of my first doctor visit. After that, he had left for a vacation to England with his wife and has just returned.
At dinner, I filled him in on all the news, changes, and discoveries I had made. He remained the wonderful and loyal friend he has always been: empathizing with my troubles, sharing my joy, and keeping me humble by laughing at the ridiculous! Interestingly, I offered almost off-handed to take him to my next support group meeting. Surprisingly, he accepted, and will be the first friend to see me as Melanie, who has only known me as Dave.
I’m a little concerned, of course, as my mannerisms and voice will appear to be some kind of put-on or act, as opposed to the simple uncensored release of my inner self as it truly is. But we spoke of this, and he seems to feel he can handle it. I hope I can!
This morning, Mary again stayed in the bathroom while I showered. I suppose that I wouldn’t be surprised by anything she does in the future! Certainly, my hopes of some sort of continued relationship in the same household are considerably bolstered. At worst, I imagine we would have separate beds, not share intimate physical moments, but live more like good friends, sharing a house. Perhaps that might even be preferable, as it could conceivably allow me to date the male population without fear of losing my most valued relationship.
This afternoon, four events happened that changed the way I think of myself. The first was a phone call I made accidentally to a wrong number. I was just calling as Dave, but when they answered the phone at the business I mistakenly reached, they stumbled for a pronoun, not sure if I was male or female by the tone and inflection of my voice. This was significant to me, as I was not trying to put on my Melanie persona consciously, but merely ask for information.
The second event was when I awoke from a nap at home this evening. (It is still light, even as I write this, as the days remain summer-long). I glanced at myself in the mirror and, for the first time, saw myself as more female than male. There was nothing specific I could put my finger on – perhaps a rounder face due to the hormones, perhaps the bangs that had fallen on my forehead (although my hair is still very short overall), perhaps the way I hold my lips, or glance with my eyes; I just don’t know. But there was definitely something considerably feminine about my image in the mirror.
The third event, was walking up to the office here. There is a large, plate-glass window on the front of a shop, just before the office. It is slanted so that as you walk past, your reflection can be seen. I was not intending to check myself out as I walked past, as I wanted to get in here and start work on a film project I’m behind in. But as I passed, my image caught my eye and, for the first time, i read myself as female, even in “male mode”! In fact, in that brief moment – that tiny glimpse, everything from my walk to my carriage to the way I swung my arms read as female. It was indeed quite a jolt – a pleasant jolt, mind you, but a strong one. Imagine, looking in the mirror and seeing someone else!
The greatest, of perhaps most significant moment, however, was later when I rushed out to the post office to check my P.O. Box. As I approached the front door, a small boy came out followed by his father. The father looked up, saw me, and his initial reaction was to hold the door for me. Within a split-second, he re-read me and was so confused/embarrassed that he actually let go of the door and nearly let it slam in front of me! The significance is, that even in male clothing, even when I wasn’t trying, I was read as female! WOW!!
September 11, 1989
Today was the first day of school after summer vacation for my kids. Both Mary and I dropped them off, but since she had to go to work, we took separate cars. I went in with my daughter to find the line for first grade. The whole time I was there I was surrounded by women – mothers – of roughly my age. It was strange to think that as the next school year begins, I could be one of them, instead of one of the few obtrusive men who were there seeing off their children.
I ran into the mother of a kid who was in Keith’s YMCA Indian Guide tribe, of which I had been “Chief” for two years, then an advisor. We chatted for a while, but when another female friend of hers showed up, and then another, they moved off into their own little group, excluding me. I definitely felt left out and wondered how it would feel to be part of the “girl talk”.
A little update on the last few days. Late September 6, just after my last entry, I got a call back from the electrologist I had been recommended to. Currently, he is Andrew, although for three and a half years, he lived as Karen. He has, however, just re-started hormones, with the same doctor I have, which is how I got his name.
We struck it off over the phone very well. He seems about my age, works occasionally in the video biz, knows a lot of the same people, and is/has going/gone through all that I have and more. We arranged for my first appointment on Thursday, next.
When I came home that night, I really felt the need for some commitment from Mary, one way or the other. I’m afraid I pushed the issue and worked myself into a tizzy. In fact, I began to cry so hard I couldn’t talk. I felt totally alone. I desperately needed someone to hug and hold me and tell me it would be all right. But Mary didn’t feel comfortable touching me, so I ended up in the back yard at midnight, sobbing away so loudly that the neighbors came out to see what was wrong. I’ve never felt so deserted and naked in my life. Finally, Mary came out and gave me a hug. But it was out of duty, not love. I could feel it in her arms. That was worse than no hug at all, and I completely fell apart.
I finally came in and my daughter, who was in bed, asked Mary what was wrong with daddy? Mary replied that daddy had “some problems” he was trying to work out. “Some Problems”! Suddenly, that struck me very funny – hilarious, in fact! I began to laugh through the tears. For twenty minutes I laughed. “I might never see my kids again! – HahahahaHAHAHA!!!!” The more depressing the thought, the funnier it was. I could barely catch my breath. I have heard about hysterical laughter, but until that night, I had never experienced it myself. Let me tell you, it’s frightening. It is totally losing control of your emotions. Of course, I’m sure a lot of that was due to the effects of the hormones, but I was still out of control.
Finally, I brought myself down, went to bed alone, and cried myself to sleep. When I awoke I felt dead inside, but hurt nonetheless. I dragged myself into work and struggled through a lifeless day. Thoughts of suicide seriously drifted across my mind for the first time ever. In desperation, I told my partner, Tom, about what had happened. And lo and behold, he managed to say just the right things at just the right time. I don’t know if it was accident or brilliance, but he saw through all the smoke and told me what he saw.
He said that I was looking at the worst case scenarios. I was trying to force the issues and suffer the grief now, so it wouldn’t hurt so much later. He said I was causing most of the bad feelings with Mary, as all she had anymore was a miserable sniveling wreck instead of a husband. Instantly I realized he was right. He told me that this time of exploration should be one of joy. I can’t do anything about the way I feel, so just take it day by day. In time, things will work THEMSELVES out.
Mary called shortly after that, and I relayed the conversation. She said that she had been trying to tell me that for weeks. Nothing is definite. She doesn’t know what she’ll ultimately do. For that matter, neither do I! She said, just take it slow, give us both time to adjust. And if a day of reckoning does come, it won’t be a sudden event, but something we plan for and deal with in the most comfortable way possible.
Suddenly, my heart was lightened. And for the first time in weeks, I was no longer afraid. I told her I loved her, and also for the first time in weeks, she said she loved me too!
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we spent packing our household goods for the move. And these were some of the best days of our marriage.
P.S. Mary just called from work, and after chatting, I hung up by saying, “I love you.” Again, she said, “I love you, too.” And it wasn’t put-on or considered. It was just natural, like this entire transition is, really: just natural!
September 13, 1989
I was working late at the office last night, editing music tracks for an educational film I had edited for a friend of mine, Brian, who had directed. Both Brian and Tony, one of my USC cronies, were with me helping to complete the project. At about 11:00 I got a phone call from Mark, who was also working late. I asked if he wanted to get together and he said sure, he’d be over right away.
I finished the project just as Mark showed up, and after we viewed the completed twenty two minute edit, Brian and Tony left and Mark and I went out for a drink. Mark drove and I talked, which is the way to Hollywood, but I was so caught up in my dysentery dissertation, that I paid no attention.
Finally, we parked and I asked where we were going. He said there was a little restaurant down the street. We set off walking and entered the facility. Without a word of warning, Mark paid his cover charge, then I had to shell out six bucks from mine! Some restaurant! Well, the throbbing disco music thundering from the door was the first indication that things were not exactly Kosher… Turns out, Mark had just taken me to a transvestite night club!
It seems Mark had told a mutual friend, Sean, about me. And Sean was forcefully opinionated that I was making a horrible mistake. In fact, he said that Mark was being a poor friend in supporting me, as it was his DUTY to try to change my mind before I ruined my life. He should be trying to save me from myself!
Well, Mark being a self-effacing Polish-Catholic lad from the mid-west and prone to impulse buying any guilt trip offered on the open market, he felt it was now his personal responsibility to show me the error of my ways. He went so far as to refer to himself as “The Ghost of Phillips’ Future”!
He led me through the writhing mass of horny flesh: half men and half women, except the women were men! Indeed, these men were some of the best looking women I had ever seen. The dance floor was alive with the sensual moves of mini-skirted, tight-shirted babes who flowed to the music as if they could see it and were outlining it with their bodies.
To Mark, this was a scene from Sodom and Gomorrah together again – with just a pinch of Dante’s Inferno thrown in. He saw the old and the ugly, the lonely and the grief-stricken: the abandoned wrecks of pathetic former human beings reduced to outlandish parodies in their grasping efforts to quench the unbearable pain with even a brief encounter of pseudo affection. And there were several of these poor, burnt-out shells staggering through the ranks to be sure. But no more than at any hot-music club that attracts the discontent like moths to a nuclear bomb.
But I saw people, some like myself, but most of the transvestite persuasion, encountering other human beings in the manner and mode they felt driven to employ. I felt at home with the crowd, almost intoxicated by it, as I had never been in the company of so many of the lost souls at one time. And there they were, smiling, talking, dancing, flirting: guys in drag actually touching and kissing other men. Things I’d only imagined but longed to try. Here was a place where socially scorned behavior was the order of the day. Here, it was normal.
Well, Mark became increasingly frustrated that I was not put off by the pathos he wished to paint. In fact, after one beer, I told him that one more beer would have me wishing I had brought a change of clothes.
Now, I’ve only been in a night club of any kind two other times in my life. And I’ve been one to gravitate to the dance floor. But as I shifted my thoughts into Melanie mode, I could see that the thrill of getting caught up in the music and moving in sensual waves that sparked erotic attraction in the onlookers circling the floor had a drug-like effect on my mind. I could see myself out there, flaunting all I had, competing with every babe in the place for the attention of the male animals that cruised the periphery like sharks, waiting for their prey. Indeed, if there was not such a threat from AIDS and VD, I would’ve been back there the next night, done-up to the teeth!
Mark could see that he was failing. Finally, his uneasiness combined with a sense of failure, and he suggested we leave. I felt sorry for him as he struggled to understand what I saw that he didn’t and vice versa. But I’m convinced that no one who is not themselves afflicted with the TS bug can truly appreciate the forces that drive us. To be sure, they can intellectualize the compulsion, but they can never empathize with the feelings of frustration and futility in leading a life in the wrong gender mold.
I hope he is not too depressed. After all, he is one of my few closest friends. And out of all those who have now shared my secret, he is the only one to take the time to try and make an impact; the only one who is so concerned for my well-being that they suffer on my behalf.
But someday, I hope he will realize that I AM female, I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN female. And no one, no matter how well-intentioned, can convince me to be other than my true nature. But, thank you, Mark…. Your effort last night was truly one of the most comforting expressions of brotherly love I have ever received.
September 14, 1989
I’d been putting off this moment since I first seriously considered following the path to SRS. But here I was, laying down on the treatment table to have someone begin to permanently remove my beard.
What a terrifying concept: that the mask I’ve hidden behind since puberty, the major outward symbol that I was masculine would be stripped forever from my face; that should I ever change my mind, I would be naked to the world, forever struggling to prove myself for the rest of my life.
For me, the hormone therapy, even the surgery itself was psychologically minor compared to the loss of my beard. For the results of these other steps can be reversed or hidden from the world unless I choose to reveal them. But the daily stubble, the 5 O’clock shadow, is undisguiseable and its absence undeniable.
This simple act became for me the major mental boundary line between flirtation and commitment. As one persona had put it on one of my bulletin boards, “Electrolysis really separates the boys from the girls.” And so, after months of putting it off, the time had come to take a stand.
All morning I had spent with my dad, trying to keep my mind off the clock. The appointment was at noon – HIGH noon…. And I struggled to lose myself in picayune details. But nonetheless, the time arrived, and I had to go or forever hold my piece. So I went. There was really no other choice.
The drive was uneventful and the directions good. And after knocking at the front door for several minutes, I went around back just as Andy/Kathy appeared from the back room.
Even though Andy was currently living in male mode, I could easily see the two modest bulges beneath his loose T-shirt. There are some things that always remain.
He greeted me and ushered me into his tiny studio. Crossing the threshold was like stepping into Berkeley in the sixties. Incense and classical music fought for airspace in the converted garage, while a Taoist goddess presided serenely over an offering of scented candles. A slick, high-tech computer nestled among dirty laundry and ancient herbal remedies, “This one enhances the female aura, try some?”
I, as usual, launched into an extended telling of the story of my life, while Andy made Cranberry Mist Tea. Having completed my nervous spiel and exhausted my supply of pre-selected prying questions, I stood in silence while Andy struck a small hammer against a display of six differently tuned bells as a Taoist prayer to the goddess. Supplication made, we drifted to the table where the event would be committed.
There are two types of electrolysis, Andy explained: Straight electrolysis with a DC current, and Thermalysis (or “Flash” with an AC current. There was, for the undecided the “Blend” method, combining both in one needle. NEEDLE, not probe, not pointer, but NEEDLE! The first method was permanent but took nearly one minute per hair, although relatively painless. The second, a 20% regrowth at only 10-20 seconds per hair, with a higher level of pain. Then, the combined method with an 80% regrowth rate, just 5 seconds per hair, and suffering beyond human comprehension. I opted for that method.
My reasons were cowardly: If I could take the pain, the results would be less than permanent. Most of my mask would return home to daddy if I turned tail and ran. So the dials were set, the alcohol dabbed across my two-day stubble, and Andy’s face appeared distorted through the magnifying light as he hovered over me, pondering the eradication of my security blanket.
We began on the upper lip, which was the most sensitive area both physically and psychologically. The first few tentative stabs were easily tolerable – not pleasant by any means, but well within my pain threshold. For nearly 30 (I am proud to say) minutes – THIRTY MINUTES, one half hour, one 48th of a day, I suffered in silence and bore my pain like a man. But then, the more sensitive areas were violated and THESE hairs had an attitude. Each one felt like hypodermic needle piercing my lip and skewering it through. Some were worse than others. It got so I could anticipate the pain of the current by the pain of the probe’s initial entry. I tried to hold on, I really did. But this became easily the most excruciating experience I have ever endured. And finally, I could endure no more. I asked to try the blend method, and found it much more acceptable in pain level. So we continued for the remaining time in that style.
I had been told that this method led more frequently to scarring and, in addition, took four times as long for an initial “clearing”. But “Flash” is definitely not for the squeamish. Eventually, after what seemed like days, the session ended. I dropped thirty sweaty dollars from my pocket to the table and verified next week’s appointment.
With growing anticipation, I strode to my car to view Andy’s handiwork in the rear view mirror. I slipped into the scorching plastic seat and tilted the mirror to reveal my face. My lip was quivering and swollen, but I could see small, almost miniscule patches where hair would grow no more. And suddenly a chill of joy ran down my spine with the thought that in a matter of months, I would have a face as smooth as any woman’s. I started the car and pulled out into reality with a smile on my face, as I knew the threshold had been crossed and the commitment made.
September 16, 1989
Only one note for today, but a major one indeed. As the day wore on, with us moving our possessions by trailer to our new abode, Mary and I began to have more and more fun with each other. Later, when my step-dad took the kids for their weekly overnighter at his house, we got even closer. Finally, after a particularly fond enjoyment of something or other, I mentioned I’d really like to make love to her tonight. Well, later, just before bed, I broached the subject again, and incredibly, she was VERY interested.
Without going into private details, suffice it to say that we had a most enjoyable tryst. This was the first time we have been intimate since I told her I was serious about SRS two months ago. I don’t know if this is a sign that things can work out, a final stab at some kind of normality, or a goodbye, but it is definitely preferable to the leprous feeling of being outcast that I have endured for these last eight weeks. I love Mary very much and hope my chosen course will not force our separation.
September 20, 1992
Today was my initial visit to Dr. Smith, who had come highly recommended by both Natalie and Barbara from my support group, and Alan/Kathy. I had been yearning for this day, not knowing exactly why I was going except for safety reasons, but suspecting that somehow I was missing the boat, or not with the program.
I paced around the office all morning, trying to busy myself with work, but unable to keep my concentration on the job. Finally, it was close enough to leaving time to take off, which I did with no further delay.
The location of a doctor’s office shouldn’t have that much influence on one’s evaluation of him. But somehow, my weekly trips to the Doctor in Hollywood had always seemed rather “seedy”. After all, Hollywood is home to every kind of immoral or lewd profession known to man. Prostitutes, both male and female graze the streets like so many cows in heat, and sex shops and X-rated movie houses abound.
So every journey to that office passed through this decadent hive and left me feeling “dirty” just for having passed through it, as if the sins of the soul and corruption of the body had somehow rubbed off or polluted my being merely through the sharing of air. And also, although I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to express myself as Melanie, I felt as if I were in costume or “clown-like”, as I had to cover up my beard and don a wig in order to pass as something I had not yet become. In fact, that very attitude had led me to refrain from outings as Melanie for nearly a year, mainly because I felt like a liar for “false advertising” something which I could not deliver.
In any event, Dr. Smith’s office is in the San Fernando Valley (my home stomping ground) scant miles to the north of Beverly Hills and smackdab in the center of a burgeoning industrial complex of modern high-rise buildings. (High-rise for California, of course, meaning six or seven stories).
I opted to park in the expensive three level structure, rather than searching for a metered street space, allowing myself this small luxury as a reward for my diligence in looking after my health and courage in following through. (I love to pamper myself when I feel I deserve praise!)
I arrived on the seventh floor and entered the suite. My first impression was an overwhelming sense of warmth. This was not the typical medical sterility I had become accustomed to, but a bright, cheerful environment whose function was to care for the whole person, body and soul. (I get a lot from wallpaper and indirect lighting!)
I approached the reception window and was greeted by a smiling Dorinda, a cute blond girl who held no pretense or revulsion, not even condescension in her face. Indeed, I suspect her face to be incapable of holding such an emotion, even should the need undeniably arise. Still, I was operating at about 80% male mode, as I still fall back into the old ways whenever I get nervous. Her manner was so open, however, that by the time I was called inside, I had lowered down to 70% male mode and was tenaciously trying to hold on to that!
The door opened, and Chris, the male nurse (completely hetero and proud of it!) ushered me into the examining room. In spite of his definite anchor on the world of “normal” preferences, I soon discovered he possessed an overwhelming empathy for people in my situation. “Gender Dysphorics are my favorite patients….” I truly believe him.
He asked me several questions, but more importantly, offered several answers on his own that I had to pry from my other doctor. He gave me whatever information he thought might be useful to me, set me at ease, and went out of his way to explain what things meant, and the procedure they normally followed. He even brought me a cup of “Swiss Mocha” (which happens to be THE coffee I will die for – I carry a tin in my car for emergencies) and introduced me to another TS who came in for a check up. This other patient, Elizabeth, and I had a wonderful conversation while I waited for the doctor. And by the time Dr. Smith arrived I had fallen to about 50% male mode and dropping.
Dr. Smith, ah, Dr. Smith! Short of height but tall in stature, he strode into the room with a confident friendliness that stripped my well-built defenses in a single, gentle breeze. Looking like a genetic blending of Paul Newman and an elf, his easy manner melted whatever preconceived dignity I thought I possessed and plunged me instantly into Melanie, the center of my being.
Never before have I given up my mask so easily, nor expressed myself as Melanie so naturally. And this, mind you, in male clothes: an event which I would have thought impossible. Mixing my modes? Unheard of! Unthinkable! Happening before your very eyes!!!
As I heard his concise and educated discussions of the therapy he offered, his humanity penetrated my soul, and Dave (if there ever really was such a beast) vanished without a trace. This man spoke to ME, not the carcass that faced him, but the woman hiding inside, peering through the bushes nervously.
Dr. David Smith is a seer, but he is also blind. No, his eyes work perfectly, but they are notable for what they do not see. He is blind to the physical incarnation as if it were transparent. And he SEES the soul as if it were a glowing gem suspended in a jelly-fish.
He spoke to ME, as if I already WAS a woman. And he seemed not the least distracted or even aware of the body that I wore. And yet, I was here to alter the body, and his job was to get that done. The incongruity of his concern with the inner person, while his vocation was the outer, only served to strengthen the calm certainty that I had not only found protection for my body, but a refuge for my psyche.
There are so many nuts and bolts of medical data he covered, and I shall cover them as well as they are applied. But the true value of today was not what I learned, but what I felt. And I felt good – very good indeed.
September 21, 22, and 25, 1989
I’m afraid (don’t be afraid) that I have fallen behind in my diary entries. Heaven knows, I’ve tried! But the best laid plans of mice and… well, whatever the heck I am….
So here is the brief, bite-sized, shrunk-wrapped, condensed reconstituted honest to gosh truth, as told by proxy.
On September 21st I had my second electrolysis session. THIS time I came prepared! I bought a bottle of KANKA topical oral anesthetic with the last three dollars to my name. I applied some in the car before I left. My entire lip went numb, even as the stuff stained the skin a bright, obnoxious orange (you’re only supposed to use it on the INSIDE!)
But, beauty was secondary at the moment, as the pain of my first trip remained fresh in my addled mind. So, I applied another liberal coat just before I entered Andy’s lair.
What I was not aware of was that topical anesthetics work only on the mucus membranes and do nothing for the interior of the flesh. What a wonderful surprise when the process hurt even more than last week (I would’ve sworn an impossibility!) as the nerves went into over-drive to compensate for the partial loss of sensation. Well, live and learn (in agony!) I always say….
Friday the 22nd was my first day as a no-show at the Hollywood doctor. I truly missed the opportunity to go out as Melanie, but simultaneously enjoyed the freedom of not having to work out all the logistics, rush around, and only relish my female self for a lousy hour before all that work had to be undone.
This feeling grew into the certainty that a dual life, such as Mary and I had discussed, while great on paper, would be harder than blazes to accomplish in reality, and for all practical purposes was impossible. However, I also determined that I should move toward full-time living as a woman over a period of months, rather than in one bold stroke. This gradual change would be better for my friends and easier for me, as my mannerisms and voice could shift slowly to my new station.
In line with these thoughts, on Monday, September 25th, I began my First Official Day of Androgyny (or F.O.D.A. for short!). For twenty years, I have worn a belt nearly every day of my life. But this day, I merely switched to a tucked in T-shirt. And my beloved laid-back courderoys gave way to unisex blue jeans. The part in my hair was lost as I brushed (not combed) it straight forward in rather appealing bangs. Overall, this manner of dress could belong to either sex, and therefore is my authorized uniform during the transitional period.
So much for catching up: I’ve been way too efficient, and it might just be habit forming….
(Written on the 26th of September to catch up on days I hadn’t felt like writing. The following entry is from the middle of that period, the one day I DID feel like writing. Due to financial difficulties, Mary, the kids and I were forced to move from our wonderful three bedroom rented house in the Burbank hills to the house I grew up in, in the flatlands of Burbank.
This move came in the middle of the rift that had developed between Mary and myself over my transition. It seemed to be the worst time that an unwanted change of location could have occurred. Nevertheless, there was no choice in the matter, so we packed up our belongings and said goodbye to the last house we would ever share as a “normal” family.
Mary had gone to Las Vegas with a girlfriend the last weekend we had to pack: the first trip she had made without me since we had been married. I found myself sitting alone in the empty corner of the bedroom where we had last made love, crying for half an hour. That night, I drove to the family house and slowly increased my speed until I was driving at sixty miles per hour along the residential streets. I weighed the advantages of simply driving into the side of building and ending it all. It was a tempting scenario. But as I neared my new address, I gradually slowed, having flirted with suicide, but not seduced by it.
The following weekend we packed the last few items that remained at the old house, locked the door on our happy family life, and relocated to our uncertain future. That evening I wrote the following entry.)
September 23, 1989
As I sit at the keyboard this evening, my mind is filled with strange emotions. It is 10:30 and it is our first night in our new home.
Perhaps the term “new” is a misnomer. This is the house I grew up in from age one to age seven. It is the house of my earliest memories, my formative years, and the beginnings of my need to be female. It is my Grandfather’s house and he is dead.
He died on the 25th of June at age 83, a bitter man, alone and defeated. And now, I live in his house.
My Mother died on January 30th of bacterial pneumonia infecting the sack around the heart. That is what the death certificate says, but the real cause of her death was my grandfather. All his life he had withheld even the tiniest show of love, approval, or even affection from my mother. And she spent and ultimately lost her life trying to obtain these.
Shortly after I was married in 1976, my parents were forced to leave the rented house we had lived in for 12 years, and elected to move into my grandfather’s house to help take care of him and my grandmother. A few years later, they brought back my grandfather’s sister, Kay, from Washington state, as her husband had died some time previously, and she was slipping mentally.
Within a couple of years it became apparent that Kay had developed Alzheimer’s disease, and her ability to take care of herself suffered greatly. At the same time, my grandmother began to slip into paranoia and mental confusion. My grandfather started losing the ability to discern reality from fantasy.
And so, my mother and step-father took care of these people with the patience of Christ himself, and humbly subjected themselves to my grandfather’s overbearing and aimless wrath, which grew almost daily as his illness progressed. Ultimately, my grandmother suffered three strokes in quick succession. She was unable to respond coherently, to speak or even to be more than marginally aware of the world around her.
Due both to my mother’s and grandfather’s wishes, and against doctor’s orders, my grandmother was released to home care. She was permanently on a feeding tube, was incontinent, and required care every 3-4 hours, twenty-four hours a day.
For two years, my parents struggled to provide humanity to a household weakened by illness and withered by the cancerous bile of my grandfather’s anger. Eventually, Aunt Kay was placed in a home. But my mother continued to care for her parents to the point that she did not leave the house, even to cross the street, for six months straight. Eventually, she caught the flu, and due to her weakened condition, it developed into bacterial pneumonia. And yet, she would not go to the hospital because she wanted to continue to care for her mother. Also, my grandfather constantly chided her for slacking off in her duties. When she could not longer get out of bed, she finally agreed to be taken to the hospital, but by then, it was far too late.
I sat with her in the emergency room of the County hospital all night, waiting for care. She had no insurance and would not be accepted into a standard emergency ward. All that night, I struggled to stay awake, as I had only had two hours sleep the night before. Several times I mentioned to her that I would have to leave soon, which I regret to this day. But every time, her condition worsened and I stayed on. Her blood pressure dropped to 80 over 40, and I waited for a second reading on the machine before I called for help, again to my regret. Instead of holding her hand and touching her face as I had on and off through the night, I was sitting in a chair across the room when she slipped into unconsciousness. Later that day, she died.
When we brought my grandfather to see her body in the hospital he looked at the remains of the daughter he drove to death, and his only comment was, “Well, you had to go and do it. You had to die on my birthday.” I will always remember the date of my grandfather’s birthday.
I placed my grandmother in a convalescent home for her health needs, and face the wrath of my grandfather for the first time myself. But as he realized he needed me for transportation and food, he softened and at least tolerated me.
My step-dad continued to live in the house and take care of my grandfather. A noble act considering he felt the man had caused his wife’s death. My grandfather finally entered the convalescent home to be near his wife. But when I last saw him alive, a week before his death, he did not know who the woman across the room was. I rubbed his back with ointment as he had requested, my fingers bobbing over the bony protrusions under his parchment skin. I told him I would see him again soon. I left. He died.
And so, when I returned to this house several weeks ago to plan our move, and was alone in it for the first time in my memory, I found myself pulled to my grandfather’s room, the very room I had grown up in as a child. I stood in the center, drinking in the present, drowning in the past.
I cursed my mother for the memories of the doll house, stove, and refrigerator she had bought for me, knowing that these toys had been partially responsible for creating a female personality within my body. I laughed at the memory of waking up from my afternoon nap to a gingerbread man, placed on a shelf by my bed as a surprise. I could see the coloring book bear that I had painted “orchid” and remembered that the bear had been given a different colored balloon every night I had avoided sucking my thumb. Eventually, the bear had a whole bouquet of balloons and I never sucked my thumb again.
All these things and a thousand more, the highlights and hurts, the love and the warped directions leading to transsexualism, all flooded over and through me. And I stood in the center of the room and cried.
And now, on this first night, I feel all these things again. And as this house must be sold in a few short months to pay for my grandmother’s continued convalescence, I am overwhelmed. I am coming home: home to the causes of my pain and the source of my love. But I am here to prepare the house for sale. And in effect, I am selling off my past.
So now, as I am about to embark on a new future, a future as a woman: now, as I begin the six month transition to full-time living in my new role, I come to bury memories, to lay to rest the roots of my personality. And I find it ironically appropriate that these should coincide. As I begin a new future, I bury the past.
I have come full circle, to face the causes of my needs and revel in the roots of my strengths. Soon I must move on to a new life and leave the old behind. I will be a new person who only vaguely resembles the one who blossomed here so many years ago.
And I must leave all that behind, perhaps more completely than one should be forced to. But for a little while longer, I have my memories, I have my past, and David is not yet dead. For a few brief moments I am a small child running through the tall grass, amazed by everything and joyful just to be alive. For a few brief moments, I have come home.
September 28, 1989
Today was the fulfillment of a life-long dream. It was my coming-of-age, my initiation, my rite of passage. Today I killed my mustache.
I had fantasized about this monumental event for years and planned it for weeks. The concept of having an absolutely smooth face is so exciting, so sexy, so feminine, that even now, six hours after, I can barely contain myself.
In the West, we believe Man’s soul can be found, if anywhere, in the brain. In Eastern religions it inhabits the heart. Since puberty, my psyche resided in my upper lip, the symbol of my manhood, the likeness of my self-image.
But today, it’s home of twenty-four post-pubiescent years was wrested from it. And like a game of “Musical Lips”, the theme song ended and Psyche found itself without a chair to sit on.
So, now, this poor homeless wretch must find new accommodations: an abode more suitable to its new stature; more appropriate to its changed self-image. Perhaps it will lodge in my developing breasts. True, cramped quarters at the moment, but when plans for expansion are fully realized, Psyche will hopefully enjoy a palatial estate in keeping with the manner to which it wishes to become accustomed.
The deed is done; the commitment made. The relief, amazing; the joy, uncanny. I have joined one club and turned in the executive washroom keys to the other. And surprisingly – at least to me – there are not only no regrets, but an unequalled sense of completeness beyond anything I have ever experienced. I feel content. I feel female. I feel good.
(Copyright 1992, Melanie Anne Phillips)
(The Transsexual Diary series will continue in the next edition of The Subversive)
MAKE UP TIPS
A continuing series by Mary Kay representative,
Focus on Eyes: The Colors of Autumn
Smoky, sultry, smoldering eyes can be yours this season. New fall eyeshadows are here and they’re bolder, richer, and dramatically outspoken. All you need is a good eyeshadow brush or sponge-tipped applicator and the smoldering new shades that are the hallmark of this season. Don’t be afraid to try new shades and new combinations. With the following techniques, you can wear almost any shade, even if you have very fair coloring.
Take some time to practice these techniques, try new shades, and find the look that’s just right for you. To see the dramatic difference of each technique, apply to only one eye and compare. Most of all, have fun!
There are four basic techniques to make the most of your eyes:
The Centered Eye – gives the eyes vertical lift and adds depth. This can be worn by anyone and is especially effective for those who wear glasses.
1. Use a lighter color as a base to color eyelid from upper lash line to eyebrows.
2. Feel for the center of the eye in the crease of the eyelid. With darker shadow than that used for the base, “turn” color in a small circle, making a dot in the center of the crease. Brush color lightly back and forth, coloring along the crease of the eyelid.
The Cornered Eye – just as versatile as The Centered Eye. This technique makes the eye look larger and gives the most dramatic effect.
1. Use a lighter color as a base to color eyelid from upper lash line to eyebrows.
2. With darker color than that used for the base, “turn” color in small circles at the inner and outer corners of the eyelids. With clean shadow brush, blend darker color from corners toward the center along the crease of the eyelid.
The Smudged Eye – gives depth and drama and is especially effective for those with close-set eyes.
1. Use a lighter color as a base to color eyelid from upper lash line to eyebrows.
2. With darker color than that used for the base, “turn color in a small circle at the outer corners of the eyelid. Smudge by moving eye shadow brush along the crease of the eyelid from the outside corner toward the center of the lid.
The Wedge – a versatile technique for anyone. This technique also allows the use of more dramatic colors for those with fair skin.
1. Use a lighter color as a base to color eyelid from upper lash line to eyebrows.
2. With darker color than that used for the base, brush color along crease of eyelid from center to outer corner, then along base of upper lashes from outside corner to the center, just above the iris.
For even more drama, a third eyeshadow color may be added to any one of the four techniques for highlight on the brow bone (the bone that protrudes under the eyebrow). For day time wear, try a soft pink, oyster shell, or soft yellow to highlight the brow bone. For evening, try shimmering gold.
Instead of eyeliner along the lower lashes try stroking a medium or dark eye shadow color just under the lower lashes from the outside corner to the center of the lower lid. Use the very edge of your eyeshadow brush or sponge-tipped applicator and blend well.
Remember, if you wear glasses, it’s okay to go a little bolder, a little more dramatic to draw more attention to your eyes. Eyeshadow colors should blend together. One color should flow naturally into the next. There should never be a definite line between colors. If eyeshadow looks too intense or if the colors do not seem blended, use a clean, loose-powder brush to blend. Close your eyes and brush lightly back and forth across the lid. But be careful not to blend all the color away.
For those with oily skin or skin that tends to absorb color, Mary Kay’s eyeshadows can be used wet. Just use an eyeshadow brush to blend the eyeshadows with a little water, then apply. This will give you all-day (or all-night) wear. These shadows can also be used with an eyeliner brush and mixed with water to create an instant liquid eyeliner.
Eyeliner is used to define and enhance the eyes. There are basically two types of eyeliner: eyeliner pencil and liquid eyeliner.
The most important thing to remember about eyeliner pencil is to have a good, sharp point to your pencil, then dull it slightly by applying light pressure with your fingertip. This will give a softer line.
Eyeliner pencil can be used to line the upper lid and the lower lid along the lash line. When lining the upper eyelid, hold the pencil at a slant and draw the line along the lashes with the side of the eyeliner tip, not the point. This technique gives more control and helps keep the tip from breaking.
When lining the lower lid, use the tip to draw a thin line just under the base of the lower lashes from the center of the lower lid under the iris to the outside corner. Use a cotton swab or sponge-tipped applicator to smudge the line for a softer look.
Liquid eyeliner with a fine point is the easiest for beginners to use. When using liquid eyeliner, hold the brush at a slant, nearly parallel to the eyelid and stroke on a thin line from the inner corner to the outer corner of the upper eye lid. Liquid eyeliner can also be used along the lower lashes, but it must be smudged with a cotton swab or sponge-tipped applicator quickly – before it dries. An easier choice is to use an eyeliner pencil in a coordinating color under the lower lashes or brush a medium to dark eyeshadow along the base of the lower lashes with the edge of a brush or sponge-tipped applicator.
Remember, every woman who wears eye make-up has learned through many hours of practice. Don’t get discouraged. Learn from your mistakes. Get some good close-up pictures from magazines and try to copy a look you especially like. I also have available a limited number of charts with close-up detail of eye color looks for fall. If you would like a free copy, send e-mail to Lynda J1 (notice that is Lynda J”one”).
If you have questions about make-up or skin care, I’d be happy to answer them for you. All questions or comments will receive a personal reply. Questions of general interest will be addressed in this column (no names will be used).
Editor’s Note: Remember, Lynda J1 is YOUR Mary Kay Representative. Support her efforts here by placing your orders with her, a real nice way to say “Thank You!” All orders are held in confidence, and orders will be shipped in plain wrapping. And you’ll never find a more understanding or knowledgeable make-up consultant for your special needs.
Going to the wig store
Adventures of Char & Pam
Golly here I am again! Yawl let me know if you get tired of hearing about this nonsense will you?
OK here Charlotte and I are. She is feeling a little blue because of personal problems. Me, I’m trying to cheer her up, lending a well chewed on ear. Mind you I don’t object she and I are kindred spirits. Plus she is one of my Alpha Omega sisters and I would be there for any one of them. Well being there for her to talk to was OK but she needed a little more than an ear to absorb her concerns and frustrations.
Well what do you gals do when your down in the dumps? YOU GO SHOPPING or GET YOUR HAIR DONE right? Guess what we did, we did both. We went shopping for wigs. Being a crossdresser, transvestite, bigendered, or what ever, we all want to look like a lady. Hair is an important piece of that puzzle we want to put together so off to Rolling Acres Mall we went.
Going up we talked some more mostly about a collage of subjects all tied together with a pretty bow, so to speak, and that is crossdressing. This always makes our jaunts around town interesting. Arriving in no time at all we were walking into the mall and towards our destination. Of course a few stores on the way lured these two boyish looking girls to their windows.
Picture this if you can, two girls, wide eyed, and noses pressed to the glass. Dreaming of all those pretty clothes hanging in their closets. Just ready to be put on that feminine self we all share and taken out to a party or dinner. Yea, your right gals,no guts no glory so we pressed on towards the wig store still dreaming though.
We headed to the wig store like I told you and walked by checking it out so to speak. The coast was clear so we walked in, a little bit nervous yea, but united we stand and all that stuff! We casually started looking around and lo and behold here was this bubbly sales girl. We’ll call her Nancy,she was very nice and reassuring. She let us know right off the bat that we were not the first guys to want to buy a wig. We (well Charlotte) talked for a few minutes about Alpha Omega. Nancy said she has heard of us. She also said she had been to a Parase meeting once for a wig presentation.
We continued looking and talking and once again observant Charlotte nudged me and said “Look out there on that bench”. Directly outside the store was a courtesy bench about fifty or sixty feet from the store front. Sitting on the bench were three guys, one or two had beards. They were watching the show in the store quite intently. My memory of them is vague at best because neither of us looked at them too long.
Well the shopping and talking continued, Charlotte even sat down at one of the two booths at the rear of the store to try on three wigs. Nancy all this time kept the conversation going, Charlotte following her lead and me jumping in there occasionally. We made our selections but they had to be ordered. The colors we wanted weren’t in stock, OH WELL whats’ a girl to do I know WAIT!
The more I do this shopping thing the more I think my fears are exaggerated. At least until something really catastrophic happens. YOU know like going into a store say a dress shop. Asking the store sales girl if I could look around or would she help me find a certain style. Then she turns and yells at the top of her lungs “Hey this guy wants to buy a dress!” That would be catastrophic right?
All in all I’d say this excursion went very well. Nancy was very professional, fun and knowledgeable about her merchandise. Not to mention TOLERANT of our life style. She even asked us to come back dressed. Well maybe that was just an off the wall statement not to be taken seriously but it was nice to hear. WE left, walked around a little more, fantasizing about the fashions we saw through a bunch of other windows. Well girls that’s it for now here’s to your new “doo”.
Love, Luck, Laughter Pam36C
SOME FASHION TIPS
From: Anna A1
(Editor’s note: Recently, Anna had the opportunity to attend a fashion show. She wrote me a letter describing some interesting tips she had learned. Thinking that our readers might enjoy the information as well, I asked her if I could reprint the portion of her letter that described these neat tricks. Here are the excerpts from Anna’s Fashion Show Report: )
The real highlight of the evening was a presentation by two woman from “Caren Charles” Women’s apparel store to demonstrate how to mix and match eight articles of clothes into 32 outfits :).
This presentation was primarily oriented toward business dress. There were 3 blouses (one white, one black, and one mustard) 2 suit tops (one red, one red and black plaid) 1 black pair of pants (very sexy thought I) and 2 skirts ( one red, one Mustard). They displayed them on a vertical rack and simply move the blouses and skirts and pants back and forth on the hangers to create “completely different” outfits. The mustard blouse and skirt were shown together, then the mustard blouse was shown with the black pants, then the plaid suit was added and so on and so forth. The products had popagalio (spelling?) and Caren Charles labels and cost $619.00 all combined. But, Ta Da (here’s the pitch), that’s only $19.00 an outfit for an entire month’s worth of outfits.
They pasted out a “closet inventory” which if you want to create one is as follows:
There are 5 columns labeled HAVE, NEED, COLOR, DESCRIPTION, & WORKSWELL WITH. The rows are labeled SUITS, BLAZERS, BLOUSES, SWEATERS, SKIRTS, PANTS, DRESSES,COATS, SHOES (remember, this is business dressing – you can replace the row labels with what suites you.
The instructions are
1. Arrange your clothes by types
2. list you wardrobe “haves and “needs” and bring this closet inventory to the store with you.
3. If you have a favorite item, build a ward robe around it.
I know this isn’t rocket science, but hearing this presentation and allowing my self just to “be there” was a new experience for me.
By Melanie Anne Phillips
Well, I have some more data on the hormone thing. This month I am on the .50mg daily Estinyl only until the last 10 days of the cycle, then 10mg Provera each of those days.
I have noticed in the past that nipple soreness and sensitivity as well as post-op sexual arousal have been directly related to how far in the cycle I have been. The highest sensitivity and arousal occurred about 7 days after I went into the 3 day “off cycle”. Within 3 days after that, it all dropped significantly. Bust development that had shown promise each month nearly all went away by 10 days after the END of the off cycle. Then it was a full month to build-up again.
This month I am not going off cycle at all. I know several doctors who do not believe in “cycling” – Dr. Biber included in this group (although he prescribes only .05mg Estinyl daily as opposed to the .5mg I am taking. The decision to try not cycling is based on several considerations. I have always had leg cramps at that 10 day after off cycle time and then again at varying times into the cycle as the hormones built up again past some trigger point. On either side of the trigger point, when the hormones were lower or higher, the cramps went away. So it seems there is some point you have to pass through going up and coming down in hormone levels. I have heard the same from genetic women I know who are on pills after surgery. So, it is my contention that the body does not completely stop producing hormones in genetic women, but rather slows down a bit. This month, as I indicated, I will not go off cycle and see what happens. I suspect I will get VERY sore breasts with great development, and not experience the cramps.
eventually, I think I might lower the dose to .25mg when I have developed enough for my liking and not use a cycle anymore. Good news is, the shortness of breath I experience last month when taking 5mg Provera every day of the cycle instead of 10mg on the last 10 days, is obviously caused by the extended Provera use, since it went away when I went off the Provera last month and hasn’t come back. So my advice here is: When on pills, use the Provera only 10 days a month as prescribed. More later.
USEFUL AND INTERESTING INFORMATION
Alternative to Divorce as a Requirement for Surgery:
I had been told that divorce was required in order to obtain Sex Reassignment Surgery. My spouse and I, however, did not want to get divorced. I talked to a lawyer who said that we would have to undo all our financial ties with each other, get divorced, then retie the finances. This would cost about $1200! In addition, we would lose tax and insurance benefits that would put a financial strain on our relationship for the rest of our lives.
In desperation, I called up Dr. Biber’s office and explained the situation. Marie (his secretary) told me that Biber did not require a divorce anymore. This was news to me! In fact, it was only a recent decision on his part. All they required was a legal document from my spouse that she did not oppose the surgery. What a relief!
I called our lawyer back, and he said that being the case, he could prepare a document for us for only $100! Not only would we save $1100, but we would be able to retain our married couple status in the eyes of the law for taxes, insurance, and all other business dealings.
A friend on America Online recently wrote me saying that a friend of hers who was going to have surgery also did not want to get divorced. She asked if I could make a copy of the document available, so here it is, just as it was accepted by Dr. Biber, sans names.
RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
THIS IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I, (Spouse’s name), UNDERSTAND THAT MY HUSBAND, (Your name), AKA (Your female name), IS ABOUT TO UNDERGO MALE-TO-FEMALE GENITAL SURGERY. I AM FULLY AWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURGERY WHICH IS TO BE PERFORMED BY STANLEY H. BIBER, M.D., AND SPECIFICALLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT (Your name) WILL NOT PERFORM SEXUALLY AS A MALE OR HAVE A MALE SEXUAL ORGAN AS A RESULT OF THE SURGERY.
WITH THE FOREGOING IN MIND, I, (Spouse’s name), SPECIFICALLY APPROVE, CONSENT TO, AND DO NOT CONTEST IN ANY MANNER, THE MALE-TO-FEMALE SURGERY TO BE PERFORMED ON MY HUSBAND, (Your name), AKA (Your female name). I DO, FOR MYSELF, MY HEIRS, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS AND ASSIGNS, FULLY AND FOREVER RELEASE, DISCHARGE AND HOLD HARMLESS, STANLEY H. BIBER, M.D., FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, DEMANDS, ACTIONS OR CAUSES OF ACTION WHICH I NOW HAVE, OR MAY OR MIGHT HAVE IN THE FUTURE, PERTAINING TO CONSENT FOR, AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE FACT THAT, GENDER SURGERY IS TO BE PERFORMED ON (Your name), AKA (Your female name).
BY (Your Spouse’s name, signed above the typed name)
STATE OF CALIFORNIA >
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES>
ON THIS______DAY OF________________IN THE YEAR 199_, BEFORE ME, (Notary Public’s name), A NOTARY PUBLIC, PERSONALLY APPEARED (Spouse’s name), WHO IS KNOWN TO ME AND/OR HAS PROVED TO ME ON THE BASIS OF SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE TO BE THE PERSON WHO EXECUTED THIS RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT.
(Notary Signs here)
(NOTORIAL SEAL) NOTARY PUBLIC FOR THE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
If you have any legal documents or other information that might be of use to the gender community, why not share them with the community?
AMERICA ONLINE GENDER GROUP STATISTICS
Contributed by Marsha J, Gender Room Secretary
Attendee Stats as of September 1992
AZ. 3 BC. 1 CA. 21 CO. 2
CT. 4 FL. 11 GA. 1 IL. 11
IN. 2 KY. 2 LA. 4 MA. 6
MD. 2 ME. 1 MI. 1 MN. 3
MO. 3 MS. 2 MT. 1 NC. 2
NH. 1 NJ. 7 NM. 2 NV. 1
NY. 6 OH. 4 OK. 2 ON. 3
OR. 2 PA. 4 SC. 1 TX. 4
UT. 1 VA. 3 WA. 4 WI. 2
WV. 2 WY. 1
133 Total Current Attendees
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR 133 MEMBERS FOR HELPING TO CREATE A SAFE HAVEN OF SUPPORT FOR EVERYONE CONCERNED WITH GENDER ISSUES!!!
Gender Room Meeting
Don’t forget to attend the Gender Room Meeting on the America Online BBS in the Gay/Lesbian area in the Community Room at 9pm ET every Sunday evening. For specific information, directions, or to order back logs of the chats, Email Marsha J, the Gender Room secretary.
A short visual poem
I AM YOUNG – MY WORLD IS FULL
I AM YO NG – Y ORLD S F LL
I AM YO G Y ORLD F L
I AM G ORLD L
I AM O LD
(Copyright 1992 Melanie Anne Phillips)
NOTE: It is my desire to make this publication available free to all who wish to read it. However, due to copyright laws, any overall license would allow unscrupulous individuals to excerpt portions and use it for their own personal gain. Therefore, should you wish to upload this publication on your BBS or simply generate hardcopies for support groups and friends, please write me about a free specific license for your purpose.