After a hard life and nearly dying in the great outdoors, Aurora’s getting awfully used to fluffy pillows. But she sure does still look pissed off, doesn’t she?
After a hard life and nearly dying in the great outdoors, Aurora’s getting awfully used to fluffy pillows. But she sure does still look pissed off, doesn’t she?
I’m really disgusted by the fact that once again, Canada is hunting those adorable baby seals. What is the fucking point? Does anyone really need seal fur that much? I doubt it.
Becca and Dixie are a crossdresser & wife combination that are hard to beat. Both of them are committed to unity within the trans community as well as having alliances with the larger LGBT community. They run the Eureka En Femme Getaway (which is one of our favorite events) as well as the online group A Crossdresser’s Secret Garden and its website.
< Sis Becca
1. How did you come to start running the Eureka En Femme Getaway?
The idea of the Getaway actually started with our wedding – we were married in the Beckham Cave house in Jasper Arkansas and had 4 other couples join us (crossdressers and their wives), as well as a TS friend of ours from Florida. We were talking one night and someone mentioned we should do this more often. We started tossing ideas around and Becca mentioned Eureka Springs, thinking mainly because of its diversity and acceptance of the Gay community, it would be the perfect place to give it a shot.
A few weeks later Becca and I, along with another couple, took a trip to Eureka Springs and looked at the hotels there. The few that were in the downtown area were either too small, too costly, or not accepting. We walked into the Basin Park and after just a short talk with Misty, the hotel’s events coordinator, knew we had found a home. We signed a contract with her for 20 rooms. We got in the car and headed home and thought, WHAT have we done! WE do not KNOW 20 crossdressing couples, how in the heck will we fill the rooms! The small Tri-Ess group we belonged to at the time only had about 10 active members and those were husbands and wives, so assuming all would attend that is only 5-6 rooms out of 20. It was then that I (Dixie) decided to build the En Femme Getaway website with the hopes that we could fill the 20 rooms we contracted for. I worked furiously posting the Getaway on any and every TG website and online group I could find on the internet. By the time all was said and done, we had sold not 20 but 27 of the rooms (which was all we could get as the others had been booked!) So in the Spring of 2002 the very first Eureka! En Femme Getaway event was underway.
Everyone seemed to enjoy their time there so much, they were asking WHEN the next one would beâ€¦â€¦ Next one? We had not thought any further than then this one! Becca and I talked about it and thought â€˜OK letâ€™s give this a shot,’ so we planned one for the Fall of 2002, contracted with the hotel for all the rooms, and sold out. Since that time we have held the event twice a year (the only TG event to do that) and have sold out each and every time. This spring will be our 9th event, and many of those that attend have been back several times, with some of them having attended all 9 events!
Our first guest Speakers were Linda and Cynthia Phillips, who were instrumental in helping Becca in the early days. They were the originators of the first TG event (that we know of) – the Texas Tea Party. Since the first Event in the Spring of 2002, we have been blessed with many wonderful speakers: Helen & Betty, Lacey Leigh, Gina Lance, and Peggy Rudd to name a few.
What do you think are the best parts of it?
The people – seeing the joy and excitement on their faces as they step out of the hotel. Many of our guests have NEVER been out of the closet. The Getaway event was their first time to actually get out and enjoy themselves. The Getaway is quite unlike other event – we donâ€™t have a plethora of seminars to attend that only tend to lead to a closet inside a closet. We encourage the girls to get out on the town and have FUN! After all, isnâ€™t that what it is all about, getting out, having fun and being yourself?
Family. The Getaway has been described as a â€œFamily Reunionâ€, and I think that is exactly what it is. I look forward to each Getaway and the chance to see â€˜familyâ€™ members again.
I decided to add a new category, for Relationships/Partners, so that it’s more easy to find relevant info in my blog archives.
After months of asking the wrong people, I finally asked one of the right people: the incomparable Chi Chi Valenti, who went to New Orleans this past Mardi Gras with Krewe York to show support for our sister city. Since Betty & I weren’t able to go as we planned to, I asked her if there’s anyone down there doing artsy/queer stuff that some of you might want to help fund.
So take your pick, and donate!
#13 Support the Day of Silence.
Our friends Zoe & Kat found this in their organic eggs this morning. I had no idea she was so busy. And I don’t know why I’ve ever had to buy eggs if she can lay them. Sheesh.
We’re back from Meriden, CT, where we had a lovely time at the COS Banquet. Especial thanks to Staci for inviting us back, and to Diana who picked us up/dropped us off at the train station.
I would post the speech I gave except that as usual, I delivered a different talk than I wrote beforehand. I got at the same themes, but I was on cold meds. So I also learned: just read the speech when you’re on cold meds. I’m afraid I came off as far less organized and direct than usual, though I still received some nice compliments. Betty says I didn’t suck, but I didn’t meet my usual standards.
This cold sucks, for the record. But it’s slowly getting better.
Betty got the usual questions about her dosages, and I had my usual night of having some nice one-on-one conversations with people who attended. It’s really the part of being me I enjoy the most, talking with people about their own experiences, stuff they’re having trouble with, or meta conversations about the larger trans community. Still, I left (again) with the impression that COS is a cool organization that gives its members a lot of support; I hope they continue to thrive, and if you’re in the area, I recommend you say hello – even if it’s just for the social outings to dinner, etc.
The other thing I learned is that I love trains. Well I re-learned that, really. My hatred/fear of planes has made me feel very vulnerable, but also very restricted. But there’s Amtrak – and in some ways, this trip reminded me that I can still travel – it might take longer, but I can, without horrible fear and anxiety attacks. Which is, you know, a good thing. Besides, it’s great for writing, and listening to music, and for actually seeing the country you’re travelling through.
Betty and I are off to the Connecticut Outreach Society’s Annual Banquet tonight, where I’ll be giving the post-dinner speech. We’re pleased to be going again, because we really enjoyed ourselves the first time I spoke at this event, in 2004. You’d think they’d have had enough of me by now, but my guess is that they want to know if I’ve gotten any better since then!
We also made the smart move to take the train. I love trains about as much as I hate cars and planes. So it’ll be nice to stare out the window, each of us with our headphones on, and read, and write, and stare out the window.
Our thanks to those at COS for having us again.
No, we’re not kidding. Endymion is one huge cat, all 18 lbs of him.
First, let me say that i thought your book < My Husband, Betty > was excellent. I’m not a crossdresser myself and had figured that out before i read your book, but since a friend of mine’s picture was featured in it, i simply had to buy the book. It turned out to be a pretty fair description of the crossdressing world that i had seen in my brief and peripheral experience of it. At least, that’s my opinion.
You wrote: “it always struck me as ironic that VP, who put these standards & membership rules in place, prefers she-male porn and is living full-time as a woman – and has been for many years.”
Meanwhile….. On doing some internet research on crossdressers who use non-over-the-counter hormones (the rationale of this puzzled me) i came across the above quotation. Who is the VP you are referring to? I know Virginia Prince is a “transgenderist”, but i always assumed her tastes were of a rather vanilla variety. Do you know if she also uses hormones? If not, does she have a position on their use by crossdressers. She has a rather perscriptive personality on most such issues, so I’m just curious.
Yes, I was referring to Virginia Prince with that shorthand of VP.
From what I know – Virginia used hormones for herself until she got the breasts she wanted. Then, because estrogen disrupted her sex drive and/or functionality, she quit taking them. That said, she does live full-time as a woman and has for many, many years now – more than she lived presenting as a man at this point. In some ways, she’s like a transsexual who didn’t have bottom surgery.
If you want to know the whole scoop, you need to get Richard Docter’s book about her, From Man to Woman. That’s where I got the information about her liking she-male porn; she even admitted that if she were young now, that’s probably what she’d be doing. She was infamously oversexed.
I don’t know if she ever had a “position” on crossdressers using hormones, but I’ve met quite a few now who simply want breasts. Some of them use hormones to get them – and then “bind” for their male lives. In some cases, that kind of “treatment” is even recommended, to relieve body dsyphoria and gender role dysphoria by enabling the CDs to pass more easily when they do dress.
Like I said in the book, the definitive line between crossdressers and transsexuals is not so definitive. Often the distinction made is whether the person presents as female part of the time (= crossdresser) or all the time (=transsexual). Others make the distinction with body modifications – ie, hormone use and/or surgery. But there are plenty of transsexuals who opt not to have surgery, or who maintain male identities for their professonal life, & all sorts of other combinations. Still another distinction that’s been made (& one that I think is the least valid, to be honest) is that for crossdresser’s it’s sexual, and for transsexuals it isn’t.
This stuff is getting murkier & murkier every day, what with the internet & hormones being easily gotten, and according to some researchers, the largest category of people have always been the ones who don’t fit the “classic transsexual” or “classic crossdresser” definition.
Thanks for writing, and for the praise.
I’m currently reading Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk – which I highly recommend – and I’ve just gotten to the section about Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling and Jayne (then Wayne) County – and from one observer’s pov, they didn’t care if people knew they were born male.
According to Leee Childers:
To me, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn and the rest of them were the most glamourous people. They weren’t drag quens. They weren’t crazy. These were just people who lived twenty-four hours in dresses and old ladies’ shoes . . . (Holly) didn’t really care whether other people knew she was a man or a woman or a Martian.
The stove immediately became coated with zip wax from them zipping their faces, because in those days you zip-waxed your beard, and what it achieved wasn’t a feminine look.
You took hot, molten wax, put it on your face, let it dry, and then grabbed it and pulled it off. So what it did was rip out your beard by the roots, which made your face swell up all red, bloated, ugly. Then they’d put this Woolworth’s makeup on, because that was all they could afford – this Woolworth’s orange makeup all over their red faces and then go out in pubic! No one thought they were women, no one thought they were men! No one knew what they were! And they dressed in old-lady dresses. This old lady died next door to us, and Jackie walked the ledge from the window to her window and broke into her apartment to steal all her clothes. Those were the clothes that Jackie wore, the dead old lady’s dresses!
Holly just wore anything. She’d just wrap a sheet around her. In fact, Holly got in trouble with the welfare people. She was on welfare, everyone was. She would show up at the welfare office to get her welfare check in ostrich feathers and false eyelashes. One day they took her into an office and said, “Sire, this is the welfare office. You’re showing up in evening gowns and ostrich feathrs. The other welfare recipients are getting very upset about this.”
Holly said, “But me some jeans, I’ll wear them, otherwise I’ll spend my money as I please, and I please to spend it on ostrich feathers.”
– Please Kill Me, p. 91
Ah, NYC in the late 70s. I’m not sure there’s anything an artsy, proto-punk junkie speedfreak sub subculture wouldn’t forgive.
There have been two recent break-ups (three, if you count Chrissy’s recent news) on the MHB message boards, which I’m sure have left a lot of people who read/post on them a little less than optimistic. Unfortunately, two other couples we know are probably on the verge of splitting. Unfortunately, breakups are very regular news for us.
It’s one of the downfalls of the trans community, and one of the reasons I find it hard to extend myself to partners, especially. The trans person remains trans – and after a break, often returns to the community. (Lots of trans people only find the community after the breakup of a relationship, as well.) But the partner is free, of course, to go on their way – and leave all this stuff behind, which is what they usually do. I’ve invested in so many partners who became friends, who after a while of trying to keep in touch, faded out of my life after fading out of their tranny’s.
But the good thing is that very often both parties find some kind of happiness with other people, after a time. Some days it can seem that the statistics are very, very bad specifically for us, but it is still true that half of all marriages dissolve, not just trans ones.
A longitudinal study of marriage find that the happiness people experience with marriage dips after the “I do” and for four years after that, then plateaus until years 8-10 (the so-called “seven year itch”). Not good news, but still it’s better knowing than having something like that bite you in the ass, right? And the message couldn’t be better timed, for me, since Betty and I will be celebrating our 8th anniversary this April (and our 5th wedding anniversary this July).
I especially liked this bit:
”Research shows it’s not how much you love each other that predicts the success of a marriage, but how you handle the problems that come along in life,” he said. ”Happily married couples view problems as ‘us against the problem.’ They identify themselves as a team.”
Which for me is very fitting for those of us dealing with transness, and which, to beat a dead horse, is another good reason for the trans person not to refer to it as a “gift” – especially if that’s not the way the partner feels about it. A difference of opinion, in this case, might rob a couple of one type of comraderie that they might really, really need.
But in the meantime, I’d love to have a bunch of you post here with how long you & your partner have been together, to give some of the folks out there a glimmer of much-needed hope.
For us, eight years and counting. You?
#12 Ask Your Local Film Festival to Show Trans Themed Movies and then Go See Them.
The other day, just for fun, Betty and I popped our heads into a shoestore around 14th Street – not the DSW, the other one. I had envied Tom’s shoes that night at Yale, and all of my own shoes are very very scrappy-looking indeed, which is fine for daily wear, but I’ve always believed one should have at least one pair of shoes good enough for church.
I found a sharp pair of Kenneth Coles – square toe, visible stitching – and was told first that they were men’s shoes. When I didn’t scare so easily, the clerk told me they only started at men’s size 7 which is at least a women’s size 8.
[sigh] I’m a women’s 7 & 1/2, max, usually a 7. [/sigh]
So I went to the women’s section of Kenneth Cole – just for shits & giggles, since I knew what I’d find – and found all these… scrawny shoes. Thin little ballet slipper shoes with thin soles or thin heels or both. It made me sad. There wasn’t enough shoe to any of them. I miss the era of unisex, urban shoes.
But, still optimistic, I went online and checked that shoe behemoth zappos.com. Women’s shoes : Oxfords revealed about 15 pairs, not all of which were actually Oxfords. I tried Men’s : Oxfords and found plenty, but nearly all of them started, like Ken Cole’s, at size 7. The ones that didn’t were either extraordinarily expensive or looked a little too much like the shoes an out-of-touch mom might buy her teenage son for his confirmation – or a funeral. And even he’d have the good sense to not like them.
At long last I gave in and checked ebay, where I bid on (and won) a pair of stand issue, unisex, black DMs. For $5.50. I bid and won another, slighly different pair, for $9. That will hold me for a couple of years, no doubt – the shoes I wear most often I bought before I met Betty. (We’re celebrating our 8th anniversary this April.)
And crossdressers wonder why I don’t like to talk about shoes. For me, shoe shopping is often a hostile universe, where my requests are so often met with comments like “these only have a small heel” or “but it’s not much pink.” As a kid, I wanted the round-toed sneakers the boys wore, not those pointy tennies girls were supposed to wear. Ah, to un-dainty my dainty feet. At least Betty & I got to laugh over the fact that if I ever transitioned, my feet would be my “tell.” Ironically, I grew up thinking I had very large feet, because – c’mon, you can guess this one – I had older brothers who convinced me I did. When I was 25 or so, I actually said, “I know I have big feet” to a shoe salesman, who then asked how tall I was. When I answered (5’6″) he looked at me like I was from another planet. “Those are small feet, for your height,” he said simply.
A recent comment to a not-so-recent blog post required a thoughtful response. The subject was my dislike of the term “gender gifted” and while Michele pointed out some excellent reasons to prefer the term, I’m not an easy mind to change.
So let me explain a little moreso why I think the term is inappropriate, if not inexact.
I suppose there are a few reasons I think the way I do about the term “gender gifted.” One of them is that I think positivity-phrasing can often delude people in terms of the difficulty involved, and I don’t think that’s good for a few reasons: 1) the general public shouldn’t think it’s easy/a choice to be trans; 2) trans people should be aware of what they’re getting into when they open that Pandora’s Box; and 3) trans people need to be aware of what their partners, family, & friends may go through as a result of their transness.
I want to stress that I don’t believe it needs to be as simple as “it’s either a blessing or a curse.” Fire is both. Anger is both. Lust is both. Parents, even, are both. I can’t choose, and won’t.
But mostly I think what we’re coming up against is a sensibility difference: I find it easier to get through the world by knowing when my glass is half-empty, so I can start figuring out how I’m going to fill it. Others prefer to see it half-full until it’s empty. You can call me a worrywart (which I am), or the “pulls no punches” type, but either way I think that’s the real difference between what’s being said.
I think it’s been too long that people have considered transpeople crazy, reckless, or just out of touch with reality. And most people – if faced with any decision that might require the loss of job, partner, and home; a change of every piece of ID; tens of thousands of dollars of surgery and/or hormone maintenance – would say, that’s a f*** of a lot to go through for anything, much less a gift. So the whole idea of calling it “gifted” rings false for anyone who isn’t trans; remember, we’re not inside your heads and can’t (and probably won’t) ever understand any anything that would motivate a person to go through so much. And you do go through that much, whether you transition or not. – I assume that’s one part we can’t disagree on, yes?
To me, using the term “gender gifted” is much like being the kind of person who stands in a doorway when it’s raining and is thankful that the flowers are getting a good long drink. They may be honest, they may be sweet, they may love flowers. But the other people in that doorway who have been kept from getting to work, or home, or wherever they’re supposed to be, will think that person is just a little too out of touch, and a little well – touched, as well.
It doesn’t mean they’re wrong; it just means that their perspective may be perceived as a little left of center – which is okay on its own. I have no doubt that transfolks need upbeat types around to get through a day (or a life). I don’t think a unified message is necessary; I think the trans community needs its many voices, and many perspectives, in order to get everyone what they need.
It seems we’ve made it to podcast… a Detroit-based podcaster and blogger reviewed My Husband Betty recently (and her advice to people near death is very, very funny, & unfortunately, very close to the mark for many people). You can listen online or download the mp3.
I’m a little upset that they (Lifetime, and Sony Pictures) have chosen a male actor for the role of Gwen Araujo. I just don’t get the point of it – why not have a girl play her? Gwen did not experience 20 years of testosterone, and she never lived as a man at all. Maybe as a boy, but even that – very briefly. Shoot, she didn’t get to live long at all, much less as either gender.
Not only does it make me sad but it frustrates me, too. I just think, after all she went through, we might have given her that. But of course, not everyone agrees with me.
The guy they cast may do a good job, but still.
Years ago I wrote a paper about how I was tired of books about women where the heroine of the story died at the end. I think I’d just read Chopin’s The Awakening, but it could have been lots of others. When do strong women get to live? was the final line of the paper, and now, (ahem) years later, I find myself asking the same thing about transpeople in movies.