Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year, Eve (and all the rest of you girls)!

Source: Rachel Zoe
Wearing Rachel Zoe (Source: Rachel Zoe)

This photo, taken at the Dayton Hamvention in May 2014, is my most popular photo on flickr. Why? Is it the dress, the hair, the legs, the figure? It's certainly not the surroundings. Go figure!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Covered in the Rolling Stone

Times Square, circa 1955 (Source: Stana's NYC postcard collection)

The Good and the Bad

"Transgender America: 10 Best and Worst Moments of 2017" is an article that appears in the new issue of Rolling Stone.

Another article in the same issue, "Tallying the Damage of Trump's Presidency in 2017," recaps the current administration's War on Transgenders.

Better Mirror Selfies

Juan of The New Fashion fame sent along the following tip for improving mirror selfies.

About the "mirror selfies" issue you've been addressing in a couple of posts, there's still another problem which bothers me in addition to the image being flipped horizontally. Actually, it's even more annoying, I dare say, and it's the fact that the image will be distorted with the upper part of your body, which is closer to the lens, looking all blown up, while your legs come up skinny and your feet minute. You can clearly appreciate the distortion at the edges of the mirror; they don't appear to be parallel to each other, but rather crooked, converging towards the bottom.

Now, there's this app called SKRWT (which reminds me of "skirt", which is a cool thing!)​ that can easily correct the defects. It works on iPhones, iPads and Androids.

Its extremely simple to use and very practical for those of us who are neither professional photographers nor computer wizards. But, it is easy to over-do it, so you have to be careful or you will end up with enormous feet and a tiny head... LOL.

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Source: Australian War Memorial
A femulator performs for the Australian troops in North West Borneo in 1945 (Source: Australian War Memorial)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Watch the Birdie!

Hey Stana,

Have you ever considered a segment on self-photography?  You do an awesome job!


👠 👠 👠

I take photos of myself nearly every time I present as a woman. I do it for two reasons:

To feed this blog. (The blog is hungry for photos and it must be fed.)

To see if the outfit I am wearing is good, bad or ugly. (Photos are more revealing than a mirror. What I see in the mirror often looks different in a photograph. Photographing my fashion faux pas allows me to make adjustments, for example, put on a girdle so I don’t look so fat.)

Self-photography is an art. I probably discard 4 out of 5 of the self-photos I take because there is something technically wrong with them (usually related to focus, framing, lighting or worse, because I look fat).

I use my iPhone 6s for most of my self-photography. The quality of the iPhone photos is very good in my opinion (good enough for me) and it is hard to beat the convenience.

I use the self-timer function in the iPhone's Camera app for a lot of my self-photography. Set the timer for 10 seconds, click the Camera's shutter button, walk into the Camera's field of vision, pose, smile, watch the birdie and wait for the Camera to snap a shot.

In a pinch, I lean the iPhone against something to take a self-timed photo. But most of the time, I use a small tripod designed to hold the iPhone. The tripod has bendable legs, so I can use it in diverse settings.

Instead of using the self-timer, I recently purchased a bluetooth shutter remote to trigger the Camera app. Using the remote, I don't have to click the Camera's trigger button, walk into the Camera's field of vision, pose, smile and watch the birdie all within 10 seconds. Instead, I can take my time and remotely trigger the Camera whenever I am ready for my close-up.

That covers the hardware, but what about the software, that is, the model in my selfies?

I learned that my best photos are ones in which I smile.

Over the years, I have seen thousands of photos of transgirls and I can never understand why some girls look so unhappy in their photos. They are living their dream, although sometimes only momentarily and they should be very happy about it, yet some of them look like they just downed a spoonful of castor oil!

So, smile and smile naturally, not in a forced manner. I used to have a forced smile in my photos, but I worked on it and now my smiles look natural and the results are much better!

I am also becoming more adept at posing for my photos.
  • I tilt my chin up slightly and extend my neck forward to avoid the double chin.
  • Instead of a straight-on shot, I turn my shoulders slightly to the left or right. And pose with one leg in front of the other, for example, by crossing my legs at the ankle.
  • With legs crossed, sometimes I will put one hand on my hip. This elbow-jut pose results in a ladylike ballerina effect.
  • To accentuate my legs, I thrust one hip to the side, stretch out my opposing leg as far as it will go and point my toes.
Taking selfies as you pose in a mirror is tricky.
  • For starters, shut off the flash, otherwise your selfie will be nothing but flash and that is not the result you want unless you are Barry Allen.
  • Take mirror selfies while looking at your reflection in the mirror rather than looking at the trigger button on your smart phone. This is simple with the iPhone because you can shoot a photo by clicking one of the iPhone's volume buttons, which is a lot easier than trying to click the virtual trigger button on the iPhone's screen.
  • Before showing off your mirror selfies, use photo-editing software to flip the image horizontally so that you look natural and not the opposite, which is what a mirror displays.
I am a work-in-progress and so is my self-photography, but practice, practice, practice and someday my photos will do justice to a complete woman.

(This post is an update of a post that originally appeared in June 2015.)

Source: Pinterest
Wearing Banana Republic (Source: Pinterest)

Caprice, a 1950's professional femulator in Paris

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fixing Mirror Selfies

I have not seen this mentioned anywhere else, so I will mention it as it crosses my mind again.

Years ago, when I started taking mirror selfies, I liked the results, but I always thought something was wrong with the photo. I did not look quite right.

A mirror selfie depicts the opposite of reality. What appears on the left in a mirror selfie is actually on the right in the real world and vice versa.

Since no face is perfectly symmetrical, that is, the right and left sides of a face are not exactly the same, it makes perfect sense why a mirror selfie does not look right. That's because the face is flipped horizontally from how it really appears.

To fix a mirror selfie so that it more closely reflects reality, use a photo manipulation app to flip the image horizontally. (In Photoshop, select Image > Image Rotation > Flip Canvas Horizontal to fix a mirror selfie.)

The accompanying photos show a mirror selfie before and after flipping the photo horizontally.

Now my mirror selfies look quite right!

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Juan of New Male Fashion fame
Juan of The New Fashion fame is not a femulator per se. Juan is fashion-diverse and believes that what's good for the goose is good for the gander and vice versa. Visit Juan's blog to see for yourself.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Faith DaBrooke
Faith DaBrooke posing for a selfie in front of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

I take a lot of selfies.

I started taking selfies about the same time I started dressing en femme from head to toe. I wanted to see how others would see the female me rather than how I saw myself in that full-length mirror mounted on my mother's closet door.

Self-photography provided the means to do that, but it was expensive back in the good old days because I had to use real film. I had to buy film to take my selfies and then pay to have my selfies processed. I also had to buy flash bulbs to take good selfies indoors.

And then there was the potential for being embarrassed and outed if the person processing the film realized that the girl posing in my selfies was actually me! I wonder how many femulators built photo darkrooms in their basements to avoid being outed?

Eventually, I worked around the problem by using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. Polaroid film was more expensive, but I did not have to take the photos of my "girlfriend" anywhere to be processed. The expense did prevent me from taking mass quantities of selfies. Then the Apple QuickTake digital camera entered my life and changed everything.

Quality-wise, the QuickTake was a step backward from the Polaroid, but the film was now "free" and I could take as many selfies as I wanted, at least until the camera's battery ran down.

And I did take a LOT of selfies! Thousands to be exact.

As digital cameras improved, I graduated from the QuickTake to the Canon PowerShot. And as the Canons improved, I upgraded my PowerShots and currently own my third, a Canon PowerShot SD940 IS. It is full-featured, takes excellent photos, and I thought it was the cat's meow until I started taking photos with my iPhone.

Comparing photos taken during the same photoshoot with the Canon and the iPhone, the iPhone does a better job in my opinion. Or should I say, I do a better job taking photos with the iPhone than I do with the Canon. Perhaps if I was a better or more knowledgable photographer, I could do a better job with the Canon, but for now, the iPhone is my go-to camera.

Sister blogger, Faith DaBrooke of Adventures of a Gender Rebel fame, takes a lot of selfies, too. Viewing her selfies, she seems to be an expert at it. After her latest selfies knocked my pantyhose off (see the photo above for an example), I asked her what tools she uses.

Faith replied, "These photos were taken with a smart phone. And yes, I use a tripod, a little one. If you go on amazon there are a bunch of options. Mine is about 8" high with bendy legs and it came with a remote."

Those are the same tools I use, but if you ask me, Faith's selfies are much better than mine.

Almost all of my selfies are taken in my home where the lighting and scenery is not optimal. I need to do remote selfie photoshoots, but I have been shy about taking selfies out in the great outdoors. (What will people think?)

I think I need to get out more.

Source: Bluefly
(Source: Bluefly)

Candy Darling
Candy Darling

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

We Are Caitlyn

By Paula Gaikowski

Being transgender in the 60’s, 70’s, 80s and 90’s, information was a scarcity. I’d devour any bit I could find. In the 60’s, I’d scour the tabloids in the back of Maybrook Sweetshop for scandalous stories. In the 80’s, I’d tune into Sally Jesse or Donahue to listen to crossdressers and transsexuals tell their story.

Once in the 80’s, I sat furtively in the library reading Jan Morris’s biography Conundrum afraid to take it out for fear that “they” might know. In the back of that book, I remember finding a folded note; on it were four words “You are not alone.” A wave of emotions rolled over me. Someone else shared my problem and understood.

Then came the Internet and a community of like-minded persons who educated, supported and comforted each other.

Daily I read Femulate and other transgender sites. I am always eager to learn more about the transgender experience.

So then came Caitlyn Jenner. If she had rolled onto the headlines in the 1980’s, I would have bought her book and read it secretly in the parking lot at work. However, there was the Vanity Fair cover, her book and her television show and I stood there like a scared middle schooler at her first dance frozen.

Caitlyn Jenner is a controversial figure in our community, however, that wasn’t what was keeping me from picking up her book.

I was baffled myself.

I’ve now read her book and now I know why.

Every time I saw her picture and every time I heard a joke or transphobic comment, it judged and criticized me. She was the same age and had lived through the same struggle; she could have been the one who wrote that note. So when people mocked or insulted her they insulted and mocked me.

Reading her book was like a reading about myself, sisters’ clothes, over-compensating, denial, hidden makeup and clothes, sneaking out dressed, etc.

I hope to get some time after the holidays to review her book and share my thoughts with my sisters here at Femulate.

There’s a lot to think about.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Finalists in the Queen of Dhwayah
Finalists in the Queen of Dhwayah transgender beauty contest in Kochi, India.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Better than a BB Gun

Source: ShopBop
Wearing Parker dress, Wolford tights, Lulu Frost earrings, Serpui Marie clutch and Aquazzura pumps (Source: ShopBop).

Daniel Bilic
Daniel Bilic femulates on the Croatian version of television's Your Face Sounds Familiar.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wishing To Be A Girl

When I replied to Paula's comment regarding yesterday's image of a young boy telling Santa, "I wish I was a girl," it occurred to me that I do not recall ever wishing I was a girl. I just wanted to do the things that girls did, for example, act like a girl, play like a girl, dress like a girl, etc.

Acting like a girl was easy because I did not have to act. I acted like a girl naturally. And the bullies could not convince me to act otherwise.

Playing like a girl was easy too because I had a sister who was happy to have a playmate for girl play.

Dressing like a girl came later, but once I found the courage to dress like a girl, I was all in.

So I did not wish to be a girl because I was already living as a girl. Yes, I was a boy, but I did not let that stop me from being the best girl I could be.

Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Santa's helpers
Boys can be Santa's helpers, too!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Girl's Day Out

Tuesday, this girl went out for the day.

After I did my face and my hair and slipped into my undies, I had second thoughts about the outfit I had put together on Monday and began formulating Plan B.

Hanging in my closet was a hunter green lace dress that I wore to my support group's Christmas party about 25 years ago. It was dressy, not over the top and very suitable for an office Christmas luncheon. I slipped it on and discovered that the lining was falling apart (strike one), the zipper was not working properly (strike two) and it looked like an old dress (strike three). I literally threw it away and went back to Plan A.

After I put on "the outfit," I realized it would have been a mistake if I had not worn it. It made me feel like a million bucks and a few years younger.

The weather was unseasonably warm (in the low 50's), so I was able to wear my blue trench coat instead of a heavy winter coat. Perfect because the trench coat grazed my knees. Although I was very comfortable wearing "the outfit" to the luncheon, I was less comfortable wearing it around the mall and my trench coat would hide "the outfit" while I went shopping before the luncheon.

First stop was the nail salon in the Waterbury mall to buy a gift certificate for my daughter. In the past, I avoided that mall, as well as all the other stores in Waterbury because I spent the first half of my life in Waterbury and I did not want to run into anyone I knew from my male life.

I realize that even if I did run into an acquaintance, they probably would not recognize me, but they might recognize my wheels. My license plate displays my ham radio callsign, so anyone who knows my call (most of my family and friends) might wonder who was the blond driving my car.

But I don't give a damn anymore. If I ran into an old friend or acquaintance, I would say "Hello" rather than run away. Then I  could cross another person off my Coming Out To Do List.

So I went to the mall, found the nail salon, purchased a gift certificate and no one batted an eye. And I did not run into an old friend or acquaintance.

I did not browse the mall because time was of the essence and I had two more stops to make before going to the luncheon.

I drove to Big Lots in Wallingford (the city where I was formerly employed and where the luncheon was being held) to purchase CD/DVD jewel cases. Big Lots has the best price for jewel cases (25 for $5) and since the store was on the way to the luncheon, I stopped by to stock up.

I picked up two packages of jewel cases and went to the cashier to pay up. The cashier was a 20-something fellow and I think he was flustered by my presence. Instead of spouting out the usual, "Were you able to find everything you wanted?," he said something that I did not understand, so I asked, "What did you say?"

He replied, "I meant to say 'Were you able to find everything you wanted?'"

I don't know if he was flustered because I was a crossdresser or a ravishing beauty or a ravishing crossdresser. Whatever... I was amused as he settled down and handled the rest of the transaction in a professional and pleasant manner.

I have my car serviced at the dealer where I bought it in Wallingford. Whenever I have my car serviced, the dealer always gives me a coupon for a free car wash.  So after Big Lots, I went to the car wash to use a coupon.

There is only a brief encounter with a human being (to turn in the coupon), so I did not expect any issues and there were none, although the human being I dealt with is the same guy who I have encountered during past car cleansing. Evidently, he did not recognize me, my car or my license plate.

It was now high noon. I was five minutes away from the luncheon location, so I would be fashionably late.

I arrived at the banquet hall, parked my car and as I walked to the entrance, I encountered J, who was also on her way into the hall. I confessed to her that I was nervous and she said I had nothing to be nervous about, but that did not comfort me much.

I entered the hall and almost every seat was full and the contents of every full seat looked up as I removed my trench coat and revealed "the outfit." There was a definite buzz in the air. R, the fellow who organized the luncheon greeted me and pointed out the empty seats that were available. I was always on very good terms with R, so I took the empty seat next to him at his table.

I was the only woman at that table, but I had worked with all the guys at the table for years. In fact, I worked with one fellow at two previous places of employment, so we have known each other for over 30 years. The other fellows were always supportive when I dressed en femme at work for Halloween, so I felt comfortable with the group. As I settled in, one of guys offered to buy me a drink ("A glass of pineau, please"). That never happened when I attended past Christmas luncheons en homme!

One hyphenated word described the luncheon: anti-climatic.

It was as if I showed up in boy mode. Except for J, who said she loved my skirt, no one mentioned "the outfit" or the fact that I was presenting as a woman. Everyone called me "Stan" and socialized with me as they always had in the past.

I was seated at the first table in the room, so everyone had to pass by me to get to the bar and the food. About half the attendees greeted me in one way or another — waving, shaking my hand, giving me a hug, asking me how I like retirement, etc. Folks I have known for a long time stopped by and spent a longer time conversing with me.

A few co-workers confirmed my suspicion that they suspected I was transgender, so it is likely that most of my co-workers shared the same thought. I guess being transgender did not make a difference.

What a great bunch of people I worked with!

Source: Metisu
Wearing Metisu (Source: Metisu)

Jeffrey Donovan
Jeffrey Donovan femulates in the 1997 film Catherine's Grove.