Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gender Surprises at the Convention

not-quite-boy-mode Although I was unable to attend last weekend's ham convention en femme, it was transgender enlightening nonetheless.

There were quite  a number of people in attendance who knew me before I came out as trans and began attending ham radio events en femme, that is, they have known me in boy mode and girl mode.

There were also a few people in attendance who only know me in girl mode.

The people who only knew me in girl mode were surprised by my appearance in boy mode. I know because they mentioned it to me and some said they were disappointed that I was not a girl.

On the other hand, the folks who have known me in boy mode and girl mode made no mention of my appearance in boy mode and interacted with me as if nothing was different. I am sure they noticed the difference, but were too polite to inquire about what was going on.
I did explain to a few folks why I was not dressed en femme and they indicated that they understood.

One woman went out of her way when I explained what had happened. I had registered for the convention as "Stana" and expected that I would receive a name badge with Stana printed on it. I brought a black Sharpie with me to make the correction.

Sure enough, when I picked up my badge at the registration desk, it read "Stana." I planned to fix it as soon as I settled down at our booth.

But before I had the opportunity to do so, the woman who checked me in at the registration desk, hunted me down in the crowd and handed me a peel-off label printed with my name and call sign, but with an "S" replacing "Stana." So instead of making an ugly fix with a Sharpie, I neatly covered the miss-print with the new label!

That was very cool!

 

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Source: Pinterest

Wearing Sammydress.

 

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Source: flickr

Femulating fellows attending the 2010 Atlanta Cotillion.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shades of Black

By Paula Gaikowski

Ready-When-you-are! I love sharing accounts of time spent en femme. However, this time I want to tell you the story about two different experiences while buying hosiery en homme.

A few months ago my wife and I spent a few days in Reading, Pennsylvania visiting friends and shopping in the outlets there. My wife has become more accepting over the years and I had so much fun buying lingerie at the Vanity Fair outlet. Imagine a room the size of a gymnasium filled with bras, panties, nightgowns, slips, foundations and every other type of lingerie. I literally spent half a day picking out a bunch of stuff and this time didn’t have to hide it from my wife. That was great; however, I also needed socks to wear every day.

I made my way out of Vanity Fair and over to the Gold Toe outlet. Here they sell socks of all types. In my daily male drag, I like to wear women’s trouser socks. I like the thinness of them and I also like a sock the goes up almost to my knee. For that reason, I always buy women’s socks.

So I went into the store and told the older woman that I am looking for a thin sock that is knee high. She directed me to the men’s section where there was a “Gold Toe over the calf style.” These socks were thicker than I like, were ribbed and outrageously priced at $16 a pair.

So this is where it gets interesting and kind of fun.

I thanked her and meandered over to the women’s section and found a huge selection of what I want in all kinds of colors and priced much lower.

She comes over and announces “These are women’s --- men’s are over there.”

In times past I may have become flustered, but I found her gender regulating to be amusing. An impish smile came across my face as I responded.

“I know. These are exactly what I want.”

She lowered her voice as if to save me embarrassment and whispered “But these are for women.”

The tenor and tone of her voice communicated much more; you’re a man, wearing anything feminine would be wrong, even degrading.

My smile and amusement caught her off guard and disarmed what could have been an uncomfortable exchange.

“It’s Okay,” I said while chuckling a bit, “These are the socks I want. The fact that they’re women’s doesn’t bother me.”

Like the church lady on Saturday Night Live she responded with a “Very well then,” and moved on.

She was a sweet lady and was only trying to be helpful and for that reason I wasn’t embarrassed or offended. When I went to check out, she asked if I found everything I needed. I nodded my head, said “Oh yes, perfect, this will be fine.”

Professionally and politely, she completed the sale; however, I suspect she was just a bit disappointed that I was leaving with women’s socks.

I want to contrast that experience with another while buying pantyhose a few weeks ago.

I love Hanes Silk Reflections pantyhose and have worn them for over 20 years. After a weekend camping trip, I was passing the outlet center in Kittery, Maine and decided to make a quick stop to buy pantyhose for my upcoming trip to the UK. The Hanes Bali outlet had just opened and was empty and quiet on a Sunday morning. The sale associate was about 30 years old and dressed in a casual skirt and top.

I flashed my friendliest smile and let loose with a “Good Morning.”

When she asked if she could help me, I replied “Yes, Hanes Silk Reflection Pantyhose.”

Without being the slightest bit phased, she led me down the aisle to the Silk Reflections. I noticed we were at the regular sizes and I needed the plus size.

“Oh!” I blurted out, “I need the plus size.”

She directed me around the corner and with a smile, “Here you go.”

I spent the next few minutes trying to make some decisions; the pantyhose were now $24 for a pack of three and my budget was only going to allow for one pack. I was trying to decide between Jet Black and Barely Black, in addition, I was having trouble finding all the sizes.

I popped my head over the display and asked, “Can you help me? I’m having trouble finding sizes. “

She strolled over. “What’s up?”

“I need 1X; I found it in the nude, but can’t find it in any of the blacks.”

While she rummaged around in the display case she asked, “What color black, Jet or Barely?”

She hopped up and proudly held the two 1X packages in her hands. “Here we are.”

With my index finger held against my pursed lip, I considered my choices.

“I’m not sure what color I need. I don’t want to spend $45 on pantyhose today, so I have to decide on one.”

I noticed she didn’t hesitate when she asked

“What are you going to be wearing with them?”

I replied without thinking,

“Mostly printed skirts with black in them, but I also plan on wearing a black suit one night.”

She held one package up higher and said, “Go with the Barely Black. It works with everything. Jet Black is really for like a formal, black cocktail dresses and such.”

I took the package from her, thanked her profusely, while making our way up to the register. She asked if I needed anything else or had a frequent buyer card. I paid, she thanked me and wished me a nice day. Off I went with my new pantyhose.

Time magazine recently ran article titled “The Transgender Tipping Point,” which highlights the progress made by transgender people all over the world. These two shopping events could not have demonstrated that tipping point more clearly. My dear sweet friend at the Gold Toe outlet was clearly tied to the old paradigm of gender rigidity. However, the clerk at Hanes Bali was clearly comfortable with me buying pantyhose and discussing outfits for my trip as a woman.

The struggle for transgender rights is far from over. I urge us all to remember that each and every one of us is a role model, advocate, and educator. We must be thankful for people who fought and sacrificed before us. You don’t need to be highly visible or carry a sign in the Pride parade. You can do something as simple as supporting a girlfriend with a kind e-mail or standing up against a bigoted transgender remark at work.

Transgender people have always been part of humanity. They are part of the human experience, instead of condemnation, it’s time to open our minds, to begin learning, to begin understanding, then accepting and finally celebrating!

 

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Source: Vogue 

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Cecil and Avery femulate to attend a womanless wedding, circa 1955.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Murphy's Law in Spades

I planned to rise and shine Thursday morning, get dressed en femme and drive to Hartford to help set up our booth at ham convention. Instead, I woke up to a family health emergency, which took up the better part of the day. I never made it to Hartford in either boy or girl mode that day. Luckily, two fellows from my group set up the booth without me.

I planned to rise and shine Friday morning, get dressed en femme and drive to Hartford to staff the booth during Day One of the convention. Instead, I spent over three hours dealing with the health issue — the hours I would have spent getting dressed en femme. By the time I had dealt with everything, I just had enough time to get dressed in boy mode, drive to Hartford and arrive at the convention just as the hall opened at 9 AM.

 I staffed the booth most of the day, surprised people who were expecting to see Stana, and in general, had a good time, while keeping tabs on the home front via the call phone.

My daughter held down the fort at home on Friday, but could not do so on Saturday. So I stayed at home to hold down the fort on Saturday and did not attend Day Two of the convention. Actually, I was relieved that I did not attend the convention on Saturday because I was so exhausted from the previous two days.

There were two trans visitors to our booth (that I was aware of). One was a regular reader of the blog, who I have met a few times at the Dayton, Ohio, ham convention. He was in boy mode and was surprised to find me also in boy mode, too.

The second was a transwoman en femme. I assume she was post-op, but you never know. She gave no indication that she read my blog, so she didn’t know me from Adam (or Eve). She just happened by our booth and engaged me in a long discussion about what our group had to offer.

And so it goes.

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Source: Dior
Wearing Dior.

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Icelandic womanless beauty pageant (dragkeppni) contestants in 2005.

Let’s Get Graphic!

relay-cucamonga ca 2013
The womanless beauty pageant photo above is from a Relay for Life event that took place in Cucamonga, California last year. The four contestants on the left are typical for this kind of event, but get a load of the contestant on the right. Wow! If she didn’t win the pageant, she was robbed.
Years ago, I participated in local Relay for Life events, but none of them had the womanless beauty pageant component. I was robbed!
BUDS
If I didn’t know better, I think my mother slipped BUDS into my brassiere when I wasn’t looking! (My mother always called it a “brassiere,” never a “bra.”)
Crossphysics__Perturb_by_Anokorok
In the past, William Meldrum had some cool graphics at anokorok.deviantart.com. Sadly, that Deviantart account is gone, so there is nothing new coming our way. Nevertheless, the above is my favorite Meldrum piece.
when-you-look-this-good
And I close with the above graphic. Don’t you love it? It expresses my sentiments exactly.