Friday, July 26, 2019

Outreach Memories

Doing outreach at Southern Connecticut State University
Doing outreach at Southern Connecticut State University

For over a dozen years, I performed outreach at various colleges and universities in Connecticut including a regular twice-a-year gig at Southern Connecticut State University for the Human Sexuality class taught by Professor Anna Schildroth. Anna left the University about the same time I retired, so I lost that outreach opportunity and have not been doing much outreach since then.

What's "outreach?"

It is an attempt to educate and enlighten non-transgender people about what it means to be transgender. Typically, we accomplish this by giving a brief autobiography and then answering questions from the students to clarify and expand upon what the students may already know or upon what we stated in our biographies.

Here are some of the more memorable questions I have answered doing outreach.

Q: Are you married?

A: Yes.

Q: ...to a woman?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have any children?

A: I have a 30-something daughter, who is very supportive.

Q: Where do you go out when you go out as a woman?

A: The mall, restaurants, museums, shows, etc.

Q: Do you crossdress when you have sex with your wife?

A: Never

Q: Why do you have your nails done only to go out once or twice a month?

A: I wear pre-glued, stick-on nails that take about 5 minutes to apply.

Q: How did you pick your female name? (This is probably the most asked question.)

A: It is a female version of my male name.

Q: What do you do when someone stares at you or reacts negatively to you?

A: I try to disarm them with a smile.

Q: What do you do when you are at a bar and a guy hits on you?

A: I say I am not interested and point to my wedding ring.

Q: Which bathroom do you use?

A: I always use the ladies' room.

Q: Did you have a hard time learning to walk in heels?

A: No, I took to heels like a duck takes to water.
.
Q: Don't you worry that your voice gives you away when you are out in public?

A: Usually my voice is not an issue. (By the way, my voice is not deep and I am soft-spoken even in male mode. In female mode, I just crank the softness up a few notches. However, I am always working harder to improve my feminine voice.)

(I turned the question around and asked the class, "If you did not know I was a male, do you think my voice would give me away?" Three or four students answered and they said, "No.")

Q: How do you hide your genitalia

A: I wear a panty girdle or Spanx panty to keep my genitalia in check. At one time, I tried a gaff, but discovered that it was very uncomfortable and that my male parts would escape frequently and required regaffing. The panty does a much better job keeping those parts in place and is much more comfortable.

Q: Do you do hormones or have you had surgery?

A: No. (My answer often surprises the students.)

Q: The way you move your hands and gesture is very feminine. Are you doing that intentionally?

A: It is not intentional. (I noticed that I gestured while answering the question and suddenly became aware that my hand gestures were indeed feminine, which gave me pause.)

Q: Do you buy your clothes in a "big" women's store?

A: Not necessarily. I am a size 16 or 18 above the waist and a size 14 or 16 below the waist, so sometimes I find clothes that fit in the "Misses" section and sometimes in the "Women's" section.

Q: What is your sexual orientation.

A: Lesbian.

Q: What would you do if you could do it over again?

A: I would live 24/7 as a woman without hormones and surgery, but I would have electrolysis.

Q: Do you ever feel that you are really a female?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you ever think about living full-time as a woman?

A: I think about it every day.

I don't go fishing for compliments when  I do outreach, but some come my way nonetheless.

A female student loved my hairdo and thought that my wig was my real hair. A pretty student said my makeup looked "fabulous." Another commented that I should teach the females in the class how to apply makeup.

One female student thought I looked good enough to do female impersonation.

Another female student commented how good I looked for my age. Immediately, another female jumped in and said how well I was put together. After that comment, nearly all the females started talking at once, commenting about how nice I looked. I blushed with embarrassment and thanked them for their compliments.

One student commented that my outfit was "cute." That made my day until another student stopped by to say, "You are so pretty!" She was very pretty herself and I was stunned by her compliment.

My most memorable outreach experience occurred four years ago.

After the class, a female student approached me. She said that when I entered the class, she thought I was a woman, not a trans woman, but a born woman.

Thank you, I thought to myself, but then she added that besides thinking I was a born woman, I was also the most beautiful older adult woman that she had ever seen in person!

I thanked her profusely aloud as she examined my presentation up close. She thought I was about 45 years old and she was very surprised when I revealed that I was 60 a the time.

Then she told me something very personal that I will not repeat here. I thought I detected her eyes beginning to well up.

The encounter became so emotional for me that I cannot remember if I gave her hug or not. (If I didn't, I should have.)

Those few minutes with her were priceless to me and I will remember her forever.

By the way, I am available to do outreach. Contact me via e-mail at stana-stana (at-sign) sbcglobal.net





Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper.




Oliver Thornton and Maulik Pancholy
Oliver Thornton and Maulik Pancholy femulating in a 2016 stage production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Why

Marian posted her reaction to the announcement that I was ending this blog. In response, I commented why. Since I never went into those details here, I am repeating my comment now.
Thank you for the very kind words, Marian. 
You are correct: I spent a lot of time producing each blog post... two hours minimum, but more typically three or four hours! When I was working, I usually put the blog together in the morning before work and put the bow and ribbon on it during lunch. It provided a needed break from writing very technical manuals. 
Since I retired, I typically spent the morning putting together each blog post. The three and four hour chunks were more noticeable and it did not provide a needed break from anything... it became a job. And after nearly two years of retirement, I got tired of doing it, so I quit.
I was overwhelmed by the reaction to my quitting. All my regular correspondents had something to say, but what really surprised me were all the strangers who wrote to me saying how important the blog was to them. I had no idea!
So I decided to continue writing the blog on a limited basis. Once or twice a week at the most. And so it goes.
Best Wishes,
Stana


Someday Funnies





Source: Joie
Wearing Joie




Marcie Brown
Marcie Brown, femulator and Femulate reader

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Stymied


Sitting around at the family Independence Day picnic, my daughter asks, "What's wrong with your eye?"

"Huh?" was my comeback as I had not noticed anything wrong with my eye.

My wife looked at my left eye and proclaimed that I had a sty.

Upon arriving home, I checked out my eye in the mirror and confirmed my wife's diagnosis.

Googling sty, I found that "styes will usually heal on their own over the course of a few days to a couple weeks. The best way to treat a stye is to apply warm compresses (a washcloth soaked in warm water) to the affected eyelid for 10-15 minutes three times a day. This will help the pus trapped in the stye to come to the surface of the skin."

Avoid using makeup was also highly recommended.

I nursed the sty with warm compresses and after a week or so, I noticed some improvement, but I must have irritated the sty a few days ago and I am back where I started from.

I found some home remedies on line and am going the coconut oil route. If things don't improve, I have my annual check-up on Tuesday, so I'll bring it up with my doctor then.

Meanwhile, I am avoiding using makeup, eye cream and moisturizer, which has stymied all femulating!





Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe




Christer Lindarw
Christer Lindarw femulates Sweden's Queen Silvia

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Long Live "The Queen"


As a 17-year-old transvestite-in-training, The Queen blew my mind upon its release in 1968.

Here was a film about a womanless beauty pageant at a time when any information about crossdressing was very difficult to find, leaving girls like me who lived out in the boonies to wonder if we were all alone in the world. The Queen indicated otherwise.

Here is the link to Rolling Stone's story about restoration and re-release of this important documentary: The Link.




Source: Intermix
Wearing Jonathan Simkhai (Source: Intermix)




The Queen
Femulating in the 1968 documentary The Queen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

No End in Sight

I thank you for all the emails and comments regarding the end of this blog. They were eye-opening! I had no idea how much this blog meant to so many of you.

So I have decided not to end this blog. Rather, I will write posts on an occasional basis.

With that, I present a lovely poem sent to me by Susan.
Like a welcomed cup of coffee
she started my day
Power on, get on line and see
what Stana has to say
With a passion for fashion
and advice to relate,
she summed it up
with one word she invented: Femulate!
As a blog it was subtle,
no bravado, no alarms
It felt more like a family
We are sisters-in-arms
Now the run is over
All good things must end
Good luck and thank you
I hope I can call you a friend



Source: New York & Company
Wearing New York & Company.




Indiana's Tri-State College in 1911
Femulating at Indiana's Tri-State College in 1911. The girl on the left was voted most likely not to be a civilian. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The End


After 12-1/2 years, I have decided to put an end to this blog. I am tired of writing it, have nothing new to say and want to spend the time doing something else.

It has been an interesting trip. I grew a lot writing the blog and I believe I helped some of you readers to grow, too. And I invented a word, femulate.

My job is done. Goodbye and good luck.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Don't you want to be part of the experience?

When I'm feeling down, feeling a little guilty about my trans-ness, or feeling a little depressed, I think about the following words from Woody Allen's film Hannah and Her Sisters.

One day, a month ago, I really hit bottom. I just felt that in a godless universe I didn't want to go on living.

I happen to own this rifle, which I loaded and pressed to my forehead.
I thought, "I'm gonna kill myself."

Then I thought, "What if I'm wrong? What if there is a God? Nobody really knows."

Then I thought, "No. Maybe is not good enough. I want certainty or nothing."

I remember clearly, the clock was ticking and I was sitting there frozen debating whether to shoot. All of a sudden, the gun went off. I was so tense I inadvertently squeezed the trigger. But I was perspiring so much the gun slid off my forehead and missed me.

Suddenly, neighbors were pounding on the door and the whole scene was just pandemonium. I ran to the door. I didn't know what to say. I was embarrassed and confused.

My mind was racing a mile a minute. I just knew one thing: I had to get out of that house. I had to get out in the fresh air and clear my head. And I remember, I walked the streets. I didn't know what was going through my mind. It all seemed so violent and unreal to me.

I wandered on the Upper West Side. It must have been hours. My feet hurt, my head was pounding. I went into a movie. Didn't know what was playing. I just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and be logical and put the world back into rational perspective.

I went up to the balcony and I sat down. The movie* was one I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and I always loved it. I'm watching the screen and I started getting hooked on the film.

And I started to feel: "How can you think of killing yourself? Isn't it stupid? Look at all the people on-screen. They're funny, and what if the worst is true? There's no God, you only go around once, that's it. Don't you want to be part of the experience? It's not all a drag."

And I'm thinking, "I should stop ruining my life searching for answers and just enjoy it while it lasts."

And after, who knows? Maybe there is something.

I know "maybe" is a slim reed to hang your life on, but that's the best we have. And then I started to sit back and I actually began to enjoy myself.

* Duck Soup starring The Marx Brothers




Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper.





Janek Traczyk femulates Lana Del Ray on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo (Your Face Sounds Familiar).

Monday, July 1, 2019

Not in Hot Water

No hot water!

Electric water heater is only 3 years old, so I called the company that sold and installed the unit to report the problem.

Service guy shows up and believes that the bottom heating element in the hot water heater is not working and he will be back later to replace it. He also mentions that water is flowing out of the hot water heater. So?

A different service guy shows up with the replacement heating elements. Since they have to replace the lower element, they might as well replace the upper element while they are at it.

Service guy is unable to proceed because he does not have a socket wrench large enough to remove the heating element and he will be back later with a larger socket wrench. He also mentions that water is flowing out of the hot water heater. So?

A third service guy shows up with the largest socket wrench and replaces the heating elements. One element has some calcium deposits on it, but otherwise the old elements tested out OK with his ohmmeter!  He also mentions that water is flowing out of the hot water heater. So?

Still no hot water, so I call again and the head service guy said he would send a service guy out to replace the thermostats in the water heater.

A fourth service guy shows up and immediately notices that water is flowing out of the hot water heater, which indicates there is a leak. The hot water heater is fine, but just can't keep up with the water flowing out and thus, the lack of hot water throughout the house.

As a result, the hot water heater is constantly running, which causes the water pump to constantly run in order to provide cold water to the hot water heater. Which results in an electric bill that is three times the normal monthly electric bill! (I had been going round and round for two months trying to figure out why my electric bill had tripled and now I finally had a solution.)

The service guy determines that the leak is in the hot water line to the kitchen sink. The line runs under the house, which is built on a slab. After 30 years, the house's settling probably broke the pipe. After considering all the options, he plans to run a new hot water line through the ceiling to the kitchen sink.

I await his arrival Monday morning as I type this.

Needless to say, all my femulating the past few days has been in my head.









Janek Traczyk femulates Anna Wyszkoni on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo (Your Face Sounds Familiar).