Saturday, April 30, 2016


What is your escape plan
for this weekend

Friday, April 29, 2016

#1 Most Googled Fashion Question 2015 - Guest Post

Guest Post by Cherie Izzo 

Guess what the #1 most searched fashion question was in 2015?

It was “How to walk in heels?” Hmmm, can Google tell me how to do that?

The other top 10 questions were also interesting:

1.) How to walk in heels?

2.) What to wear on the first day of school?

3.) How to fray jeans?

4.) How to tie a shirt?

5.) What should a bride wear to the rehearsal dinner?

6.) What to wear booties with?

7.) What are mules shoes?

8.) What to wear to a wedding in the woods?

9.) How to dress up like Miranda Sings?

10.) What color shoes goes with a black and blue dress?

But, the first question grabbed me. I had to re-read it.

“How to walk in heels?”

My first instinct was; I just knew how.

I read the question again.

“How to walk in heels?”

Immediately I thought …you just do!

My mind snapped back to my childhood. Inside my mother’s enormous walk-in closet: full of ball gowns, formal evening wear made of chiffon, sequins and imported lace. This sanctuary stored her collection of high heel stilettos, jewels, and furs. Some of the shoes looked like these..

Before her performances or black-tie parties, I watched her put on her makeup and get dressed. It was part of her beauty ritual which we shared. We would talk about where she was going, and with whom. She would ask me how she looked and if the shoes were just right, as she strolled around in front of full-length mirrors in her dressing room. My parents were extremely social between my father’s career as a VP of a corporation and my mother’s singing engagements. They traveled the world.

When they were away, I played dress-up in her gowns. At about eight years old, even her tiny size 6 shoes were enormous. They devoured my foot. I remember the first time I wore her shoes. I had so many to choose from; red alligator or black crocodile stilettos, feathered high heel slippers and incredible Italian sling-back heels. Somehow I found my balance on the very first try.

That same year for Christmas, I asked for a pair of plastic dress-up Barbie high heels in my size. When I put them on the first time, I knew how to walk in heels. I found my center of gravity, balanced on them and instantly gained my super-powers.

Thirteen was when I really developed my obsession with high heels. My mother and I went on a trip shopping to Miami; Platforms, stilettos, clunky heels, my cool boots in every style always had high heels.

How to walk in heels?  The question mystified me. I wondered why would women wanted to know how to walk in heels? Doesn’t every little girl know how to walk in heels?

Events that come with age beginning about junior high, a Bat Mitzvah, Quinceañera, high school prom, a debutante ball or weddings are when young women dress up, play with lipstick and makeup and begin wearing heels. I wondered why in 2015 so many wanted an answer to “How to walk in heels?” There wasn’t a spike in the female population. Or was there? Life is moving faster than before.  The laws have changed about same-sex and transgender rights. Then Bruce Jenner came to mind. April 2015, in the 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner revealed himself as a trans-woman. She officially changed her name in July 2015.

My personal feeling is that Jenner transitioning freed innumerable transgender women. It might also account for the rise in curiosity on the female subject of walking in heels.

The high heel fascination is intoxicating. I know how high heels made me feel: shopping for them, the purchase and then how I felt wearing them. Instantly I’m more powerful, confident, sexy, graceful and always taller. I like taller. Walking in high heels is an attitude adjuster. They give me super-powers!

Wearing high heels pitches the body forward. It gives the appearance of longer legs. It drastically changes posture and the body’s alignment, affecting the way you walk. This causes you to change your stride. There is a balance of weight distribution and foot sensitivities which you must factor in.

So are there secrets I can share? Take comfortable strides, standup, walk heel-to-toe and learn to relax. Yes there are a few secrets.

The real key is to relax. Balance gracefully. Slow movements.

Take into consideration how steep the pitch/arch of the shoe is before you buy. Ask yourself, “will the heel height be comfortable?” Start with a thicker heeled shoe. Try a court shoe if you have always worn flats. Walk in them.

Move up to a kitten heel.

Practice. It helps to strengthen the muscles and it protects you from rolling your ankles and getting injured. Climb stairs in heels; it will build your leg muscles quickly.

Look for thicker heeled style, like Mary Jane’s with a front strap, to give support when you walk.

Move up and practice wearing a higher heel with a steeper arch. Try to vacuum in heels. You can balance holding onto the vacuum handle. As you become more confident, next time buy a thinner or higher heel. Work your way up and eventually you can transition into stilettos.

A career as a cosmetologist dictates standing all day. The body is in motion yet can be standing for hours. I learned shoes are important. Don’t squeeze into a pair too small just because they didn’t have your “size” and you just loved them and you just had to have them.

I can stand all day and night in heels. Here is how.

Wear the right size.

If your feet really hurt you won’t be able to take the shoes off and put them back on again.  There is a tendency for your feet to swell when you take the shoe off, thus you’ll never get them back on. If you find yourself in this position, try using baby powder or cornstarch inside your shoes, or coat your feet and toes with the powder to help ease your feet back into your shoes.  But it’s best to not have this problem in the first place, it thwarts your efforts of beautiful feet, plus if you are wearing sandals you can’t use powder without it becoming obvious.

So bring a change of the shoes a 1/2 size or an entire size larger.

If you think you can take the tight shoes off, rub your feet for a few minutes and put them back on? Nope! Forget that. Elevate them instead. They might squeeze back in, but you’ll find it’s more painful than had you just left them on in the first place. You’ll get a blister. Listen to your feet.

So here is the takeaway — to alleviated foot fatigue and foot pain, bring a change of shoes. Start out with a closed toe shoe; swap it later or during the evening for strappy heeled sandals. I found changing and alternating shoe styles and heel heights throughout the day into night is the secret to foot comfort. Relax, take the pressure off and put your feet up. If you can’t take your shoes off, elevating them will help quite a bit.

If you know you are going dancing all night, make sure you are wearing your Manolo Blahnik or Louis Vuitton sandals.

So to answer the question, if you really want to know how to walk in heels, watch a sexy Italian woman in 5? stilettos. You know the ones in the old black and white movies, circa 1960s.

Marriage Italian Style (Vittorio De Sica, 1964) Sophia Loren: Award Collection [Blu-ray] (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow / Marriage Italian Style / Sunflower / Vittorio D / Boccaccio ’70).

Copy what she does and ignore the naysayers and articles warning you about high heels, like this one: “Reasons High Heels Are BS.”

So tell me — how do you walk in high heels? I want to know!  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Feminine Differential - The Bra (Continued)

by Jordan Reid, SheKnows Expert

Keep these three types of bras on hand to match whatever mood you're in.

 Whenever someone asks me to describe my style, my response is “partially falling off.” And they laugh, and I say, “Well, but kind of… seriously.” Because there is nothing I like less than feeling constrained by clothing, and so what I gravitate towards are comfortable, lightweight pieces that move when I do.

This means that I wear a lot of off-the-shoulder stuff, a lot of oversized button-downs, and a lot of jersey. I also look for pieces that contain LYCRA® fiber – they tend to be way more comfortable and longer-lasting.

My thing for relaxed-fit pieces also, however, means that you can see my bra a decent percentage of the time. Which I don’t mind, provided that what I have on is a bra that’s meant to be seen — a piece that looks like a conscious part of my outfit, rather than an afterthought. Pretty straps are a must. A little lace is nice. Maybe a shot of gold.

So let’s talk The Undergarment Wardrobe for a minute. In theory, having drawers and drawers of lingerie to select from sounds nice, but what I’ve always found is that I continually gravitate towards a few key items: a set for when I’m feeling dramatic and sexy, a set for when I’m in the mood for something a little sweeter, and a set for everyday — pieces I can just reach for without a ton of thought and know that they’ll work under pretty much anything.

I’ve been wearing Wacoal’s bras for nearly a decade now — ever since I discovered the wonder that is their Halo strapless bra (you’ve heard me rhapsodizing about it on Ramshackle Glam for years) — and all of the pieces pictured here are pulled from their versatile mix-and-match Embrace Lace Collection. Each piece features LYCRA® fiber in the lace, so it’s comfortable and fits exceptionally well.

Something sexy

This is Wacoal’s Embrace Lace Underwire Bra (also pictured in the top two photos, here paired with the Tanga Panty), and it is now officially the sexiest garment that I own. A really great underwire is probably the one bra I wear more than any other, because it defines the bust line (extra-helpful after having two children) and gives lift and support without any bulk – so the look is pretty, but still natural.

Something wire-free 

A relatively new addition to my wardrobe that quickly became a must-have: a wire-free set. I wasn’t sure that a wire-free bra would give enough lift, but the Embrace Lace Wire-Free Bra with LYCRA® fiber shown above is way more supportive than most bralettes I’ve tried (and it also has straps that convert to a racerback, as well as a pretty neckline). The combination of light support and no wires even makes it comfortable enough to sleep in (a much prettier choice for nighttime than my usual ratty old college tee)


Something for every day

A t-shirt bra like Wacoal’s Embrace Lace Underwire T-shirt Bra, pictured above, is the most versatile bra for every day and every look. The cups are smooth and seamless under tops, and the wide-set straps make it easy to wear under shirts with wide or low necklines. Get it in naturally nude if you tend to wear a lot of lighter-colored tops and mind your bra showing through your shirt, which I obviously don’t. (Also shown here: the Embrace Lace Bikini with LYCRA® fiber for added comfort and fit.) 

And that’s really all you need: a few carefully-chosen pieces that work for all your many different moods.


What is your collection like?  I don't like the white blouse and black bra look. Agree or Disagree?  More on this subject in a future post.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Feminine Differential - The Bra

The engineer in me loves this.  

One cannot discuss The Feminine  Differential without considering the bra. The psychological significance of wearing this most feminine of garments cannot be underestimated.  Many garments can be considered to be androgynous or even less female in different cultures, but the feminine nature of the bra is magic. The tight embrace of a bra around your chest is like nothing to be found in your regular wardrobe and there's simply no equivalent item in any men's clothing item. 

Women readily share certain secrets among themselves - their favorite shade of lipstick, the best way to curl hair or their favorite wine. Interesting among both my girlfriends and transgender friends the bra seems to be an seldom talked about subject.  Just a slightly uncomfortable subject or because we all have different needs, ranging from support to adding a (or several) cup sizes.
Regardless, it's something that I have always been curious about, so here is my favorite.

 Ambrielle® Mystique® Ultimate Upsize Bra
My size 38C

Give your curves the ultimate boost with the Ambrielle Mystique push-up bra, featuring a low-neckline approved plunge design, and extra padding for a smooth, shapely look.

Style: plunge; provides less coverage for lower necklines
Padding: push up; includes underwire for shape and support.

Here is one review from the blog - Diary of a Chic Mommy

Every since JCPenney has revamped their store I have to say that I just can’t stay away, but I’m even more excited now since the re-lauunch of Ambrielle. Ambrielle is a beautiful lingerie collection that offers a fit for every figure. Ambrielle is designed for the modern, sophisticated woman who wants comfortable, affordable intimates that fit your figure perfectly without sacrificing style or luxury. With technical attributes including back smoothing, seamless lines, full coverage and plunging necklines, the Ambrielle collection leaves every woman looking and feeling her best.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

All Twisted Up by Gender Bending

Fashion and Style 
April 22, 2016


A surprising realization about her ex’s new girlfriend makes a writer question what it means to be a woman.

My Notes: Have you ever wondered how females feel about our deliberate and inherent femininity; especially when we can do it so well?   The female writer below has an epiphany similar to us when she dressed as a man. Does this sound familiar?

“I don’t know why you’re acting like this is a joke,” he said. “It’s obvious from those pictures you aren’t joking. I wanted to tell him what a relief it had been for me to stop trying so hard to be feminine….

Reverse the pronouns and substitute masculine for the feminine in the above quote.  This is an article that describes our sense of how we feel uncomfortable and trapped.  However, this article goes further and helps us see how those who know us could be envious and act out in a manner that is the opposite of how we sense their reaction.  Not all women are as certain about their feminine identity as we are.


DELACEY SKINNER - Image from Google

Monday, April 25, 2016

Neck or Facelift - Take 15 Years Off Your Face

My Note:  I had the procedure discussed below a year ago November.   This was the best investment I ever made in myself and I highly recommend Dr. Mardirossian - an expert surgeon and friend.  My neck will never look like the photo below, but I believe I did take years (maybe 15) off.  As I see photos of my high school class mates on Facebook, I see such a difference.  50th Reunion, here I come; But that will be a story for later.  Yes Class of '66 - you do the math. 


How a Neck or Facelift can Take 15 Years off your Face

Before being willing to commit to having a face lift or neck lift procedure performed, most patients want to be reassured that it will indeed make them look younger. The good news is that having either (or even both, if you are feeling truly adventurous) of these procedures carried out will make you look younger in a number of ways.


Reduce Sagging Skin

Although many patients go to great lengths to look after the skin on their faces, their necks are often neglected. This can result in the development of deep creases and sagging of the skin. These problems can be addressed and rectified by means of a lower face lift procedure because it helps to create a more contoured look on the face. If this procedure is performed when the first signs of creases and sagging occur, it can prevent you from having to have additional surgery performed on the neck area.


Rejuvenate your Eyes

As you age, deep creases develop around and under your eyes, which can not only cause you to look older than you really are; they will result in you looking tired permanently as well, even when you aren’t. Having a face lift carried out will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and even deeper creases around your eyes and rejuvenate their overall appearance. If this alone is not sufficient, a blepharoplasty procedure can help by removing excess skin and/or fat from around the eyes, while dermal fillers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles as well.


Eliminate Forehead Wrinkles

Excessive sun exposure, furrowing of the brow and frowning – or a combination of all of these – can result in the development of deep lines and wrinkles on your forehead. However, these conditions can easily be remedied by means of a face lift and/or a brow lift procedure. The variation of treatments used during these procedures not only enables you to look many years younger; they are now performed in such a way that they will look as natural as possible as well.


Lift the Chin and Cheeks

As you age, your body produces less of the collagen that is required to retain its natural elasticity, which can cause your cheeks and chin area to sag noticeably. A face lift and/or a neck lift procedure will help remove the excess sagging skin and create a more defined look in the chin and neck area as well – just think, you will be able to wave a final goodbye to your double chin and even your sagging jowls after having this surgery performed!

Although face lift and neck lift procedures are performed regularly by plastic surgeons, it is imperative that you schedule a one on one consultation with one who is reputable before going under the knife. This will enable him or her to provide you with a completely customized plan of action that will leave you looking more youthful than you have looked in many years. 

Call Palm Beach Plastics FFS Surgeon for a Free Consultation
SKYPE, Phone Consultation or in office

Note: Vartan is my doctor, business associate, and friend. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Funnies - Dating

Any one had this experience?  How did it work out?


Growing up the funnies were my favorite section of the Sunday paper.  I will make an effort to make this a regular Sunday feature.  Enjoy and everyone have a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 23, 2016


By Christina Cauterucci

The world has known few superstars whose personas could match the gender-fluid extravagance of Prince, who died on Thursday at age 57. The pop and R&B icon inlaid his albums with brazen pansexuality and gender norm coquetry—provocations made all the more potent by his staggering talents as a singer, hook-writer, and guitar shredder. Years before the leaders of the gay and lesbian community began to embrace a more nuanced, less binary notion of queerness—and decades before transgender and genderqueer politics became mainstream topics of interest—Prince presented a living case study in the glorious freedom a world without stringent labels might offer.

“I’m not a woman. I’m not a man. I’m something that you’ll never understand,” Prince sang on 1984’s “I Would Die 4 U.” He was right—few could claim to fully grasp Prince’s easy embodiment of both maleness and femaleness. His schooled evasion of conventional classifiers made him endlessly fascinating. The cover of his 1988 album Lovesexy offers a classic expression of the seemingly incongruous yet thrilling gender bricolage at which he excelled.

Prince’s coy, sensuous form in a larger-than-life sea of yonic flowers telegraphs femininity. But he’s showing off his masculine features, too: Prince covers his nipple as if it were a breast, but exposes a full chest of hair. His legs look smooth and shaven, but a John Waters moustache sits above his full lips.

Prince’s androgyny and unbridled sexuality inspired generations of musicians, too. Adam Levine, who’s covered the Purple One and called the artist “limitless…fearless, and unselfconscious,” posed nude for Cosmo UK in 2011 with wife Behati Prinsloo’s hands covering his junk. The image echoed a Notorious cover Prince did decades earlier, wearing a bouffant, hoop earring, fuzzy purple coat, and the wandering hands of a female lover. In 2006, gay musician Rufus Wainwright wrote in the Guardian that Prince’s genderfuckery is still unmatched in modern pop music. “It feels weird talking about Prince as a gay icon now, but you have to applaud a black man in the American record industry who could be so playful with androgyny,” Wainwright wrote. “Justin Timberlake wouldn't do that. He is a marine dressed as a pop star.” In memoriam, on Thursday, bisexual singer and rapper Frank Ocean wrote his own heartfelt tribute:

He was a straight black man who played his first televised set in bikini bottoms and knee-high heeled boots, epic. He made me feel more comfortable with how I identify sexually simply by his display of freedom from and irreverence for obviously archaic ideas like gender conformity.

 Continue reading here: How Prince Led the Way to Our Gender Fluid Present


My Notes:  A serious talent and true artist/genius that many of us hardly knew.  I must admit that his music was not so much my generation but a younger group.  As we look  back now many of us will come to know someone who shared some of our interest in feminine presentation. He challenged gender norms with entertainment.    As the above article so aptly stated:  Still, Prince’s gender fluidity and sexual ambiguity granted a kind of permission for future musicians, queer and otherwise, to explore new means of expression of self and sexuality.      

Please comment and give us your thoughts on Prince.  Did you ever see him in person.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friend's Friday - Triple Play

 Caitlin's and Rhonda's Perfect Evening

I hesitate to use such a blatant sports analogy but last evening was one of those magic evening that involved three activities.  I am not sure how all of these wonderful events all ended up on the same evening but all worked perfectly. 

My evening started with a
Palm Beach Business Guild, cocktail reception.  I have been a member for some time and well accepted by the group.  With this group, I have given several “Shark Tank / Angle“ presentation.  Last evening was remarkable in that several old friends that I had not seen in several months were there and I met new friends as well.   One cannot have too many good business contacts.  This event was held at the historic Palm Beach Chesterfield Hotel, Leopard Lounge Bar; One of Rhonda’s favorite spots.

Next, off to another favorite Palm Beach spot; The Colony Hotel, Polo Lounge.  Every Thursday evening there is an informal cocktail reception with music that during season, packs the room.  Last evening was no exception with maybe 50 and again I have fallen into a group that know and welcomes me.  My purpose last evening was to meet up with the beautiful Caitlin (photo above), another local transgender person for conversation and to catch up.  She had been at the Keystone Conferance and I had my Las Vegas trip.  Also in attendance was a good friend David, who has promised dance coaching, so I do not embarrass myself at my upcoming High School reunion in October.  I do not think he realizes just what a challenge he has taken on. 

After about an hour there, Caitlin and I went to dinner at Renato’s, on Palm Beach, Worth Avenue.  Renato’s is tucked very elegantly  into a Via that has both inside and outside dining.  Last evening weather was absolutely perfect so our choice was courtyard seating.  The restaurant was packed with “late season - still here” Palm Beachers and no one appeared to notice two beautiful ladies walking completely through the courtyard to our table for two.  What a beautiful spot, twilight when we arrived and the whole area was bathed in soft warm lighting with candles at every table.  The photo above of Caitlin was taken at our table with the available light from the candle.   Dinner lasted almost two hours, thank you Caitlin, and our waiters, several, were very accommodating and friendly.  A new favorite place. 

Courtyard Dining at Renato’s, Palm Beach

The other two standing photos, were taken as we were coming into Renato’s through the Via, leading from Worth Avenue.  Palm Beach is a very elegant place that requires a certain style that we confidently, provided last evening.   

A perfect “Escape evening”

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Day I Made A Difference

My Note: While doing research I found "A Brief History of Transgender Issues" and also found the article below in TheGuardian as well.  There are times when we do not fully appreciate how just the right kind word or volunteer activity can make a big difference.  Help where you can and always remember you are not alone! 

If you liked this trues story, tell us how someone may have helped you Escape.  Have you helps others to Escape?  Please share.  I will print your story on a Friends Friday Post.  
April 14, 2016 - by Suzy Youngman

Voluntary Sector Network - The day I made a difference

Sam was happy being a man; after our calls he dressed as a woman too.
During my time at university, I volunteered for a night time listening service, like the Samaritans, which was run by students for students. In a cosy house at the edge of the campus, I and my fellow volunteers would sit up eating pizza and watching terrible movies donated by previous volunteers as we fought to stay awake and waited for callers.

One evening I got a call from a man who was very nervous. We talked for a while about nothing in particular, but then he began to open up. “Sam” was happy being a male for the most part, he said, but he also had a feminine side – a big one, and he was scared to express it. He was scared of the obvious things, such as the reactions of his loved ones, and people being cruel, but I believe he was generally afraid about making a huge change in his life.

Throughout that final year of my degree, we talked several times, sometimes for an hour or more. While we spoke, I forgot I was on duty, I forgot I was tired and I forgot how much I dreaded watching Sliding Doors for the umpteenth time. It felt magical to be trusted so completely by Sam.

Each time we talked, Sam become more confident and comfortable to share his story with me. He updated me as he developed his theories around the way he was feeling, and it seemed to help him. One such theory was this: when you think of a wedding, who do you think of? The bride, obviously. So did he, when he thought of a wedding, he could more easily imagine being the bride than the groom. For him, expressing himself through wearing women’s clothing meant embodying all those classic characteristics of being nurturing, elegant, delicate.

After a few months of our calls, Sam gained the courage to dress in the clothes he wanted to in his shared house, daring himself to go and see his flatmates, imagining their reactions. I never found out exactly how that went, but he obviously got through it and gained a lot of confidence, because by the end of the year, Sam was going to work dressed as he wanted. He was dressing as himself, his real, whole self, including his feminine side. I don’t know if I helped that to happen – I think he worked it out on his own – but I am glad he didn’t have to be alone, on those nights he called.

I hesitated to write this, partly because it was an intimate experience for Sam, but also because it was such an intimate experience for me, too. It was something I have treasured for a long time, a positive experience that I could return to if ever I felt down.

Since I graduated, I have continued to volunteer. I do this not because I am naïve enough to think that I can change the world, or even that I think what I’ve done has made a difference, or that no one else will do it. It’s just that I believe that if you are putting yourself in these kinds of positions often enough, one day you are going to be just in the right place at the right time to make a real connection with someone who needs you.

Some identifying details have been changed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Feminine Differential - Pull On Jean

Flat Front Jeans

Note: My study of differences in feminine vs men's clothing began last week when a fashion blog that I follow, talked about the wonderful nature of the above Jeans.  Susan Street at her blog Fifty, Not Frumpy described then this way:

 I discovered an incredible new line of jeans/leggings called Jag Jeans at The Fig Leaf. They are styled just like a pair of jeans but instead of that big button, zipper, loop combination that shows under every single top I wear; there is a smooth wide band. I nearly squealed with delight when I tried on these jeans!
I also became excited and ordered a pair from Amazon from the above link.  And yes, they are different, feminine and fit beautifully.  Flat front, pull on or zipper in the back/side made no sense to me until I realized that a top falling over a zipper or belt add bulk and obstructions that are visibleSmooth and slimming is better.  The back side also fits and accentuates curves.   Try it and you will be amazed.  

My other discussions on The Feminine  Differentials talked about the whimsical nature of the differences - This one is practical and really works.  

Do follow Susan's Blog
Fifty, Not Frumpy.  Great fashion advice for women of our age.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chico's - Saturday Shopping

Last Saturday's shopping took me to my Mall's Chico's store.  The items above that I purchased are both casual and dressy. A great Florida summer, out to dinner, look.  I also have a navy sleeveless sweater that works together with the pants.  I usually avoid light colors on the top and find darker colors to be more flattering but this seems work.  Together it is almost a monochrome,  solid look.  I love the way these fabrics drape in a very feminine way - I am becoming very aware of the "The Feminine  Differential".  I am thinking sandals or low heels white/grey sling back pumps.   I hope to post photos soon.  


Almost all malls across the country have Chico's, White House Black Market and Soma apperal stores.  Chico's is the holding company and describes itself as a leading omni-channel specialty retailer of women's private branded, sophisticated, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other non-clothing items. 

That works for me and I am starting to like Chico's more in spite of their weird sizing.  If you are not aware of the way the size by category fits, know that trying on items is a must, before purchasing.  Sometimes I am a zero; sometimes a one.  Typically a generous fit.  Go figure - pun intended.   

One of my favorite on-line/catalog retailers is "Boston Proper" which was at one time part of the Chico's empire.  It has been recently sold and the brand will continue as an on-line/catalog seller.  It is always a fun catalog to study but I seldom purchased because of its targeted youth market look.     

The Boston Proper Look

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Brief History of Transgender Issues

My Note: I found this ever so concise history write-up several days ago. It is written by Prof Stephen Whittle founder of "Press For change "UK's Leading experts in transgender law.  This is an organization that works to prevent unlawful discrimination.

According to the American Historical Association "History helps us understand change and how the society we live in, came to be".  Many ahead of us along the transgender spectrum have endured emotionally and physical turmoil to get us where we are today.  This is my way of saying thank you and challenging all of of us, to keep advancing progress. 

Prof Stephen Whittle,  runs through the key legislation, individuals and medical breakthroughs in the history of transgender issues.  Our History.  In case you have not already seen it, I have it in entirety below and provide a link to the article printed in TheGuardian.  I apologize for it's length; however a worthwhile read.

Wednesday June 2, 2010

A Brief History of Transgender Issues

Whenever, wherever on this earth, we will find people who contravene gender boundaries. I'm not talking about the small ways of 'queering' gender, such as the lesbian separatists who wore dungarees in the 1970s. I mean the big ways: not just queering gender, but crossing gender. I mean the drive that makes people risk so much to represent a gender they feel is theirs, and yet is very different to the social, cultural and legal expectations of their birth sex. Whatever culture, country or epoch you choose to research, you will find a history of individuals who, if they lived now, we might now refer to as trans people.

We must be careful with our words. 'Transvestite' originated in 1910 from the German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, who would later develop the Berlin Institute where the very first 'sex change' operations took place. 'Transsexual' was not coined until 1949, 'transgender' not until 1971, and 'trans' (a very British term) not until 1996. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of 'androgyne' was recorded in 1552, but it has only been in the last 10 years that people have claimed it for themselves to describe a state of being in-between, or having both genders. 'Polygender' is a late 1990s Californian invention used to describe a state of being multiple genders.

This is by no means a complete list of words used by people to describe themselves. Long before Hirschfeld, other cultures had developed their own terminologies to describe 'trans' people. From the Hijra of India, to the Fa'afafine of Polynesia, the ladyboys and the tomboys of Thailand, and the Takatāpui of New Zealand, there are a myriad of words used by trans people to describe themselves.

The Start of the Scientific Study of Sexology

In 1885 the Criminal Law Act was passed in the UK, which made all homosexual behaviour illegal. Similar laws were put in place throughout Europe during this period. When homosexuality was made illegal, those suspected of it - such as Oscar Wilde - could face imprisonment and hard labor for up to two years. People who cross-dressed became easy targets of the law because they were associated, in the public mind, with homosexual subculture.

One of the first public trials for transvestite behavior was that of Ernest (Stella) Boulton, and Fred (Fanny) Park, arrested in 1870 for indecent behavior. The authorities based the prosecution on their transvestism and their soliciting of men as women, rather than the act of sodomy. No conviction could be obtained on these grounds and they were acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to commit a felony by cross-dressing. One of the largest organizations for transvestite men in the US today is the Boulton and Park Society.

As a result of these laws, people who were trans sought out doctors who could cure them and a whole new field in medicine developed: sexology. The first sexologist who took a special interest in the sexual impulses of trans individuals was probably Krafft-Ebbing (1840-1902), professor of psychiatry at Vienna. His Psychopathia Sexualis was published from 1877 to after his death. Krafft-Ebbing constantly endeavored to give clearer classifications to the behaviors and individual histories of his patients.

Through the work of the early sexologists such as Krafft-Ebbing and Hirschfield, transsexuality became a recognized phenomenon available for study, discussion and treatment. Throughout the 1920s and 30s medical provision was very sparse, but still transsexual people managed to find doctors who would help them. At Hirschfield's infamous clinic, the first sex change operations were performed by Dr Felix Abraham: a mastectomy on a trans man in 1926, a penectomy on his domestic servant Dora in 1930, and a vaginoplasty on Lili Elbe, a Danish painter, in 1931. The surgery was not easy, and Lili died less than two years later from complications.

In the UK, Michael (formerly Laura) Dillon managed to obtain gender reassignment treatment during the war. In the late 1940s he even had a penis constructed by the plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gilles, who later became famous for his work with burns victims. Michael Dillon trained and worked as a ship's doctor until he was outed by the Sunday Express in 1958. He withdrew to India where he became a Buddhist monk and writer until his death in 1962.

Modern Transsexualism

Eight years before Dillon was outed, Christine Jorgensen, a former American GI, returned from Denmark where she had undergone the first of several operations as part of her gender reassignment, and the media picked up on the story. Overnight she became a news sensation, and was undoubtedly the most famous transsexual figure in the 20th century. She was beautiful, blond, and everybody's idea of the 'all-American girl'. As one obituary put it:

"Her very public life after her 1952 transition and surgery was a model for other transsexuals for decades. She was a tireless lecturer on the subject of transsexuality, pleading for understanding from a public that all too often wanted to see transsexuals as freaks or perverts ... Ms Jorgensen's poise, charm, and wit won the hearts of millions." [Candice Brown Elliot, 1999]

Almost immediately, Jorgensen's psychiatrist in Denmark, Dr Hamburger, started receiving letters and in 1953 he published a paper, The desire for change of sex as shown by personal letters from 465 men and women. Suddenly medical professionals realized that these were not exceptional cases: there was a whole swathe of people who were unhappy because their gender role did not match their body.

The endocrinologist Harry Benjamin (who had trained at Hirschfield's clinic) set up a clinical practice, first in New York and later in San Francisco. He trained a new generation of psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the treatment of transsexual people. The former head of research at the UK Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross hospital, Professor Richard Green, trained with Benjamin. When Benjamin published the first major textbook on the subject, The Transsexual Phenomenon, in 1966, gender reassignment was still the subject of extensive social stigma both publicly and in the medical world.

Over 40 years later, some of that stigma remains, but it is widely accepted that the only successful treatment for transsexual people is hormone therapy and surgical reassignment. A 1999 appeal court decision in the UK has confirmed this view, and it is an area of medicine that is gradually gaining respectability.

Transsexual people have also become much more visible. Jan (James) Morris, the travel writer, was the Times reporter on the 1953 expedition that conquered Everest; Billy (Dorothy) Tipton was one of the best jazz saxophonists of the 1950s; Wendy (Walter) Carlos is famous for her Switched on Bach recordings. And, of course, many of us now know a trans colleague, neighbor, family member or friend.