Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Times They Are a-Changin'

By Paula Gaikowski


Those were the words Bob Dylan belted out as baby boomers came of age and began to question the social order, while I at 10-years-old had a secret. The world was erupting outside, a country divided by war, freedom protests, and flower power. With this as my soundtrack, I stood in my room alone and confused, dressed in my sister’s clothes, staring into the mirror trying to make sense of these feelings. The freedom train was rolling, but it would be a long time before transgender people would get on board.

This past weekend was New England autumn at its best. It was cool and the foliage was brilliant the sun shined brightly and the scent of fallen leaves wafted thru the air. As I gathered with old friends at a lakeside cabin, it was exciting to reconnect and hear where life was taking them. One young lady who I had watched grow up over the years was now in grad school studying to be a speech pathologist. She came over for a visit and was enthusiastic and passionate about her chosen career. As she ticked off the different clients she had worked with I listened politely.

I perked up when she said “Perhaps, the best group I worked with were transgender.”

When I heard this I subconsciously thought all eyes would be on me, so I remained unresponsive and kept quiet for fear I might pass some innocent remark that could out me, such as, “I want to be a woman, help me, please!”

In all seriousness, what followed was a thoughtful conversation by the group of about eight people. What struck me was the lack of surprise by those present; hardly a progressive group, they all understood what being transgender meant and seemed genuinely interested in the young woman’s work with them. She even mentioned that this would be a positive addition to her resume because there was a growing demand. One person even mentioned a colleague who had a transgender daughter.

Transgender awareness has turned a corner. In this case professionals such as speech pathologists are receiving training for this recognized condition as part of their standard curriculum and a group of average people listened with encouraging interest. I contrast this with the views of the 1960s when the only terms for transgender persons were derogatory and we were the punch line for off-colored jokes and fodder for tabloids.

It’s encouraging to see all these positive changes and I am glad they happened in my lifetime. I wish they had happened sooner. It’s easy to play the game of “what might have been.” However, I have evolved to a point I never thought possible and have reached a level of self acceptance that gives me peace.

And that brings to mind the words of another 60s anthem.

“You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”





Source: HauteLook

Wearing Alexis.





Manuel Arte femulates Jane Russell and Frankie Kein femulates Marilyn Monroe
at Faces in Santa Monica, California, 1986


  1. Paula,
    As I started to read your post Bob Dylan's "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" was playing. Truly the times have changed and we are about at that point where people are not surprised or derisive of those with gender issues like they were during the time of our youth. While we are "Too soon old while the world is too late smart" we have to take the cards we are dealt.
    I think that the key to moving forward is for more and more people to get to know folks at various points on the gender spectrum. I am sure most people in this country know CDs they just do not know that they are dealing with a CD. There are hundreds of folks that know me and I think that if any of them ever saw me dressed that they would be shocked. Like you when the subject comes up in mixed company I need to be on my alert to not give out any clues. Hopefully that will change some day soon.

    1. Thanks Pat, I moving to an age where I am starting to be reflective and philosophical.

      It's good to be at the point in life where we are and able to see transgender persons come of age

  2. In September you wrote about shoes. As a tall girl, your height, but not as slim, alas, I don't have girl size feet. But I just bought a pair of Barefoot Tess heels in 14 wide that fit my 13C (male) feet so well. At 6'6" in the heels, I can't think of a place where I could wear them all day, but I am sure they would still feel comfortable after 8 hours. I was so happy and they made me feel like a real girl. BFT shoes are available at Long tall Sally and they have some great bargain prices. Ordered another pair of ankle strap heels, could probably wear them on Dancing with the stars and can't wait until they are delivered. these are real girl shoes and not the usual cross dresser type. sorry to ramble on, but it's just so nice a find.

  3. sorry, Didn't think the first comment went through. Didn't mean to gush twice.

  4. Donald

    You have me confused with another gorgeous blonde, I believe it was Stana who wrote about shoes. Although you did stir my thoughts I just actually wore out a pair of shoes, and am in pursuit of a replacement pair, I feel an Femulate article coming on...

  5. We all want to be here, right? -> "I have evolved to a point I never thought possible and have reached a level of self acceptance that gives me peace."

    I love reading in these posts about the different ways this community of people have either achieved some level of peace, or how they are working towards it.

    If everyone were trying to support others as I read every day in your blog and others, we'd be quite a different world. I think we will get there one day :-)

    Keep leading by example ladies!

    1. Jen
      Thanks for the wonderful comment. It's nice to hear my articles are read and have meaning-Paula