Just a quick note especially for those of you who graced me by subscribing to this blog, that I will be changing over to a new blog in the near future. My life has moved in directions unforeseen, and this blog title and direction–while both served me very well up to this point and are still very valid reflections of my journey to this point–are no longer accurate reflections of myself going forward.

When I have the new blog in place I will leave a note here so that, should you choose (and I DO hope you will choose to), you may follow me and the chronicles of my continuing journey.

Because my head’s been in a somewhat directionless place for some time, I haven’t been checking this blog for comments. Someone left me a very poorly written one-liner to the effect that God is going to judge me for my words and “hatfullness”. I can only assume they meant “hatefullness”, since I can’t imagine God cares so much about my choice of bonnet. 🙂

Interestingly, that’s the second comment I’ve received in the past couple of months in this vein. One of my Facebook friends–one of the many I picked up as a result of the time I spent on ChristianWriters.com–informed me that, because I dared opine that God loves His LGBT(etc.) children, and therefore that people should too, that I was preaching “hate and deceit”. Her words didn’t make me angry. They made me sad, for her.

Yes, I am fully aware that God will judge me in my time, thank you very much. He will also judge each and every one else, including you who tell me so. I am prepared to stand before Him on that day, and accept His judgment of me.

Are you?

Peace, my friends, my sisters, my brothers!
-Catherine (formerly Dianna) Rose

Well, I finally did it. I shaved my legs.

Okay, okay…I know to most of you this is old hat or no big deal, but it was a huge deal to me. Altering my appearance was a big cause for anxiety for my ex (with whom I still live, remember), so during the summer months especially, when shorts and trips to the oceanside were likely, I held off.

But the hair on my legs (and in fact everywhere else except my head) was causing *me* anxiety.  I hate my body and facial hair. I see it now and want it gone gone gone. With the onset of autumn in New England, and therefore long pants weather, I thought to myself, “Why not?”

So I took razor and shave gel in hand, and shaved my legs.  What a wonderful, freeing feeling, derived from a simple act!  So much more comfortable (despite razor burn on my inside thighs, which I hope will diminish over time), so much nicer in tights or under my silky slips, or even under my plain old skirts!

But it’s more than just a sensation thing.  Shaving my legs was an act of release for me.  As I ran that razor up my legs, I watched the hair fall away, and with it a tiny part of my masculine side, leaving just a bit more space for my authentic self.

It’s not the removal of the body hair that’s important. It’s the freeing of self that it represents. It’s the feeling of femininity that comes from it. I look at my legs now–nude or in pantyhose or tights–and see just a tiny bit of the real Catherine, who is still not free to be fully herself, but who has found a new way to celebrate who she is.

Every time I shave them now I feel tension leave.  I feel peace. I feel my inner girl stretch her wings–just a little, but it’s enough for now.

-Dianna Catherine Rose

So much has been going on it’s hard to remember and list it all.  Almost exactly a year ago I broke down and told my wife that the crossdressing desires I had felt in my past had not gone away, as I had told her they had. It was not a pretty afternoon.

Following that day, I despaired of saving my marriage, despaired of ever being able to release my feelings around my desire to wear women’s clothes, despaired of pretty much everything.

Slowly, though–oh, so slowly–she has gotten more and more accepting of this side of me.  At the same time, two things have been occurring.  Our marriage–already in jeopardy long before either of us had our crises of identity–has been getting closer to its end.  And I have begun to realize that I am not merely a crossdresser.

All you need to know about the marriage is that we are separated but living in the same house, amicably, and that eventually we will most likely divorce.  My need to express my feminine side is not the cause of the separation. Neither is her (also long buried) need to be with another woman. Yes, she has a girlfriend. I’m cool with it. 🙂

My need to express my feminine side has gotten stronger, the more I’ve been able to indulge it.  This was something I hid even from myself for 40 years.  Had I been able to think about it earlier, I’d have come to the same conclusions long ago. Now that they are finding release, I’m finding that they were stronger than I’d ever suspected.

This summer has seen my ex-wife buying dresses for me, giving me things from her drawers and closet that no longer fit her or that she no longer wants, buying boots and shoes for me, meeting my Sisters, and finally, last Saturday night, seeing me en femme for the first time ever.

I was nervous about this at first, but she assured me she was ready for it, which eased my mind.  I went to my friend’s house to change, and would meet my ex and her girlfriend at the club. When we got there, my friend bought me a shot to soothe my nerves (which I actually didn’t need), then we went into the other room.

My ex and her gf were at the corner of the bar closest the door.  Her gf gave me a big smile and a bigger hug and then my ex looked me over and said “Okay. This is okay. Not bad at all. I can deal with this.”

We talked, we laughed. She called me pretty not once but twice.  My friends talked with my ex and her gf, we laughed and talked some more, and it was a really good, really fun night.

The next day she and I talked about it some more, and she said she felt bad that I couldn’t be myself all the time, but also that I was cute (she used this word three or four times) and clearly happy and comfortable dressed as a woman (she still doesn’t fully understand that I’m more than just a crossdresser, but that’ll come in time, I think). It was the single most uplifting event around us in the past year, for me, anyway.

Also this summer, I told my mother about me, and she has been wonderfully supportive and curious about things.  One of the questions she asked was how long I’ve known. Since about 5 years old, I answered. “Oh good,” she said, “So it was nothing I did.” LOL!  That is so my mom.

Last Sunday she came down for a visit, and we talked for half an hour after everyone else had gone to bed.  She had previously told me she might have named me “Catherine” had I been born a girl. That night she said she had thought of another name she might have given me–her middle name, Elaine.  I think “Catherine Elaine” sounds wonderful, don’t you? 🙂  She does too.

Just before I went to bed, she gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever gotten from her in my life. Then she held me at arms’ length and said “To think I could have been buying girls’ clothes all that time!”. 🙂

I allowed as how she isn’t the only one regretting that.  We both believe there are shopping trips together in our future. 🙂

I wear women’s underwear almost exclusively now, and pantyhose or tights nearly every day. I have ever-so-slightly shaped my eyebrows, and plan to keep them that way.  I sleep in a half-slip and tank top.  I go out en femme almost every other weekend.  My ex shops for and with me.

I mention these things because they are things I once thought I’d *never* be able to do. I am grateful to my heavenly Parent for giving me the strength and patience that enabled me to wait for my ex to come around to acceptance, instead of pushing for things and making them fall apart. I recognize God’s working in our hearts that allows us to stay in the same house for the kids until such time as a split happens. I am truly thankful in my soul for the gifts He has seen fit to bestow on me, and I eagerly await his future grace in my life.

-Catherine Elaine (though still going by Dianna for now, so as not to throw too many people off. ) 🙂

Wow, has it really been since July that I’ve posted here? Time flies.

So much has been going on this summer, including my ex-wife taking me shopping for dresses and shoes (for me!) and talking and joking with me about my crossdressing, me meeting so many wonderful new friends–both on-line and in person, and my ex and her girlfriend meeting my Sisters Family.

Yes, my marriage is ending, but we both agree this is for the best and we are both more than okay with it. We both need to explore ourselves and find out who we are as individuals–something we never were able to do when we were young.

In less than a week–if all goes as planned–she will be seeing me en femme for the first time ever. This will be both an ending to our marriage and a beginning of our lives, we hope. I WILL be posting here about that experience, as well as (if anyone asks for them) details about some of what’s been going on with me this summer.

One final note today: I have changed my middle name to “Catherine”. This is a name my mother thinks she might have chosen for me, had I been born a girl.

Yes, I told my mother about me, and she has been wonderful. 🙂

In His Light,

-Dianna Catherine Rose

A while ago, someone made the following comment on this blog.  It is not a nice comment, so be warned: It may upset you to read it.

It didn’t upset me, however, and here’s why.  I am fully cognizant of the fact that some people see what we (the transgender or crossdressers) are or do as unnatural. I expect some comments like these.  I welcomed this one, because I saw it as a chance to refute some of the commenter’s claims.  I emailed the person back, asking him (I assume it is a “he”, only because natal males seem to have more of a problem with trans folk than natal females by a large degree) to explain his several comments.

To date, he has not answered me.

I leave his comment here intact, as he wrote it–spelling errors and all–so that I can not be accused of editing it to fit my desires.  Such is propaganda, and that’s not my point here.  My point in making this available is so that *I* can address his various opinions from my own perspective.

Here is what he posted to me. Again, what he says is offensive to many, so please read no further if you are easily upset.

“Transgendered people need help. There is something wrong with them. They need to see a doctor. Gay people are sick also. They are not normal. Don’t get into the semantics of what is mormal you know what I mean. Being transgendered or gay ruins people’s lives. Even their own. So do us all a favor and get fixed!”

He put many words here, but he doesn’t actually *say* anything with them. There is “something wrong” with us…okay, what exactly do you mean by that, sir?  There IS something wrong with us. It’s called “lacking acceptance”.  It’s called “feeling forced to hide ourselves away”.  What’s wrong with us, in a nutshell, is people like you, sir. It is not a thing within us that is wrong.  “Out of place” may a better term for the thing within us. “Mis-matched” is so much more descriptive and accurate. It is a dichotomy between how we feel inside and how we appear outside.

I asked him what he thought the “something wrong” was with us.  No reply.

He says we should have a doctor fix us.  But we often do, sir!  There is a term for it: Gender Reassignment Surgery. Another term applies: Hormone Replacement. Yet another term fits: Gender Identity Therapy.  There are many more terms. In effect. they all work toward helping us become the person we are meant to be–physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. They help us bridge the gap between who we are inside and who we appear to be outside. They help us cope when people around us call us names, or say we are not welcome in their restaurants, or refuse to acknowledge our humanity.

Oh, wait, I get it…you meant that you wish a doctor would remove the thing within us which makes you uncomfortable.  Would you also change the skin color of the person with whom you are conversing? Would you shorten the hair of the gentleman playing the guitar over there? Would you remove that which allows your mother to speak her mind or enables her to move to another room besides the kitchen? In short, sir, would you make all people into those of your own choosing? My guess is that you would. How disappointed you must be with these annoying people constantly intruding on your life! Why can’t they all just disappear and leave you alone?

I feel so sorry for you. You must be in constant and neverending misery.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we cannot be fixed that way any more than colored skin can, or the guitar player can, or any woman or man can.

“Gay people are sick also. They are not normal. Don’t get into the semantics of what is mormal you know what I mean.”  (Well, I had to take a guess at “mormal”, but I believe I was able to pull the meaning of the word out of the context of the sentence.)

Why yes, gay people *are* often sick. They catch colds and contract the flu just like you do. They suffer from illness and disease, because–and I realize this may be a shock to you and you will have a hard time understanding the words–because they are human.

It’s okay, sir…breathe.  The confusion and nausea will pass if you relax and open your mind.

Yes, Gay people are human. Lesbian women are human. Transgender people are–as bizarre as you may find this–human. Just like you.

Welllll…perhaps not *just* like you. The overwhelming majority of trans, gay, lesbian or bi people I know are more open-minded and accepting than you are. For that reason–yes, I’m saying this–they are better than you.  Healthier, anyway. Hmmm…perhaps the sick ones are not we, but you, sir?

I know! You should see a doctor! Have her fix you!

“Being transgendered or gay ruins people’s lives. Even their own.”  I specifically wanted to know what sir meant by this statement. I admit it perplexes me.  In my experience and based on the stories I’ve read and heard, it is the other way around. Family members, supposed “friends”, complete strangers…many of these cause problems for those of us who identify with one or more of the letters in “LGBT”. Many who purport to love us instead reject us…do you know the pain that can cause? Oh that’s right…you’ve never been rejected, have you? You’ve never walked down a street and been taunted or sword at–or attacked and brutally beaten or even killed–because of who you are. No, because you’re perfect, I forgot. Nobody has anything bad to say about you.

For just a moment, I want you to call to mind the person you love most in the world–besides yourself, if you can.  Picture their face, feel the warmth of their smile as they caress your cheek. Now imagine them telling you you’re worthless, that they wish they’d never met you, that they want you to have never been born. In short, picture them ripping your heart apart with their words.

You *begin* to know that through which we sometimes have to go.

We ruin people’s lives? No. More often, the ones who reject us usually go on living their lives in peace, while we are forced to pick up the shattered remains of our souls and *try* to live our own lives.

We live in pain, too often, and for too long. We shed tears over lost loved ones–who are still alive, but with whom we can never again be. *Our* lives are ruined far more often and in far more permanent ways than those with whom we interact, and it is not we who are ruining them.

If I am ruining your life just by being, sir, it speaks volumes about the fragility of your existence.

Ruining our own lives? Sir, we are trying to simply live those lives. We are trying to heal from being broken by people around us. Often we are doing this alone, because we cannot ask for your help. We help each other. We strengthen our sisters, heal our brothers, because you will not. And no matter how hard you try to keep breaking us, you never will. We are stronger than you, sir. We are healthier than you. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that even in our oft-time misery, we are nonetheless happier than you.

Your last comment is the most disturbing. You tell us to “get fixed”, and I sincerely hope you do not mean that in the veterinary sense. Because that would be indicative of a very sick mind. It borders on a threat to our lives–to my life–which is an offense to both sensibility and law. So I will assume you mean it in the medical sense…which I have addressed above.

Sir, I gave you a chance to explain your words, to make your case. I offered to post your comments and explanations here on my site, to give voice to your ideas. I invited you to do so. You ignored my invitation to dialogue. Are you so unsure of your own mind that you are afraid I might sway it with mere words?

You should know that we are strong–stronger than you realize. You should know that your words do not sting us as you wish they would. We have heard them before, we have processed them, we have found ways to draw upon them for our strength. In short, sir, your words make us stronger. We know ourselves, sir…or we are learning who we are, and it is a wonderful journey!  In discovering ourselves, we see the good in those around us, and we build and encourage and strengthen that good! We polish it, make it shine, turn it into a mirror to reflect God’s light into dark corners like yours. It burns, that Light, does it not? But it only burns because you have wrapped the cold darkness around you like a cloak.

You should know that cloak is thin and weak–its threads will fray and unravel under the onslaught of the Light. It will be easier on you if you open your mind to it, and allow it in. Oh I know, sweetie! It is so hard to do that! You are so afraid of the Light, but the Light WILL NOT HURT YOU! The pain comes from the darkness, and your vice-grip on it. Once you let go of it, the pain will disappear. How can I prove that to you?  I can’t. You must take a leap of faith before you can feel it. You must trust that it will happen.

Yes, transgender people need help. We need need it desperately and constantly and fully.  We need acceptance, we need employment, we need insurance. We need love. We need life.

But we *have* help. We help each other, we accept each other, we support each other, we love each other and we allow each other to live. Non-trans people give us those things, too, sir, believe it or not–many, many of them. And more are accepting us every day. Your corner is getting smaller, I’m afraid.

We have life, we have acceptance, we have love, we have support.  And your words, sir, can never change that.

I don’t normally like to rant.  I’m trying to improve the world–to add to it, in other words, and not to increase the darkness already so widespread. And ranting never adds light.

But I can’t hold my tongue today.  I was reading a comment thread on the wall of one of the FB groups to which I belong–a group trying to make things better and easier for trans people worldwide.  The original post was about something unimportant to this rant.  The comment thread, however, took a turn that made me really pissed.

The gist of it was whether FtM trans men have it worse that MtF trans women, in terms of employment, discrimination, etc. It quickly degenerated into “We have it worse because of this, you don’t understand what we have to go through”, etc. Here’s what I had to say:

Understanding of a group–any group–is very difficult to achieve. Even WITHIN the trans community, there is so much misunderstanding, so much “I have it worse than you do because of x, y, and z”, “I’m better than you because I x, y, and z”.

You know what this proves? That we’re human. EVERY other group, every other community in the world does this.

One thing we CANNOT afford to do–if we are to present our trans community as united or worthwhile, is show the world we’re just as messed up as the rest of it is. We HAVE to be better than that, or we will NEVER get the one thing we ALL want–acceptance.

I’m just an infant in this slice of population–I haven’t been burned like many of you have. I haven’t seen so-and-so gain acceptance while bashing such-and-such. Not first hand. But I have seen a lot of self-pity and blame and lashing out to others WITHIN OUR OWN COMMUNITY that it makes me sad for ever finding my own acceptance.

MTF, FTM…everyone has it good, everyone has it bad. Does it matter that in case X FTM has it worse, or in case Z MTF has these obstacles to overcome? No matter who you are or what group you’re in, someone has it better than you, and someone has it worse. Cheer those who have it better, support those who have it worse. Get out of your own heads long enough to see the bigger picture.

As I said, I’m just an infant here. I’ve been “out” less than a year…how can I hope to EVER find acceptance in then world if I seriously doubt I’ll find acceptance even in my small segment of the trans community?

Okay, rant off. I just think it’s sad that we as a community seem at times to be even more selfish and self-centered and self-pitying than just about everyone else in the world.

EVERYONE has obstacles and blocks to overcome or break through. Ours always are worse to us than everyone else’s are to them. Knock off the self-pity and work on removing your own obstacles, then–oh, here’s a wild thought!–help someone else overcome theirs.

I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints recently about something, and they’ve been bugging me.  The gist of it that there are two schools of thought regarding how vocal and visible we (the TG/CD/TS etc.) should be.

Once school holds that we should live our lives quietly, staying under the radar, so to speak.  Making progress via quiet integration into society, essentially.

The other says we need to let people know we are here, we’re here to stay, and we are not just going to sit down and shut up.

Let me state for the record that I don’t believe these two methods of progress are mutually exclusive.  I believe they complement each other.

I have crossdressing friends who go out and party and dance and shop and model and eat at restaurants–in short, people who are out in society, often in very short dresses.  They are not trying to pass as women, they’re trying to be accepted as crossdressers.  And it works.

Last Friday night I was out with them.  What happens is we get together for some socializing and a quick meeting, then whoever wants to goes out to a club or someplace to dance, listen to live music, have a drink or two, etc. During our initial get-together, someone invariably starts a conversation with one or more of us.  Friday it was two young women staying at the hotel with their choir group, who were given permission from their chaperones to come talk to us if we said it was okay.

They head of our group is very outgoing and very welcoming.  Every week she’s talking to someone new.  Every week she’s making new friends.  Every week she’s showing people that we are normal, outgoing, friendly people,  and not the freaks or monsters they might have thought.

Later at the club it was the same way.  It was my first time at this particular locale, but several others had been there before.  Regular patrons welcomed us warmly.  The band gave us a shout and dedicated a song to us–one of us even plays with the band when she’s there–and the staff are always welcoming and friendly.  People come and talk to us, or dance with those of us who dance (not me…my legs may look great, but they’re tipped by a pair of clumsy left feet), or congratulate us on being out doing our thing.

Now, I’m not saying everyone in the place was cool with us.  I did notice a few scowls aimed our way, but they were rare and brief.  For the most part people either ignored us or welcomed us enthusiastically.

The other side of the coin are the TG folks who simply want to go where they will and do what they do without anyone making a fuss over the fact that they are or were once men (or women, though that’s seemingly much more acceptable in today’s society so it’s not as big a problem, I think). They don’t necessarily need to be accepted as women (several I know make no pretense of passing, and admit to the fact), but they do need to be accepted.  If they order a sandwich or a salad at a deli counter, they don’t want to be treated any differently than any other customer in the place.  I was out with a  friend for lunch (I in drab, she in her only mode) and the patrons mostly ignored us, though I did see a couple of men looking over at us and whispering between themselves. The staff were very friendly and welcoming to her, as much as they were to me.

So which method of integration into society works better?  Which one achieves the better results?  Which one will further our acceptance by society more quickly?

Which is better for us, as crossdressers,  intersex, transsexual or otherwise in some way transgender individuals?

I say both.

I’ve heard TG folks complain about the group I go out with.  We’re too “in your face”, make too much noise, draw too much attention to ourselves.  We make people notice us, when all we should need to do is slide by as ourselves without anyone caring.

But some of us would never be “out” at all without the first group, even if later on we may prefer to count ourselves among the second group. Because of where I am in my life, and the choices I’ve made, and the family I’ve grown, I would never have gone out dressed were it not for this wonderful group of crossdressers who party every weekend.  Because of the safe venue they provide, I was able to find a way to finally show my feminine side to a part of the world, without fear of ridicule or danger.  Their safe haven provided me with the outlet I needed to be me, and I thank God for them for continuing to provide that outlet should any new Sister need it.

And I thank God for all the “under the radar” t-girls I know as well.  They’ve shown me that it is possible to be who you are in today’s society, even if I am nowhere near the point of going out in Dianna mode every day.  They’ve shown me that there are people out there who will let them be themselves, who will accept them as friends or customers or fellow travelers on the rails of life–who will accept them as people, in other words.

No, not everyone accepts…and that’s true for both the “in your face” girls as well as the “under the radar” ladies.  Some people will always be afraid, and that’s too bad, because almost universally, the t-girls, crossdressers, post-ops etc. that I’ve met are friendly, giving, caring individuals who have a lot of Light to give to the world.

Slowly but surely, with generals leading both fronts, we’re making progress toward shining that Light.

With which side do you agree?  Feel free to comment.

God Bless!

-Dianna Rose