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.


  1. I have shared much the same experiences as you and have nothing but respect for Caitlyn Jenner. I watched her series, the documentaries, read the book and saw her become Caitlyn in front of millions of people - which took more guts than I possess.

    She is only human - a fact that haters seem to overlook and regardless of how one feels about her, she has done more to bring Trans-awareness to the masses than anyone I can recall.

  2. Look forward to reading your review Paula.

    A belated

    Merry Christmas


  3. Wow, even though I came of age in the 1980s, I could have written that. Ransacking the tabloids (my parents must have really though I was in to aliens and celebrity gossip). Watching the talk shows. Readings transgender bios at the library but never checking them out. The wonderful birth of the internet. So close to my story. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Julie M ShawDecember 26, 2017

    I also look forward to your review - I trust your opinion and appreciate your insights.

  5. Paula
    You make excellent points. It did hurt to see all of the abuse that was directed at Caitlyn...much of it from the trans community and quite a bit of it from the left and from partisan Democrats. It seemed like she took as many hits for being a Republican as she did for coming out as transgender. I admire her courage and being of a similar vintage I can absolutely relate to all that you have written in this post.

  6. Paula I to shared many of the same expierences as you, and now as I approach my 67th birthday I am 3 and half years into my gender transition, I did the same thing as you sitting alone in the library reading Conundrum ,Mirror Image and any other material trying to understand why I felt I should have been born female.Thank God for the internet that others will have access to vital information we did not.In 4 months I hopefully will be the person I always should have been thanks to the skilled surgeon that will do mt GRS

  7. I think all of us who are of a "certain age" can relate to this, especially those of us who transitioned later in life. I may not share her wealth, her politics or her athletic prowess, but I can still feel her pain.