Thursday, December 1, 2011

Any Questions?


Yesterday, I wrote about my Wednesday morning out en femme. Today, I pick up where I left off, that is, going to Southern Connecticut State University to participate in Q&A in two Human Sexuality classes.

Each class had approximately 35 students with a 10-to-1 female-to-male ratio. In addition to myself, three transsexuals, two male-to-female and one female-to-male, joined me in the Q&A. In the second class, a female-to-male transsexual, who is a student at the University, joined us.

At the beginning of each class, we each presented a short (5-minute or so) biography.

After the bios, Professor Schildroth usually sends half the class to another classroom and divides us speakers in a logical way so that half the class concentrates on, for example, the transitioned/transitioning transsexuals, while the other half concentrates on the non-transitioning transsexuals. Half way through the period, the speakers switch classrooms so that all the students get a chance to quiz all the speakers.

Yesterday, a second classroom was not available, so all the students quizzed all the speakers simultaneously.

Most of the questions were oriented at the transitioned/transitioning transsexuals, that is, all the other speakers except me. I was a little bored, but I did get asked one question that I was never asked before, that is, what is my nationality?

My answer was "Polish." After the class, I asked the woman who asked that question why she asked. Her reason was that she was curious about my accent. I realized then that my "Polish" answer was not very helpful because I was born and raised 20 miles from New Haven, not 20 kilometers from Warsaw.

During the first class, we were asked about aging and I mentioned that I was 60 years old. That revelation was met with gasps from a number of students, who I guess thought I was younger or older than 60. After the class, about a half dozen students came up to me and gushed over the way I looked. One comment that stuck in my mind was "stunning."

Professor Schildroth informed us that the second class was shyer than the first class and that we were likely to get fewer questions in the second class. Her prediction came true and I received even fewer questions in the second class than the first class.

By the way, I think Professor Schildroth sympathized with my lack of questioning because in each class, she specifically asked me a question during lulls in the Q&A. Thanks, Anna!

After class, we went to a nearby diner. It was nearly empty --- two other tables had customers. I guess diners don't get a lot of traffic at 4 PM on Tuesdays. I ordered breakfast food (an omelette, toast, home fries, and coffee) because I like diner breakfast food, but seldom eat at a diner for breakfast.

Most of the conversation revolved around the classes and the students' written comments, which are always revealing.

We broke up after 5 PM and I had a miserable drive home. Rain began early in the afternoon and it was pouring the proverbial cats and dogs most of my way home.

Despite the weather and the dearth of questions, it was a very good day because (1) I had an opportunity to go out en femme and (2) I had an opportunity to participate in the education of some civilians about us trans-folks. However, in retrospect, I need to change my biography.

When I started doing outreach nearly six years ago, I billed myself as a "plain vanilla crossdresser." I stopped using that term over two years ago and changed my biography to better reflect myself as a "woman who found herself in a male body."

But not all the students get it. Reading their comments, many still classify me as a a "plain vanilla crossdresser."


When they compare me with the other presenters like the ones I presented with on Tuesday, all who take hormones and two out of three who had surgery, maybe they figure I am not in their league because I don't desire hormones or surgery. Or because I don't live 24/7 as a women --- although I always mention that I would if I could.

Anyways, I'm working on it.    

Two Outfits

I tried on two outfits (photo above) Wednesday morning before going out: (1) the one-third houndstooth two-thirds black dress with black patent open-toe slingback heels and (2) the all houndstooth dress with off-white quilted high heel pumps.

I had a difficult time deciding which outfit to wear.

I chose the first outfit mainly because of the longer hemline.

Viewing the photos now, maybe I should have selected the dress with the shorter hemline.


  1. I like your first choice; the dress with the longer hemline.

  2. Both dresses work well for you but I clearly prefer the one on the left. The color break from houndstooth to black really works well for you. Also considering the setting of the school presentation I think the longer hemline was more appropriate for a 60 year old. I would have worn the white pumps with the dress on the left. I really like those shoes better than the slings.

    Your outreach is very important to all of us and I wish that I could some day join you. I would not feel bad that the students were more focused on the transitioning presenters. To a young student civilian the thought that someone may be so uncomfortable in their birth gender to fully transition, undergo surgery, meds, etc could be perceived as several notches up the chain from where they perceive you to be on the TG spectrum. Perhaps the presentation would have been equally effective and enjoyable, although differently focused, if it were only CDs or non-full time TGs.

    I have followed your efforts to conquer TG nomenclature. I think that is a struggle many of us have. There is always a desire to have clean and clear definitions and well understood ways to classify people. With many of us we are dealing with two moving targets. In the first place many with gender issues take a long time to evolve to a static condition that they themselves find comfortable. I still see myself as a 'plain vanilla CD' but it is clear that you feel differently than you did a few years ago. Secondly, gender terminology has been evolving. Years ago there were transvestites and then drag queens and then transexuals. Today there are dozens of terms that apply to one degree or another, and/or at one time or another, to many of us with gender issues.

    There may be comfort in thinking that one can take the easy road and apply a "one size fits all" definition to us but we all know that this is not true with either people or pantihose.


  3. Hello Stana,
    Love the "State University Human Sexuality classes" You and the others are fabulous. This work and I hope many more around the country at other University's and high schools, I hope in time things will open up more for us all and we will see less hate and more acceptance.

    Equality in Fashion
    Lorraine Goetsch

  4. No, I think you made the right choice. The shorter dress might have distracted the students fro what yu were saying!

  5. Dear Stana,

    I like the first dress best. You look lovely, as always, in each of them, though. Thank You for posting a picture of me in my houndstooth suit earlier this week. After seeing your houndstooth-upper / solid-black-lower dress, I think I'll try wearing a solid black knee-length skirt with the houndstooth jacket. I think it may work.



  6. All things considered (particularly what I recall of you sharing w/rt your mother and DES), perhaps you might want to start using the term "epigenetically intersex" in your bio? Actually there is a better word than "epigenetic" for qualifying the intersex-condition due to hormonal exposure during gestation, but I can't remember it at the moment. If nothing else, the new terminology should stimulate questions and allow you the chance to discuss the more interesting conrner cases of exactly *how* gender identity arises from biology.

    and since everyone else seems to be weighing in on the dress: it's a close thing, but I like the dress not chosen slightly better as i find the black skirt jarring, particularly with your coloration at this season. But seriously, its a close thing because the longer length suits your tall-girl proportions.

  7. Dear Stana,

    I just tried on my houdstooth suit jacket with a slim, knee-length black skirt, with classic black patent-leather pumps. The ensemble works well! I got the idea to try this combination from your houndstooth-upper/black-lower dress.

    Tonight, I'll be wearing a precious satin chiffon LBD (Little Black Dress) to my support/social groups holiday GNO (Girls Night Out) dinner. I can't wait!